W – Variant Descriptions

WAR OF THE RING (Lew Pulsipher).

(1) Robert Sacks in Lord of Hosts 7, September 1975.

Not so much a game as a game system. Various scenarios, between two and seven players. There are forts, equivalent to stationary units without capability to support external action, multiple units, army/fleet conversion, Gondor and Rohan usually linked, only one scenario uses mountains, centers depending on scenario for value and strength, one scenario uses Downfall-type rules for Ring and Nazgul. A must for Tolkien variant players and designers.


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

The Scenario is England in 1470. King Edward IV faces a rebellion by Warwick, who acts in the pretense of regaining the throne for Henry VI. There are nine players in the game, all of which start with one unit on each of their home supply centres.

These players are: Edward IV, Richard of Gloucester, Duke of Norfolk and Lord Hastings all under the Yorkist banner, while the Earl of Warwick, Duke of Exeter, Duke of Somerset and the Earl of Northumberland are fighting the Lancastrian cause with the Duke of Clarence as a neutral. The Lancastrians support Henry VI, who is a non-player unit in the control of Warwick and is assigned secretly to one of his units.

Players may change their political alignment, either as a claimant to the throne, support someone else in their claim to the throne or declare their neutrality, as long as the GM is informed. Once a player has declared himself a contender to the throne, he may never ally with another claimant, even if one party renounces his claims. If at any time there is only one claimant to the throne for two consecutive seasons, that player becomes King.

Units can act as fleets by moving from a port to a sea province and any number can occupy the same one; nor can they be dislodged from a sea province. London confers a garrison strength of one, to any unit occupying it.

The rules seem straight forward enough, although map quality could be better.

WESTPHALIA VIII (Howard Mahler).

(1) Robert Sacks in Lord of Hosts 1, November 1974.

This is a revision of Westphalia VI and includes many minor map changes; the principle changes are that a Spanish center and space Milan are created, Spain begins a unit short, and all initial set ups are discretionary. There are more Spanish centers outside of Spain than inside. There are several double-coasted and canaled provinces, and one province (Andalusia) separates the Atlantic from the Mediterranean.

WITCH WORLD II (Lewis Pulsipher).

(1) Robert Sacks in Lord of Hosts 1, November 1974.

There are almost as many double-coasted, special provinces and special rules as there are ordinary supply centers, which might be necessary to simulate the special properties in this five player fantasy. (I do, however, miss the actual magic that is to be found in the books; in Warlock for instance an entire army is wiped out by magic in a minute.) Coastal Crawl and Crawling retreats are used. In spite of everything, the game appears rather simple and should generate interesting press, especially if the players have read any of the books.

WOOLWORTH II-D (Glen Overby and Fred C. Davis Jnr).

(1) Ten Great Powers (Regular plus Spain, Scandinavia and the Balkans) but only five players. Each player controls one `public’ power and one `private’ power, which gives lots of scope for double-dealing as well as the problem of how closely to co-ordinate your two powers (too much and you’ll give the game away!). An increasingly popular variant over the past few years, and rightly so. The name arises because when the Woolworth stores were originally founded in the USA, all their goods were sold at either 5c or 10c.

(2) JAMES NELSON in SPRINGY 45 (February 1991)

This variant uses a slightly modified map. There are five players, each controlling one public power and one secret power, which player runs which secret power is, at the start of the game, known only to the GM. With ten powers on a small map there is immediate conflict! The secret powers make it easier to start wars and makes for colourful press. The secret powers need to played carefully so as to avoid giving away the identities of the controlling player. There are sudden shifts in alliance structures as players try to find out who their opponents really are. With two powers for each player, elimination from the game is rare. A fun game.



This is superficially similar to FINAL CONFLICT (qv), but the two were developed independently and have very different styles of play. Like FC, World Dip is played on a world map. It has eight players and the basic version, which includes armies, fleets and air forces, is closer to the regular game then Final Conflict. There are optional rules for nuclear forces.

WORLD DOMINATION I & II gp26 & gp27 (Richard Egan).

(1) Eric Instone in Moonlighting 8, April 1990.

Playing standard DIPLOMACY, I often felt restricted by both the limited extent of the board and by the almost inevitable stalemate line. World Domination gets over these problems and a lot more. Whereas in standard DIPLOMACY France will normally go for Iberia, the southern powers will squabble over the Balkans, and England will set out to control everything around the North Sea, in World Domination things tend to be a little more varied as there are a lot more options. It’s a big game, covering the entire world, and normally everyone will be engaged in actions in several different pies, and if one gets hurt it’s still not necessarily the end of your game. As for Europe, the standard board is used (the game is an extension of the standard board), and is still prone to the odd stalemate. However, with action elsewhere remaining fluid, Europe snarling up actually adds to the game, providing an interesting contrast. Game balance between powers is deliberately uneven, but again this adds rather than detracts to the design. If there is one fault, however, it would be the weakness of Russia, which World Domination II went some way to rectify (World Domination I was really no more than a draft version, which somehow found its way into the variant banks of the world). Finally, the chrome (gas warfare, submarines and more) is almost all optional, and is both simple and works well. It gives yet more variety to the variant. To sum up, World Domination is not overtly complex, and is tried and tested. Games are both big and varied.

WORLD POWERS (Richard Ware).

Rules originally Published in Voinskij Doklad 1.

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

A simple map extension covering the entire world; each of the powers has an additional center with Japan and US added with four centers; there is a canal through Egypt and between Mexico and Columbia. Some merit.


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

This variant is based around Lew Pulsipher’s 1939 Diplomacy (qv) but provides for more options. The system is the same as Pulsipher’s. The changes come in the form of an expanded European map which takes in all of North Africa and the Middle East and units for most of the neutral countries. These neutrals may be converted to the use of the major powers (now including the U.S.A) by expending those centre points. Moreover, the game allows players to indulge in technological research again by spending these points. Through this the players can gain better tanks, armies and bombers and, of course, the “Bomb”. Overall this variant has proved very popular with at least three games in progress in Australian zines. If there is a flaw it is that the German player is slightly disadvantaged. He starts off strong and so there is a tendency for the other players to “gang up” on him. But as more games are played this tendency may be disproved.

WORLD WAR III (Scot Rosenburg).

Rules originally Published in The Pocket Armenian 19 & 20

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

Confused and unnecessarily complicated — uses nuclear and alignment rules.