Question for Solo Specialists

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Question for Solo Specialists

Postby Goldain » 09 Jun 2017, 03:32

While I have an extremely successful "win" percentage, I have yet to score a single ranked solo victory. A large part of this is my carebear nature and I hate to win by stabbing an ally I've had all game long (recently ended a game in a 4 way draw when even my opponents were like, "why don't you just stab France and take the easy solo"?

But beyond that, in games where I try not to form these indelible alliances, I invariably find myself growing too fast and having the board turn on me, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

So I have a question for those of you who have mastered the art of getting the solo. What's the secret? Do you deliberately forego easy growth grabs earlier in the game to avoid getting too much attention? Do you try to work with other countries to "balance the board" until you can get a clear target that everyone is willing to take a piece of (usually Germany or Austria...)?

I consider myself a decent tactician, but clearly tactics are not enough. When I do use diplomacy to ensure I have a running mate to the end game, then I end up drawing rather than stabbing. Is it actually possible to keep an ally all game, NOT stab them, and still take a solo?

Your advice is greatly appreciated.

Seeking a stabless solo,

Goldain
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Re: Question for Solo Specialists

Postby asudevil » 09 Jun 2017, 03:53

Not unless the ally is an idiot...any good ally who wants to run with you to the end...is going to make sure you guys grow evenly...so you either need to stab for the win...or carebear it.

The problem isn't your diplomacy...you get the allies willing to go til the end for you...but then you don't stab them for the win. And when you don't build that solid alliance...you get too big and teamed up on.
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Re: Question for Solo Specialists

Postby nanooktheeskimo » 09 Jun 2017, 04:01

This is what's known as a good problem to have :)
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Re: Question for Solo Specialists

Postby WHSeward » 09 Jun 2017, 04:06

First, read these two articles. They aren't a cookbook for soloing, but they will get you thinking about what is involved.
Birsan, E., ed. “A Discussion on Achievement of Solo's.”
Brennan, J. “How To Solo.”

Second, you probably should get over your allergy to stabbing. This is 7-handed Chess. Do you feel bad when you win at Chess when it is one-on-one? No. Then don't feel bad about winning 7-handed Chess either. It is the point of the game. If you do feel you can stab, this thread has some starting points.

If you just can't get over your allergy, then agree to "race for the solo" with your ally. You won't stab each other, but you will try to make better tactical moves and better diplomacy to get to 18 first. (I think what you will find is that you will usually get stabbed if you are closer to 18 than your partner, but some players will let you have the race.)

There is more to say about how to solo, but if it is to be stab-less, your options are more limited.
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Re: Question for Solo Specialists

Postby condude1 » 09 Jun 2017, 05:08

I feel your pain Goldain! I used to be extremely stabhappy, but now I'm leaning towards keeping an ally for the whole game. Here are a couple of ways to dull the pain of stabbing an ally (it's always going to hurt, but you can make up for it).

1. Be completely honest once it's possible without hurting your chances. If they can't stop you from soloing if they tried, you can tell them before the stab, and apologize profusely. Most people understand, and I will never be angry at someone for stabbing me for the win. If I let them get to that position, they deserve the solo. Most people are very understanding. Even an apology after the fact is often enough for them to forgive you.

2. Make it quick and painless. You're at 16, and need 2 more. Grab those two, and be done with it. Talk it over in the AAR, a no-pressure environment.

3. If the ally's smaller than you, you can sometimes make the following sort of agreement in advance: "I'll keep you in the game, and even do everything in my power to keep you in the draw. However, if I see an opportunity for a solo, I'll take it." It gives them something to hope for, and if you do end up stabbing them for the win, there is more often than not congratulations, rather than tears.

I've found by far the best way of dealing with it is just keeping up conversation with the player. It's also tactically awesome, since you have the ability to call off the war at any point. It's always beautiful when a war comes to a sudden end against a bigger threat.

Take the solos when you can get them. People understand.
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Re: Question for Solo Specialists

Postby gsmx » 09 Jun 2017, 09:31

Goldain wrote:So I have a question for those of you who have mastered the art of getting the solo. What's the secret? Do you deliberately forego easy growth grabs earlier in the game to avoid getting too much attention? Do you try to work with other countries to "balance the board" until you can get a clear target that everyone is willing to take a piece of (usually Germany or Austria...)?


