Beginners' Guides

Question about the rules of the game? Experienced Diplomacy veterans will help you! There is also a Common Questions section.
Forum rules
In addition to the general Forum Guidelines (see here: http://www.playdiplomacy.com/forum/view ... 30&t=15441), there are additional rules for posting in this forum.
1. Members should not refer directly to a specific situation in an active game. It is usually possible to provide an example of a similar situation elsewhere on the board.
2. It follows that links, images, game name and/or number should not be added to a post if the game is active.
3. Questions should only request rules be clarified and not request advice about how to resolve a situation.
4. When answering a question, members should restrict themselves to answering the question and not give advice on how to get around the situation.
Posts which break these rules will be subject to editing or removal; see here: http://www.playdiplomacy.com/forum/view ... 13&t=42845

Beginners' Guides

Postby Pops2112 » 25 Jun 2020, 01:25

I have set up and we are about to start properly a Friends game within my extended family, some of whom are completely new to Diplomacy. Found myself writing my own version of introductory guides for them to post in Public Press in that game to help get them going. Wanted them to be a single-source blend of the fundamental Game Rules (hopefully stated accurately!), elements of how to work with them on PlayDip, and a few points of clarification picking up what seem to be some of the points raised on the Forum by newer players. Posting them here in case new players might come across them and find them useful - will welcome constructive criticism, or points of correction, from experienced players if anyone spots something I've got wrong or that could be explained more clearly.
Last edited by Pops2112 on 25 Jun 2020, 07:14, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Pops2112
Premium Member
 
Posts: 61
Joined: 19 Apr 2020, 07:49
Location: England
Class: Ambassador
Standard rating: 1029
All-game rating: 1108
Timezone: GMT

Re: Beginners' Guides

Postby Pops2112 » 25 Jun 2020, 01:34

Pops’ Guide #1 – Basics

The website has lots of resources to get new players into the game. The more you choose to read, the more you may get out of playing, but here (together with Guide #2 and Guide #3 to follow) is my version of the basics, for a Standard map with Regular rules. There are lots of interesting variants on PlayDip, mostly not dealt with here.
The game is based on controlling Supply Centres (‘SCs’). Each country starts with a unit (Army or Fleet) occupying each of its Home SCs (3 each, except Russia with 4). Add 12 Neutral SCs, e.g. Rumania, and there are 34 SCs on the map. An SC is controlled by the country that controlled it after the most recent Fall Retreat phase has resolved.
For example, if nothing else moves and the Russian F (Sev) (Fleet in Sevastopol) moves to Rumania in Spring 1901, Sev-Rum, then to the East Coast of Bulgaria in Fall 1901, Rum-Bul(e.c.), Bulgaria becomes Russian, Rumania does not, for the 1901 Build phase.

The game runs in phases: Orders, Retreats and Builds. There are Orders for Spring and Fall each game year, starting in Spring 1901. There is a Retreat phase after an Orders phase if at least one unit has been dislodged and has to decide what to do. There is a Build phase after Fall Orders (and Retreat, if any) if at least one country is entitled to build a new unit or at least one country has to destroy a unit, when: (a) if the SCs you control outnumber your units on the map, you can Build, subject to this, namely that you can only Build on an empty Home SC that you still control – if you have a Build available but nowhere to put it, tough; and (b) if your units on the map outnumber the SCs you control, you must destroy the excess. The solo win condition is one country controlling 18 SCs at any year end. Calling the game a draw has to be done unanimously by all surviving, non-surrendered countries: any surviving, non-surrendered country can propose a draw (an option in the Status pull-down); all surviving, non-surrendered countries get a vote, and the draw is only called, ending the game, if there is a unanimous vote in favour. (If DIAS applies – Draws Include All Survivors – the only draw that can be proposed is a draw between all surviving, non-surrendered countries. If DIAS does not apply, then a draw can be proposed for any two or more such countries, but it still only gets accepted if the vote in favour is unanimous.)

The game page always shows the phase and its deadline. Any phase resolves early if, prior to the deadline, every country with orders to give has entered and finalised orders. If you enter but do not finalise orders, your most recent set of orders prior to the deadline is auto-finalised for you at the deadline. If you finalise and the phase does not instantly end (meaning not everyone else has finalised yet), you can ‘un-finalise’ simply by re-entering an order for one of your units. (Games can be set up with the standard option for finalising orders to end phases early switched off.)

