Utterly Ruthless Diplomacy (rm40)

by Derwood Bowen

1. The rules for normal Diplomacy are used except as modified within these rules.  Where these rules differ from the regular rules, these rules take precedence.

2. The game begins with a “Winter 1900” season, in which each player may place each of his (note “his”, “he”, etc. is used, although they apply to female players as well) units in any of his home country’s land spaces, provided no more than one unit is in any space.  The spaces in which a country’s units begin become the country’s  home SCs; the marked home SCs that do not begin with units in them are no longer SCs.  (In other words, after the Winter 1900 placements, the SCs are the spaces with units on them plus the 12 neutral SCs.)  The initial builds are not limited to the numbers of armies/fleets used in regular Dip; a country can build any combination of armies/fleets that total the number of SCs the country begins with.

3. If an army wishes to be convoyed somewhere, it is given an attack (move) order to an adjacent sea space with a fleet.  A fleet to be part of a convoy is given a convoy order that is either (a) from an adjacent coastal space containing an army to another (different) adjacent coastal space, (b) an adjacent coastal space containing an army to an adjacent sea space containing a fleet, (c) an adjacent sea space containing a fleet to a different adjacent sea space containing a fleet, or (d) an adjacent sea space containing a fleet to an adjacent coastal space.  Note that there is no guarantee that foreign fleets in a convoy will want to convoy the army to where the army wants to go:

4. A convoy is executed as follows:

(a) If a fleet in the space the army is ordered to move into is not ordered to convoy from the army’s space, the convoy fails.  (For example, A Brest – Mid-Atlantic, F Mid-Atlantic – Portugal is “bad”.)

(b) If the army is ordered into a sea space with a correct convoy order (A Brest – Mid-Atlantic, F Mid-Atlantic C A Brest – North Atlantic), the army is temporarily moved onto the fleet.  If the fleet in question does not convoy to an adjacent coastal area or to an adjacent sea area with a fleet that has a convoy order from the army’s current square (A Brest – Mid-Atlantic, F Mid-Atlantic C A Brest – North Atlantic, F North Atlantic C A Mid-Atlantic – Clyde), the convoy fails – and the army returns to the space it started the season in (as in a failed convoy in regular Dip).

(c) Should the first convoying fleet convoy the army to a fleet with no appropriate convoying order, the chain continues until a bad convoy order invalidates the convoy or the “last” fleet convoys the army into a coastal space (assuming the army successfully enters the space).

(d) The only legal order for an army that wants to convoy is a move to an adjacent sea space with a fleet – not a move to the destination.  (The orders of the fleets determine the destination -which may or may not be where the army’s player wants it to end up.)


A London – North, F North C A London – Norwegian, F Norwegian C A North – Barents, F Barents C A Norwegian – St. Petersburg

Note that no fleet was given a convoy order other than from one adjacent space to another, since these are the only legal convoys.

5. A fleet is allowed to have different convoy orders dependent upon the nationality of the army being convoyed – however, a fleet cannot have convoy and non-convoy orders, nor can it have convoy orders with different spaces of origin (F North C A English Channel – Norway if French, C A Norwegian – Norway otherwise) – only the destinations can be different.  (A legal example:  F North C A English Channel – Norway if French, C A English Channel – Holland if English, C A English Channel – Yorkshire otherwise; note all convoy orders are from the English Channel.)

6. Each home SC has a “home guard” when it is unoccupied, provided it was last occupied by a unit of the home country.  The “home guard” has the same strength as a normal unit; however, it always has a hold order, and cannot be supported.  The home guard is ignored for the current turn (only) if a unit of the same country is ordered to move into it.  No actual written orders are necessary for home guard units, since they always hold.

7. If a unit enters a SC in a Spring turn, but then moves out in the Fall turn, and no unit occupies it during the Fall turn, the unit’s country does control the SC (unless another country’s unit retreats into it before the Winter) for building and victory conditions.

8. If a home SC is unoccupied, but not controlled by the home country, a unit of the home country may be built there; however, if it is given an order other than hold in the following Spring, the strength is considered 1/2 for all seasons until it is given a hold order in a home space (not necessarily a home SC).  If such a unit is attacked in the Spring following the Winter in which it was built (assuming it has a hold order), it defends at full strength.  (Any 1/2-strength unit can be “rebuilt”.)

9. Any units that occupies a non-SC in a Winter turn become a 1/2-strength unit (a 1/2-strength unit is eliminated) unless it is adjacent to a controlled SC or to a friendly unit which is adjacent to a controlled SC or adjacent to another friendly unit, and so on until a controlled SC is reached through a chain of friendly units (although the SC itself may be unoccupied, as long as it is controlled).  1/2-strength units may not combine, and they count as full units when determining how many builds/removals the country gets in a Winter turn (see 8)

10. A unit may be disbanded at the beginning of any Spring, Fall, or Winter turn.  (Disband can be an order in a Spring or Fall turn, in which case the disbanding takes place before any other orders; if a unit is disbanded in Winter, assuming any “removals” have been taken care of, the country receives an additional build in that Winter.)

11. A unit may enter Switzerland – but if it is not out of Switzerland at the end of the next Spring/Fall turn, it is eliminated.  Also, units in Switzerland cannot support.  Units may retreat into Switzerland, subject to the retreat rules.  Switzerland is not an SC.

Those are the rules – get those convoy rules straight, as they are the hard part of this variant.  (Basically, fleets can only convoy from one adjacent space to another, although the spaces can be sea spaces with fleets as well as coastal spaces, and the army to be convoyed is ordered to move to the first fleet in the chain.)  This prevents the “duplicate path” problems – although “unwanted convoy” takes on a whole new meaning!  Also, there are no new SCs (except those that are “moved” in Winter 1900), so the victory conditions are the same.

One clarification:  the players do not have to mark half-strength units in their orders – use “A” or “F” as appropriate.  The reports should say “1/2A” and “1/2F”.  Half-strength units (“reduced as per rules 8 or 9) are “rebuilt” to full strength as per rule 8.