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Diplomacy Lessons from the Game Diplomacy

There's a board game called Diplomacy. As far as boardgames go, it's one of the best. Was designed by a guy at Harvard in the 1950's, and it's been distributed and played nonstop at a high level ever since, including regular international tournaments.

I won't talk about the game too much - I haven't played it in 10 years, so I don't remember the exact details. The only things two you need to know - first, it's a game set during the start of World War I, with the seven powers of the day vying for control. Second, there is no luck involved. No cards, no dice, no randomness, no chance. Success or failure is all dependent on what other players do and negotiation - no luck, no chance, no randomness. It's a game that's played and won purely in a social way.

This article is because I found this rather amazing piece by Dr. Lewis Pulsipher analyzing how to play Diplomacy well. I learned a lot from it.

I'll let Doc Pulsipher take over now:

Lying

On Tynan

I used to lie a lot when I was a kid. I wasn't intent on deceiving people, but for some reason I would just tell made up stories. They weren't even fantastic stories, they were just things that hadn't happened. I really have no idea why I did it.

One day I was hanging out with my friend Ryan and his family. We had just gone to a movie and were driving back to his house. Right as we were driving down his street I told a story to everyone in the car. I don't remember the story, but I remember it had something to do with cabinets. Hey, it was a long time ago.

Ryan's mother innocently asked a question that began with, "Wait... if you did that, then how could you have..."

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