New Variant: Comments Wanted for Unconstitutional

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David E. Cohen
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New Variant: Comments Wanted for Unconstitutional

#1 Post by David E. Cohen » Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:10 pm

I am looking for comments and criticism for Unconstitutional, a variant in development. This is a much smaller variant than my last few, at 5 Powers and 29 Supply Centers in total. It is also more dense, being almost exactly as dense as Standard Diplomacy, so, unlike Dawn of the Enlightenment, there are likely to be some stalemate lines, though I have not looked for them, Simple rules, with navigable rivers, neutral holding armies and the ability to build in any owned Supply Center being the notable deviations. The variant map may be found here:
https://davidecohen.wixsite.com/diplomi ... titutional .

By way of background, play starts in the Spring of 1805 and the scenario is that the United States Constitution was not ratified (which very nearly happened) so the nation continued to operate under the weak Articles of Confederation. The states did not drop their conflicting land claims, border disputes flared into armed conflicts, and western expansion is stunted. The Louisiana Purchase still occurs and Haiti is thrown in, but it takes two years before the payment is made, so French troops do not leave until the end of 1804. Many of the state governments have ceased to effectively function and the Western Confederacy of Native American tribes has formed to oppose American settlement.

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Re: New Variant: Comments Wanted for Unconstitutional

#2 Post by teccles » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:47 am

I do not want to be yellow. They have three neighbours, including the corner power of purple who has no other serious neighbour. All their nearby neutral SCs have another power adjacent to them. As far as I see, they have no easy year 1 SC - their neighbours can deny all the neutrals to them without giving up their own gains.

On the flip side, I do want to be purple. Two SCs no-one is going to contest, only one serious neighbour.
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Re: New Variant: Comments Wanted for Unconstitutional

#3 Post by David E. Cohen » Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:04 am

Thank you. I will be working on the relative stremgths of the Pennsylvania and New York positions and their geographical relationship.

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Re: New Variant: Comments Wanted for Unconstitutional

#4 Post by Bonatogether » Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:39 am

I think opening up British Canada would be a good idea, or at least making that area passable would be a good idea, because otherwise New York is forced to attack Pennsylvania. It also opens up some interaction with the Western Confederation.

Also, how are you supposed to get New Orleans? You have to hit it by sea and land currently, but who wants to send a fleet that far for one center? I think that whole area needs some new spaces.

Perhaps you could have New Spain/Florida and Canada open, but with neutral units that perhaps support hold each other, and no neutral units in the American spaces?

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Re: New Variant: Comments Wanted for Unconstitutional

#5 Post by David E. Cohen » Thu Sep 17, 2020 4:20 am

Thank you. As I have mentioned in another platform, Britain and Spain are way too big for these fragments of the United States to be tangling with. The New Orleans access problem is definiitely something I will be working on.

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Re: New Variant: Comments Wanted for Unconstitutional

#6 Post by David E. Cohen » Fri Sep 18, 2020 8:43 pm

A revised draft, based upon comments received, is at the link above. Comments are still welcome.

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Re: New Variant: Comments Wanted for Unconstitutional

#7 Post by teccles » Fri Sep 18, 2020 9:23 pm

Disclaimer: I've not played variants, and really don't know how to speculate about how this would go beyond the first year or so.

Having said that, here are some random observations:

I like the distant SCs in Haiti. With the neutral units in them, taking them is a risky proposition, but if you manage it's a big reward. I can mostly see South Carolina or New York trying this, as an alternative to fighting their immediate neighbours (this feels not entirely unlike a Lepanto - allowing your land-based neighbour to build up while you sail to distant gains).

The unbroken line of SCs along the East coast is going to mean tense borders all round; except for Western Conferacy. That power can hold a 5-centre stalemate line from all armies in Det/Wap/Pro/Chi/Cho; it takes fleets going round the back to break this (and it's only 1 SC short of a true stalemate line). I also don't see anyone stopping them getting there. I wonder if the geography should be tweaked to make things a little harder for them.

I think Virginia and Pennsylvania can't afford to fight. They need to split the neutrals near them, and they have scary neighbours without many threats to pounce on a war. Hopefully they'll see this; but their border will always have two SCs on either side of it, which is a tricky place to be.

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Re: New Variant: Comments Wanted for Unconstitutional

#8 Post by Dejan0707 » Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:13 pm

Land areas look well designed except for the New Orleans area and some other less balanced parts, but sea zones look like they would need some additional work.

Some would disagree but I prefer maps with good naval warfare possible.
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Re: New Variant: Comments Wanted for Unconstitutional

#9 Post by David E. Cohen » Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:12 pm

Dejan0707, I also prefer maps with a good amount of fleet action, but I am working under geographic/period constraints here. I stretched things a bit to add Haiti and included several navigable rivers (most notably the Mississippi and its tributaries) in order to increase the usefulness of fleets, but there is a limit to what can be done, even by a virtuoso such as myself. ;)

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Re: New Variant: Comments Wanted for Unconstitutional

#10 Post by David E. Cohen » Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:18 pm

As long as it is short of a stalemate line, teccles! I made the Western Confederacy more defensively oriented and removed the Chickasaw Supply Center. In the previous draft they were a looming threat. If they want to skulk around in a defensive crouch at 5 dots, the game will likely be decided without them. They will likely need to open up to make further gains.

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Re: New Variant: Comments Wanted for Unconstitutional

#11 Post by David E. Cohen » Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:19 am

The map has been further revised and I believe is close to being ready for a playtest. In addition to various cosmetic changes, Pennsylvania and Virginia have each been given a 4th Supply Center and unit, and the unit in New York City has been switched from an army to a fleet. The new draft can be viewed at

https://davidecohen.wixsite.com/diplomi ... titutional

Further comments are of course welcome.

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Re: New Variant: Comments Wanted for Unconstitutional

#12 Post by The Ambassador » Sun Sep 27, 2020 9:54 am

FYI, in our latest podcast episode we interview David E. Cohen and he talks at various times about Unconstitutional. More at viewtopic.php?f=3&p=179765#p179765

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