The Root Z Variant

Last revised: July 6, 1993

Send comments or corrections (only for the HTML version of this file) to Doug Massey ([email protected]).

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The following excerpt from EP Chapter Two gives the rules and other basic 
information about this interesting variant. Following the exerpt will be
a few bits of judge-specific information.

>From EP Chapter Two, Issue 305, June 17, 1993.

2.1  Variant Corner
Greg Tanner - [email protected]

Over the past few months, numerous variants have been posted to r.g.d.  One of
these, the Root Z Variant, created a great deal of interest and discussion
over the Net.

In essence, the Root Z variant allows seven players to control a power on each
of two identical Diplomacy boards, with access between the two boards by
moving across any border of the border line running from Mar-Pie in the north
to Mao-Naf in the south.

The effect is quite different from simply imposing one board on top of
another, as in "parallel dimensions" where say, Bur1 accesses Bur2 and Bud1
accesses Bud2.  A better analogy might be an interlocking spiral (joined at
the ends).  As the designers say below, the talk of "two boards" is confusing:
this is really *one* board!

Another way for the non-mathematicians (like myself) to view it is as follows:
Picture a stick with one end placed at Switzerland and running to the Mao-Naf
border.  Now, holding the Switzerland end at Switzerland, swing the other end
toward Italy, and around the board to France.

When reaching the Mao-Naf border again, the stick now transports to the same
place on Map 2.  Again, move the stick around the board, and when reaching the
Mao-Naf border a second time, the stick returns to the starting place on Map
1.  As described before, the effect is that of a spiral joined at the ends,
creating a single board!

2.2  Root Z Diplomacy
Phil Creed, Tom Hyer, and Mark Nelson

((These rules are based upon an original design by Phil Creed and Mark Nelson
which were posted to in April (or was it May?) 1993. This
new set of rules is based upon the extensive discussion about the rules and
has been written by Phil Creed, Tom Hyer and Mark Nelson. We would like to
thank everyone who took part in the discussion, in particular: Rick Desper,
Gary Duke, Lars Henrik Mathiesen, Robert Rehbold, Joel Evan Rosenberg and
Frederick Scott. This revised set of rules is dated 7th June 1993.))

                   BY PHIL CREED, TOM HYER and MARK NELSON.

(1.0) Introduction

   The idea for this variant comes from the mathematical concept of a cut in
the complex plane.  When applied to two diplomacy boards this creates a link
between the two boards.  Locally the cut appears to have no effect because a
unit "views" exactly the same provinces across the cut line as in standard
diplomacy, however a unit trying to move across the cut line moves from one
board to the other board.

   Natural extensions of the idea introduced in this variant would be to have
one, or more, cuts on two, or more, boards.


(1.0) The 1971 rules of diplomacy apply except where modified below.

(2.0) There are two boards, denoted by "1" or "2" appended to country or
province names.  There are seven players, each of whom controls two powers;
see rule (3).

(2.1) In adjudications units are labeled in the format iJK where i (i=1 or 2)
is the board on which the unit was built, J (J =A, E, F, G, I, R or T)  is the
country which built the unit and K (K =A or F) is the unit type. eg if France
on board one builds A(Par) this is denoted 1FA(Par), if Germany builds F(Kie)
on board two this is 2GF(Kie).

(3.0) The map described above contains two disconnected "mega-zones" of sea
provinces (for example, no fleet can move from Bar1 to Eas1). Each player must
control one power adjacent to each "mega-zone".  When signing onto the waiting
list, a player shall enter two preference lists, one corresponding to each
"mega-zone".  Such a list might look like:  E1,G1,F1,T2,A2,R1,I2;
T1,A1,G2,F2,E2,I2,R2.  (This particular list is strongly anti-R1, as the top
choices on each list are adjacent to R1.)

(3.1) For purposes of allocation of countries, R1 shall be considered to
adjoin the mega-zone containing Bar1, not that containing Bla1.

(3.2) No player may control A/R or R/T.  (Mark:  alternatively, we could count
R1 in the mega-zone adjoining Bla1 and Bar2, and forbid E/R and G/R; the
effect is similar.)

(4.0) There is a cut along the two boards as follows (the cut is identical on
both boards): Along the Mar-Pie border, the Mar-GoL border, the Spa-GoL
border, the Spa-Wes border, the MAO-Wes border, and the MAO-NAf border where
the cuts hits the edge of the board.

(4.1) Each province is labeled according to the number of the board it is on;
e.g., Bur1 is not to be confused with Bur2.

