Stab! (rd29)

by Andy Evans

Revised by Stephen Agar

These rules are based on Stab III (rd12/07) with revisions and clarifications drawn from Universal Stab (rd09/07).

0. All usual 1971 regular Diplomacy rules apply save where noted below.

1. Initial Placement. A player may choose the balance between types of units available to him at the start of the game. Thus England may elect to start the game with three armies, but may then find his strategy is somewhat impaired. Initial units may start the game in any home space. Initial placements are included with the S01 orders and are not published.

2. Stab is a hidden movement form of Diplomacy and is thus more suitable for postal play. Only contested movements are reported in a game report as specified below.

Failed Moves. All failed moves and all supports for failed moves are reported (subject to the self-standoff rule). The existence of any unit which is the recipient of an unsuccessful attack is also revealed. If an attacked unit was supporting another unit then the fact that a support was cut is revealed, but not which unit or move it was supporting.

Successful Moves. A successful move and any associated supports are only revealed if it succeeds in dislodging another unit or is the reason why another move by another unit or units failed. The only exception to this rule is that if a unit which is standing received more supports than was necessary to withstand an attack, the player may elect only to reveal those supports necessary to justify the failure of the attack. In the absence of specific instructions, the GM will reveal supports from other spaces as necessary alphabetically, supports from other players being revealed first.

Self-standoffs. A self-standoff is not revealed unless it also results in the failure of a move by another player.

Dislodgments. The fact that a unit is dislodged is reported, but not the province to which it has retreated. However, the GM will inform the player whose attack caused the unit concerned to retreat where it has retreated to. If a unit is disbanded through choice or because no retreat was ordered, this will be reported.

Mis-orders. A mis-order or an unlawful order is not revealed.

3. Adjustments. Every winter the GM will report the seven supply centre totals for each power, but will not reveal who owns which supply centre.

4. Retreats. At the beginning of the game the GM will determine whether or not the players will submit conditional retreats with their orders (in which case the players would be wise to provide retreats for every unit), or retreats and

builds/removals will be taken with the following season’s orders (such orders being conditional on whether or not the retreat was successful). If retreats are adjudicated with the following season’s moves then the player which caused the retreat may also

submit moves conditional on where the unit concerned retreats to. Alternatively a three season game year could be employed. If a unit cannot retreat to a province for whatever reason he is not told why. The existence of a unit in a space to which another unit has attempted to retreat is not specifically revealed.

5. GM communications with each player. Every season the GM should indicate privately to each player the position of his units, the identity of any supply centres lost that move (and who has taken them and with what) and what retreat moves other players have made as a consequence of that player’s attacks. This not only assists the player concerned and reduces the likelihood of mis-orders, but increases the likelihood that any mis-adjudication will be identified. Every Winter each player is informed privately which supply centres he owns.

6. All NMRs are reported as such, but the position of the units concerned is only revealed in accordance with the general rules.


The following Autumn 1902 orders are received:

ENGLAND: F(NTH) C A(Edi)-Hol; F(Pic) S F(ENG)-Bre. If necessary F(Pic) retreats to Bel, ENG. FRANCE: A(Par) S F(Bre)-Pic; A(Mar) S A(Gas)-Bur; F(MAO)-NAO;

GERMANY: A(Mun) & A(Ruh) S A(Bur); A(Bur) S A(Bel)-Pic; A(Kie)-Den; F(Swe)-Den

The game report would show:

ENGLAND: F(Pic)*S [Dislodged]

FRANCE: A(Par) S F(Bre)-Pic; A(Mar) S A(Gas)-Bur;

GERMANY: A(Mun) S A(Bur); A(Bur) S A(Bel)-Pic;

The existence of the support from the German A(Ruh) is not revealed as it was not necessary. German F(Swe) and A(Kie) are not revealed as they conducted a self-standoff. Exactly what English F(Pic) was supporting is not revealed. The French move into the NAO is kept secret.

The GM would inform France privately that it had lost Brest and that the English F(Pic) had retreated to ENG. England would be informed that F(Pic) had retreated to ENG. Assuming that Germany owned Holland, he would be informed privately that he had lost it.

Gunboat Stab!

My experience of Stab! is that diploming can be limited due to the lack of information about what people are actually up to. Therefore, Gunboat Stab! may be a reasonable alternative – the game is played anonymously (under silly pseudonyms) and it is treated as a purely tactical game.