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Subject: If you had 6 players... rss

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Matt Davis
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If you had 6 players who wanted to play Diplomacy, what would you do? Clearly, the correct answer is quickly find a seventh, but let's assume for the moment that that's not an option. What do you think is the best solution? I've seen a variant that might be interesting for experienced players - having one player control Germany and Austria together. The problem, though, is that this game would be me (I've played twice) and 5 new players. Here are the options, as I see them. (Disclaimer: My analysis is probably wrong in some cases.)

Ignore Great Britain completely. Pretend it's not even on the map.
Upside: Dosen't give or remove any easily claimed supply centers.
Downside: Probably makes things too easy on France, as they only have one front and can take the Iberian Peninsula with no worries. Also, Germany gets the Baltic/North Sea area easily.

Remove the German player from the game, leaving the territory there.
Upside: Creates a new battleground, but doesn't hand anything to anyone.
Downside: Turkey gets no benefit, while everyone else has some new expansion room.

Remove Turkey and their supply centers from the game.
Upside: Eases the pressure on Austria
Downside: Eases the pressure on Russia way too much, I think. Or could Austria move East and worry them?

Remove the French player from the game.
Upside: The newly created empty space will be fought over.
Downside: The western powers (or maybe just two of them) will likely benefit too much and have a large advantage in the East.

Remove Russia and its territory from the game.
Upside: Not much
Downside: Turkey focuses West - Austria is doomed. Leaving Russia's territory in the game is worse.

Remove Austria from the game.
Upside: They're doomed anyway, right? Also leaves the empty territory in a contested area.
Downisde: Similar to removing France. The winner might well be whoever wins the battle for Austria, which would be okay if that didn't eliminate France and England immediately.

Remove Italy from the game.
Upside/Downisde: Same as Austria, except it's Russia and England who get hurt?

Remove Italy and its supply centers from the game.
Upside: Italy usually has nowhere to go anyway, why not just get rid of it? Again, Austria could use some help.
Downside: Maybe too easy for France.

At this point, what seems the most attractive is get rid of Germany and give myself Turkey - not that I'm that any good at this game, but the experience does count somewhat.

Other thoughts on this? Also, if you had 5 players, does that makes things easier? Remove Russia and Turkey from the map altogether? I don't know.
 
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Seth Ben-Ezra
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The rules actually speak to this.

For six players you remove Italy.

For five players you remove Italy and Germany.

I think that you adjust the game year, also, but the latest Avalon Hill rules (which are what I have) don't speak to this.

Seth Ben-Ezra
Great Wolf
 
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Brian Newman
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The rules do say to make Italy neutral, but that doesn't mean it provides the best game balance to the remaining powers.

I might suggest removing Russia, leaving one army in Moscow but leaving its other supply centers empty. That will convince Turkey, Austria, Germany, and England to try for them without giving anyone free rein.
 
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Michael Sims
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I would remove 1 player and play a 5-player game on a 5-player map, like Ancient Med: http://www.diplomaticcorp.com/images/Ancient%20Med.gif. I would not just pick a country to remove and play on the original. I'm guessing you could find a 6-player map too, tho an odd number of players is recommended to avoid a 3-on-3 stalemate.

I know of 3-player, 5-player, 7-player, and then larger, but not too many 4 or 6 for the obvious stalemates that can form early.

-mike

Michael Sims
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A play-by-email Diplomacy community
 
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Oh my God They Banned Kenny
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Other than playing on a different map designed for 6 players, as suggested previously, I would leave Italy 'playerless' but with non-mutually supporting armies in each of the supply centres. An Italian army is destroyed when forced to retreat, but it can be supported in defense by a rival player.
 
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Paul Kidd
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deadkenny wrote:
Other than playing on a different map designed for 6 players, as suggested previously, I would leave Italy 'playerless' but with non-mutually supporting armies in each of the supply centres. An Italian army is destroyed when forced to retreat, but it can be supported in defense by a rival player.
I think this makes sense, but I would go one further and mandate that Italy moves its fleet to Tunis and holds that as well as building another army in Naples, otherwise France would have it way too easy - should make them at least fight for Tunis.
 
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Glenn Drover
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I've played 6 player games and it works pretty well. The Austrians and the French naturally have a bit of an advantage, but this is only 3 supply centers between them (and less competition for Tunis (French) and pressure on Trieste (Austrians). If the French and Austrians make an alliance that they keep, the rest of the players could be in trouble (especially Germany).

 
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Michael Sims
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Budley wrote:
I've played 6 player games and it works pretty well.

If anyone is interested there is a 5-player Ancient Med game recruiting right now that only needs 2 more players to start... Players who have played before please as this is not a newbie game.
-mike

This is the map: http://www.diplomaticcorp.com/images/Ancient%20Med.gif

And the game here: http://www.diplomaticcorp.com/recruiting
 
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Jim OKelley
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You can try a variant that I've heard described as Russian Roulette Diplomacy. You assign the powers to your six players, leaving out Italy. Then, each turn, each player submits his own orders plus a set for Italy.

After all the orders have been submitted, you take a six-sided die, assign a number to each player, and then roll it to determine whose set of Italian orders will be used for the turn.

Negotiating order sets for Italy becomes part of the game.

Not as good as a seven-player game, of course, but to me, it sounds much better than the rulebook solution or any other that eliminates or combines various powers.

Jim
 
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My suggestion is following the rules (at least in my version of them) and making Italy natueral.

Upside: Austria has a better chance to survive with it's worst enemy (in my humble opinion) out.
Downside: While it helps Austria, leaving Italy out will make Turkey & France stronger. While it wouldn't be somthing too major it would still help them becuase both can reach to Italy easily, also it clears for France Tunis.

Possible solution to the downside would be to ignore the stars in Itay, but still make Italy passable, I'll try that if I ever play with 6 players and post my impression on that kind of variation, I think it could really balance things.

Maybe in order to keep things really balanced and equal try to put an Italian army in Tunis, to make things a bit harder for France.
 
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