based on an original by Andy Tringham (with amendments by Steve Doubleday)
The game exists on two levels – a normal Abstraction game (less the Army/Fleet rules) and a hidden movement game using fractional units. The two interact in that normal units may split to form fractional units, and fractional units may merge to form a conventional unit. Except as detailed below, the rules of the 1971 Diplomacy rulebook apply.
1. There are 46 supply centers, with several additional provinces. Powers begin with 4 units (Russia with 5). Note that the Austrian Army for Budapest starts in Tyrolia for the first move. Subsequent builds will be taken in normal supply centers.
2. The first move is July 1914; each subsequent move is a single month, with build seasons taking place in September, December, March, and June. The games automatically ends following the November 1918 moves and December 1918 builds/removals.
3. Victory criteria:
a) The possession of 23 supply centers at or prior to December 1918.
b) The player with the largest number of units (not supply centers, and not counting fractional units) at December 1918 will be the winner if no one has satisfied (a).
c) The game may end by any agreed proposal.
4. Frozen Regions. During the period January-April inclusive, fleets in ARC, BAR, Ark, Lap, and Ice may not move or support; nor may they be attacked or supported by other fleets, nor may fleets support attacks on them. These regions are frozen in winter.
Armies may move into Ark or Lap during these months if they are unoccupied by any kind of unit. Armies already in them may move out to adjacent land provinces at any time, including attacks or supports on occupied provinces. Armies may not be conveyed to Iceland during these months.
Russia may build an Army or Fleet in Ark in March.
Fractional units (armies or fleets) are not affected by ice.
5. In any movement season, units may be ordered to disperse. This is ordered as: “A(Bou) disperses – 1/3 A(Lor), 1/3 A(Swa), 1/3 A (Ruh).” In the game report for that season it will be reported as “A(Bou) stands”; thereafter its locations will be not reported. A unit must split into at least 3 parts, and no fractional units may ever be more than 1/3 of a unit.
If a unit dispersing is attacked successfully, the dispersal succeeds but is reported in the retreats.
No country may have more than two units dispersed prior to March 1915; thereafter there is no restriction.
Fractional units are not affected by normal units, and are invisible to them, except for convoying and reforming. Fractional moves will always succeed, except if the effect would be to cause there to be more than a whole unit in fractions in one province – in which case call relevant moves fail.
6. A number of fractional units of the same nationality and size, within one move of the designated province, may attempt to form a conventional unit. It will be reported only if successful, and may be supported by conventional units.
7. If a unit disperses out of a supply center in an “autumn” season, it will not confer ownership of that supply center.
8. Normal armies may only be convoyed as in Diplomacy; for fractional armies special rules apply.
Fractional armies in, or dispersing form, a coastal province may board a fleet in an adjacent sea area at the beginning of a turn. The fleet is then free to move or support (but not convoy) normally. Any number of fractional armies may be aboard a fleet provided their number does not total to a full unit or move, and their presence will not be revealed. They may remain on board the fleet for as long as desired without supply problems. Fractional armies may disembark from a fleet into an adjacent coastal province or onto another fleet in an adjacent sea area at the end of a move. NB If a fleet carrying fractional armies moves or retreats to a coastal province, they will automatically disembark.
9. When a unit disperses each fraction must go to a different province.
10. Fractional armies and fleets are subject to the same movement restrictions (armies may not move to sea areas; fleets may not go inland) as ordinary units.
The original rules were printed in Megalomania 1; I played in the subsequent playtest (sharing a draw with Steve Player). The greatest problems were, it seemed to me, that countries under pressure (as most are in Diplomacy) do not have the spare units to split into Guerillas, and that moving fractional units on the Diplomacy board is difficult because of the limited number of spaces – most of mine simply had to form up in single file and precede one at a time. By adding the Abstraction board, with countries further apart and more spaces on the board, but keeping the rules largely the same, these problems may be overcome.
The above rules probably need some modifications still; would anyone care to comment? Steve? I will probably open a waiting list in a couple of issues’ time.