World War IV: AAR's

GM: BigBert. Winners: DOI (Canada), AardvarkArmy (California), asudevil (Amazon empire), Girion (Argentina), paulus (Kenya), thewysecat (Nigeria), and Chelonoidis (Song Empire)

Re: World War IV: AAR's

Postby thewysecat » 12 Mar 2013, 01:40

Imperatrix wrote: And, of course, I didn't realize quickly enough that India's units were no longer acting in India's interests.

Well except for the very end of that time I dispute that indian units were not acting in India's interests. To give you a sense of things. This is my first 'tactical' PM in Spring 2110 after I had secured FragerZ's allegiance to Africa. Long dialogue ensued. Then again initiating the same process for Fall 2110 after the Spring resolution.

thewysecat wrote:Gentleman

This is a PM including all the African Union and India. It is premised on India's acceptance of our friendship in an effort to help him resist stabs in his back from 2 former allies. He is in trouble, but he is willing to co-ordinate naval moves and allow African units to enter India proper.

Here are some initial moves for discussion. In particular, of course I'd welcome input from FragerZ to say whether he is or is not willing to enter these orders. I provide my thinking in commentary throughout

F MDR to ADH
The thinking here is that it can cover Cal or support in BOB it also allows...
F ARA to MDR
another unit to the east and another on BOB - handy - or it covers Sri to MDR
F NIO to AND
The intent is to bounce F RAN and when NIO is dislodged and takes BOB it means in the Fall phase BOB cannot be attacked from AND. The alternative is NIO to STM. In this we intend to bounce with Thai F Kua to STM. KUA cannot be going anywhere else after its build and F NTU may well be going to KUA so this would bounce 2 Thai units - the loss of tempo would hurt his progress

In the meantime:
South Africa and Kenya do a combined 'attack' on NIO. The idea here is to get 2 moves for the price of 1 by also generating a retreat for NIO. NIO I hope will retreat to BOB, but if Sri has gone there than it can re-occupy Sri. Both are good results
They will do the same on ARA in case ARA is bounced out of MDR. In this case ARA can retreat to BOM if needed, but hopefully disband in an effort to try and generate an army build for India...

F BOM to KRN
Not great, but it gives another unit on MDR which will be needed in the Fall

Army units are hard to call because we don't know what Thailand is ordering. When in doubt - hit enemy units and cut supports is my advice...

UZB to AFG
If UZB is dislodged then retreat somewhere they don't like. There are several good options, but they likely won't try and dislodge it until the fall leaving it free to move and try and pick up a bounce somewhere. An alternative is just to try and pick up a bounce in XIN or ALM or KYZ

DEL to CAL
Likely a bounce. If you were feeling brave/lucky you could go for Nep and hope to God to bounce

TEH to ASH
Teh is likely undefendable from Iran anyway so we will have to work on Iran for you. You'll have to rely on us for that defence so Teh can be aggressive

KHO S TEH to ASH
I don't like a Russian retreat to TUR particularly, but this gives him something to think about at least

ISL to KAS
May at least pick up bounce to disrupt TIB to KAS. What KAS will order is hard to predict. The loss of KAS more than anything screws a defence of India since it has so many good options and because you cannot dislodge it lest it retreat to one of those good options. Again if brave/lucky could go for THR but that seems low percentage.

RAJ to MHR or DEL
Tough call. Depends on what you are ordering DEL to do. KAS to RAJ is not a bad order so watch out for that. Raj to del is premised on Del not picking up a bounce and needing to cover Del. If you are confident Del is picking up a bounce then moving Raj to MHR gives lots of options since from there it can do several things and thus keep Thailand guessing

F Kar to Raj
hopefully to bounce either a cheeky thai move of Kas to Raj or your own unit in Raj - itself having bounced if going to Del

Overall the plan is to limit losses in 2110 to UZB and DHA and perhaps retake ASH and even have a shot at Sri in the Fall

Let's talk

Wyse



thewysecat wrote:Ok Gents,

2 bad things last phase

1) A Raj to Thr (!) Yuk, what happened Frager it was meant to go to Del or Mhr. Oh well
2) Indonesia and thailand are working together. They joint bounced us in NIO and so NIO did not get to retreat to BOB - damn

So, what to do.

I think India goes down to 7 SCs - Dha, UZB, CAL and DEL are gone, as is Teh for now (perhaps - see below) but ASH is gained...

So moves...

Kenyan army Bom to Mhr. (or Raj)

It may not get in to Mhr of course because there is no longer anything to support it (any support from Cal will be cut). The alternative is Bom to Raj (again it still not make it in) as Cal moves to Mhr on the grounds that Cal is undefendable. Again Cal may not make it in either but at least something should bounce a thai effort to take Mhr. The move to Raj makes most sense if it is receiving support from Thr

ADH to BOB
Not the orginal plan, but BOB needs to be taken and this will work. It also means that Cal has somewhere to retreat potentially too - i.e. Adh

Krn to Mdr
We don't mind it if it makes it in as it is a unit on BOB and Sri, but at the least it bounces as attempt of Sri to Mdr

Tur S Ash to hold
Obligatory

Blc to Shi
obligatory. To cover Shi. It will then disband in the Winter unfortunately

then some options
Kho to Afg
This is my preferred option as that hole has to be plugged. Alternatively, it could also S Ash which is the most inferior option in my view. The other option is to move Kho to teh. This potentially helps defend Ash, but I really don't believe that Iran and Russia are working together so the only merits of this is if F Peg S A Kho to Teh. This is tempting, but I don't think it will work since I think A Tab will S A Teh to hold, but it might work if A Tab is taking action to defend Bag or Aze so it might tempt you

If you go with this option
A Ash S A Kho to Teh on the grounds that Ash has nothing else to do although that support will be cut
Otherwise in my preferred scheme A Ash hold...

F NIO to AND
Again, unless he commits STM to the fray that again keeps him out of a key area or if he supports using STM then it cannot be doing work in NIO

F ARA to NIO
This might look bizarre, but Kenya and South Africa can support this unit in and since you cannot dislodge yourself it will either work or you will retain NIO with the unit currently there bouncing back from AND

Again more options
A ISL S A Kho to Afg
This is my preferred, but if Kho is going to Teh then ISL to AFG has some merit if you can pick up a bounce
An alternative is to consider Kho to Afg sufficient - it may make it or it may bounce - as long as the enemy don't take it. In which case ISL can S THR to KAS. This is unlikely to be enough to keep the enemy out of KAS but...

