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Store:  Strategy Games
Edition:  Diplomacy
Series:  Diplomacy
Genre:  Negotiation & Diplomacy
Format:  Board Games

Diplomacy

bookshelf edition with wooden pieces


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Play Time Players
300 minutes 3-7

Designer(s): Allan Calhamer

Manufacturer(s): Avalon Hill

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Product Information

Product Reviews

 
 
 
 
 

Average Rating: 4.6 in 26 reviews

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My favorite game
April 09, 2004

The more attractive games for family or unfrequent players are those with the following ingredients:

- negociation,

- trading,

- managing goods,

- fun relationship mecanism.

So the games i usually end up playing are Settlers of Catan or Bohnanza, known best sellers, well accepted in any kind of group.

But i have to confess, that the game i had more fun playing ever is Diplomacy.

The problem is to find 5 to 7 players willing to dispute power in a agressive way, and to know all the players will still be friends in the end.

The ingredients are:

- agressivity,

- capacity to convince others,

- fight for survival,

- seach for pure power.

These ingredients make the game very intense... more intense than any other, i believe.

 
 
 
 
 
What a wonderful way to spend your time!
January 03, 2004

This truly is one of the best games of all time...not only is there no rolling of the dice there is also backstabbing, teaming up with other players and alliances broken and kept. This is a game which when played with six or seven people takes at least half a game...so get a group of friends together and play it for yourself!

 
 
 
 
 
Penultimate Strategy Game of All Time
June 24, 2003

Diplomacy represents purist strategy gaming at its finest. It provides sufficient scope to capture the imaginations of its players; conquer Europe on the eve of The Great War. Yet unlike other 'conquer the world' style games such as Axis and Allies, it has no reliance on such things as turn order, or the arbitrary rolling of dice. And while the game involves more than a bit of strategy and tactical skill, it is named diplomacy for a reason. The real joy of the game, the area in which it excels above all other games of its genre, is the human interaction which punctuates every nail-biting turn. Diplomacy, if you've any sort of interest in strategy gaming, is a must-play.

 
 
 
 
 
Very good Teaching Tool
April 10, 2003

Play this game in the Class Room Very good teaching tool for the World War 1 unit. Although history might change a bit through the game. It gives a sence of Nationalism and also Diplomacy. It shows how imperialism worked to inflict war and how allies worked during war. Good Game and its also fun. Have groups making alliances and making war.. they cope through differences and learn lessons on how to cooperate as a single country or with tonnes of allies.

 
 
 
 
 
Amazing
March 25, 2003

I think that this is the most suberb game ever made. I absolutely love the strategy and diplomacy involved in this game. I will, however, mention one problem. This is the allied victory concept. This concept is very beneficial in keeping the games reliatively short, but most games I play in end with 4 or 5 of the 7 players allying. This makes the game a struggle to gang up on weaker nations and destroy them. My three favorite nations are Britain, Turkey, and Austria. The first two are selected only because they are so hard to destroy they are almost garunteed an allied victory in every game. The third was selected because it is the only nation that is in postition to dominate the board given the right alliences. The only game that my group has ever really finished was a game in which I took over all nations but Britain as Austria. The British ended with a surrender after I captured scandinavia with armies!

 
 
 
 
 
A rare masterpiece
March 24, 2003

I have reviewed over a hundred games in the past ten years. Diplomacy is the only one that deserves a full 5 stars, without reservation.

It is perfect almost by accident. Change this game only slightly and you've made it worse. All the Diplomacy variants out there, and none of them rate even much higher than average.

I don't know what I can add to the extensive reviews out there. Diplomacy is perhaps one of the most oft-played war game there is.

As tactically and strategically demanding as chess, and yet relying on the power of negotiation and understanding your fellow man.

Very much like Chess and Go in the sense that it takes mere moments to learn the rules and basic strategies, yet people can spend a lifetime never to attain more than an intermediate level.

Drawbacks? Very few. The game can sometimes take a while, and some claim the end game can get tedious. But if you could have only one war game in your entire collection, choose this one without reservation.

