The 1600 Diplomacy variant homepage


1. Introduction
2. Mapnotes
3. Starting locations and province abbreviations
4. The Powers

    The Habsburg Empire
    The Ottoman Empire


Welcome to the 1600 variant homepage. I started constructing this variant as a fresh newbie back in 96. The outcome was playable, but not very good, with among other things several home centers of different powers bordering each other. After I got internet in 98, I continued my work on the variant after having had the possibility to look at other variants and read articles on how to best create new variants. There is currently a testgame going on the USTR-judge and it's name is Prague. There are also two Royale games running on it. If you are interested in playing a PBEM game of 1600, please mail me. I'll start up another one as soon as I've got a few interested players.

 Click on this map to view a coloured version of the map.

 Click on this map to... yes, you guessed right... to view a greyscale version.

The variant is still under development and you may view a copy of the latest version here.


There are no special rules, but you should notice that the provinces of Ingria, Novgorod, Great Poland, Masuria, Crimea, Voronezj , Bessarabia and Galicia are canal provinces, making it possible to the otherwise landlocked powers of Poland and Russia to build fleets. Fleet movement between Galicia and Mazuria is not allowed. Greece, Jutland, Schleswig, Zealand, Scania and Mecklenburg are also canal provinces just like Denmark, Sweden, Kiel and Constantinopel are in standard. Switzerland is impassable. There are no provinces with several coasts.

Starting positions and province abbreviations

Can be found here.

The Powers

Here are short strategy notes for all countries. As there has only been a couple of real games played yet, many of my reflections may of corse be very wrong.


Denmark is one of the four countries which starts with four centers/units rather than three, however the supplycenter in Norway is hard to defend, being rather far from Denmark proper. It could also be hard to find a useful thing for your Norwegian army to do. Denmark usually opens south in order to occupy as many German neutrals as possible. Denmark almost always get two builds and occasionly three making it to the biggest power in Europe. But Denmark often has a hard time staying in the top because of its vulnerable position. Many powers start the game by sending armies into Northern Germany, so Denmark must keep strong forces there to defend its posessions. After the first adjustment it is time to decide where to go next. There are mainly three possibilities, continue south, or try to go either against England or Sweden. England and Sweden are your biggest threats and it is hard for Denmark to prosper as long as both are strong. An Anglo-Danish-Swedish alliance is possible and may turn effective, but Denmark, being the power in the middle is the part most likely to be the victim of a stab.
The army in Ostlandet has several possibilities depending on your relations with Sweden. A move to Vestlandet is often appreciated by the Swedish player, although the army could be used as a helping hand against Russia if moved to Troendelag instead.
Suggested openings:
Neutral: Zea - Mec, Sch - Ofr, Jyl - HEL, Ost Hold
Anti Swedish: Zea - Mec, Sch - Ofr, Jyl - HEL, Ost - Wer (followed by Mec - Pom?)
Pro Swedish: Zea - Mec, Sch - Ofr, Jyl - HEL, Ost - Ves
Anti Russian: Zea - Mec, Sch - Ofr, Jyl - HEL, Ost - Tro (followed by Tro - Kar)


England on its islands are as in standard a slow starter, but a slow starter with security. The country often gets just one build in the form of Scotland, but with good diplomacy may she also secure Holland or perhaps Flanders. England has three main rivals on the continent: Denmark, France and Spain. You don't want these to start building fleets in the Atlantic. England are seldom threatened early in the game and no one may prevent her from getting one build. However a Spanish-French alliance could soon be devastating.

Suggested openings:
Dutch: Ire - NAO, Wal - Yor, Lon - NTH (possible convoy to Holland)
Anti French: Ire - NAO, Lon - ENG, Wal - Lon
Anti Spanish: Ire - IRI, Lon - ENG, Wal - Yor
Neutral: Ire - IRI,  Lon - NTH, Wal - Yor


