Factional Diplomacy (rm88)

by Martin Kennedy


1. Factional Diplomacy is a rules-based variant designed to be played with either the standard game or most map-based variants. It allows for domestic factional rivalry to affect diplomacy and (in some cases) game play. The idea is to add further spice and subtlety to diplomatic interplay in a manner that reflects realistic political considerations without adding too much complexity. It is also suitable for a Diplomacy playing community where there is a surplus of potential players for the games available. A factional arrangement could also be used to help smooth over the NMR and leave of absence problems which tend to disrupt and slow down PBEM diplomacy, by having a backup player ready to take control at any time.

Basic Factional Relationship

2. Each country has two domestic political factions. At any one time, one of the factions is the Government, the other is the Opposition (or Rebels during a Civil War). Oppositions have the same diplomatic communication rights as the Government. Depending on the general ‘press’ settings, they can freely (and privately) communicate with both factions of any other powers, or indeed with the other faction of their home country. To all intents and purposes, each faction is treated as a separate player for communication purposes.

3. Normally, however, only the current Government can issue orders. The only exception to this is when a state of Civil War exists.

Diplomacy Index

4. Political fortunes are measured by the Diplomacy Index (DI). This is a relative measure consisting of 100 points in total, expressed as a percentage. Any changes (positive or negative) to one faction are therefore exactly mirrored in a corresponding change to the standing of the other faction.

5. Both factions start the game with a score of 50% each. Modifications to the DI are based on supply centre (SC) ownership fluctuations, measured once per year during the Adjustments phase (ie following the Fall turn), as compared to the strength during the previous year’s Adjustment phase. DI adjustments for Rebellion and Coups Detat may also be applied:

For each non-Home SC gained by the country+5% to the Government
For each non-Home lost by the country-5% to the Government
For each Home SC regained by the country+10% to the Government
For each Home SC SC lost by the country-10% to the Government
Revolution attempt+10% to the Government
Coup D’etat attempt-10% to the Government

Note: ‘Home SC’ relates to a home SC of the owning country, not to SCs of other Great Powers.

Thus, for example:

Game Start: Faction A = 50%, Faction B = 50%. Faction A wins the first election and becomes the Government.

During the first year, two neutral SCs are gained:
Faction A = 50% + 5% + 5% = 60%
Faction B = 50% – 5% – 5% = 40%

During the second year, one neutral SCs is gained, but one Home SC is lost:
Faction A = 60% + 5% – 10% = 55%
Faction B = 40% – 5% + 10% = 45%

During the third year no SCs are gained or lost, but Faction A loses the Elections and launches a Coup attempt:
Faction A = 55% -10% = 45%
Faction B = 45% + 10% = 55%

Changing Governments

6. While important, foreign policy isn’t everything. In a game using Factional Diplomacy a successful foreign policy and battlefield successes will not necessarily guarantee gaining or retaining Government at elections, although it will improve the likelihood of victory. When an election is held, a random number between 1-100% is generated by the GM. If the number is equal to or less than Faction A’s DI rating, that faction is the winner. If it is greater than that number, Faction B is the winner. Governments will normally serve for a fixed term. Three game years will be considered the norm, but this can be varied at the GM’s discretion. Philosophical note: while the ‘normal’ orderly changeover system is referred to in broadly democratic terms (ie an election), with the DI Rating analogous to public opinion, the system could just as easily relate to ‘court’ or other non-democratic leadership systems, where the DI could be taken as influence within the governing elite and elections are instead similar to dynastic successions or the fluctuating fortunes of personal clients and supporters in the ruling hierarchy.

DI Rating Limits

7. To reflect the fact that foreign policy isn’t everything and keep both Factions in the game, an upper/lower DI rating limit is applied. The limit is 70/30%, but this can again be varied at the GM’s discretion. Any adjustment which would send the ratings above or below this band is ignored for DI tracking purposes.


8. An Opposition may attempt to initiate a Revolution during any Adjustment turn in which there is no programmed election, except during periods of Military Dictatorship. A test similar to a normal election is conducted. A Revolution attempt always yields an immediate 10% DI penalty against the current Opposition faction, that is before the Revolution test is made by the GM and even if the Revolution is unsuccessful. This is a public opinion penalty for resorting to unconstitutional methods. If the random number roll by the GM indicates a change of Government, the Government may choose to relinquish control or fight on (Counter-Revolution). If the Government declares a Counter-Revolution, Civil War ensues. If the Government accepts the Revolution, it becomes the Opposition and the new Revolutionary Government serves out the remainder of the programmed term of Government, at which point fresh elections would be called.

