Tips & Strategies (20)

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Tips & Strategies (20)

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6
I play purple
Petroglyph
Baron / Baroness
27 of 29 gamers found this helpful
“Role play”

When you play Diplomacy, PLAY Diplomacy. Use all your powers of roleplay to become the leader of your selected nation. Only then will you be connected enough to that little map that you’ll say anything to protect it. And your roleplay will certainly have your opponents and allies thinking you know what you’re doing even if you don’t! Never ever ever forget or underestimate the incredible power of the bluff.

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9
Rated 100 Games
Stone of the Sun
Advanced Reviewer
Novice Advisor
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“What happens in Diplomacy stays in Diplomacy!”

This simple mantra helps to prevent nasty situations. In the game of Diplomacy people will lie to you and betray you in order to advance their own country. This means that when playing with friends you have to remember it is still a game.

Appreciate a pretty nasty betrayal (‘stab’) as a good play and not as a personal attack. Also, do not bring past slights back in a new game.

Although this might apply to many games, it applies to Diplomacy especially. In few games people can do the things they can do in Diplomacy. So just have a good laugh afterwards and remember it is a game and nothing more!

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9
Rated 100 Games
Stone of the Sun
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Novice Advisor
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“Country specific strategy: Turkey”

Turkey is in a excellent position at the start of the game. Its borders are at the edge of the game board, so attacks from the rear are very difficult and can be spotted in advance. Because of its good defensive position it is called a ‘Wicked Witch’ (together with England), in this case of the East.

However, Turkey is in immediate trouble. Only one center can be secured in Fall 1901 (Bulgaria) and after that Turkey has to attack either Austria-Hungary or Russia. So, an alliance with either is needed to attack the other. Austria-Hungary is seldom a good ally. They want the centers Turkey needs and are constantly in the way. Russia is a much better ally and together they can make quick work of Austria-Hungary (this alliance is called the Juggernaut).

But if neither Russia nor Austria-Hungary cooperates, Turkey is stuck on four supply centers. Many countries (especially Russia) fear letting the Turkish genie out of the bottle. Once Turkey holds Greece and Serbia Russia may lose control of its ally. Sevastopol and Rumania are easy targets and a 6/7 center Turkey is very strong in the late game.

So give the Russian something for his trouble and prevent an Austrian-Hungarian-Russian alliance at all costs! They can rip your country apart in no time if they want. If that happens no one will help you. Italy has problems of its own, Germany is almost always the ally of Austria-Hungary and England and France are just too far away.

If you can get the Russian player to play along, keep this alliance as long as possible. It is much harder for Russia to invade Turkey than for Turkey to take some Russian centers. Try to persuade him to build fleets in the north and not in the south. Extra fleets in Sevastopol is something you don’t want.

Play the underdog and slowly build up your centers. Don’t scare the other players. Purposefully lagging behind the leader (preferably Russia) draws the attention away. And then, when the time is right, take over the Russian centers. Victory should not be far away after that!

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9
Rated 100 Games
Stone of the Sun
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Novice Advisor
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“Country specific strategy: Russia”

Russia is the most powerful country on the board at the start of the game. Against the three supply centers everyone else has, Russia can place four armies and/or fleets on the board. However, this initial strength is not all it seems. Although Russia wins more than its 1/7 share of games it is not difficult to make a mistake and end up being torn apart by the others. Some refer to Russia as ‘playing two countries with two armies each’ – a reference to the size of the Russian territory and the difficulty defending it.

The first targets of Russia are usually Sweden and Rumania. However, Germany can easily deny Sweden to Russia and Rumania is difficult to hold if Turkey or Austria-Hungary is uncooperative. The nice thing about Russia, however, is that she can ally with Turkey or Austria-Hungary. Both alliances have their merits and lead to a steady increase in supply centers. As Turkey and Austria-Hungary rarely get along, they will be in line to ally with the Russian bear. Of course you need to watch your allies closely, especially Turkey. Because of the geography the Russian fleet is always split in two (a northern fleet in the Baltic and Arctic seas and a southern in the Black Sea), so Turkey’s united fleets can be quite annoying.

Because Austria-Hungary usually allies with Germany an alliance with Turkey seems the best choice. You can attack Austria-Hungary together and with the extra armies and fleets come down upon Germany. You will need their home centers to win.

