Naval Diplomacy (Bloody Diplomacy) (rv10)

by Konrad Baumeister

1.  All rules of standard Diplomacy are used except as noted below.

2.  The first year is 1914.  The normal powers and standard board is used, but if all players agree to do so at the start of the game, islands like Sicily, Sardinia, and Ireland can be made passable.  In this case, Sicily/Naples/Tyrrhenian Sea/Ionian Sea come to a four corner point, where all four meet.  The same happens with Ireland/Clyde/North Atlantic/Irish Sea.  Sardinia and Iceland do not join with anything but the sea‑spaces about them.

3.  Before the first moves (Spring 1914), there is a special turn, Winter 1913.  Observing the normal build rules, each of the seven powers builds those units which it would like in its Home Centers.  (These will then be the units to move in Spring 1914.)  In case of an NMR, the units appearing in the standard game would be built.  Besides this “neutral” build, there will be no neutral orders made for missed moves.

4.  Fleets may move up to two (2) sea‑spaces in one turn, instead of merely one.  However, each fleet which has moved two spaces has to end its movement in a Supply Center ‑‑ no normal land province will do.

A.  It should be made clear that moving two spaces is an option that every fleet enjoys; no fleet is forced to move that far, and they are, of course, allowed to simply move one space, in which case there is no need to end its movement in a Supply Center.

B.  If, in the course of any fleet movement, fleets of two different nationalities cross pats or “bump” into one another, they are simply both accommodated in that same sea space.  Thus, there can be no standoffs occurring at sea.  (It also makes for unlimited parking, so to speak.)

C.  In the attempt to end its two‑space movement in a Center it fails, for whatever reason, it is promptly removed from the board.  (Annihilated.  Assumedly, the fleet would not be able to stock up on supplies necessary to remain afloat.)

D.  Supports can be used to help a fleet move into a supply center, of course, even if that support comes from another double‑moving unit.  (In this case, the supporting unit would annihilate itself.)  Support can also come from the same space from which the attack came from, assuming there were originally at least two fleets in that space.

Example:  FRANCE:  F Eng‑Mid‑Spa(sc), F Naf‑Wmd‑S F Eng‑Mid‑‑Spa(sc)/ann/.  ITALY:  F Tyh‑Lyo‑Spa(sc)/ann/

Of course, as in the above case, if the support was the second order for the fleet, it must support either the second or only move the supported unit makes.  If the support was the only order for the fleet, then it must specify exactly what move it is supporting in some way.  But back to the example, if Italy also has a fleet attack the Western Med, that Italian fleet would merely move right along with the (soon disappearing) French F Wmd!  Since there can be no bounces, there can obviously also be no cut supports or dislodged convoys!

E.  If a double‑moving fleet attempts to end its movement in a normal non‑SC province, all of the normal effects of Diplomacy may occur, but the fleet is still annihilated.  An example:

GERMANY:  A Tus‑Rom/ann/, A Tri S A Tyo‑Ven, A Tyo‑Ven

AUSTRIA:  F Adr S ITALIAN F (Ion‑)Adr‑Ven (thus showing which move it is supporting, since it could conceivably support either, but not both), F Gre‑Ion‑Nap/a/                                     

ITALY:  F Wmd‑Lyo‑Tus/a/, F Ion‑Adr‑Ven/a/, F Nap‑Rom, A Pie S F (Wmd‑)Lyo‑Tus (again showing which move it supports)    

F.  A normal fleet movement of 1 space obviously does not necessitate the fleet’s ending the turn in a supply center.

5.  “Unlimited Parking” is allowed in any sea space (but on no land space, where normal rules apply, even for fleets) by any number of fleets of all nationalities.  No at‑sea standoffs can occur.  However, if two units from the same (or different) sea space both attempt to move to the same land space, a standoff will result.

