The first time we played a majority of the players had never played before. We got through one "year" a week, with Spring and Autumn troop movements due by the end of the day on Tuesday and Thursday respectively. Then we'd resolve conflicts and submit build or retreat orders. Then we'd plot.
It was really fun but I think it was too fun - I think office productivity seriously suffered for it. Especially considering the amount of time we spent thinking/scheming/talking versus the scarce minutes in the evening actually "playing" the game. Still an amazingly well balanced game once you understand the subtleties. I fared extremely poorly by treating it like Risk and being far too aggressive. On my second playthrough I became much more docile and cooperative, and was thoroughly stabbed in the back for being so trusting.
The best is when someone actually got betrayed and then I'd get to say "I TOLD YOU THEY'D DO THAT!"
Can confirm it's a game for trolls lol!
The WW1-era setting of the game is interesting but really isn't essential.
But if course, this is exactly the kind of hardcore game that attracts hidebound players who scream bloody murder at things like alternate maps.
Italy was my favorite country to play as. You absolutely need a strong ally, but if you don't get one, you can be a thorn in everyone's side.
I only really enjoy playing face to face. I just started a one move per week game at the office. Should get interesting.
Far too advantageous for France.
Is it feature complete otherwise?
And yes, the game is fully implemented. We lack a lot of the alternate rules and maps you can find on other sites, but our goal was to make the best possible experience for the core game instead of trying to cater to all the variations.
It's a space-based strategy game that has a lot of diplomatic elements, and the thing we really like is everything about it is completely deterministic, other than one researchable ability that gives you research points in a random field every turn.
Anyway, the default one turn per day is fantastic, and the game "ticks" once per hour, meaning it can take between a few hours and a couple of days for your fleets to transit between stars. It's a great pace for checking in a few times a day, and the game has calculators to help with timing coordinated attacks.
Finally, and I think this is key, do not enable formal alliances. They allow allies to share vision and they require a 24 hour notice to break the alliance, which takes all the fun out of it :)
I've never played Diplomacy before so take this with a grain of salt...but that seems like it should be against the rules. Or is it his fault for not being present when you read the orders?
"Each player secretly writes 'orders' for each of his/her units on a slip of paper. Each player reads his/her orders while others make sure that what they hear is what is written. A legal order must be followed. An order written by mistake, if legal, must be followed. An 'illegal' or ambiguous order or an order that is given an illegal order (or given no order) must stand in place. (The unit holds.) A poorly written order that has only one meaning must be followed." 
Assuming the rule version is the same, the rules may not have been obeyed: the written command should have preceded the spoken command. Clearly, the players wanted England dead ;)
In a match with Edi Birsan, someone misread my orders to my advantage. Should I have proactively corrected them?
Occasionally in the chaos of play, a spare unit will make its way onto the board. This is common enough that it's called a flying dutchman. I've seen it happen at least twice in tournament play.
People can get nasty when a tournament is at stake. Once someone managed to lock himself in a garage and his opponents declined to let him out until after orders were due.
'Drunk' was almost certainly meant literally.
'Golden Pickle' was awarded to Frank who had traveled from the Netherlands. I believe the criteria was "furthest distance traveled".
The Golden Pickle for misfortune suffered during the tournament. One year someone won it for falling off a cliff.
He's still in a couple of groups, but if the game dies for reasons other thna scheduling conflicts, it's probably his doing or a TPK.
Seriously, if you can't tell the difference between spying in real life, and spying in a game, you're not the most 'ethical' person, you're the most confused person.
There are only 7 of us so its virtually impossible for the bad liars to all end up on the "honest" team.
It's far more valuable to know who else is lying, and trying to gain information from other people on the table. So much of the game comes from figuring out what other people will do. Being persuasive is also very important, and it's very hard to be persuasive when people know you are a good liar.
Over multiple repeated games with the same players, no doubt some sort of equilibrium arises where on the scale of 0 to 1, zero always being a care bear, and one always being cutthroat, an optimal strategy probably lies... well, I'd be curious to know exactly where that optimum lies, actually. Anyone care to guess? My guess would be somewhere around ~.25.
playing a game where everyone is honest (especially in diplomacy where there is no random variation), you already know who is the winner from the onset. who would even want to play. diplomacy will always end in a tie if 'teams' are even and once you outnumber the enemy its over, unless someone doesnt keep their end. maybe I am remembering the game wrong
We played a game of this in the Google NY office this way. It was glorious for a bit -- intrigue upon intrigue upon intrigue. A week between turns really gives you a ton of time to stew over your plans. It got pretty serious; I remember having to call a cubemate (who wasn't part of the game) after I'd left the office and ask him to destroy a planning map I'd realized I'd accidentally left out.
Alas, the whole thing ended in acrimony. One guy who was getting trounced announced he was quitting the game -- in which case his pieces just passively stand their ground and are slowly overtaken -- but then changed his mind and submitted moves the next round after all. Another player called that out as bullshit (and let's be honest, it was kind of bullshit, but it was a friendly game and the rest of us were prepared to let it slide.) It turned into an irate shouting match in the office and the group abandoning the game halfway through. I believe there are still people in the Google NY office that avoid each other in hallways on account of that game.
You can find some documentation here, we were the "Erlang Solutions" project:
The code is on github: https://github.com/treacheroustalks/Treacherous-Talks
Before someone gets worried about the first statement, it does not mean that I am the kind of person who will betray someone - in fact, all my friends will testify that I am unreasonably loyal even under difficult circumstances. What it does mean is that after playing Diplomacy, I became much more self-aware about what I was doing to build friendships and/or relationships, and what others were doing, and also much more flexible at considering things from other people's point of view and therefore constructing deals that actually work for all parties.
I describe it as Risk with a military-industrial complex.
I'm more a fire in the east type guy: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/8993/fire-in-the-east
But I hate this kind of writing.
It's way to long and runs in circles to many times for my taste.
Things like bullet points, pullquotes, images and so on are a bit like an inline TL;DR.
I think the game can play like that too...
Has anyone here played War on Terror http://www.waronterrortheboardgame.com/? Think Risk, but with an Axis of Evil, Terrorists, and a balaclava (not baclava, unfortunately) included in the game pack.
It was also branded criminal by the police - couldn't ask for better promotion: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/war-on-terror-boa...
It makes it to the table with my group of friends because it takes much less time to play than Diplomacy.
Just like Diplomacy, you may not want to play it with people who take the board game backstabbing stuff too seriously.
I was quite successful and lots of people hated me for having backstabbed them in previous games but that only made my game better. Having an opponent dead set against me was just barter for my trades with other people.
There is no other game like it, although I'm told Intrigue gets a little bit of the double cross feel.
If you're playing face to face and you see Russia and Germany go talk for ten of the fifteen minutes, it's no secret that they're working together. Online, it's much harder to tell.
Oh man, the emotional investment in this game is just never replaced by online play, imo.
I love the game in theory, but I felt too bad after backstabbing people. (So if we ever play, trust me! :-) )
It was shocking to realize how wimpy I really am.
(Off topic) I didn't think that HN did Markdown in comments but your post convinced me that it is perfectly useful in that zero-based endnote-format style you used that I'm going to co-opt it.
So you can set it to 12h steps, get payday every 2 steps, or whatever you feel like. With the right settings, if everyone is active during the day you can get maybe 4 or 5 steps complete and then nothing happening over the weekend.
All is fair in diplomacy.
I wouldn't quite call it "the game that ruins friendships", but since it places a lot of emphasis on the social aspects of the game, rather than the strategic, it involves lots of lying and backstabbing, which can (understandably) strain relationships between the players.
And in my experience, good Diplomacy players do very little lying or backstabbing. The compulsive liar types can't get the strong alliances that lead to traction. A two or three way alliance that culminates in a later betrayal are the way to win.
