Dreadnoughts never became obsolete and the Austro-Hungarian Empire was ever a power in Allan B. Calhamer’s game, Diplomacy. Calhamer died February 25 at the age of 81.
Diplomacy is a seven-player game based on the balance of power in pre-World War I Europe.
A Harvard Law School dropout, in the 1950s Calhamer briefly worked for the government in Africa, then got a job with Sylvania’s Applied Research Laboratory in Waltham,Mass., where he did operations research, a scientific approach to military problem-solving. A fellow employee said he was hired on the strength of the game.
In 1959, Calhamer printed 500 copies of Diplomacy and put it on sale. The popular reception led Avalon Hill to buy the rights and promote it internationally.
The game had quite a few followers in fandom – and more than one fanzine collector has a drawer filled with copies of John Boardman’s play-by-mail Diplomacy zine Graustark.
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster for the story.]