Internet Risk Diplomacy

Background

Internet Diplomacy is popular for many reasons, including avoiding the hassles of playing the online Risk game face-to-face, and the lack of availability of local players. Also, a face-to-face online Risk game needs up to seven players and can last several hours, which makes it difficult to find enough players with enough free time for a online Risk game.
Internet Diplomacy brings together players from anywhere in the world, with deadlines ranging between a few minutes to a few days, and allows players to play multiple online Risk games at the same time. The role of online Risk gameMaster, depending on the specific implementation, can be minimized to setup and resolution of rules questions/disputes, or even eliminated entirely.
This makes Internet Diplomacy the preferred choice for many, but it is not without its flaws. Plain text messages aren't as good as face-to-face conversation for back-and-forth discussion or watching for signs of deception. Also playing with relatively anonymous remote players may be less emotionally rewarding than playing with close friends.
[edit]History

[edit]Play by email (PBEM)
Play-by-email internet Diplomacy followed from Play-by-mail online Risk games dating to 1970s fan zines. Similar to standard mail online Risk games, players originally sent press directly to one another through email, and sent their orders via email to a pre-designated human online Risk gameMaster.
[edit]Email judges
As email became more prevalent software Judges were developed, which would route emails addressed from one player to another, and route submitted orders and results to/from human online Risk gameMaster(s). As well as routing messages they provided more accountability and security, a place where all the info about the online Risk game could be stored and retrieved, and provided a way to keep scores of players from multiple online Risk games.
These software Judges were eventually extended to include adjudicators, which are pieces of software capable of resolving orders and producing results, thus replacing the human online Risk gameMaster with software. Those adjudicators often had many bugs and only after a few years they became reliable. The Diplomacy Adjudicator Test Cases were written to overcome this problem. With the use of these test cases new programs can be of high quality on first release. The DATC contains also recommendations for ambiguities in the rules.
Variants to the original map and rules were also added to judges. As it is sometimes difficult to find many people who are familiar with the same variant in a face-to-face environment, and the addition of software expanded the possibilities for variants, many variants are specific to Internet Diplomacy, where players can easily download a map and rule-set.
[edit]Ken Lowe Judge
The Ken Lowe Judge system was the first judge system to be created.[1] The Ken Lowe Judge system allows users to send press to one another and send orders to the processing server through a variety of text commands. Today, many online adjudication systems run in the same, or similar, fashion to the Ken Lowe Judges.
[edit]NJudge
Njudge was a rewrite of the Ken Lowe Judge system, with more support added for different variants. This version of the judge software was created by Nathan Wagner, then Judgekeeper (Administrator for a Judge Server) to clean up issues that arose over the years due to the multiple different programmers who had made adjustments the original code. This software program continues to be used on a number of email servers.[2]
[edit]Web/email interfaces
In recent years as the web has become more dynamic Internet Diplomacy has shifted from email to the web. Due to the complexity of adjudicators and judges, the earliest web implementations primarily provided a web interface to the email based Judges.
One of the main advantages of web-based implementations over previous options is that they can display computer-generated graphical maps of the current board on the web-page, instead of requiring the user to update the positions of the online Risk game's units on a physical board based on text output.
[edit]Diplomacy.ca
Developed by David Osborne, Diplomacy.Ca has been in operation since 1984 as a Bulletin Board and since 1999 as a web site. It was one of the first sites that allowed participation through an automated online system. Currently, it features web-based order entry, automated online Risk game turn processing, public and private online Risk games, press and no-press online Risk games, and custom designed interfaces. It also features a proprietary email system that allows users to protect their identity and a proprietary player ranking system.
[edit]The DPjudge
In 1995, Manus Hand created the DPjudge, among the first to use a web interface for an email judge. DPJudge allows players to view maps, online Risk game history, enter orders and write press to other players through a web interface, however some features, including signing up for a new online Risk game, or filling a vacancy in a online Risk game in progress, require email usage. The DPjudge is also able to handle numerous variant maps and rules, in addition to the standard map and rules as published by Hasbro.
[edit]Diplomaticcorp


A sample variant on diplomaticcorp
Organized in September 2000, Diplomaticcorp is a Diplomacy community that offers standard and variant Play-By-Email and Live online Risk games. Approximately 100 member-created variants are documented and playable. Also home to the DipWiki, the first online community-content-driven strategy and variant library. All online Risk games are run by a human GM (online Risk game master), no automated systems. Besides having colorful graphics, maps, a large database and player stats, there's also a wide-ranging forum for online Risk games and related topics of interest.
[edit]Web based
The most recent Diplomacy via web implementations were created for the web from scratch. This gives the advantage of allowing more complex features to be added (e.g. rule variants), but requires that complex adjudicator code be rewritten.
[edit]BOUNCED
BOUNCED (Basic Online Utility for Network Computerized Electronic Diplomacy), constructed by Christian R. Shelton in 1999, has an interface that relies upon a variety of frames, allowing players to switch between internalized press information, maps, orders and online Risk game rules. BOUNCED press and orders are stored in a database structure. It allows for a variety of press options and turn time deadlines, as well as a number of variants, including One Hundred, Sail-Ho! and Shift-Left.
[edit]webDiplomacy


