Formatting Unit Orders at the DPjudge
about the DPjudge | the DPPD | common questions
Questions About... Questions About Issuing Orders
· Issuing Orders
· Retreat and Adjustment Orders
· Orders to Foreign Units
· Clearing Orders
· Closing Remarks
[Note: this explanation assumes a completely standard Diplomacy game. For games that are of a non-standard variant (such as Payola or Crystal Ball), or games that are set up to use any of the many different non-standard rules, some additional restrictions may apply, and some of the restrictions listed here may not apply. For the complete litany of formatting rules for such games, simply use the Website to enter some random garbage for your orders in the game, and the entire formatting rules for your game will be displayed.]

How do I start to write a movement phase order?
Well, in a standard Diplomacy game, the DPjudge is kind enough to start all your orders out for you (at the Website) by listing all your units (their type -- army or fleet -- and location). All you have to do is add the order to the end of each line. But in case you really want to know how to specify the unit being ordered (which is, in fact the first thing any order needs), here goes....

Although this is optional, you might want to specify the unit type. The unit type should be either "ARMY" or "FLEET" (or more succinctly, "A" or "F"). As I say, this is optional, if you omit a unit's type, it will be added for you.

The unit type (if given) must be followed by at least one space. Then after the space, the location of the unit must be specified. A large number of aliases are recognized for each place-name on the map, but whatever you input (if understood) will be automatically changed to the three-letter DPjudge abbreviation of the location. (If you are unfamiliar with the DPjudge abbreviation of any location, simply pull up the current game map and check.)

That's pretty easy (especially since that much is even done automatically for me). What comes after the unit type and location?
Well, the next thing you specify is the order type (move, hold, support, or convoy). These may be abbreviated, if you wish, using "M" or a dash ("-" ) or "->" for move, "S" for support, "C" for convoy, and "H" for hold. And, if you omit them all, a dash will be spontaneously inserted. Watch out for ambiguities, though, or take the safe approach and insert dashes yourself.

Then what?
Well, for simple hold orders, you are done. Otherwise, the order type must be followed by some more text.

For move orders, specify the destination location of the attempted movement. (See the next question for how to specify the move of a convoying army.)

For support orders, specify the unit being supported (you can omit the unit's type -- army or fleet -- if you wish, and it will be provided for you).

  • If writing an order to support a unit's attempt to remain in its position, you may optionally specify HOLD (or H) after the supported unit.
  • If the unit is being supported in an attempt to move, you normally specify a "move" symbol ("M", "-", or "->") and the final destination of the unit. But you can also omit the move symbol, as the DPjudge will insert a dash between any two provinces names it recognizes.

A convoy order is formatted just like an order that offers support for a moving unit (except with "CONVOY" or "C" in place of "SUPPORT" or "S" of course!)

Is that it?
Yes, that's it. Here are some examples of valid orders:
Army London Holds A LON H
paris H A PAR H
fleet nwg sea C norway - edi F NWG C A NWY - EDI
Army Wales support fleet london A WAL S F LON
irish -mid F IRI - MAO
F mao -> iri F MAO - IRI
f wal s mao iri F WAL S F MAO - IRI
army yonkers move london A YOR - LON
(Yes, "Yonkers" is one of the many abbreviations for "Yorkshire." See what I mean? It's going to be hard to screw up.)

Hey wait, what about dual-coast provinces like Spain and Bulgaria? What does the DPjudge need and what abbreviations will it accept?
You can always specify a coast when one is involved (and I'll tell you how to do so here in a minute), but you usually don't really need to do so. The DPjudge is smart enough to figure out which coast you mean in all but three cases (on the standard map): a move from Constantinople to Bulgaria, and a move from either Portugal or the Mid-Atlantic Ocean to Spain. In those cases, the coast must be specified. (Yes, it must -- the DPjudge will yell at you if you don't specify it.)

To specify a coast, simply list the coast (in any of a number of different formats) right after the place-name. For example: "spa/sc", "Bulgaria(east)", "Spain (north coast)." Again, you can't really go wrong, because if you do, the DPjudge will call you on it, offer you some long-winded help, and make you try again.

Oh, come on. There must be some catches.
Okay, you're right. But only two of them. Here's one: If you are writing an order to support a fleet in its move to a multi-coast province, the coast to which it is moving must not be specified.

For example, although the order for a fleet moving from Constantinople to Bulgaria must include the destination coast:
      F CON - BUL/SC
a support for that same order cannot specify the coast. That is, the order
      A GRE S F CON - BUL/SC
will be rejected as invalid. The order must be written without the coast:
      A GRE S F CON - BUL

This is because support is always to a space not to a coast.

Okay, that's not too bad. What's the other catch?
This catch (which will throw you if you have only played face-to-face Diplomacy, and never in any automated e-mail games) is that a convoying army must (in its order) specify its full path to its destination.

That is, if writing a convoy order, the location of all fleets to be used must appear (in order of use), and a move order, with optional space on either side, must separate these locations from each other and from the army's origin and destination provinces.

Here are a couple examples:
       A BUL-AEG - ION -> TUN
       A EDI-NTH-NWY

Note that if you fail to list the path of an army that cannot reach its destination except by convoy (for example, with an order like A EDI-NWY), the DPjudge will yell at you, so once again, you usually cannot go wrong.

Questions About Retreat and Adjustment Orders

What about retreat and adjustment (build and remove) phase orders? Anything I need to know about those?
Not really. Because orders for those phases are done by selecting (using a pulldown box on the Webpage) from all the valid orders you could possibly issue. There's nothing to type, so there's no way you could mess those orders up on the Web. If you send retreat orders in via e-mail, they will look just like movement orders, except in the case of a voluntary disband. Here are some examples:
       F livonia - stp/sc
       Army london to wales
       fleet trieste disband

If you send adjustment orders in via e-mail, it's as simple as:
       BUILD A LON
       REMOVE fleet livonia
       B F TRI

Are you just as picky about using DISBAND (for retreat orders) and REMOVE (for adjustment orders) exclusively as any of the other judges out there?
No, not at all. You're allowed to mix them up, even to write them at the front or back. You can also use + for BUILD, and - or * for REMOVE/DISBAND. And you can use RETREAT instead of MOVE. Thus a sentence like:
   The fleet in St. Petersburg (south coast) retreats to the Gulf of Bothnia
will be interpreted as
If you don't believe me, try it.

Do I really need to WAIVE each and every build separately?
No, only one WAIVE will suffice to indicate that you don't plan to build any more units than those listed, even though you might still have build centers available. If you're playing a solitaire game (such as Last Man Standing), where waiving builds is more common, you're not even required to enter any WAIVE order.

Are there any other commands accepted besides BUILD/DISBAND/WAIVE during adjustments?
Funny you'd ask. In order to comply to DPeye syntax, the DPjudge also accepts a KEEP or HOLD order followed by the name of an existing unit, e.g. KEEP F MAO. This has no actual effect other than to check that you don't both try to keep and disband the same unit in the same order set.
Questions About Giving Orders to Foreign Units

How do I write proxy orders if they are allowed in my game?
Proxy orders allow the owner of a unit to give up his control over a unit, permitting a different power to issue an order to that unit in the current movement phase. If writing a proxy order, you must give (after the word "PROXY" or "P") either the full name or the initial of the power to whom the proxy is given. For example:

Only the actual original owner of a unit may issue it a proxy order; that is, units may not be "re-proxied" from one power to another. Note also that if a unit receives a proxy order, but then, later in the power's list of orders (if the variant allows this), an order is given to the unit, the unit will follow that order. Units that are proxied to a power that does not issue an order to that unit will HOLD and will be eligible to receive support in place.

I'm in a team (or vassal) game and control more than one power. How do I give orders to my other powers?
There are two methods. The first one is to log in to your controlled power game page using your own password and fill in orders as usual. There's a convenient log-in button on your main power's game page, so you don't even have to type your password.

