Diplomacy Variants

..by Tom Reinecker

WW4, WWIV or World War Four, or whatever you want to call it...

It is now 20 years after WWIII finally ended in a near apocalyptic type world. The worlds powers of the past are not what they used to be. Many are fractured while other lesser Powers were left relatively unscathed during the war and are now much more powerful than ever before. Even the tiny islands of Oceania and elsewhere are of much more import. The war saw many fleets left behind in their strategic island bases. Many expatriates sought to hide out in these archipelago's as well as those servicemen who deserted their posts. Large parts of Africa and South America were left relatively untouched by the wars scars and are also more important than they were in those prewar days. The world is finally recovering from the vast destruction of this past war. Economies are starting to grow, military muscles are being re-flexed after laying dormant for so long. Each New World power seeks to exert their new-found might upon the rest of the world, trying to become the worlds next big superpower. Tensions are growing, skirmishes are occurring more often, peace is tenuous at best, the world is on the brink of WW4

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You will assume the leadership of one of this Worlds 36 new emerging military powers. It is your job, no, it is your DESTINY to take your new nation and lead them into the future. You will make your new nation the most dominant power in the world, uniting the world under your leadership while, with your allies, bringing peace and prosperity to the world's population once more.

Welcome to the future...
Nations are quite a bit different in this world as are so many of the odd centers in places you may never have heard of before, it truly is a strange new world! But just look at how well balanced we have become, any of the new powers have a very real shot at winning this 36 power game of strategy and politics.

This semi-futuristic approach allowed me to use a full world map yet maintain maximum balance. While games like NWO and even the standard game are fun and somewhat fair, they are not nearly as well balanced as this game is. When developing this, my FIRST variant, I was very eager to develop a game like no other had seen before, a full world game with real current powers and supply centers that made sense with perfect balance. As the game was growing on my computer monitor in these developmental stages, it became painfully obvious that it would be darn near impossible to create such a game. One aspect maybe, all three, no way!

At that time, my biggest problem was balance, the USA was too large, too many powers were in Europe, too may areas were left without any real powers. I had to fix the balance or this game would never fly, but how?
Then I decided to play around with merging some powers while splitting others, suddenly it was possible to get more and more balanced! When the idea of a post apocalyptic world came to me the game suddenly got much easier to draw and things made sense. The whole current powers and "sensible" supply centers went out the window, a real nice well balanced game started to develop before my eyes. BALANCE became of paramount importance. After many years of game play and quite a bit of tweaking you now find the most current product displayed for you here. I am quite confident you will find this game the most balanced world domination games you have ever played.

In this variant the rules are all the same as the standard Diplomacy game with a few exceptions.

The Map is of course new and has its own unique areas. Pay attention to several game specific map "oddities" (spelled out at the bottom of the game map) as follows:

Impassible Areas include Antarctica, the Himalaya's, Switzerland and Several large lakes

The North Pole (ARC = Arctic Ocean) is semi-impassible employing the following "Icebreaker" rule:

ARC is open only to Fleets and only in the Spring, fleets must exit in the Fall, should they fail to exit they MUST retreat to the designated retreat location, BAF for any fleet from a Western Hemisphere power (determined by games STARTING location ....Oceania is considered Western), NOV for any fleet from a Eastern Hemisphere power. Should this default province be occupied, that fleet is sent OTB (off the board) before the retreat phase. (no options during retreat phase, they go to the designated location if open, if not, OTB they go!)

Fleets may NOT travel along the arctic coast movement to the Arctic in Spring and an exit to a sea zone or a land space that has a 'blue" sea zone adjacent. The thought is that these far northern coastlines freeze the same as the deep sea, ships must have access to open waters!

It would logically follow that convoys and supports are not permitted through/from the Arctic. If the move into this space is done in the Spring and in the fall they must be out, then a convoy or support is not possible, it is for passage only.

Map Split,

Unfortunately we need to split the map somewhere and it can be difficult to determine if a space is occupied or not. To battle this problem we will position a fleet in one map section and position another fleet in the opposite section INSIDE the arrow indicating adjacency. Please do not assume this to mean two fleets occupy the one space, the second unit in the arrow should make this quite clear to all and help solve the problem of who is located where.

Canals, similar to Constantinople in the standard game

Istanbul, Denmark, Panama and Egypt

"Land Bridges" are separate yet connected land masses that allow armies and/or fleets to pass from one to the next.

These land bridges are spelled out at the bottom of the map and are easy to identify with their red lines or arc's indicating the two connected masses.

"Centers at Sea" are somewhat unique. These spaces are islands that allow convoys to be made through them. Traditional islands (such as Iceland, Sicily, Madagascar and many others are just that, islands ...nothing special about them. No convoys can be made through them and they are marked as any other land space, in BLACK. Sea zones are marked in a BLUE. "Centers at Sea" however are marked in GREEN and sit in the midst of water all around them. This water allows convoys to steam right on through. Centers at sea can be occupied with either Fleet or army units (though armies must convoy in or out ...unless built there)

"Multiple Coastlines" are to be found in several spaces

New Brunswick, Nicaragua, Spain, Bulgaria, Korea, Isthmus of Kra

Link to WW4 Abbreviations:



Build-able Centers

Builds may be made in any owned (and vacant) supply center. (also referred to as "Chaos Builds")

(the two year delay of past games is now waived)

The UN adds an element of politics to the game. Do not underestimate the importance of this aspect of the game; it is not a standard Dip game where power and domination is of utmost importance. Political maneuvering can play as much of a role as does military might.

