posted 10/5/2005 by Tyler Sager
other articles by Tyler Sager
One Page Platforms: PC
The interface itself is fairly clean, but the icon-based control and negotiation takes a bit of time to understand.  For those familiar with the game, a quick walk-through of the tutorial will be all it takes to get up and running.  For those trying to learn the intricacies of the game as well as the interface, the learning curve is quite a bit higher.  The icon-based interface does allow for total language independence, meaning that diplomacy fans across the world can play online without a language barrier, which alone may make the PC version worth the price.  The graphics are clean, although it is a bit difficult to read the names on some of the darker-colored territories, which could cause some trouble for newbies.  The world-leader figures are amusing as they pop on screen and garble away, giving indication of how the various powers are doing.  Sound is not nearly as impressive and the graphical layout, but since this is an almost-straight port of a tabletop game, I really don’t require much in that department.

The AI is undoubtedly going to be the biggest point of contention among Diplomacy players.  It’s almost impossible for an AI to replicate the human element.  Single-player Diplomacy allows the player to set their opponents skill level and personality, and there is a feel of these personalities shining through, but it’s just not the same as wheedling a real person.  That being said, the AI handily wiped the floor with me during our various outings.  I’m far from a Diplomacy expert, however, and I’m sure more-seasoned veterans will find less challenge here.  But I also believe that this is a game that requires a full complement of human opponents to fully enjoy.  Multiplayer is available via LAN or internet, and it’s here that Diplomacy truly shines.  Now players from all over the world will be able to gather and partake in this classic game.

Overall, Diplomacy is a very solid port of the classic tabletop game.  Fans of the boardgame, especially those unable to easily find opponents, will have a lot to like here.  And while the single-player game lacks the punch of facing off against real people, it does allow players to hone their Diplomacy skills and take their game to the next level.

A solid, faithful port of the classic tabletop game of negotiation. Single-player mileage may vary, but the language-independent multiplayer opportunities will allow Diplomacy fans a much-needed chance to find opponents.

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