If you do not enter any orders, you are ‘NMR’ (no moves received). If that happens in an Orders phase, your units auto-Hold. NMR in a Retreat phase means any dislodged unit that was waiting for an order is auto-destroyed. NMR in a Build phase means you don’t Build, even if you could have, and any excess unit is auto-destroyed under an automated order of priority for which unit(s) to destroy. (If it is a ‘Protected Game’ – my personal preference is to , avoid any such games – NMRs and surrenders cause phases to be auto-extended for an additional period. I do not go through the detail of the Protected Game rules here.)

If you NMR twice, ignoring Build phases, you will be auto-surrendered. In a Friends game, you are able to re-join if that happens, but not so in any other type of game. If a country is surrendered (by choice or through NMRs), its units default to Hold and it does not get a vote on any draw proposals.

Communicating within the game is either in Public Press, visible to all players, where you can post openly or anonymously, or through Messages, the operation of which is like using email. In a Friends game, there is no rule against out-of-game communication. In other forms of the game on the PlayDip website, that is cheating that, if detected, may get your account suspended or barred.

The way the map is constructed, each country except Russia & England (see below) can capture one SC that no other country can get to first. The balance for England is being slightly isolated, so a slower start than others' can be OK. The balance for Russia is starting with 4 SCs. Also, if Austria goes for its ‘freebie’ (Serbia) in Spring 1901, then Rumania is a Russian freebie, but only if Russia is happy to cede control of the Black Sea to Turkey, but it won’t cede that control if it agrees a Black Sea DMZ with Turkey, unless of course Turkey agrees the DMZ then immediately stabs Russia in the back.

And there in miniature is what the game is all about …

… engage in diplomacy, to whatever extent you want, through game messaging (or out-of-game if you like in a Friends game), enter and finalise orders, then see how it all plays out …

(Why England also no guaranteed 1901 'freebie', you ask? Because if Russia orders Mos-StP in the Spring, then StP-Nwy in the Fall, that will 'bounce' England for Norway, unless England moves Lon-NTH and Edi-NWG in the Spring to guarantee a 2 v 1 if required in the Fall ... but then England would not be defending the Channel with Lon-ENG in the Spring, so the diplomacy becomes similar to the Russia/Rumania/Black Sea conundrum - will France agree and then honour an English Channel DMZ ...?)
Last edited by Pops2112 on 27 Jun 2020, 06:26, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
Pops2112
Premium Member
 
Posts: 61
Joined: 19 Apr 2020, 07:49
Location: England
Class: Ambassador
Standard rating: 1029
All-game rating: 1108
Timezone: GMT

Re: Beginners' Guides

Postby Pops2112 » 25 Jun 2020, 01:47

Pops’ Guide #2 – Orders (Hold, Move, Convoy, Support)

Each Army or Fleet gets one order per Orders phase, either Hold, Move, Support or Convoy. Click/tap on a territory where you have a unit, select your order, and off you go (or use the ‘Menu-based order entry’, switched on by the button to the bottom right below the map, but I find that a bit clunky myself). The ‘Show Order Graphics’ button to the bottom centre below the map will show pictorially the current set of orders entered (whether finalised or not).

Hold = Unit stays where it is (unless dislodged)

Move = Unit moves (if it can)

Unless blocked, any Army can move to any adjacent land territory, any Fleet can move to any adjacent sea or coastal land territory. Fleets can slide along coasts, e.g. Brest to Picardy, or shift between sea and coast, e.g. Brest to Mid-Atlantic or English Channel to Brest.

There are three land territories with two coasts: Bulgaria, St Petersburg and Spain. Fleets can only enter or depart from those territories using the same coast, e.g. Fleet Black Sea to Bulgaria (e.c.) yes, Fleet Black Sea to Bulgaria (s.c.) no, and Fleet Bulgaria (e.c.) cannot move from there to the Aegean Sea or Greece. A Fleet order to Move to one of these territories must specify the coast and get it right or it will be a failed order (which does not mean you cannot enter it – messing up orders and suffering for it is part of the game – it means your order will not work when the phase in question resolves). So e.g. F (BLA)-Bul(s.c.) can be ordered, but will fail.
There are two special coastal land territories – Constantinople and Denmark. Because of the Bosporus a Fleet can move to Constantinople from the Aegean Sea, then exit for the Black Sea, or vice versa. Because of the Kiel Canal, a Fleet can move to Denmark from the North Sea, Skagerrak or Helgoland Bight, then exit for the Baltic Sea, or vice versa. Also note Denmark is deemed to be joined to Kiel and Sweden by both land and sea, so an Army or a Fleet can be ordered to or from Denmark from or to either Kiel or Sweden.

Finally, NB Switzerland is an impassable neutral zone. It cannot be entered or passed through, e.g. A (Munich) cannot Move directly to Piedmont (as before, you could enter that order though, it just wouldn’t work for you).