In the case of Payola this is your only option, as Payola has other data, like your funds or power preferences, that are only available when logging in as that power. But for other variants you can also give orders in your main power's order box. In fact the units from your controlled power(s) will be listed below the units for your main power, separated by the name of the controlled power in square brackets.

Cool, but I like variation. I like to shuffle my units around. Can I do that?
If you'd rather prefer to intersperse the units of your controlled power with those of your main power, that's possible too. Just make sure that the correct powers precede each unit, either by writing the power's name on a separate line as is the default, or by writing it on the same line in front of the order.

Here is an example of a game where France controls England at the start of the game. All order sheets are equivalent.
Brackets, round or square, or colons are optional in most cases. They are required when putting spaces in the power name, e.g. [NEW YORK], but only when placing them directly in front of orders; this in order to avoid any ambiguities between power names, units and province names. Or also when using power initials in front of an order to avoid mix-ups with unit and command abbreviations (e.g. "R A MOS" could mean "Russian army Moscow" or "Remove army Moscow"). Luckily, in the case of initials a single bracket suffices, e.g. "R) A MOS". Or simply use a colon, as in "R: A MOS".

Does this also work in e-mail?
If you prefer e-mail, you have the same two options. Either send separate e-mails for each of your powers using your own password, or include all orders in a single e-mail in the manner described above after signing on as your main power.

Do I also need to specify the power when ordering a proxied unit?
No, never, and this is the main difference between controlled and proxied units. In the case of controlled units you always have to specify the power, in the case of proxied units you should never do this.

Think of it as a safety check. When you control a power, you need to give orders to each of its units. So you need to be aware which unit belongs to which power. But for proxied units you're free to add as many units as you like, so you should already know that they are not yours. And in the case of crystal ball games, the prototype of playing by proxy, you do not even know upfront whether a unit in a certain province will be yours or not, so it doesn't even make sense to specify the power.

Questions About Clearing Orders (and other useful commands)

I've entered some orders, but now I think they are horrible and I want to get rid of them at any cost. What do I do?
Well, your first reflex should be to use the WAIT flag. That's a checkbox below your order box that you can check and then submit. That way you can avoid missing a deadline, which may upset your more diligent opponents.

But if your orders are as horrible as you say, and you have not thought out a better plan yet, you can clear your orders using the Clear button at the top of your order box, and then submitting. In the case of NO_CHECK, Crystal Ball and Payola games, orders will be replaced with a single (NMR) (No Moves Received) statement. For normal Standard games all units will be listed without any orders.

Of course you can also use the Clear button to clear all orders, then fill in new orders and only then submit. If midway through your editing you change your mind and want to return to your original orders, you can hit the Revert button, which is faster than reloading the whole page.

What happens if I just leave (NMR) in while writing my orders?
(NMR) actually works just like the CLEAR statement in e-mails. Either of these will clear all the orders for the current power (if a power statement was given, otherwise the main power; see the topic on controlled units) up to now, but not any order following this statement. That is, you could leave your old orders stand in the order box, write CLEAR or NMR (with or without brackets) below them, and then write new orders below that. This way you're still able to see the original orders. E.g.
       A TRI - ALB
       F ADR S TRI - ALB
       A TRI - ADR - ALB
       F ADR C TRI - ALB
Closing Remarks

Okay, now I know everything (or at least everything you are going to tell me). Any last words?
Just a caution. Remember that everything you just learned applies only to the most standard of Diplomacy games. If your game allows you to give orders to units that do not exist (for example, the Crystal Ball variant allows this), or if it is in any way non-standard, you might have a bit more to learn. But only a bit. And it's easy to learn. Just enter some total garbage for your orders on the Website and take a look at the long complaint you get. It will list all the rules for writing orders in your game.
The DPjudge is copyright © 1995-2024 by Manus Hand. All rights reserved.