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on March 25, 2012
This game is infamous amongst my friends for the nicknames it created. I won't tell you mine, but suffice it to say that I wasn't popular with Germany or Italy when I played as France! You CANNOT win this game alone. You have to make deals with people -- and unfortunately, you also have to break them. Make sure you play with people you like a lot, and be sure that they really like you too, or it all may wind up with none of you ever speaking to each other, ever again!

I'm serious. This game can ruin relationships if you're not careful.

It's time-consuming, so I recommend timing each "turn" and limiting the amount of time each round that people are allowed to talk and make deals. The first round should allow no fewer than thirty minutes, and possibly up to forty-five or an hour, to make sure that each country gets to talk to every country leader/player that it needs to, and weigh the deals that are offered. After that, ten to fifteen minutes should suffice.

The game is set up so that no one can invade their neighbor on the first turn, so you'll need to build crucial allies the first time around in order to defend yourself against invasions in the second turn, and make well-coordinated strikes against your opponents.

TRUST NO ONE! This game CANNOT BE WON unless *SOMEONE* is stabbed in the back. Sad, but true. The people who are your allies in the beginning will likely be your enemies after a few short years/turns.

Enough reviews give the specifics of game play, so all I'll offer are some TIPS. You'll find that they sometimes contradict each other. That's because the best strategy for winning means doing what ISN'T expected, and because the country you choose is crucial in determining what course of action you should take for the win.

*Don't rush to attack anyone right away. You need to focus on securing extra supply centers so you can build and strengthen your forces and THEN attack.

*Work on your naval placements, especially if you're playing France or Russia or Germany. You'll be tempted to work your way inland with these nations, and build armies at the expense of sacrificing naval units, but you'll leave yourself vulnerable if you do -- especially from the U.K.

*Try not to play as the U.K. unless you really, REALLY trust the other people. You can't win as the U.K. without some powerful allies in the beginning. If you get stuck with this country, try forging early pacts with nations that can't hurt you right away, like Russia, so that they won't attack you when you start to become a threat, and will help support you against your early enemies.

*The people playing France and Russia should team up with one another against the U.K., cut off its naval channels, and wipe it out immediately, while everyone else on the continent fights it out for inland territory. Divide the north seas between yourselves. Get Germany to help in exchange for a piece of the action. In the normal course of a good strategic game, the U.K. should be the first nation to go, because taking it out is child's play.

*Once Russia and France have obliterated the U.K., they should remain a team long enough to take out Germany.

*If you're playing as Italy, attack France first. Get Germany and the U.K. to help you.

*If you're playing as France, defend like hell from the U.K. and Germany, and attack Italy as quickly as you can, or it will come after you later. Get support from Germany. DON'T FORGET YOUR NAVY. You'll need it later, if you survive.

*If you're playing as Russia, take over the small countries in the East instead of attacking right away. You already have an advantage starting with four pieces, so BUILD and fortify yourself while your Western neighbors start the skirmishes early. Get Denmark and Norway before the U.K. can.

*Lie, lie, lie. Lie to anyone, at any time. Break deals when it's best for you, but not unless you can back yourself up, or people will turn against you too quickly and form teams to take you down. Don't break any deal early on, or everyone will know from the start not to trust you. Build their trust, THEN break it, when you can pounce. The best way to do this is to set up your opponent for an invasion of a third party, tell them you'll support their moves, and then move in behind their back when you KNOW they'll be unsupported. Wipe them out, then have a fresh place to bargain from even though no one else will trust you.

*Don't take anything at face value. Anything your opponents tell you could be a lie. They're out for themselves, and EVERYONE has a secret deal going. Trust no one, and don't leave your vulnerable lands unprotected.

*Don't buy this game unless you have a lot of friends, because you won't be able to play with the same people twice if you take my advice.

That's Diplomacy, folks. It IS possible to win with integrity, but it's not half as much fun! And for those of you who haven't already guessed it, I'll 'fess up to my eternal Diplomacy nickname: Evil Back-Stabbing [rhymes with "witch"]. :-D ;-) And uh, none of my friends will play with me anymore, so if you do find a copy and need some extra players, feel free to drop me a line! :-}
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on September 19, 2014
As a Diplomacy set for either play or strategizing, this edition is worthless:
1) The pieces are cardboard cut-outs with colors that in some cases are quite difficult to tell apart.
2) The map for Italy, Germany, England, and parts of Turkey and Austria-Hungary is colored so darkly that the black province borderlines are hard to see unless you're standing within 2 feet of the board.
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on September 26, 2014
Here's a quick review for you: I will never play this damn game again.
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on June 16, 2009
If you are looking for a game that you can play with a group of friends and be finished in a couple of hours with everyone happy and content, this is definitely not for you. This game, played properly, requires many hours of thinking and, as the name suggests, diplomacy. There is absolutely no chance involved in the game, the game is all about strategy and forming alliances with other players, and then when they least expect it, stabbing them in the back. If you liked the "survivor" television program, or ones like it, you will love this game. I hated the "survivor" series, but I still love this game.

Just a word of warning. Be careful who you play this game with. If they are easily offended and cannot grasp the fact that part of this game entails the necessity to stab another player in the back eventually to win, there could be some definite post-game consequences. All in all, a great game that really exercises the mental faculties and hones negotiation tactics.
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on January 12, 2015
A classic strategy game that takes a lot of time and can make the best of friends become enemies
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on September 18, 2013
This game...I bought Diplomacy for my husband because he has had it on his wish list for some time. I am a HUGE fan of games like Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Elder Sign, Pandemic, etc., and thought this would be something fun to do together.


If you're looking for a silly good time like you get with the games above, don't bother with Diplomacy. We first played the two-player version, and my brain hurt just trying to absorb the instructions. We decided the best way to learn was to just start playing and correct ourselves when we discovered we weren't doing something right. It took us a couple of hours just to get going, and then we played a couple more fast-paced games. I have never played Risk, Axis and Allies, or any other war-related strategy-type games, and so I found myself at a significant disadvantage. It's difficult to see where you have some of your pieces because they blend with the board, so meticulous record-keeping helped a little, but overall I found my husband was much better at keeping track of his forces and thinking far ahead of me. I am not a great loser, so I found it frustrating, but it must have been at least a little fun because I continually challenged him to rematches.

We have only once played with a group (5 people, I think), and THAT'S when things really started to get fun. It turns into quite the riot when you run into another room, collude with another playing to stab a friend in the back, and they end up betraying you on the next turn. This is really where you learn who of your friends and family are the good liars, who are the ruthless strategists, and who you're going to kick the crap out of.

I only give 4 stars for durability because of the insane number of teeny tiny pieces. With diligence, this game will last a long time, but because some of the little tokens blend with the board so well, it can be really difficult to make sure everything gets put away. On a more basic level, all the pieces are thick cardboard and the board itself also seems sturdy and well-constructed.
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on October 10, 2014
..but it's hard to get people to play this game because of its reputation as a relationship buster. I think people should get thicker skins and just put on a persona and play this really fun game. Have fun but don't let it infiltrate your real-life folks :)
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on August 2, 2010
I have played Diplomacy since I was eleven and at 56, it is still the best! The game always presents twists, intrigue, back-stabbing and/or treachery, satisfaction, excitement, and of course, sometimes you can become very angry at your opponents or your allies. Unlike Risk, there is little luck, everyone takes their turn simultaneously (there is no dice), outcomes of conflicts are resolved by superior numbers which usually take place by making or breaking alliances. I have won, lost, or kind have tied opponents, usually because of time restraints. The most armies and fleets you can possess is 8 fleets and 8 armies (unless you agree to change the rules), but to get there you need alot of diplomacy, skill and cunning! I once played Russia with four fleets and an one army, where I occuppied England but not Russia. My opponent was Turkey only, at this junction, and she occupied most of Europe including Russia. DIPLOMACY is not a quick game, over in two hours, but more like six or eight hours or more, you might need many more rooms your house because some alliances require privacy and there is sometimes spying, or falsifying of orders, and usually lots of pizza, finger foods, and beverages!
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on March 26, 2015
I had 6 good friends over that love games and who were all prepared to set aside 8 hours to play this game. 8 hours in we had destroyed France, Russia and Austria but there was no end in sight as any player who started to gain strength above the remaining four would immediately be teamed up against 3-1. We ended up quitting because it appeared no person would be able to complete the requirements to win. After playing for so long it lost the enjoyment that greeted us during the first couple hours of gameplay. The negotiating and backstabbing were a lot of fun. The rules are also not simple at all for new people to understand.
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on February 20, 2009
This version is a far cry short of the wonderful wooden block editions of yesteryear, but an improvement on the plastic "star" shape designs. Sadly, in the age of free play-by-email Diplomacy communities that ease the burden of finding six other players and allow for leisurely, one week at a time turns, finding people willing to sit around a board for the better part of a day and night is a rarity. Still, this set is a very nice rendition of what may well be the best war game ever made - as attested by the many decades that people have been enjoying it. Purportedly, Kennedy even played this game, to give some context to the previous remark.
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