The Game of Diplomacy

by Richard Sharp



Diplomacy game reports are printed in a kind of simple shorthand. It may vary in small details from zine to zine, but the following is broadly common to all British gamesmasters; if you master this system and write your orders the same way it will avoid possible accidents.

A army
F fleet
S supports/supported

C convoys/convoyed

MS mutually support

— moves to

An asterisk after a unit shows that it is dislodged and its retreat, if any, will be listed below. Underlined moves fail; underscored moves are illegal and have no effect on the destination province; struck out units do not exist.

Some G Ms, myself included, save space by using the ‘support chain’ notation where several units support each other, e.g. A(Sev) S A(Ukr) MS A(War) means that the first unit is supporting the second which is supporting the third which is supporting the second. An order such as A(Boh) S A(Vie)— Tyr is normally accepted as a valid order to both units.

Province abbreviations

The standard procedure is to use the first three letters of the province name, capitals for sea-spaces, upper and lower case for land. A few exceptions are listed here. Where two variations are given you are recommended to use the first; the second is for information only.

Adriatic Sea - ADS/ADR
Aegean Sea - AES/AEG
Baltic Sea - BAL/BAS
Barents Sea - BAR/BAS
Black Sea - BLA/ BLS
Eastern Mediterranean - EMS/EAS
English Channel - ENG/ENC
Gulf of Bothnia - GOB/GBo/Bot
Gulf of Lyons - GOL/GLy/Lyo
Ionian Sea - IOS/ION
Irish Sea - IRS/IRI
Liverpool - Lpl/Liv
Livonia - Liv/Lvn
Mid Atlantic Ocean - MAO/MID
Norway - Nor/Nwy
North Sea - NTH
Norwegian Sea - NWG/NOR
North Atlantic Ocean - NAO
North Africa - Naf/NAf
St Petersburg - StP
Tyrolia - Tyr/Tyo
Tyrrhenian Sea - TYS/TYR
Western Mediterranean - WMS/WES

There is no accounting for individual GM idiosyncrasy — I myself use EAS and ION quite illogically, without knowing why.


Most variant rules include lists of province abbreviations and other notation. A few common abbreviations from variants, which may enable you to make some sense of variant reports in zines you see, are:

2A, etc. - Double army, etc.
DA (or D) - Defensive army
A/F - Army-fleet
FF - Fast ferry
BB - Boat-bunch
=A - Ring-bearer (Tolkien games)
G - Garrison

The Game of Diplomacy is (c) 1978 by Richard Sharp. It is reproduced here with Richard's permission.

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