Intro to the Game
Diplomacy is sometimes called the Game of International Intrigue. This classic boardgame has been thrilling players since its release in 1959. Starting as one of the seven Great Powers on a map of Europe in Spring 1901, the goal of the game is to capture 18 of the 34 objective spaces, called supply centers. Moves are planned and revealed simultaneously, after periods of negotiation between players – where the real charm of the game is found. To learn more about the game, follow the links below.
Variants are Diplomacy games in which the rules, the map, or both are changed to give players a new challenge and unique experience. Some have been commercially published, such as Machiavelli or Colonial Diplomacy. Many others can be found on Diplomacy websites such as http://www.vdiplomacy.com.
Strategy, Tactics, and Tournaments
Diplomacy is fairly simple to learn, but can take a while to master. While there is no substitute for just playing a lot of games to gain experience, there are plenty of online resources you can use to improve your performance. Many of the Diplomacy Media listed on the Media page as well as the game platforms on the Play page have excellent S&T content. In addition, here are some other sources of advice.
Gamer’s Guide to Diplomacy:
Hobbyist Jorge Zhang’s site:
Videos from 2016 WDC:
DiplomacyCast was our hobby’s first podcast series. Though the podcast is now inactive, many of the episodes focus on strategy and tactics and thus provide timeless advice to improving players.
Once you’ve got the basics of the game down, you may decide you’re ready to attend a tournament, of the face-to-face or virtual face-to-face variety. Diplomacy tournaments are held in locations throughout North America, and operate using various event structures and scoring systems. Virtual FTF events utilize a web-based platform like Backstabbr for the moves and Discord or other communication engine for live audio negotiation. Details of upcoming events can be found on the News page, updated regularly. The year’s Diplomacy events in North America are sometimes called the Diplomacy Circuit, or the Grand Prix. Starting with the 2020 season of the NADF Grand Prix, the top 28 players from the circuit are invited to a virtual FTF championship called the Diplomacy Broadcast Network Invitiational, held in February. Peter McNamara of Australia won the first DBNI. More information is available at http://www.diplobn.com
DipCon is the North American Diplomacy Championships, held under the auspices of the NADF. When first started in 1967, Dipcon was more of an informal house game. Since the early 1970s, however, Dipcon has been held in a formal tournament setting throughout North America with its location rotating between regional Diplomacy events. The 2020 Dipcon was cancelled due to the pandemic, so the reigning Dipcon Champ is Steve Cooley of Massachusetts, who won the 2019 Dipcon in Seattle, Washington.
World Dipcon was started in 1988 to recreate the success of Dipcon as a championship event but this time on the world stage. WDC was held that year in conjunction with Manorcon, in the United Kingdom. Two years later, Chapel Hill, North Carolina hosted the second WDC, while Canberra, Australia was the site for the 1992 event. Now the event is held yearly, with the most recent World Dipcon Champ being Frenchman Gwen Maggi thanks to his 2019 win in Marseilles. The 2020 and 2021 events were cancelled by Covid. Now that the Virtual Diplomacy Championship has been established beginning in 2021, World Dipcon should now be considered the world championship for Face to Face Diplomacy, with VDC being a coequal world championship for virtual FTF play.
The World Diplomacy Database contains tournament and league results from events held all over the globe and going back several decades. Though it does not include every tournament ever played, it does provide a sense of hobby history as well as allow you to look up the record of prospective opponents.
Prior to the internet, the Diplomacy Hobby was run primarily in fan magazines, called zines for short. In addition to game results, strategy articles, and tournament news, zines often included a lot of non-Dip content such as pop culture discussion and political debates. There were even zines ABOUT other zines, reviewing and ranking the hobby’s zines on an annual basis. After games began to be run through email and then using web-based platforms, most zines ceased publication. A few still exist online, as referenced on the Connections page, and many older zines have been archived on the web as well. Try these links: