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I found out one of my friends has Diplomacy and wants to play. He's never played before, and neither have I, nor anyone else in the group. I'm confident I can explain the rules, but I don't really know a lot about the strategy as I've never actually played. I'll be able to convey the general strategies, like backstabbing at key times and making sure to make their key borders as well protected as possible.

However, I don't really know what to do about the strategies for specific country, and I think we'd all enjoy it more if I didn't end up advising them what to do due to time constraints and its opposition to the spirit of the game. Ideally, I want everyone to be as independent as possible, meaning not relying on other players for their strategies and moves because I think that's more how it was meant to be played.

Does anyone know of some brief, meaning a few paragraphs long, descriptions of strategy for playing each country? Something like this:

Germany: Since you are in the center of the board, you will be in the middle of many other countries' way. Try to make alliances with 1 or 2 of them so you won't be fighting on all sides. [country] is most likely to attack you in [place] because it's critical to their expansion and future development, so watch for this early in the game. If you make friends with Italy, the two of you can proceed to conquer this area of the board and quickly grow in strength...

Your ideal alliances would be with A and B, but if A refuses then you can do this to minimize your vulnerability...

As I said, I know nothing about diplomacy yet, so I don't know exactly how the game develops. But if I could give each player a piece of paper with some advice on it for certain situations, I think it could help a lot, especially in the beginning with answering the question 'what they heck do I do?!?!'.

Does anyone know of some good brief summaries that I can give each player to help them get off to as good a start as possible? Naturally these would be kept secret from other players and I wouldn't read any before-hand except for the one for the country I'm playing.

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What's cool is when you can win without any backstabbing. It's takes way more diplomacy doing it that way. –  Lance Roberts Jul 12 '11 at 0:12
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@Lance: My favourite Diplomacy memory is of playing with a young man who was so paranoid about being backstabbed that he insisted on seeing everyone writing their moves on their physical order sheets before he would enter any agreement with them. This eventually got irritating, so on a crucial turn I made two order sheets, writing one out solely for his benefit and submitting another. It might not have been very ethical but his disbelief and outrage as my units ploughed into him from behind was definitely worth it. Some people deserve a good backstabbing! –  thesunneversets Jul 12 '11 at 13:40
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up vote 10 down vote accepted

The Gamers' Guide to Diplomacy has exactly the brief summaries you're looking for as well as much more. It's hard to get hold of so I put it online here. p7 of the 2nd pdf has the brief country by country summaries.

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I can't speak with regard to some of the other countries, but can answer specifically your questions about Germany, which I have some experience in playing.

Germany is tough to play, at least at the start, because it is surrounded by four countries on two sides. So it has to make an alliance with one party (E.g. with England vs. France, or vice-versa) and with Austria vs. Russia, or vice-versa, ON EACH SIDE. Then it has to ensure that the remaining countries, Italy and Turkey, either fight each other, or its enemies and not its allies.

For this reason, the German player sometimes begins discussions with these two, and then works backward with its neighbors.

IF IT SURVIVES, Germany's central position works to its advantage later in the game. There is a saying that whoever owns Munich wins the game (because it's hard to get to 18 without it.) Germany STARTS with Munich. It will either lose it early (to France, Russia, or possibly Austria) or else it will become strong enough to defend Munich and central Europe generally.

Once the enemies have been reduced to one eastern and one western power, plus one or two in the Mediterranean, Germany can become the "go to" country for others, because it can do the most harm to anyone.

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If you want even shorter summaries of each country's strategy, this site has them. I have never played Diplomacy before, so I'm not sure how accurate the strategies are, but they are a quick read. Also, warning, Comic Sans.

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