Beyond question the game with the highest re-playability, and the game that will sharpen your mind the most.

The best war game there ever was, and likely ever will be.

 
 
 
 
 
by David
The best game ever...
March 16, 2003

This is easily the best game I have ever played. There is absolutely no chance involved, and it is good for any number of players. Of course, the diplomacy involved is better with more people, but the military strategy alone makes the 2-player games interesting.

By the way, I have heard it said that Russia is the strongest player. However, they are very vulnerable to attack, and are often (at least in 2-player games) the first to fall.

 
 
 
 
 
Great game that's hard to play
January 11, 2003

If your looking for a great game look no further. This game has no randomness beyond the picking of countries and is governed by some simple rules. And the best part is the diplomatic phase where the smooth talking begins. The only problem with this gem is the fact it takes a long time, and the need for many players. And believe me you miss out on something as you start to have less players. There is less diplomacy more of a tactical game as the players dwindle down.

 
 
 
 
 
by Alan
Whatever your luck may be, you can still conquer Diplomacy.
November 13, 2002

Diplomacy is the best game ever created. Me and my friends have played many games that have lasted until the wee hours of the morning. The best part of the game has to be that you don't have to good luck to win. IT'S ALL SKILL. It also fun because lying, cheating, and backstabbing are encouraged. The only drawback to the game is that seven people that know the rules and want to play are required. Although, when we have been short on players we just come up with new variations. This game will not let you down.

 
 
 
 
 
by Kido
Best game ever, but the hard part is to get to play it.
August 07, 2002

Without doubt Diplomacy is the best game ever invented. But as stated above you MUST be with seven DEVOTED players, who are willing to play for several hours, with the risk, when they are early eliminated, that they are just observers for the main part of these hours. This makes it really hard to create an opportunity to play the game. But the greatness of the game surely makes it worth to keep on looking for those opportunities...

 
 
 
 
 
Mind vs. Mind, Wit vs. Wit, Nerve vs. Nerve -- The Only Game
April 08, 2002

Anyone who recognizes my name knows that if there were a way to rate a game with ten stars here, my rating for Diplomacy would be double what it is. As the founder of The Diplomatic Pouch, the Internet home page for the worldwide Diplomacy hobby, my passion for the game is boundless, and I won't bore you with it except to say that I am far from alone. Diplomacy's adherents truly are a large, far-flung, and devoted group, with countless tournaments and organized national, continental, and world championships and flourishing play-by-email communities. So many people can't be wrong (don't worry -- we're not). No review can truly do The Game justice, so my best advice is to visit The Diplomatic Pouch to learn why everyone should be a Diplomacy player.

 
 
 
 
 
Nothing compares to this game
October 10, 2001

Diplomacy is a great game. I love the fact that there is no luck in this game at all. It's like the old saying--you have to make your own luck.

A reviewer stated earlier that the best countries to be are France and Russia. I disagree with this. The best countries I feel are Great Britian and Turkey. If these two teams join up, then problems will occur for many countries, espically Russia. Great Britian can become very deadly if you only produce ships and nothing else. Turkey, on the other hand, needs both, and only has to attack in one direction, which is up.

I played a game recently where one of my best friends and I were these countries, we finished our first round of discussions by saying, "I'll see you in the middle." Though we had stated this, we were ploting against each other by getting other countries to do our dirty work; e.g., I got Italy to take Greece and the Agean sea--this stuffed up Turkey badly.

This game is great, and I have not played any other game were you can meddle in other people's affairs.

 
 
 
 
 
by Ed
How Can It Be Less Than 5?
April 07, 2001

I played the original Avalon Hill version more than 15 years ago and still rate it as the best game I have ever played!

Why?

