P – Variant Descriptions

PACIFICA (Scott Roseburg).

Rules originally Published in The Pocket Armenian 13.

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

Eight players (Alaska, Australia, British Empire, Hawaii, Japan, New Zealand, Philippines, US); ten island centers not considered land spaces. No relation to anything.


(1) GORDON McDONALD in AC-MONG 43 (February 1992)

A seven player game whose title is self-explanatory, set in 1920. The powers are: Armenia, France, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Turkey and the USSR. The fairly good quality map goes as far north as Rumania and Southern USSR, east as far as central Iran, south as far as Northern Sudan and west to central Libya and the toe of Italy.

Most forces have their supply centres where one would expect them to be considering the geography mentioned, with Britain based in Egypt and Kuwait, France based in Syria and north-east Chad; need I go on?

The game has an unusual order known as “seize”. A nation does not automatically take a supply centre by occupying it in the autumn but rather must “seize” it first, and may “seize” it for another nation. A supply centre may be designated as a “home centre” if a player has lost all his original home centres. An interesting game.

PERESTROIKA III By Larry Cronin (Peristroika ???)

(1) MICHAEL LOWREY in Perestroika 29 (February 1992)

The game itself I found rather boring. Perestroika III should be called Trade Wars, for that’s largely what it is. Trade is too important, allowing small powers to generate large amounts of treasury out of any proportion to their GNPs. (Assuming no-one is dumb enough to trade with the dominant power.) This produces a game in which the likely result is a big draw, making the game not really worth the effort to play. Possible solutions to this are either restricting the amount of trade and allowing trade within a country. (I thought it was rather abusive that Italy, which only owned part of Turkey, could trade 50 to Turkey while having a GNP of 2. Meanwhile, no possibility of trade existed between my half of Europe simply because it was all owned by the same country.)

PERESTROIKA V By Larry Cronin (Peristroika 14, November 1990) ??/07

(1) LARRY CRONIN in Perestroika 14 (November 1990)

The main improvement with this variant is a simplification of the accounting rules, blocks only costing one point now. To prevent runaway economics an inflation factor has had to be put in, which further complicates matters. Finally the cost of military units increases as the game progresses. To keep this simple, I have tied the cost of military units to the year; e.g. in 1902 they are two points, 1903 they are three points. Blocks do not increase in price.

Probably the most interesting feature of this variant, which radically departs from all other Diplomacy variants, is that the NEUTRALS have lives of their own. Trade may be conducted with NEUTRALS and according to specified simple rules, the NEUTRALS trade back to the player partner. This discourages the wanton conquering of these defenseless nations. (Credit Will Philips for the idea.) Overall this variant is very well balanced between trade, investment and military concern.

In another area, I have removed the need for a location for treasuries. This was an unnecessary complication and also prevented a nation from surviving beyond the capture of all its supply centres. Now a player can maintain more units than supply centres, providing the treasury has funds to maintain them.

PERESTROIKA VI By Larry Cronin (Perestroika ???, 1991)

(1) MARK NELSON in The Mouth of Sauron Volume VII:

6 (February 1991)

This is an economic design and a comparison with Mini-Economic would be interesting… Larry describes the game himself:

“The variant is essentially regular Diplomacy, but an economy has been added. It’s fairly simple — blocks exist in supply centres yielding a GNP. There is enough GNP in 1900 to build the usual number of units but players can alternatively build further blocks expanding the GNP. This creates a tension between the economy and the military. The variant has undergone innovations and fine tuning during almost two years of postal play. It does require careful gamesmastering.”

Players may loan/gift spare points, a common rule in many economic variants, but there is also a new idea; that of `trade’. When points given by one nation to another are designated as trade, the receiving party obtains twice the amount sent. However, trade can only occur if a `trade route’ exists. (The idea of trading routes is not new.) The effects of trading routes is that you commonly only trade with your immediate neighbours, making trading a risky but potentially highly beneficial activity. For example, if Austria trades three to Italy then Italy receives six. Italy trades the six back to Austria who receives twelve. Austria trades the twelve back to Italy who receives twenty-four. However, with that many points Italy may decide to build some units and attack Austria.

To encourage players to respect the rights of neutrals, trading with neutral supply centres is allowed, so if you can’t trust your neighbours but can keep a SC neutral then you can still trade. This has an immediate effect on the power of certain countries: Italy is stronger as he gets more out of keeping Tun neutral (and continually trading with it) than from capturing it. Similarly in the first year England can trade with Norway, and France with Iberia.

