New Variant: Comments Wanted for Unconstitutional

New players can go here for helpful advice and to sign up for our mentor program, or if you're a veteran help answer questions.
Forum rules
This is an area for new members or members looking for help with the site or Diplomacy. Off topic threads and replies will be moved to the appropriate category.
Post Reply
Message
Author
David E. Cohen
Posts: 169
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:27 am
Location: Treading the Path to Diplo-Shambhala
Karma: 134
Contact:

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.
1

teccles
Posts: 210
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:10 pm
Karma: 231

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.
2

David E. Cohen
Posts: 169
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:27 am
Location: Treading the Path to Diplo-Shambhala
Karma: 134
Contact:

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.

Bonatogether
Posts: 2307
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2020 10:17 pm
Location: Maryland
Karma: 294
Contact:

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?

David E. Cohen
Posts: 169
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:27 am
Location: Treading the Path to Diplo-Shambhala
Karma: 134
Contact:

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.

David E. Cohen
Posts: 169
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:27 am
Location: Treading the Path to Diplo-Shambhala
Karma: 134
Contact:

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.

teccles
Posts: 210
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:10 pm
Karma: 231

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.

Dejan0707
Posts: 103
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:15 pm
Location: Dante's Inferno
Karma: 94

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.
1

David E. Cohen
Posts: 169
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:27 am
Location: Treading the Path to Diplo-Shambhala
Karma: 134
Contact:

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. ;)

David E. Cohen
Posts: 169
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:27 am
Location: Treading the Path to Diplo-Shambhala
Karma: 134
Contact:

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.

David E. Cohen
Posts: 169
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:27 am
Location: Treading the Path to Diplo-Shambhala
Karma: 134
Contact:

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.

The Ambassador
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:23 pm
Location: Brisbane
Karma: 43
Contact:

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

David E. Cohen
Posts: 169
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:27 am
Location: Treading the Path to Diplo-Shambhala
Karma: 134
Contact:

Re: New Variant: Comments Wanted for Unconstitutional

#13 Post by David E. Cohen » Sun Dec 27, 2020 9:48 pm

The first two playtests have concluded and I have been collecting comments. After having reviewed the playtests and gone through the comments, I have come up with proposed revisions. The biggest change by far is is adding La Republica de la Florida, or just plain Florida for short, as a Power replacing what was an impassable area with three Supply Centers and four other provinces, along with adding the navigable Apalachicola-Chattahoochee River. I feel this addition should really open things up diplomatically for several of the other Powers, which is important since a degree of diplomatic inflexibility due to the size of the variant and the placement of the existing Powers was noted by several commentators. The historical rationale behind this is that at the time, France had asked for Florida to be included with Louisiana when it was negotiating with Spain, but was turned down. Here, the French successfully negotiated for Florida's inclusion, and it was sold to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The American delay in actually closing the deal gave the Floridians the opportunity to declare independence. Excluding purely cosmetic alterations, there are a few other changes to note. Alleghany borders Ohio (Pittsburgh no longer borders Western Reserve), Wapakoneta borders Westsylvania (Kentucky no longer borders Ohio), Choctaw borders Saint Louis (Chickasaw no longer borders Quapaw) and the province of Port au Prince has been split, with the northern portion becoming the non Supply Center province of Artibonite. Comments will be eagerly received and reviewed; nothing is set in stone at this point.

The updated map may be found at https://davidecohen.wixsite.com/diplomi ... titutional
1

leon1122
Posts: 432
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:43 pm
Karma: 254

Re: New Variant: Comments Wanted for Unconstitutional

#14 Post by leon1122 » Mon Dec 28, 2020 2:21 pm

As far as historical rationale goes, it's still difficult to justify making Florida a great power. During this time period, Florida was basically 1 big undeveloped swampland full of Seminoles, fugitives, and a few towns with early settlers. In 1830 (the earliest year Florida had population data), Florida had a population of 34,730 people. By contrast, in the year 1800, South Carolina had 345,591 people, Virginia had 807,557, Pennsylvania had 602,365, and New York had 589,051. There were probably more Indians than Europeans living in Florida at the start date. It makes no sense that the 34,000 pioneers (probably far less than that in 1805) would have any motive to join an intercontinental war or even have the ability to muster an army. Of course, it probably makes sense as far as game balance goes, but it does require suspension of disbelief.

David E. Cohen
Posts: 169
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:27 am
Location: Treading the Path to Diplo-Shambhala
Karma: 134
Contact:

Re: New Variant: Comments Wanted for Unconstitutional

#15 Post by David E. Cohen » Tue Dec 29, 2020 1:37 am

That is, I presume, population data for East Florida only. In this scenario, the Floridas remain united. But yes, some suspension of disbelief is often required in Diplomacy. For example, the fiction in Standard that Turkish armies are just as powerful as German or French armies.
1

leon1122
Posts: 432
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:43 pm
Karma: 254

Re: New Variant: Comments Wanted for Unconstitutional

#16 Post by leon1122 » Tue Dec 29, 2020 4:01 am

It is the population data from the 1830 US Census, which as I said is the earliest population data for Florida that I could find. It is the population for Florida Territory under the United States, which included both East and West Florida. In 1805, there were undoubtedly even fewer people, probably closer to 20,000. As far as suspension of disbelief goes, at least it makes sense to call Turkey a great power during the WW1 era. Florida was in no way any sort of power. It had half the population of the state of Delaware.
1

David E. Cohen
Posts: 169
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:27 am
Location: Treading the Path to Diplo-Shambhala
Karma: 134
Contact:

Re: New Variant: Comments Wanted for Unconstitutional

#17 Post by David E. Cohen » Tue Dec 29, 2020 7:06 am

Since the States of Alabama and Mississippi were admitted to the Union prior to the 1830 census, the Florida figures certainly do not include most of West Florida. On the variant map, the unincluded territory would be the provinces of Natchez and Biloxi, and much of the province of Pensacola.
1

David E. Cohen
Posts: 169
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:27 am
Location: Treading the Path to Diplo-Shambhala
Karma: 134
Contact:

Re: New Variant: Comments Wanted for Unconstitutional

#18 Post by David E. Cohen » Sat Jan 16, 2021 3:24 am

In order to give a little more separation from South Carolina, I have substituted the Muskogee Confederation in place of Florida. All the changes from the previous iteration of v2.0, other than some mild cosmetic stuff, are in that area. Please let me know what you think.
1

David E. Cohen
Posts: 169
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:27 am
Location: Treading the Path to Diplo-Shambhala
Karma: 134
Contact:

Re: New Variant: Comments Wanted for Unconstitutional

#19 Post by David E. Cohen » Tue Jan 26, 2021 8:14 am

Further changes: switch of Tidewater and Wiiliamsburgh, addition of Rappahannock, Georgia Bight, Turks and Caicos, and Sargasso Sea.
1

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests