January 30, 2012 8:10 PM Subscribe
Diplomacy isn't everyone's idea of fun. Time is one obstacle; a quick game can take six hours, and others can go on for 16 hours. More important, 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 (3 MB PDF), "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.
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