Global Diplomacy

A variant of DiplomacyÔ by Eric Pederson (version 0.2d)

Rule differences between Global Diplomacy and regular Diplomacy

The standard rules of Diplomacy apply (I’m drawing from the 1976 Rulebook), except as noted below. A new map is used. The calendar is four movements (including two builds) per year with victory conditions met only at the end of a year.

I. Global diplomacy is best played by 6 players – although rules for 2-5 players also exist. Each player represents a Superpower at the dawn of WWIII (fortunately for us, this is not until the early 22nd century): The United States (US), The Russian Federation (RF), The South American Alliance (SA), The European Union (EU), The Greater African Union (GA), and The People’s Republic of Asia (PR).

II. Victory conditions obtain at control of 16 Supply Centers at the end of a calendar year. If 16 supply centers are controlled mid-year and then lost by the end of the year, play continues. If fewer than 16 supply centers are left on the map at some point in the game (courtesy of nuclear destruction, see below), the globe is declared uninhabitable and all players lose.

III. A socially kind option is to agree that play ends at the end of the first year in which one player is eliminated. Victory to the player with the most supply centers at that time.

V. There are 36 supply centers on the board at the beginning of the game.

VI.2. There are three types of units: Armies and Fleets (both as per the standard game) as well as Air Forces. Each superpower is allowed a maximum of five of each type of unit at any one time on the board.

VI.3. There is no fixed starting arrangement. Game begins with a building phase with no prior diplomacy.

VII.1. An air force moves as per an army (one space, on land only) and may be convoyed, but may not convoy other units.

VII.3.a. There are two canals – the Panama and the Suez. All units may cross over canals from one land area to the another and navies may cross through canals from one coast to the another water space. In other words, they constitute a four-way intersection of land and sea routes. Note that the canals are not spaces in their own right: no unit may occupy them. Spaces on either side of the canals are considered to share a border for purposes of movement. The four coastal spaces which border the canals are considered to have a single coast line. Note that there is no water passage between Papua New Guinea and Queensland, but rather these two land spaces are considered rejoined by low sea water levels (which is admittedly unlikely to be the case in the 22nd century). Note that for game purposes, Indonesia is also considered part of the New Guinea/Australian land mass.

VII.3.b. Mexico, Western Europe, Russia, Papua New Guinea, Queensland all have two coasts. Fleet movement and deployment as per Standard Diplomacy.

VII.3.x. There are three spots on the maps which are not spaces and which cannot be occupied or crossed by any units: The great lakes of North America, Lake Victoria in Africa, and the Caspian Sea in the Near East.

VII.3.y. Two spaces have seasonally restricted movement into and out of them: Antarctica is restricted to Fall and Winter movement only and the Polar Arctic is restricted to Spring and Summer movement only. Support orders and bomb carrying orders can be followed by units in these spaces in all seasons. Additionally a navy in the Polar Arctic can convoy an army or air force across the Polar Arctic in all seasons.

VII.6. Sequence of play

If play is continuing, the next turn is Winter 2102. And so on…

IX.1. Armies and fleets give support as with standard Diplomacy. In addition, air forces may support into a space up to two spaces away using any route. Air forces can support actions on both land and sea. For example, an air force in Tibet may support a hold in or a movement into the North Indian Ocean, but not the South Indian Ocean or Yakutskaya. Support by an air force can apply to any space adjacent to an adjacent space. For non-judge games, it is not necessary to state the intermediate space in an order of support two spaces away. For determining which spaces an air force can support, it does not matter what the status of that intermediate space is. It can be destroyed by nuclear attack (see XII+ below), it can contain any unit, or it can be empty. The only exception, of course, is when a unit in the intermediate space is actually attacking the air force attempting a support order (i.e., cutting support).

While air forces have this extra ability in supporting other types of units, they may not receive support themselves. That is, they may not receive support for movement/attack or for holding – they can never have a strength greater than one unit for any action.

XI. Note that retreat orders are written within the same season as the movement. Accordingly, a unit may not retreat into the Antarcticas or the Polar Arctic during a season in which it would not be allowed to move into that space.

XII. Note that air forces cannot do the airborne equivalent of a convoy, though they may themselves be convoyed across bodies of water.

XII+. Nuclear powers.

A superpower may elect to become a nuclear power by ordering all units to hold during one movement turn. During a following build phase, one supply center under the control of the superpower and in its home territory is designated as a nuclear arsenal. It does not matter whether or not the space is occupied by a unit or not. Only one nuclear arsenal per superpower is allowed at any given time.

To launch a nuclear bomb, a unit must occupy the space of the nuclear arsenal and this unit carries this bomb to any space into which it could otherwise give support (land or sea).

As with convoys, two (or more) units (of any number of superpowers) may carry a single bomb across stretches of spaces – each unit carrying the bomb to a space to which it could give support. As with convoys, two (or more) units (of any number of superpowers) may carry a single bomb across stretches of spaces. To write the order, specify the entire route for the nuclear arsennal, and not just the start and end. The units involved may either specify the entire route or just the link that they are involved in. For instance :

Air force West Africa carries bomb to Israel to drop on Turkey

Army in Israel carries bomb from West Africa to drop on Turkey

However, any attack – whether successful or not – on any of the involved units will destroy the mission. In the above example, a unit order of "Air Force Saudi Arabia to Israel" will destroy the mission. Unlike cutting support, a unit may cut a bombing attack on its own space; an order of "Army Turkey to Israel" will also cause this example to be a failed mission. If any unit fails to carry the bomb (e.g., no correct order written for that unit) in a chain, the mission is failed and the bomb does not explode anywhere. Bombs are only "carried" in so far as they are part of a bombing attempt. When bombs are not being dropped, they do not exist except as potentially available from the arsenal on later bombing attempts.

If a nuclear bomb is successfully carried and dropped on a space, that space is destroyed for the remainder of the game. If there is a supply center on that space, that too is destroyed and can no longer be counted towards any player’s count of controlled centers. No unit may ever move into that space again, although air forces may continue to fly support (or carry more bombs) over it. All bombs are launched simultaneously. Because of this, if two superpowers successfully launch bombs against each other’s arsenal, both spaces (and arsenals) are destroyed. Successfully dropped bombs destroy the space after successful movement but before retreats. This means that a unit might successfully move to a space only to be destroyed along with the space. No unit may retreat to a destroyed space.

Should a unit move, retreat, or be disbanded from a space with an arsenal, the player must decide in that order whether to dismantle the arsenal ("Nuclear West Africa dismantles"). If the arsenal is not dismantled, bombs may be delivered from the arsenal by any occupying player. If an arsenal is dismantled, the same superpower must again subsequently order all units to hold in order to rebuild another arsenal. An arsenal can provide a bomb each season. The success or failure of bombing attempts from previous seasons have no effect on this.

XIII.1. Note that control of a supply center is determined by the last occupation of that supply center at the end of a Spring or Fall season. Unless the game is ended early, victory is determined only by the occupation of supply centers at the end of a calendar year – that is at the end of a Fall season.

XIII.2. Note that in this game calendar, building and removing units occurs after the retreat phase and still within the same season as the movement phase they follow.

XIV.2. While the ideal game is played with exactly six players, a perfectly decent game can be played with less using the all-units-hold method of standard Diplomacy in the five and four player versions. As under standard Diplomacy, adjustments and building of units is in accordance with the individual superpower holdings – including the limit of five of each type of unit per superpower.

5 Players: No one plays the European Union (those units hold). The supply centers in Yakutskaya and Scandinavia are eliminated. RF and EU begin with three units. Victory condition obtains at control of 15 supply centers.

4 Players: No one plays the European Union or Africa. The supply centers in Yakutskaya, Scandinavia, and Madagascar are eliminated. RF and EU begin with three units. Victory condition obtains at control of 15 supply centers.

3 Players: North and South America are played by one player; the European Union and the Russian Federation are played by another player; Africa and the People’s Republic of Asia are played by the third player. (Alternatively, each player draws lots to determine which two superpowers he or she will play.) However, the constraint that each of the six superpowers can only have five of each type of unit remains. The supply center in Yakutskaya is eliminated. The Russian Federation begins with only three units; the EU begins with four units. Victory condition at control of 16 supply centers.

2 Players: This is a game of strategy without diplomacy periods, but still with simultaneous orders. One player plays North and South America plus Africa (the naval powers), and the other player plays the European Union, the Russian Federation, and the Peoples Republic of Asia (the Eurasian powers). Alternatively and for a more varied game, each player draws lots to determine which three superpowers he or she will play.

General notes comparing this game with Standard Diplomacy

Having a global board allows for units to wrap around the globe without the artificial constraint of a board "edge" or the oddness of the wrapped board variants. Using Bartholomew’s Nordic Projection allows for minimal distortion of the geographical features (with the obvious exception of the South Pacific).

While finding seven players is a minor problem in PBEM games, it can be difficult in FTF games. Despite one fewer player, the game feels as though there were actually one more player than in the standard game. Each player is at most three spaces from any other player and must always consider all the other players even for short term planning.

