Rock, Scissors, Paper Diplomacy (ra11)

by Phil Reynolds

1)  Unless stated otherwise, the 1976 Rules for Diplomacy are in effect.

2) Abstract:  The basic idea of Rock, Scissors, Paper Diplomacy is that each unit has a special characteristic which alone determines the outcome of any conflict.

3) Characteristics:  At the beginning of the game, each unit is assigned randomly one of the following three characteristics — Rock, Scissors, or Paper.  Thereafter, a unit’s characteristic can be changed as a player desires, but such a change cannot be made conditional.  A unit’s characteristic is revealed only in conflict.

4) Conflicts:  Rock always beats/dislodges Scissors.  Scissors always beats/dislodges Paper.  Paper always beats/dislodges Rock.  A standoff occurs between units of the same characteristic.

5) Examples: 

Rock A Pru-Sil, Scissors A Gal-Sil.  This leaves Rock A Sil and Scissors A Gal.

Rock A Pru-Sil, Scissors A Sil-Pru.  This leaves Rock A Sil with Scissors A Sil retreating.

Rock A Pru-Sil, Scissors A Sil-Pru, Paper A Gal-Sil.  Scissors beats Paper, but Rock beats Scissors, leaving Rock A Sil, Paper A Gal, and Scissors A Sil retreating.

Rock A Pru-Sil, Scissors A Sil-Boh, Paper A Gal-Sil.  Paper beats Rock.  Scissors is not involved in the conflict over Sil.  This leaves Rock A Pru, Scissors A Boh, and Paper A Sil.

Rock A Pru-Sil, Scissors A Sil-Pru, Rock A Gal-Sil.  The Scissors A Sil is a beleaguered garrison.

6) Support:  There is not support order.

7) Retreats:  A unit retreats per the normal Diplomacy rules — characteristics are ignored.

Designer’s Notes

I honestly don’t know if this will be a good variant.  I got the idea for it after watching some movie where two people played the old kids game Rock, Scissors, Paper to decide something.  (Fisties is another such game.)  I wondered what it would be like to apply the RSP principle to Diplomacy.  At the tactical level, an ongoing war between adversaries will become more of a mind game, as each one tries to outguess the other.  Conventional tactics might not be enough, since a solid wall of units would be vulnerable to a single correct ploy.  Allies will become more dependent on their cunning than each other’s help.  Could be chaos; should be fun.  We won’t know until it’s tried!