Although the methods in which move orders for the game of Diplomacy are written can vary from game master to game master, they usually follow a generally recognized style, which this node attempts to describe. Although a general familiarity with the rules is assumed, an attempt has been made to explain those examples that warranted it.
Prior to listing any orders, the power for which the order, or group of orders, belongs to will be listed. The the power name is generally listed on a seperate line, followed by a colon, and then all the orders for that power are listed on seperate lines.
The Unit Being Ordered
For each order, the order begins with a listing of the type of unit being ordered. Although the unit type can be listed in full, generally the abbreviated forms of A, for Army, and F, for Fleet, are used. This is followed by the province in which the unit is located.
A London Order 1.
F Liverpool Order 2.
The Type of Order
After the unit being ordered has been identified, the type of order is specified. The order can be either abbreviated or spelt out in full. The order types, and associated abbreviations, are: moves to (->), convoys (C), supports (S), and holds (H). If the order in question is holds (H), then no further information is needed.
A London H.
If the order type is moves to (->), then the name of the adjacent province that the unit is being ordered to is needed.
A London -> Wales.
If the order in question is supports (S) or convoys (C), then the order type is followed by the order it is supporting, or the order it is providing a convoy for.
A London -> Belgium.
F English Channel C A London -> Belgium.
F North Sea S A London -> Belgium.
In the above example, the English army in London wishes to move to Belgium. To do so, England has ordered the fleet in the English Channel to convoy the army to Belgium. In addition, the fleet in the North Sea has been ordered to provide support for the move from London to Belgium.
As any turn of a game has a large number of orders, with several likely having failed, it becomes necessary for a way to distinguish between those orders that succeeded, and those that failed. It is standard convention to underline those orders that failed.
F English Channel H.
F Mid-Atlantic -> English Channel.
F Brest S F Mid-Atlantic -> English Channel.
In the above example, the English player orders his fleet in the English Channel to hold position. The French player orders his fleet in the Mid-Atlantic to move to the English Channel, with support from the fleet in Brest. Since the total support for the French attack outnumbers the support for the English hold, the hold order fails, as signified by the underlining.
Special Cases: Retreats, Disbands, and Builds
Retreats, disbands, and builds are special orders that are only used during specific phases. A retreat is written in the same manner as a move to order.
F English Channel -> North Sea.
In the above example, the English fleet (which was dislodged in the previous example) retreats to the North Sea.
Builds are written by prefixing the word build (sometimes abbreviated as B) prior to the unit which is to be built.
Build A London.
Build F Edinburgh.
Disbands are the only order which can be considered tricky. Some people prefer to write a disband the same way as a build. That is:
Disband A London.
Others, however, prefer to write a disband order like a hold order:
A London Disbands.
Either format is considered valid. The disband order is sometimes abbreviated as D.
Province Names and Abbreviations
In order to save time, province names are often abbreviated to three-letter versions. Although these can often vary depending on the person writing the orders, the generally used ones, as listed in the 4th edition of the rules, are as follows:
North Africa: NAF
St. Petersburg: STP
Bodies of Water:
Adriatic Sea: ADR
Aegean Sea: AEG
Baltic Sea: BAL
Barents Sea: BAR
Black Sea: BLA
Eastern Mediterranean: EAS
English Channel: ENG
Gulf of Bothnia: BOT
Gulf of Lyon: GOL
Helgoland Bight: HEL
Ionian Sea: ION
Irish Sea: IRI
Mid-Atlantic Ocean: MID
North Atlantic Ocean: NAT
North Sea: NTH
Norwegian Sea: NRG
Tyrrhenian Sea: TYN
Western Mediterranean: WES
An alternate method of abbreviating the bodies of water
is to replace the final letter for the abbreviation of the seas
with an S, so Tyrhennian Sea
becomes TYS. Since the abbreviations can vary from player to player, it is in the best interest of all those involved in a game to specify in advance any unusual abbreviations that may be in use.
(Note: The period at the end of the order is a formality prefered by this noder. It is not considered necessary, and it is not uncommon to see examples without the terminating period.)