About Diplomacy

Diplomacy is a seven-player strategy board game where each player represents one of the great European powers in World War One. Like chess, it uses no dice, cards, or random elements; unlike chess, the tokens are simple army/navy units that move with equal power across a beautiful map board of pre-World War One Europe. To win, therefore, players must collaborate with each other by forming military alliances and arguing for the strategic value of such alliances over multiple turns. Blake Eskin in The Washington Post describes the game as such:

“… most of the action unfolds away from the table, in tense, furtive conversations among the seven players representing the once-great powers of Europe as they trade intelligence and plan joint maneuvers. The back-and-forth sounds like a David Mamet screenplay about the Triple Entente, especially because no promise is binding, no piece of information reliable. According to the rules, “players may say anything they wish.” Eavesdropping, slander and betrayal — back-stabbing, in Diplomacy parlance — become arrows in your quiver, not the concealed weaponry of cheats and spoilsports.”

Simple to learn, it takes clear, convincing argumentation to win the game: just as clear, convincing argumentation determines students’ scores on our timed ACT writing essay exit exam.

For a detailed history and description of the game, the Wikipedia entry on Diplomacy is one of the most comprehensive sources of information on the game available anywhere. (N.B. We know that many academics frown upon Wikipedia, and many have legitimate reasons for doing so. In this case, however, both Joe and Carlos, as academics and experienced Diplomacy players, feel that the information on this particular entry is exceedingly comprehensive and well-documented.)

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One Response to “About Diplomacy”

  1. Hello World! I Am Going to Conquer You Now! « Says:

    […] About Diplomacy — A quick summary of the game we used as the centerpiece of this Developmental Writing course. […]

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