Coup D’etat

9. A Government can attempt a Coup D’etat immediately after it fails to win a programmed election, but at no other time. Again, a test similar to a normal election is conducted. A Coup attempt always yields an immediate 10% DI penalty against the outgoing Government faction, that is before the Coup test is made by the GM and even if the Coup is unsuccessful. If the random number roll by the GM indicates a success for the outgoing Government faction, the Coup succeeds. If the Coup fails, there is no further effect (other than the initial 10% penalty against the outgoing Government). If the Coup succeeds but the Opposition declares a Counter-Coup, Civil War ensues. If the Opposition accepts the Coup, it remains the Opposition and the Government ‘Junta’ serves out the remainder of the new programmed term of Government, at which point fresh elections would be called. Revolutions are permitted during a ‘Junta’ period.

Civil War

Initial Control of Units and SCs

10. If Civil War breaks out following a Revolution or Coup, the units and any unoccupied SCs of the country are allocated to each faction based on the relative DI ratings. Each unit is ‘balloted’ in turn by the GM, in the same way as for an normal election process, with control going to to the ‘winning’ faction in each case. Where a unit occupies an SC, the SC also falls to the faction controlling the unit. Any unoccupied SCs are balloted separately, in the same way.


11. Once the initial allocation of unit/SC control has been completed, the forces of each faction then operate essentially as separate entities. They can attack each other (the self-dislodgment rule does not apply) or cooperate against a third party, as they choose. However, for overall game victory purposes, the total SCs belonging to the parent country are still aggregated. Thus, it is conceivable that a country could still win the game whilst a civil war exists! Only a country can win the game – a faction itself cannot win the game outright, even where it alone may come to control more than half the SCs. Otherwise, each faction moves, builds and disbands per the standard rules (ie builds only allowed in home SCs, etc).

Ending a Civil War

12. All DI adjustments are suspended for the duration of a civil war. A civil war continues until all the country’s remaining units and SCs have been unified under one faction. A faction can concede defeat in a civil war at any time, thereby relinquishing control of all remaining units and SCs to the victor immediately.

Military Dictatorship

13. The victor in a civil war becomes the Government and is granted a Military Dictatorship, which commences immediately and expires after three years from the Adjustment turn of the year in which the civil war ends. During a Military Dictatorship, there can be no Revolutions, although the DI ratings continue to be maintained as normal. Upon the expiry of the Military Dictatorship, the normal election cycle recommences. It should be noted that, apart from the potentially self-destructive side-effects for the national interest, the Military Dictatorship provision is designed to ensure that frivolous or vexatious power plays are minimised – and that (most importantly) failure is heavily penalised!

Victory Conditions

Solo Country Victory

14. The normal victory conditions are followed regarding the thresholds for countries to win solo. As soon as a victory is assessed, the two factions from the winning country compare the number of Years of Control (YC) each has accumulated during the game to determine the Winner and Runner Up. One YC is allocated to the faction in control at the beginning of each Adjustment phase (ie before any new elections, coups or revolutions are conducted). This reflects control during the year preceding. Where a state of civil war continues, neither player receives a YC point. Note that when a civil war finishes during the year, the victor establishes a Military Dictatorship immediately and is thus in control by the beginning of the Adjustment phase, receiving the YC point. Where YC points are even, a Tied Victory is declared.

Draws and Concessions

15. Only a current Government faction can officially propose a draw or concession. However, a country’s Opposition faction may veto a vote by its country’s Government in favour of a draw or concession. Where such a veto is exercised, an ‘against’ vote is counted. However, no Government can be forced to vote for a draw or concession by an Opposition veto. The effect of this is to require consensus from all the stakeholders in the game for it to be terminated early. During periods of civil war, both factions are treated as ‘Opposition’ factions for the proposing and voting conditions as defined in this rule. This means that neither side of a civil war can propose a draw or concession and that both would have to agree for their country to vote in favour of one.

Player Resignations, NMRs, etc

16. If a player resigns from or abandons the game, the GM will have to decide whether the game is halted while a replacement is found or can continue with a country effectively ruled by a ‘one party state’. If the resigning player was the Government faction at the time, Government should automatically transfer to the Opposition faction (a peaceful transition) and the DI rating of the new Government set to the maximum limit (eg 70%).

17. If the game is to continue while a replacement is sought, the remainder of the fixed term would continue to be served, DI adjustments made and regular elections held until a replacement is found. ‘One party’ elections merely mean that (if a replacement Opposition player has not yet been found) no random GM roll is made and a new three year term is automatically granted to the incumbent Government. Both Revolutions and Coups would be prohibited during a one party Government. Normal factional rules would resume as soon as a replacement enters, including the application of the current DI ratings. A new player would therefore always enter the game in Opposition, even if an election was due immediately afterwards.

18. Of course, this transitional problem would not occur where the GM does not permit NMRs. GMs could also specify compromise arrangements (in advance of the game’s commencement, of course), such as allowing a one party state to continue up until the next programmed election period, for instance, during which time it would be hoped that a player may be found. All this is purely a matter of personal GM preference.