Renaissance Diplomacy II (me04)

by Earle Ratcliffe and Michael Cuffaro

This variant is set in Renaissance Europe and played on the standard Diplomacy map. The only difference on the map is that Switzerland is passable, and is a neutral supply center. The great powers and starting positions are as follows:

Holy Roman Empire: F Berlin, A Vienna, A Munich
England: F Brest, A Liverpool, F London
France: F Belgium, A Marseilles, A Paris
Spain: F Spain (sc), A Portugal, F Naples
Venice: A Venice, A Trieste, F Greece
Poland-Lithuania: A St.Petersburg, A Warsaw, F Sevastopol
Ottoman Turks: F Bulgaria (ec), F Smyrna, A Constantinople, A Ankara

It tends to be a more brutal, bloody game than vanilla dip, as the power’s get into conflict right from the outset. Makes for a very interesting opening few turns. Otherwise, it plays just like regular diplomacy. The inspiration for it came from Gilbert Gelinas’ Medieval Diplomacy, but other than the century, the two games are completely different.

The Game

This is basically just a game of Standard Diplomacy with a few twists:

1) The game starts in 1454, the date traditionally given by historians for the start of the Renaissance in Europe. (Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453)

2) Switzerland is PASSABLE and contains a supply center for the taking.

3) Although the map is the same (except for Switzerland), the countries are different. (See below)


(A few liberties were taken with history, which will be outlined briefly below)

Country: VENICE

Capital: Venice

Home Provinces: (* indicates supply centre)
Venice(*), Trieste(*), Albania, Greece(*)

Ruler: Doge Francesco Foscari

Starting Units:
A Venice, A Trieste, F Greece

The 15th century was Venice’s ‘Golden Age’. After the long war with Genoa in the 14th century, Venice emerged as one of the leading powers in Europe. Unrivalled commercially until the rounding of the Cape of Good Hope late in the century by the Portugese, Venice was spectacularly wealthy and powerful. It could boast the largest and best navy in the world (at least in the European world), and had many overseas colonies, including many former Byzantine possessions in Greece, Cyprus, Crete, the Black Sea, along with the coast of Dalmatia (modern Yugoslavia), and even some possessions on the west coast of Asia Minor. The Republic was to last over 1000 years in total. Unmatched to this day by any state in Europe (well possibly San Marino).

Country: SPAIN

Capital: Spain

Home Provinces:
Spain(*), Portugal(*), Naples(*)

Ruler: Ferdinand II, ‘The Catholic’ of Aragon and Sicily (a.k.a. Ferdinand V of Castille, Ferdinand III of Naples)

Starting Units:
F Spain (south coast), A Portugal, F Naples

With the marriage of Ferdinand to Queen Isabella of Castille, Ferdinand became ruler of most of what we now call Spain, along with the Island of Sicily. Naples was only added to the Kingdom in 1503, and Portugal was an independent kingdom (which it still is today), but for the purposes of the game, they will be incorporated into Spain.

Country: FRANCE

Capital: Paris

Home Provinces:
Picardy, Paris(*), Belgium(*), Burgundy, Gascony, Marseilles(*)

Ruler: King Charles VII

Starting Units:
A Paris, A Marseil, les F Belgium

France had just recently thrown off the English yoke some 20 – 30 years before and was beginning to re-emerge as a European power. The main result of the hundred years war, or one of them anyway, was to crush the nobility. The King could now effectively wield absolute power. Soon his hand would be grasping southward into Italy to join with Spain in a long struggle for domination of the peninsula.

Country: ENGLAND

Capital: London

Home Provinces:
Liverpool(*), Yorkshire, Wales, London(*), Brest(*)

Ruler: King Henry VI of the House of Lancaster

Starting Units:

A Liverpool, F London, F Brest

Henry V had conquered France, and had made himself heir to the French throne upon the death of Charles VI. He never saw the crown, however. He died soon after; and on the death of Charles VI seven weeks later, his infant son, Henry VI became king of both England and France. He proved a weak king, and soon lost his French possessions; all except Calais. (Note. Calais is not in the vicinity of Brest, it’s further east, on the straits of Dover… but what the hell).


Capital: Warsaw [Krakow]

Home Provinces:
Warsaw(*) [Krakow], Prussia, Livonia, St. Petersburg (*) [Novgorod], Ukraine, Sevastopol(*), Galicia

Ruler: Casimir IV

Starting Units:
A St. Petersburg, A Warsaw, F Sevastopol


The Polish-Lithuanian union in 1384 created the largest nation in Europe. Ruled from Krakow, it stretched from the Baltic sea to the Black sea. Warsaw became the capital in 1569, and was second (in Europe) only to Paris in magnificence. A couple of liberties were taken for the purposes of the game: 1) Although P-L stretched to the Black Sea it only ruled the western half of Sevastopol. The eastern half was still controlled by the Mongols (the Golden Horde, to be exact). 2) P-L controlled Novgorod (i.e. StP) as a vassal state for a very brief period around 1470, but in 1454, Novgorod was an independent republic. After 1470 it was occupied by Ivan the Great (Ivan III) of Muscovy.


Capital (at the time): Vienna

Home Provinces:
Vienna(*), Bohemia, Tyrolia, Munich(*), Ruhr, Berlin(*), Silesia, Piedmont, Tuscany

Ruler: Emperor Frederick III

Starting Units:
A Vienna, A Munich, F Berlin

The Empire was a loose confederation of german and italian states; the emperor being little more than a figure head in that he had little or no control over the actions of his vassals, most especially those in Lombardy (Piedmont) and Tuscany. e.g. Francesco Sforza, Gian Galeazzo Visconti, and the other leading figures in 15th and 16th-century north italian politics were, technically at least, subjects of the Empire. The emperor himself did rule over his own home state, however, and usually had a formidable army.


Capital: Constantinople

Home Provinces:
Constantinople(*), Ankara(*), Smyrna(*), Armenia, Syria, Bulgaria(*)

Ruler: Mehmet II, ‘The Conqueror’

Starting Units:
F Bulgaria (east coast), F Smyrna, A Constantinople, A Ankara

Having captured Constantinople the year before, and in the process destroying for ever the last remnants of the old Roman Empire, the Turks steadily and rapidly advanced on the Balkans and on Europe, up to the very walls of Vienna. (Twice). The next two centuries would see many great battles first between Turkey and Venice/Hungary, and then when Budapest fell, between Turkey and Venice (e.g. Lepanto).

OTHER POWERS (neutral, no units):

HUNGARY Budapest
KALMAR LEAGUE Denmark (+ Kiel), Sweden, Norway
SCOTLAND Edinburgh, Clyde