LessWrong Diplomacy Game 2015

by Sherincall 1 min read20th Jul 201528 comments


Related: Diplomacy as a Game Theory Laboratory by Yvain.

I've been floating this idea around for a while, and there was enough interest to organize it.

Diplomacy is a board game of making and breaking alliances. It is a semi-iterative prisoner's dilemma with 7 prisoners. The rules are very simple, there is no luck factor and any tactical tricks can be learned quickly. You play as one of the great powers in pre-WW1 Europe, and your goal is to dominate over half of the board. To do this, you must negotiate alliances with the other players, and then stab them at the most opportune moment. But beware, if you are too stabby, no one will trust you. And if you are too trusting, you will get stabbed yourself.

If you have never played the game, don't worry. It is really quick to pick up. I explain the rules in detail here.

The game will (most likely) be played at webdiplomacy.net. You need an account, which requires a valid email. To play the game, you will need to spend at least 10 minutes every phase (3 days) to enter your orders. In the meantime, you will be negotiating with other players. That takes as much as you want it to, but I recommend setting away at least 30 minutes per day (in 5-minute quantums). A game usually lasts about 10 in-game years, which comes down to 30-something phases (60-90 days). A phase can progress early if everyone agrees. Likewise, the game can be paused indefinitely if everyone agrees (e.g. if a player will not have Internet access).

Joining a game is Serious Business, as missing a deadline can spoil it for the other 6 players. Please apply iff:

  1. You will be able to access the game for 10 minutes every 3 days (90% certainty required)
  2. If 1) changes, you will be able to let the others know at least 1 day in advance (95% certainty required)
  3. You will be able to spend an average of 30 minutes per day (standard normal distribution)
  4. You will not hold an out-of-game grudge against a player who stabbed you (adjusting for stabbyness in potential future games is okay)

If you still wish to play, please sign up in the comments. Please specify the earliest time it would suit you for the game to start. If we somehow get more than 7 players, we'll discuss our options (play a variant with more players, multiple games, etc).


See also: First game of LW Diplomacy


Well, the interest is there, so I've set up two games.

Game 1: http://webdiplomacy.net/board.php?gameID=164863  (started!)

Game 2: http://webdiplomacy.net/board.php?gameID=164912  (started! First phase will be extended to end on the 4th of August)

Password: clippy

Please note a couple important rules of the webdiplomacy.net website:


  1. You can only have one account. If you are caught with multiple accounts, they will all be banned.
  2. You may not blame your moves on the website bugs as a diplomacy tactic. This gives the site's mods extra work to do when someone actually reports the bug.
  3. Should go without saying, but you are not allowed to illegally access another player's account (i.e. hacking).