I’ve been playing a lot of Diplomacy recently. A friend received the board game as a wedding present and, after one in person game that ended up with some frayed nerves on the part of a few players, we’ve switched to playing a computer moderated version hosted here.

The computer moderation helps a lot. Despite each territory only hosting a single unit, Diplomacy can get very complicated. Units have to receive orders, those orders have to be correct, and because you only have one unit per territory and no dice, there’s a horrendously complex web of possible support orders. It’s virtually impossible to win the game alone, thus the name. Most of the time is spent trying to convince others to act in your interest in a zero-sum game of war and lies.

Playing via web browser and mobile app also helps because it keeps you farther from the other players when, for example, England decides to start playing dumb and making mistakes, so Germany stabs England in the back after 3 in-game years of fruitful alliance. Not that Germany feels bad about it, since England had chosen that exact instant to also stab Germany. 

Not that I’m bitter about it. 

If you’re interested in trying Diplomacy, it’s worth checking out this excellent wiki about the rules of the game and effective strategies for each nation. I’d also recommend not using the Droidippy web site I linked to above, unless you really want to play on mobile and have an Android phone. It’s a free service hosted by a very generous Diplomacy fan, but as such it’s somewhat unstable.