(4.2) The cut has no effect *except* that a unit moving across the cut moves
to the corresponding province on the other board; e.g, Mar1 is adjacent to
Bur1, GAS1, Spa1, GoL2, Pie2.

  Locally, the adjudication of orders proceeds as if the pieces involved were
  on a single board (since the placement of the cut is purely conventional,
  we can imagine performing the adjudication on a board where the cut is far
  from the area involved).  Thus A Mar1 S F GoL2-Pie2 has the same effect as
  A Mar S F GoL-Pie would be expected to have.

(4.3) Provinces on different board should be treated as distinct with respect
to movement.  Specifically, A Mar1-Pie2 does not stand out F Pie1-Mar2, as the
two actions take place in different sectors of the board.

(4.4) Convoys: Convoys across the cut are allowed; e.g., F Wes2 C A Spa1-Tun2.

(4.5) Supports across the cut are valid; see (4.2).

(5.0) A centre captured on board 1(2) by a unit built on board 2(1) is owned
by nation on board 2(1).

(5.1) Although there are 7 players there are 14 distinct powers in this game.
France1 can attack France2, France1 can dislodge France2 units and France1 can
capture France2 centres.  If your powers are Austria1 and England2 then
Austria1 can attack England2, can dislodge England2 units and capture England2

(6.0) The victory condition is 28 centres, owned by a combination of a
player's two powers.  If two players reach this target simultaneously the
player with the most centres wins.  If they have the same number of centres
then they share a two-way draw.

(7.0) OPTIONAL RULE: This variant could be played as a 14-player game rather
than a 7-player game.  In this case the victory criterion should be reduced to
18 centres.  The designers believe that the 7-player game is better.


The following table shows which combinations of powers are not allowed by
rules (3.1)-(3.4)

               Board One      Board Two
            A E F G I R T  A E F G I R T
Board One A X - - - X X X  - X X X - X -
          E - X X X - X -  X - - - X - X
          F - X X X - X -  X - - - X - X
          G - X X X - X -  X - - - X - X
          I X - - - X - X  - X X X - X -
          R X X X X - X X  X - - - X - X
          T X - - - X X X  - X X X - X -


   This is an attempt to show the relationships between the powers in this

   In regular diplomacy the relationship between the powers can be represented

   |\         /|
   | \       / |
   |  \     /  |
   |   \  /   /|
   F_____G   / |
   |     |  /  |
   |   O | /   |      O = pole at Switzerland
   |  ___A/___ |
   | /        \|

   In this variant the effect of the cut is to link the two boards together as
outlined below:

      /R1_                  Here we have cut map one open, then
     / |\ \T1               compressed it to cover 180 degrees
  E1/  | \ | \              around Switzerland, instead of 360.
  | \  |  \|  I1            Map two is formed in identical manner,
  |  \ | /-A1/ |            then glued to map one along the cut.
  |  /-G1  |   |
  F1-  | O |   F2
   |   |  _G2-/ |
   |  A2-/ | \  |
   I2/ |\  |  \ |
     \ | \ |   E2
      T2_ \|  /

   This map shows that our earlier talk of "two boards" was slightly
misleading.  What we really have is one topologically confusing, yet sill
planar, map!  The above map readily shows that a 14-player version would work.
We dislike it because there wouldn't be very much contact between the players.

<- End Excerpt

Rule (2.1) has been changed for this judge. The unit and country abreviations
are as follows:

Board One:
A- Austria
E- England
F- France
G- Germany
I- Italy
R- Russia
T- Turkey
Board Two:
1- Austria
2- England
3- France
4- Germany
5- Italy
6- Russia
7- Turkey

Units are then labeled A or F, and will show up in the listings as 2Turkish
or 1Russian, etc. Spaces are labeled similarly. Galicia on Board One is
gal1. Bohemia on Board Two is boh2.

Note that in the listings, countries have the number BEFORE the name, whereas
spaces have the numbers AFTER the name. This should not cause any confusion.

To see the specific abreviations allowed, see the map.rootz file on this

Game signup will be handled the same way as Duplex Youngstown. The judge
thinks it's a 14 player game (and can be...). When 7 players signon, the
judge administrator will have to edit the game's file manually, adding
the players to the second set of countries. A bit round-a-bout, but the
only way to do it that I can see. So, to make things easy, turn in one
preference list when you signon (instead of two as suggested above)
listing the 14 countries in the order you want to play them. The above rules
limiting country pairs will apply.

If you have further questions, mail [email protected]

* Diplomacy is a trademark of Hasbro, Inc., all rights reserved. Used with permission.