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E-Mail Diplomacy for New Players

The Internet can be a confusing place to navigate, but we're going to try to make things easy for you. A few minutes spent here might save you a lot of grief and frustration as you get familiar with Diplomacy on the Internet. Everything you see here assumes that you already know how to play Diplomacy, that you have the rules to the game in your possession (you won't find them anywhere on the Internet, for copyright reasons), and you're ready to play on-line. And in case you're wondering, none of the options for on-line play that we're aware of cost anything other than your free time (and perhaps frayed nerves, whilst waiting to see how that Fall movement stab turned out).

Email lends itself perfectly to Diplomacy, as long as the games are lengthened to deal with the natural delays that are caused by the fact that not all players are reading and writing their email at the same time. For instance, you might email a suggestion to an ally in the afternoon, but he might not read it until the next morning and might not reply until later the next day! Because of this, most games move much more slowly than when played face-to-face -- generally, it takes at least a day or two for each turn and at least four to six *months* for an entire game.

This is an important realization. If you join a game, the other players are going to expect you to stay with the game for half a year -- or more! If you can't reasonably guarantee to yourself that you'll have continuous access to the Internet and that you'll stay with the game for the duration, then you shouldn't make that commitment in the first place.

There are a number of different options available to the Internet Diplomat: Judge games, Hand-Adjudicated games, AOL, Compuserve, E-Zines, Real-Time Dip, and the commercially available computer Diplomacy game with Internet access.

Playing Using the Internet "Judges"

By far, the most popular method of playing Diplomacy on the Internet is through Judges. These are computer programs that are located on various servers around the world that allow players to play Diplomacy by means of Email messages. Once registered on a Judge, you can create games, join existing games, order your units, send diplomatic message to your opponents and read their replies. In addition, the Judge will adjudicate the orders that everyone sends in (once it has error-free orders from all seven players) and set the deadline for the next set of orders. It will also send all the results of the moves to all the players.

Sounds great, huh? It is!

The Diplomatic Pouch runs its own Web-and-Email based judge, called the "DPjudge." To get to it, just click here. You must register to use it (don't worry -- everything about Net Diplomacy is easy, free of charge, and hassle-free), which you can do at The Diplomatic Pouch Player Database (DPPD).

The DPjudge is both Web and e-mail based. At the DPjudge Website, you can get all the information you need on how to use the DPjudge. Just click on "About the DPjudge" and "Common Questions."

If you're looking for the judges that are only e-mail based, these are the so-called "Ken Lowe" judges (named for the original code-writer). [The DPjudge's e-mail interface is based on the "Ken Lowe" judge interface, with nearly identical instruction set.]

Some find it a somewhat daunting task to learn the interface with the Ken Lowe Judge. First, you have to register with a Judge before you can use it. The easiest way to do this is by using The Pouch's Judge Registration Service. Once registered on a judge, there is a certain syntax that must be used in your e-mail messages to the judge. It is quick to learn, and literally thousands of players have succeeded in doing so, so certainly you can too! To get started with Diplomacy on the Internet through the Judges, we recommend two web sites:

E-Mail Diplomacy Using the Ken Lowe judges for New Players
The Newbies' Guide to the Ken Lowe Judge
A longer, more detailed version of the introduction in the second site is presented here.

Playing Using the Hasbro/Microprose CD-ROM Game

If you've purchased the 1999 Hasbro/Microprose computer game Diplomacy, chances are that you're at least a little disappointed with the quality of the computer opponent. Unfortunately, support for online play with the Hasbro computer game has faded. It's no longer supported at Microsoft's Gaming Zone and Hasbro doesn't run a meeting place for players.

There's a mailing list for online Diplomacy with the computer game by Microprose. Click to join

There's a Yahoo Club as well: Microprose Diplomacy.

The traffic in both places seems to be very light, though . . .

Playing "Hand-Adjudicated" E-mail Games

Some folks don't like to deal with the syntax-heavy interface of the Judges and prefer to play Hand-Adjudicated games. The advantages here are that you write email directly to the other players and to the Game Master and you don't need to know anything more complicated than the rules of the game and the language spoken in the game (usually English!). The disadvantages are that people are less responsive than machines and you won't always get a confirmation of your email. Also, with human adjudication comes human error, so be on the look out for mistakes!

If it's not on a Judge, it's hand-adjudicated, but there are lots of forums for play. Quite popular is CAT23, with over 800 members as of 2002. They stress "Community Diplomacy," where real live people run all the games and you can develop friendships as you develop your skill at Diplomacy. Diplomacy 2000 hosts about fifteen games that are connected to the Zine/EZine "Spring Offensive". Redscape is a smaller group with a classy website, The Diplomat hosts a few games. There are a number of Yahoo Clubs that host games: Dip World, Dip1600, Diplomatic Corp, Denmark House (a group for Danish players), Mike Dean's Psychopath Webzine is an excellent source for what he calls "insane ramblings" and what we call useful Diplomacy information. Sirius hosts games in Swedish and English, and Diplored hosts games in Spanish.

There is also an introduction into how to get started playing Diplomacy on Compuserve, complete with information on who to contact.

Playing in the "E-Zines"

Some full fledged E-zines (Electronic Magazines) host games in addition to publishing the issues of their magazine. Here's the The Diplomatic Pouch E-Mail Zine Registry. If there are others who'd like to be listed, let me know!

Playing Real-Time Diplomacy On The Net

There are two options for Real-Time Diplomacy: on the Judges (The Pouch's Web- and e-mail-based judge, the DPjudge, is well-suited for this) and on ICQ.

To play on a Ken Lowe Judges, you've got to learn how to use the Judge first. After you're finished there, the Guide to Real-Time Diplomacy will help you play Real Time games.

Ready to Play?

Once you've figured out where you want to play online, you'll might still have some questions. With any luck, these references will be able to help:
The MiniFAQ (Frequently Asked Questions list)
A must-read for people new to PBEM Diplomacy, the Mini-FAQ is posted regularly on the newsgroup.

The Diplomacy Subject Index
The Diplomacy Subject Index, maintained by Simon Szykman, is a comprehensive index, organized alphabetically by subject, covering all the major topics related to the PBEM diplomacy hobby. If you need the answer to a question, the index should be able to tell you where to find it.

The Diplomatic Pouch Judge Registration Service
Register with any of the PBEM judges from this page.

The Diplomatic Pouch Judge Openings List: long version or shortform
This is a list of all the openings on all the public judges, automatically updated every few hours. The list has undergone a number of revisions since its inception and is currently maintained by Hans de Graaff.

The Diplomatic Pouch Game Queues
Having trouble getting into games of a certain type because of their popularity? Get in an orderly line using The Pouch's game queues.

The Electronic Protocol House Rules
The Electronic Protocol House Rules, originally created by the now-defunct EPCC, under which most PBEM games are run.

Judge Help Files
This is a list of the PBEM judge Diplomacy information files. These HTML versions are identical to the plain-text counterparts available by FTP or by email from the judges but are nicer-looking and full of hyperlinks and anchors.

Running Newbie E-Mail Games by Jamie Dreier
An article from The Pouch Zine for GameMasters, giving tips on running games for players new to the hobby.

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The Email Diplomacy section is maintained by Dorian Love and Chris Babcock.
Last updated Sat 16 Sep 2006