A Thr S A Bom to Raj
this ensures that Kenya makes it into Raj and does not stay in Bom after bouncing in Raj (!)
the alternative is to move A thr to Kas if it is getting support from ISL in as attempt to compete for KAS

By the end of this - you will be down to the 6 armies - wherever they are and one fleet. I'd suggest the one in BOB

Kenya will take ARA from Oman. he will be able to convoy in more armies in 2011 and we will try and stem the bleeding as best we can. Iran will be attacked to punish the move on Teh

So overall, I think the following is best

Kenyan army Bom to Raj

F ADH to BOB
A Cal to Mhr (retreat to Adh if needed)
F Krn to Mdr
A Tur S Ash to hold
F Blc to Shi
A Kho to Afg
A Ash S A Tur to hold (redundant but...)
F NIO to AND
F ARA to NIO
A ISL S A Kho to Afg
A Thr S Kenyan A Bom to Raj

After disbands. This likely means:
Armies in Ash, Tur, Afg, ISl, Thr, Mhr/Adh and a fleet in BOB with a Kenyan army in Raj

It is rather a thin line, but it is the best that can be constructed. In Spring 2011 we then compete for NIO which will likely be vacant and Kenya convoys an army to Krn or perhaps Shi to try and stem the 'leak' from Iran...

views?

regards

Wyse


Imperatrix wrote: One of the middle Indonesias (I've forgotten which) offered me a similar arrangement - writing orders on his behalf while slowly taking his centres for myself. I considered it, but it felt out of keeping with the spirit of the game. Perhaps I ought to have done it: I turned the offer down and soon after, that Indonesia NMR and dropped out, like the others, costing us time and tactical losses.

And this is another example of where we depart. For a long-time the final iteration of Indonesia was stuck on 1 SC. A potential army build you most certainly could have used on the mainland and yet you did not seize it for yourself when the Indonesian fleet there was making little difference to the naval front. Who cares whether at that point you had his permission or not? He ended up dead anyway so why is it 'better' that he dies at Argentinian conquest rather than a Thai mercy killing when the latter can help you (his ally) which is presumably who he would rather help relative to Girion or indeed me?
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Re: World War IV: AAR's

Postby Imperatrix » 12 Mar 2013, 04:19

thewysecat wrote:And this is another example of where we depart. For a long-time the final iteration of Indonesia was stuck on 1 SC. A potential army build you most certainly could have used on the mainland and yet you did not seize it for yourself when the Indonesian fleet there was making little difference to the naval front. Who cares whether at that point you had his permission or not? He ended up dead anyway so why is it 'better' that he dies at Argentinian conquest rather than a Thai mercy killing when the latter can help you (his ally) which is presumably who he would rather help relative to Girion or indeed me?


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Re: World War IV: AAR's

Postby AardvarkArmy » 12 Mar 2013, 05:33

For the record, I consider all this talk that a draw is not a win and that only those "true believers" who kept their eye unswervingly on solo deserve any respect in the game to be, well, a huge load of hoooey, and, quite frankly, spectacularly disingenuous.

As for it being hooey, diplomacy in the game is really no different at all than diplomacy in the real world. Would the USA absolutely love to impose it's will without bend on every other nation on the planet? Of course it would. But then, so would China. And France. And Jamaica. I can pretty well predict that no President/Prime MInister/Secretary of State of ANY nation will EVER achieve that lofty goal - there are just too many factors and variables and other players in the mix. So "victory" in the real world consists of making the very most, getting the very best deal one can with the cards one is playing. Can the USA effectively dominate the Western World and put a big footprint on other areas? Perhaps. Can China dominate Asia and also put footprints in far corners? Perhaps. Can France exert muscle in the EU and a large swath of Africa and SE Asia? Perhaps? Can Jamaica negotiate favorable trade deals and enforce it's borders against its hjugely powerful neighbor? Perhaps. And, in the real world, any of these accomplishments would likely be deemed "victories" for their respective architects.

The game is really no different. Can little 13-center Canada carve out a niche that is both geopgraphically defensible and politically valuable in order to thrive while surrounded by powers 3-5 times his size? Yup. Can Song withstand 10 years of brutal attacks by multiple enemies? Yup. Have they both earned a place at the table by doing so? I say they have.

OF COURSE we ALL start out dreaming of solo. Indonesia probably dreamed of fleets circling the equator. Texas probably imagined expanding to swallow all of North America, then beyond. But as time passes, and the winnowing accelerates, and the gaps between "haves" and "have nots" grows wider, there is nothing dis-reputable about facing reality. DOI, my beloved ally, bless your gutsy heart, but your 13-center power in 2129 just was NOT going to solo. Not in 2135. Not in 2150. Not ever. Hence, to say that you were playing for solo is really pretty hollow and meaningless.

Diplomacy is politics, which more-or-less by definition is the ART of compromise. Make the very, very best deal that you can with the tools available to you. If I can get an 85-center power, a 45-center power and a 40-center power -- 170 combined centers who had a solid non-agression agreement amongst themselves without a single misfire in 29 years - to agree that my 30 centers are just too hard to crack and that I deserved a place at the table, then - excuse me - I think I accomplished something.

I ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS start every game PLANNING rto go for solo. No exceptions, ever. And I put my best into it. And I recently solo'd in a 10-player game - having stubbornly held onto that goal through 4 game years of stalemate that seemed almost impossible to break. But I think being a good DIPLOMACY player also means being able to realistically assess prospects, and - again - make the best deal you can.

In this game, it was my judgement that stopping at the 6 or 7-way level was the best outcome for me. It was a cost-benefit analysis that I was, after all, NOT among the top 3 nations. If this was going to go down to a 3 or 4 way draw (or, the elusive solo), it was my carefully considered judgement that I probably would NOT be in those final 3. Put differently, it was my assessment of the map and circumstances that I probably could not achieve solo or top 3 MILITARILY, so I set about to lock in my "victory" DIPLOMATICALLY. And, again, excuse me, but that is the name of this game!

Anyone is free to disagree with my assessment. Anyone can point out that I missed this opportunity, or didn't consider that factor. Others may be better players than I, either strategically or tactically, and others may have gotten farther with the California position than I did. If anyone wishes to claim they are a better player of the game, I will happily concede the possibility. But what I do not accept - what I reject utterly - is the assertion or implication that favoring, lobbying for, or accepting a draw somehow makes me a player less worthy of respect. Hooey! Proposing draws, arguing for and against draws, and deciding when it is a good deal to accept a draw is PURE diplomacy - it is achieving goals with words and arguments alone.

