(I'm planning a game of Diplomacy with my friends for this weekend. The problem is, none of us have ever played before, so I'm trying to fill the gaps in my understanding so that our inexperience doesn't reduce the fun.)

How do you use the paper maps that come with Diplomacy? I know they are supposed to keep track of the units on the board while you go elsewhere with your negotiations, but I'm not sure of the best way to do that. Should I pencil in letters to show where the units are and update them as the game goes on? Does this usually prove difficult enough that you only keep track of your own units and your neighbors'? What updates do you usually make to your map after each round is finished? How would you recommend a new player use their map?

An image of a map being used during a game would be great if possible! :)

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    You might want to encourage people with tablets or smartphones to use a website where they can update the map easily, that would accomplish a similar purpose to the paper maps with less erasing. But whether paper or electronic, updating maps time is definitely "on the clock". – bwarner Mar 11 '13 at 16:18

Make copies of the map (it's expressly authorized) but you'll find most folks won't write on them. The pattern I see in both home and tournament play is that during adjudication everyone will write down the units they have down the left side of what will become their order sheet. During negotiations they'll consult their list and look at the map, often indicating moves by tapping their pencil at the start and end of the move their discussing. Once they're ready to write orders their turn their inventory list into their orders and submit it.

My larger piece of advice is to keep the pace of the game as fast as you can. Start the negotiation timer as soon as the previous turn has been adjudicated (don't let everyone take time outside of negotiation to write their units). Similarly, don't give separate time to write orders after negotiation is done -- that's something you do during negotiation and if you don't get them done your units are in civil disorder. Along those lines be sure to enforce the "no negotiation during builds

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The actual moves are recorded on the Diplomacy board by moving the pieces at the end of each round, after the orders are read and the "combats" are resolved.

The maps are for reference. Suppose you were playing e.g. France, and on the second turn, you said to England, "If I move Army Picardy to Belgium against Germany's Fleet Netherlands to Belgium, would you support me using your fleet in the North Sea?" you'd use the maps to show England what you mean.

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  • So you wouldn't recommend writing on them at all? – Gordon Gustafson Mar 11 '13 at 23:31
  • @You can, of course. But then you can't "recycle" them for future games--unless you make copies. – Tom Au Mar 12 '13 at 22:16

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