In an effort to maintain the relatively learnable and elegant rules of the standard game, the changes in rules have been minimal. What changes have been made are designed to increase the strategic complexity more than the rule complexity.


No fixed starting arrangement helps each game to be different from the others. While there may still be a favored opening for each player, they become more variable.

Air forces do add some complexity to the rules, but the possibility of distal support greatly loosens up play in the mid- and late game. Not allowing air forces to be supported keeps the relative unit strengths roughly balanced. (The annoying bi-coastal spaces are to help decrease the value of fleets beyond the early game as well.)

Because each superpower is limited to five of each type of unit, as a player nears victory, the options become more restricted – requiring careful planning. Also because victory is determined by year end, it may be necessary for a power which has controlled 16 supply centers to defend them against the others for several seasons (until the end of the year), which can be difficult with only 15 units and concerted opposition.


I have attempted to improve the balance of power in the game while maintaining asymmetrical characteristics of the various superpowers.

One of the main weaknesses of Diplomacy is that weakened players have little incentive (beyond honor and commitment) to stay in the game. The problem is slightly reduced in Global Diplomacy. I have increased the options of weaker players and decreased the options of the more powerful players. For example, the nuclear option gives weaker players a powerful means to gain allies to help their survival. A nuclear power can also engage in much mischief.

All superpowers are essentially close neighbors of all others. Making early diplomacy with everyone even more vital than with the standard game.

Draws are also discouraged: because of the nature of the global board, stalemate lines seem virtually impossible. It may be noble to draw, but that’s not what we sit down to these games for anyway…


Can a fleet in Pol offer support for an action (eg. GRE) during the cold seasons?

Yes. And ditto for an air force or fleet in ANT. This is a slight rewriting of the dip rule: "[The space receiving support] must be one to which the supporting unit could have moved if not opposed by other units..." to: "The space receiving support must be one to which the supporting unit could have moved (in a season when movement to that space is allowed) if not opposed by other units..."

Can this support be cut?

The support cannot be cut during the cold seasons (Fall/Winter for POL; Spr/Sum for ANT). In terms of design, this feature of POL and ANT increases the advantage of putting a unit in an otherwise disadvantaged spot. Reminder that convoys can also be made across POL during all seasons.

Does the arsenal have to be specified with the orders calling for all units to hold or do I get to wait to see the movement results before deciding where the arsenal will be?

The arsenal build order can be made in any! build period subsequent to the "all units hold" order. It can be years later. It can also be in a period when you might otherwise not be entitled to build any units.

The "all units hold" order announces that your power is "a screw's turn away" from developing nuclear capabilities. When -- or even if -- you choose to build an arsenal is at your later discretion.

Clarifications on nuclear rules:

A nuclear arsenal can never be moved and can never be built on a supply center which is not a "home" supply center for the power which is making the build (and the SC must be currently under that power's control).

A nuclear airforce is simply an airforce involved in delivering a nuclear bomb.

For a bomb to be delivered, there must be a unit "sharing" the space with the nuclear arsenal and it must be specified as participating in that bombing.

Q: When do the nukes resolve? before or after movement? If a unit holds in a space under nuclear attack I suspect it gets destroyed without a retreat. What if the unit moved out of the nuclear space? What if the unit moved into the space on the same turn it gets nuked?

A: Spaces are destroyed after movement, before retreats. Your suspicion is correct: a unit in that space after movement, but before retreat disappears. A unit can leave and enter the "nuked" space during the same movement turn as the bombing orders. If the bombing is successful, the unit entering the nuked space will be destroyed. The unit having just left will feel fortunate.

If any of the orders fail (i.e., are cut just as a supporting action by the same unit would be cut), then no bomb explodes anywhere - the arsenal remains viable for subsequent movement order seasons.

Write bombing orders as per the following examples.

Example 1

(OK, with no other relevant orders)

Arsenal RUS bomb SCA
A RUS drop bomb to SCA

Example 2

(OK, with no other relevant orders)

Arsenal EUS bomb via NAT SAH EGY to SIO
N EUS carry bomb via NAT
N NAT carry bomb from EUS via SAH

A SAH carry bomb from NAT via EGY
AF EGY drop bomb from SAH to SIO

Example 3

(Same as Example 2, but it fails because of a "cutting".)

Arsenal EUS bomb via NAT SAH EGY to SIO
N EUS carry bomb via NAT
N NAT carry bomb from EUS via SAH

A SAH carry bomb from NAT via EGY
AF EGY drop bomb from SAH to SIO


NB: in example 3, the N in NAT is not dislodged (as would be necessary for breaking a convoy order).