I wrote the below article for DIPLOMACY WORLD a good year ago. Since then 1648 has undergone further changes, yet the below nonetheless serves as a good introduction to the game. For the game's rules, and maps visit http://www.dipwiki.com/index.php?title=1648


It has been now more than five years since I began working on 1648, a Diplomacy variant for nine players. In this article I shall discuss why I chose a mid-17th century setting and examine a number of 1648’s statistical characteristics. Let’s start by looking at the historical circumstances I found conducive to a Diplomacy variant design…


Why 1648 AD?


The course of European history over the past five centuries is marked by a succession of claimants to continental hegemony being countered by a coalition of lesser powers. The Habsburgs, having united in quick succession their German territories with their Burgundian, Spanish and Hungarian inheritances, were among the first to bid for such continental mastery. Yet the burdens of unceasing warfare imposed by such far-flung domains were too much for even such a vast empire to shoulder and by 1659 the mantle of being
Europe’s foremost power had passed on to Bourbon France.



The German historian Ludwig Dehio (1888-1963)1identified 1585 and 1692 as the respective heights of Spanish and French power. Following the abdication in 1555 of an Emperor (Charles V) worn down by the Sisyphean task of keeping Habsburg’s many enemies at bay, his son Philip II had inherited the rich domains of the Spanish Crown and the Burgundian inheritance (Spain and its vast overseas empire, the Italian domains, the Low Countries and the Franche Comté), whereas Ferdinand I, Charles V’s brother and
long-time lieutenant in Central Europe, had received the Imperial Crown next to Habsburg’s Austrian and Hungarian domains. In good Habsburg tradition, Philip II had in 1580 won the Portuguese Crown by
inheritance, thus uniting all of Christendom’s lucrative overseas possessions and being able to call upon unparalleled resources to finance his ambitious foreign policy. Yet as Goliath was defeated by David, so did Elizabethan England best Philip’s Grand Armada of 1588, while the defiant Dutch and Henry IV’s France managed to prevail on the continent. Yet no serious scaling back of Spain’s foreign policy aims took place, thereby condemning Spain to almost constant and financially ruinous warfare. In other words, strategic overstretch led to steady decline.




France’s fortunes took much the opposite course as the French Wars of Religion (1562-98) rendered an aggressive foreign policy, as Francis I (1494-1547) had pursued, quite impossible. Only once the monarchy had recovered and consolidated its power thanks to the work of Henry IV and Richelieu was the demographic powerhouse of Europe able to challenge Spain’s predominance, vanquish her in 1659
and rise above all other European states.


Yet for all the setbacks Spain had suffered in the 1630s and 40s, that outcome was not preordained in 1648 as these two bitter enemies continued to fight each other whilst the other participants in the Thirty Years’ War (1618-48) grudgingly made peace. Indeed, by late 1648 Spain had regained the initiative against her Bourbon nemesis as France plunged into civil war (1648-53).


1648 not only marks a rough strategic equilibrium between a declining and an ascending giant, but also a wider balance of power. Indeed, the terms of the Peace of Westphalia signal a strategic impasse both within the Holy Roman Empire and further afield.


Just the right scenario for a Diplomacy variant! I would argue years of rough geopolitical balance (e.g. 1494, 1648, 1763, 1815, 1900, 1926) all lend themselves well to Diplomacy designs, whereas the peaks of
regional power concentration such as 1585 (Spain), 1692 (France), 1805 (again France) and 1941 (Germany) tend to be rather problematic.


The Great Powers


It is fortunate that all nine great powers featured in 1648 roughly played in the same league, whereas by the mid-18th century only five powers were recognised as being of first-rate calibre, namely the pentarchy
of Austria, Britain-Hanover, France, Russia and the Prussian
parvenu.




Yet why limit the number of playable powers to nine? What about Brandenburg-Prussia, the Republic of Venice and the United Provinces of the Netherlands?


During the Thirty Years’ War Brandenburg-Prussia had woefully lacked the military means to prevent plundering armies of either side laying waste to its lands. Precisely this traumatic experience gave birth to the strong military-bureaucratic state that enabled Brandenburg-Prussia’s spectacular rise. It would amount to an impossible stretch to elevate the war-ravaged Brandenburg-Prussia of 1648 to the rank of a great power.


Nor is the case for the Republic of Venice being a playable power all that convincing. Though the Serene Republic still owned a large galley fleet (albeit at a time other powers were slowly replacing their Mediterranean galleys with sailing warships), her commercial interests dictated a defensive posture rather than an expansionist oreign policy typical of a 17th century great power.




