by Sergio Lidsell

In 1999 Bruce Duewer wrote an article about all current Machiavelli judge bugs and rule bugs that soon expanded into a mini series on Machiavelli strategy and tactics. His effort led subsequently to a major undertaking - to create an unambiguous rule set that could be used as a guideline for the creation of bug-free judge code.

Why so? Because in the pre-1.3.0. judge versions there were enough bugs and unimplemented rules to cause major gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair, a state of affairs apt to create confusion and discord in any game.

As the situation was pretty untenable, the informal �mach rules revision and nJudge debug group� (or MachFix group for short) was formed in 2000 with the goals of removing all nJudge bugs and creating a clear, consistent set of Machiavelli rules. Work was led by Bruce Duewer with the help of Sergio Lidsell, Millis Miller, Rick Desper and Robert Rehbold.

By 2001, a major rewrite of rules.machiavelli (version 2.0) was published and implemented on the nJudge version 1.3.0. Additional work was done to remove some remaining rules and bug issues and, by 2004, with rules version 2.5 and nJudge version 1.7.2 play was almost bug free.

As Bruce�s original article on rules and bugs has gotten pretty obsolete by now, we thought it would be a grand idea to update the article and make it "so 2013" instead of "so 1999" and help new players get to know Machiavelli and related nJudge features.

Sergio did this rewrite and update of the series, which will be divided in the following parts:

  • State of the art of the state

    An introduction to the series. The article you are currently reading.

  1. One GM to rule them all

    A review of all current rules versions that are out there and a run through of important rules with some tips on play. A rewrite of the first half of Bruce�s original part I.

  2. Creepy crawlies

    What bugs that are still in the code and how to handle them. This rewrite includes material from Bruce�s original part I and VII along with Sergio�s overview of judge changes.

  3. What Every Young Tyrant Should Know

    About how to play the powers in the game and some statistics on the various powers performance and what provinces are at high risk for disasters. An expanded version of the original part II.

  4. Variations on a theme

    A short overview on how to play Diplomacy on the Machiavelli maps and how to play standard with Machiavelli rules (dipmach). Also a section on unofficial optional rules for hand-adjudicated games. New.

  5. Money Money Money

    The title says it all. On banking and loaning. Reprint of original part III.

  6. Tactical Toys for Young Tyrants

    An in depth view of garrisons, coastal convoys and special units. Reprint of original part IV.

  7. The Power of the Purse

    How to really use money to your advantage. Reprint of original part V.

  8. The Art of Peace

    …And war, actually. Bruce gives tips on overall strategy. Reprint of original part VI.

  9. The Endgame

    The missing article that we all are still waiting for.

  10. Machiavelli variants

    A review of the various Machiavelli variants available on and off-judge.

  11. …???

    In case of huge amounts of questions from the readership, we may have to write more… .


Art of the State

This is actually unrelated to Machiavelli, but Bruce thought it would be cool to work it into the title. Art of the State is an album by AD, released in 1985. It features the talents of Kerry Livgren, former writer of Kansas (remember "Dust In The Wind" and "Carry on Wayward Son"?), at least one other former member of Kansas, and some others.

Boom Boom Pow

The 2013/1999 quip is, of course, a nod to "Boom Boom Pow" by the Black Eyed Peas.

Editor's note: Machiavelli games are available on the USTP Machiavelli judge, "The Prince." You can register to play at

Sergio Lidsell
([email protected])

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