Diplomacy A-Z, Version 6.0


"I *highly* recommend that you read Mark Nelson's "Diplomacy from A to Z". It hooked me on Diplomacy and even more on postal diplomacy. It gives you a very good sense of the history of the hobby." David Kovar, post to rec.games.diplomacy (3/10/93).

The introductory section (all the text prior to the first entry) was written by the first custodian of this file, Mark Nelson.

Whenever a group of people is united by a common interest, it evolves its own set of words and phrases. Sometimes these words make a transition into mainstream language, sometimes they remain understood only to a small number of like-minded people. Many people reading this document will know some specialized jargon, words that people working in their field use to describe their own world.

This document is intended to be a self-contained reference to the world of Diplomacy, almost exclusively the world of the snail-mail Diplomacy hobby. Words found in this document fall into four main categories. They may describe the play of the game (names of openings, strategic concepts, tactical ploys), they may describe terms that arise in its adaptation to postal and email play (Press, NMR, famous press bylines, GMing practice, scoring and rating systems), they may be terms which are associated with the hobbies that has grown up around the play of postal and email Diplomacy (organizations, special projects -mostly never implemented!) or they may even be words that hobby members use (eg variant names).

Although this document is large (and getting larger!) one should not get the impression that the world of Diplomacy is jargon-ridden and that you can't get by without knowing most of this document. This is far from being the case. In actual fact very few of the terms in this document are in general use and most of them are very easy to pick up.

Of the Diplomacy openings, the only ones with wide currency are the Lepanto and Juggernaut. Most of the other ones have only been used by the person who invented them and quickly left common usage (if they were ever in it). If an unusual term is used it is almost always possible to work out its meaning from the context. As there is no universally accepted system of naming openings, the same opening may have more than one name; I've tried to cross-reference these. In the past, attempts to produce comprehensive lists of opening names have been prepared by Richard Sharp (for inclusion in his book "The Game of Diplomacy", used by him in his zine _Dolchstoss_ and by several other British Publishers) and Adam Gruen (for a series of articles in _Diplomacy World_ on Openings that was never completed). Richard based his names on a systematic method, modeled on that used by Chess players; this has been criticized as providing some dull names -- Mark Berch preferred to use 'Crimean Crusher' rather than Richard's 'Russian Attack'.

Most named Diplomacy opening refer only to S01 (Spring 1901) moves, there are very few that also consider F01 (Fall 1901) options. Oddly the two that are in wide-spread use are more 'concept' openings whose ideas are for alliances lasting several years rather than one season, perhaps accounting for their continued usage.

There are a few terms that arise from adaptation to postal play. However some of these can be obscure and not always clear when used, but then that's what this document is for! It took me a long time to work out what a double deadline was. The first time it happened, the GM also asked all players to send in moves for the current and subsequent seasons, so I got the impression that a double deadline involved sending in a double set of orders for the deadline!

Probably the hardest set of words for any novice to come to terms with are those words that are to do with the hobby. These are often names of zines and people. When they are still active in the hobby it is usually possible to find more out about them, but if they are zines that are long folded or people that have long been absent from the hobby then this is a difficult thing to do.

Fortunately there are very few people who refer to old zines and old people in a regular manner. Only one or two zines like to dwell on the Hobby's past and if you're not interested and don't read these zines then you can enjoy yourself without caring who they were and what they did.

In a very real sense this document is not aimed at the Diplomacy novice, you *DON'T* needs to know any of the material herein! This document is really aimed at those people who are interested in the structure of the Diplomacy hobby (or maybe just Diplomacy trivia) and want to know more about the history of our hobby. And who knows, in reading this you may find a really good idea that needs to be resurrected... Reading this document won't make you a Hobby History Wizard, but it's a good start...

As well as giving definitions, as outlined above, I have also included Diplomacy trivia: How often are players eliminated in 1902 and as what countries? Read this document and find out!


Where do all these words come from? This is a collection of words that different Diplomacy hobbyists have used at different times and in different countries. In order to make this document as complete as possible I've not restricted myself to terms originating in one country, I've put everything in that I could find (sources are listed below in "HISTORY OF THIS PROJECT").

This document is biased in that items can only be included if I know about them. If you think that I should have included something else then mail me some details and I'll consider including it in for the next release.

The primary aim of this document is to define technical terms referring to the play of the game and define terms that Diplomacy hobbyists might use. It is not intended to provide reviews of Diplomacy variants or to act as a "Who's Who" of Diplomacy hobbyists: these are projects which deserve their own files. I expect to release Versions 1.0 of a "Variant AZ" in January 1993 (it's just a matter of writing an introduction). Note: It's now August and it is available!

Some Diplomacy variants have capsule reviews, these are variants which are either mentioned elsewhere in the text (for example I have included variant jargon which often refers to Diplomacy variants); variants that were contained in any of the source material used for this file or variants that I decided *had* to be included! The selection of variants in this file is idiosyncratic, if you are interested in variants you are recommended to read the "VARIANT AZ" document.

