Deadman Diplomacy (rd05)

by Bob Arnett


It is a variation of the simple concept of blind diplomacy. Nobody is ever sure where the other scoundrel’s units are because all he sees in terms of orders are his/her own orders (succeed or fail) and everybody’s press. Thus, you never know if that SOB is lying, cheating, or just stealing. You can correspond with the other inmates in the game, but, you will seldom know if they are doing what they promised (and you can bet that they will make a lot of promises!)!!


During each game year, all governments will be entitled to use the “espionage rule”. What is this rule you ask:

a) It enables a government to learn of any specific foreign units within a “1” (one) space movement of your unit. You must specify the foreign government that you are spying on. The espionage rule is not an at large request. It is specific order for “1” (one) unit (a fleet or army).

EXAMPLE: Your English fleet is in the North Sea. You decide that instead of any movement or other order (disbanding; convoy; or support), you rather use the ESPIONAGE ORDER-Thus-F Nth – Espionage France.

The result is that the GM will give you all available information on any French Units within one space of the Nth Sea.

Example: F Nth-Espionage France [Eng;Bel]

You are not told if they are armies or fleets. You just are told that they are there as of the end of that move. But – the catch – at the same time, the Frenchman will be informed that some power has learned of the locations of those units. He won’t know which power, but he/she will know that someone has spied on those units.

EXAMPLE: France: F Bre-Eng*; A Bel*-Hol; A Bur-Mun; etc.

* Designates that the unit’s location is known by 1 (one) player

** Designates that the unit’s location is known by 2 (two) players; etc

And last, but not least, don’t forget that the French man now knows that there is a foreign unit within 1 space.

b) If a unit is using the ESPIONAGE ORDER, and his/her unit is attacked during that move, the espionage order fails. [Note – Same idea as an attack on a unit that is supporting another unit – Support fails!]

2) The DISBANDING ORDER: A unit may be ordered to disband during any order. This order is now part of the movement phase. EXAMPLE: F Nth-Disbands /or/ F Nth-DB. I suggest you take advantage of this order only in the fail. Thus – you can build it elsewhere during the winter. This movement could be especially helpful should some foreign power learn of the location of some estranged unit. Enough said.

3) WINTER BUILDS: You may build a unit in any center that you controlled during the last fall order! Thus, you are not restricted to just your home centers for builds. Thus – this allows you to be anywhere you want to be, as long as you have some foothold in that area.

4) Each Fall you will be informed as to what centers you have lost and gained during that game year. Thus, you will know your status prior to the Winter/Spring combination order.

5) The PEEK – A – SNEAK ORDER (PAS): Yes, I said PAS – not SAP! During each move AFTER 1901, you are advised to Peek-a-sneak during EACH order.

HOW? With each order, you request any province or body of water on the board as your peek. The GM will tell you if it is occupied or empty.

EXAMPLE: France’s S02 orders include “Peek-a-Sneak-North Sea. OR PAS-Nth. The GM will respond by saying: PAS-Nth-Occupied OR PAS-Nth-Empty.

6) The START OF THE GAME: Any combination of location rather than the standard normal may be used to start the game. No one will be advised as to where & what you start with. EXAMPLE: Turkey – Standard beginning: F Ank, A Smy, A Con. You may change it to 3 fleets, 3 armies, etc. You may also start those units in any center under your control, like: F Smy, F Con, A Ank, etc. You pick what and where.

AN OVERALL SUMMARY: Obviously this game will be extremely confusing at first. Key things to remember are:

What a unit may do each order:

C Convoy (Fleets only) H Hold

??? Move to adjacent space DB Disband

S Support E Espionage

The game will start with any combination of units placed in any home center of your choice (but no more than one unit in each center – we are not changing the rules that much). Advise me of your starting positions. If you say nothing prior to Spring 01, than I will note your starting position in the S01 orders! Your strategy for DEADMAN is wide open. Good Luck in developing one.

With two DEADMAN games currently in progress, and a third getting ready to start, I thought it might be a good time to review this blind diplomacy variant’s rules.

Once you know your country assignment, you must plot out some kind of strategy. EXAMPLE: England! Your opening options would be based on your original setup. This setup you alone must decide – 3 fleets, 3 armies, 2 armies & 1 fleet, or 1 army & 2 fleets. Then you must decide on where they start – London, Liverpool, or Edinburgh! See how easy that was. This is the first major deviation of the basic Diplomacy rules – SETUP.

Then once the game is in progress, you have some additional orders that you may utilize. EXAMPLE: The disbanding order and the espionage order. All the disbanding order is, is a way to remove unwanted units via a particular position on the board. The best time to disband a unit would probably be during the fall order – BUT there is no restriction on when. The espionage order should always replace an order to hold. All the espionage order does is to help eliminate the blindness of the board. EXAMPLE: you are England. You think Germany, France, and Russia are closing in on you (a paranoid player – for sure). Thus – you might order a unit to Espionage on a particular nation – “Russia” – written as F Nwy E Russia. The GM will tell you of any Russian units within one space. Yet at the same time, the GM will advise the Russian that his unit has been detected (denoted on orders with *).

All the PAS & ESPIONAGE orders actually occur after the season. Thus, both orders will assist with your next season’s orders. Remember that the PAS request cannot be made during 1901.

Here are a few questions that have come up. Hope my answers clear up any problem areas!

1) Can a unit Espionage into any adjacent space or are armies or fleets limited in the usual manner? In other words, can an army “see” into an adjacent body of water? Or a fleet into an adjacent inland province? My own feelings are that this should be allowed because of coast watchers, inland patrols, etc. But if you could clarify it, I would appreciate it.

ANSWER: The Espionage Order allows a unit to “see” into any adjacent space. LAND or WATER. Why? Because of Coast Watchers, Scouts, Patrols, etc.

2) When an Espionage Order is cut by an attack on that province, does the Espionage Order at least allow the GM to reveal the unit which is delivering the attack? It would seem that a unit on espionage duty would certainly be aware of where an attack on it was coming from, don’t you think? It would seem logical, though to cut all other espionage activity to which the unit would otherwise be entitled to (e.g. “too busy”). Or, for example, if the unit was ordered to Espionage on Russia, and the cutting attack came from a Turkish unit, then no information about Russian units should be given, not about where the attack came from (but this brings up question 3). My logic is based on the ruling that a unit cannot cut support of an attack directed at itself. Thus, it stands to reason that if there is an espionage directed at a unit which is attacking the espionage unit, the espionage, against that unit succeeds (since the cut is not valid from a space being espionaged into–same idea as invalid support cut). However, the espionage would fail against any other adjacent units, since the cut would be valid for those units.

Does this make any sense? Let me give you an example and maybe that will clarify things.

Russia–has A Gal, orders A Gal E Austria

Austria–has A Vie, Bud, Rum, orders A Vie-Gal, A Bud-Ser (A Rum supports)

The A Vie would be “seen”, but not the A Bud or Rum, since the cutting of espionage would be invalid from the point of view of A Vie, but valid from the point of view of A Bud and A Rum. Now, on the other hand, if Germany ordered A Sil-Gal, then that would cut the espionage against all Austrian units.

Does this make any sense? It’s all taken by analogy from section X in the rulebook (cutting support). The problem is that the Espionage Rule can be directed against several spaces, whereas all other orders are directed at only one space. The only other solution I can think of is to make any cut of an espionage order valid, regardless of where it comes from, but that does not seem too realistic.

ANSWER: No, I disagree, but your argument is valid, The way I see it, the scouting patrol looking into the adjacent province never got a chance to complete their mission. Remember, technically, the espionage occurs after all other units move. Thus, they never got the opportunity to spy on any units. Thus, the espionage order fails. No foreign units were discovered.

3) The last question concerns what the player gets to know when one of his espionage orders is cut. Is he notified that the order fail, or does he just get a reading of 0? It would seems to me to make sense to underline the move when it fails. If my suggestion under #2 is followed, perhaps a dotted line or some such could be used to indicated partial success of the order.

ANSWER: When any order fails the order will be underlined. That denotes failure.