2025 DBN Invitational Rules

The Diplomacy Broadcast Network (DBN) Invitational is a year-long points competition between players in the face-to-face, virtual face-to-face, and extended-deadline Diplomacy communities, culminating with the DBN Invitational Championship Game. At the end of each season, the top 28 players in the DBN Invitational Standings are invited to compete to become the DBN Invitational Champion, which distinguishes the one player who not only performs well at DBN Qualifying Events, but also excels through the pressure of the DBN Invitational itself.

Table of Contents

1.0 RULES & FORMAT

1.1 Rules

  1. The Rules of Diplomacy, 6th edition (Renegade Games, 2023), shall be used throughout the DBN Invitational.
  2. Where the Rules of Diplomacy are adjudicated differently by the Backstabbr rules adjudicator, the Backstabbr rules adjudicator shall prevail. 
  3. Where the Rules of Diplomacy or Backstabbr rules adjudicator have been clarified in the 2024 DBN Invitational Rules, the 2024 DBN Invitational Rules shall prevail. 

1.2 DBN Board of Directors

  1. The DBN Board of Directors (DBN Board) shall be the final arbiter of any rules dispute.
  2. The DBN Board may rule in areas not covered by these rules.
  3. The DBN Board may, at their discretion, disregard specific provisions of these rules in order to reach a result in keeping with the spirit and character of the game of Diplomacy, but shall do so only after concluding that less drastic alternatives would be unsatisfactory.
  4. Members of the DBN Board competing in the DBN Invitational may help organize the DBN Invitational, but shall not participate in rulings once the DBN Invitational Tournament begins until the conclusion of the DBN Invitational Championship Game.

1.3 Player Conduct

All players must follow the Diplomacy Broadcast Network Code of Conduct. Violations of the Code of Conduct will not be tolerated and may result in disqualification from this and future DBN events. Violations should be reported to the DBN Board as soon as possible. All communication will be strictly confidential. The DBN Board will mediate in good faith and take whatever action they deem appropriate to resolve the situation, including pausing a game, censuring players, or requiring players to leave the event.

1.4 Format

The 2024 DBN Invitational consists of a Semi-Final Stage and a Championship Game. The Semi-Final Stage consists of four games spread across three rounds of play. All games feature power selection by the Paris Method, with the three highest ranked Qualifiers from the regular season and the Board Topper from each game in the Semi-Final Stage advancing to the DBN Invitational Championship Game. Click here for a graphical representation of the tournament structure. 

1.5 Awards

The winner of the DBN Invitational Championship Game shall be heralded as the DBN Diplomat of the Year.  No other awards shall be given.

2.0 ELIGIBILITY & SEEDING

2.1 Player Eligibility

In order to be eligible to play in the DBN Invitational, players must meet the following requirements:

  1. Play at least one virtual face-to-face game at a DBN Invitational Qualifying Event over the course of the season. The player must play the entire game and it must count in the standings for the event.
  2. Be eligible to play on the vWDC for the duration of the DBN Invitational Tournament.
  3. Be available to play in the Semi-Final Stage and the DBN Invitational Championship Game if they qualify.

2.2 Qualifying Events

  1. DBN Invitational Qualifying Events include events from the Diplomacy community that meet the Minimum Requirements listed in section 2.3 below, beginning in February and ending in January of the following calendar year. 
  2. Each event is categorized by the DBN Board as a tournament, league, or extended deadline event and awarded a number of points based on the size of the event.
  3. The largest Qualifying Event by number of games played from each category is awarded maximum points, and other events in that same category are assigned an Event Score based on the number of games at the event using the following formula:
Event Score = 50 + 50 * (# of games / max games for the category)

2.3 Minimum Requirements

DBN Invitational Qualifying Events must meet the following minimum requirements:

  1. At least 5 boards and 14 unique players.
  2. A code-of-conduct deemed appropriate by the DBN Board.
  3. Open and accessible to the general public.
  4. A format that provides a sufficient level of competition as determined by the DBN Board.
  5. Use the original Diplomacy map and contain negotiations, whether verbally or written.
  6. Event organizers must provide DBN an electronic copy of their final standings, with player names and locations whenever possible.
  7. Event organizers must agree to notify players the event counts towards DBN Invitational Standings and advertise the DBN website and YouTube channel.