As for the disingenuousness of the argument, I think that part is glaringly self-evident. If pushing always and forever for solo is the ONLY legitimate approach to or outcome of this game, then....um.... why did all 7 of the final nations vote "Yes" to end with a draw? To claim that YOUR reasons for voting "Yes" were legitimate and honorable while others' reasons were pathetic or small-thinking is just an astounding display of self-serving rationalization.

All 7 final nations voted for the draw. Any could have refused. Case closed.
SOLOS
ICE&FIRE.1-Martell/EXCALIBUR.1-Angles/EXCALIBUR.2-Scots/EMERALD-Sno/MOD.4-Italy/SENGOKU.1-OdaNobu/S.AMERICA.1-Peru

DRAWS
1930-China/BattleIsleA-Winterfell/S&S-Turkey/WORLD INFL-Venezuela/LECRAE-Dublin/WWIV.2-Cali/IMPERIAL1861.1-Trky/YNGSTWN.1-Grmny/AMERICAS.2-Mex/AFRICAN.2-S.Arabia
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Re: World War IV: AAR's

Postby asudevil » 12 Mar 2013, 05:53

I think his point is that some of US...and by us I mean me...started thinking draw WAY early....like 2105 early
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Re: World War IV: AAR's

Postby AardvarkArmy » 12 Mar 2013, 06:13

I never considered a draw before 2116....

... and hindsight shows that I was correct in deeming that my status as the 4th or 5th ranked power was unlikely to change much beyond that date. The stalemate line between Cal/Can vs Arg/Ama was just too ossified.
SOLOS
ICE&FIRE.1-Martell/EXCALIBUR.1-Angles/EXCALIBUR.2-Scots/EMERALD-Sno/MOD.4-Italy/SENGOKU.1-OdaNobu/S.AMERICA.1-Peru

DRAWS
1930-China/BattleIsleA-Winterfell/S&S-Turkey/WORLD INFL-Venezuela/LECRAE-Dublin/WWIV.2-Cali/IMPERIAL1861.1-Trky/YNGSTWN.1-Grmny/AMERICAS.2-Mex/AFRICAN.2-S.Arabia
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Re: World War IV: AAR's

Postby DOI » 12 Mar 2013, 11:28

AardvarkArmy wrote:why did all 7 of the final nations vote "Yes" to end with a draw?

Would the ambassador of the United States care to answer that one? ...Ambassador? Is your nation still... oh. Right.
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Re: World War IV: AAR's

Postby Imperatrix » 13 Mar 2013, 12:07

The conclusion to the history of the Thai Empire

Act IV: Draw, draw, draw (2116-2127)

My narrative is nearly done. Yet, surprisingly, only half the game has passed. Russia stabbed me about six months into the game. I was not eliminated until almost nine months later. What happened in between was both unpleasant and fairly predictable, so I shall tell it quickly.

I am not stupid. After losing the alliance with Russia, I knew that my only realistic hopes were a quick draw, while I still had enough units left to bargain. And there was a chance for this. While the last remnants of Russia slowed Nigeria’s eastward progress, I shifted my units into place, staging strategic retreats in India, rearranging the northern guards. I saw the stalemate line: a very long one, from central Siberia, through western China and Tibet, around the Himalayas, across Bangladesh and into the eastern Indian Ocean, through Sumatra and the Java Sea. It was enormous; it took 22 units. But it was unbreakable. No combination of orders by Nigeria, Kenya, or South Africa could get through it from the west. Song worked out an extension, deep into the Pacific. We could hold back the fleets of Argentina. We could cordon off all of East Asia, all of its centres. We could force a draw.

All that was left was the northeast side of our territory. And there, inevitably, came California and Canada. We had fought them, then made peace with them, then fought them again, then allied with them. By this point it had become obvious that the Latin/African bloc could kill everyone else, so they had good reason to work with us. With their help, we could extend the stalemate line into North America. And that, surely, would be the end of the game.

I still believe that. This game would have ended in a 9-way draw last summer if Canada and California had honored our agreement. And that was the best outcome I could hope for. But it did not happen. Canada stabbed me. My stalemate line was unbreakable from the west, but I was completely defenseless from the east. It only took one Canadian army to start knocking out my centres, and then I had to start disbanding the stalemate line. After that, it was only a matter of time until Nigeria came barreling through to the Pacific.

I never understood why Canada did that; he never really answered my questions. From his AAR, it appears now that he just didn’t want any draw at all. That’s not an instinct I understand, but I can respect it. It’s my own fault for not appreciating that possibility: I thought we could count on Canadian cooperation because we offered him the best chance of certain survival through a quick draw. But he chose a boisterous chaos – and a role of kingmaker for Nigeria – instead. So it goes.

So Canada stabbed, my stalemate wall collapsed, and onward came the African armies. Death was inevitable but very slow. Several times Nigeria offered me a deal, but I never seriously thought of accepting. I had watched Nigeria destroy a series of minor allies once they’d stopped being useful to him. I had no reason to think that I would not simply be another. At a late point, after I had already lost quite a bit of territory, Nigeria proposed that Song and I should destroy all of our armies and take to the seas, where we would act as his forward guard against Argentina or California or someone. Of course, this would leave our centres entirely at his mercy.

I refused the offer. Perhaps this was a mistake. Song accepted, and he lived to share in the draw. I was the last original player to be eliminated. Would it have gone differently if I’d taken Nigeria’s offer? Maybe not – I was in a less useful position than Song, and Nigeria might have felt some obligation to allow Kenya to finish me off no matter what I decided. Or maybe I could have stayed, especially after South Africa went haywire. I don’t know. But I don’t regret my decision.

The last few months, I played the game much more off-board than on, barely spending any time on my orders. I schemed for an inclusive draw while I still had units. The only exciting moment came toward the end, when Song and I strategically accepted a draw from which we had been excluded. (Sorry, California, this was not a triumph of manipulation on your part. You did not, as you claimed above, come close to “the brilliant stroke of defeating [us] through pure diplomacy.” We knew exactly what we were doing, what risk we were taking, and it played out exactly as we expected it to. Your messages had nothing to do with it. If anything, your relentless condescension nearly drove me to spitefully not do what you wanted.) We deliberately waited until just before the draw was set to expire, on the theory that Nigeria and Kenya, the remaining holdouts, would not be able to accept quickly enough – or at least that Nigeria would use this as his excuse for not accepting. And that’s what happened. The draw expired, but only after Song and I had shown ourselves to be public-spirited citizens. And so the road was clear for us to say, “we tried it your way, so now we are entitled to refuse anything but a draw that includes us”, while still maintaining friendly contact with some of Nigeria’s increasingly nervous allies.

