The Avalon Hill Game

During WWII, Hitler's Diplomatic style was one where he forced himself to justify attacking any country. This style is also used by many players of Avalon Hill's Diplomacy game.

This article is about a way of thinking that many Diplomacy players, whether online or face-to-face, conform to. Many conformists do not even realize that they have bought into playing the game in this manner; some, like myself, think that this philosophy best allows us to justify actions that, in most cases, we would find morally reprehensible.

Like it or not, many Diplomacy players have a certain set of ethics that govern them from game to game. Of course, there are some players that don't give a shit about morals one way or another, but they don't matter because they are going straight to hell anyway.

During the course of a game, one of the hardest things for someone to do is to stab an ally.

All of you macho guys reading this are probably thinking how you could stab your mother for that eighteenth center if need be, but, when it comes down to it, most of you would kill yourself if something happened that forced you to miss your daily meeting with Oprah.

Thus, the problem comes when it is time to stab an ally who has stuck with you the entire game. How do you do it? You can't, unless you can justify it.

This style of only attacking once it can be justified is playing Hitler style Diplomacy. This lends its name from the way that Hitler, during World War II, conducted himself and his foreign affairs.

To those of you who do not approach Diplomacy in this manner, you are probably thinking that players who play this way put themselves at a severe disadvantage. In most games, you would be correct. In a simple game of Diplomacy in which seven people are picked at random, the Hitler diplomat puts himself at a severe disadvantage because he is unable to be the aggressor, even if it's in his best interest at the time. However, in real life, this often isn't the case.

While often we would like to think that our actions in one game will not affect the thoughts of players in another game, but, of course, this is not the case. This, in the long run, gives the Hitler diplomat a great advantage.

Even if he has stabbed a player in a previous game, by showing that his attack was provoked, he has a better chance of regaining that player as an ally in the current game than a player who made an unprovoked attack.

The obvious downfall to this style is the lack of solo victories which can be gained by any player who views the game in this manner. It is easy to see how anyone that takes this approach to the game can be taken advantage of.

However, the trick lies in justifying the attack, for if you can find some way, any way, to justify moving on a former ally, you give yourself a better chance of winning and don't feel so bad once the deed has been done.

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