Heiau Diplomacy (np04)

Hawaiian Variants for 2-6 Players

by B.A. Knight, L.G.K. Duquesne, B.S. Baker, and M.F. O’Neill

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BACKGROUND. After Cook’s discovery in 1751 introduced Western ideas and technology, Hawaiian chieftains jostled for power as the old order changed. Kamehameha I united the islands by the early 19th century, but history need not have come out that way.

Prestige and influence are associated with heiaus (say “HEY-ows”), sacred centers of power. Victory comes to the first power to control at least nine heiaus at the end of a Fall turn.

Standard Diplomacy rules apply except as noted. Military units include armies and boat bunches. In scenarios with haoles (“HOW-lays”, pale foreigners), each European power starts with one fleet.

ARMIES. In addition to standard rules for armies, during any Spring or Fall movement phase when given no other order an army may be ordered to build boats (e.g. “A Kohala = B”). If an army so ordered is not attacked during that movement phase, it becomes a boat bunch (e.g. “B Kohala”).

BOAT BUNCHES. Players may use boats to move by sea. Boat bunches move and support like fleets, but are restricted in some ways. (1) Though they may be convoyed, boat bunches cannot convoy other armies. (2) They cannot move to, give support into, or be convoyed into the North Pacific Ocean or South Pacific Ocean, though they may be convoyed across those ocean waters. (3) If legally ordered to move “inland” (to a land space which it could not reach by fleet-like coastal or sea-borne movement, but to which it could march, in one turn), or if legally ordered to give support into such an inland province, a bunch burns its boats and immediately becomes a normal army — even if the ordered movement or support fails to occur, as in a cut support or bounced move. If a dislodged boat bunch retreats inland, it burns its boats in the process and becomes a normal army again.

FLEETS. Each European power (if any) starts with a single fleet and no heiau. The fleet does not count as a unit for purposes of Winter build/disband adjustments; regardless of the number of heiaus that power owns (even none), the fleet remains in play until it is disbanded as a result of dislodgement. No power can build fleets.

“TRADING POST” SUPPLY CENTER. Each European fleet starts with tools and supplies to build one trading post, a supply center equivalent to a heiau for purposes of year-end adjustments. If the fleet has not yet built a trading post, starts a Spring or Fall turn in a land space with no heiau, and is given no other order, its owner may order the fleet to build its trading post (e.g. “F Ko’olau = C”). If the fleet so ordered is not attacked that turn, a supply center immediately appears in that province under the control of the fleet’s owner. If the fleet is attacked as it tries to built its center, it fails but retains the ability to try again later if not destroyed.

Once built, a trading post remains there for the duration of the game. It may also be captured and used by other powers like any heiau, so it should be placed carefully.

CONVOYS. The rule against convoying of armies by fleets in coastal provinces does not apply, “coastal convoys” being allowed in Heiau. A fleet may convoy a boat bunch as it would an army, except that the convoyed boat bunch’s destination may also be a body of water. Convoyed bunches arrive with boats intact. If the convoy fails for any reason, the bunch remains at its starting point with boats intact — though still subject to losing boats if dislodged and ordered to retreat “inland”. Though it cannot be convoyed into the South or North Pacific Ocean, a bunch may be convoyed across either ocean (or both) to another (legal) destination.

WINTER ADJUSTMENTS. A fleet does not count as a unit for purposes of year-end adjustments (builds/disbands). Players may build (armies only) on any unoccupied heiau which they own.

MAP ODDITIES. The island province of Niihau is completely surrounded by the Kaulakahi Channel, so a unit occupying Niihau cannot be dislodged.

The island province of Koho’olawe is too small for its long name to be printed legibly on a one-page map, so that space is marked as Koho’.

The only province with two separate coasts (north and south) is Makanalua on the island of Molokai. If a boat bunch is built at Makanalua, or if a boat bunch or fleet is ordered to move or convoy there from Kaunalu or Halawa, the owner must specify which coast it is to occupy.