  • There is absolutely no luck involved. You have the opportunity to negotiate every outcome with every player in every turn.
  • It really teaches you how to keep your emotions in check. You look at each alliance on its own merits and not what has happened in the past. ie. the moment you choose/decline forging alliances based on emotions, you will probably lose. So can you handle forging an alliance with someone who has backstabbed you 3 times so far?!
  • You must watch impending developments. If you make decisions based on actual actions, you have little time to swing things around to your favor.
  • You never really know who is on your side until they have proven it!
  • And finally, the real reason why I truly love this game--the great satisfaction of winning! Just imagine punctuating the air after every move where things turn out in your favor and how that is accentuated 100 times over if you actually won the game! I have never played any other game where people go into an emotional dance every time they 'win'!

There are those who complain about the long hours needed for this game (3-4) but I don't see it as a negative--it's not like taking out the game and thinking that it's a drag to play for couple of hours!

I guess the only other game I have in the 'Dare you rate it less than 5 category' is Adel.

 
 
 
 
 
Diplomacy: the one and only strategy game
March 04, 2001

Diplomacy is the one and only strategy game, at least for me. A fantastic game of cunning tactics, interesting and deep strategies, and merciless betrayal. Not a game for the soft of heart, though.

I'd like to correct James from Louisiana a little. If he would take his chances with Turkey facing Henry Kissinger as Austria, I reckon your chances ain't all that good. However, the game is not entirely balanced. You just don't know what powers are the extremes.

The strongest powers in Diplomacy are France and Russia. Russia with the greatest growth potential, France with two secure builds in Iberia. It doesn't give them a substantial advantage, but over a series of 20 games with each power, you'll notice a slightly better figure with these nations.

Have a nice day, and happy backstabbing to all of you.

 
 
 
 
 
by Josh
Randomness doesn't enter into it
December 25, 2000

I disagree with James from Louisiana: Some powers are harder to play than others, but an experienced player can win from any position, even against other experienced players. The numbers come out very different depending on who you sample, too--I've heard that England, widely believed to be a strong power among American players, is considered a patsy among British players, because F/G alliances against England are much more common among the British for some reason. In any case, because the game relies so much on negotiation, and is so much about stopping whoever's in the lead from winning, there are many ways in which it's easier to play a power that's considered 'less dangerous'... But those who have played a lot know that it's the player, not the power, that determines the end result.

 
 
 
 
 
The ultimate strategy game !!
November 21, 2000

No luck in this proven old warhorse. Success relies on the player's ability to plan and coordinate campaigns, coerce the trust of partners--and deftly time betrayals--all the while watching his/her back for the big stab.

Few games require such high levels of player interaction. The 'lone wolf' cannot win. Cunning is the skill that carries the day.

And the more players, the better. Five to seven players provide for a rousing contest.

This game is not for the casual gamer, though. It's cutthroat; people who can't stand to be betrayed will not enjoy this game.

If you haven't played this classic, give it a try.

 
 
 
 
 
by Kevin
Have a healthy respect for Lady Luck !
April 12, 2000

Finally, a game in which Sun Tzu's Art of War strategies can be applied! (Read it!!) People keep saying this is not a game of luck, but to conquer Europe is not an easy thing. To time your alliance or betrayal may take more skills than luck, but execution (simultaneous resolution) can often be out of your control. Others have you trust you enough to help you, or not to attack you just yet, and that my friends, is not JUST about skills.

 
 
 
 
 
I'll never play another strategy game again.
March 18, 2000

No widgets, no woggles. This game is more about the interaction between the players than the pieces on the board. Threaten, cajole, convince, mislead, misrepresent, flatter, or just plain lie your way into a win! It's that simple.

 
 
 
 
 
by Karl
The ultimate in multiplayer luckless strategy.
February 21, 2000

No dice. No cards. No spinner things. Nothing random. No luck involved.

Think about chess. Now think about seven player chess. Now think about seven player chess where all moves are revealed simulataneously. Give it historical context and simpler rules.

There you have diplomacy.

It's a long game by most standards, but lends itself well to multiple sittings, PBEM, and other methods. A face-to-face game will probably run 8-12 hours.

IMO, it is a seven player game. Fewer players are fine for learning the game, but to get the full experience, seven players are a must. Of course, not all seven will survive the game.

 
 
 
 
 
Not for the meek
November 06, 1999

Diplomacy is one of the few games that has elements of Strategy, Tactics, and negotiation, and all aspects are needed.

