Realpolitik Manual
by Jim Van Verth and Don Hessong

1. Introduction

1.1 What is Realpolitik?

Realpolitik is a Diplomacy™ tool for the MacOS and Win32, created by Jim Van Verth. It allows you to input orders for a Diplomacy™ game via an intuitive point-and-click interface, display them on an attractive color (or, on minimum spec Macs, black and white) map, adjudicate them, print them, and save the results to a game file. If you are a user of the Judge mail servers, you can load Judge results and display them, and also copy orders to be sent back to a Judge. It stores a running history of the game, and if you're adjudicating a game, allows you to save out a report which can be sent to all your players.

Realpolitik supports the following variants: Standard, Colonial, Fleet Rome, Crowded, Loeb9, Aberration, Youngstown, Milan, 1898, Britain, Shift Left, Shift Right, Chaos, SailHo! and Modern. Ben Hines has also done additional variants: Classical, Hundred and Chromatic. Don Hessong has added the Ancient Mediterranean variant. To add your own, see the document Realpolitik Variants for more information. Note: at this point I won't be adding any more variants to Realpolitik itself, but if you want I can make a link to your variant available on the Realpolitik web site.

This application is Open Source, and available under a modified version of the Clarified Artist's License. It is also "DiplomacyWare", i.e. you must own a copy of Hasbro’s or Avalon Hill’s Diplomacy™ to use it. See the file license for more information. For source code, see the Realpolitik project page:

1.2 What is Diplomacy™ ?

Diplomacy™ is a game of strategy and tactics, and still more cunning and deceit. It was created by Allan Calhamer in 1953 and is based on the shifting alliances found in Europe in the era prior to World War I. Full rules are available from Hasbro through the Avalon Hill Game Company.

Other information (including information on the Judge and other online servers)can be found in the Usenet newsgroup, and at The Diplomatic Pouch.

Diplomacy™ and Colonial Diplomacy™ are trademarks of Hasbro, Incorporated. All rights reserved.

1.3 System Requirements

MacOS: Realpolitik can be run on any Macintosh supporting Color Quickdraw and running System 7.0 or higher. It's only constraint is memory: due to the size of the offscreen map, using Youngstown with full color requires at least 4 Megabytes.

Win9x: Realpolitik has not been thoroughly tested for minimum requirements, but it should run on any machine that supports Windows 95/98/NT, with at least 256 colors available.

1.4 Bugs and Feature Requests

For support for bugs and feature requests, please join RPForum, the Realpolitik mailing list. You can also enter them on the Realpolitik project page at Source Forge:

1.5 Contributors

The following people have contributed much time and effort to the development of Realpolitik:

Jim Van Verth
Lucas Kruijswijk
Don Hessong
Ben Hines


2. How to Use Realpolitik

2.1 The Map Window

When Realpolitik comes up, you will see a window containing the standard Diplomacy™ map, with icons representing the units. You can change how the map is displayed by checking any of the first four items in the Map menu. Show Supplies will fill each supply center with a pattern (and color if supported) representing the country that owns that center. Show Units displays the unit icons. Show Orders displays the orders, if any. Show Names places a small label on each sector containing its three letter code. The default is to have Show Units, Show Orders and Show Supplies checked.

If you close the Map window, either by clicking in the close box or by selecting Close Window in the File menu, you can bring it back by selecting its item from the Windows menu or by hitting -M (PC users, substitute Ctrl for ).

The contents of the map can be saved to the clipboard by selecting Copy from the File menu, or just -C. You can also save a copy to a .BMP or .PCT file by selecting Save BMP... or Save PCT... from the File menu.

2.2 The Order Palette

In the lower left-hand corner of the map window is a space showing the current season, and then a small palette:

The palette shows which order types are available, and which one is currently selected. Here we're in a movement phase, so moving/holding, supporting and convoying are available.

In a retreat phase you would see

which gives retreat to and disband.

A build phase gives

which are build fleet, build army, and remove, respectively.

You can change the palette selection by either clicking in the appropriate square, using the left and right arrow keys to cycle through them, or a keyboard shortcut. Keyboard shortcuts are as follows:

  • M or R - Move or Retreat
  • S - Support
  • C - Convoy
  • D or X - Disband/Remove
  • F - Build Fleet
  • A - Build Army
If the palette is grayed out, then orders cannot be added.

2.3 Adding Orders

The simplest way to add orders to the map is by clicking in the map window. First you click the order you want to work with: for example, the arrow for move or hold, the dot for support, the c with a circle around it for convoy. Then you click the unit you are ordering. Then click the unit you are providing the action for. Finally, click the space that action is going to. In the case of a simple move you would not click a second unit, just the destination space. If a unit is holding you end up double-clicking in the same space after selecting the move command. For a convoyed army, you don't need to specify the convoying fleets ­ just click in the move as if it were over land.


A Mun-Ber
click the arrow in the palette.

click the space of Mun.

click the space of Ber.

A Mun Hold
click the arrow in the palette.

click the space of Mun.

click the space of Mun again.

A Mun S A Kie-Ber
click the dot in the palette.

click the space of Mun.

click the space of Kie.

click the space of Ber.

F Bal C A Kie-Liv
click the c with a circle around it in the palette.

click the space of Bal.

click the space of Kie.

click the space of Liv.

This method can lead you to believe that you have ordered two units with one sequence of commands, but this is not true. Remember, you still have to place an order for every unit. Also note that you are clicking in a space, not necessarily on a unit. This can be an important distinction in small spaces where portions of the icon for the unit spill over into a different space.

As mentioned above, for retreat and adjustment phases the order palette will change to reflect the state of the game. For retreat phases there is an "X" for disband and an arrow for the retreat move. For the build phase there is an army icon and a fleet icon for building units and an "X" for disbanding units. But in these other phases the general sequence for point and click order entry works the same. Select the appropriate order from the palette first, then click on the space the unit is in, then (if necessary) click on the destination space last.

Summarizing for all order types:

Order Type First Click Second Click Third Click
Move Moving unit Destination sector
Hold Holding unit Holding unit sector
Support move Supporting unit Moving unit Destination
Support hold Supporting unit Holding unit Holding unit
Convoy Convoying fleet Moving army Destination
Build Army/Fleet Empty supply center Empty supply center
Remove/Disband Disbanding unit Disbanding unit
This boils down to double-clicking for a hold, build, or removal, and clicking from source to destination for the others.

The representations of the orders on the map are:

build army/fleet:
2.4 Deleting/Undoing Orders

When inputting orders, you probably noticed that after the first click, the unit is highlighted. This means that the unit is selected, and its order can be either changed (by continuing to click away) or deleted. To delete, you can either hit the Delete or Clear keys, or you can select Clear from the Edit menu. If you are in the middle of a multi-click order you can cancel what you've done so far by hitting -. That will unselect the unit and you can redo the order, if you like.

You can also undo the last move you added by selecting Undo from the Edit menu, or just hitting -Z. This does not always work with build orders, as there may not be a previous order for that sector.

2.5 The Order, Status and Info Windows

There are three other main windows in Realpolitik ­ the Order, Status and Info windows. They can be viewed by either selecting their menu item from the Windows menu, or hitting -D, -T, and -I respectively.

The Orders window gives a text version of the orders in the Map window. The Status window gives the supply center and adjustment information, plus any dislodges, if any. The Info window provides rules and other information specific to this particular variant. In any of these any of the lines of text can be selected and copied to the clipboard. Multiple lines can be selected by clicking and dragging. You can only select an entire line, not part of it.

2.6 Resolving and Committing Orders

Once the orders are in, you can have Realpolitik adjudicate them by selecting Resolve from the Orders menu (or hitting -R). Those orders that fail will be grayed out. Also, the reason for the failure will appear after the order in the Orders Window. If you don't like what you see, you can undo the resolution by selecting Undo Resolve (-Z) from the Edit menu.

Note that if a country has been given no orders, then it is in civil disorder. If one of its units is dislodged, that unit is automatically disbanded. For example, you have the units:

Germany: A Silesia
Austria: A Galicia
Russia: A Warsaw
and the orders  
Germany: A Sil-War
Austria: A Gal S A Sil-War
Then A Warsaw will be disbanded (again, this assumes that Russia hasn't given any orders elsewhere). This is consistent with Avalon Hill rules.

Once you are satisfied with the resolution, you can select Commit (-K) from the Orders menu. This will execute those orders that succeed, place any dislodged units in the dislodge list, and update the map, orders list and status for the new season. Committing the orders cannot be undone.

2.7 Loading Orders

In addition to clicking in orders by hand, you can load orders from a text file by selecting Load Text (-L) from the Orders menu. This is particularly handy if you're in an e-mail game on one of the Judge mail servers. Realpolitik will accept either a Judge file, or a plain list of orders. See the Orders Format file for more information on the order format. If there are any syntax errors, a window will pop up showing those orders that failed and why. Note that you may need to change variants (see below) to match the current variant to the variant used by the orders.

If you load a Judge file, Realpolitik will assume that the orders are pre-resolved and so all you'll need to do is Commit. However, you can still undo the resolution and re-resolve them, if you so choose. You can also place #! Resolved at the top of a plain orders file, and Realpolitik will assume that the orders are pre-resolved.

Rather than choose Load Orders, you can also paste the orders in. Just copy the orders from another window (a telnet session, for instance) into the clipboard, then bring either the Map window or the Orders window to the front. Then select Paste (-V) from the Edit menu. If you're entering a Judge file this way, be sure and capture the whole thing, including the text above the orders.

Normally, Realpolitik will try and match the loaded orders with the current units/supplies, and report any that don't match. This allows you to keep a running history of the game, and only update those units, supplies, etc. that change. However, if Overwrite On Load is checked, it will erase the current unit and supply sector information and recreate it based on what the new orders are. This is useful if you're starting from the middle of a game, and have a set of orders with basically no context that you want to load in and/or resolve. The default is for Overwrite On Load to be turned off. Don't forget to turn it off after you load the initial set of orders ­ otherwise you'll overwrite everything you just loaded in.

2.8 History

You can cycle through the previous seasons in the game by using the commands under the History menu. Previous (Shift-Tab) and Next (Tab) will move to the previous and next season respectively. Note that the orders for each season are displayed, but you can only enter orders in the final season. If you wish to enter orders in a previous season, perhaps to see how things might have played out differently, you can use the Branch (-B) command. This will remove all seasons after the current one and allow you to enter orders. Be careful not to save this over the original file, or all that history will be lost.

2.9 Saving and Opening the Game

You can save the current status of the game (units, supply centers, orders, history) to a Realpolitik game file by choosing Save from the File menu. Similarly you can save under a different name by using Save As. Revert will return a game to its last saved state. To open a new game, select New. This will close the current game (asking you if you want to save, if necessary) and bring up a new window with the initial set up. To open a previously saved game, use Open. You can also just click on the saved game's icon in the Finder and Realpolitik will automatically load it. If the game is under a different variant than the current variant, Realpolitik will automatically change it for you.

2.10 Changing Variants

The Variants menu controls which variant you are currently using. If you've modified the current game and then select a new variant, it will ask you whether you want to save it, then will bring up a new game with the initial units of the new variant. To add a new variant, see the document Realpolitik Variants.

2.11 Printing

Print Map... (-P) under the File menu will print out the map, the game name and season. To print a blank map, go to the Map menu and uncheck Units, Supplies, Orders and Names, and then print the map shown. The page orientation defaults to Landscape, but you can change that with Page Setup. If there are multiple pages, they run from left to right, then top to bottom, i.e.

2.12 Editing the Map

You can edit the units and supplies on the map during any movement phase. Select the Edit Map (-E) item from the Map menu. The season indicator will change to Editing. To change the unit or supply ownership for a given sector, just click and hold in the sector. A pop-up menu will come up. You can then follow the menu hierarchy to change the unit or ownership for the sector.

If you wish to edit the season, first select the Edit Map item. The season name will change to italics. You can then either click on the season name, or select Edit Season from the Map menu. A dialog will pop up which will allow you to edit the season. Click OK to confirm your change.

You cannot edit the map during a retreat or adjustment phase.

3. Notes

You can edit game files and add variants. See Realpolitik Variants for more info.

The installer for this product was created using Installer VISE from MindVision Software. For more information on Installer VISE, contact:

MindVision Software
7201 North 7th Street

Lincoln, NE 68521-8913

Voice: (402) 477-3269

Fax: (402) 477-1395

©Copyright 2001 Don Hessong and Jim Van Verth
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