This section is almost totally the work of Simon Szykman and used to appear on his website – but it hasn’t been available for over 10 years. I hope he won’t mind me including it here.
The compendium currently lists over 60 variations of over 35 different editions of the Diplomacy boardgame, 14 editions of Diplomacy variants and 9 versions of commercial Diplomacy software, 7 editions of books on Diplomacy, and over a dozen Diplomacy-related items produced by the amateur Diplomacy hobby.
- General Information
- United States Editions of Diplomacy (14 editions, 6 more variations)
- United Kingdom Editions of Diplomacy (8 editions, 11 more variations)
- Canadian Editions of Diplomacy (2 editions, 7 more variations)
- Other European Editions of Diplomacy (France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands) (8 editions, 1 more variation)
- Other Non-European Editions of Diplomacy (Australia, Brazil, Israel) (4 editions, no other variations)
- Diplomacy Variants (14 editions)
- Commercial Diplomacy Software (9 versions)
- Books (7 editions)
- Amateur Diplomacy Hobby Items (13 entries)
Diplomacy Editions vs. Variations of an Edition
The difference between an edition and a variation of an edition is in the importance of the changes that occur from one version of the game to another. Any criteria for differentiating between editions and variations is somewhat subjective, but for the sake of having some sort of distinction I finally settled on the following:
Any one of the following differences is considered to be a new edition:
- Substantial box redesign. Changing a few words or adding a UPC symbol on the box is considered to be a minor change, not a substantial redesign.
- Significant revision of rules. This includes the revision of the rules in 1971 which were significant even though they were not officially called 2nd edition rules, as well as the official changes in rulebook editions that occurred under the Avalon Hill name. This does not include minor tweaks to the rulebook or changes to the rulebook design that were occasionally made without significant revisions to the rules themselves.
- Changes in game piece design. This includes the change from wooden pieces to plastic pieces in the U.S. and the change from flat fleets to little ships in the U.K. It does not include production differences, such as differences in color of pieces.
- Note: Substantial gameboard redesign would also be included on this list except that this was never done without also doing a box redesign. Thus adding that criterion would not make any distinctions that are not already made by the first one on this list.
Other differences between games are considered to be variations of an existing edition. Things that differ from one variation to the next include:
- Minor changes to box design. This includes changes of a few words on the box.
- Changes in rulebook design without significant revisions of rules. This includes the color of the cover, appearance and/or size of rulebook.
- Changes in the contents of the game that relate to the game itself. This includes, most notably, the additions of and changes to game-related sheets in the U.S. and Canadian editions (rules summary and play-by-mail information sheets), and the addition of and changes in style of the plastic trays used to hold the game pieces in some of U.K. editions.
Differences that do occur but that are not used to distinguish among variations in the Compendium include:
- Production variations. The most common production variation is in the color of game pieces. There is one exception to this, however: the change in Russian game piece color from white to mauve in the second Intellectual Diversions edition in the U.K. This change is considered to be a variation, because it was the result of a conscious design change, not a production variation, as is evidenced by the fact that the color of the Russian pieces identified in the rulebook had originally been white but was then changed to mauve.
- Changes in the contents of the game not related to the game itself. For example, at different points in time, game companies might include current game catalogs, flyers advertising new releases, game and/or part order forms, registration cards, etc. These would periodically be revised and updated as a company’s offerings changed, but since nothing specific to the game itself actually changed, I don’t consider changes in marketing or promotional materials to be variations of the game.
I have done quite a bit of digging, searching, and asking to compile all the information in this Compendium. Along the way I encountered too many people who were willing to answer my questions to name them all here, but I appreciate the time each and every one of them took to provide me with information I was looking for. Most of the images in the compendium are not my own, so I also want to give my thanks to all of the people who gave me permission to use their images; again there are too many to name here. (While I did not take any images without asking, in one or two instances I did use an image without having received any reply from the owner. If I have used one of your images without your permission, please contact me so that I can get your agreement, credit you here if you want credit, or remove the image if that is your preference.)
While the total number of people who provided me with help are too many to list, there are a few who did more than I would have asked or expected. These include (in alphabetical order) Stephen Agar, who provided significant help in sorting out the many variations of the British editions of Diplomacy (and several photos as well), Allan B. Calhamer, for providing me with information about the early editions of Diplomacy, Brandon Clarke for telling me about a homemade Diplomacy set and sending me photos of it, Michael Dowling for emailing me photos of an Australian edition, Paolo Fasce, who offered to take photos of an Italian edition without my having asked and sent them to me, Roland Isaksson and Björn von Knorring, who sent me photos of and information about the Swedish items shown on the Amateur Hobby Items page, Markus Mohr, who went out of his way to take digital photos of a German edition for me without my having asked, Christiano Corte Restitutti, for his contributions and his excessive patience, and Alain Tesio, who offered to send me a French edition of Diplomacy and whom I had to force to accept something in return. Thanks also to The Wargamer (Wargamer.com) for their permission to use images from their website.
As I mentioned, plenty more people have provided me with details in my effort to compile this information. If I have left anyone off the list of acknowledgements who would like to be included, please accept my apologies, drop me a note, and I’ll add you to the list.