And then there is the United Kingdom. With its huge fleet it can easily attack you via the seas and Norway (Norway borders Saint Petersburg!). So you might want to make a deal dividing the seas between you. If the British player asks you not to build fleets in the north; watch out! He or she may have designs on Saint Petersburg and once there he is difficult to dislodge.

So talk to France and get them to attack the British. This frees you from constantly defending your home centers. The French are usually interested in German centers and because of the distance between you, there is no immediate threat.

So if you can keep the Juggernaut (the alliance with Turkey) equal and you don’t overextend yourself you will probably run over Austria-Hungary and Germany together. With the United Kingdom weakened by France and with enough northern fleets victory is in sight!

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9
Rated 100 Games
Stone of the Sun
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Novice Advisor
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“Country specific strategy: France”

France is an excellent country to play when you are new to Diplomacy. With a good starting position and two guaranteed centers (Spain and Portugal) you can grow into the game without the need for enormous amounts of diplomatic haggling. Of course, after the two initial centers are taken the question is: what next?

Two direct neighbors means two possible alliances. The alliance with the United Kingdom is referred to as the Steamroller, as you can conquer the board together just like its eastern counterpart, the Juggernaut, consisting of Russia and Turkey. However, watch out for the British fleet! British players tend to build a lot of ships and there is only so much room in the northern seas. At some point those ships will be coming south. A key zone on the board is the Mid-Atlantic Ocean. This sea zone borders three of your centers (Brest, Spain and Portugal) including a home port. Never let it be taken by someone else, especially not that British fleet! So keep the French navy almost equal to the British (almost, for you will need more armies than fleets) to stall any stab from them.

Your second neighbor is Germany. With them there is less of a fleet problem. They also need more armies to keep their own on their own on the continent. So an alliance with them might be more equal. Also when you have taken the British Isles together, it is easier to get Russia to attack Germany and weaken them so you can take the British Isles for yourself. In that sense you are profiting from you corner-like position in the south west of the board.

France’s last neighbor, Italy, is also an indication of France’s strength, for Italy is very weak. The Italian navy will seldom have more than two ships, which is easily matched and countered by the French. But watch the Italian player, for he can make things difficult! When he asks you not to build fleets in Marseilles you may expect some attack by him and Germany. Find out if this is really coming, for it might spell doom when the German armies are supported by the Italians. If you can get the German and Italian player to quarrel (Tyrol is always a nice place to get them into a fight), you are in the best position to pick up Italian centers later.

Diplomatic pressure should be put on Russia and Turkey if they are doing well. If they take the lead at the start, talk to everyone to convey the message of doom of an Russian-Turkish alliance. If you can get the British player to put his strength forth in the north the Scandinavian arena will keep him occupied for a while. Russia’s growth is checked and it is very easy to get Austria-Hungary to play anti-Turkish. You, being France, will profit from all this conflict, as long as you have less centers than Russia. When you break that barrier you are probably staging an invasion of the United Kingdom and are (hopefully) on your way to victory!

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5
Smash Up: Zombie Faction Fan
Miniature Painter
Plaid Hat Games fan
27 of 29 gamers found this helpful
“Pieces speak louder than words”

One of the most beneficial skills in this game is the ability to read the board – someone might say they mean no harm – but the location of their armies and navies can tell you the real story.

The flip side of this is to hide your true intentions with ambiguous moves that mask your true intent until the last moment.

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3
PC Game Fan
34 of 37 gamers found this helpful
“Diplomatic Phase”

During the diplomatic phase, other players will notice if you pass a note or speak to someone unexpected, making double dealings a bit less covert. So our game group switched fairly quickly to doing the majority of our diplomatic phase dealings via text messages. That way no one else can see who you’re talking to.

As a bonus, your message history will keep some poor analyst at the NSA busy for days.

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5
Gamer - Level 5
Sophomore
Bard
60 of 66 gamers found this helpful
“Early Negotiations”

One of the best things to do in the diplomacy phase, especially early on, is to talk with everyone. Even if it is just to get a sense of what they are thinking. For example, many beginning players will not open up talks with a country on the opposite side of the board until late in the game or until they are about to come into contact with each other. This is a big mistake. By talking early you can set up a nice ally for late in the game, of even help each other out early by agreeing to go in a specific direction. Turkey and England, for example, can help each other with Russia early in the game by discussing some early or mid-game strategy early in the game.

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3
Intermediate Grader
My First Game Tip
28 of 31 gamers found this helpful
“Don't play with people that hold a grudge!”

As many other people imply (or outright declare) this game is about backstabbing people at the right moment. This type of gameplay doesn’t sit well with everyone.

