Monday, August 27, 2001

I've been dwelling on the game of Diplomacy lately. It started when Borklog had a link to a speech delivered to a video game convention titled "Don't Be a Vidiot". The speaker complained that video game creators should try to avoid building yet another shoot-em-up game and take inspiration from the breadth of games that have been around for centuries before the invention of computers. He then proceeded to give some examples, including Diplomacy.

Set in pre-WWI Europe, each player controls the armies and navies of one of the seven great powers at the time. After a short period of negotiation or conferences, each move consists of all players writing "orders" for each of their units. All moves are implemented simultaneously and you discover which of your allies kept their word and which ones are lying, back-stabbing, blood suckers.

I remember my friends playing in high school. I never played, though. My recollection is that there was already a group of seven who knew how to play and they didn't want to wait for me to get up to speed. Or maybe they just didn't want me to join their reindeer games, but this is not the place to reanalyze high school issues...

It doesn't take long to discover the central gathering place on the 'net for a game which is a geek magnet like Diplomacy. The Diplomatic Pouch has all the answers and links that any player or wanna-be could need. I learned that:

Anybody want to play?

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