Of course we still didn’t get the inclusive draw, but there was ever only the slimmest hope of that. Still, it was fun, for a moment there at the end, to be back to scheming. And, if nothing else, I finally contacted Amazon, for the first time all game. Then I died.


So ends my tale. I'll post once more, with reflections and conclusions.
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Re: World War IV: AAR's

Postby AardvarkArmy » 13 Mar 2013, 18:49

Imperatrix wrote: I schemed for an inclusive draw while I still had units. The only exciting moment came toward the end, when Song and I strategically accepted a draw from which we had been excluded. (Sorry, California, this was not a triumph of manipulation on your part. You did not, as you claimed above, come close to “the brilliant stroke of defeating [us] through pure diplomacy.” We knew exactly what we were doing, what risk we were taking, and it played out exactly as we expected it to. Your messages had nothing to do with it. If anything, your relentless condescension nearly drove me to spitefully not do what you wanted.) We deliberately waited until just before the draw was set to expire, on the theory that Nigeria and Kenya, the remaining holdouts, would not be able to accept quickly enough – or at least that Nigeria would use this as his excuse for not accepting. And that’s what happened. The draw expired, but only after Song and I had shown ourselves to be public-spirited citizens. And so the road was clear for us to say, “we tried it your way, so now we are entitled to refuse anything but a draw that includes us”, while still maintaining friendly contact with some of Nigeria’s increasingly nervous allies.


Really? That was your strategy? I don't think ANYONE had the reaction to your efforts that you presume. Your "accepting" of the draw at the 11th hour and submitting of orders to end the phase more or less simultaneously was quite transparently either an utterly disingenuous act or an utterly incompetent one - neither of which won you any votes for inclusion in any future draw.
SOLOS
ICE&FIRE.1-Martell/EXCALIBUR.1-Angles/EXCALIBUR.2-Scots/EMERALD-Sno/MOD.4-Italy/SENGOKU.1-OdaNobu/S.AMERICA.1-Peru

DRAWS
1930-China/BattleIsleA-Winterfell/S&S-Turkey/WORLD INFL-Venezuela/LECRAE-Dublin/WWIV.2-Cali/IMPERIAL1861.1-Trky/YNGSTWN.1-Grmny/AMERICAS.2-Mex/AFRICAN.2-S.Arabia
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Re: World War IV: AAR's

Postby thewysecat » 13 Mar 2013, 19:33

I was working on a reply to Ghost Echo, but it didn't seem a high priority to post it as I wasn't really sure it advanced understanding for the general reader much or really got GhostEcho and I anywhere either. Anyway, it turns out that some of it is kind of relevant to AA's recent post so for the record here goes...

Anyway, GhostEcho - long story short I don't believe anything in your opening “amusing” post is accurate. And nothing you have posted subsequently justifies your alleged summaries of my in-thread positions. They are mischaracterisations. To recap:

GhostEcho wrote: 1) - You could not possibly solo
A) You believe in always playing for the solo, anyway
2) - But worry over your reaching a solo-capable point was unjustified
B) So the end result was probably a draw
3) - But continuing the game would have been better because there was still play in the position
4) - But people who just want to cut down on the number in the final draw are weak players

GhostEcho wrote:I think it's clear enough that (A) and (4) are things you actually do believe: that the point of the game is a solo, and that draw-whittling is a nuisance at best. If you insist I'll quote you there too.

No it isn’t “clear enough” in relation to (4). I have not described directly or indirectly such players as being “weak”

I have said here and elsewhere in the forum that those that intentionally draw-whittle - i.e. playing initially or playing on from some post-start game-point with the sole purpose of lowering the value of n in a n-player draw - I consider ignoble in motive. Further, if it truly is their conscious intent to do this from the get-go then I also think they are being selfish in signing up for a game under false pretenses and diminishing the game-play experience of their fellow players who are playing to their VCs.

I have also suggested that setting aside those unambiguously intending to whittle, that we move from a discussion of well-defined motivation into more nebulous realms of playing advice. And so...that it is my experience that all of us potentially lie across a spectrum to the extent that we tend to make play choices that consciously/unconsciously trend to an n-player draw. I come to every AAR to reflect on whether I have – in retrospect – really tried to try to win by keeping complexity/chaos high and avoiding game choices that narrow my pathway to a win. Further I have speculated here and elsewhere that many making these decisions may be under the false impression that the decisions they are making are increasing their solo chances when in fact they are doing the opposite. And that this is happening because of a misconception about how solos can be achieved. For example, that eliminating player x at this time in the game is taking them closer to a win because they gain some SCs from it when in fact it is making their chances of winning smaller.

I have discussed this idea in other threads and if you want to read more this one will do:

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=14735&start=10

Likewise, when a game has too many players who are draw-whittling for whatever combination of conscious/unconscious motives either from game start or too early in the game's narrative then it lacks the critical mass of players actively pursuing their VCs necessary to fulfill its potential. And when a game takes as much time and investment as this one does that is a frustration.
GhostEcho wrote: Now, my phrase, "could not possibly solo", is perhaps even stronger than what you said, but most people would admit that it's not an unreasonable paraphrase.

“perhaps even stronger” – there is no perhaps about it.

“most people would admit that it’s not an unreasonable paraphrase” – sorry, but this is not what I said and it is not a reasonable paraphrase.

However all of this is meaningless without its context.

The context for all of this dialogue is that you find my AAR “amusing” - and not as in witty, but as in laughable – presumably for its double-standards (which you later accuse me of) which are in some way illustrated by your 6 point summary of my AAR. Well, I still don’t know exactly what you mean about a double standard in relation to (1) since you continue to ignore my first post in response to this where I asked you to discuss game dates that you wish to attach to your summaries.

When in the game do you claim that I believed a solo was impossible? Game start? Game end? When? And depending on your answer how is that a double standard?

When I post a DIAS draw I have essentially said my chances of a solo are gone, so if you mean game end what exactly is wrong about that as it intersects with anything I've written in this AAR? In 2128/9 I thought I had failed and so I posted a draw that included all surviving players? True, as always there is also some nuance with a draw proposal. I retained a small solo hope but that itself depended on being able to rely on Paulus to help me retain STH and REU and posting the draw was the only way to get that from him.