I suspect that Austria is weakened as a result of trading. Austria can’t guarantee to keep any SC neutral and isn’t in a position to play short in the first season, thus putting it at an immediate economic disadvantage. For example, England can afford to build only two units in the first season which gives it a block to invest in a SC (making that centre a double SC).

In order to prevent ever increasing GNP’s, a serious problem, SCs that are attacked decrease in value. This means that it’s better to trade than to build up your home economy. A form of multiple units is used to break up stalemate lines.

One rule which is ridiculous is that draws are not allowed, the game continues until a player wins; or, as is more likely, until all but one of the original players drop out.

There are a number of optional rules which enlarge the scope of the game. I like this variant, I’m not convinced about its balance but there are plenty of interesting possibilities. And unlike many variants which increase the strategic/tactical side of the game and cause a decrease in diplomacy (as players spend more time working out the best set of moves) this game rewards those who diplome through the benefits gained from trading.

Overall, some excellent ideas; but the faults need ironing out.

PERSIAN (Martin Janta-Polezynski).

Rules originally published in Europa 6-8.

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

A substantial redesigning of Diplomacy, rather well done. Many bodies of water are combined; the North Sea is shrunk to the benefit of the Norwegian and Channel; the Adriatic reaches Greece; more than one fleet of a given power can occupy a body of water; Kiel and Constantinople may be skipped by fleets if unoccupied by a unit that wishes to block it; there are two four-points; fleets may not retreat from sea to land; convoyed armies have extra strength and fleets in a coastal province are weaker; there are five more land provinces; except for Berlin and Kiel, no major power has two adjacent supply centers; there are several new double coasted provinces that are not supply centers; every province in Russia has at least one coast; set-up is completely optional; there is an optional rule to permit builds in non-supply centers; supply center Venice has been moved to Milan to lessen conflicts, but the new center at Breslau is adjacent to Warsaw.

PERSIAN DIPLOMACY II (Martin Janta-Polczynski) ??/07

(1) STEVE AGAR in ???, circa September 1980

An expanded board variant which keeps the regular seven powers, but introduces considerable map changes — introducing the North African coast whilst reorganizing the province boundaries within the regular countries (30 SCs). Interesting features include multiple fleets, new rules on canals (making F(BAL)-NTH legal), an addition to the convoy system (allowing fleets in coastal provinces to convoy), a hierarchical movement system (whereby equal forces do not necessarily stand each other off — consequently an unsupported fleet in a coastal province will always be displaced by an army and finally the inertial builds rule module which does away with the necessarily of conditional builds/retreats. Fascinating.

PHILLIES’ RULES (George Phillies).

(1) Robert Sacks in Lord of Hosts 3, February 1975.

Examine the 1961 rulebook: “an order to move, with support, against a unit belonging to the same country as the supporting unit is of no effect; that is… may not force… retreat.” In the 1971 rulebook: “an order by one country which supports an attack by another country against a space occupied by one of the first country’s units does not permit a move dislodging that unit…”. Phillies holds that the rulebook should be interpreted literally: if A’s units support B’s unit against another of A’s units, the attack fails unless the support is cut NO MATTER HOW MANY OTHER SUPPORTS B HAS. Sounds like fun — think about it.

PLAGUE! (Adam Gruen).

Rules originally published in Urf Durfal 6.

(1) Robert Sacks in Lord of Hosts 8, December 1975.

A random variant, affects land provinces eliminating units in them and negating supply. The plagues are voted and spread to adjacent units which CD and die two turns later. Sick.

PLUTONOMY (Tom Swider) re09/07

(1) MIGUEL LAMBOTTE in SoL 2 (October 1990)

Based on Bourse, this variant enables the bankers to control the powers.

PRASAD DIPLOMACY (Anshu Prasad) ????/07

(1) MARK NELSON 1/04/1994

A variant posted to rec.games.diplomacy on March 29th 1993.

When a unit moves into a supply center that the occupying power does not own the player that owns that center loses control of it, but the occupying player does not gain control of it unless they occupy it at the end of the Autumn adjudication ( as in regular diplomacy).

The only exception to his occurs when a player writes an order of the form:

U (abc) – def NON-HOSTILE.

In this case ownership of the center def is not effected by the presence of the occupying unit.

PURE (???) ??/07

(1) taken from the rec.games.diplomacy.FAQ file on 28/1/93.

This is a simple traditional variant of diplomacy. There are the usual seven countries. There are seven spaces on the board – one corresponding to each country – its home supply center. These spaces are all connected by land one with another. Initially, each player begins with one army in his home supply center.

The objective of the game is to accumulate four supply centers. See also Minimalist Diplomacy.