Blind Diplomacy 1801 (rd18)

by Doug Brown

The starting countries and map are all the same as standard Diplomacy. There are only two changes. First, you have no view from heaven of the entire board (there are no spy ‘planes to show you where everyone moved). Second, the addition of Spy/Scout units has been made. (Henceforth, these will be referred to simply as “spy”.)

Since your units will not have an overview of the entire European battle, they will be keeping their eyes open, but as they attack, stand, support, or convoy, they will be seeing different things depending upon how occupied they are.

Stand – Order allows you to see all bordering area.

Support – Order allows you to see all actions taken in the province you are in and the province you are supporting, and in one additional area bordering you. You must specify in which direction you wish to look. Example: If you are in Sevastopol, whether army or fleet, you may look to Black Sea while you are supporting Moscow.

Attack – Order permits you only to see actions taken in the area you attack and the area you attacked from.

Convoy – Order allows you to see actions taken in the place you picked up the army, the sea that you occupy, and the place you drop off the army. If the convoy goes across two seas, this still applies. Your dropoff point would be where you put the army on the second fleet.

Always, when you see a province, you see any supports and attacks on that area. Example: If in Sevastopol and you are supporting Moscow, you would also see any attacks on or supports for Moscow, even if they are coming from the St. Pete side.

SPY/SCOUT: You automatically receive a Spy for every three centers you own. Fractions less than three do not add to this total. Examples: 1 to 2 centers, zero spies; 3-5 centers, 1 spy; 6-8, 2 spies; etc.

Since spies are sneaky and only a single person, they can always get their hands on a boat, therefore they are amphibious. At the outset, the initial spies (everybody gets one in the beginning) start the game in the following provinces and belong to the player in charge of that province at gamestart: Lon, Par, Mun, Ven, Vie, Con, and War. All future spies may be built in the winter after armies and fleets are built. These new spies may be built wherever you currently have an army or fleet unit. They do not have to be built in a home supply center, unless you wish to do so and have an army or fleet in that center.

The advantage to your spy is that he travel up to three spaces in a single turn. However, you don’t know what your spy sees until he rejoins one of your regular units. Also, when you send your spy out into the field, he has a complete set of orders that he must follow. Ha may not have contingency orders (he’s dumb, you see). For example: With your spy starting from your army in Warsaw, you may order your spy as follows: Spring 1801, War-Sil-Mun-Kie. Fall 1801, Kie-Ber-Par-Lvn, etc. Whenever a spy comes in contact with one of his own units, he breaks off his order and reports his findings.

Spies move after the normal spring and fall moves but before any retreats. The spy sees no actions (such as who attacked whom, or supports, etc.) but only reports who is in what province at the end of a spring, fall, etc. For spy purposes, a retreating unit goes unnoticed (because the retreat may be off the board, or to a different province).

Spies may help you with either offense or defense. You can keeps a spy circling areas at your back and see approaching enemies trying to sneak in. Or you can send your spies to regions where you plan future attacks. The enemy never sees your spy. Spies cannot be killed or captured except by losses of supply centers and the forces de-build of a spy if insufficient centers are held.

Other strategies to note regarding spying. Remember that if your army Warsaw is attacking Galicia, that army only sees Warsaw and Galicia. You may want your Warsaw spy to move War-Pru-Sil-Gal. If your move succeeds into Galicia with the army, you would get a report on units in Prussia and Silesia as well. But remember, if your army move to Galicia fails, your spy still goes to Galicia. Therefore, it is necessary to supply your scout with long orders before he leaves (otherwise, in the present case, he’d just sit in Galicia forever if you never get your army in Galicia). So while the above spy order may be a great Spring 1801 order, do remember to make a Fall order, and perhaps more, to make sure your spy eventually gets back to one your own units.

Spy reports will come back with the season the spy was in the province and what was seen in that province.

As for running this game on COSTA, I need seven people to sign up with preference lists. I’ll GM the first one. The only reports that will appear in COSTA will be press – since move results are never published. Each player will receive his/her individual moves and sightings privately.

((Sounds like a fine, fun frolic; I’d love to have it tried here, and the list now open.))

((I do have a few questions and comments on the rules, which I’d like to put out in public, hoping that Dour will answer and/or that others will comment. This will be the one exception to my stated advise that the next couple of issues are filled; replies to this issue will be printed regardless.

1. In the early example of a unit in Sevastopol ordered to support and looking out into the Black Sea in addition, may I suggest a rewrite to give a clear statement that a unit of either type can look into a province regardless of whether the unit could actually move or support there? That is, an army in Sev. can “look” into Black even though it can’t go there; likewise, a fleet Sev. can look to Ukraina.

2. On the matter of multiple-fleet convoys – are we to understand that the sequence A Nap-Smy, F Ion and Eas (C) Nap-Smy, because it is a multiple, does not “see” Smyrna? Is this answer different depending on whether the convoy succeeds or fails?

3. If you “see” any attacks and supports on a given province, do you see the nature of that attack in depth, or just the fact of an attack? For instance, in the double-convoy example in the last part, would a unit holding in Smyrna see just the fact of an attack, or would it see the specific nature of the attack (via a convoyed army)?

4. Long-term spy orders – I gather that, at any time the spy is in a province with one of your own units, you may issue whole new orders for the future area if there still exist unfulfilled prior orders-if this is the case, I suggest spelling it out specifically.

5. When you state that any time a spy meets one of your units, it “breaks off” and reports-does that mean it does not finish off its move it some of it is not yet made? You have A Mos, spy moves (War)-Ukr-Mos-Lvn. Does it stop in Moscow and stay, or does it report in Moscow and continue to Livonia?))

((The following clarifications to those rules are offered and will be interpolated into the final rules once the game begins.))

When observing a bordering province, it does not matter if you can move there….hence an army may view a sea.

Concerning convoys: Convoying fleets always see the place the army was picked up, the sea occupied, and the place the army is debarked. The convoyed army sees the actions taken on the area attacked and on the area attacked from. In essence, a convoyed army is an attacking army.

If a spy units hits a regular (army or fleet) unit of his own nationality, the spy breaks off any further orders and reports findings.

AND SO: Having clarified these point, we ought to be set to go with The World’s First-Ever Blind (1801) Diplomacy Section.