Similarly I have included capsule reviews of a few Diplomacy zines and a few hobby personalities. Some of these entries are for people/zines mentioned elsewhere in the text and some because I decided that they deserved to be included in this publication. As for a "Who's Who" I have dreams about producing one...

In the following 'hobby' almost always means the snail-mail hobby, if we mean the email-hobby we try to remember to say 'email-hobby'.

Occasionally an entry will reference a published article. I have tried to restrict these references to zines such as Diplomacy Digest and Diplomacy World, zines which have a plentiful supply of back issues. If the back issues are not available there *will* always be someone who has access to them. In theory it should always be possible to track down articles published in these zines. (In many cases I can supply you with either a copy of the article or tell you who can supply it to you.)

Finally, the first DIPLOMACY AZ was prepared by Mark Berch in 1980 and originally published in Diplomacy Digest #34-36 (April-June 1980).


VERSION 1.0 This was written by Richard Egan and appeared across several issues of Richard's English snail-mail zine *VIENNA*. To be exact: Entries for A-C Reprinted from Vienna 58 (August 1989), Entries for D-F Reprinted from Vienna 59 (September 1989), Entries for G-I Reprinted from Vienna 60 (October 1989), Entries for J-L Reprinted from Vienna 61 (November 1989), Entries for M-O Reprinted from Vienna 62 (December 1989), Entries for P-R Reprinted from Vienna 63 (January 1990), Entries for S-U Reprinted from Vienna 65 (March 1990), Entries for V-Z Reprinted from Vienna 66 (April 1990). Entries denoted by [RE:89-90] come from this series. This series had never been collected into one volume for general distribution before.
VERSION 1.1 In January 1992 Mark Nelson retyped Version 1.0 for distribution by the email hobby and added a few clarifications. These are denoted by [MN:Jan92] in the following. Version 1.1 was distributed through Danny Loeb's CHAPTER TWO, Eric Klien's ELECTRONIC PROTOCOL and a few copies were distributed to FTF hobbyists for comments. It went online at the University of Washington through 'judge' on February 1st 1992.
VERSION 2.0 This is based on Mark Berch's 1980 publication 'The Lexicon Of Diplomacy'. These entries are denoted [MB:Jun80]. It also contained various additions to Version 1.0., penned by a number of people. It was distributed through Danny Loeb's CHAPTER TWO and a few copies were sent to prominent UK hobbyists for their comments. It went online through the Washington judge on 16th May 1992. It was installed on the EFF Judge at the end of November 1992. It was produced by Mark Nelson and finished at the end of April 1992. Before distribution it was proof read by Harold Reynolds of the University of Toronto; anyone who has ever read anything of mine will join in my thanks for 'volunteering' for this heartless task.

An incomplete set of files was downloaded onto CIX (a-b, c-f, m-q and r-u) by an unknown hack.

VERSION 2.1 A slightly edited version of 2.0 produced by Per Westling (of Sweden) for snail-mail distribution through his zine Lepanto 4-Ever. Part One appeared in Lepanto 4-Ever 24 (September 1992).
VERSION 2.2 An ever so slightly edited version of 2.0 produced of Halford Dace (of South Africa) for snail-mail distribution through his zine SAPC. Part One appeared in SAPC #2 (December 1992) and Part Two in SAPC #3 (January 1993).
VERSION 3.0 This is based mostly on Mark Berch's 1982 publication 'Son of Lexicon'. These entries are denoted [MB:Mar82]. Harold Reynolds of North York, Ontario (now living in Scarborough, Ont), was suckered into copy typing these entries into the AZ. It also contains various additions (and a few deletions) to Versions 2.0 added by Mark Nelson. [HR:Dec92] I wasn't suckered--I *volunteered*! Why?? See entry EGOBOO...

Version 3.0 was finished on 7th December 1992 and went online at the EFF Judge on 7th January 1993 and was distributed to the email community as a special eight-part issue of Chapter Two. Part One was posted to rec.games.diplomacy on 28/1/93, Part Two on 31/1/93 and Part Three on 1/2/93. Subsequent Parts were not distributed as the then editor of Chapter Two gafiated.

VERSION 3.1 A substantially revised edition of Version 3.0 including many of the changes/new material that made it into Version 4.0 was distributed at ManorCon 1993 to several snail fans who had expressed an interest in reading the AZ.
VERSION 4.0 This contained corrections and additions to Version 3.0 suggested by Herve Mignot, Anders Dessmark and Vincent Archer. David Kovar was suckered into proof-reading Version 3.0 and his corrections are incorporated into Version 4.0.

Version 4.0 contains a "large" number of new email terms. These were mostly written by Mark Nelson with the assistance of Danny Loeb, Nick Fitzpatrick and David Kovar.

Version 4.0 contains definitions taken from the Pete Birks 1980 British Novice Package (A Glossary of Terms) (retyped by Harold Reynolds - hah!), The 1987 Novice Package (produced by John Dodds) (retyped by Harold Reynolds, what a sucker!) and 'Affairs of State' (another one retyped by Harold), an Australian Novice Package produced in 1988. [Sucker?? I resent that!! I prefer the term "Diplomacy impaired"!--HR]

A new addition to the AZ with this release was the inclusion of an Index file containing a list of all the terms that are defined within the AZ.

