Page 1 of 1

Participate in the World’s First Game of Diplomacy Inside Minecraft

Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:52 pm
by FiftyFifty
DiplomacyCraft is a fan made Diplomacy Map designed to simulate the popular board game. It operates completely faithfully to the modern rules, with only minor logistical differences to accommodate Minecraft’s systems. If players are willing to follow the honor system to some extent, this map can offer the best parts of competitive diplomacy while adding an immersive component not found in the original game.

The Map:
DiplomacyCraft was made in Minecraft’s Creative Mode on a flat world entirely of dirt. Different Minecraft blocks represent different entities that make up a typical diplomacy map in such a way that Diplomacy players can immediately see what represents what without a guide. England is made of Magenta Wool, Germany is made of Oak Wood, France is made out of Lapus Lazuli, Austria-Hungary is made out of bricks, Russia is made out of purple wool, Italy is made out of Emeralds, Turkey is made out of Diamonds, water is made out of Glass, Neutrals are made out of gold, and Supply Centres are represented by shining beacons at the approximate location of where they are on the actual Diplomacy Map.

Every country and sea territory in DiplomacyCraft has the correct set of borders. Tuscany borders the Gulf of Lyon, Hellgoland Bight borders Holland, Edinburgh borders Liverpool, and so on. Countries are reasonably recreated such that a Diplomacy player with a decent amount of experience can recognize which territory is which, even though Minecraft has no good way to label each country. That being said, there were small geographical mistakes made in the painstaking cartography process. Sweden, Moscow, Armenia and Spain, among others had to be slightly warped in shape to fit the scale of the map and ensure that every country borders the correct neighbors. Russia in particular was very difficult to scale, and looks a bit taller and skinnier than it should. These mistakes lead to some humorous nit-picking, but shouldn’t confuse anyone who has played diplomacy or even just looked at a map of Europe before.

Signs were used to name national supply centers. Inside every national supply center, there are two signs. One reads “Army Paris” (or the appropriate alternative), and the other simply reads “build.” The watery portion of Denmark also has a pair of signs explaining how Denmark’s interaction works with Sweden. Neutral Centers don’t have any signs or labels, but they do have beacons denoting their centers.

Some parts of the map aren’t accessible during gameplay, just like in Diplomacy. Ireland, Iceland, Cyprus, Corsica and Sardinia, Sicily, and the Caspian Sea can’t be moved to. To denote this, they are “filled in” with the appropriate block, rather than left hollow like all accessible territory has been. Smaller islands like Malta and Crete were simply left off the board because the scaling would have caused them to clutter up sea zones.

In winter 1901, players walk or fly to their respective countries. They have a total of 6 signs to use (8 for Russia). Half are build signs, which serve no purpose except in future winters during build phases. The unit signs, like Army Paris, may be edited by players during Spring, Fall, and retreat phases. To move from Paris to Burgundy, the French player edits his sign to read something like “A-Par to Bur.” Since this game is judged by a human, misspellings and abbreviations don’t matter as long as the intent is clear to the judge. Once the time limit expires for each turn, or when all players declare their intent to finalize in comms, players carry out their orders by destroying their sign, carrying it to the new country if necessary (or editing it in place in case of a hold or convoy), replanting it, and erecting it with the appropriate text in its new home. If the French player learns that Munich has also moved to Burgundy in Spring 01, then they will execute a bounce. All rules of diplomacy can be followed through this method. If an illegal order is issued because of user error, or because of a misapplication of Diplomacy into Minecraft’s systems, or for any other reason, it is resolved just like it would be in Diplomacy: a hold order is issued for that country, and others relying on the illegal order for support or convoy fail if necessary.

Optionally, players may build a third set of signs within their national centres. The third set is identical to the unit set. By leaving behind an identical set of orders when moving out units, it would make cheating much harder. This third set is unnecessary if players commit to the honor system, and it adds a bit of time spent writing more signs, which can become tedious over a long game. For that reason, I recommend playing on the honor system, especially since cheating is always possible. It’s worth noting that cheating is always possible in diplomacy, and that the original rules actually mention that cheating is “legal” if a player gets away with it. That philosophy extends to DiplomacyCraft, although, if the human judge catches a player cheating and determines that it was intentional, that player should immediately be kicked from the game, although the final call resides with the judge, who may leave it up to popular vote if they choose. Cheating is made more difficult by the presence of a non-player human judge who is flying around resolving the orders that conflict. It would be easy for this judge to catch cheating. Conveniently, basic Minecraft servers allow multiplayer with 8 users, which is exactly how many are needed for a full game with a human judge.

Other notes:
There isn’t an efficient, visually cohesive way to tell which players owns what country after things begin to change hands. If Germany invades Paris, it’s still made of blue lapis, not brown wood. For that reason, the top down view available to players in Minecraft only grants an incomplete perspective. To alleviate this, it’s recommended that the judge or another person simulates a game of Diplomacy on WebDiplomacy or another website that can be viewed by all players, so that they can easily reference the real map with the simulated map. If you have an idea for cohesive way to represent ownership, please comment below, and I will adopt any good ideas into the next update. Use of a simulated map also grants players access to the order history.

Communication should be done through text (or voice) on a communications app like Slack or Discord to better implement Diplomacy into Minecraft. Minecraft (and its platforms like Xbox), have in game chat and text systems, but they can be exploited to tell who is talking to whom. If you prefer this Face-to-Face communication style, you can choose to use only in game assets, but I don’t recommend this for a competitive experience. You can even turn the immersion up to 11 and turn on Xbox’s proximity chat feature. I’m not sure what other platforms have this capability, since I use Xbox. But proximity chat could force the Russian to physically fly over to Ankara to chat up the Turkish player, with Austria able to see (and potentially hear) the conversation if he comes close enough. This is essentially face to face diplomacy, especially given the ability to write on signs in Minecraft. Communication could also be done through the simulated map, although I don’t recommend this.
Minecraft is available on basically every platform. I know of PC, Mac, Linux, Mobile, Xbox, Playstation, and Nintendo versions, and all of them allow crossplay. That said, mobile might put you on a slight competitive disadvantage since movement is a tad slower. If cost is an issue for you, I recently subscribed to Xbox Game pass. It allows you download Minecraft (and hundreds of other games for free) and it costs $1 for the first month. To my knowledge, the free version of Minecraft available on mobile will not allow you to join this multiplayer server. I could be wrong.

The first game of Diplomacy in Minecraft is scheduled to start on Monday, July 29 at 8PM Eastern Time. Try to enter the server by at least 7:30 to meet your opponents and open lines of communication within the Slack App, which will be used for comms in this test game. I intend to judge this first game, but if you’d really like to judge it and don’t want to play, I will step aside and play instead. The game will proceed live for 3 hours at which point it will transition to 24-hour deadlines if not finished in 3 live hours. The ruleset is standard, public draw votes, full comms, 18 centres to win, Winner take all. Powers will be assigned randomly about half an hour before the start of the game.
To register, include your email address so that I can invite you on Slack, as well as the platform you’ll be playing Minecraft on, and your username on that platform so that I can invite you. If you don’t feel comfortable posting that information public, you can register by messaging me directly. The first seven registrations will get in, regardless of whether they’re posted here or in my inbox.

Good luck to all players. I don’t believe I can record the entire game due to memory limitations, but I will record some gameplay clips and a tour of the map.