...It Came from Outer Space!

by Dan Percival, with major rewrite help
from Dan Shoham, Eric Poolman, and Rick Desper


I have been involved in a couple of discussions about whether or not the Diplomacy board is naturally biased to certain powers and alliances. The Pure variant is an attempt to make a perfectly even game, but a wrong guess can mean a very short game for a particular player. Besides which, we don't get to play on our favorite game board....

"...It Came From Outer Space!" is an attempt to make a completely level, unbiased game that still brings to play all the subtlety and manuverings of the Standard board. Another advantage it offers is that it may be played by an unlimited and unspecified number of players greater than one.


The time is 6782 nanorotations of the galaxy since the first spacefaring creatures reached a tentative tentacle to grasp for the stars. The passage of time since then has been marked by peaceful colonization and expansion, punctuated by the occasional disputed claim. Effective cloaking devices have made warfare in space impossible, and the rare wars that have been fought have taken place on the surface of the various disputed planets. Barren planets -- the only kind ever found -- are plentiful and not usually worth fighting for; the process of making them habitable is so costly that the resources extracted barely recover the expenses. Additionally, the populations that such planets can support are negligible.

The various galactic empires, with their populations bulging, are in serious danger of decline and fall. All are sure that the first empire to discover and colonize a habitable planet will be well positioned to reverse its decline and soon dominate the galaxy....

On one small and otherwise nondescript planet, the population is celebrating the dawn of a new century. Certain inventors are just beginning to dream of atmospheric flight, and others have begun to experiment with electricity and radio. Little do they know that these experiments are being detected deep in space and are attracting attention. The chance to colonize a habitable planet is more than any race can afford to pass up, and it should be no wonder that races from all across the galaxy are converging on this planet called Earth with colonization plans and armies to enforce them. Some races plan to cooperate, while others are preparing for all-out war....


1. Scope

2. Spacecraft

3. Colonization

4. Jamming

5. Retreats

6. Adjustments

7. Notes

If you have any questions about this variant or adjudication, or if you have any suggestions to make for future versions, please feel free to contact the creator at dperciva@westmx.westmont.edu.

If you wish to e-mail feedback on this article to the author, and clicking on the mail address above does not work for you, feel free to use the "Dear DP..." mail interface.