F – Variant Descriptions

FAR EAST DIPLOMACY (Vern Schaller, amended by Fred C. Davis Jnr)

(1) ANDREW ENGLAND in Affairs of State (1988).

This variant is set in the Australasian region extending on up to Mongolia and Japan. The rules follow the standard game with the only real change being in the nature of Ocean Spaces. Basically they can hold an unlimited number of fleets thus allowing for several offensive possibilities. The game is set in future (1990’s) in a world where the power of the Soviets and Americans has been broken. The five major powers involved are Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The new map should make for a good change from the European theatre and the number of islands in the region covered by the variant will bring navel operations to the fore.

FEUDAL DIPLOMACY (By Lewis Pulsipher)

(1) ANDREW ENGLAND in Affairs of State (1988)

There are rule changes in this variant which make it unique, the major one being that there are units in the game which move independently of any of the players. These represent the Vikings, Moslems and nomadic Asian tribes. There are no set powers in Feudal Diplomacy. Rather players chose the location of their centres at the start of the game with the number so chosen depending upon the number of players involved. The map has no sea provinces but instead has link routes between various provinces. Thus there are no fleets, the only units in the game being the standard army and knights which are worth two armies. Each game year has three movement seasons and at the end of the year all units are sent into “winter quarters” to be rebuilt for the coming year. At the beginning all players are given a castle which is an immovable stronghold with the combat value of one army. Players must protect these jealously for once they are destroyed they can not be rebuilt. These rules form a lack of historical accuracy. The Viking tribes, Moslems and Byzantines were all important forces in the medieval world yet their influence is not fully brought through in the game. Currently there is one game in progress in The Envoy.

CRAZY MARKIE SAYS: This variant was used by Andrew for the basis of his own Medieval Diplomacy (qv).

FEUDAL DIPLOMACY II cb36 (Dave Russell).

(1) REVIEW: John Cudmore in Moonlighting 8, April 1990.

Originally called `Feudal’ until the Variant Bank Custodian pointed out that Lew Pulsipher had designed an earlier game with a similar name. Dave’s design bears little resemblance and is unrelated to the former. Feudal Dip II tries to simulate a European conflict around the 15th century but on the standard Diplomacy board, except for some minor changes in and around the area of Turkey. It concentrates on two aspects, the economic side where supply centers and territories generate GOLD to finance your armies and fleets and the use of one-shot mercenary units to argument the strength of armies and fortifications to offer some resistance to the above. It is very interesting to try and judge the mix of armies and mercenaries and also whether to sack a hard-to-hold province for a quick gain, or perhaps to finance your armies when you are on the retreat. Ultimately, Europe is turned into a wasteland with no rules to regenerate sacked centres, and the game starts to slip away. Dave mentions that he will produce another version using suggestions from the playtesters, but unfortunately it has not materialized yet. Never the less, this is a very good variant which simulates the genre very well.

FINAL CONFLICT (Tom Swider) Variant published in DW 37


This is a seven-player game played on a world-map with a larger number of provinces and supply centers. New units include the airplane (used in support of other units only) and the nuke (used to blow things to smithereens). Builds can be taken in any owned center so the game is very fluid and stalemate lines are impossible.

FIVE ITALIES <???> ug12/05

(1) MARK NELSON (1/8/92)

A variant for either those that enjoy playing Italy, or believe that Italy gets a raw deal in the regular game. A symmetrical/total balance game which has five Italies placed around a central Switzerland. All starting positions are equivalent. Ran postal in the British zines U-Bend and Smodnoc.

FLINTLOCK II (John Leeder)

Rules Originally Published in Runestone 77.

(1) Robert Sacks in Lord of Hosts 5, June 1975.

A rather interesting concept of the Anglo-French-Indian wars in North America on a rather `stylized’ map of southern-eastern Canada and North-eastern America. There are six players: France, England and four Indian powers which bear some historical resemblance to the Indian Powers of the time. Victory is a majority of the fighting strength on the board (with European Double armies counting double); joint victory between the larger European power and the Indian, or `native’, power with the majority of the `Native’ strength is permitted. The native powers may use any land space as supply centers, and build in any they own; their units are amphibious, except that they may not winter on water, nor move into the North or Mid Atlantic.

The European powers have Double armies, in addition to single units, which require two centers for support and buildable only in home centers; other units may be built in any settled area (occupied for a year, not `non-arable’, not ravaged by native units) and no unit may winter in an unsettled unfortified area (there are `build fort’ and `destroy fort’ orders); Fleets may move along certain navigable water routes, but they may not winter in the Great Lakes. Water going units may cross between Ontario and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan directly (these aren’t the names used on the map). Armies and fleets along the Great Lakes have the option of converting to one another. Finally there is a `smallpox factor’ which each European power carries around which are nice for indiscriminately destroying the native unit that is unfortunate enough to fight the particular DA when the factor is active. It shows promise of interesting play.

THE FOUNDATION GAME (Fritz Mulhauser) sa01/03-07 Diplomania ??? (pre April 1973)

(1) STEVE AGAR in ??? circa September 1990

This game is based on Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy, and includes all the expected powers from the books — Empire Colonies, First Empire, First Foundation, The Mule, Second Foundation, Tazenda and Association of Independent Traders. The board is completely abstract and at first sight abysmally complicated — the whole thing is a mass of lines with sectors at the intersection of the lines. The Second Foundation player is anonymous and is supposed to devote all his energies in predicting moves in order to help the First Foundation gain bonus fleets — on top of that he has virtually no chance of winning. Why the two Foundation players were not combined into one player is beyond me. Hyperspace links are possible, which messes the board about even further. First UK publication was in Don Turnbull’s ALBION/COURIER (2/4/73).

(2) Steve Agar and James Nelson in Spring Offensive 19 (January 1994). This is a seven player game based loosely on the Asimov Foundation series, five players being separate players (Tazenda, First Empire, Empire Colonies, Union of Worlds (The Mule) and the Association of Independent Traders). The other two players play as a team, one representing the First Foundation and the other being the Second Foundation (the latter of which is off the board). The board itself needs to be seen to be believed — it consists of two icosahedrons with centre points (the Trantorian Module), a hollow icosahedron (the Kalganian Module) and a dodecahedron (the Peripheral Module), and if you can visualise that you’re a better man than I. To begin with movement is confined to within the same module on the map, but after three years inter-module movement is permitted. The Second Foundation does not have units, that player tries to predict the moves of the five individual players and every move he correctly predicts more than 50% of the moves, the First Foundation receives an additional unit. Overall the rules are not too complicated, it is only the design of the map which is off-putting.