[Diplomacy] Romance of the Three Kingdoms: Altering old classics.

edited January 2010 in Story Games
Little idea:

Redraw the Diplomacy map to play a game simulating the wars of ancient China. Just a matter of recalibrating the territories.

Has anyone ever attempted similar? Cluedo to match your house, Monopoly to reference the streets in your town?

Comments

  • Is your question whether anybody has ever created a Diplomacy variant?

    Here's a place to start.
  • edited January 2010
    Item. Back in high school, I created a Diplomacy map based on the D&D campaign world I DM'd, and the players in the campaign spent a session playing Diplomacy in Uerlan -- you play the elves of Alvalla, you be the dwarves of Svarsal, you be the Forest Strongholds, and you can be Spasagar and the Great City! -- to set up the political developments for the next stage of the campaign. It was fun. Too bad that map is long gone.

    Item. For Christmas this year, a friend made "Henry-opoly" for his dad -- a not-quite-retired South Carolina farmer of a small-stakes but vigorous entrepreneurial bent. The houses are single-wide trailers of the sort he rents, and the "utilities" are things like the "cell phone tower in the back 40" of the sort he gets rent for as well. It's funny and quite sweet; sort of an homage to his dad's life.
  • The one issue with this is the navy didn't really play a part in the three kingdoms period. Well, it did, but it was river navy, which isn't really the same thing as diplomacy's ocean-going fleets.

    yrs--
    --Ben
  • That could be worked around, though. There could be other unit types or geography that play the same design function (creating asymmetrical power dynamic relationships, essentially), or the scenario could be made to work without such.

    Not easy, though. Definitely not easy. A Diplomacy variant scenario is so difficult to design that I know of few game design challenges on that level.
  • Oh, man. Now that sounds like a challenge.
  • Posted By: Eero TuovinenHere's a place to start.
    And here's a place to end - "over 300 maps." (Huh... wonder why Lewis Pulsipher's are gone/non-links?)
  • Posted By: Ben LehmanThe one issue with this is the navy didn't really play a part in the three kingdoms period. Well, it did, but it was river navy, which isn't really the same thing as diplomacy's ocean-going fleets.

    yrs--
    --Ben
    River-territories are obviously the solution! "Fleet Boihai-Bay to Huang-He-Mouth" Combined with only few crossing-points, Convoy fleets suddenly become important.
  • Posted By: Eero TuovinenNot easy, though. Definitely not easy. A Diplomacy variant scenario is so difficult to design that I know of few game design challenges on that level.
    Absolutely true. I remember one of my friends commenting that the situation on the board I'd created was pretty static; he noted that on the standard board, there are clusters of adjacent SCs that belong to or are threatened by different countries, but I'd made a map where each kingdom had a pretty clear core of SCs and then a frontier. I mean, we had fun anyway, but it was an amateurish design.

    Still, I can see on the Three Kingdoms map having riverine units whose main purpose would be to enable and prevent crossings, either by making sections of the river very narrow water squares that had to be convoyed across, or by treating riparian provinces as having "banks" that armies had to declare themselves as being upon one or the other but navies didn't--but navies could only enter other riparian provinces.
  • There is a South American variant that deals with rivers as simply coasts for inland provinces - that is, there is no river province, just a coastal province that doesn't happen to have a sea area next to the coast, but rather another inland territory. Let's see... here's a pretty clear representation. I like this solution for its rules-wise elegance, but it doesn't make fleets worthwhile alone.
  • Posted By: Ben LehmanThe one issue with this is the navy didn't really play a part in the three kingdoms period. Well, it did, but it was river navy, which isn't really the same thing as diplomacy's ocean-going fleets.
    True, although let's face it, the battle of Chi Bi was one of the craziest naval engagements of all time! Gotta love an army that chains all the boats together and conducts deck-to-deck infantry assault.

    -Ash
  • As it happens, I recently finished putting together a Three Kingdoms mod of A Game of Thrones, which is essentially a Diplomacy derivative. I solved the fleet problem by adding navigable river spaces, as Mike B suggests.

