by Lewis Pulsipher
This game first appeared, in slightly different form, in Blood and Iron #25, 24 August 1973. Its origin is somewhat unusual. I was talking with a friend on the phone about possible subjects for variants. Jokingly, he suggested several sports, including baseball, and taking him up on it, I devised the following variant on the spot.
1. 1971 Diplomacy rules are used except as follows.
2. There is one “inning” per player. Thus MIDDLE EARTH VII played baseball style has five innings, standard Dip has seven, etc.
3. Each inning consists of three move seasons; spring, summer, and fall, rather that the usual two.
4. At the beginning of each inning, players switch countries so that at the end of the game each has played each country once.
5. Each player’s score in each inning is the number of units he has after builds. (Builds are automatically made in a winter season, so there is no need to write these down, but just capturing a center is not sufficient–there must be room in which to build a unit for that center in order for the score to count. Thus, the maximum score in a standard BASEBALL game is 44.)
6. The winner is the player with the highest score at the end of the allotted number of innings. If there is a tie, then the game is a draw among those who tie–extra innings would be unfair, depending almost entirely on who drew what country.
The extra move season is included to give the play more opportunities to develop, but it could be plated with the usual game-year of two seasons. The game ought to be fairly well balanced overall, though Austria and Germany will probably be dumped on consistently in each inning. An advantage of this variant is the time limit; it would last the equivalent of seven game-years in postal play, since there is no need to report a winter adjustment period. The game may help novices become familiar with some possible openings, as well. It also give players the opportunity to develop defensive skills, something that usually occurs only when one is losing (and consequently not enjoying it).