Geophysical Diplomacy III (ru04)

by Nick Kinzett

Our version is as per normal Diplomacy (with the postal version as per our Postal Dip rules) modified as follows: Each season, every player may make a geophysical transformation (or support someone else’s transformation) of any province or border on the board. They may also stabilize a number of provinces/borders to prevent possible transformations.

To explain: All the usual land provinces begin as normal land, all seas as normal sea (and in addition the Caspian Sea is used, giving Moscow a coast and Sevastopol & Armenia two coasts, west and east). Switzerland is used, starting as a mountainous province (see below). However, geophysical transformations alter the nature of the areas/borders they’re directed at. In this version, they are held to take place during the season, so that most orders can be affected, the exception being that moving units can escape adverse transformations of areas (not borders) – though if stood out, of course, they’ll be destroyed, stranded or whatever just like standard units.

Geophysical Transformations:

(1) Sea area raised to land: Fleets will be destroyed if completely landlocked (i.e. left without water), and assigned a coast if left on a multicoasted province (see Kinzett’s Rule of Multicoastal Precedence). Obviously, this transformation allows armies to move across the area so raised. It does not restore a supply center/canal.

(2) Land area eroded to sea: Extends fleet movement, drowns armies which fail to move, destroys supply centers and canals.

(3) Land area raised to mountains: Destroys supply centers and canals. Fleets can move along coastal mountains just as they do ordinary coastal provinces; but armies caught within mountains can move only to other mountainous provinces, except when convoying, when they can also move to ordinary land (and vice-versa).

(4) Mountainous area eroded to land: Does not restore supply center or canal.

(5) Glaciate area: Immobilizes units which do not escape, destroys supply centers and canals, makes area impassable. This transformation may only be performed on areas adjacent to the northern board edge (i.e. Nat, Nwg, Bar, Stp) or adjacent to areas already glaciated.

(6) Melt area: Returns area to the state it was in immediately prior to glaciation, except that it does not restore supply centers and canals. Rather obviously, this transformation must be performed before any other change can be directed at a glaciated area.

(7) Create supply center: May be performed in Spring turns only. Transforms non-supply center land provinces into supply centers. If inside a player’s home-country, a new center is nevertheless considered neutral until someone occupies it in an Autumn turn. Should it be acquired by the home-country player, he may subsequently use it for builds.

(8) Build canal: Links two specified seas, or a sea to an existing canal, within a single land area. The game begins with Kiel, the only canal province, linking HEL with BAL, although of course, fleets at either end can leave Kiel from any point along the linked coastline. Similar guidelines will apply to any area transformed into a canal province.

(9) Open waterway: Similar to 8 but deals with the original natural waterways which exist in Constantinople and Denmark, should these have been closed (see 10). Constantinople’s natural waterway links AEG with BLA; Denmark’s link NTH & SKA with BAL, and also gives Sweden a single coastline.

(10) Close waterway: Destroys all canals with the effected province and closes natural waterways (the only way besides 5 of putting them out of action, since they’re preserved through 3 and restored by 1 & 6).

(11) Earthquake: This effects a border between two specified areas, making passage over it impossible. If both areas are/remain non-sea, the rift is permanent until (12) Sealed.

Stabilization: Each season, a player orders a number of counter-transformations called “stabilization”. These are not selective; they counter all transformations directed at the stabilized area/border including those made by the stabilizing player. Basically, a player may stabilize a number of areas/borders equal to the number of supply centers he held the previous winter. Some of all of these stabilization opportunities may be used to support others or even ones own stabilization instead. A transformation will only overcome a stabilization if it has greater support than that stabilization. (However, if an area/border receives two stabilization, neither being a support, they cannot be considered to supplement each other – so a transformation with a single support would overcome them.)

Multitransformations: If two or more types of transformations are directed at the same area/border then only the one with the greatest support succeeds (assuming it also overcomes any stabilization directed at that area/border). If none have superior support over all others, none succeed. In a case where transformations directed at a single target are exactly the same, they do not cancel each other but like stabilization, they do not supplement each other either.

Conditional Orders: Since transformations, stabilization, and regular orders are all considered to be authorized simultaneously, it follows that none of them may be made conditional on each other. However, retreats and unit adjustments may be made conditional on all three (and adjustments on retreats also) exactly as they may on regular orders in the normal (postal) game.

Victory Conditions: The winner is the player who at the end of an Autumn season owns more than half of the existing centers (the total will obviously vary). {In Zeeby, players may also make end game proposals as normal, unanimity amongst those who bother to vote being required to carry any such proposal.}

Kinzett’s Rule of Multicoastal Precedence: Transformations sometimes leave fleets on multicoastal provinces; and although the coasts will be defined/redefined in the game-report, it is not always clear where a fleet ends up. The following precedence holds:

(1) If the fleet was originally on a coastal province and remains there, it is assumed be on its original coast should a clearly separate one (i.e. one which the fleet can’t have been adjacent to) appear. (2) If however its coast is divided by a transformation, or it is was on a sea-area changed to land and remained there, then its position is determined by its attempted move or support (since it must be adjacent to the province to which the move/support is directed). (3) Should this be insufficient to determine the coast, a player’s conditional orders (if he’s included any) will apply. (4) If he has no positional conditional orders, the fleet is deemed to be on the coast nearest the coastal home supply center, with alphabetical priority in the event of equidistance. (5) Finally, if he has no coastal home center (quite possible in this game), then use nearest inland center (home-center) with similar conditions for equidistance.

NOTES: I should acknowledge the maniac who dreamed up this variant, but off-hand I can’t remember who this was. ((Jeremy Maiden)). These rules are in any case as best Shaun Derrick could recall (he having participated in a game some years ago), but heavily supplemented by Kinzettian modifications/clarifications. The waterway/canal rules are, as far as I know, original with me; whilst the Multicoastal guidelines are also (obviously) mine, though I daresay the original game had an equivalent. At any rate, my version of Geophysical Dip is significantly different to the one Keith Loveys is running in Snorwood Gazette, so observers of both are hereby warned against confusion!