Many people when first confronted when this variant takes a quick look at France and then at the yellow provinces surounding it and draws the conclusion that France and Spain are natural enemies. That is not true. As France you may either attack Spain, ally it or stay neutral against it. The French-Spanish alliance is one of the most powerful on the board, since both parts may concentrate their forces against a common enemy instead of defending against eachother. A joint attack on England may be very effective and it is also possible to cooperate in the Mediterranean and in the Lowlands. The risk, except of stabs, is that the other players will see what is going on and cooperate against the juggernaut. If France doesn't ally with Spain, Flanders will often end up being a part of France. Far away from Spain, it is more like an armed neutral than a foreign home center. However it is hard to capture before the first adjustments unless Spain choose to voluntarily leave for Holland. If you ally with England against Spain you might get help to do so. It takes a bit of time to take Spain together with England but it is very possible and opens up to further cooperation in the Lowlands and later on in the Mediterranian. The Habsburg Empire and its mighty land forces is often a major threat towards France in the early midgame. Make sure you are prepared for it and don't have all your units in England or Spain.
Suggested openings:
Get Flanders: Par - Lor (or Par - Nrm), Bur - Par, Pro - Sav, Gas - BOB
Bavarian Gambit: Par- Lor, Bur - Bav, Pro - Sav, Gas - BOB
The Juggernaugt: Par - Lor, Bur - FCo, Pro - Tus!, Gas - BOB
Neutral: Par - Fla, Pro - Sav, Bur hold, Gas - BOB


is the peculiar name for all the lands gathered under the Austrian wing of the Habsburg family. The Spanish royal family are also Habsburgs, but that don't disqualify an attack on you from them later on in the game. As the head of the Habsburg family you are emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. That means that you are the emperor of an empire involving the hole of Germany, including Flanders, Holland and northern Italy. Unfortunately your powers outside your own lands are limited to requesting that you should be served first when dinnering with your vassals. In order to gain real power in these provinces you must capture them militarily. The Habsburgians can not be the victims of an early attack and can therefore take a pair of neutrals without worrying too much. Bavaria and Venice may be entered the first movement, but the third build is a bit harder to find. You could either open north with a move to Saxony in hope of that Hesse or Brandenburg will be left for you, or you could go to Hungary in order to try for Serbia or possibly Transylvania. Clearly agressive are the openings to Bosnia or Slovakia. At the first adjustments the question is whether to build a fleet or not. One fleet will not give you real naval power, but you may only build one at a time, so perhaps you should start as soon as possible. At least you will get a say in the Mediterranean and it may be used to defend Venice and Croatia.
Suggested openings:
Northern: Boh - Sax, Aus - Bav, Cro - Ven
Southern: Boh - Bav, Aus - Hun, Cro - Ven
Anti Poland: Boh - Bav, Aus - Slo, Cro - Hun
Anti Turkish: Cro - Bos, Aus - Hun, Boh - Bav


The Ottoman empire in the 17th century was a colossus with feet of clay. Many areas officially under Ottoman rule were controlled by strong local leaders. In this variant, these areas and a few others have been considered neutral for map balancing purposes. Surrounded by neutrals, the Ottoman Empire has good chances for three builds in the first year. The problems is to keep the growth going. The country is a bit like Russia, in Standard. With long borders, the country is hard to defend. To that comes that newly built units has a long way to the front. As Ottoman you have to chose among two main strategies. You could either concentrate on fleets and try to sweep the Mediterranean or you could stay friendly with Spain and move north instead. Moving north often means invading Russia, but attacking Poland or Habsburg is also possible.
Suggested openings:
Neutral: Con - ION, Egy - Syr, Ana - Con
Black Sea opening: Con - BLA, Egy - Lib, Ana - Arm
Black Sea Serbian variation: Con - BLA, Egy - Lib, Ana - Con
Anti Russian: Con - BLA, Egy - Syr, Ana - Arm
Anti Spanish: Con - ION, Egy - Lib, Ana - Con


Poland is one of the two countries without coastal homecenters, but may with the help of the canals get fleets both in the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea. However building fleets will practically mean a declaration of war against either Sweden or the Ottoman Empire. Naval presence often have to wait until the late midgame. The first thing you have to work out when playing Poland is your relations with Russia. A strong Russian-Polish alliance against Sweden and/or the Ottoman Empire is often very effective, but as Poland it could also be good to ally Sweden and/or the Ottoman Empire against Russia and so get your back free. A third possibility is to turn west against Habsburg, but first make sure Russia is busy with something else. Poland has many opening possibilities since their units don't have to coordinate much. Most of them are fairly neutral:
Suggested openings:
Neutral: Gal - Tra, Lit - Cou/Maz, Maz - GPo
Anti Russian: Lit - Tul, Maz - GPo, Gal - Bes
Anti Swedish: Lit - Psk, Maz - Cou, Gal - Tra
Crimean Gambit: Gal - Bes, Lit - Ukr, Maz - GPo


Russia is the second power without coastal homecenters, but often develops sea power. It has three potential allies/enemies in Sweden, Poland and the Ottoman Empire. Russia often prefers to stay friendly with all of them until the first adjustments, as Russia has good potentials for neutral growth. Four neutrals are in question: Crimea, Georgia, Azerbadjan and Central Asia. Out of these Russia may often secure three, but leaving her homeland open, when trying to secure three builds is often a mistake. Keeping Central Asia for later use is often a good idea. The Ottomans will often claim one of the neutrals and Azerbadjan is the most natural as Turkish, since it is the only one not bordering any Russian homecenters. The biggest early threat is a Swedish blitz against Novgorod and therefore may a planned standoff in Ingria or Karelia be beneficial. At the first adjustments, Russia must declare its intentions as a fleet in Novgorod practically means war against Sweden and one in Voronezj against the Ottomans. Only building armies on the other hand might feel threatening from a Polish point of view.
Suggested openings:
Karelian standoff: Nov - Kar, Mos - Ura, Vor - Geo
Karelian standoff, Crimean variation: Nov - Kar, Mos - Ura, Vor - Cri
Caukasian Gambit: Vor - Geo, Mos - Ura, Nov - Mos
Dnejpr Gambit: Vor - Cri, Mos - Vor, Nov - Mos
Anti Polish: Nov - Psk, Mos - Tul, Vor - Ukr


Spain starts out as a scattered empire. Through marriage and conquest it has aquired possesions in Italy, Germany and the Lowlands. To that comes the New World although the New World plays no role in this variant. Spain starts with three armies and a fleet, but is in much a naval power and will in case it doesn't attack France early on probably develop mainly as a sea power. One of the armies start in the duchy of Naples and has the possibility to unhindered occupy Rome. However Naples could be threatened the first turn by an Ottoman move to the Ionian. As Spaniard you must strongly urge him not to enter the Ionian. Under all circumstances it is often safest to build a fleet in Naples during the first adjustments. The Ottoman is one of your major rivals, but it is very possible to stay friendly with him provided both parts move north. An early attack on France might seem tempting, but France is a hard nut and allying France against England will often lead to faster progress, althought it won't exactly help you concentrating your posessions to one part of the board... Whatever way you plan to chose, make sure England and France won't ally, because if they do, you are in trouble. The single army in Flanders is an interesting feature of Spain. Spain will often lose Flanders early on and the chance that the Spanish possesions in the Lowlands expand is very small. But the army will give you influence over who gets what and be an important tool in negotiations with France and England. In case of a Spanish-French alliance a fleet build in Flanders might be both possible and very effective against England.
Suggested openings:
ProFrench: Cas - Por, Ara - Gra, Fla - Hol, Nap - Rom
ProEnglish: Ara - GOL, Cas - Gas, Fla - Par, Nap - Rom
Secure Flanders: Fla - Par           (will effectively make sure France won't get two units against Flanders.)
The Juggernaught: Nap - Rmg     (together with French move Pro - Tus you may drive the Habsburgs out of Venice and save Rome for later use.)


Sweden with its four units are the only country that is rather prepared for an early war with another great power. Pomerania is your most likely neutral to occupy by the first adjustments, but Prussia is also possible to aquire. Convoying your Svealand army to Pomerania is a standard opening. In the east you have two armies in Finland and Livonia ready to be used. A blitz against Novgorod might give you a second build, but in order to hold on to it and finish off Russia you need at least one allied against Russia as it is hard to get past Novgorod. Another option is to ally with Russia against Poland and open to Courland. Denmark is Sweden's arch rival and must be dealt with sooner or later. Later is often to prefer, since Denmark is hard to reach early on. Sweden can only in theory capture a Danish center before the first adjustments. Sweden is the country to play if you like convoys. It is often wise to build another fleet at the first adjustments and then you will use your fleets, one stationed in the Baltic Sea and one in Gulf of Bothnia, to convoy your armies between different fronts, or support them.
Suggested openings:
Neutral opening: Fin - Ing, Lvn - Ing, EGo - BAL, Sve - EGo
Anti Russian: Fin - Kar, Lvn - Ing, EGo - BAL, Sve - EGo
Anti Polish: Fin - Ing, Lvn - Cou, EGo - BAL, Sve - EGo
Karelian standoff: Fin - Kar, Lvn - hold, EGo - BAL, Sve - EGo
Karelian standoff Courland variation: Fin - Kar, Lvn - Cou, EGo - BAL, Sve - EGo

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This page was last updated 01-08-24

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