is the computer version of the classic board game of the same name. In it, seven European powers vie for dominance, or at least until a stalemate has occurred. The layout of the board is the same every time, and you can play as any of the seven countries which makes for some great replay value. Every game starts at the beginning of the 1900’s, but the timeline is more of a placeholder than anything else. After the starting shot, the fate of Europe is up to you and your neighbors.
Diplomacy is a turn-based strategy game in the same vein as Risk, but instead of leaving the negotiations in the players’ hands, this game comes up with a whole set of very intricate rules that streamline the diplomacy process. Less emphasis is put on armies and more emphasis is put on your relationships with other players. The depth that results from these negotiations and alliances makes for an entirely different experience from other turn-based strategy games.
The point of undertaking a game with such a Machiavellian rule-set is to control as many of the resource centers on the map as possible. Like other board games, Diplomacy breaks the map up into different tiles called regions. A few of these regions are designated as supply centers, and each country starts with about three supply centers. These allow you to build more forces, and are ultimately responsible for your victory or defeat at the conclusion of the game.
Right off the bat, it is apparent how the scales are tipped away from military might and more towards relations with the other countries. That is not to say that you can simply get by with a meager army, but the fact that there are only two different types of units and each country can only control a handful of them at a time should tell you something. Also, every unit is the same strength, which makes you rely on assistance from other countries in order to gain victory in each region.
Each year in the game is broken up into phases. The year starts in the Spring phase, and this is where you place orders and make negotiations. After that is the Resolution phase. Once everyone has placed their orders, they are carried out simultaneously, so you’re never sure what your opponents will do even if you have negotiated with them. This unknown is what makes the game so much fun, as well as complicated, as rules get very particular when certain situations arise. After the Resolution phase comes Fall, which carries on in much the same way as the Spring phase, except after its Resolution comes the Build phase. This is where the supply zones come in handy, because you can only have as many units as you do supply zones.
Diplomacy is strictly an adaptation of the classic board game, so there are no real alternative setups or options for you to tweak the rules with. Fortunately, a good Multiplayer system has been included. You are allowed to play with up to six of your friends over a LAN, or you can use Paradox’s Metaserver. Capable of being accessed in-game, the Metaserver is an app that lets you find other Diplomacy gamers online. This easy to use application is what brings out the best in Diplomacy, as the AI, even as good as it is, can never prove as much fun as a scheming human player.