Version 4.0 was posted to rec.games.diplomacy on the 2nd of September 1993 as a sequence of 19 posts. It was uploaded /pub/diplomacy dir at nda.com by David Kovar on the third of September 1993.

VERSION 4.1 When Version 4.0 was released electronically, Pete Gaughan sought and received permission from Mark Nelson to distribute DIPLOMACY.AZ to the snail mail public. Several new entries and additions were added by Pete, especially on the topics of zines and editors, DipCon, and hobby awards. Printed in the States by Pete Gaughan in January 1994. Printed in the UK by Mark Nelson, July 1995.
VERSION 5.0 Version 5.0 will hopefully be the last substantive release. It will be fully cross-referenced. A provisional release data is February 1994.

One change from Version 4.0 was that the entry detailing the different diplomacy rating systems used at DipCon over the years was moved into an Appendix which appears at the end of the document. This change was suggested by Pete Gaughan.

We've added 'key word' entries which list all the entries which are associated with the 'key word'. These are useful if you to know, for example, the names of all the rating systems mentioned. The various X openings (KW) entries were compiled with the help of Travis C. Ruelle.

Version 5.0 contain's Andrew Poole's Variant Glossary (reprinted from Variant Package 2). These terms are denoted [AP:1986].

Valuable comments and corrections from Cal White.

Version 6.0 Converted to HTML by Harold Reynolds, (who just can't learn to stay away from this document) between August and November, 2002. Valuable updates supplied by Jim Burgess and Mark Nelson.
Version 6.1 Basically is the up-to-date version of 6.0, including a large number of updates supplied by a number of people, which are listed on the Index page. A PDF version of the A to Z is also available for reading off-line and/or printing.
LAST UPDATED:July 28, 2007.


An entry takes the form NAME (n) [AB:time].

NAME is the name of the entry, (1) means that this is the first entry (2) the second etc. Where possible definitions written by people at different dates have been combined to create one entry. AB is the person who wrote the entry (AP=Andrew Poole, AW=Alexander K. Woo, AY=Andrew York, BB=Bill Brown, BJ=Brad Jones, BLBruce Linsey, CvM=Conrad Von Metzke, CW=Cal White, DC=Dave Cebula, DDG=Don Del Grande, DK=David Kovar, DKi=Daniel Kirkwood, DL=Daniel Loeb, DLa=Dustin Laurence, DM=Dick Martin, DS=Dan Shoham, DTM=Douglas T. Massey, EB=Edi Birsan, FCD=Fred C. Davis Jnr, HR=Harold Reynolds, JA=John C. Artes, JB=Jim Burgess, JF=Joel Furr, JK=John Kador, LP=Larry Peery, JM=Jim Meinel, MB=Mark Berch, MN=Mark Nelson, MP=Martin Protzen, NF=Nicholas Fitzpatrick, PG=Pete Gaughan, PW=Per Westling, RE=Richard Egan, RS=Richard Sharp, RW=Rod Walker, SS=Simon Szykman, VA=Vincent Archer, WF=Wray Ferrell, WU=Warren Usui.

time gives the date of the review. I've used two figure years, so when we reach the next century the custodian is either going to have change these dates or use four-figure dates for entries in the next century. But I kinda figure that will his problem, not mine! Where I have revised my own entry I have either left the original date of entry (for a minor change) or scrubbed the old date and put the new date on instead (for a major change). Hence if you are given a particular version of this document there is no way you can work backwards and suss out what the earlier documents contained; but I can't see why you'd want to do this!

Note: where reference is made to articles in _Diplomacy Digest_ and _Diplomacy World_, and not to the zines themselves, these have been abbreviated DD and DW respectively, and the conventional cross-reference braces have been omitted.


If you want to know more about Diplomacy and the Diplomacy world, here are some addresses, and a date giving the last time that they were valid. The administrator of the Diplomacy AZ should be able to give you more up-to-date information. [I suspect all of these way out of date by now! --HR]

PETE GAUGHAN: 1521 S. Novato Blvd. #46, Novato CA, 94947 USA (01/01/94) Editor/publisher of several Diplomacy publications: zine _Perelandra_, semi-annual directory {Zine Register}, and snail-mail version of this document.

DAVID KOVAR: email jdr@morrolan.eff.org. Snail 164 Waverley St, Belmont, MA, 02178 (September 1993). Contact point for the EFF JUDGE (replacing the Washington Judge as the main North American Judge machine).

DANIEL LOEB: LABRI, 171 Stoneway Lane, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004, USA (Aug 1996) EMAIL loeb@geocub.greco-prog.fr (Apr92) Contact point for people interested in (1) email Diplomacy and (2) {Diplomats}.

MARK NELSON: Can be contacted through his home page,. Contact point for people interested in (1) Playing postal Diplomacy (2) Diplomacy Variants (3) Hobby History (4) Diplomacy articles.

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