As for the Dutch Republic, it was undeniably a major power in mid-17thcentury Europe. As the leading financial centre of the age, it was able to maintain both a strong army and navy. Yet Dutch territorial ambitions were focused on the extra-European sphere, whereas closer to home the United Provinces adopted a defensive posture. I believe history would be done a disservice if one were to see the Dutch
regularly expand far beyond the Low Countries.





The Minor Powers


During the 17thcentury a far greater share of Europe was controlled by lesser powers than was the case on the eve of World War 1. In particular, Germany and Italy were at the time key battlegrounds for contending powers rather than the true power centres they were later to become in their own right.


The foremost states sought the allegiance of lesser powers for the sake of additional legitimacy and military strength. In mid-17th century Europe, even the largest military establishments lacked the means necessary for protracted warfare. In an effort to make good this shortfall, greater powers often relied on the standing armies of lesser princes, whom they paid large subsidies for those services.


In other words, the collective military and diplomatic weight of lesser powers was then incomparably greater than in the early 20th century.


To account for the politically fragmented parts of the continent not being absolute power vacuums, Ambition & Empire - Baron Powell’s and Jeff Kase’s Diplomacy variant set in mid-18th century Europe – allowed greater powers to influence the orders of minor power units with Diplomatic Points (see the abridged variant rules).


It is safe to say that I would have never designed any of my three variants (Locarno: Europe 1926, The Road to War: Europe 1936 and 1648) had not Ambition & Empire’s Diplomatic Points rule shown how one might tackle a scenario lacking the same degree of power concentration seen in the Age of High
Imperialism (1871-1919).


Yet next to its simulation value, I relish the whole new layer of decision-making the Diplomatic Points (DPs)
bring to the table. For they allow any player to influence events across the map and add, since DP allocations are kept secret, a further element of intrigue and duplicity.


I ought to here note that 1648 does not divide the minor powers explicitly into a Christian and Muslim camp as Ambition & Empire does. The Peace of Westphalia inaugurated a period of complete secularisation of European politics, as one historian remarked, and hence the variant does not in my view warrant any diplomatic restraints based on religion.


The Holy Roman Empire


Rather, I chose to model a more important factor in international affairs, namely the Holy Roman Empire (of the German Nation). Past generations of 19thand 20th century historians underestimated its importance as they compared it unfavourably with the modern nation state of their time. Only in recent decades have historians begun to question this still widely held prejudice. Following the Westphalian peace settlement of 1648, the constituent states of the Empire worked to strengthen its key institutions (among them the Reichstag, Reichskammergericht (Supreme Court), Reichskreise (Imperial Circles) and Reichsarmee)
in an effort to prevent internal strife and foreign aggression from delving Germany into yet another infernal war. Such newfound unity allowed the Emperor to mobilise greater imperial forces than ever before as was to be seen in the long struggle against the French and Turks.




Given the restored power and prestige of theImperial Crown, rivalling contenders, most notably Louis XIV among them, sought to wrest this elective office out of the hands of the Habsburgs, yet were never quite able to succeed in doing so.


So what does this mean in game terms? 1648 allows the Emperor, i.e. whoever owns the most supply centres within the Holy Roman Empire (HRE), to build in any of the 14 HRE supply centres he owns. It is assumed the eight Electors invariably offer the Crown to the foremost power within the realm.


Since Austria’s hereditary lands lie within the Empire, she initially holds the Imperial Crown and may – unless her fortunes take a definite turn for the worse – hold on to it for much of the game. I believe many an Emperor of Habsburg extraction will jealously guard his elevated position by protecting lesser German princes against foreign intrusion, whilst expanding his own dynastic power base within the country. The famous Wallenstein had assembled a powerful Imperial Fleet in the Baltic a mere twenty years earlier and - who knows? - perhaps the imperial player will accomplish the same feat again. I wanted such lofty plans to be feasible in 1648, while also accounting for the Hofburg’s dual Austrian and Imperial foreign policy outlook.


For ascending non-German powers the Imperial Crown holds the promise of forward bases, so useful in a final bid for European supremacy. The state of the Holy Roman Empire thus becomes a key consideration for the balance of power. I think it quite possible that a coalition of powers may choose to prop up an Emperor, who lacks the resources to use the HRE as a springboard to victory. A savvy Austrian may convince the non-German powers that her continued Imperial reign presents, of all options, the least threatening accumulation of power as her entire dynastic power base already resides within the confines of the Holy Roman Empire.


