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Going Allan Calhamer One Better

Or, Some Additional Rules and Laws of Diplomacy

By Dave White

Originally Appearing in Diplomacy World #25


Certainly, all of you have heard of Murphy’s Laws; either all, or parts of them.  As a quick refresher, here they are:


1.    If anything can go wrong, it will.

2.    Nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

3.    Everything takes longer than you expect.

4.    If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will go wrong first is the one that will cause the most damage.

5.    Left to themselves, things will go from bad to worse.

6.    If you play with something long enough, you will surely break it.

7.    If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.


With very little effort, I’m sure that everyone reading this can think of a situation in a game to which most, if not all of these, could be applied.


In just a couple of paragraphs everything you could ever want to know about the additional rules and laws of Diplomacy is covered, right?  Not so, Boardman breath!  Here are a few of my own, specifically directed to Diplomacy and the wargaming hobby:

Inverse Law of Supply and Demand: A country’s success in an ftf game is inversely proportional to the number of pieces in the box.


First Law of PBM: If all else fails, blame it on the Post Office.


First Law of FTF: If all else fails, cheat.


White’s Laws on Pets and Wargames: (1) All pets will mess up a wargame if given the opportunity.  (2) Pets will always eat or destroy the most important piece.  (3) Pets will never mess up a game in which you are losing.


NMR Law (Allies): The probability of an ally NMRing is directly proportional to the amount of aid he has promised you.


NMR Law (Enemies): Enemies never NMR unless you don’t attack them.


Trustworthiness Law: The trustworthiness of an opponent is inversely proportional to the actual amount of trust you have in him.


Reputation Law: The quality of your reputation is inversely proportional to the length of time it took to acquire it.


Press Laws: (1) If they take offense, claim it was misprinted.  (2) If you write a good piece of press, use it often.  (3) If someone else writes a good piece of press, steal it and claim it as your own.


Pittsburgh Steelers Law: Everybody is entitled to get lucky now and then.


Houston Oiler Law: Everybody is entitled to get unlucky now and then.


Hobby Dictum: If Rod Walker and John Boardman agree on something, it must be true.


Conrad von Metzke Law: Old pubbers never die, they just fold away.


Ron Kelly Law: The need for standby positions expands so as to fill the number of standby positions he has volunteered for.


Deadline Law: No deadline is perfect; it’s either too short or too long.


Law of Negotiations: The amount of time available for negotiation is inversely proportional to the importance of the negotiations.


Law of Orphans: (1) No one will pick up your orphan until you have entered another game to replace it.  (2) The probability of any game being orphaned is directly proportional to how you are doing in that game.


Law of Pubbing Errors: All errors in your position will be calculated to put you in the worst position; errors in somebody else’s position will improve their position.


White’s Houserules: (1) The GM is always right.  (2) In cases where the GM is wrong, consult rule #1.


Stabbing Theory: Opponents are always prepared for your attacks.


Theory of Being Stabbed: They always catch you off your guard.


Russian Player’s Motto: An apparent advantage is apparently not an advantage.


Distribution Law: You never have enough of your right kind of units at the right place.  Corollary: You never have enough of the right kind of units at the right place at the right time.


Observation By a 3-Center Turkey: The way my luck is going, I’ll probably survive.


Victory Condition Law: The ease in acquiring new centers is inversely proportional to the number of centers you already have.


Alliance Law: A strong ally is an ally; a weak ally is a victim.


And may I add…


Typing Error Law: If there is a word that you continually mistype, it will be the word used most often in the article. (Jerry Jones)