2.4 Major Events

Major events are events of sufficient size or importance that the winners receive an automatic invitation to compete in the DBN Invitational. Events that meet the following criteria are classified as major events:

  1. Meets the DBN Invitational Qualifying Events Minimum Requirements.
    AND
  2. Meets either of these additional requirements:
    1. At least 9 boards and 28 unique players.
      OR
    2. Is a World Dipcon, Virtual World Championship hosted by the VWDC, Online Diplomacy Championship, North American Dipcon, European Dipcon, or Asia-Pacific Dipcon.

2.5 Placement Points & Standings

Players earn DBN Invitational Placement Points based on their finish at DBN Invitational Qualifying Events. An emphasizes has been placed on event wins. 

  1. Placement Points are awarded based on the player’s final ranking at a Qualifying Event using the following formula:
     Placement Points = 1.5 * (Event Score) / (1.5 + (Place-1)^1.17)

    This results in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place being awarded 100%, 60%, and 40% of the Event Score, respectively. Subsequent places are awarded decreasing scores, reaching about 10% of the Event Score at 10th place, about 3% of the Event Score at 28th place, and so on, never dropping below 1% of the Event Score.

  2. A player’s Placement Points Total is the sum of their three largest Placement Points. 
  3. The player with the largest Placement Points Total is first in the DBN Invitational Standings, the player with the second highest Placement Points Total is second in the DBN Invitational Standings, and so on until all players have been ranked. 

2.6 Tie Breakers

If two individuals have the same Placement Points Total, ties in the DBN Invitational Standings will be broken as follows:

  1. Largest number of Placement Points for a single Qualifying Event
  2. % TopShare of all games within all Qualifying Events
  3. Public Coin Toss

2.7 Qualifiers

  1. 31 players shall be invited to play in the DBN Invitational. 
  2. The defending champion and winners of a Major Event receive automatic invitations.
  3. Additional invitations are extended in DBN Invitational Standings order until all 31 slots are filled.

2.8 Alternates

  1. In DBN Invitational Standings order, alternates shall be invited to participate in the DBN Invitational Tournament should one of the Qualifiers be unable to participate for any reason.
  2. Invitations shall be sent to 4 alternates using the same method listed in the qualification rules above. 

2.9 Seeding and Top Three Automatic Advancement

  1. Qualifiers shall be assigned a Seed from 1 to 31 and Alternates shall be assigned a Seed from 32 to 35 in the order of their DBN Invitational Standings at the end of the season. 
  2. The Top Three Seeds automatically advance to the Championship Game

2.10 Rookie Eligibility

Players are defined as a Rookie if they were not previously loaded as a player in the DBN database prior to the first DBN Invitational Qualifying Event of each season. Practically, this means the player will not have previously participated in a DBN Invitational Qualifying Event.

3.0 SEMI-FINAL STAGE

3.1 Semi-Finalists

  1. The Semi-Final Stage is a group of four winner-take-all games. 
  2. The remaining 28 Qualifiers or their replacement Alternate(s) shall play one game each during one of three Semi-Final Stage rounds.
  3. The winner of each game shall advances to the DBN Invitational Championship Game. 

3.2 Semi-Final Stage Schedule And Board Assignment

Semi-Final Games are scheduled for the following rounds:

  • Semi-Final Round 1: Saturday, Feb 15, 2a EST / 7a UTC / 6p AEDT
  • Semi-Final Round 2: Saturday, Feb 15, 4p EST / 9p UTC / 8a AEDT (Sunday, Feb 16)
  • Semi-Final Round 3: Sunday, Feb 16, 9a EST / 2p UTC / 1a AEDT (Monday, Feb 17)
  1. Players shall submit their preferred round to the DBN Board of Directors and shall be assigned to Semi-Final Round 1-3 by preference in seed order. The lowest seeds shall be moved to make multiples of 7. 
  2. Within each round, if there are multiple boards, the boards shall be distributed in seed order (e.g., if there are 2 games in the same round, then the top two seeds in the round shall be distributed to separate boards, then the next two seeds will be distributed to separate boards, and so on).

3.3 Semi-Final Stage Alternates

If a Semi-Finalist is unable to play in a Semi-Final Stage Game, Alternates will be invited in the order of their DBN Invitational Seed. 

4.0 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

4.1 Finalists

  1. The DBN Invitational Championship game is the final game of the DBN Season. The winner is crowned as the DBN Diplomat of the Year.
  2. The Championship Game includes the Top Three Seeds who automatically advanced and the 4 Semi-Final game winners. 
  3. S

4.2 Championship Game Schedule

The Championship Game is scheduled for one of the following two times:

  • Option 1: Saturday, Feb 24, 10a EST / 3p UTC / 2a AEDT (Sunday)
  • Option 2: Saturday, Feb 24, 1p EST / 6p UTC / 5a AEDT (Sunday)
  1. Players who qualify for the Championship Game shall discuss amongst themselves which of the above start times they prefer. 
  2. If players cannot agree on a start time, then the DBN Board shall select one.

4.3 Championship Game Seeding

The Championship Game shall be seeded as follows:

  1. Solo in Semi-Final game
  2. DBN Invitational Seed

4.4 Championship Game Alternates

If a player who qualifies for the Championship Game is unable to play, alternates will be invited from players who did not win a Semi-Final Stage game in the order of their DBN Invitational Seed. 

5.0 GAME STRUCTURE

5.1 Objective

All games in the DBN Invitational produce a single winner: 

  1. The player controlling 18 or more supply centers at the end of a fall turn (a solo).
  2. The player controlling the most supply centers at the time of a draw.  If two or more players are tied for the most supply centers, the winner is the player who selected their power last among the tied players.

5.2 Procedures

  1. All games in the DBN Invitational shall use the Paris Method for power selection as described below. 
  2. Each game shall be conducted on Backstabbr with voice negotiations on the Virtual World Diplomacy Community Discord Server. 
  3. Games shall be run by a Game Manager (GM). The DBN Board has granted full authority to the GM to arbitrate individual games in the DBN Invitational. If a player has any concerns, they should notify the GM immediately.

5.3 Power Selection (Paris Method)

  1. Determine selection order: In seed order, players select the order in which they pick the power they shall play. 
    1. The second lowest seed chooses whether they pick before or after the lowest seed (the lowest seed has no choice). 
    2. The next lowest seed chooses whether to pick first, last, or between other players.
    3. Selection continues in this manner from lowest to highest seed until the Selection Order is finalized. 
  2. Select powers: In Selection Order, players shall choose any unselected and eligible power as noted below.
    1. The person who is first in selection order can choose any eligible power.
    2. The person who is second can pick any remaining eligible power, and so on until all powers have been selected.

5.4 Timing Rules

  1. GMs shall use Backstabbr’s native clock to measure timing. Grace periods shall be enabled. 
  2. GM’s shall keep the health and well-being of players in mind. Players may request games to be briefly paused which the GM shall allow at their discretion. 
  3. If the GM finds that a player is intentionally abusing grace periods or pauses to create an advantage or frustrate other players, it shall be considered a code of conduct violation. Players abusing grace periods will be given one warning by the GM. If the behavior continues a second time, the GM will process as if no moves were received for the abandoned power. If the behavior continues a third time, the player abusing grace periods shall be removed from the tournament and an alternate player will be found using the rules for Civil Disorder and Replacement Players. 
  4. The timing rules listed in the table below shall be used:
YearNegotiation PeriodsAdjustments / Retreats
1901 - 190915 Minutes3 Minutes
1910+12 Minutes3 Minutes

5.5 Negotiations

  1. All negotiations shall be held within Discord voice rooms, with the exception of typed messages, which are allowed. Players shall always be present in a Discord voice room, whether it is a negotiation room or the Game Table. 
  2. All players shall return to their assigned Game Table voice channel during adjustments, retreats, and draw results. Negotiation during these phases are not allowed. Players are permitted to speak socially, but shall not negotiate during these phases. This is an honor system request, but please respect it.
  3. When using Discord voice channels, it is acceptable to briefly drop into a negotiation room where other players are communicating, request to speak to one or more players, and then immediately leave the channel if requested. Players are under no obligation to speak to one another. Players are permitted to drop-in more than once during a negotiation period if necessary, but this should not be abused. 
  4. Performing actions that intentionally prevent someone from having a private conversation in a negotiation room, such as following someone around or refusing to leave if asked, is considered a code of conduct violation.
  5. Players who have been eliminated from the game may no longer communicate with players remaining in the game.

5.6 Ending The Game

  1. The game shall end in a solo victory if a single power controls 18 or more supply centers at the end of a Fall turn. Solos cannot be conceded.
  2. The game shall end in a draw if all powers remaining in the game agree to end the game. 
  3. The game shall end in a forced draw if no power has achieved a solo victory by the end of 1915.
  4. In the event that there has been no exchange of centers for at least three consecutive years, the GM, at their discretion, may end the game in a forced draw.  If the GM determines that players are exchanging centers merely to avoid triggering this rule, the GM may, at their discretion, end the game in a forced draw.

5.7 Draw Proposals

  1. Beginning in Spring 1907, players may propose a draw once per Spring or Fall season by announcing their intent to draw in the game table, and then requesting the GM to adjudicate the draw. Once everyone is in the Game Table, the GM shall give players the opportunity to openly veto the draw. If the draw is openly vetoed, it does not count as the draw vote for that season. If it is not openly vetoed, each player shall head to their assigned voice room and confidentially cast their vote to the GM. 
  2. If a player proposes a draw, and one or more players decline to congregate in the Game Table, those players shall be considered to have openly vetoed the draw. The GM shall not force players to go to the game table for a draw proposal.
  3. For a draw vote to be successful, every player that controls at least one supply center at the time of the vote must vote in favor of the draw. The GM shall not divulge who voted in what way, or how many players voted for or against the draw.

5.8 Civil Disorder and Replacement Players

  1. If a player experiences technical issues that prevent them from participating in voice negotiations via Discord or entering orders in Backstabbr for a period of time that exceeds one hour, the GM shall seek out an Alternate to serve as a replacement player. At the GM’s discretion, if the original player’s technical issue is resolved before the Alternate takes over as the replacement, the original player may continue play. 
  2. If an emergency dictates that a player must leave the game early, the GM shall seek out an Alternate to serve as a replacement player. 
  3. In the situation where an alternate player cannot be found, the GM shall process standing “hold” orders for the abandoned power and assume a vote in favor of all draw proposals
  4. Players replaced by an Alternate are no longer eligible to participate in any games for the remainder of this year’s DBN Invitational. 
  5. Players replaced by an Alternate may be disciplined or disqualified from the tournament. 
  6. Alternates serving as a replacement player shall receive full points as if they had played the entire game.

VERSION HISTORY

  • 02.28.24: Original draft

CHANGE LOG FROM 2024 RULES

1.4 Format

  • 2024 Rules: The Semi-Final Stage consists of 4 First Chance games and 3 Last Chance games.
  • 2025 Rules: The Semi-Final Stage consists of four games spread across three rounds. The format now includes the top three highest-ranked Qualifiers from the regular season automatically advancing to the Championship Game along with the Board Topper from each Semi-Final game.

2.0 ELIGIBILITY & SEEDING

  • The overall structure remains consistent, but adjustments have been made to accommodate an increased number of participants and a revised format for the Semi-Final and Championship games.

2.7 Qualifiers

  • 2024 Rules: States that 28 players will be invited, with major event winners receiving automatic invitations. 
  • 2025 Rules: States that 31 players will be invited, with the defending champion and major event winners receiving automatic invitations.

2.8 Alternates

  • The method of inviting alternates remains the same, but the number of alternates was reduced from 7 to 4. 

2.9 Seeding And Top Three Automatic Advancement

  • This section is newly introduced in the 2025 Rules, detailing how the top three seeds automatically advance to the Championship Game, which is a significant change from the 2024 format.

3.0 SEMI-FINAL STAGE

  • The structure of the Semi-Final Stage has been simplified in the 2025 Rules, reducing the number of games from 7 to 4 and having the Top 3 Qualifiers from the Regular Season automatically advance to the Championship Game.

3.2 Semi-Final Stage Schedule And Board Assignment

  • A detailed schedule and board assignment process has been introduced in the 2025 Rules, accommodating the revised format of the Semi-Final Stage.

4.0 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

  • Adjustments reflect the updated format of how Finalists are determined and the scheduling of the Championship Game.

4.3 Championship Game Seeding

  • Seeding for the Championship Game has been simplified so that any players who solo during the Semi-Final games are seeded highest (sorted in DBNI Seed Order), and then everyone else is sorted in DBNI Seed Order.