The Anarchy variant is of uncertain origin. It represents a way to compensate for the geographical weaknesses of some of the countries, and to provide some variety for those gamers who are tired of the standard setup.
This variant uses the standard map and all standard rules except for the initial distribution of supply centers and units, and where new units can be built. Typically, there are seven players, but that number can vary. Instead of the powers being England, France, Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Italy, each player has some choice over which supply centers they start out with. Prior to the S1901 turn, each player writes a numbered preference list of supply centers. One optional rule allows communication between powers before the submission of preference lists in order to minimize "overlaps". The centers in a list may be grouped together tightly (i.e. Scandinavia), loosely (i.e. the Danelaw), or not at all.
These lists are then adjudicated. The lists will have to be hand-adjudicated in a logical way, with unique first choices being awarded and ties being resolved fairly. Once each player recieves three supply centers, F1900 adjustments are submitted - thus each player gets to decide the initial makeup of his or her military forces. Since it is entirely possible for one or more players to start out landlocked, either through choice or through not getting any of the coastal supply centers on their preference list(s), units may be built in any controlled and unoccupied supply center. S1901 and all subsequent moves proceed normally. Victory conditions remain 18 centers. Note that since this is a rules variant, it can be applied to any other Diplomacy map, in which case the number of starting powers and centers per power may vary.
In the abscence of a known creator, this variant is dedicated to Steve Mooney, who not only taught standard Diplomacy and this variant to the author, but humbled him several times in each.