A Board Game of Thrones

It is discussed in the dining hall. People study it on computer screens. Tempers flare in heated arguments over strategy about it. Students stay up all part of the night revising their plans.

This stress isn’t due to the college process, a research project or even for a test. No, this is serious.

This is Diplomacy.

For many Diplomacy is not a normal board game. It’s an experience that extends into the players’ personal lives. Jon Chang ’14 recounts an early fall game many seniors played alongside Mr. Snyder.

The constant battling and distrust between people (watch out that you don’t do something stupid with the people you play with – they can hurt you OUTSIDE the game) is definitely one of the most awesome experiences I’ve had in a board game. The simplicity, and the awesomeness that comes with the game, is unlike anything I’ve seen before.

This game lasted a few weeks and countless students knew about the current situations of each of the players.
But, here was a game of somewhat experienced players, who already loved it. What do new players think of it?

Diplomacy is great!” says new player, Samuel Butler ’16.

However, Diplomacy isn’t something that can just be picked up. The rules are fairly complex, and some game ideas are not intuitive. Even after the basic rules are learned, the nuances and strategy of the game take practice to learn.
Emma Robertson ’15 agrees, saying “I [need to] figure the game out. I need to learn the strategy.”

Jon Chang tells how frustrating a game with newcomers can be.

Newcomers to the game are generally not committed. Our Thach Diplo Soc game still hasn’t started, and I don’t think it is anytime soon.

To many though, this game is worth the time and dedication required to play it. Many relate it to Risk as it takes a while to learn and longer to play. However, Diplomacy is more than just a game of tactics, it takes a balance of cooperation and deceit.

Truman Hanks agrees.

Diplomacy is a great game because it take more than just tactical strategy. The main point of the game is to negotiate and work together with other players – it’s the only way to gain an edge. Yes, sometimes that involves backstabbing my friends, but it IS a game with 7 players and 1 winner.

This dynamic is why so many people like Diplomacy. Its a game where trust is more important than luck.

Diplomacy is more than a board game, its an experience. The game itself is great, but as these players describe, the real fun is in the relationships between the people playing the game.

Truman summarized, “it is a more fun version of fantasy football. You can only trust yourself, but you have to work together to win. It’s a very delicate and intense balance. And the stories of how the game evolves can be tragic, heroic, or hilarious.”

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