On the Games of War
war (w?r) –n. 1. a major armed conflict between nations or between organized parties
game (gam) –n. 1. an amusement or pastime 2. a competitive activity involving skill,
For many centuries people have used games to entertain themselves. Over the
years many popular formats have evolved. One of the most popular frameworks involves
Both Risk and Diplomacy are concerned with building an empire of the territories
Diplomacy one wants to control Europe.
The play of the former entails strategy and dice rolls to simulate battles. A player
begins his turn with a certain number of armies which he places in the territories he already
controls. How many he receives is decided by the number of territories he controls. He
his attack is successful. A battle is simulated by the attacker rolling up to three dice
(depending on how large his army is) and the defender rolling up to two. The dice are
paired up (attackers highest with defenders highest, etc.) and the higher die of each pair
wins; ties are counted as a defending victory. The loser(s) then removes one unit for each
in which he takes units from one army and transports them to an adjoining territory that he
controls. Plays are taken in turn. Although not covered in the rules of play, alliances and
enemies are usually made and broken frequently throughout the game.
The action of Diplomacy, however, revolves around the forming and breaking of
sequence. Between turns, the players are allotted ten to fifteen minutes to converse
privately with other players to make deals concerning the movement and plays, and to
notate their moves. After the allotted time is up, the players meet back in the game room
that player reads the moves aloud and moves the pieces to their destinations. After all the
armies in the square, counting how many armies are supporting each army and then
adjusting the pieces.
Although Risk and Diplomacy both have the same premise, the play of each results
in two very different games. Risk becomes a game of luck with a little bit of strategy, and
Diplomacy becomes a game of cooperation and backstabbing. Both games can be fun and
entertaining, depending on your mood and the people playing.