Anyway, I have explained what I would do in a hypothetical 2130. There was a small ‘last’ chance based on typical naval order sets coming from Asudevil that meant I could possibly take MSA in Fall 2130 at a time when he and Girion were down to one saved build each. One logical potential retreat from MSA was Rio that would have eliminated Girion’s last build. Either way, I might then barter possession of MSA and resultant fears of an invasion of South America (which I would not actually attempt) into a chance to take SWA and/or WED. If I could do that I might get subsequently get a fleet behind Girion’s stalemate line. What were the chances of this working? Pretty low, since it would require several good guesses in a row, but it was theoretically doable. Had it failed I would likely have posted another DIAS.

Alternatively, if Girion was willing to go for a solo or determined to try and whittle to 3 or 4 (I cannot control his motives and actions) then I would do the best I could to take advantage of that and throw SCs to DOI with a view to getting into the Carribean as Girion stabbed Asudevil and thus giving myself a chance at subsequent comeback in Asia and regaining my thrown SCs for a renewed solo attempt.

Anyway, same in relation to (B) - not only have I not said it, but I am not sure at what game date you claim I have said it such that it illustrates some "amusing” double standard.

At game start? Certainly not. Or at least not if what you are implying is that following from that thought is the idea that since this - or any game of Diplomacy - is likely to end in a draw one might as well be cautious and not/barely play for a solo since that is to risk one’s own place in a draw. If you mean when I posted a DIAS in 2128/29 – then what is your problem exactly?
GhostEcho wrote: You've laid out why asudevil's thoughts that your solo was impending were relatively baseless.

No I haven’t; and this is why your summary point (2) remains a mischaracterisation and nothing you have quoted subsequently alters that fact.

In particular, you continue to conflate two different things while also - it seems to me - conflating different game states at different game dates.

I have said that Asudevil’s fears over my invading South America in 2112 were baseless and that similarly his fears that PDU was a precursor to a North American invasion in 2117 were baseless. I have set out the tactical reasons why and you are free to counter them. You have not.

I have also plainly stated that it is absolutely proper for him, me or anyone else to keep a close eye on solo chances of the boardleader or anyone else.

What I have also contended though is that Asudevil was not playing to win and that this was likely true from 2112 if not before and certainly true by around 2117. In particular, his aim was to bring the game to a draw. This impacted my game choices in the way I have articulated. For example, he would never risk stabbing Girion lest it lead to my solo and because he had no thought of trying to solo himself that variable had no part in that decision. I have further contended that this was unreasonably risk-adverse given that I was on 35 SCs and he on 25 SCs in 2112 and that the same is still true five game years later when the count was nearer 52:31.

You are free to disagree, but you have not attempted to explain why. In particular, you carry on as if my statements in relation to 2112 or 2117 are being applied in a setting akin to the game-state in 2128 when they are not.

Likewise, if I said that Asudevil should have attacked me in 2112 or 2117 because it could have worked for him then that would be a double standard since I have rejected its inverse (me attacking him at that point) as absurd. Of course I haven’t said any such thing so there is no double standard there.

So...you have instead suggested that I am risk adverse in this same context by rejecting the Nigeria attacks South America idea and that this is the double standard. Fair enough, I’ve openly asked you to explain why you think my attacking Asudevil and Girion sometime in 2112-17 would have either: (a) worked for me tactically or (b) been diplomatically beneficial in getting me closer to a solo. I am willing to learn, and if you can do that credibly then you have likely properly identified somewhere I have failed to reach my own standard of trying to try. However you have not even attempted to do so. Ergo I continue to reject as a false equivalency the linkage you are making between my rejection of a plan for Nigeria to attack South America and my critiques of Asudevil’s intent to draw from what I consider an indecently early stage of the game.
GhostEcho wrote: I think I have sufficiently demonstrated that much of your AAR discussion has been discussing why you were not in fact a solo threat.

No you haven’t because that is not what any - let alone much - of my AAR discussion has been about.

Once again it absolutely fine - not to say essential - to watch the solo threat of me or anyone else. That threat though has to be both weighed accurately and - crucially - part of that calculation should be your own attempt to solo.

What I have also done at points is discuss what I consider the failure to accurately weigh the tactical/diplomatic situation – for example, the idea of PDU being the beachhead of a North American invasion is a non-starter. The relevance of explaining this in an AAR is multi-fold but includes helping those outside the Southern Alliance understand what was happening in it and - from my persepective - the origins of its decline. It also gives an honest account of my state of mind in-game from that game date and the reasons for it.

Likewise, I have cited an example of what I consider an inaccurate assessment of the risk of my solo (or any other adverse outcome for that player) relative to the potential reward for that player. Namely, when Girion called off the attack on Can-Cal in Fall 2126. His own stated reasons are that he feared Paulus handing me SCs and that is why he did it. I have set out in detail why I believe that to be a premature move and - to the extent that you give a damn what he thinks - DOI has agreed.

GhostEcho wrote: 1) You failed as a diplomat (sorry - I can't think of a more polite way to put it) in convincing other powers to continue the game until you reached a point where you could in fact win;

Of course I failed diplomatically and indeed tactically. I have no idea how you could be confused about my views on that point given that I opened up with a corrective to the “winner” tag and have gone on to explain in detail what I consider a success and how I failed to get there?

What I have also raised is the context of my failure. I say the level of draw-mongering and the efforts to bring this game to a mass draw were premature and unreasonable in the extent to which the board collectively failed to try and reach its VCs. Discuss. Cite your reasoning.

I will also add, that the manner in which some tried to get a draw was irksome to me. Time has given me perspective, but if anything set me on tilt this game it was that actually.
GhostEcho wrote:The other possibility is whether a smaller draw is a "better" result. This brings us to (3), the thought that there was more play in the position. (To substantiate this as something you said, I would refer again to your "Girion" scenario) I would say a smaller draw is not inherently better, except so far as it is more likely that the possible play is limited with fewer players ("variables") left.

Should the larger powers have continued play? Let's give this a tentative "probably". Then their failure to do so is a failure. But, then, since you didn't force continuation, same thing. And if the smaller powers got a draw, that's a best-possible result for them.

I'll reply re. my correspondence later.

So in other words, nothing quoted justifies what your summary #(3) claims.

I have both explained exactly how I would have carried on in a hypothetical 2130 and to what purpose. None of it comes close to the idea that I felt playing on was definitively “better”.

In particular, I believe that every draw is the same result regardless of how many are in it. Consequently, if what you are implying is that I wanted to play on to reduce the players in the draw then you are expressing something that is the opposite of what I said, what I believe and indeed what I did and do! I posted a DIAS. Go through my player history on the main site. You will find that I have never accepted or posted a draw that is less than a DIAS. It’s even my motto on the main site. The fact that DIAS was introduced as an option on this site at all is partially attributable to the campaign and dialogue bb82, myself and others worked hard to lead over several months both in thread and in PM with Dipsy.

