Games

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Diplomacy

I used to play Diplomacy when I was at school. I was introduced to it by my mate Steve Bullman. He seemed to be the source of everything interesting when I was at school.

Diplomacy is quite simply the best game ever invented. If you don't know anything about it, do a search. Basically, it's a game for ideally seven players who each take the role of a European Great Power on the eve of the First World War. So it's a war game. The aim is to conquer Europe. So what makes it so special? The diplomacy! Players submit moves for their pieces simultaneously (which is unusual in itself), but prior to each mass submission of orders, there is a diplomacy phase. This consists of the seven players negotiating with each other prior to the writing of orders. And during this diplomacy phase, players can say whatever they like to others. They can make deals, break deals, lie, cheat and deceive. And therein lies the beauty and the paradox of the game. You can't win a game of Diplomacy on your own. You need allies. But to win, you need to betray those allies. Wonderful!

I've recently started thinking about Diplomacy again recently. I'm still completely fascinated by it, it seems. Anyway, my thoughts have taken an interesting turn. There seems to be lots of thriving communities out there that are interested in Diplomacy from a number of different angles. There are:

  • those who want to develop variants of the original game: using primarily variations of the rules and the map;
  • websites and apps that enable people to play Diplomacy online;
  • academic groups involved in the AI research field, using Diplomacy as a vehicle. They want to develop 'bots': software that plays one of the Great Powers in the game;
  • academic groups involved in researching automated negotiation: that is, getting computers to negotiate with each other, in competing environments.

I've put together the results of my searches, in case anyone out there is remotely interested in anything similar. It's all in this document:

Diplomacy literature search

Wouldn't it be nice to write your own bot?

Games Notes

Just Diplomacy at the moment!