Introducing "The Ancient Mediterranean"

Don Hessong

Introducing "The Ancient Mediterranean" a five-player Diplomacy variant based on the empires that dominated the Mediterranean area during ancient history. The powers are Rome, Carthage, Greece, Egypt and Persia. This variant has some similarities to the variant "Classical" but one look at the map will tell you that it will play much differently. The Ancient Med is a design of my own creation which I have been working on for over three years. But still it is a relatively new variant to the Diplomacy community. I first made it available on the web in May 2000 and it has had some signifigant revisions since then. I consider the game very close to, if not completed. I may make some more minor changes after a period of solid play-testing.

I set out to create a variant for five players since I play Diplomacy strictly face to face. It is often very difficult to get seven people for a game. The ancient period of history is well suited to games of conquest and expansion and the added naval emphasis caused by the middle of the board consisting of the sea is very interesting. During the design of the game, emphasis has been placed on its playability. The game does not depict a historical setting at a single point in time, although the overall historical theme is accurate. History has been 'collaged' - if not preserved as much as possible. The rules are consistent with the normal rules of Diplomacy, the only exceptions being due to the geography of the area. And the map is very appealling - if I do say so myself.

The most interesting aspect of the game is that it is more or less 'circular'. Each power has a neighbor on (at least) two sides. Each set of two powers has a small cluster of supply centers between them. Each of the two powers will want to lay claim to some of those supply centers - so they will meet in the middle. But both of the powers in each pair have the same situation on the other front. So all five powers are faced with the early game possibility of having to expand in two directions and with the possibility of having to fight a two front war. Also see the other Ancient Med article in this issue of the zine entitled The Strategies of the Ancient Mediterranean.

The Ancient Med is available to play on The DPjudge as well as USTR. It has also been added to Realpolitik - an awesome Diplomacy adjudication program. I have set up a web page which contains lots of resources including maps, icons, links to Ancient Med games in progress and other Diplomacy related resources - not to mention links to ancient history related sites. I hope you like what you see when you go to the web site and if you decide to play a game on-line, I'd be delighted to hear about it. I'd also be glad to hear any comments or suggestions. Be sure to use the latest revision of the variant which is Rev. 8. Also, if you use Realpolitik, be sure to use it's latest version which as of this writing is 1.5.1.

For more information on this variant, check out
The Ancient Med website: or
the Ancient Med mirror website:

Don Hessong

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