Woolworth Diplomacy II-D (cb19)

by Glenn Overby and Fred Davis (1981)

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Rules re-written and map drawn by Andrew Poole for Ten Best Diplomacy Variants (a.k.a UKVB Package 2).

  • All the usual rules of Diplomacy (1971 rulebook) apply, except where amended below. 
  • Woolworth Diplomacy is a five-player variant. There are ten Great Powers in the game, each player controls two of these : a ‘public’ power which is known to all players, and a ‘secret’ power known only to the controlling player and the g.m. 
  • Three Great Powers (Balkans, Scandinavia and Spain) are added to the regular seven. The initial set up for all the powers is as follows :
     AUSTRIAF(Trieste),A(Budapest),A(Vienna).BALKANSA(Bulgaria),A(Serbia),F(Greece).ENGLANDF(London),F(Edinburgh),A or F (Lpl).FRANCEF(Brest),A(Paris),A or F (Mar).GERMANYF(Kiel),A(Munich),A(Berlin).ITALYF(Naples),A(Venice),A or F (Rome).RUSSIAA(Moscow),A(Warsaw),F(Sevastapol), A or F(StP).SCANDINAVIAF(Norway),A(Sweden),F(Denmark).SPAINA(Portugal),F(Morocco),A or F (Mad).TURKEYF(Ankara),A(Con),A or F (Smy). 
  • All ‘choice’ set-ups need not be announced until the Spring ’01 orders are revealed. Either an army or a fleet may start in these spaces; if the space has two coasts, the fleet may start on either. 
  • Woolworth uses a version of the regular board with significant modifications. 
  • The Powers are assigned to players using the following procedure :a. Each player submits a list of the ten Great Powers in order of their preferences. Ties are not permitted.b. Control of the ‘public’ powers is decided first. Players’ first choices are compared : unique first choices are granted, lots are drawn between players where their first choices are identical.c. Once a player is assigned a power, it is removed from all the players’ preference lists.d. For players who failed to gain their first choices, the process as outlined in b. above is repeated, using the highest choices still available, continuing until all the players have a public power.e. When there are only five powers remaining, the process is repeated so as to assign the ‘secret’ powers. 
  • The control of secret powers is never revealed by the g.m, though NMR’s may make the relationships apparent. Players may do as they like in this regard, telling or not telling as they please. 
  • As the game is not historically based, it begins in Spring ’01 rather than the year 1901. 
  • There are 39 supply centres on the board. The victory condition is 24 centres, which may be reached by a combination of the strength of the public and secret powers belonging to a player. Adjustments are always separately counted for each power, however. 
  • There is a ‘Direct Passage’ link between Sicily and Naples. This allows units to move directly from one of these provinces to the other without in any way affecting fleet movement between TYS and ION. 
  • New Province Abbreviations : AlgAlgeriaBasBasqueBOBBay of BiscayCreCrete (s.c.)HAOHigh Atlantic OceanIceIceland (s.c.)IreIrelandKazKazakhstanLapLaplandMacMacedoniaMadMadrid (s.c.)MorMorocco (s.c.)PerPersiaSicSicilySwiSwitzerland (s.c.)TraTransylavaniaWAOWest Atlantic Ocean 

Notes by Andrew Poole : Woolworth Diplomacy gains its title from the shops of the same name, which originally sold all their goods at prices of 5c and 10c and were commonly called ‘fives and tens’. The idea of Woolworth is for each player to be able to control both one ‘public’ and one ‘secret’ power. To allow this, the number of Great Powers was increased to ten. The three extra powers were created from groups of neutral supply centres in Scandinavia, the Balkans and Iberia.

However, with the ten Great Powers, from the start of the game there is conflict. The Secret powers make it easier to start wars, whilst each player starting the game with six units make it also more necessary. The Secret powers must do all of their diplomacy through press releases, producing some interesting press. The Secret powers need careful play so as to avoid the identity of their owner being revealed, too much co-ordination between a public and a secret power may give the game away (literally !). There are sudden shifts of alliances as players try to find out who their opponents are. There have been mock wars, and a player may have his public power deliberately eliminated so as to continue the war with just the secret power !