Episode 2: Diplomacy
World War I was very different from World War II in terms of Diplomacy. Whereas the first was a busy time for diplomats and even some reckless diplomatic expeditions, the latter was basically 5 World powers dividing the world and fighting their worldwide conflict.
In WWI the biggest prize to win (like in WWII) obviously was USA but this could not really be achieved by diplomats alone: USA war entry was event-based thus will be handled in a different episode. For diplomacy as a game mechanic Italy being a world power - at least still formally - is the BIG BANG! In addition there are various other powerful nations in the fray like Bulgaria and Romania with their strong armies. Therefore it was clear for us from the outset: Diplomacy must be a NEW step in the turn order!
Intermission: When developing C%E we wanted the game to be heavily based on the A&A series. As determinded A&A fans we wished to feel familiar with the rules and mechanics despite various alteration and additions. In short it should not be a totally new game. THus for most aspects we searched the A&A family applicable/suitable rules before thinking about new ones. And even then premise was as consistent as possible with the existing A&A framework. Therefore you will even find rules from the battle series (like Bulge ZOC=zone of control).
SO diplomacy was supposed to fit into the existing “Investment” area for R&D (Research & Development/Technology) and Production (Purchase Units)!
Like in R&D you can buy Diplomatic Dice for each neutral nation you want to influence in your turn. Each costs 5 IPCs and - before Modifiers - a roll of 4,5 or 6 is successful, the lower numbers fail. As a major neutral nation Italy needs 3 steps till war entry, all other minor neutral nations need 2 on their respective diplomatic scale. Once war is declared it is permanent.
The Modifiers were implemented to reflect the actual political circumstances of the neutral countries!
Example 1: Bulgaria
Tsar Ferdinand I of Bulgaria had a strong tendency to lean towards the CPs for 2 reasons:
1. His personal background: Born in Vienna, grown up in A-H and Germany (studied there)
2. Serbia as THE enemy from the Balkan wars. He simply wanted the territories back Bulgaria lost in the 2nd Balcan War.
So, that’s it: If there was a (good!) chance for the 2nd, Bulgaria might enter war on the side of the CP!
Game: Bulgaria gets a modifier of +1 for both steps on the CP friendly side of influence.
(Bulgaria also moves one step towards the CPs R5 for free reflecting the actual swift in the balance of military power towards the CPs on the major European fronts. Serbia’s situation thus became increasingly difficult. This period of intense diplomatic activity to win the Bulgarians was called “Bulgarian Summer”.)
Example 2: Netherlands
At the outbreak of war various countries declared “strict neutrality” as their policy. To get them out of it chances arent 50/50 as only 5 otr 6 are successful in this case for the first step towards each side.
In addition to diplomatic rolls Italy might be influenced by some events that can occur in the game caused by the players (or not) and its diplomatic marker would automatically move one step in result!
For instance: Italy though formal member of the Triple Alliance did not feel obliged to join G and A-H in their war effort due to the defensive nature of the treaty. In their interpretation the assassination did not justify the casus belli and their participation in it. Of course this came in handy to check how things go to join the side who is likely to win later. For the game, if Germany is able to conquer Yser and/or Bourgogne-Champagne (B-CH) R1 and hold it for one round Italy will be enthused about such military strength and moves one step in favor of the CPs.On the other hand if Germany fails to conquer Yser and B-CH at all Italy would see the tide swing in favor of the Entente and the marker moves one step towards them which is what happened historically.
Same with the famous Gallipoli Operation. The intent of such an outrageous bold manouvre let the Italians finally agree to the war entry on Entente side in the London treaty 1915. So if Uk executes the Gallipoli Operation (which is a given manourvre in the game!) and fullfills certain conditions during it again the marker moves one step towards the Entente.
When Italy or one of certain minor neutral nations enter the war they get their own troops and units; when the other minors do so they get predetermined units of a certain woprldpower. Example: Norway (Entente) UK / (CPs) Germany.
I hope all this gives you a brief glimpse into the ideas, historical background and of course the mechanics of the new step Diplomacy!
Questions are welcome!
Next: Historical Accuracy!