After my disaster in the PDES 1A, I played this one far more cagily. I assumed in the PDES 1A that I was among equals and took no pains to hide who I was. In PDES 2A I literally snuck in the back door by refusing to put my name into the forum but then contacting the moderator offering myself as a fill so as to get into the game with no one even knowing that I might be a participant.
As it turns out, my instincts were right on. The field was even weaker than I expected:
Pretty weak for a PDES A level, I think. Only Durkeety was serious competition, and he got K.O.'d right at the beginning entirely through no fault of his own.
There's always that one guy, you know? The loose cannon in this game was Austria. Here's the opening:
I couldn't get Austria on the phone, and Italy was too closed-minded to work with me, so I signed up with Russia and got in trouble right away. I hate playing the Juggernaut. You can never trust your ally.
What is Austria's plan? I don't know, but he seems to want to invade Italy. Meanwhile, Russia is all up in our faces, but at least I theoretically have an alliance with Russia. I pretend like I'm not bothered by greedy Russian fingers hanging over my supply centers and keep my cheerful persona in place.
I am posing as Yaca, a perpetually cheerful newbie who got drafted into the game. Yaca = Yale Attitude Change Approach.
So, I immediately start scheming with Austria. I suggest that we play to deny Rumania to Russia. I figure that Russia will try to put an army into Rumania by force and that if Austria and I team up, we can bounce him out and get some builds.
Austria tells me no and tells me to bounce Russia myself. Obviously, this is a no go. If I tip my hand to Russia, I'll be in worse trouble than I am. Additionally, I don't have the power to bounce Russia. So, I decide to try for Greece while moving my fleet from Constantinople into Bulgaria(ec) hoping for a build in Constantinople and the power to evict Russia from the Black Sea.
As I said, there's always that guy, and Austria is content to play the part. He denies me Bulgaria, and gets French support into Munich(!). To his credit, Durkeety has wisely allowed Russia into Sweden without a fight, and he probably hopes to get Russian help against England. Unfortunately, Austria unleashes EF on us when none of us are ready. Russia marvels at Austria's moves (Austria basically left everything open) and keeps talking about how we need to hurry to kill EF before they swarm us. I would agree except A) I'm Turkey, so I'm the last one to need to worry about that and B) Russia has a fleet in the Black Sea.
I hope that Russia doesn't notice that I tried to go to Bulgaria(ec) and I build a fleet in Smyrna. My plan is the same--take Bulgaria(ec), get my fleet into Constantinople, and evict Russia from the Black Sea. I talk very nicely to Italy the whole time. I don't need Italy thinking that I'm gunning for him. I need Italy to keep France at bay and maybe help me with Austria later on.
I find out Russia's plan and leak the entire thing to Austria so that he can defend himself. Austria and I agree to work together. Then Austria basically permits Russia into all of his centers. Here's the move:
Russia, who should have built a fleet up north, takes Norway, but he does so with the wrong unit. Durkeety puts up a good fight by retaking Munich. Austria lets Russia into all of his centers. Even though I talked very nicely to Italy and France is literally breathing down his neck, he decides to move in my direction. I succeed in getting my fleets into position to take the Black Sea.
I help Austria into Serbia. Austria takes Warsaw. He also dives into Berlin, screwing Durkeety over. At this point, Durkeety is as good as dead. Russia, who screwed up his northern campaign, can't hold Norway. Italy invades Austria. Even though it should be obvious that the French fleet in MAO is headed for Italy, Italy continues to keep his units towards me. Italy ends up paying for this mistake with his life.
Italy decides that now is a great time to screw Turkey out of Greece. I vow that when France comes for him, he can beg me for help, and I won't give him any. Meanwhile, I continue with my cheerful Yaca persona. I have decided that the Yale Attitude Change Approach is ineffective for use at Diplomacy. I keep up pretenses. Durkeety's getting crushed. Austria won't even support him to hold. Russia will lose the north.
Italy decides to invade Turkey at the exact moment that France decides to invade him. I manage to make some progress against Russia thanks to Austria.
I speak very, very nicely to Italy. I tell him that I am building an army. I want him to realize how serious his problem is in the west. I hope it works. I build in Ankara.
I feel good that I have made some progress with Italy. He turns his attention to defending the homeland, but it will be too little too late. Austria recovers his home territory. Durkeety is down to one unit.
I go all out to destroy the hated Sevastopol fleet. Austria attacks Italy, recovering a home center. He will build to 3 units. Personally, I would have tried to help Italy. I begin to worry that England will solo. France is too southern oriented and doesn't seem to realize the stab risk. Durkeety is eliminated.
I finally manage to cover all of my centers. Even though Italy is fighting for his life, Russia takes Greece. I have spoken to England, who has asked me whether I will intervene in Moscow. I want England to be happy with me, so I tell him that I will not oppose him. I hope to earn some gratitude from him, but he is not the grateful type.
I take Rumania. England crosses the stalemate line. The Berlin bottleneck won't be a problem for him either. Only the Juggernaut line remains. I am determined to hold Sevastopol against him to prevent the solo.
England flubs the convoy. Russia is still trying to attack me. Austria goes aggressive.
England's gratitude for not opposing Moscow shows up. He supports Russia into Sevastopol. Yaca is unfailingly cheerful and polite through the whole thing. I hate England.
Here comes the stab. England blows through the Berlin Wall. He is a serious solo threat now, but we can hold him if we band together. Russia is not invited to be part of the team.
We open fire on Russia. England continues the stab. I tell everyone that England cannot breach the Juggernaut line. He will only hit 16 centers as long as we band together.
France helps me off Russia. France is also plotting how he can eliminate Austria and come down to a three-way draw. I am inclined to agree. After the way Austria started this game, he has no real claim to be part of the draw.
Be more aggressive.