It's not the only way to get there, but it's definitely one of the better one's. Absolutely it helps to have patience, not jump at every opportunity, and be frugal in when and how you spend your diplomatic capital. If you've proven yourself to be loose with your word early on it's going to become a burden as time goes on. You definitely need to keep a mind for the board as a whole and not just your immediate situation.

Goldain wrote:I consider myself a decent tactician, but clearly tactics are not enough. When I do use diplomacy to ensure I have a running mate to the end game, then I end up drawing rather than stabbing. Is it actually possible to keep an ally all game, NOT stab them, and still take a solo?

Sure, it's possible. I've had games where my ally has been just not as experiences as I am and has allowed me the few extra steps ahead needed to finish the game ahead of him.

But really i think you need to take the approach that as long as you've been a decent person in general most people are understanding about a well timed stab and well earned game. The only time i personally ever get overly bitter about a stab on me is when it's a foolish one that doesn't pay off for them. If it gets them to a solo, like condude1 said, i'm the first one to congratulate them. That's what people sign up for, that's the game. Most people feel pretty satisfied with a game, win or less, if they enjoyed the people and it was a dynamic game with lots of twists and turns and they appreciate when it's won by the person who wanted it the most and was willing to go that little bit extra.
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Re: Question for Solo Specialists

Postby asudevil » 09 Jun 2017, 14:39

I will agree with GSMX...the only stab that I HATE...is the 1 center stab...that gets them no momentum...and all it does is hurt me and gets them from like 8 to 9...with no real momentum against me because my next SC is already covered...all that does is make me go after them and watch the 3rd guy solo.

I just had this happen in a game...I was Austria...and Italy was my "ally" to stop an already 12SC France from soloing we had to inter-mingle the line and stop the solo.

He took some stupid CHEAP ass stab at me...and so Im like FUCK you ... Im going to attack you the rest of the game while I watch France solo this shit.

We could have EASILY held him back to 16...I had already drawn up the line and we could beat him to the stalemate positions...but Italy couldn't wrap his brain around that...so we both lose (Im on a shield in that game...so I care a LOT less...but I was still like WTF how stupid are you)

Those are the stabs that make people mad. If someone stabs me for the solo...or to push them from 12-14 and Im just WAY out of position to stop them and even if its 4 years for the solo...its basically guaranteed from that point...that's just them outplaying me...and I respect that.
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Re: Question for Solo Specialists

Postby StarWatcher009 » 09 Jun 2017, 14:53

I'm surprised GSMX didn't say this but the first quality that is needed is audacity. It's hard to 'guarantee' the solo. I believe that with perfect play no one would solo. However, to ensure that you have the highest chance of a solo, you must play the whole game differently.

That being said, I'm terrible at soloing. But I think I know why. I'd encourage you to read one of thewysecat's AARs. He paints a wonderful picture of what is required.
Last edited by StarWatcher009 on 11 Jun 2017, 11:05, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Question for Solo Specialists

Postby Charleroi » 09 Jun 2017, 16:31

If you really want a deep dive on the soloist's art, read AARs written by Wysecat.
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Re: Question for Solo Specialists

Postby Nibbler » 09 Jun 2017, 19:57

You can win a game of Dip without stabbing but you probably won't. Let's face it, getting a solo should be difficult enough in a 7 player game without the added difficulty of deliberately trying to not do so, which is what drawmongery is all about.

The first thing to say, then, is be prepared to leave the carebear philosophy behind. It isn't one that is likely to result in a win.

However the good ally strategy is always a useful one. It isn't, though, about ending the game in a draw; rather it's about building up to a win.

To solo you need allies. You also need to find the time to discard allies. You've got to use the alliances to reach that point.

And I said alliances because one alliance is hard to discard. It psychologically leads to a bond, for want of a better word. Two or three alliances means that you can afford to discard an ally and keep yourself afloat. And it makes the final move easier to make. Hardened you must be.
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