Friday, March 13, 2009

Planning a New Game Session at Work: Diplomacy

I'm planning a new game session for work. In the last session, I introduced 11 coworkers, none of them gamers, to the joys of Pit, Apples to Apples, and Haggle. I interspersed games with short history and cultural information about tabletop games in general and these games in particular.

They asked me to do another one. This time, the criteria was: 15 people, more cerebral, more group activities (not individuals, and not only two teams), and up to two hours. I asked on the Geek for some suggestions, but before I even got any, I knew what I wanted to run: Diplomacy.

Now, Diplomacy has some drawbacks:

1) It's far longer than two hours, usually. That's ok. I'll just limit turn length to 15 minutes each, and play only 7 rounds.

2) It can make you some serious enemies. I'm thinking that I can keep the session light-hearted enough to not have to worry about that.

3) It's "a war game" sort of, and won't appeal to everyone. Again, I'm pretty sure I can overcome that; they were all pretty game for all three of the previous games I ran, and the time length is limited.

4) I've never run a Diplomacy game before. Actually, I've only played Diplomacy 1.5 times. I also don't own a Diplomacy game.

As to the last problem, I know how the game works. I've also downloaded the rules and a map. I feel confident I can explain the game and get it running.

As to the third problem, I'm thinking about re-theming the game. Maybe make the supply centers coffee stations, and the areas work projects, and the winner the one who has control of the most work projects (or coffee stations) by the end of the seventh turn.

I can make the armies "writers", and the fleets "secretaries". No? Got any better suggestions? Where can I find alternate maps (suitable for printing)?

I know that I have to carefully work on keeping the game rules explanation down to 5 or 10 minutes. Any other suggestions?
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