It’s best if you play with a group of total strangers that know the game. It’s also good if you have friends who know what they’re getting into ahead of time.

Do NOT introduce this game to a new girlfriend, or a non-gamer family member. This does not end well.

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6
I play purple
Petroglyph
Baron / Baroness
27 of 30 gamers found this helpful
“Try to get a full house”

Face it, Diplomacy is one of the best games ever made. BUT its uberness drops off exponentially with each missing player. So try to get the full seven very dedicated players for the best experience.

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9
Rated 100 Games
Stone of the Sun
Advanced Reviewer
Novice Advisor
27 of 30 gamers found this helpful
“Get an ally and keep him! Until...”

In Diplomacy you need allies. Try to get at least one long-term ally. With him or her you can coordinate your attacks and divide the conquered supply centers between you.

However, the time will come when you have to betray your ally. Make sure you are always in a position to do this and try to get you ally in a more exposed situation. Then when the stab comes, you can make swift work of it. Allies that are not completely destroyed and come back, do so with a vengeance. Better to wipe him or her out.

I used this strategy many times before and have noticed it works very well. You have the backup to get centers at the start and s shot at deciding the game at the end. However, be careful! Your ‘ally’ might try the same strategy!

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9
Rated 100 Games
Stone of the Sun
Advanced Reviewer
Novice Advisor
27 of 30 gamers found this helpful
“Misconception about support orders - Watch out!”

When writing orders, especially new players assume that the army in Paris has strength 2 when they hand in something like:

A Par-Bur
A Gas S A Par

However, because the army in Paris was ordered to move and the army in Gascony supports a hold order, the army in Paris has strength 1 only. So when the move to Burgundy fails the order given to the army in Paris does not change. So someone attacking Paris with strength 2 will win!

I have seen many battle plans fail completely because of this misconception, so watch out! It is stated in the rulebook, but easily overlooked when playing for the first time.

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9
Rated 100 Games
Stone of the Sun
Advanced Reviewer
Novice Advisor
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“Country specific strategy: The United Kingdom”

As one of the powers at the corner of the board, opposite Turkey, The United Kingdom is called a ‘Wicked Witch’ and in this case of the West. The sea behind the British Isles are empty and hard to get into when the Royal Navy keeps watch. As long as the Royal Navy is bigger than the other navies, nobody can get from the continent to the Isles.

However, this easily defensible island is a mixed blessing. It might be easy to keep your home centers, but expansion is very hard. Norway is the only center you are guaranteed to get. You might get Belgium if Germany and France want to postpone eventual hostilities or by negotiating well. But will you keep Belgium?

The problem is the British army. There is only one army at the start of the game and armies have to be convoyed across the seas to attack the centers on the continent. That means the convoying ship cannot support the attack. You will be one point of strength behind in most cases. Thus more fleets are necessary. At the start a ratio of 2 to 1 of fleets versus armies is best. Later on more armies will be needed.

So you’ll need allies to help you establish a presence on the continent. France and Germany are both candidates. France might be a slightly better choice, because you can get them to build fleets in Marseilles, far from the British Isles. Germany’s fleets will always be in Kiel or Berlin and when the have three fleets they need the room to maneuver them – most of the times too close to your home!

The Steamroller (France and The United Kingdom working together) can be very powerful. If you can get Germany to stop Russia getting Sweden at the start, Russia will hate Germany, so you can roll over Germany with French support and an vengeful Russia at Germany’s back. Russia on the other hand will lack the centers to create a northern fleet, so you can pick up Saint Petersburg in the process.

An alliance with Germany might work, but Germany has to go army only when attacking France. They might not be willing to do that. But when Germany builds fleets, they might attack you after a while. Especially watch for fleets attacking the North Sea. At all times England needs either an empty North Sea or a fleet of its own in it. Enemies in the North Sea spell certain doom, for too many British lands border that sea.

You might get Italy to harass France a little, but you will have little contact with Italy, Austria-Hungary and Turkey. Still, try to create discord between Turkey and Russia. The Juggernaut it dangerous when you go for the Steamroller. It’s better for Russia to ally with Austria-Hungary. That might go bad when Germany does not want to relinquish Sweden, but a few turns in which Turkey and Russia are not actively working together might be all the time you need.

When you have Norway, Sweden and Denmark (and possibly Holland or Belgium) it might be time to put your fleets in the English Channel and attack France. Remember to build some armies for this! If you can pull this off (conquering Spain and Portugal in the process) you will be very close to winning!

