The Art Of Saying Nice Doggie

userpic=boardgamegeekWill Rogers supposedly once said, “Diplomacy is the art of saying ‘Nice doggie’ until you can find a rock.” Although you think I’m saying this as a commentary on our political situation, that’s a different post. I’m saying it because of the reference to “Diplomacy” — which in my eyes, is the famous game, “Diplomacy“. I’m talking about Diplomacy because today brings news of the death of Allan Calhamer, creator of “Diplomacy”.

My start in the world of board gaming was from the traditional 1970s gateway-game, Risk. I could never get into those SPI hex-grid games or the detailed simulations of Avalon-Hill. But I did enjoy playing Risk. When I was in high school, someone introduced me to Diplomacy, and from there it was a downward spiral into gaming.

For those who aren’t familiar with the game, Diplomacy is a game of World War I battles, played entirely without dice. Each player represents a country, and through negotiation and alliances attempts to get a majority of Europe. Games take anywhere from 5 to 8 hours. Yes, hours.

In high school, a group formed around those who played Diplomacy. We had a number of people from the computer and science fiction clubs involved. We would typically meet at someones house and go at it until the wee hours of the morn. This continued into college, where we even had a wall-map version of Diplomacy that we played in the UCLA Computer Club.  It was also in college that I got introduced to the Diplomacy variant, Machiavelli, which became one of my main games (along with Cosmic Encounter, Junta, and Ace of Aces) during the early 1980s.

Times have changed. I haven’t played Diplomacy or Machiavelli in years, simply because today’s generation is rarely up for a 5-6 hour face to face game. But who knows, perhaps one day. [Maybe I can teach it to the Van Nuys Acadec folks next year; I recall the theme is World War I]

Music: I Sing! (2002 York Concert Cast): “Charlie And Pepper”



2 Replies to “The Art Of Saying Nice Doggie”

  1. I still prefer the original Civilization, by Avalon Hill. Not that Sid Meier thing.

    I wonder if there are still any scholarly articles to be written about Civilization. Perhaps a good science fair theme would be applying principles of The Prisoner’s Dilemma to the game itself.

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