WebDiplomacy is an online game that recreates the classic game of Diplomacy, and more. So, why am I reviewing it for an EdTech program? I do so because the board game Diplomacy has been used for decades in History classrooms around the world to build interest in the great power rivalries leading up to WWI, and to develop the skills of negotiation and complex, critical thinking that are inherent in the play of the game. Aside from the luck of the draw when assigned a country, there are no luck elements. Each player’s power is balanced against the strengths and weaknesses of the other players’ countries. The outcome of the game is completely in the players’ hands.
So, why not just use the board version? First, there are no moving pieces, so nothing can get bumped accidentally or otherwise. Second, there are Ancient Mediterranean and Modern World boards in addition to the classic board, so teachers have more options to use the game. Also, games can be set up with passwords, so there is no chance of a stranger wondering in to the class game.
Diplomacy is a game of intrigue and betrayal. It is not for young kids or kids who really get turned around by an in-game “betrayal.” Tears have fallen, so do not use this game if there is a great deal of emotional investment outside of simply having great fun. Seriously, don’t do it if there is going to be drama.
History classes, Government, and anything related to negotiations
Do I plan to use it?
I have been using both the board version and this online version for years.
Commitment and Learning Curve:
Diplomacy is best learned by a five-minute overview and then through playing a scratch game. Kids will quickly learn how to plot movement after they unsuccessfully try to make an attack.
Best for ES MS or HS?