by Larry Peery

Diplomacy has been around for a while and it hasnít really changed much.

The map is the same.

The pieces are the same.

The Rules are the same.

The players, usually, are the same.

Even the way they play is the same; which just goes to show you canít teach a Diplomacy Old Fart new tricks.

But these times are a changing.

At a time when the real world Big Powers and even small countries are re-working their armaments mix maybe itís time Diplomacy does the same thing.

Changes to bring Diplomacy into the 21st Century could include changes in the map, the pieces, the Rules and perhaps even the players.

Thereís nothing wrong with the classical Diplomacy map. It just doesnít reflect our times. It could be updated by adding more spaces or even boundary changes to reflect the decline of Austria and Germany for instance. And make no mistake about it; although Germany is a very rich and powerful country because of that, it is no longer a military force to be reckoned with.

A more contemporary map could focus on Europe, Eurasia, or even the entire world with spaces and boundaries adjusted accordingly.

Changes in the pieces used from the traditional armies and fleets would require changes in the pieces, defining what they can and cannot do, and determining how they will relate to each other and to traditional pieces.

Three possibilities for new pieces come to mind: an air unit, a submarine unit and a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) unit representing biological, chemical, nuclear and radiation weapons.

Once the kind of new units has been determined the quantity of each must be determined. Will they become substitutes for the traditional armies and fleets or simply added to the inventories of the powers. If so will their number and starting positions be pre-determined or determined by the player? If not who will get which ones and how many of each?

The real challenge is not to make the map changes, create the new units, or determine the rules for the use — rather it is to make the appropriate changes and still maintain the playability and balance of the game. Thatís where Allan B. Calhamerís genius showed through. Is there anyone out there who could do it again for todayís hobby?

I leave you with two thoughts:

  1. No matter how smart I am, after all I am a Dipper.

  2. It isnít the new generation of weapons we have to worry about: itís the new generation of players, or maybe the older generation that is entering its second childhood.

Larry Peery

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