by Lewis Pulsipher
First a bit of history is in order. Anonymity I designed by Don Miller and GMed by him in his various ‘zines, is quite different from A III. The players did not know who each other was. Negotiation took place solely through press releases, and black press was allowed. As you can imagine, this created some interesting situations, and players established codes for identifying their own press by deliberately misordering units, or ordering non-existent units, and noting those moves with their press. This was not done immediately, probably because the players didn’t realize that Miller would print the bad orders for non-existent units. In the only game I “watched”, two of the players who lived in the same city found out that they were in the game together, and after that it was no contest. Anonymity II worked the same way, except that black press was not allowed. No postal sections of this game have been played, though John Boyer started a fake section in Impassable. The idea for Anonymity III also comes from Don Miller, who discussed a number of versions of Anonymity with his players before settling on the black press game. I have written the following formal set of rules.
1. The 1971 rules of Diplomacy will be used with the following exceptions.
2. The GM will notify each player of the country he is playing. He will also send in a group identical statements for the other six countries. Thus only the GM knows who is playing which country, although each player knows his own country and knows who the other players are. The GM will make every effort to see that the veil of anonymity is not broken. This means that black press will be used so that the geographical position of the dateline has no significance. References in press which might indicate the country a player is playing will not be printed. Orders for non-existent units will not be printed. Illegal orders for units will not be printed, although of course the GM will have to note that a unit was ordered illegally. It will probably be possible to convince another player that you are indeed playing the country you say you are, but it will take time and sacrifice.
3. Victory criterion is 19 units on the board.
4. Even after a country is eliminated, the player may stay in the game and try to convince other players that he is playing some other country, whatever his reasons might be (revenge?).
I had a hell of a time trying to express the above clearly, and I hope I’ve succeeded.