6.  The “Patrol” order.  If a certain nationality has two or more fleets in the same sea space, he may choose to Patrol that space in order to eliminate some of his enemy’s fleets.  (Obviously, to make Patrolling profitable, the enemy has to have at least 1 fleet in that space, too.)  This order only succeeds if a fleet of the stated enemy nationality (only 1 enemy can be named with the order) stays within the borders of that sea space (i.e. if it attempts to hold, convoy, support, or patrol).  If a support or convoy was attempted, they are cut or disrupted, and the fleets are eliminated.  (This is the only instance through which a support can be cut, or a convoy disrupted.)  Patrols, on the other hand, can mutually knock each other off.  The general rule is that if the country’s fleets are patrolled for in any spaces, all fleets of that nationality are eliminated.  The minimum necessary to patrol is two fleets, but any number can be patrolled for.  An example:

ENGLAND:  2F Nth P (Patrols for) GERMANY

GERMANY:  2F Nth P ENGLAND, 2F Nth P RUSSIA, F Nth C A Yor‑Nwy, A Yor‑Nwy


The results:  All fleets are removed from play, since all were attacked.  Odds of attack:  defense does not enter into the picture, and make no difference.  The German convoy is disrupted, but A Yor is still safe.

B.  Fleets may not Patrol and then attempt to do something else, in order to form a double‑move.  This and the Block order (see 7) are the only orders which may not be combined with other orders.

7.  The “Blocking” Rule.  If a fleet of one nationality controls at least one half of a strait, then it can “block” movement through that strait to another (named in the orders submitted) power.  The straits under this rule are Aegean Sea/ Black Sea (i.e. the Bosphorus), Western Med/Mid Atlantic (i.e. Gibraltar). and the English Channel/North Sea (i.e. Dover).  An example to show how this works:

GERMANY:  F Eng B (Blocks) ENGLAND from Strait

FRANCE:   F Eng‑Nth

ENGLAND:  F Nth‑Eng‑Bre/a/, (Because it didn’t end its attempted double‑move in a S.C., it is annihilated.)

Note that even if England has a F Wal S F Nth‑Eng, it would not have mattered.  However, if England would have had F Eng or moved to Eng from another space, then F Nth‑Eng would have succeeded, since for the Blocking order to succeed, the power doing the Blocking must be the only power having a fleet in that half of the Strait.  See?

8.  A fleet in the Black Sea may move directly to Aegean Sea, as long as Constantinople is friendly to that power.  The same applies for moving from Baltic Sea‑Skagerrak, if Denmark is friendly.

9.  Coastal Crawl and Crawling Retreat are both permitted.

Konrad’s Comments.  Whenever I dream up a variant I let someone else write up the rules from a scratch sheet I give him, after I’ve explained all of the details of said variant to him.  This is because I’m an absolutely horrible rules writer.  As it happens, and as you’ve all probably already figured out, that person wasn’t handy lately, and so I had to write the rules for Naval Diplomacy by myself.  That’s why they may be unclear in spots; I have a bad habit of assuming that the reader has co‑designed the variant with me, and understands things even when they aren’t well‑explained.  So if you’re baffled, that’s understandable.  Send me any questions you may have, and I’ll try to answer them.

The reason I co‑titled the variant “Bloody Diplomacy” should be made obvious after you play a game of it.  The fleets fly quickly, and most powers have plenty of builds even if no new centers were taken.  And, of course, the naval rules make all powers a little bit more interested in the sea spaces.

Many of the rules make the sea a lot more decisive than it used to be.  Supports coming from the sea can hardly be cut, except by patrols, and the same goes for the even deadlier convoys.  So the sea powers have it easy, don’t they?

No, not necessarily,  England and Italy, assumedly the two most powerful nations on the sea, are now vulnerable to attacks from that same sea.  And diplomacy is the only way out.

Land powers have a slight advantage in that they are less vulnerable to attack from the sea (like Austria).  Also, more powers will be building more fleets, so some carefully placed armies may be able to get much more than they used to…