DIPLOMACY – The game of international intrigue

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PC Gamer US 80% – Excellent
Scheming in silence

Born decades ago as an Avalon Hill board game, Diplomacy challenges seven players to setter European nations in the early 20th century, using simple play mechanics to represent the movement of armies and navies.
Dealmaking – and deal-breaking – is the name of the game. It’s probably the most social,
most communication-dependent, and most unnervingly treacherous wargame ever played for pleasure.

Long a fixture of the play-by-email scene, Diplomacy got one abortive attempt at a PC translation in the late Nineties. Now it’s back under license to Paradox Interactive, the makers of the exquisite Hearts of Iron series. They nail the essence of this great game, but commit one startling
sin of omission.

First the good stuff. Paradox designed a simple and intuitive mechanism for drafting and executing orders. You can quickly draft suggested moves for other players to peruse; they can then accept or reject (or propose a counter).
Paradox has managed to find a visual solution to all of this, presenting you with a graphical mock-up of each proposal (which you can then quickly turn into firm orders with a one-click accept). The result is a system that minimizes the administrative hassle that you might expect from a game
built around lots and lots of speculative move proposals.The AI is surprisingly robust in single-player mode . I found the computer opponents to be very adept at sending ill intension and spotting opportunities to enlist you for their own gains. I also found allies to be suitably sceptical about offers, and demanding about what kind of help they expect for their collaboration.My massive, massive complaint is about multiplayer interaction. Paradox chose not to include a player-to-player chat function in multiplayer, meaning you can neither talk nor type a message to another player – the

only communication is through the sending and receiving of proposed moves. Now, as anyone who has played Diplomacy knows, this game is all about persuasion, misdirection, and sharing of intelligence – in short, it’s all about verbal/written interaction. It makes no sense to have a diplomacy game that prohibits inter-player chat.

So here comes a bizarre recommendation: Buy Diplomacy for its excellent single-player mode. That’s a hard thing to say about a PC version of the world’s greatest multiplayer game, but there you have it.


Shipping to stores in North America Oct 4, Scandinavia Oct 28, Benelux and Germany Nov 11, France Nov 18 and UK Nov 25.