Deep Fog Variant on Discord Recruiting

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Deep Fog Variant on Discord Recruiting

#1 Post by bilbert » Wed May 31, 2023 7:32 pm

When: Launches sometime soon in June 2023
What: Deep Fog (Rules Below)

New Variant: Deep Fog; The Cartographer’s Variant

Deep Fog Overview

Think of it as a combination of a text-based RPG like Zorg or D&D and the Fog-of-War variant of Diplomacy. If you like these, or you just like drawing maps, this one’s for you.

This game will provide no map but follows standard Diplomacy rules, except those mentioned in the Rules section. Instead of a map, information about a player’s starting nation is given in text form, and the nation must explore around to find empty supply centers, find and establish diplomatic ties with other nations, and conquer the unworthy.

Each player is expected to draw the world as they discover it. This information will be precious, and I see it as a negotiation chip between states (reality will be decided by the players).


It is the dawn of civilization. Brave new leaders have cobbled together groups of nomadic tribes to forge nations. After ensuring basic domestic infrastructure and stability, the leaders look beyond the land they have thrived in and form bands to set out and bring civilization to the savages in the surrounding territories. Their quests will bring them into contact with other civilizations awakening around his planet. How many are there and what are their intentions? They will soon find out.

The year is 0 C.E.


Standard rules apply except where specified below.

The game will use Build Anywhere (any owned supply center can build a unit).


Game-based communication will not be allowed between players until they have established diplomatic ties using the Send Emissary order (see below). Once diplomatic ties have been established, anything can be communicated, including precious map info.

It will be by honor code since possible knowledge of the other players makes this rule unenforceable. Public communication between players is acceptable if the discussion does not refer to the specifics of the game. Private communication should take place on the specified channels in Discord made by GM.


As said before, there will be no map. Information will be given like Fog-of-War variant rule, where information will be given regarding type (land/sea/city) and occupancy of all territories in vision (immediately adjacent) of all owned SCs and units. The nationality of units within vision will only be given for those that have established diplomatic ties with each other; all other units will simply be called “unknown army” or “unknown fleet.”

Exploration and Writing Orders

Vision information gained upon entry into a new territory will give compass directions and territory type for adjacent territories. The name will be given if it’s already been named.

Territories are unnamed until entered for the first time. When they are entered, the entering nation will give a permanent name to the territory. The GM will assign the 3-letter abbreviation in future correspondence. All other nations that enter the territory will receive this name and code for the territory. The GM will change offensive, vulgar, or profane names.

At times, for clarity, the GM may give temporary place-holder names (e.g., Sea A, Coast B, or Land C). This may happen for order clarity or when a unit appears on a territory.

A player’s order can use the direction and territory type given by the GM, the place-holder name given by the GM, or the actual name of the territory. If any of the above are input erroneously, the order typically fails. The GM reserves the right to overlook errors when the meaning was clear and apparent.

Examples of acceptable and clear orders:
A-Babylon-5 moves to land territory to its north (directions land type)
F-Solaris to Land B (placeholder)
A-TTS--> CBL (codes)
Army in Titania moves to Care-bear Land (full names)

New Order: Send Emissary

During Fall/Spring, besides the usual Support/Move/Hold orders, units may order a unit to “Send Emissary” to any territory that it could legally move to. Thus, armies cannot send into the sea. Fleets cannot send inland once on a coast. A unit can be on the receiving end of an emissary no matter what, however. Thus, an army on the coast could hold and be contacted by a fleet in a sea territory.

A unit may choose to send an emissary on a diplomatic mission to a neighboring territory. The unit:
• does not move.
• has a zero-value hold, meaning it will be displaced by an equal power attack/move to its location. This means one unsupported move can displace the unit sending an emissary. If the defending and attacking are both supported, the defending unit must have a greater number of supporting units to not be displaced.

The order only succeeds if the sending unit is not displaced AND one of the following occurs:
(a) the target territory is empty at the end of the turn and was uncontested (i.e., no bounces occurred there)
(b) the target territory is occupied by a unit whose orders are either Hold or Send Emissary and the unit is not dislodged

All other circumstances cause failure, with the emissary failing to return to the unit. The results of successful orders depend on (a) or (b).

In case (a), where the territory is empty and uncontested, the emissary returns the following information:
• name of the territory
• vision information from target territory

In case (b), the following occurs:
• the name of the target territory is provided (no additional vision given)
• diplomatic ties are established.
• contact information between players shared (i.e., email addresses or Discord/forum IDs)

Send Emissary orders are adjudicated after all the other moves. This is important for you to note since you will see territories with the units stationed after their moves. This also means that if you try to connect with a unit, but it successfully moves to a different territory, your emissary will scout the target territory, rather than fail.

New Order: Portage

The second order added (for this 2023 Deep Fog run only) is Portage. The portage order functions very similarly to the standard convoy order, except fleets are moving across land via armies’ portage.