This is a seven player game for control of Europe. The game play stars from 1900, but it is Europe of 1914 that is shown on the map. The seven positions are Austria, England, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Turkey. The game is abstracted in there are only two unit types, Fleets and Armies.

The game is played by making alliances and crushing the opposition. There is nothing in the rules about actually keeping the alliance, and turning on your one-time partner after removing a common enemy is a part of the game. Of course, if you are good at tactics, you can also punish an ally who stabs you, espacially if he doesn't do it right and you can make a new agreement with someone else in the game.

This game has been around for forty years. When it first came out, wooden game pieces were used for the units. Later the pieces became plastic, and everyone complained. So Avalon Hill marketed two versions of the game, the cheaper Diplomacy, and the Deluxe version with the wooden pieces. Personally I thought the price was a bit steep, but this is a great game.

And a last word about this game, there is a very active play by mail and play by e-mail crowd out there, so even if you buy this game and do not get to play face-to-face much, you can still find players willing to play either online or by mail.

 
 
 
 
 
Like Risk but more fun...more strategy and less luck
July 14, 1999

This game has the unique quality of being a highly strategic and social game for a group of people and yet lacking any element of luck. The entire game revolves around trying, with persuasion and deceit, to get the other players to help you beat them. Each one of course thinks that he is tricking you into helping him beat you. A lot of fun, and well worth the relatively high price.

 
 
 
 
 
Not Quite 5
January 02, 2002

Diplomacy is a great game. However, as several people have noted it is not balanced. I cannot disagree more with whoever said that Russia is the best to play as. In my many-game experience, Russia loses whatever builds they make in the south to Turkey, and they end up with less than they started with. When playing as Russia, my advice is to ally with Turkey. Let them take Rumania if necassary. This lets you attack Germany and Austria without fear of losing Sevastopol.

One more problem, not a big one: the 3 player game could be improved. I have only played this a couple of times, but I noticed that if Austria is added to the Russia-Italy player, it seems more balanced. Also, when players play as multiple countries, scoring is easiest if you add up all their centers and divide by the number of countries.

Despite these problems, Diplomacy is a great game.

 
 
 
 
 
If you hate luck based games, this is for you.
January 05, 2003

I notice in many reviews people complain about too much 'luck' being involved in a game. It seems that if there are *any* dice involved at all, some people think that the game is totally dependent on luck. Well, if you are one of those people here is the game for you. While no game is totally devoid of luck (if it were, we would know the outcome before we began), this one has no dice, and really the only thing that is luck dependent is if your ally is going to stab you this turn or next.

This is a great game set in pre WWI with the powers of England, France, Germany, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Russia all vieing for power. Moves are very chess like, with no die roll determining who wins. Whoever has the greater amount of forces wins the contest. The problem lies in the limited amount of units. Most nations only start with three, and when you have to defend your homeland it does not leave you with many units to strike out into enemy territory.

In order to make a successful advance, you NEED friends to help you. You get their help before each turn begins. At this stage there is a 15 minunte time period where you go off to various corners of the room and talk with the other players. Everyone can say anything they want, to anyone. You can make outright lies if you'd like, but you must be careful. Once you loose other player's trust (especially if you play with the same group often) it is very difficult to get it back.

As you take special areas called supply centers, you gain more units. With more units you would think that you could be more independent, but you really cannot. Quite often the most powerful nation is ganged up on by the 6 least powerful and they eventually wear him down. One of the more lowly nations takes a larger slice of the pie than the others, becomes the most powerful, then everyone gangs up on him.....ad nauseum. The key is to not become too powerful, and make everyone believe that another nation is the big threat. That is how you escape that chain of events and eventually win.

The reason I gave this amazing game three stars instead of the obligitory 5 is the difficulty in finding the time and people to play a full game. With any less than 7 people the game really looses its balance, I feel. Also, what would pre-world war one Europe be like without Italy and Austria, for instance? Also, it can take a looooong time depending on the crew you are playing with. I've played games that have lasted over 10 hours. If you are lucky you can finish one in 2-3 hours.

