Fog of War (rd22)

by Phil Reynolds

1) Unless stated otherwise, the 1976 Rules for Diplomacy are in effect.

2) Abstract: The basic idea of Fog of War Diplomacy is that a player sees neither every unit on the board, nor any player’s orders, when a season is adjudicated and published. Seasons are adjudicated normally, but a player sees a foreign unit only if one of his own units could make a single legal move (without convoy) to the foreign unit’s exact location. A player always sees his own units, too.

3) Seasons: The game is run using Winter/Spring and Fall seasons. This should not be any more of a problem than in Diplomacy. In fact, many times a player will be unaware of other players’ adjustments, so there is little reason for separate Winter and Spring seasons.

4) Maps: The GM should provide each player with an individual map showing only those units he sees after a given season. Alternatively, the GM could provide an individual list of units which are seen by the player. Maps are preferred, however, since they will aid better the GM in providing correct information, as well as giving the player a valuable reference guide.

5) Retreats: For sighting purposes, if a dislodged unit is not disbanded automatically, then it is considered to be still in the space from which it was dislodged. The attacking player knows the foreign unit is in retreat, but not necessarily what the retreating unit will do. The retreating player knows the identity of the attacking unit, but not necessarily the space from which the attack came. A player is not given a list of possible retreat sites by the GM. Instead, a player is forced to make an educated guess.

6) Adjustments: After a Fall season has been adjudicated, the GM provides each player with information about which supply centers he controls and what adjustments he needs to make.

7) Conditional Orders: Conditional orders on a foreign unit’s retreat are permitted, but a player can specify only those exact spaces where he could see the retreating unit if it retreated there. Conditional orders on a foreign power’s adjustments are permitted under the same conditions.

8) Examples of Sightings:

× England has F Gas, France has A Par. England cannot see the French army (since F Gas‑Par is illegal), but France can see the English fleet (since A Par‑Gas is legal).

× England has F Mid, France has A Gas. England can see the French army, but France cannot see the English fleet.

× England has A Naf and F Mid, France has A Par. Neither power can see the other’s unit(s).

× England has A Gas, France has F Spa(sc). England can see the French fleet (since A Gas‑Spa is legal, and an army is considered to be at all coasts of a space), but France cannot see the English army (since F Spa(sc)‑Gas is illegal).

× England has F Gas, France has A Spa. Each power can see the other’s unit.

× England has F Gas, France has F Spa(sc). Neither power can see the other’s unit.

Designer’s Notes

This is the first Diplomacy variant which I designed. I don’t recall any particular event triggering the idea; I just thought of it one day. The concept was simple enough, but certain situations needed to be clarified. Further clarification was needed once the game was played for real. This is at least my third revision of Fog of War Diplomacy. Hopefully, this version is ultimately clear and concise, as well as being helpful in addressing other matters which usually fall in the domain of a GM’s house rules.

Players and GM’s who have used earlier versions of Fog of War Diplomacy should note that the “Striping Rule” has been eliminated. I judged that the rule gave more information to a player than the spirit of the variant necessitated, despite that the information was relatively unimportant.

Now for my personal views (not rules) on the following matters.

Press: I see no reason to treat Fog of War Diplomacy any differently than Diplomacy in regards to press. The information a player receives is his to do with as he desires. Nowhere is it believed that all press must be true. Thus, if a player wants to submit press saying he sees such‑and‑such units, then the GM should publish it. Press is strictly a house rules issue for the GM–it’s his decision.

Gunboat Fog of War Diplomacy: I see no reason to treat Gunboat Fog of War Diplomacy any differently than Gunboat Diplomacy in regards to press or draw proposals. For reasons mentioned above, I don’t believe press should be disallowed on the basis that a player could say he sees such‑and‑such units. Similarly for draw proposals, which, if press is disallowed, a clever player could use to propose alliances or report which powers are doing well. Proposals could be disinformation as well. Some players and GM’s like Gunboat Diplomacy with press. I do. I think press always makes a game more interesting and should be permitted in any situation. Some players and GM’s like Gunboat Diplomacy without press, however. Once again, it’s the GM’s decision.

Copyright 1989 by Phil Reynolds, publisher of Dipadeedoodah!