ABBREVIATIONS. Due to the sylabic structure of the Hawaiian language, three-letter abbreviations are inadequate except for NPO (North Pacific Ocean) and SPO (South Pacific Ocean). Nearly all spaces (including the oceans) can be abbreviated unambiguously with the first four letters of their names. Any unambiguous abbreviation is acceptable, but appropriate four-or-five-letter abbreviations are recommended.

Four initial letters are ambiguous for some spaces, so these five-letter abbreviations are offered for the following seas and provinces: Kona Coast (KonaC), Kona-Kailua (KonaK), Hamakua (Hamak), and Hamakua Coast (HamaC) around the big island of Hawaii; Makanalua (Makan) on Molokai; and Makaleha (Makal) on Kauai.

CALENDAR AND TIME LIMITS. For the sake of convenience and “Hawaii time”, the game starts in Spring of the year 1.

Players may need more time as the game progresses, since all but the losers will accumulate more units. A time limit for each turn of three minutes times the number of the year should move the game along briskly, but players may agree to other arrangements by unanimous consent.

HEIAU SCENARIOS. The following scenarios have been developed for two to six players. Each includes a list of the powers and their starting positions, and any special rules which apply.


RACE. “Sunrise” has B Kona-Kailua, B Puna; “Sunset” B Aiea, B Kilauea.

DUEL. “Dawn” has B Lanai; “Dusk” B Lahaina.


DISCRETE. “Sunrise” has B KonaC, B Puna; “Midday” B Waipio, B Makanalua (s); “Sunset” B Aiea, B Kilauea.

TRIANGLE. “Dawn” has B Lahaina; “Noon” B Lanai; “Dusk” B Makanalua (s).

CLANS. “Dawn” has B Kilauea, B Koho’olawe, B Puna; “Noon” B Waimea, B Lahaina, B Hamakua; “Dusk” B Niihau, B Oahu-Kailua, B Kona-Kailua.


HEART. “Dawn” has B Koho’olawe; “Morning” B Lahaina; “Afternoon” B Lanai; “Dusk” B Makanalua (n).

WINGS. “Dawn” has B Puna; “Morning” B Kawaihae; “Afternoon” B Aiea; “Dusk” B Wailua.


KAMAAINAS. “Dawn” has B Puna; “Morning” B Kawaihae; “Noon” B Waipio; “Dusk” B Makanalua (s); “Night” B Niihau.

HAOLE. After assignment of powers, each player votes by writing the name of the preferred 4-player scenario on a slip of paper. The native powers (“ka-ma-EYE-nas”, long-time residents) count the votes secretly, and begin with the starting positions listed in the scenario receiving the most votes; but they do not place their units on the board at first. The “Haole” power starts with only a fleet in SPO, and does not know the Hawaiian powers’ dispositions until after submission of the first Spring orders; at that time the ballots are revealed and the kamaainas put their boats on the board.


DISCOVERY. Five native powers start as in the Kamaainas scenario. In addition, the “Haole” power has F SPO.

TWO HAOLES. Start as in the Haole 5-player scenario, but with two haole powers. “South” begins with F SPO, “North” with F NPO. Random assignment of powers occurs immediately after submission of ballots, and then the Hawaiian powers count ballots secretly. If ballots for the setup are evenly divided, the kamaainas decide among themselves which setup to use. As in the Haole scenario, the European powers do not know the Hawaiians’ positions or see the ballots until after the first Spring orders are submitted.

DESIGNER’S NOTES. Heiau Diplomacy is designed for brevity (compared to standard Diplomacy) as well as for balance and challenging play. Games with more powers will naturally be longer than those with fewer. 2-player scenarios average under one hour.

As play-testing continues through 2004, the authors will consider rule and map changes suggested by play-testers. Your comments and questions are welcome, as are ideas for other Heiau Dip scenarios. Feel free to reproduce (unedited) these rules and associated map for interested friends.