Italy is almost the worst country to start with. But that makes it a nice challenge.

What is your winning strategy with Italy?

  • Back in high school, when I played crazy quantities of Diplomacy, I used to really enjoy playing Italy. Sadly, all of my clever Italy ploys have vanished from my mind – Hopefully you'l get smart answers from the community. Jan 10, 2011 at 2:29
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    This question falls on multiple points in questions to avoid asking, and I've voted to close it as too broad. It is polling for peoples' strategies, and more suitable for a discussion forum. Every answer is valid, so long as it is someone's strategy (and presumably sometimes works well). There also appears to be no actual problem to solve here: the asker considers starting with Italy a good challenge, and doesn't necessarily need our help, so this more resembles an exercise for social fun. Jan 27, 2015 at 6:08
  • Whatever you do, avoid the "Fleet Rome" rules variant. Worst idea ever.
    – wberry
    Mar 18, 2015 at 21:30

7 Answers 7


Make sure EVERYONE knows that Italy is the weakest country, by reminding them of it constantly, both during the game and every time the subject of Diplomacy comes up in conversation generally. Hopefully this will lull them into a false sense of security, so that you can actually get somewhere with your beleaguered green armies. Certainly if anyone starts picking on you, you are entitled to complain loudly: "C'mon! Everyone knows that Italy doesn't stand a chance of winning this game! Stop hassling me!"

Of course, this meta-strategy can easily backfire: if you become just too annoying and whiny, people may start attacking you just in the hope of shutting you up! But generally I think it's perfectly reasonable, given the common knowledge that Italy is far from the strongest position in the game, to present yourself as an underdog and no real threat... until you've rallied your forces sufficiently to strike. It's all part of the fun of the game!


The Diplomacy Archive has a large number of strategies for Italy and all the other countries.

It also has some articles by Allan B. Calhamer (the inventor of Diplomacy).


You absolutely need to have some dirt on Austria; it will be very difficult for Italy to do well in the face of a hostile Austria. Even if you join a coalition against Austria early on, you'll find that most of the SCs wind up falling into Turkish hands, rather than yours, leaving you with little better in the way of options.


I'm a big fan of the Lepanto opening:

Spring 1901: Rom - Nap, Nap - Ion
Fall 1901: Nap - Ion - Tun
Build F Nap
Spring 1902: Ion - Eme, Nap - Ion

Setting up a fall 1902 convoy into the heart of Turkey.

The main weakness is that this leaves your defenses entirely the responsibility of your northern army, and so requires that you use diplomacy to keep your neighbors from attacking you.

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    My "problem" is that this leaves Italy open to a double cross from Austria-Hungary. Hence I prefer to eliminate this threat at the outset. But Lepanto is my second choice. Possibly my first, if I trusted Austria-Hungary more than the others.
    – Tom Au
    Jun 6, 2011 at 12:55
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    erm.. every strategy requires you to use Diplomacy. Its called that for a very good reason :)
    – gbjbaanb
    Jun 6, 2011 at 18:52

One winning strategy is to make an early alliance, preferably with Austria and then knock out Turkey and turn on France.

You'll probably have to backstab Austria at some point - certainly, I've never got to 18 without Trieste - but that's the usual backstab timing question.


Don't worry about "backstabbing" Austria. Try to follow the real life World War I strategy of making peace with France, and ally with Russia against Austria and Turkey. If necessary, let Turkey in the initial alliance against Austria, then convince Russia to side with you against Turkey, who would otherwise be stronger than Russia.

Trieste is HUGE for Italy. You will have a line of four connected supply centers (Naples, Rome, Venice, Trieste). Five, if you say that Tunis is "connected" by sea with the others (I'd call it 4 1/2).

If France won't make peace and Austria will, ally with England and/or Germany against France. Hopefully, you'll end up with Marseilles and Spain. But they aren't connect to homeland supply bases like Trieste, Serbia, etc. would be.

The other problem is that while Russia is a natural ally with you against Turkey, she isn't against England.

  • The last time I played Austria against an Italy that backstabbed me in Spring 1901 - Italy was first out, in Fall 1904, and I finished fourth in a seven player game. Diplomacy is never about what supply centres you take when - it is about who you can convince to help you out in return for future considerations. Think Survivor without the $1,000,000. Jan 27, 2015 at 3:14
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    @PieterGeerkens: I think I saw this comment on another one of my posts, and my recollection was that of congratulating you for a brilliant result (under the circumstances).
    – Tom Au
    Jan 27, 2015 at 18:33

I am a big proponent of playing as Italy. Here's how I do it:

  1. no diplomacy for the first year!
  2. A Ven - Pied & A Rome - Ven!
  3. Attack Marseilles and Trieste! (also grab Tunis)

If you get both SC's, try to ally with Eng/Germ/Russ. If you fail to get allies, promise to vacate one and focus on the other. It is easier to ally with Austria than France in my opinion at this point, because it is harder for Austria to not care and attack you all out.

France can swing south and make it hurt. Ideally, you want to get a Fleet in to the English Channel by 1904! This way you own the EAST.

Do not ally with Turkey unless he becomes a land power, because his fleets are dangerous. Good luck!

  • Some interesting approaches - and some not so good. no vote. Jan 27, 2015 at 3:18

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