Convoy = Fleet unit carries an Army across a sea (unless the convoy is disrupted or the Move is blocked).

There have to be matching orders for the Army and the Fleet(s) involved. All orders involved use the same departure and arrival point for the Army. For example, Edi-Nwy with NTH c Edi-Nwy: Army in Edinburgh is ordered to Move to Norway; Fleet in North Sea is ordered to convoy from Edinburgh to Norway. You don’t have to tell the Army it is going by convoy, it just needs to know its destination, then if there is a matching convoy order, the Move works (unless blocked). Convoys are not disrupted by an attack on the convoying Fleet that does not dislodge the Fleet (contrast Support, see below). Convoy chains work, e.g. an Army in Liverpool can be convoyed to Brest, Gascony, Spain, Portugal or North Africa via the Irish Sea and the Mid-Atlantic Ocean: orders would be, e.g., Lpl-Por, IRI c Lpl-Por, MAO c Lpl-Por.

Support = Unit supports another Unit to Hold or to Move (unless Support is cut)

Support = Key Diplomacy game mechanic.

Attacks on occupied territories, or competing attacks on the same territory, occupied or not, resolve on strength of numbers, so the Support order is the key mechanic. A unit can be ordered to Support another unit to Hold or to Move. Click/tap the unit that is to Support, select Support, then click/tap, first, the unit to be supported, second, the territory in respect of which the support is to be given, i.e. where the supported unit is (Support to Hold) or where the supported unit is trying to go (Support to Move).

If S = Supporting Unit, H = Unit Supported to Hold, and M = Unit Supported to Move, then:

Support to Hold:

S can support H whenever H is occupying a territory to which S could be ordered to Move (not via Convoy), BUT ONLY IF H is ordered to Hold OR H is ordered to Support another unit but H is attacked. The qualification is important. For example, if I occupy Belgium and Holland, I want to push into France (Bel-Pic), but I might be blocked, ordering Holland to support Belgium to Hold does not work – Belgium, if it ‘bounces’ in Picardy, will stand alone against any attack made against it at the same time. If however Belgium’s primary order was to Support (say) Ruhr to Hold or Ruhr to Move to Burgundy, and Belgium is attacked, Belgium’s support for Ruhr is cut but Belgium’s order then defaults to Hold, so now the support from Holland is effective and Belgium has a strength of two to defend the attack against it.

Support to Move:

S can support M to Move whenever M is ordered to Move to a territory to which S could itself be ordered to Move (not via Convoy).

Remember Bulgaria, Spain, St Petersburg and their two coasts? NB a Fleet that could in theory Move there can Support to Hold another Fleet already there or Support to Move another Fleet trying to go there even if the two Fleets would have to use opposite coasts. So, e.g., F (MAO) – Fleet in Mid-Atlantic Ocean – can Support to Hold F (Spa(sc)), or Support to Move A or F (Mar)-Spa(sc). Any Support order must specify the territory in which, or for a move to which, the supported unit is to be given support. For these two-coast territories, that means the Support order specifies the territory relevant to the supported unit, e.g. AEG s BLA-Bul(e.c.) – meaning Fleet (Aegean Sea) to Support Fleet (Black Sea) to Move to Bulgaria (e.c.) – is the valid and correct Support order, even though if the Fleet (Aegean Sea) was doing the Move it would have to be ordered to Bulgaria (s.c.).

Cutting Support:

Any attack on S by a unit from a different country ‘cuts support’, whatever the outcome of that attack, EXCEPT that a unit under attack cannot cut support for the attack on itself. There is this quasi-exception – an attacked unit CAN dislodge a unit supporting the attack on it, if it has the necessary Support. For example, if Gal-War plus Ukr s Gal-War at the same time as Sil-Gal plus War s Sil-Gal, Galicia takes Warsaw although Warsaw was supporting an attack on it and Silesia takes Galicia because, since Galicia departed, it does not now need any Support for that Move. That assumes no other relevant orders, of course. If in addition, say, Liv s War to Hold, now Galicia’s Move to Warsaw fails, the ‘can’t cut Support against yourself’ rule applies, and so Silesia’s Move still succeeds.

Final Notes:

- Units can never just cross: if A is ordered to Move to where B is, and B is ordered to Move to where A is, they ALWAYS clash at the border; they ‘bounce’ unless one has more Support to Move than the other, in which case it wins the border clash, and moves, and the other is dislodged.