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9
Rated 100 Games
Stone of the Sun
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Novice Advisor
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“Country specific strategy: Austria-Hungary”

Like Germany Austria-Hungary starts in a strategically bad situation. The Habsburg Empire is surrounded by potential enemies on all sides. And while they get to five centers in the first year most of the time, getting further requires a lot of diplomatic work.

First of all, Germany is you ally. I repeat: Germany is your ally. You don’t need German centers to win and the same goes for the Germans. If you start fighting each other everyone will profit, but you and Germany. You need a safe zone somewhere and the German-Austrian border is just that.

Next on the list: don’t antagonize Italy. Italy is probably the weakest power in Diplomacy, but they can do a lot of damage to Austrian prospects. The Venice-Trieste border is the only place on the board where two starting supply centers share a common border. So you need to talk to the Italian player pronto! At least get a non-agression pact. In that case you and they Italian player can actually use the army in Venice and the fleet in Trieste instead of leaving them where they are to stare at each other (while the rest of Europe is gobbled up by the other powers). Even better is a German-Austrian-Italian pact. While the Italian player might not get much out of it (but not much is a lot for Italy), you and Germany will profit greatly. Safe borders at your back are a premium asset!

The simplest fact for Austria-Hungary is the impossibility of cooperation with Turkey. You are in Turkey’s way (they need your centers to win) and they are a nuisance if not a threat to your security. So next to an alliance with Germany you need a cooperative Russian player. Play on his fears. Russia would like to ally with Turkey, but this alliance favors Turkey, because Russia never gets to build a fleet in the south. A backstab is just around the corner. So, get Russia to ally with you and destroy Turkey. Try to get the United Kingdom and Germany to harass Russia. That way they won’t get too big and will stay your ally.

In the end you need to stab. Do this after Turkey is destroyed. You will really need Russia until this is accomplished. After that make Russia spread their armies and fleets around and stab them. An alternative is to go for Italy (perhaps together with France). When you have some of the Turkish centers (and thus a sizable fleet) you can take out the Italians. After that Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser!

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6
I play purple
Petroglyph
Baron / Baroness
27 of 31 gamers found this helpful
“Trust no one”

No one. Not one person. Not even yourself half the time. Because one minute you’ll find yourself making sweeping promises to Russia and the next, you’ll be offering the moon to Turkey.

This is the ultimate game of strategy. If you can learn to master this, you’ll be nearly unbeatable in most any other strategy based game.

Make deals that can be interpreted in more than one way. When the time comes for the armies to move, you can live up to those deals as needed.

“Will you support me from Constantinople if I attack Ankara from the Black Sea?”

“But of course, your Excellency. I would live for no other reason than to do so”

Black Sea to Anakara.

Constantinople holds.

“WHAT?!?! You said you would support me!”

“Ah yes your Excellency. And I will…I offer the utmost moral support. GO! Go get ’em! Win one for the Gipper!”

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4
Viscount / Viscountess
Advocate
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
27 of 31 gamers found this helpful
“online resources”

http://www.dipsters.org ~ *The* online headquarters for this game. Explore this site for alternate maps for when you have non-seven players, for PBEM resources, for alternate rules, for strategy articles, and more.

http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/Dipsters/ ~ A home for top level PBEM Diplomacy.

Enjoy.

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9
Intermediate Reviewer
Chief Inspector
Strategist
El Dorado
27 of 31 gamers found this helpful
“Official Errata/FAQ - Diplomacy”

Here you go, everything you might need to answer any questions you may have about the game:

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=ah/faqs/diplomacy

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9
Rated 100 Games
Stone of the Sun
Advanced Reviewer
Novice Advisor
27 of 31 gamers found this helpful
“Country specific strategy: Germany”

When World War I started Germany had one of the best trained armies in the world. They would defeat the Russian armies and hold off France and the United Kingdom until the arrival of the armies of the United States tipped the battle in the favor of the Western Powers. In Diplomacy, however, you will notice that Germany cannot boast the same military strength they had in reality.

You start out with only two armies and one fleet, but you still have the same problem Germany faced in the World Wars: two fronts. Germany is in the middle of the board and while that ensures a place at the negotiating table of all Great Powers, it does not ensure survival.

While Denmark and Holland are easily taken, the next moves are uncertain. First of all: the United Kingdom or France as a long term ally? Because of the strategic importance of the North Sea I would ally with France. The United Kingdom will always have fleets in the North Sea and when they collect centers their fleet grows. You can never match their fleets in the long run, so when France is defeated and the unavoidable stab comes, you will lose a lot of coastal centers. It will be better to conquer the British Isles, while building a fleet of your own. You and France will be on equal footing and therefore a well-placed stab on France is possible.

Then there is Russia. They are not your friends. To win Russia will need to conquer Germany. There is no way around it, because Germany is too close. So deny Sweden to Russia as long as you can. They will not like it, but what help could they give you in the end? When they do get Sweden, try to get them to help you to conquer Norway. You can play the card of ‘I have only a few centers and Russia is so big, so I had to postpone you getting Sweden’. They might go for it. Never help them to get Norway, because they will be difficult to dislodge from Scandinavia with a strong foothold there.

You natural ally is Austria-Hungary. NEVER attack them. You don’t need their centers to win and they don’t need yours. Also, they face a multi-front war, the same as you. So you are in it together at the center of the board. While they might not be able to actively help you, they will guard your back along the south and south-east border. This gives you room to maneuver. And while Russia is their natural ally too, they won’t mind you keeping Russia small.

Also, Italy can help. Persuade them to harass France and not send an army to Tyrol. You want them in at least a cease-fire with Austria-Hungary so you can focus on the United Kingdom and Russia (and later France). While Italy isn’t very strong, they can make life hard for the French and that is what you want.

Last of all, Turkey, is not a direct threat or ally. Do keep them small, though. Once Turkey grows, Austria-Hungary will shrink and then Russia might take advantage of that and later of you.

So, as a Great Power in the center of the board, you have a lot of talking ahead of you and no comfortable position to fall back on. However, if you keep you cool, you could get to 7 centers in just two years. Don’t attack everyone at once, but stick to your ally (preferably France) and destroy one enemy at the time. That might just be the road to victory…

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9
Rated 100 Games
Stone of the Sun
Advanced Reviewer
Novice Advisor
27 of 32 gamers found this helpful
“Shorten the game!”

Diplomacy tends to be a long game. Usually you will play an entire day from late morning to early evening. Still, the game might not be finished by that time. The stalemate lines are mostly to blame. Players can easily put the game into standstill by issuing orders to support and hold. Thus a stalemate line is created across the board (through impassable Switzerland) until either alliance crumbles.

In tournament games the game is usually ended after the Fall 1905 or Fall 1906 turn. The player with the most centers wins.

Also possible is to set a specific amount of time in which the game will be played. Personally I like the deadline in turns better. It changes the game considerably (you just need to get more centers than your opponents), but really shortens it.

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9
Rated 100 Games
Stone of the Sun
Advanced Reviewer
Novice Advisor
27 of 32 gamers found this helpful
“Country specific strategy: Italy”

Italy, ah, Italy… There is no way around it: Italy is the worst country to play in Diplomacy. You will need all the talent and diplomatic skills you’ve got and still you probably never win. Italy has a lot of drawbacks and almost nothing to compensate for them. Only one supply center is a given in the first turn: Tunisia. After that you need an ally to get more. If you stay on your own France can easily crush you and Turkey is dangerous from the east.

The most important thing you have to do when you play Italy is frustrate all other alliances, with the exception of the German-Austrian alliance. Germany and Austria-Hungary are like you in the middle of the board and thus suffer from some of the same problems you have. If you stand together you might get somewhere. If you don’t you will all fail.

Most importantly you have to prevent the Juggernaut (Russia/Turkey) or the Steamroller (United Kingdom/France) from forming. Otherwise they will rip Germany and Austria apart and then get to you. Whoever wins, it won’t be Italy!

So, lie, deceive, sweet talk and mystify your opponents. Make them insecure and wary of their ‘allies’. As everyone perceives Italy as weak you can use that to your advantage. Two routes are open. You can work with Austria to defeat Turkey or you can take on France. The first option is hard, because a lot of trust between Austria and Italy is needed. You will have a lot of fleets and are in an excellent position to stab Austria after Turkey is finished. The Austrian player might not that cooperative.

However, if you can get Germany and the United Kingdom to work together France is a prime target. You can wrest Portugal and Spain from French control and then you will be in a position to expand.

Diplomacy is the prime asset for the Italian player. You have little strength of your own, so the power of your talk has to come to the rescue. In that sense Italy is a fun country to play. You probably won’t win, but if you do (or even get to 6 or 7 centers), you are the hero of the game!

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