by Glenn Overby
created for the Plague Times first anniversary issue
1. The 1971 edition (Games Research, Inc.) of the rules of Diplomacy shall be in full force and effect unless in conflict with the rules herein, which shall have precedence.
2. Bio-War is a seven-player variant. It is distinguished from regular Diplomacy by the addition of one new type of “unit”–the Bug (symbol B), which represents a chemical or biological disease causing agent.
3. Production of Bugs. Each player starts the game with one Bug in one of his home centers (Vie/Lon/Par/Ber/Rom/Mos/Con). Additional Bugs may be produced by each nation in Winter 1901, 1904, 1907,….et al, provided that the nation owns at least four supply centers and has a home center to build the Bug in.
a. One Bug may be produced in each year so permitted. It may be built in any owned home supply center of that player.
b. Bug production is not secret.
c. Bug production does not effect the raising of standard units in any way.
4. Transport of Bugs. All Bug transport is secret. Each Bug may be transported one space per move season, making no differentiation between land and sea spaces. Bugs may, of course, be ordered to hold.
a. Bugs do not need to travel “with” friendly (or any other) units in any way.
b. Bugs may not be convoyed. They may be transported on sea spaces under their own “power”.
c. Bugs transport never effects normal play. A Bug may be built in, or more to, a space occupied by any, or no, units or other Bugs.
d. Switzerland IS PASSABLE to Bugs (only).
5. Release of Bugs. A Bug controlled by a player may be released in a space it occupies at the start of any move. Once a Bug is released, (1) its location is made public; (2) it is no longer controllable, but will move randomly as outlined in rule 7 below; and (3) it begins to affect play, as outlined in rule 6 and elsewhere.
a. Bugs released in a sea space cease to exist.
b. Bugs have no nationality. They effect all forces equally.
c. The name of a nation releasing a bug will not be revealed.
6. Effects of Released Bugs. Whenever a released Bug is present on the map, the following effects occur:
a. Any unit that is in a space occupied by a released Bug has any orders written for it changed to Hold. The unit is considered sick, and may not move, give support, or receive support. If a sick unit is dislodged, it disbands.
b. If a released Bug occupies a supply center at the end of a Fall move, that center is not counted towards raising/removing units at the ensuing adjustment period. (The owner of the center does retain ownership, though.)
c. No unit may retreat to a space containing a released Bug.
7. Movement of Released Bugs. After all movement is complete, but before retreats are taken, all released Bugs on the maps move randomly to an adjustment space.
a. A released Bug that moves into a sea space ceases to exist.
b. Two or more Bugs that wind up in the same space will become subject to mutation (see rule 9, below).
8. Breakout. It is not always possible to keep unreleased Bugs secure. On any turn where an unreleased Bug is present in a space where a unit was dislodged that turn (regardless of nationalities), the Bug(s) immediately BREAKOUT. The Bug is thereafter consider “released”.
9. Mutations. At ANY TIME that two or more released Bugs occupy the same space, all involved Bugs become subject to mutation immediately. The GM rolls a six-sided die and locates the results below.
Die Roll Effect
1-2 No mutation occurs.
3 All Bugs involved cease to exist.
4 One Bug dominates all others. Only one Bug now exists in the space. (Lethal AND Virulent dominate, then Lethal, then Virulent, then Normal if more than one type of Bug is present).
5 All Bugs in the space become Virulent (see below).
6 All Bugs in the space become Lethal (see below).
Virulent Bugs move one space, then move a second, each turn. (This will sometimes take the Bug back to the starting space.) The “intermediate” space is treated as though a Bug of that type occupied it until the next Bug movement takes place; no additional Bug is thereby created.
Lethal Bugs annihilate any unit that coexist in a space at any time. (Not another Bug, of course!)
It is possible for Lethal Bugs to become Virulent, and vice versa. Two Virulent (or two Lethal) results on the same Bug have no added effect.
10. Sequence of Resolution. After orders are written the turn is resolved in the following order:
a. Bug release
b. Standard Diplomacy orders
c. Breakouts, if any
d. Bug transport
e. Released Bug Movement
Mutations are resolved as they occur, before the next step is resolved.
11. Designer’s Notes. This is a simple, well-balanced regular board variant that is better suited to PBM play that FTF. Although highly whimsical, in nature, it captures the more important element of CBW in the “real world”–that of uncontrollability. Once the Bugs are out, all hell WILL break loose – and all may not go as planned. C’est la guerre.