It may not be so much the actual rewards the Kaiserreaps, but the Empire’s potential in assisting a final bid for continental mastery which makes the fate of the Sacrum Romanum Imperium a weighty concern in all capitals.


Variant Statistics


Since I believe a lot may be learnt through statistical analysis, I indulged in some number-crunching to assess play balance. Without further ado, here’s a table showing how many SCs a power can reach
in the opening year, a variable I shall hereafter call the Initial Growth Potential (IGP):


AUSTRIA

18

FRANCE

18

POLAND-LITHUANIA

17

SPAIN

17

DENMARK-NORWAY

16

SWEDEN

15

TURKEY

15

RUSSIA

13

ENGLAND

8


Armed with those numbers, I went on to calculate the overlap in these initial spheres of interest (by a factor of 2 for SCs initially controlled by a great power and by a factor of 1 for any others) to arrive at an admittedly crude estimate of two powers’ Initial Conflict Potential (ICP) with another. Summing up these bilateral data points, I arrived at the following:



As the military weakest power, the Commonwealth of England has fewer initial growth opportunities (8), though this is tempered somewhat by an equally low ICP. Relating our two variables, IGP and ICP to another, I arrived at the following diagram:




While these values bode well for two central powers (Austria, France), what I take away from this table is that greater growth opportunities tend to be offset by similarly larger risks of conflict as the two extremes (France, England) only differ by 33% as compared to Standard’s IGP/ICP extremes (England, Austria) differing by 188%.


Standard’s values



IGP

ICP

IGP/ICP

AUSTRIA

12

39

3,25

ENGLAND

8

9

1,13

FRANCE

9

21

2,33

GERMANY

13

34

2,62

ITALY

11

30

2,73

RUSSIA

14

32

2,29

TURKEY

8

15

1,88


Austria and Italy – Standard’s “weak sisters” - suffering as expected from the highest IGP/ICP value suggests this measure is sound enough, but it does not tell the whole story. The degree of friction (expressed as ICP) between two powers weighs heavily on the chances of neighbouring third powers.


The below pie charts (superimposed on the map) show how great a country’s friction level (ICP) happens to be relative to its overall conflict potential with its rivals.




The highest bilateral ICP scores are listed in the below table:


France/Spain

17,5

Denmark/Sweden

17

Poland/Russia

12

Russia/Turkey

10

England/France

9

Austria/Poland

9

Poland/Sweden

8

England/Denmark

7

Russia/Sweden

7

Spain/Turkey

7


And it is in my view these favourable numbers save the militarily weaker England from being the red-headed step-child of 1648. Denmark-Norway and France, her two immediate neighbours, need to deal
with high levels of friction with Sweden and Spain respectively. England is well-positioned to exploit this for its own benefit by buying itself time to put its house in order back in entire British Isles, keeping her neighbours distracted and possibly enlisting the help of her neighbours’ arch-rivals.


Anyway, such statistical exercises of my own give me some confidence in play balance being reasonably fair. Yet how does 1648 fare by other benchmarks?


The Agar Test

In his article “Designing Maps for Diplomacy Variants”2, Stephen Agar distils a number of invaluable design maxims from Standard’s own makeup. Though the DP mechanism presents a major departure from
Calhamer’s basic rules, I find much of Stephen’s advice remains applicable to
1648. In the following I shall examine how my variant’s parameters measure up to Agar’s maxims:


Each power [should have]at least three and preferably more directions in which to expand.”

The more strategic options a player has at his disposal, the better. As the ICP pie charts present on the above map show, a power may move against the interests of 4+ different powers.


Any increase in [a power’s military] strength should be tempered by [additional] geographical [challenges].”

Both Spain and Sweden start off with four units, though unlike all other powers save Denmarl-Norway these supply centres are not contiguous and Flanders – a far-off outpost at the end of very tenuous supply lines – does not serve as an actual Spanish home supple centre (i.e. Spain may not build there).


Of course, England starting off with only two units also presents a departure from the usual three, yet the Commonwealth may build in Scotland and Ireland once these have been conquered and enjoys some key advantages I’ve already mentioned. England was only just emerging from the Second English Civil War in late 1648 and for that reason I wanted it to start off with some “homework” left to be done.


