Tournaments in the NADF Grand Prix circuit make up the backbone of the face-to-face hobby. Some of these events have been held for over thirty years in the same location, others are brand new. During 2020, most traditional FTF tournaments became virtual events, starting with Dixiecon in May. Below is a list of confirmed events as well as basic information for each stop in the Grand Prix during a typical year. No one yet knows for sure if the tournaments after Cascadia will be live or virtual:
Whether you play in a tournament or on one of the sites/apps above, your game may be scored under a particular scoring system. While 18 supply centers is the object of the game, it is actually rare for a Diplomacy game to be played to that conclusion, either because the position becomes “stalemated” (i.e. no one can achieve 18 centers) or because the players do not have (or want to take) the time needed for completion. Because of this reality, and in order to allow for multiple games over the span of a tournament or league season to be amalgamated into an overall rating, various systems have been developed for use.
Draw Sized Scoring (DSS) is used in some online games as well as at the Dixiecon tournament. Players achieve a higher score by reducing the number of players sharing in a drawn result. In the original version, called Draws Include All Survivors (DIAS), each survivor in a draw receives the same number of points, with some variations also added points per center as a tiebreaker. In more modern versions, survivors are able to vote themselves out of the draw (non-DIAS) but still receive lesser points for survival. The Dixiecon Scoring System is a non-DIAS version of DSS.
Place-Based Scoring is another popular type of system, in which the goal of the game, short of taking 18 centers, is to have more centers than other players when the game is called. While the number of centers is obviously key, it usually matters very little in such systems how many more centers a player has versus the next place in the end-of-game pecking order. A popular example of Place-Based is Carnage Scoring.
Lead-Based Scoring encourages the board leader to widen the gap between that score and rival players, by increasing the benefit of that lead with each additional center. An early version of this type was Sum of Squares, which rewards a large spread between the topper and all the other powers. A more recent version, which combines this effect with additional play incentives for the non-topping players is called Tribute.
There are other systems as well. Though you may end up preferring one over another, you should try to learn how to succeed regardless of which system is used.
The North American Diplomacy Federation hosts its own server within Discord, where you can find discussion, formation of classic and Gunboat games, and other important content. Click here for an invite.
If you are new to using Discord, click here for an introductory video from Zach Moore of the Diplomacy Broadcast Network:
Once you learn how to navigate Discord, there are other Diplomacy servers you will want to check out. The Nexus community runs online tournaments utilizing multiple websites and apps to encourage a “nexus” of players between those otherwise disparate communities. Click here for an invite.
One good thing to arise from the 2020 pandemic was the creation of a totally new way to play Diplomacy, virtual face-to-face. Run by Commissioner Zach Moore, the Virtual Diplomacy League runs monthly gamedays using Tribute scoring, to culminate in a January Championship Top Board. The games are run on the Backstabbr platform, with player negotiation and overall organization hosted on the VDL Discord server. Click here for an invite.
There is also VDL information on the Diplomacy Broadcast Network website.