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Subject: Diplomacy ~ Deranged Review. rss

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Deranged
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Hello! Welcome to the review. Have a seat! Criticism is welcome - bitching isn't.

For my 25th review, I've chosen something special. Perhaps my favourite boardgame of all time (I haven't played in the future yet). No need to keep you waiting, the name is in the title: Diplomacy.

I bought the game years ago, when I still played monthly face to face games. The board has been collecting dust for years - I usually play online and on championships, and neither require my board .

I'll be giving grades on several aspects of the game, such as discussed here.
For ART, I look at the big picture, and how that picture looks. EASE covers ease of play and learning curve, FLEXIBILITY covers the amount of free will you have and is therefore linked to replayability. FUN might be deceptive, as it's a gut thang, but I'll try and specify in the text, and COMPONENTS should be self-explanatory. I'll not say a lot about rules and specifics - you can find those out for yourself.

Board Game: Diplomacy


The Game Itself: Ultimate Friendship Tester
Plan moves, negotiate with other countries, revise moves, deliver commands, wait. Commands are read, pieces are moved, commands are handed back. Repeat. Most centers win!

ART
-I love my version of the board - and not just because of sentimentalism (even though that does play a large part). The board is calm and green, with very well marked borders. The box just has a picture of a "fluffy hat", which radiates conquest.

EASE
-The game is deceptively simple. The game itself, while well-balanced and obviously very well thought-out, is not very difficult - on paper. It has layers and layers of tactics and bluff/sense motive which give the game depth.

Board Game: Diplomacy


FLEXIBILITY
-I find myself once again running out of stars. The game has seven countries, each of which plays radically different. Each country has at least several options (even Italy). Each of these options have several ways of panning out. That's flexibility for you.

What I love about this game is that you can play it as you are. Because there is a lot of interaction (is there a game with more?), your succes is for a large part based on your personality or persona, and the susceptability of other players, and if you trust the right person/people. Because I tend to keep my word even in the face of trouble (and people know this), I've pulled off some truly magnificent moves, like the German Lepanto. Other people can project trustworthiness until the dagger slips in, and that can be magnificent too, I guess. The point is, you get to play as you are, if you want to.

FUN
-A game of Diplomacy is exciting (unless you get stuck with Italy). Whichever (other) country you get, the game is nailbitingly tense, and it remains like that for the entire game. Some people are put off by the lenght, spawning memories of endlessly dull games of Risk or Monopoly - and they'd be wrong. Those 20 minutes of negotiating time will not be enough (unless, Italy), and the day will continue to fly by. Most games play until 1906 or 1908, so I'd very much advise you to keep that deadline in mind.

COMPONENTS
-The board is of great quality, and the units are made of wood. Fleets and armies are easily distinguishable. There are versions with metal pieces. I'm glad I have this version ^^.

Board Game: Diplomacy


Pro's
The game makes for truly epic stories.
There is a superlativistic amount of options.
It has a standard set-up, which means you can contemplate opening moves. As many have.
The seven different countries make for a lot of time to master the game.
Diplomacy has been used to teach actual diplomats.
Official Diplomacy tournaments and groups do not show any sign of slowing. There will probably be officially sanctioned Diplomacy when our grandchilden are old enough to play it.
There is a map for playing Diplomacy in Middle Earth. I have not yet tested this .

Con's
You really do need seven players. Apart from special maps.
It does take up a lot of time.
It is difficult to get enough people together.
The only game I can think of in which I'd rather not play green.
Some people can hold a grudge. Be wary of playing this game with those people.

End result:

The game is wonderful. Because it takes exactly seven players and a long time to play, I don't get to play it face to face often, and frankly, playing online is a poor substitute. Diplomacy is known for its fairly brutal stabbism - which is very important to understand prior to playing the game. Every player has heard the rumours of ended friendships and/or relationships, and those rumours have a grain of truth. Keep what's in the game in the game - holding grudges out of the board will seriously diminish your satisfaction.

What happens in Diplomacy, stays in Diplomacy.

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Mayor Jim
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Good review of a classic game. I agree that the game does take a bit of a time commitment to play. I usually play online or via email. While you don't need a full 7 players, I feel that 7 makes for the best game.
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David Gibbs
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MayorJim wrote:
Good review of a classic game. I agree that the game does take a bit of a time commitment to play. I usually play online or via email. While you don't need a full 7 players, I feel that 7 makes for the best game.
I feel the game almost isn't worth playing without 7. With fewer than 6, it is not worth playing. With 6, if you play with the Italian pieces on the map, supporting each other to hold (so they aren't QUITE an instant over-run), then it sort of kind of might be worth playing. Ok, no, 7.
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Deranged
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dagibbs wrote:
MayorJim wrote:
Good review of a classic game. I agree that the game does take a bit of a time commitment to play. I usually play online or via email. While you don't need a full 7 players, I feel that 7 makes for the best game.
I feel the game almost isn't worth playing without 7. With fewer than 6, it is not worth playing. With 6, if you play with the Italian pieces on the map, supporting each other to hold (so they aren't QUITE an instant over-run), then it sort of kind of might be worth playing. Ok, no, 7.
I feel like the game is nigh unplayable with anything less than seven, although playing with six is better than not playing. Which is why I do not like the current online climate of people who sign up for a game and then not play it - if you think playing without Italy is bad, try playing without France .

Or perhaps I'm playing on the wrong site.
 
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David Gibbs
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Derang3d wrote:
Which is why I do not like the current online climate of people who sign up for a game and then not play it - if you think playing without Italy is bad, try playing without France :(.

Or perhaps I'm playing on the wrong site.
Or, the people who play the first 2-4 turns, and when the opening doesn't go their way, they drop out. Argh.

I stopped playing online Dip because of that phenomenon. I miss it, but I found it was just too frustrating and annoying.
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Colin Bisasky
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I haven't had too much of that, actually. I've played on a site called Redscape, which used to have lots of games going at once, but lately has had but a few at a time. Pretty good group of people, actually. But yes, it's disconcerting when someone disappears/drops out. The solution to that is to have some pretty stringent NMR rules in force.
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How does that help? The people who leave games obviously do not care about NMR's - if they had a sense of honour, they'd not have left.

There are circumstances, of course. You'll always have those. But the problem lies with the ones who leave willingly. What could help is if the game only starts after all players have actually sent in some form of orders, and inactive players automatically get switched out after a certain amount of time - just joining a game would no longer be sufficient.

I might just try your site one of these days .
 
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David Gibbs
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If the NMR rules are strict enough -- such as an NMR means you can never join another game -- that might work.

Otherwise, probably not.
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That's harsh!

Should work. Only against people who do not at least apologize, of course.
 
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Yes, please do! Because we need more players and more GMs. We used to havev TONS of games of Diplomacy at any one time. Now there's like....3, and 1 is a variant. Oh, the heydays of Redscape! But if we can get more people and more GMs as I said, we could return to the glorious past!
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Hear ye, hear ye!

What I'd love is a place to try the Lotr Dippy map, and if at all possible that 8p roundworld hypersymmetric map that seems far too awesome to be ignored!

I have a rather busy schedule, so my days of playing 7 games at once are over (for now, at least), but if either of these could be arranged I'm in! If not, I will be at some point in the future .
 
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