At this point I might as well also mention that France may build in Lorraine once it has been conquered. The same also applies to Russia and the Crimea as well as Poland-Lithuania and her one-time possessions of Courland, Prussia and Moldavia. As you will note, these all provide sea access those powers would otherwise go without.


“It is better if every Power can have a guaranteed build in the first game year, assuming no tactical disasters.”

Now, 1648’s armed minor powers make this an inherently trickier affair, but all great powers have at least one minor power squarely falling in their own sphere of influence (i.e. beingcloser to one than any other major powers). I’ve highlighted these clear zones of influence on the below map, next to marking immediate flashpoints of great power rivalry (i.e. spaces players may immediately contest):



It is better to group neutrals together to construct an area of the board which at least two and preferably more Powers can enter early on in the game to make some gains, and thereafter provides a fertile battleground.”


There are number of such fertile battlegrounds:


  • Central Europe & The Holy Roman Empire:Ten minor powers are to be found in a region contested by Austria, France, Spain, Denmark-Norway, Sweden and possibly England as well Poland-Lithuania. The fate of the Imperial Crown is also decided on this key battleground.

  • Italy: While arguably the Southern extension of the wider Central European battleground, it feels quite distinct due to this being an arena involving Austria, France, Spain and possibly Turkey. The region’s
    topography also gives fleets an especially important role here.

  • South-Eastern Europe: Five states invite here the attentions of Austria, Poland-Lithuania, Russia and Turkey.

  • The Baltic fiefdoms: These were the historical bones of contention between the Polish-Lithuanian
    Commonwealth and Sweden, yet Russia and Denmark-Norway may also before long take an interest in these.

  • Barbary States: Spain and Turkey may be joined by France in the carving up of these unruly territories.

  • Central Asia: Arguably the only one minor power cluster with only two powers contending for the spoils.

  • Celtic Fringe: England is well-positioned to subjugate its Celtic backyard, though France, Spain and
    Denmark-Norway can easily meddle in this region.


“Roughly one-third of the centres on the board should be neutrals.”

There are actually more minor power SCs (30) than those initially controlled by the great powers (28), yet really this maxim does not apply to 1648 as they cannot be gobbled up as rapidly as unoccupied neutral supply centres may be. Indeed, some minor powers may survive right until the end of the game.


For every unit on the board there are at least 2 spaces and not more than 2 1/2 spaces.”


Stephen writes: “The ratio between occupied spaces and unoccupied spaces must be sufficient to allow for freedom of manoeuvre, but not so large as to make the game unduly long to play because all the units are so far away from each other.”


1648’s unit/space ratio equals 2.07. Germany and Italy, covered by a dense network of fortresses, are marked by a high supply centre concentration. Sieges were here far more common than pitched battles,
whereas rapid manoeuvre warfare remained characteristic of the less densely populated lands in Eastern Europe.


The initial balance of fleets to armies should be in the same approximate region as the ability of those units to occupy the home supply centres on the board.”

Fleets can capture 17 of the centres initially controlled by the great powers and armies can take all 28 of these – a ratio of 1 to 1.47. At the beginning of the game the ratio of fleets to armies belonging to the great powers is 9:19 or 1:2.11.


I should say this discrepancy is so large as to not meet Stephen’s recommendations. Yet I don’t mind this being the case as the slight lack in fleets encourages players to build fleets at a somewhat higher rate until the above ratio of 1 to 1.47 is met. The second half of the 17th century was marked by an expensive naval arms race. The royal navies began to increasingly rely on custom-built warships rather than on armed merchantmen. So I think the gap between 1.47 and 2.11 actually helps model the rapid growth of Europe’s royal navies (or given that England was a republic, I should better say state navies).


Beware Stalemate Lines.”

Despite there being a total of 58 SCs, only 18 SCs are necessary to solo. A mere 31% of all supply centres as opposed to the 53% necessary in Standard Diplomacy. Why did I adopt such a low threshold?


  1. It makes for a far shorter game than were 30 SCs (i.e. 50%+X) required.

  2. The closer a power gets to the 50% mark, the less it feels like playing an historical power. Standard’s endgame feels to me more like an abstract tactical puzzle pitting roughly one side of the board against the other. No longer are we then seeing a true “Concert of Powers” in action. I personally find this to be the least interesting part of a Standard game and so it will not surprise that 1648 cuts out what I enjoy the least.

  3. Much as their historical counterparts, a low threshold encourages players to pay more heed to an emerging threat to the balance of power.

  4. A lower victory threshold ensures stalemate lines become far less of a factor.


I think this lower victory threshold and a lack of any impassable space (but for the remote Lake Lagoda) contribute to stalemate lines not being much of a factor in 1648.


Try to make sure that no Power has to go further than 50% more to reach victory than the Power which has to
travel the least distance.”

The benchmark I here considered is the overall number of tempi3required for a power to reach 18 SCs from its originally controlled home centres, one tempo being defined as the movement of one piece from one province to another.


The following tables list the overall tempi so required:



Standard

RUSSIA

29

AUSTRIA

33

GERMANY

33

ITALY

36

FRANCE

38

ENGLAND

44

TURKEY

44



1648

AUSTRIA

26

SPAIN

26

FRANCE

28

SWEDEN

28

POLAND-LITHUANIA

29

DENMARK-NORWAY

30

RUSSIA

31

TURKEY

31

ENGLAND

41



Standard’s Turkey thus requires 52% more tempi to solo than Russia, whereas 1648 needs England to go a 58% further than Austria. Neither variant is in the range Stephen recommends, but I think both are reasonably close to being so.


Try to balance the map so that no Power has a higher percentage of [originally enemy-controlled] home centres within three spaces that exceeds double the percentage of enemy home centres enjoyed by the most secure Power.”


Standard

ENGLAND

28,57%

TURKEY

42,86%

RUSSIA

45,83%

ITALY

50,00%

GERMANY

52,17%

FRANCE

55,00%

AUSTRIA

63,16%


1648

TURKEY

25,00%

AUSTRIA

28,13%

FRANCE

27,59%

SPAIN

37,04%

POLAND-LITHUANIA

41,38%

SWEDEN

41,67%

RUSSIA

42,31%

ENGLAND

47,37%

DENMARK-NORWAY

48,28%


I think these two tables should be taken with a grain of salt. I believe 1648’s Turkey initially is more vulnerable than a host of other powers, in part because all three of her home SCs border minor powers, which may assist the Sultan’s enemies in taking his home supply centres. Minor power SCs simply don’t merely present an opportunity for expansion as Standard’s neutral SCs, but also may present an ongoing threat. That reason alone makes the above table of very limited utility.


Try to avoid having any two home centres belonging to two players adjacent (for example, Trieste and Venice), as that denies both players a degree of flexibility and peace of mind in the first move of the game.”


Ah, an easy one… Though I must confess I was tempted at one stage of the design process to introduce such an anomaly by letting Riga and Vilna touch. Previous map versions had me worried about a possible diplomatic imbalance within the Polish-Russian-Swedish triangle and, unlike Stephen, I don’t consider outright HSC adjacency a design taboo. Provided the powers burdened with such a tricky situation are helped in other ways, I am not categorically against such a map feature. Indeed, as my 2-SC England shows, I am rather fond of asymmetric map features. They can help ensure a player operates under conditions his historical counterparts faced. It just so happens that, in the case of the North-Eastern triangle, I found the map configuration I ultimately came up with a better solution. So, how does 1648 measure up to the Agar Test? I dare say it is for you to decide whether - in the instances I broke one of Stephen’s rules - my reasons happen to be sound or whether they simply amount to fancy excuses.


Conclusion

I have only managed to cover a fraction of what I had originally intended to. Though perhaps that is just as well since 1648 is bound to undergo further change. It took me five years to arrive at a design I felt sufficiently comfortable with as to launch a first playtest. That is now underway. Yet perhaps you may be interested in running a game yourself. If so, please contact me as I would love to keep track of any 1648
game out there and – you guessed it - am anxious to play the variant myself!


1 Ludwig Dehio, Gleichgewicht oder Hegemonie. Betrachtungen über ein Grundproblem neuerer Staatengeschichte [translated: The Precarious Balance], Krefeld 1948.

2 Stephen Agar, Designing Maps for Diplomacy Variants, The Diplomatic Pouch Zine, Fall 1998 Movement Issue.

3 Cf. Paul Windsor, Geography is Destiny. How the Standard Map Dictates Fortunes and Strategies, The Diplomatic Pouch Zine, Fall 1999 Retreat Issue.

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Comment by Charles Féaux de la Croix on September 26, 2010 at 9:23am
> well good luck with the variant!

I've run two playtests and they've helped me further refine the game.