    To me, one of the most compelling elements of the Three Kingdoms setting (especially the "Romance of" variety) are all the awesome personalities, like Guan Yu and Zhuge Liang. One edge that A Game of Thrones has over classic Diplomacy is an existing mechanism to include officer characters in the game play, in the form of House cards. Though I suppose one could add in officer rules to Diplomacy without making a complete train wreck of the rules.

    I haven't tried out my AGoT mod yet, but if anyone is interested in what I have done with so far, send me a whisper. :)
  • I think you have three options with river spaces.
    1) a single passthrough-space, like Constantinople in regular dip.
    2) Two "coast" spaces that share a border, either one of which can hold a fleet. For extra-credit, make this unpassable to infantry.
    3) A "river" space which cannot be occupied by an army.

    With that, and a lot of forethought, you could probably get some sort of good fleet dynamic.

    You'd also have to consider your "powers." Only having Wei, Shu and Wu leaves a lot to be desired on the diplomacy front. You could include Nanchao and the Yellow Turbans, which is slightly ahistorical (but no moreso than Turkey as a major power in WWI) and would give you a nice even five. There's probably also a northern barbarian group that you could use.
  • An approach to Diplomacy scenario design that I've been developing lately is to have multiple boards on which the struggle happens. That might be useful if there are two few participants in a historical conflict, as you could have extra venues of conflict in the form of some sort of abstractized internal politics of a given Power. I don't know of the ancient Chinese kingdoms here have good color in this regard, but you could maybe have two sorts of units in the game: armies and courtiers (or religious leaders or whatever), the latter of which can move on the semi-detached (because obviously politically important map locations would connect to this board) court board to do battle. The court geography could be largely abstract, representing the historical societal structure; for example, maybe the capital region of a kingdom is neighbored on the court board by an important temple, because the legitimate rule of the capital in question is partially predicated on the support of that temple. Stuff like that.

    A specific advantage in relation to what Ben mentioned is that if you're going to model the court politics a bit, then it becomes easier to introduce more Powers into the game in the form of internal political parties of the empires. Internal, or even international: it could get sort of quirky if you had some separate Power with strong courtier potential in several separate kingdoms but little in the way of armies on the geographical map, stuff like that. I could see using something like that in a medieval Europe variant, at least.

    I have no idea yet if this particular interpretation (military and societal power on the same board) is really feasible in Diplomacy; the game often becomes unsatisfactory if you try to push it too much, as the obvious demands of the strict rules-set make war on the pleasures of scenario emulation. It's a difficult balance to strike, which is why Diplomacy often only feels "right" when couched into the frame of early 20th century power politics.
  • Eero: That's interesting, but not particularly appropriate to three kingdoms: by the three kingdoms period, the court was totally controlled be Wei, and would continue to be so for the duration, basically. Perhaps Warring States.

    The big historical emulation problem with Diplomacy and pre-telegraph wars is that Diplomacy has perfect board awareness. Pre telegraph, this was simply impossible, and "Fog of War" made up a big part of strategic thought.

    yrs--
    --Ben
  • Posted By: Ben Lehman
    You'd also have to consider your "powers." Only having Wei, Shu and Wu leaves a lot to be desired on the diplomacy front. You could include Nanchao and the Yellow Turbans, which is slightly ahistorical (but no moreso than Turkey as a major power in WWI) and would give you a nice even five. There's probably also a northern barbarian group that you could use.
    If you start the game in the early years of the conflict, you have more choices available for powers. Yuan Shao in the Bei Ping region, the Ma family in northwest, and possibly Dong Zhuo in Chang An or Luo Yang.
  • Posted By: RoninZombieIf you start the game in the early years of the conflict, you have more choices available for powers. Yuan Shao in the Bei Ping region, the Ma family in northwest, and possibly Dong Zhuo in Chang An or Luo Yang.
    And if we're stretching history to breaking point, there's always Lu Bu's rebellion, although having that AND Dong Zhuo at the same time would be stretching it a gnat too far in my opinion.

    -Ash
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