The fun thing is part way through the game you can suddenly find that you are a cylon and have to switch sides.
The D6 generation is a good podcast that covers a lot of games both board and minatures
There are many rule variants, but Star Trek is just too much.
In preparation for that I read everything I found about (advanced) strategy, all the possibilities that are open to the different countries and so on.
In the end I was probably the only English player who never managed to leave his island...
After that I was so terribly frustrated that I never tried another game.
IMO you want to come off as knowledgeable but not too experienced anyway. People are looking for allies who are going to be reliable (and communicate well!), but who won't be too tough to run over when the time comes. So that's what you look like... until you're ready to pull out the knife!
Personally I play a bit on my phone using the Droiddippy app. However you can also play via web at http://droidippy.oort.se/web.
I've been a big friend of Avalon Hill titles over the years.
If you are playing over email and one person becomes unresponsive, what is the standard thing to do?
- units for which orders haven't been submitted just hold still, or
- whenever anyone's orders are missing after the deadline, the game gets paused and there is an open call for replacement players in a mailing list.
The game is advertised for 2 players, but we went ahead and modded the rules for 6 players + a referee. We made both sides consist of 3 field commanders plus a supreme commander. We looked at the map and divided it into 3 parts: the north, the middle and the south. For each part of the map, a German field commander and a Soviet counterpart would sit against each other and hold command of their own area. They saw only units that moved on their map. We decided that each 4 turns (a turn was a fortnight) the field commanders could all go have a meeting with their supreme commander, discuss strategy and synchronize information. We usually set these meetings to last for about 10-15 minutes.
The role of the supreme commander was to dole out repair points plus reinforcements and to send messages to their field commanders. Each turn the supreme commander could send a message to all of his subordinates, and each turn all of his field commanders could send one message to their supreme commander and one message to their fellow field commander. A message could be intercepted with a possibility of 1/6. Intercepting the message meant that the referee would toss a die and if it turned out one, he would take it to the enemy supreme commander without the sender knowing about it until the next meeting.
As an addition, the supreme commander had a map, but he had nothing in it except his own unit, which was good for moving singular units, sending paratroops and air strikes. The supreme commander would also get all the dead units brought out to him when units started dying. You would definitely know things were bad when infantry that were at the edge of Moscow 3 turns ago (or so you recall...) were handed to you by the referee!
Last year we upped the ante and tried out EuroFront II by Columbia Games. It was an epic attempt to play the final year of the war with the whole map of Europe, the winner being the one who holds the most Victory Cities (historically notable European cities) in their supply network by May 1945. With over a dozen players we anticipated problems in our message delivery system, which mainly consisted of a two guys gathering a bunch of papers from players and throwing dice for each message per turn per player side.
We opted for an easier solution and I set out to build a simple messaging system. It was a horrible PHP Slim-based Bootstrap webapp, with business rules written in postgresql functions and code structure being an implementation of pasta. I suspected it would be a maintaining nightmare (and it sure was!), but it worked without a problem during that weekend. Everyone loved it, including our refs' feet.
This year the game is Eastfront II and the messaging is modified for two player sides. We will also allow messages to pass through to their original recipient even if they are captured. With this we will experiment whether the turns will become more interesting for the players whose messages are always captured.
Based on this horrid ad-hoc prototype of mine, I'm currently working on building a more generic, a rule-based messaging system for our guys. Definitely more maintainable this time, promise.
Ps. For what it's worth, the ultimate alpha nerd war game seems to be The Campaign for North Africa. I will invite you to read the description of the game as described in Board Game Geek .
Either way I have wasted dozens of hours playing, and it taught me how tedious other people can be.
Pretty sure us "alpha-nerds" would rather battle it out in fantasy/scifi settings than with boring old "real world" troops (Here I Stand is excellent if you want that). All of those games are also a lot better imo.
Always thought Diplomacy was pretty meh :)