Diplomacy Online


I recently had the pleasure of having my ass thoroughly handed to me in a game of Online Diplomacy! It was a really interesting experience, and I thought I would share.

An Old University friend of mine contacted me and asked if I would be interested in joining his friends for a game of Diplomacy Online:

http://www.playdiplomacy.com/

I was intrigued to say the least.

I own a copy of Diplomacy, but had only ever played it once. I was unsure of how well I would do, But despite my unfamiliarity with the game, I was curious to see how it would work across the web. So I agreed.

With that, he gave me the website, told me to create an account, send him my username, and wait until he had everyone assembled.

After a day or two, my friend had found enough people to get a game going, and I received my invitation to join via email. Once all eight players had confirmed, I was off to the map to give my first set of orders.

Not the map from our game, but basically the same.
The colours on the map were a little wild, and apparently change each game, but I went with the flow. I had been assigned the Ottoman Empire. A tough start in this time period.

I was Ottoman in the First game, and Ottoman in the Second Game.

If you are not familiar with Diplomacy, the game works by giving your units different orders, that make them attack, hold or support another attack. 


All of this is done on the screen, by right click on your unit, and then clicking through the instructions to give the order.

In order to defeat an opponent, you must attack them with a force of superior size. Only then will you push their units out of the territory you where fighting over, and this where the true nature of the game comes into play. 

It is called Diplomacy for a reason! (Treaty of Paris 1783)

Since you need to devote so many forces to each invasion, you must strike up deals with the other players, or find yourself out manned. These deals can be anything from agreements to attack a certain territory, to border negotiations, or just plain and simple threats. But before each player gives their orders, there is a "diplomacy" phase where players plot and scheme against each other. 

Alliances are made (even with the intention of breaking it), and deals are struck among all players: Each seeking to out maneuver the other.


Every friend is a potential enemy, every enemy a potential friend.

Since our group was all over the world, we couldn't sit down and have these negotiations face to face like a traditional game of Diplomacy. So we created a Facebook group and added each other as friends for private negotiations.

It was effective, but it lacked a certain humanity. When sitting around the board, you get to look a player in their eyes while they lie to you, or see other sneak off for secret discussions. So, you get a read of the situation and can play accordingly. When you are on Facebook, you can't see the others expressions, and you have no idea who is talking to whom. It's like playing in the dark.

I personally prefer to see my opponents when we talk, but I am sure using Skype next or something similar could get around that issue. 

Each turn lasted 5 days rather then the standard half-hour turn the board game uses. Which was to give everyone a chance to fit the game into their busy schedules.

The game started off beautifully with each turn ending on a day, but as people's lives waned on, the turn length got longer and longer. I will confess that I even missed a turn once as I was out of town, and didn't remember until I got a warning that I needed to retreat!

The Great Retreat of the German From the Banks of the River Marne in 1914 by Joseph Skelton

Despite those hang ups, Diplomacy Online really did feel like a real game of Diplomacy. The back stabbing was there, the strategy of the game was there, and the interface was easy to use. But, remember that Diplomacy Online does require you to be familiar with the rules. So look them up before you play! Wizards of the coasts hosts free version of rules that you can download here:

https://www.wizards.com/avalonhill/rules/diplomacy.pdf

If your game group is all over the world, or you just have trouble getting together, then Diplomacy Online is an amazing way to have a game with low time commitment costs.



                          
Diplomacy Online Diplomacy Online Reviewed by Jade GamingNews on 10/28/2014 10:03:00 am Rating: 5

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