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. Commented Jul 12, 2011 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! Commented Jul 12, 2011 at 13:40
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    @thesunneversets This is great. #SatisfyingStabs
    – wberry
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 23:41
  • IMO diplomacy is more fun when no one knows what they are doing.
    – BevynQ
    Commented Nov 28, 2019 at 3:22

6 Answers 6


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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    The link no longer works. Any chance there's an updated site? Thanks!
    – Adam_G
    Commented Mar 24, 2020 at 19:36

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.


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.


With some experience as England and Russia, I can say this:

England: England is a safe country. Negotiate with France or Russia (one of the two) and then attack the other and raid the neutral territories they might want (Spain/Belgium or Sweden/Norway). Make lots of fleets and dominate the coastlines before using the convoy order to move further inland. England will not lose very often due to their position in the ocean and they can survive until the later game with their ally.

Russia: Russia, unlike all the other countries, has 4 starting supply centers. This can work to their advantage as they can multitask and build more than any other country. You want to take Scandinavia early on- Norway is much more vulnerable but much more vital than Sweden is. Meanwhile, ally Turkey and kill Austria Hungary (Italy and Germany may help). Once you have done this, use your navy to defend against England (if they attack you) or use your army to squash Germany (whoever has Munich wins the game, it has been said). Russia is a strong faction, but in case of a backstabbing, it is hard to defend yourself and if you let your allies get too strong, you won't last long.


I have some Expierence with Italy and Austria.

Italy: don't focus yourself to one area. Take bits here and there, and make sure to talk to everyone. If you talk to everyone, you can directly influence how the game goes. For example, turn Austria against Turkey with yourself. Turn England and Germany against France before sneaking in and taking Marseilles. Always put yourself into a position where it is hard for the enemy to mount a counter-offensive because they have 2 or more enemies against them. Always make sure your "allies" have a new target ( or are the target themselves) before you become the target.

Austria: Always watch out for that Italian backstab into Trieste. Never attack Germany or Italy early in the game. You really only have two options, Crush Turkey with Russia, or Crush Russia with Turkey. If you want to solo, typically allying with Russia is the better idea. Make sure you start building fleets as soon as you can without leaving your land-locked supply centers vulnerable. If Austria does not build enough fleets, they will easily be crushed later on in the game. Again, talking to everyone and manipulating the game to how you like is essential.


France is fairly easy to play at first, but winning can be very difficult. Feel out both Germany and England to see which one you click with best. If you click with England, ask Germany for a bounce in Burgundy and play Marseilles - Burgundy, Paris - Picardy and Brest to Mid-Atlantic Ocean. This will effectively eliminate Germany's power over Belgium. Then have England try to take Holland while you try to take Belgium. Germany will get only one build and will quickly crash unless Russia intervenes mightily on his behalf. Take Belgium and Munich and then surge south after Italy. Try to take Tunis and an Italian home center (like Rome) before stabbing England. Then, try to power your way through to St. Petersburg for the solo win.

If, on the other hand, you favor Germany then tell both England and Germany that you will not contest Belgium. Play Brest - Mid-Atlantic, Marseilles HOLD and Paris - Gascony. Then convoy Gascony to Portugal while Marseilles takes Spain. You'll be left with a fleet in Mid-Atlantic and after a fleet build in Brest, you will be strongly positioned to take out England. Tell Germany that his part is Belgium/Edinburgh while you take Liverpool/London. But once you get your part, don't bother helping Germany to get his half. Let him struggle on his own and convince him to go against Russia. Then, surge south towards Italy and try to take Tunis and an Italian home center (like Rome). Once you have that, stab Germany and try to power your way up through St. Petersburg for a solo victory.

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