The DIAS debates were - in my view - very rich. You can check them out:

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=11863

GhostEcho wrote: Let me similarly trim down my reply to what seemed my main point:

GhostEcho wrote:At any rate, you have my assurance that I am not planning anything at the moment: some kind of consolidation is the best I am likely to achieve (although your Kenyan friend is a nuisance and I do actually have some armies there so he is not keeping Vol).

Assuming you're willing to halt your advance for a turn, that will give you a better idea what we are both thinking.


Bolded is my claim to be willing to cooperate. In mentioning Kenya I was trying to gauge your reaction toward aggression against your allies.

Personally, if I want to tell someone I am willing to co-operate with them I’ll say: “Hey, I am willing to co-operate with you.” Then I will set out specifically in what ways and with what – if any - parameters make that offer conditional. I will likely include specific proposed orders. However, whatever really…
GhostEcho wrote: You have essentially admitted you were unwilling at least in my case to risk making an ally of me in the statement I quoted above, and just planned to eliminate my Russia.

Then you have a different understanding of the word “risk” from me (and I'd suggest the dictionary). That word implies a potential danger taken in exchange for the potential to gain reward. What danger was there to me in allying with you that I avoided as seemingly too scary and risky? Likewise, what potential advantage there was to me?

Allying with you wasn't a risk. It was simply of minimal to no use and not a product I really wanted to invest too much effort in faking an interest in.

Someone walks up and says: “Want to buy a newspaper?”

You say: “No thanks”

How is it then appropriate for the potential newspaper salesperson to say: “Oh you didn’t buy it because you were risk-adverse.” It was just a product I did not want and had no use for. Not least since in this case you didn’t even say the equivalent of: “Want to buy a newspaper?” You sort of said the equivalent of: “I have a newspaper” and when asked “ok, so tell me why I should be interested in that because right now I am not?” you shrugged. That's what our correspondence shows.

You’ve stated earlier that you formed the impression from our in-game correspondence that I was risk-adverse. I don't believe you. I don’t think anyone then or now could honestly conclude that from this correspondence in its context. I think the correspondence speaks for itself in showing that.
GhostEcho wrote:I still feel, though I don't know that I could prove it, that you are/were being unrealistic in your expectations of other players. Your favorite allies seem to be the ones for whom you could simply write orders, for instance, while you appear to find players with different analyses than your own aggravating. I don't really have enough evidence to prove it, as I said, and I am not going to bother to compile every turn of phrase that has, considered as a whole, given me this impression: it would be most of what you've written. I offer this as a possible hypothesis, an observation based on a "feel" of the discussion to me. Again, I am not going to try to prove this further - take it or leave it.

So there isn't a lot to do with this. To me, this sounds like a flight from intellectual integrity - basically riffing off a manipulative technique. Don’t say: “You did x” because then you have to prove it and deal with the (objective) evaluation of evidence and facts. That is to say, be accountable for your positions. Much better instead to say: “I feel/felt x” because who can argue with what you felt - right? You felt it and no one can gainsay you and now its the other person's problem to deal with your feelings.

Well in short – no thanks – Mr feelings is likely not engaged in collaborative inquiry here.

It's not actually hard to try and prove. I have given you 3 case studies with my conclusions and reasoning - you can examine and critique them and have been invited to do so. I get if you don't want to invest the time, but ...

GhostEcho wrote: Your favorite allies seem to be the ones for whom you could simply write orders, for instance, while you appear to find players with different analyses than your own aggravating.

What’s wrong with having an ally submit the orders you wrote – seriously? The only thing better is an ally who discusses all the relevant ideas with you thoroughly - testing assumptions and iteratively deepening and enhancing your thinking about the order set - before then still obligingly entering the new improved version you wrote.

In the end this is just an uncalled for dig really. The effort and care I put into all my alliances as collaborative ventures does not warrant this kind of mischaracterisation. At times I showed more dedication and energy than some of my allies and produced more ideas, but the idea that it was dictatorship or no alliance is completely unfair.

I have not been aggravated by different analyses. What I have cited is the frustration at key points of being presented with a conclusion based on little or no analysis. For example, in relation to the whole Nigeria invades South America concept - then and now - I invited anyone to counter my analysis. I would have welcomed it and the offer is still open to you. You don’t take me up either. In the absence of that what can one work with then or now? Asudevil freely describes his approach as “FREAKING out” (his capitals) and “paranoia” - so yeah that was frustrating to deal with since by definition it could not be reasoned with. Not least because around that timeframe he essentially closed down his game and decided to go for reducing n in a n-player draw. I think it is legitimate to find that frustrating since it is so premature. Feel free to disagree, but either way I hope it helps readers understand the game better by knowing what was happening inside the Southern Alliance from Nigeria's perspective.
GhostEcho wrote:Again, I am not going to try to prove this further - take it or leave it.

And I'd invite you to think about the sentiment of this statement.
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Re: World War IV: AAR's

Postby thewysecat » 13 Mar 2013, 19:34

AardvarkArmy wrote: For the record, I consider all this talk that a draw is not a win...,well, a huge load of hoooey, and, quite frankly, spectacularly disingenuous

The difference between a win and a draw as concepts is abundantly clear. A draw is not a win. It really is incredibly straightforward. And yet intelligent folks will argue black is white with such passion that is hard to know what to do in the face of it.

Anyway, if anyone wants to read perhaps the definitive debate on this site about whether a draw is a win then check out this beauty (hold on to your hat):

viewtopic.php?f=31&t=11743

To help things along and give a context for the rest of my post here is an edit of something I had lying around from another post or PM. It will suffice to save me some time composing something completely new for here:

I try to try to win. I try to play to my victory conditions. That is my alpha and omega. In order of priority my victory conditions are:

1) Fight to gain 50+% of SCs to win the game
2) If I have given up on achieving 1) then fight to prevent anyone else achieving 1) with a strong preference for survival/inclusion in the resulting draw
3) When everyone in the game has given up on 1) - post/accept a DIAS draw
4) That's it

And when does 2) kick in?

Well there's the rub isn't it and almost everything AA posts completely ignores this by setting up the strawman of pretending that what is being discussed in this AAR are only steps 1) and then 4) whereas 2) and 3) are verboten

Certainly some players do actually completely omit step 1). In my view, they are being incredibly selfish in a RL sense. All players are entitled to expect that those signing up will play to their VCs as set out in the rules. To not do so is a RL breach of faith. It takes many hours to play this game and if someone doesn't play to their victory conditions they are diminishing the game experience for everyone else and have betrayed the implicit contract between the players at sign up to play the game as written and advertised.

Other players, in my opinion, pay fleeting lipservice to step 1) and pretty much fall into the same category for me

This is frustrating and it isn't rude to point it out because it isn't the person pointing it out that is being disrespectful

[Incidentally, a related nuance is that one of the attractions of Diplomacy is the flexibility afforded to players to give expression to their (very human) motives. And exploiting those emotions - in competent play - is largely the main/only way to win. On the other hand, in my view, the hobby suffers from players signing up and playing by different 'codes' or constructs of their own devising. When these 'codes' subvert the game's VCs - its raison d'etre - then they are distorting and unbalancing the game and again diminishing the game-play experience of others]

Now to get back to steps 2) and 3) above - the issue becomes more nuanced once we have dealt with those who simply decline to pursue step 1). We move from what might be termed simple game-start philosophy to more complex play advice. This is itself naturally an area of debate. My experience has led me to form the null hypothesis that I touched on in my reply to GhostEcho - that players do believe they are trying to solo, but because they have a misconception about what game-states actually increase their liklihood of soloing they are in fact making decisions that diminish their chance of soloing.

BB kindly re-quoted a little summary of what I consider the essence of a game-state that allows someone the chance to solo. And if BB or anyone else is interested you can read more here:

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=24613

And particularly here:

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=14735

It led to a great PM exchange with Dipsy as he had a bit of an aha moment.

Anyway, I'll say more on this in direct response to AA.

AardvarkArmy wrote: ...and that only those "true believers" who kept their eye unswervingly on solo deserve any respect in the game to be, well, a huge load of hoooey, and, quite frankly, spectacularly disingenuous.

No one said that respect was restricted to a sub-set of anyone.

Anyway, since you raise "disingenuous" in this passage let's leap straight to there.

AardvarkArmy wrote: As for the disingenuousness of the argument, I think that part is glaringly self-evident. If pushing always and forever for solo is the ONLY legitimate approach to or outcome of this game, then....um.... why did all 7 of the final nations vote "Yes" to end with a draw?

All 7 final nations voted for the draw. Any could have refused. Case closed.

This is just daft really. I mean it all holds together if you accept the absurd strawman that: "..pushing always and forever for the solo is the ONLY legitimate approach to our outcome of this game..." is what is being discussed in this AAR, but it isn't.

Those that simply ignore or barely pay lipservice to what I termed step 1) above are unambiguous cases. But there is after that - as I say - alot of nuance. More interesting questions arise about the move to what I call step 2) above from what range of conscious/unconscious reasons are in play and with what timing are people shutting down their win attempts. I contend that in this game the level of drawmongering was widespread and indecently early relative to the game's scale and scope. In my reply to GhostEcho, I talk about Asudevil for example and I have appreciated the honesty of his posts in this AAR. His last post shows that he readily understands what I am talking about and isn't reducing it to this parody. I said Asudevil was at that stage by at least 2112 if not before. He confirms nearer 2105.

I will also keep emphasising that I am talking about a "Critical mass" within the game being absent. Also that given what I dubbed test #1 for this map we would collectively have needed a great deal of imagination and commitment (test #2) to the game-state principles that can lead to achieving a solo. In all seriousness, to Imperatrix's point if Indonesia hadn't of dropped out what value of n would there be in a n-player draw? Further, and again, if no one had NMRed or dropped out on this map what chance a 20-25 player draw? It is just that kind of map.

Anyway, back on topic - in my opinion, the idea of draw-whittling is also central to this question of the extent to which people are mindfully pursuing a solo. If you believe that a 4-way draw is better than a 5-way draw or whatever then it must significantly impact on the alacrity with which you switch from step 1) to step 2). And here we open up another whole can of worms because this community in particular has been socialised to this kind of thinking as a norm whereas the original rules are and have always been DIAS. All draws are equal.

Now people decided they wanted to play tournaments quite early on in the hobby and so they needed to construct a meta-game (scoring system) to help them differentiate a winner when we were talking about playing multiple individual games of Diplomacy. (Do not confuse meta-game with metagaming by the way) Anyway, SC count is one simple way to do that which in turn can encourage whittling. I don't like tournaments for that reason because the meta-game naturally impacts on how people play any given game. One simple example should illustrate - it is the final board and you are in the top5 on tournament points and so if any of your rival top 5 are in your game you naturally want to ensure you end with more SCs than them - that inevitably drives your choices in that game.

Anyway, in effect we have placed a tournment-like metagame above all of our games on this site and it impacts on how people play the game and that in turn carries on into this forum. Getting a lower value of n in an n-player draw is incentivised in this community and that must by definition impact player choices because it imposes a new paradigm on the game that are not in the rules.

All of which is to say why I have long favoured DIAS.

I could talk more on this, but you can read the other threads on this if you wish and hopefully you can see the dynamic I am referencing in terms of how it leads to behaviours that mitigate against efforts to solo.

The same is also true in of course if someone truly thinks that a draw is a win. Put the two together and the spectrum along which we all lie is skewed in a certain direction....

AardvarkArmy wrote:To claim that YOUR reasons for voting "Yes" were legitimate and honorable while others' reasons were pathetic or small-thinking is just an astounding display of self-serving rationalization.

Sorry, but where has anyone claimed such things? Pretending an 'opponent' has said something absurd that they haven't just so you can shoot it down - with or without associated outrage - is all good knockabout stuff, but...

AardvarkArmy wrote:As for it being hooey, diplomacy in the game is really no different at all than diplomacy in the real world. Would the USA absolutely love to impose it's will without bend on every other nation on the planet? Of course it would. But then, so would China. And France. And Jamaica. I can pretty well predict that no President/Prime MInister/Secretary of State of ANY nation will EVER achieve that lofty goal - there are just too many factors and variables and other players in the mix. So "victory" in the real world consists of making the very most, getting the very best deal one can with the cards one is playing. Can the USA effectively dominate the Western World and put a big footprint on other areas? Perhaps. Can China dominate Asia and also put footprints in far corners? Perhaps. Can France exert muscle in the EU and a large swath of Africa and SE Asia? Perhaps? Can Jamaica negotiate favorable trade deals and enforce it's borders against its hjugely powerful neighbor? Perhaps. And, in the real world, any of these accomplishments would likely be deemed "victories" for their respective architects.

The game is really no different. Can little 13-center Canada carve out a niche that is both geopgraphically defensible and politically valuable in order to thrive while surrounded by powers 3-5 times his size? Yup. Can Song withstand 10 years of brutal attacks by multiple enemies? Yup. Have they both earned a place at the table by doing so? I say they have.

OF COURSE we ALL start out dreaming of solo. Indonesia probably dreamed of fleets circling the equator. Texas probably imagined expanding to swallow all of North America, then beyond. But as time passes, and the winnowing accelerates, and the gaps between "haves" and "have nots" grows wider, there is nothing dis-reputable about facing reality. DOI, my beloved ally, bless your gutsy heart, but your 13-center power in 2129 just was NOT going to solo. Not in 2135. Not in 2150. Not ever. Hence, to say that you were playing for solo is really pretty hollow and meaningless.

Diplomacy is politics, which more-or-less by definition is the ART of compromise. Make the very, very best deal that you can with the tools available to you. If I can get an 85-center power, a 45-center power and a 40-center power -- 170 combined centers who had a solid non-agression agreement amongst themselves without a single misfire in 29 years - to agree that my 30 centers are just too hard to crack and that I deserved a place at the table, then - excuse me - I think I accomplished something.

I ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS start every game PLANNING rto go for solo. No exceptions, ever. And I put my best into it. And I recently solo'd in a 10-player game - having stubbornly held onto that goal through 4 game years of stalemate that seemed almost impossible to break. But I think being a good DIPLOMACY player also means being able to realistically assess prospects, and - again - make the best deal you can.

In this game, it was my judgement that stopping at the 6 or 7-way level was the best outcome for me. It was a cost-benefit analysis that I was, after all, NOT among the top 3 nations. If this was going to go down to a 3 or 4 way draw (or, the elusive solo), it was my carefully considered judgement that I probably would NOT be in those final 3. Put differently, it was my assessment of the map and circumstances that I probably could not achieve solo or top 3 MILITARILY, so I set about to lock in my "victory" DIPLOMATICALLY. And, again, excuse me, but that is the name of this game!

Anyone is free to disagree with my assessment. Anyone can point out that I missed this opportunity, or didn't consider that factor. Others may be better players than I, either strategically or tactically, and others may have gotten farther with the California position than I did. If anyone wishes to claim they are a better player of the game, I will happily concede the possibility. But what I do not accept - what I reject utterly - is the assertion or implication that favoring, lobbying for, or accepting a draw somehow makes me a player less worthy of respect. Hooey! Proposing draws, arguing for and against draws, and deciding when it is a good deal to accept a draw is PURE diplomacy - it is achieving goals with words and arguments alone.

And some of the above is great. All I can say is that even the good stuff needs to be - if not rejected - significantly tempered because without that....before you know it all the sensible pragmatic decisions you have made have prematurely sent you into a cul-de-sac from which you cannot win. And that in my judgement is what is happening with many players including me. However some are not intentionally trying to be mindful about that. I am trying to try and I encourage the same in others.

I cannot give you a definitive rubric on how to evaluate that. Nor am I saying you have to be some wildman taking stupid risks, because that isn't it either. But somehow you must look beyond the short or even medium term 'sensible' option and check in with yourself as to whether in some fatal way it is ending your solo chance.

This is why I cite the analogy of the oracular vision of the Kwisatz Haderach. He was trying to see into the future to make choices now that ensured the survival of humanity. His thinking was incredibly long-term. The analogy is claiming that planning a solo is akin to this. And I am glad you revert to the word "planning" rather than "dreaming" which you initially use because solo attempts have to be planned. That does not mean it is all formulaic either of course. The plan will change. Alot in all liklihood and yet in some fundamentals not so much. Either way, you have to have a plan to change a plan. My challenge is how did you and every player writing in this AAR plan to solo? I have tried to set out how I planned to solo and have already identified at least one basic failure to try to try in that I failed to count precisely what my 123rd SC might be at an early enough juncture and thus missed ths strategic significance of the Carribean to me. I should have known that from 01. And that would have amended my game choices from 01. I was caught dreaming when I should have been planning.

I rarely lament in AAR a failure to win - unless it is some blunder that cost me a solo. To switch analogies - the equivalent of missing a mate in chess only 2 moves ahead. Here we are trying to think...goodness knows how many moves ahead. My standard is trying to try.

As I reflect on this game, I focus on my relationship with Paulus. He was never trying to win and I knew that, but sentiment definitely played a big part in how I treated him

Avon: There was a time when your simple-minded certainties were refreshing
Blake: Careful Avon, your sentiment is showing
Avon: That's your imagination

How should I have stabbed and when? Given the necessity of his unit mix in the early game and then in Persia and especially in stopping Thailand in India I cannot really say. In the end I conclude that the problem is bigger even than that. It was not so much the construction of the Southern Alliance but its nature and the culture that I helped build in it in the first 12-17 game years. That was where I failed to look-ahead and see how much I was limiting myself. It became a guilded cage and only I wanted to escape that pretty prison.

I mean the Fall 2125 attack by Song, Amazon and Argentina on Can-Cal was really my last big shot at creating enough chaos and resentment to possibly profit from and I had been planning that since about 2119 so clearly I had already made some wrong turns that had significantly narrowed my options.

AardvarkArmy wrote:But what I do not accept - what I reject utterly - is the assertion or implication that favoring, lobbying for, or accepting a draw somehow makes me a player less worthy of respect

Well since no one has done that you can rest easy

AardvarkArmy wrote: ...then - excuse me - I think I accomplished something.

And we might as well touch on this too. In other places and at other times I have encountered this response as if somehow what is being said here is denigrating draws as worthless. Its another strawman. A draw is a perfectly honourable result, but that isn't quite the point either since lots of people eliminated accomplished something too.

Again more of this can be reviewed here:

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=14735

But what I can tell you AA is that if draw = win is true (and it isn't) then with the exception of some gunboat and some 2-player games when I had the AGT pieces I have won every single game of Diplomacy I have ever played in my life - on this forum, on the mainsite or elsewhere. Well no of course I haven't 'won' them all and so there is the rub. What now? What should be any player's proper aim? What should drive their thinking and be the gold standard that they try to hold themselves to? To hope to solo sometimes but mostly keep up their 'win' record with lower values of n? Or truly attempt to try and solo/win and thus keep trying to somehow divine the alchemy that can lead there more often? I'm clear about what I think the 'right' choice is and I stick to my contention that in this game there was insufficient of this going on in the player group to let this game 'fly'.
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