Played the game for my 3rd time this evening. Loving it! We are playing the "equal opportunities" scenario (D) with 2 extra railroads. The veteran player says about it that - although would not prefer this scenario - he certainly agrees with what it does for newbie players. It helps keeping everyone involved in one way or another.
Ok, so the verdict is out... it's a 5. I don't believe the game is broken, nor the draft part of the game. As much as I would like to take all the 'right' cards to play, the drafting proces just will not allow it. Therefore you will always have to adjust to some sort of sub-optimal hand to play your game with, and that makes for an ok game. Having said that; it's kind of boring to know in advance what cards you simply 'must' pick in order to have a decent chance at winning. And if you happen to be Mc Cain it won't help to know that YOU WILL lose that Fundraiser at some point in the game...
Edit: just finished another game that took waaaay to long. I couldn't build up a decent deck because all 'draw'cards seem to fall together with all the other good cards and my opponent just had to many go negatives and demographics. So we ended up drawing out a game that took us more than an hour before my opponent simply gave up. It's just not interesting.
What can be bad, sometimes is also good. With the drafting 1 out of 3 you are sometimes forced to make a choice out of 2 lesser Evils. It helps to keep the game fresh, but I must stress that this game needs to be under 60 minutes before it could start to shine. Right now we were at 70 minutes. Still too long
Again the forece of the draw helps keep things interesting but at 70 min a play and all to hope for is ineffiency of drawing cards, does not help in making a game worth your efforts. Still, you can be challenged when the game doesn't give you the right deck indeed.
A strange game indeed. I have it, read it, didn't get it, repacked it, forgot about it. Seriously: I never fully understood the rules on breaking support etc. Too difficult to understand. And how about all that writing down orders... I don't really take to games that need a pen and paper. The negotiation and leaving dice behind is okay. But someone should invent an easier way of giving orders without need of a pen and paper. Furthermore I need rule clarification, major clarification (I can prove this game is to hard to interpret since even PBEM clubs need a referee to interpret what actually happens on the board.
Edit 6/2/08. Since yesterday we started a PBEM game complete with Gamemaster. That means that in all fairness to the game I need to adjust my rating since a 3 says one will never play the game again. Final decision may depend on the playability of the e-mail variant and I suppose factors as length etc.
29/02/2008 Ok, so now that I played PBEM Diplomacy, what is my verdict¦ I didn’t like it, and here is why. When I was still on the prowl for girls back in the day, I would write a lot of sms and e-mails to them with all sorts of garbage and indecent proposals of sorts. What I hated then is what I hate now: the waiting... Waiting for a reply when negotiating or waiting for a confirmation that someone (a temporarily ally for example) received your set of proposed orders, or not. Waiting for that ally to respond, hoping it's not a negative response since you only have an hour left for the deadline¦ All of this and more made me feel like I did when I was chasing after women back then: I loved the game: but hated the waiting. Like someone in our gaming group said: send mail F5 F5 F5 F5 F5, then phew¦ I think it says it all. Besides that I really put in ALOT of time into this game, with excessive writing, 'cause I want to feel like I am a nation’s leader in heavy diplomacy. However, that excessive writing and agonising crunching over the game board on all options, costs tons of time. Time which is likely well spent when you are winning, but it feels less rewarding when you conjured up nice plan in several hours, only to be betrayed by your fellow players. Basically you fall into a downward spiral of: much time spent => orders do not deliver as promised => less time spent => less quality orders => more orders do not deliver => less time spent => less quality orders => etc. etc. Also: because this game is very unforgiving it is important that you make sure everybody understands all the rules. Once a mistake is made - especially in the opening rounds (first year) - it is hard if not impossible to recover. I will play Diplomacy again, but only face-to-face or in one weekend, PBEM is not my cup of tea.
A Long time favourite, which I seldom get to play. Most people find it chaotic. Others say the game has balance issues, or kingmaker, kingbasher problems. All of that has not been a problem for me to date. Although that could be because I simply can't find enough opponents to stick with the game for a longer period. The flags on ships and in ports can be chaotic sometimes, but overall, it's a really good transportation aka wargame. With all those (better) games at my disposal, I don't think this is one I'm 'usually' willing to play, per the BGG scoring. It's still fun and quite challenging, so a 6 is on the spot for now.
Update 2015-04: this one has had it's best days. It's time to move on. We played with a variant rule set and some people were complaining that the game had no real interactivity going on at all. Which was true, even though we were playing with the rule that doesn't allow you to sell for cash at your own ports. This did not lead to any interaction of any sorts what so ever. Which was really a shame as it did away with even the smooth "daisy chaining" your routes efficiently without replacing it with something better.
As it stands the game just doesn't hold up. Even with the mix of variant rules borrowed from the 2nd edition and from the community. The variant rules will be posted in the variant section.
Nice beer and pretzel game. I played it the other day with 3 more people. It was a really tence game, with the auctions going up and down between 90-140 thousand. You need that variety to help keep the auction not-auction mechanic alive.
Recently played it again. I think it has begun to show its age. Since hits are (mostly) only on a roll of 1, it has huge swings of luck to it. Perhaps I'll try it once more with an increased hit roll, but that might do the game more damage then good since the point of the whole game is that you only have a few forces to move around. So what bugs me the mos, I guess, is that luck on the roll out ways most of the strategic thinking.
Interesting entry level war game. Rules are some 4 pages, which is nothing too complex. Oversight is easy to maintain, although choices are still abundant and complex!