- A unit cannot dislodge, or by lending Support be part of dislodging, a unit from its own country. This does not (quite) mean you would never order one unit to Move to or Support a Move to a territory occupied by another of your units. For example, the latter might be ordered to Move, and you might want to follow in behind (or help an ally to follow in behind). If both Moves succeed, fine. But if the seemingly self-attacked unit’s Move does not succeed, then the no self-dislodgement rule applies. To complicate that example one jot further, if the seemingly self-attacked unit is also attacked by an enemy with Support, it is then not dislodged by that attack if the ‘self-attack’ has at least equal strength to the enemy attack – and that can be the reason why the ‘self-attack’ was ordered in the first place!! So, for example, if a German A (Munich) gets ‘bounced’ on a Move to Silesia, an attack on Munich from Bohemia with Support from Tyrolia and a ‘self-attack’ on Munich from the Ruhr with Support from Kiel cancel each other out. Though the A (Munich) tried and failed to Move (so there can be no Support to Hold), and is attacked 2 v 1, it is not dislodged.

- A country cannot ever just swap adjacent units (something it might want to do for an Army and a Fleet it wished were the other way round). The border clash rule means they clash at the border. The no self-dislodgment rule means they bounce irrespective of any Support orders. Territory re-shuffles for adjacent units therefore require triangles or two phases (e.g. Belgium to Ruhr, Ruhr to Holland, Holland to Belgium works, assuming nothing blocks any of those Moves; likewise Holland to North Sea, Belgium to Holland, then North Sea to Belgium in the next Orders phase).
Last edited by Pops2112 on 25 Jun 2020, 07:56, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Pops2112
Premium Member
 
Posts: 61
Joined: 19 Apr 2020, 07:49
Location: England
Class: Ambassador
Standard rating: 1029
All-game rating: 1108
Timezone: GMT

Re: Beginners' Guides

Postby Pops2112 » 25 Jun 2020, 01:49

Pops’ Guide #3 – Retreat or Destroy

Final primer from me for noobs …

If a unit is dislodged, it is auto-destroyed at the end of the Retreat phase unless a valid Retreat order has been entered for it. If the map situation means there is no valid Retreat order that could be given (irrespective of Retreat orders entered for other units), the Orders phase resolution will have destroyed the unit already.

A dislodged unit may Retreat, unless blocked by another retreating unit, to any adjacent territory that is vacant to which the dislodged unit could be ordered to Move (not via Convoy), EXCEPT the territory from which its successful attacker came (obviously!) OR a territory that is only vacant because there was a ‘bounce’ for it in the Orders phase in which the unit attempting to retreat was dislodged. So don’t just see empty space, think ‘decent’, and order Retreat to there – check first whether it was fought over in that same phase, because if it was and you enter that Retreat order, you’ll find at the end of the Retreat phase that you are auto-destroyed for an invalid Retreat order.

If two or more dislodged units are given a Retreat order to the same territory, all are destroyed (even if, but for the clash, each Retreat order would have been valid).
You don’t have to enter a Retreat order just because a valid one is available. You can choose to Destroy the dislodged unit instead. This means, BTW, that getting a Build is not always because you have captured a new SC. It could be a unit was destroyed in an Orders phase or Retreat phase but you still have enough SCs to supply another unit in addition to all your surviving units. This can be used tactically, e.g. Destroy rather than Retreat to re-spawn at a Home SC because that is better for you positionally, or get an ally to dislodge you, then choose Destroy (though a Retreat is available) to re-spawn at Home because that is better positionally for your alliance.
User avatar
Pops2112
Premium Member
 
Posts: 61
Joined: 19 Apr 2020, 07:49
Location: England
Class: Ambassador
Standard rating: 1029
All-game rating: 1108
Timezone: GMT

Re: Beginners' Guides

Postby DQ » 26 Jun 2020, 04:12

In addition to all of this, I created some "crib sheets" for each power, that Jorge Zhang has collected on his website, and which were recently linked to in the Diplomatic Pouch. You get suggestions for negotiations and opening moves for each power, might be useful!

http://uk.diplom.org/pouch/Zine/S2020M/Zhang/resources.html
Stab you soon!
User avatar
DQ
 
Posts: 355
Joined: 11 Sep 2008, 14:29
Class: Diplomat
Standard rating: (1062)
All-game rating: (1063)
Timezone: GMT-5

Re: Beginners' Guides

Postby ColonelApricot » 27 Jun 2020, 05:18

The 22 rules list is very useful.

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=36374

..CA
Dog of War in ToS
GRU of the Despicables in TTT
User avatar
ColonelApricot
 
Posts: 447
Joined: 06 Oct 2013, 11:48
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: 1010
All-game rating: 1408
Timezone: GMT


Return to Diplomacy Rules Questions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests