Allan B. Calhamer Takes a Look at the Avalon Hill Diplomacy Program
(from Diplomacy World #38)
I have received the new Diplomacy program from Avalon Hill and examined it on a TRS-80, courtesy of the local Radio Shack.
Another player and I spent two hours alone with the machine and program in a quiet room.
Among the advantages the program appears to have are:
The program prints a map onscreen. The map is too big for the screen; pushing buttons moves it from side to side and up and down. Players might worry about strategic grasp of the whole board during play; but if you have a set already, you probably would use that set as a visual aid to follow the game. You would have to decide what to do, however, when the position on the board differed from that in the computer.
Each player inputs his orders by sitting down at the computer. There is no way he can summon up the orders previously inputted, at this point! No peeking, either, says the rulebook-manual. One can see why; but a major tactic of over-the-board play is thus eliminated.
Miscellaneous information, such as the number of centers each country has, is served up onscreen.
Something might have to be done about the possibility of players accessing the Alter subroutine, which can alter the board position!
The program is also ready on Apple, and they are working on it for other machines. It seems to me to be an excellent program, user-friendly, and a herculean job by Avalon Hill.
((I assume everyone knows that Allan is the inventor of Diplomacy…I’m told that Computer Diplomacy is scheduled for summer release but may not be quite available yet. I’m also informed that AH expects to include, as part of the Computer Diplomacy package, a Gamer’s Guide to Computer Diplomacy. You may find a familiar name listed as the author. –Ed.))