• Connected armies may chain portage a fleet across multiple land territories, much the same as a chain convoy.
• A portage can only be cut if one of the armies is dislodged.
• The fleet attempting the portage across land must be at sea and the destination must be a sea territory—i.e., coastal territories can neither be the origin nor destination of a portage order.

Example of a successful portage order according to the classic map:
France Orders:
F MAO – LYO (succeeds)
F Mar s MAO – LYO (succeeds)
A Spa portage MAO – LYO (succeeds)

Italy Orders:
WES – Spa (fails)
NAf – MAO (succeeds)
TYR – LYO (fails)

In the above example, the fleet in MAO is portaged across Spain to the Gulf of Lyon. It enters with the strength of one on its own and succeeds due to the support of the F in Marseilles. Even though Spain is attacked, the portage succeeds since the army doing the portage is not dislodged.

If the F Mar had not supported the move, the Gulf of Lyon would be contested and bounced, causing the MAO fleet to remain and bouncing the NAf fleet as well.

Starting Conditions

Each nation will begin with two SC territories. The player must choose which territory will be the capital territory. The number of SCs (supply centers) that power begins with depends on the map and GM’s discretion.

Losing Capitals

If a nation’s capital is captured (not just occupied) by a foreign power, the competency and sovereignty of the ruler are questioned by his/her empire, and the nation is thrown into anarchy. Only through military force will the nation be able to retain control of the empire.

• The conquering nation will gain one build.
• The conquered nation will lose one build for the capital, but all other SCs still count.
• At the start of Spring, each of the conquered nation’s SCs will rebel: They will revert to neutral territories, whether occupied or empty. They can be conquered again at the end of the next Fall by any player, including the original owner.
• If the conquered nation is able to regain any territories, it must choose one of them to be its new capital. This new capital will now count for two buildings. When new capital is lost, the above consequences occur again.

Win Conditions

Solo Win: One power has the majority of the SCs. The exact total of the odd amount of SCs will not be given to preserve the deep fog.

Draws: Draws can occur at any time and follow the standard format. The GM reserves the right to call a draw if there is a long-term stalemate (a couple of years at least) AND the majority of the players agree to it.

Count Them Up: CTU comes about in the same way as a draw. Players vote on CTU. If all surviving players agree, the current city/SC ranking is published and the game ends. The player with the most SCs wins.

After the game is over, all participants will share their maps for fun and closure.


In the unfortunate situation where a player drops out, a lined-up replacement player will take over. Additional time to search for a player will be given if necessary. If one cannot be found, the GM and players will negotiate a way forward.

Each player is required to forward updated visual maps to the GM once a year, during build phases. They don’t have to be pretty, just clear. This is in case a player must take over.

The GM will need to make sure old order results are preserved and the surrendered/abandoned player’s latest map is forwarded to the new player. The player must be educated that errors are possible in the map, from the original player’s mistakes or faulty intelligence from other players. In extreme cases where no recent map is available (shouldn’t happen), a simplified node map of the player’s actual explored territories will be passed on by the GM.

Information Given by GM

GMs communication should include three things:
• Results of orders
• Gained vision as a result of an order, which includes new territories or revealed armies/fleets.
• Summary of foreign troops adjacent to cities (SCs) or units post orders.
• Foreign troops’ orders are not given.

Note: Non-SC territories do not give vision.

When vision is gained, territories not yet explored by a player will show “unnamed” prior to territory type. Those already named by other players will bear those names, as presumably, the locals will know the neighboring territories.

The GM should use the 16 directional terms seen in the image when describing vision around a territory. Please take note that the directions are given to help you with relative adjacencies around the territory entered. They may not be completely accurate in terms of degrees on a compass.

As a reference, in the original (aka "vanilla") map, entry into the Norwegian Sea would give the following vision information:
- Sea to E
- City to SE
- Sea to S
- City to SW
- Land to WSW
- Sea to W
- Map edge to N

Note that there may be four types of territories in standard maps:
- Sea
- City (land with a supply center)
- Land (land without a supply center)
- Canal (land that can be passed through by fleets, like Denmark or Constantinople in the vanilla map)

GM Errors

In this format, the pressure and work on the GM is substantial. It is likely there will be at least an instance of miscommunication between the GM and a player.

When this happens, the GM will make whatever adjustments to map/unit positions, gameplay history, etc. to ensure continued playability, fair play and keep the game progressing. These will likely be difficult decisions and compromises are likely. If you feel you've been dealt with unfairly, there will be one to two other GMs you may appeal to.

Observers’ Channel

On the server, there will be a channel called “Observers’ Channel”. This channel will be visible only to participants who only want to watch the game map progress. The GM will post updates of the map here. This serves a dual purpose of storing game progress for quick reference and allowing oversight of adjudication.

Observers are barred from discussing anything about the game outside of this channel. They must have read the rules and agreed to keep the channel’s content and discussions secret from game participants.

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