End game Procedure (The UN Vote)

Another change is the advent of the UN. Each power holds THREE  UN votes. After each Spring turn after year 10 a vote may be called for to declare a winner of the war. Politics is a very real part of this game, while the top power may of course have advantages, he may find a collation of smaller powers win the game. By adding this political aspect to the game we do several things,

  • One. We bring the world together, instead of what would be multiple games on the same map one slightly overlapping the next, we now unite everyone and give Australia a reason to talk to Cuba.
  • Two. The game plays more like a real world game where the United Nations has influence in the worlds matters.
  • Three. The game can end in a reasonable time, waiting for half the centers to be controlled could take well over 2 years real time!
  • Four. The game allows real alliances to develop and thrive, while a stab is always possible, it is not as assured as in the standard game.
  • Five. This gives a bit more fun and playability to the Little Guy who can now not only help affect the games outcome in his slight way but he can actually seek to still end up in the winners circle (it has been done before!)

At the end of each SPRING turn starting in year 10 each PLAYER will be allowed to nominate ONE coalition to be voted upon for the game end vote. Each coalition must include the number of powers required for that year and must also include one of the top three powers (SC count) at that time. Nobody will know who nominated what grouping (but the actual votes WILL be made public). Nominations are accepted during the "summer" retreat phase and vote results will be made public the day before the next orders are due. Players may vote for any number of coalitions offered, they are not restricted to vote for only one or only those he is part of, a player can vote for none, one, two, three, ten, all, any combination he wishes!

There will be no solo winners in this game, winning a war requires a nation to work with allies to control the planet. Alliances will win this game but depending on when the votes are cast, the number of those participating in end game coalitions will change as follows.

  • In years 10-12 only two member coalitions will be allowed.
  • In years 13-15 only three member coalitions will be allowed
  • In year 16 and on, only four member coalitions will be allowed

          (groups of more or groups of less than the above indicated requirements will not be accepted to be voted upon)

A coalition of powers may include any group of powers as long as it meets the required number of members for that year AND that

one (or more) of the coalition is in the top 3 powers determined by number of supply centers owned. Should more than 2 players be tied for that 3rd place then all those tied will be considered a top 3 power. This rule requires a top power to win the game and prevents 3 tiny powers exerting TOO much influence.

All votes by each power with multiple votes will be cast for the same result, there is no splitting of votes when multiple votes are held. (see below)


The winner of the contest will be the first coalition to gain 70 United Nations votes.

While each power starts with three votes, these may increase or decrease over time.

Votes will be won or lost as follows:

1 vote for each capital city you hold (yours and/or any other's)

1 vote for each player as long as they are alive
upon a players elimination, that vote goes into the dead pool and all eliminated player votes go towards ending the game for ALL nominated coalitions.

1 vote for holding the majority (2/3) of a players original starting centers

there are slight exceptions and conditions should centers be split between several powers
lets use Germany as an example for each possibility

Germany loses Berlin and Hamburg to Russia

Germany does still hold Munich
...Russia gains that 2/3 majority vote

Germany loses Berlin to Russia
Germany loses Hamburg to England
Germany keeps Munich
...no majority of centers is taken, Germany shares an equal % (1/3 each) of these starting centers, he retains his vote
however, say the next year (or any later year) England takes Berlin from Russia, at that time, the majority vote goes to England

The original owner will "win all ties" regarding this type of split possession when he is one of those holding equal possession, should Germany later retake one of these cities  and it is still a 3 way split, Germany will once again retake that vote.

Germany loses Berlin to Russia
Germany loses Hamburg to England
Germany loses Munich to the Vatican
(regardless of whether Germany is alive or not)
... no majority but no German possession either, the vote goes to the holder of the capital city.

These majority votes can switch back and forth between players and votes will change only after ownership changes hands (after a fall turn) yet the vote is after Spring turns. We can and will have people sitting in cities yet not control those votes just yet! 

Remember, this is adjudicated by hand, errors will occur and I can see me missing a vote or two or more. They will be kept track of on the map as indicated in the sample map posted here. CHECK FOR ERRORS!


Default Orders

Such large games face certain NMRs, missed builds and retreats happen as real life always interferes when least expected. With so many people, even dedicated ones, we are bound to experience several during the course of the game. To prevent a possible power vacuum from forming and setting the entire game out of balance we will be using default Adjustments and Retreats. These defaults are designed to keep the game in balance, the power who missed his orders may still have a decent position and should a replacement be required, the position is (hopefully) more tenable. The defaults are designed to primarily protect the player who missed his orders, most defaults favor the centers already owned by that player so defaults that "attack" others are less likely to happen (but are possible).

For those starting with 2 or more fleets, a fleet is the default unit
for those with 2 armies or more to start, they have armies as their default (I mark it in the powers section in the top Left of the map)

I simply go alphabetical (using official abbreviations as the alphabetical determination),
if a fleet is the default, then the first available port alphabetically is used if no ports are available, THEN an army in a non port center is used

EX. The Catholic Empire has a build
buildable centers that are open for build are:
Budapest is first but his default is a fleet so we go to the next in line...Paris
If his available build sites were Prague and Budapest only,
Then he would get an army raised in Budapest.

First choice is a buildable SC
next is any owned SC
next is a foreign SC
(in all cases if two are available, then the closest to the most owned SC's (not buildable but owned in this case) , if a tie exists, then the closest to the most SC's regardless of ownership, if still a tie still exists, then the first alphabetical SC closest to the most owned SC's)

If no SC's are available:
then first is the closest space to the most owned SC's
if a tie, then the closest to the most SC's regardless of ownership
if a tie still exists, then the first space alphabetically closest to the most owned SC's

furthest unit from owned SC's
if a tie, then the one closest to the fewest SC's regardless of ownership
if still a tie, then the first alphabetically (of those tied) goes OTB first.


WW4 Rev 6.2 base map: