Diplomacy – The Beginning

Beginning | Spring 1901

Been a while since my last post on this blog. I have been hard at work on my original story ideas over on Card Forge. In my free time I have been playing a variety of board games and at the Elementary School I work at a fifth grade teacher showed interest in “Diplomacy”.

Recently the class has begun playing the game and I figured I would keep a record of each turn for the fun of it.

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For those unaware, Diplomacy is an old board game that is based on the seven powers of Europe at the start of the 20th century. United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, Italy, and Ottoman Empire.

In the game each nation has fifteen minutes to talk and make deals with one another. These deals can be made at the table or in other rooms, wherever.

Then each nation writes down the orders of what their units will do on the board. Once written, the orders are read aloud and every unit moves simultaneously.

Every unit has the same power, so if two units bump heads then it is a “tie”.

To win in Diplomacy, players need to gain a total of eighteen supply depots (stars on the map). To reach this goal they have to make allies to support them and beat “ties”. To reach this goal players also have to choose when to trust or back stab others.

It is a game that can get quite brutal.

In this instance we have seven teams, each team is made up of three to four students each, with one as a captain.

Due to time constraints, each team is given ten minutes to talk with others then five minutes to write orders and discuss among themselves. Then the captains bring their orders in and I or the teacher read aloud the orders and move the appropriate pieces.

The picture above is the starting positions of the Armies (Square pieces) and Fleets (Rectangle pieces).

Without going any further in detail, here is the BoardGameGeek link with far more info on the game.

Next post will be the first six months of the game, Spring 1901.

Below is a short little summary I made of each nation to give some historical background for the students to read. Enjoy!

Backgrounds of the Seven Nations

Austro-Hungarian Empire

Also referred to as Austria-Hungary was a constitutional Union of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary. The Union lasted from 1867 until 1918, falling apart due to its defeat during World War I.

Capital – Vienna, second capital – Budapest

As one of the great powers of the world, Austro-Hungary was geographically the second largest country in Europe and It was the third most populous. The country built up the fourth largest machine building industry in the world. It became the third largest manufacturer and exporter of electric home appliances and power generation apparatus for power plants.

The main language is German and Hungarian with a mix of other languages, Czech, Croatian, Italian, Polish, Romani, Romanian, Rusyn, Servian, Slovak, Slovene, Ukrainian, and Yiddish.

Like the United States, Austro-Hungary could be considered a melting pot of cultures but instead located in the heart of Europe.

Its government had three parts to it.

The Austrian government with its own parliament and Minister-President. Currently in 1901 the Minister-President was Ernest von Koerber

The Hungarian government with its own parliament and prime minister. Currently in 1901 the prime minister was Kalman Szell

Then both parts connect to the third under the Monarch himself. Franz joseph I of Austria, a well-respected leader who will end up ruling for 68 years and have the third longest reign in the history of Europe. He led Austria into the Austro-Hungarian Compromise in 1867 which formed the Austro-Hungary Empire in the first place.

Now at the start of the 20th century the Austro-Hungarian Empire is poised to continue to grow with its economical strengths and progressive ideas. It’s a country surrounded by neighbors who it has already fought wars with in the last century.

Your goal is to spread the power of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and survive. There are rumors and talks throughout Europe of fear of a new war. Tensions are rising across Europe. Unfortunately for the empire, there destiny is to fall at the end of this great war, unless you can change its fate and strengthen its power before it is too late.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

From 1801-1922 the set of British Isles was all unified under the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. This period began when the Kingdom of Ireland merged with Great Britain.

Capital – London

An island nation that has grown with the rest of Europe became the dominate force by 1815 after it defeated France in the Napoleonic Wars. With its Royal Navy, it kept its hold on the world for the rest of the 19th century.

During such an era of rapid economic and industrial growth, the United Kingdom was at the forefront. It expanded its domain across Africa and Asia and influenced the world economy through trade.

Its power over the world is impressive when compared to the size and population of other nations at the time such as Russia, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, or China.

The population is dominated by citizens who speak English and are natives from the various parts of the kingdom – England, Wales, Scotland, or Ireland.

The government is a Parliament which answers to a monarch.

During 1901 the prime minister is Robert Gascoyne-Cecil

The current Monarch is Edward VII who will lead a short reign of only 9 years. During that time though he pushed trade and manufacturing for the country. The constant progress made his people confident that Britain would continue to advance as a nation.

Now with the start of the 20th century and a new monarch, there are rising tensions within Europe of war. As a power you must continue to stay strong so as to please the citizenry. Can you navigate this complicated political situation of Europe and prepare the United Kingdom for the Great War that is to come? Or will the Kingdom fall before the Great War even begins? Its destiny is to survive to the next century, but one wrong step might change that fate.

French Third Republic

Also referred to as France was the system of government after Napoleon fell from power in 1870. This new form of government would last from 1870 to 1940 when it will be occupied by German forces in World War II.

Capital – Paris

The early days of the Third Republic was dominated by political disruptions due to the fall of Napoleon. Due to harsh reparations from the Prussian War, the loss of Alsace (A French region), social upheaval and the establishment of the Paris Commune (A radical socialist government that caused large riots in Paris).

In all this struggle France decided to keep its Republic instead of re-establishing a Monarch. A return to its progressive roots, where the French First Republic back in 1792 was one of the first Republics to appear in the world.

Even with the issues above, the French Third Republic prospered, turning a rural nation of peasants into modernized citizens. The nation has continued to lead as a global center of the arts, sciences, and philosophy. The nation leading as a country for tourists to visit.

During this time France would even introduce innovative ideas such as the “Department Store” with its opening of the Le Bon Marche in Paris in 1838.

At the start of 1901 the current president is Emile Loubet, the 45th president from 1899 to 1906. During his time, he saw the successful Paris Exhibition in 1900 as well as forging the entente with Great Britain, resolving their disagreements over the Boer War and the Dreyfus Affair.

Now at the start of the 20th century, France stands to lose much of its people over the next century during both wars unless it can get into a better standing position in Europe. Luckily France will enter the 21st century but at great costs.

Will you gain a superior position for France before the first Great War and save its people great strive? Or will you continue the status quo? Or even worse, cost France its chance at even surviving into the next century.

The Russian Empire

Also known as Russia, this country existed from 1721 until 1917 when a revolution swept across the country.

Capital – Saint Petersburg

The empire stretched over three continents and was only beaten in landmass owned by the Mongol Empire and the British Empire (When Britain colonization was at its peak).

Predominately an agricultural base economy, the empire made huge strides throughout the 19th century to industrialize and improve its work force. Additionally, it took after the advances of Europe and began to focus on a more modern, scientific, and rational system of policy, a drastic change from its once medieval and traditional ideas.

Through the success of various wars and land grabs throughout its nation, a single monarch was capable of leading the nation to great success. This success led to its neighbors fearing it.

With its massive stretch of land and large population of 125 million it could easily stomp over any opponent. Its strengths were also its weakness as what held back the empire was its size and slower speed at modernizing its land.

With the start of the 20th century the empire is currently ruled by Emperor Nicholas II. He is nicknamed Nicholas the Bloody by his political adversaries due to the Khodynka Tragedy, Anti-semitic pogroms, and Bloody Sunday. He would witness the empire go from being a foremost great power of the world to economic collapse during World War I.

You are tasked with holding the territory of the Russian Empire and expanding it. You must use your current strength to weaken your neighbors in preparation of the future. If you fail to do this then the empire is sure to fall once the Great War starts and your neighbors swing their superior machines of war against you.

The German Empire

Also known as Germany, it existed from 1871 with the unification of Germany to 1918 where a Civil War will begin within its borders at the end of World War I.

Capital – Berlin

For a young empire, Germany was quick to industrialize its lands and bring its 26 states ever closer with the mobility of technology. This action would lead Germany to becoming the largest economy in Europe by 1900, even surpassing the United Kingdom. Becoming the second-largest economy in the world, only behind the United States.

Germany boasted a rapidly developing rail network, the world’s strongest army, and a fast-growing industrial base. In less than a decade it had the second largest navy only behind the British Royal navy.

A semi-constitutional monarchy, the empire had both an Emperor and Chancellor who worked together to keep the nation together.

The emperor at this time was Wilhelm II from 1888-1918, a bombastic and impetuous leader he would lead the nation to the Great War by supporting Austria-Hungary during the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

The chancellor was Bernhard Von Bulow from 1900-1909, who spent much of his time trying to be on Wilhelm II good side and defending all foreign policy that Wilhelm II took part in such as the Triple Entente between Italy and Austria-Hungary.

Now with the start of the 20th century, Germany has a lot to lose in the coming years. You must defend the mighty empire’s land and keep it in its good standing if not improve it. To fail is to doom the empire to its fate that awaits it at the end of the Great War.

The Kingdom of Italy

Also known as Italy, lasted from 1861 when King Victor Emmanuel II was crowned king of Italy to 1946 when civil discontent would lead to abandonment of the monarchy in favor a republic.

Capital – Rome

Italy only recently unified was heavily divided between its northern and southern land. Living standards to the south were drastically lower compared to the north, a divide that even lasts to modern times.

An agricultural state, Italy would struggle for a period of time to catch up with its neighbors, however with entrepreneurial efforts of small family-owned firms, the nation would begin to rise.

These entrepreneurial efforts weren’t the first of their kind as Italy has been a place of many cultural advances which in turn spread across the world. One such being the Renaissance that brought renewed interest in humanism, science, exploration, and art.

As a constitutional monarchy, it was led by Victor Emmanuel III from 1900-1946. Nicknamed Re Soldato (The Soldier King) for leading Italy through both World Wars, he witnessed Italy through many struggles and the rise and fall of fascism within the country.

With the entrance into the 20th century, the nation has much to gain as a power in the coming years. However currently it is weak as a Great Power of Europe and is vulnerable to attack. Can you strengthen Italy in preparation of what is to come, or will you allow it to fall against your stronger neighbors?

The Ottoman Empire

Also known as Turkey is one of the world’s oldest empires lasting from 1299 when Osman I founded it to 1922 when the allies dismantled the country after World War I.

Capital – Constantinople (Known as Istanbul in modern times)

During this time the empire was in decline, constantly defending itself from foreign invasion and occupation.

Even with decline and loss of territory, the empire began a great modernization of its land known as Tanzimat. This led to a fairly modern conscripted army, banking system, replacement of religious laws with secular laws, and creation of guilds with modern factories. With the promise of equality of citizens regardless of ethnicity and religion.

During this period the empire focused on strengthening its central power and connecting its territory through the rapid creation for railways.

The empire was ruled by a single leader, the Sultan. During this period the leader was Abdul Hamid II from 1879-1908. He is considered the last sultan to have full control as during his reign the changes he caused would create opposing reactions leading to the empire becoming more isolated and for groups of radicals to threaten the power of the empire.

Now the Empire is nearing the end of its more than 600 years of existence. At the end of the Great War it is destined to fall apart. Can you lead it from this inevitable decline towards a bright future? Or is the Ottoman Empire fated to fall apart no matter what?

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