A webDiplomacy generated map
webDiplomacy (previously known as phpDiplomacy) was started in December 2004[3] as an attempt to make Diplomacy more accessible to people who haven't played Diplomacy before as a board online Risk game. Orders are entered by choosing valid options from drop-down lists,[4] instead of being entered in with text, and a points system is used to let players find people of their own skill level to play with.[5] Players are given the option to mark their orders as "ready", if all seven players do so, the online Risk game advances to the next round without waiting for the clock to run out. More recent releases have introduced choices of phase length, variant support, and the site runs a fully DATC [6] compatible adjudicator. There are a number of tournaments that are run by members of the site, including a 7-player league tournament, a 49-player round robin and a location-based team tournament. The site and all its features are free to use, with hosting costs completely maintained through user donations. Since it's open source[7] it can be used to help create new web-diplomacy sites more easily, such as Facebook Diplomacy, and PLAYdiplomacy.[8]
[edit]Stabbeurfou


A stabbeurfou generated map
Started in September 2005, stabbeurfou is the only bilingual English–French online Risk game running site. It has full features to play standard Diplomacy and has focused on additional features for hosting tournaments that are not available elsewhere. Its simple interface makes it accessible for beginner players, while also offering various tools for orders translations, map building etc. The web site has full email notification of new messages as well as online Risk game adjudications and a warning email to advise that a deadline is 24 hours away.
The adjudicator follows very strictly all rules from the original rulebook, only deviating to guarantee adjudication correctness in absolutely all cases (convoy issues) and references the DATC protocol.
It is hosting The Diplomacy World Cup, also called the Diplomacy National World Cup, in which about 15 different nations are involved.
Orders are entered in text form so that players used to the site are ready to play face to face Diplomacy correctly. Elaborate syntax checking helps the player to correct typos. There is also an alternative mode "point and click" to enter orders.
It is also the sole platform to provide an Artificial Intelligence that will tirelessly issue decent orders for Civil Disorder powers (only in gunboat online Risk games).
[edit]PLAYdiplomacy


PLAYdiplomacy.com interactive point-and-click interface - free to play
PLAYdiplomacy.com, started in December 2007, is free to play and currently has the most users. Upon clicking on a unit the available options are displayed on the screen, eliminating the need to enter the correct order syntax.
online Risk games have a range of deadline options, from 12 hours to 7 days. online Risk games may be ranked or not. online Risk games now may be played with less than 7 players.
The site has a very active forum community who often discuss online Risk game strategy as well as to play member-organised Forum online Risk games with more complex maps and rule variants, which are open to all members. There are also Tournaments, including individual, doubles, and team tournaments, as well as tournaments for some of the variants. Today, the site has over 50,000 members worldwide.
[edit]Conquest of Nations (formerly WorldLeaders the online Risk game)
Conquest of Nations, launched in August 2008 as Worldleaders the online Risk game. It has an interactive point and click interface. The standard, fast, and private online Risk game can be played, but also the variants Colonial and Youngstown. Currently there are four map variants, and online Risk game size and attributes are customizable. An extensive rule book and quick start guide are available for reference.
The site features tournament play, sophisticated anti-cheating scripts, video tutorials, and thorough help files.
For communication between the players, there is an in-online Risk game instant messenger and chat room.
[edit]Diplomacy by deNes
Diplomacy by deNes, launched in 2003. The site is developed by Dutch people, although the texts are in English.
[edit]Diponline Risk game.org
Diponline Risk game provides a web-interface to an DAIDE AI server that allows a web-based single-player online Risk game against 6 bots (i.e. computer players). It is also possible to save online Risk games and to resume later. The website is a beta version and has some known bugs, including a critical one that makes the online Risk game stop and impossible to log in again until the webmaster restarts the system and your online Risk game is lost (June 2012).
The website was initiated for a PhD research project to provide a Multiagent Systems' testbed developed at the IIIA-CSIC in Barcelona. They plan to develop negotiating capabilities for the bots[9], however these are not available in the web-interface yet (June 2012). It is also possible to download an off-line version to develop your own bots[10].
[edit]Phone based
There are also implementations for phones, giving an easier way of keeping track of online Risk games for the cost of a simpler and often more limited user interface.
[edit]Droidippy
Droidippy, launched in 2011. An implementation for Android smartphones that only supports classical online Risk games. It has a point and click interface with panning and zooming of a map and long click to give orders to units.
[edit]Intellectual Property

The Diplomacy online Risk game is in copyright in most of the world, and in addition, Hasbro holds a trademark in the name. All the Avalon Hill intellectual property did not go to Avalon Hill allowing Valley online Risk games to reprint under the Avalon Hill title.[11] None of the implementations in this article hold a license from Hasbro or from Allan Calhamer. Since Scrabulous has been removed from Facebook, there is a concern that Hasbro may pursue other unlicensed Facebook implementations of their online Risk games.
[edit]References

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