To overcome this problem, play by email is a great way to go with diplomacy. Although you loose the effect of telling outright lies to someone's face, it is much easier to get 7 players together and you can submit orders every day/week/month or whatever. There are many great websites out there that offer info on this aspect. You could get the rules off the internet too, but it is so much nicer to have your own hard copy, along with the board. What I like doing when playing by email is to set up the board and move the pieces as the turns pass. It offers a great visual that a paper map really can't do, and unlike when you play face to face, you can move all of the pieces around to depict different strategies and scenarios. I have an older edition, but the new one looks like it has some really neat pieces. Also, give credit where credit is due. Avalon Hill produced a great game, and the least you can do is throw a few bucks their way.

 
 
 
 
 
Classic is hanging on, but showing age
November 02, 2000

Above in the synopsis of the game, you'll read:

Number of Players: 3 - 7
Time to Play: about 4 hours

Wrong! This is purely a 7-player game. Sure, there are rules for less, but at conventions and for those who play this game remotely (mail or e-mail), only games of 7 are allowed. Otherwise, the game simply breaks down. And the 4 hours would be a super-high-octane version. Almost every game runs between 6 and 8 hours.

But it was indeed a ground-breaking game back in the 50s when it was invented. In those days, college students (or younger) would spend hours contemplating, wheeling and dealing, and ultimately back-stabbing each other. Of course, back in those days we could spend hours playing marathon Risk games as well.

But times and games have changed. Rare is the opportunity to spend so much time away from real-world commitments (at least in the adult world this is true), and Hasbro/AH's recent foray into the past with re-releases of Risk, Diplomacy, Axis & Allies (Europe), and Cosmic Encounter seems destined to fail as a result. It would be nice to chuck everything and revert to our past lives where 7 hours could be spent on one game, but most people can't afford that luxury.

 
 
 
 
 
by A Gamer
Interesting, but long
January 14, 2005

I played this with 7 players in college and after 6 hours it was clear the game would be won by the players who were willing to stick it out (no one had been eliminated yet). Maybe the rules have changed in newer editions, but length was a serious flaw in the edition I played. More players means more secret conversations, revising your written move, etc.

If you're stuck in a snowstorm, this could be a great way to pass the time - unless you get eliminated in the first 3 hours.

 
 
 
 
 
by James
More luck than you might imagine
December 21, 2000

Diplomacy is a classic--no doubt about it. It plays best with seven. Some might say, and I would agree, that it can only be played with seven.

I would rate this game a solid 5, except for one MAJOR problem--the game is not balanced. At the beginning of the game, players typically draw randomly for a starting nation. After drawing for a nation, the game is pure negotiation. But let's be honest, this randon draw is the single most determining factor in the game. I don't claim to be the best Diplomacy player by a long shot, but I'd take my chances with Turkey even if Henry Kissinger were playing Austria.

This is sure to draw fire from some people, but over the long history of the game, the numbers indicate that some nations do much better than others.

Can this be fixed? (Some would argue that there is nothing to be fixed.)

I would offer these suggestions:

In a large event, it might be possible to construct 7 man teams. Each team member would play a different nation. Victory would go to the team who performed the best in the 7 games.

Another alternative would be for each player to be compared to the players who had his nation at the other tables. Theoretically, an Italy who ended the game with 2 centers might be the best Italy. And thus he would be a winner.

If there are just 7 players, some sort of bidding system might solve the problem. That would take the randomness out of the initial draw. Here is how this might work. Define the game length before the bidding begins. Inform the players that bids will be subtracted from the final score. Thus, if the Turkey player bids 1.2 to get Turkey and ends the game with 8 centers, his score is 6.8. To conduct the bidding, select a nation at random. High bidder gets that nation, then select another nation. For nations that draw no bid, put them back in the box and draw again. (Thus, if no one wants to be Austria, keep putting Austria in the box until it is the last one in the box or until someone decides to bid on Austria because he does not want to get Italy.)

By implementing a bidding system, the major luck factor is removed from the game.

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