Perhaps one day I'll work on getting it implemented on the DPJudge to allow for automatic adjucating. Certainly would make running the game as effortless as can be. But at this stage I'm looking at human-adjucated games.

I suppose the extent of my ambition for this game is that others will also run the odd game and that myself get to play. Games that need nine players plus an umpire are obviously very niche. It'd be nice though if it gained a bit of a life of its own without it coming down to me being the GM.
Comment by brian s. b. on September 26, 2010 at 8:47am
yea he seems like a co0l guy! well good luck with the variant! bonne chance!
Comment by Charles Féaux de la Croix on September 26, 2010 at 8:44am
He, the guy's described on wikipedia as "quietly effective". If that ain't something Diplomacy teaches!
Comment by brian s. b. on September 26, 2010 at 8:20am
its in this book-http://www.amazon.com/Best-Board-Gaming-Nicholas-Palmer/dp/02131677... Palmer later became an M.P., may still be there-speaking of diplomacy! although, ive watch parliament on tv-not very diplomatic! lol
Comment by Charles Féaux de la Croix on September 26, 2010 at 8:06am
> attack on liverpool confirmed" and was investigated by police-they thought he was IRA! LOL

He, thanks for that fun anecdote!

Didn't know people used telegrams. Thought people contented themselves with regular mail back then. For me that'd just be too painfully slow. I believe they usually operated on the basis of one move season per month, rather than one per week as is nowadays standard for pbem. Though I guess pbm dipping would have been an excellent hobby for a stamp collector to pick up!

I one day want to participate in a French Diplomacy game, so as to brush up my written French.
Comment by brian s. b. on September 26, 2010 at 7:52am
nicholas palmer wrote about a diplomacy story regarding the old way-by telegram. a player wrote "attack on liverpool confirmed" and was investigated by police-they thought he was IRA! LOL yea the secrecy is easier i'm sure in pbem when time permits i will look into the game and your varient-good fun!
Comment by Charles Féaux de la Croix on September 26, 2010 at 7:44am
> I love the time period you have chosen

I equally find the early modern era most intriguing.

As for 1648, the statesmen of Europe indeed sorta institutionalised the balance of power in the Westphalian Peace settlement. It was quite a singular moment in which roughly nine powers played in the same league. A hundred years later Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Poland and Turkey had sunk to the status of either second- or third-rate powers.

> i imagine the web has been great to get players together anyway

The net sure has made the Diplomacy hobby thrive. I'm nowadays active in the diplomaticcorp community. Among the Anglophone Diplomacy communities, it struck me as the best to conduct PBEM-Diplomacy.

And really, PBEM-Diplomacy is arguably a purer experience than face-to-face play. Quite distinct flavour from the latter, which is often a rather messy affair (in a good way).
Comment by brian s. b. on September 26, 2010 at 5:58am
was just kiding about the dipwiki name! i don't know very much about diplomacy but i imagine the web has been great to get players together anyway great job on the varianti love the time period you have chosen
Comment by Charles Féaux de la Croix on September 26, 2010 at 5:07am
John, thanks for putting my article on the new digest site. Got another follow-up article to it I might post here as well.

The dipwiki really is a great addition to the hobby. I ought to however note that the current map version I've posted there isn't the latest v3.3. I've further refined the design with some critical changes in the Med, in the Holy Roman Empire and in Eastern Europe.

I'll probably run another play-by-email playtest in the coming year, so should anyone be interested in participating, let me know. For the time being I'm concentrating on running a playtest for my 1936 game. Gotta at some point write a similar piece for that one.

Obviously Diplomacy variants are pure labours of love. To really get a polished product takes an ungodly amount of time. But it's obviously very much a niche undertaking as variants don't fit into the parameters of what's publishable. Since I've now designed variants on the two historical scenarios which IMO - other than pre-WW1 - best lend themselves to "diplofication", I dare say I'm pretty much done with Diplomacy variant design. I've worked on a Jerusalem-centric medieval map variant, one set in the Western Hemisphere back when the Monroe Doctrine was proclaimed and the odd other project, but ultimately I just don't think those projects have the potential to be on par with either 1936 or 1648, so I've stopped working on polishing those.

Anyway, my grand ambition is to one day finish a card-driven game design of my own, as in the gaming sphere CDGs and the Diplomacy hobby are my two primary interests.
Comment by brian s. b. on September 26, 2010 at 12:12am
very interesting stuff-but must the diplomacy wki be called DIPwiki?! lol

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