E-mail Miller Number Custodian Home Page

Nicholas Fitzpatrick has been the E-mail MNC Number Custodian (MNC) since the end of 1993. The E-mail MNC gives out game numbers to variant (including gunboat) Diplomacy games played over the Internet. For Postal games the North American MNC is currently Lee Kendter, Jr. (1503 Pilrim Lane, Quakertown, PA 18951, U.S.A.)

A log of Miller Numbers that have been assigned by the E-mail MNC is available.

What are Miller Numbers?

Miller Numbers were created in the 1960's by the late Don Miller to keep track of variant games, and what variant were being played. Regular Diplomacy games get Boardman Numbers.

The following article explains some of the background of Miller Numbers. This article was last published in Rich Shipley's short lived E-mail Zine Gateway in Issue #1, May 1994 (essentially this was issue 312 of the groundbreaking E-mail Zine Electronic Protocol - Chapter 2 which ended with issue 311).

Before this the article was published in Issue 72 of Eric Klien's Electronic Protocol in June 1989.

Taken from Bruce Linsey's Once Upon a Deadline


The Miller Number Custodian (or MNC) assigns numbers to variant games of postal Diplomacy such like the BNC assigns numbers to regular games of postal Diplomacy. The Miller Numbers themselves are different as they do more than just annually alphabetize the games. The most often asked question I get is, "What does that funny-looking number mean?". Let's look at a typical MN, 1985Zrb32. The first part, 1985Z is the same as a BN in that it tells you that this is the 26th (Z) game assigned a number for 1985. The rb32 also tells you that this is a game of "Gunboat" or no-negotiation Diplomacy. Where does that come from and what does it mean? This "designator" was developed by the North American Variant Bank (NAVB) and adopted by the MNC in 1981. The former system for classifying variants had become stale and unworkable. The rb means that is uses the Regular Board and the 32 indicates that it is the 32nd such variant on file.

All variants are classified under their own specific type in the NAVB catalog. The rb category is just one of many types of variants on file. The simpler ones may involve just a few rules changes or the addition of a few new spaces and/or centers to the regular board. Others involve extensions to the board, more or fewer players, entire new boards, many pages of rules changes, and time periods farther in the past or even in the future.

The MNC also keeps a permanent record of all variant games that have been assigned numbers and records of games that have concluded. These are published periodically in the MNC zine, ALPHA & OMEGA (A&O).

The MNC works closely with the BNC as the BNC sometimes gets a request for a game that deviates from the norm. When these cases occur the BNC sometimes has to consult with the MNC and together they decide whether the game is different enough to receive a MN instead of a BN.

Some players think that variants are more interesting than the regular game and play them almost exclusively. Others play a variant on occasion just for the different strategy involved.

So when you're ready for your first variant game remember where the funny-looking number came from.

Other Notes:

Miller Numbers are named after the late Don Miller, and date back to the 1960's. A lot more information about Miller Numbers, and Don Miller, can be found in Mark Nelson's excellent interview with Fred Davis Jr..

The North American MNC is currenty Lee Kendter, Jr. I believe that Lee Kendter, Sr, was a former MNC, and may have been the MNC when this article was first written. Lee (Jr.) can be reached at 1503 Pilrim Lane, Quakertown, PA 18951, U.S.A.. He publishes details of all this games, in the 'zine Alpha & Omega, which is passed on from one MNC to the next. He dishes out Miller Numbers, for all postal games in North America, and also hands out blocks of Boardman Numbers to the other MNCs. So the MNCs in North America, Europe and Australia, all use unique numbers.

At the end of 1993, the then MNC, Lee Kendter Jr. appointed me as the E-mail MNC and allowed me to start giving out Miller Numbers to E-mail games. He gave me a blocks of MNs, from AAA to AZZ. 676 numbers in total. This may not be enough for E-mail games, and I am going to have to ask for another block soon.

Other Diplomacy Resources:

The Diplomacy Home Page

Judge Openings

Hall of Fame Home Page

MNC Home Page

My Home Page

Last updated on 19 May 1997 by Nicholas Fitzpatrick.