AARs

GM Pedros. 4-way draw between England (attitudes), France (marsman57), Italy (GhostEcho), Russia (haroonriaz)

AARs

Postby Pedros » 09 Feb 2013, 12:35

A fascinating game. Russia (haroonriaz) looked to have it sewn up at one stage, but an unusually strong and coordinated defence from England (attitudes), France (marsman57) and Italy (GhostEcho) managed to turn the tables.
"Sooner or later, one of us will stab the other. But for now we're both better off as allies" (kininvie)
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Re: AARs

Postby attitudes » 10 Feb 2013, 00:59

Not much for me to say really. I took over for a struggling England without much hope of survival let alone being part of the victory. At first, it was clear that the best course of action was to stop a Russian solo. However, I gave Russia the benefit of the doubt and listened to what he had to say. Russia tried to convince me that I should be most concerned with immediately recapturing my home centers and in return he would leave Kiel for me. Didn't take long to realize that Russia was full of hogwash when the first turn out he attacked Kiel with everything he had. At this point, Russia and I mutually agreed to end dialogue. Okay, he told me "Goodbye" and I told him to "f**k off".

So I went to France and basically told him he had carte blanche to issue my orders for me. That lasted for a season or two and we coordinated well together exchanging supply centers and getting me some growth. I wanted a defensive position so negotiating for my home centers was critical for me. It basically prevented France from making a solo run himself as he couldn't stop my fleet from getting to the MAO and Iberia if he didn't play along with my conquest of Scandanavia.

I reluctantly agreed to the draw at the end even though I thought there was still play left in the game.
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Re: AARs

Postby marsman57 » 10 Feb 2013, 07:06

Great game. I probably could have made a solo run, but the calvary is filled with players of too high of quality. I know Russia berated me a lot about not stabbing attitudes before he got into his defensive position, but I did not believe he was bluffing about the poison pill he presented to the ALA. I also did not think the two way draw Russia suggested was tenable nor did I feel my position was strong enough for me to be the one to solo since I felt that Italy snd England would support Russian victory over French victory.

I agree there was more play left, but I felt that none of the results of that play would lead to a French solo so I supported the draw, especially after my relationship with Russia soured beyond recovery. Note: I initially accepted the draw as cover for a possible Italy stab, but encouraged attitudes to accept for the reasons above.
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Re: AARs

Postby haroonriaz » 10 Feb 2013, 09:20

Pretty forgettable game for me, not because I didn't get a solo. You don't get one unless you get one. But because it was a diplomatic mess and had a lot left in it and still ended in a mediocre result that everyone wanted. Everything came to a standstill. A stalemate in minds, not on the map. I guess that's what Diplomacy is all about. I think I didn't play really well. France kept on assuring me he would work for a better result but I knew this was the result he always wanted. But that's pragmatic. Later I wanted it too. A four way. So a four way, we have. Not a very great result and doesn't feel as good (AardvarkArmy's solo in Modern felt better though I was on the losing side), but that's what we all wanted. But I must confess my proposals of 2 way to France were not sincere, and of course he knew that all along. So in the end, when France asked me to work to eliminate Italy. I really thought that GhostEcho deserved ending up on the winning side. But it is my duty to acknowledge and appreciate the brilliantly successful resistance that brought the Russian Empire to its knees. All of you played well. Congratulations.

My early growth was due to the presence of confused opponents like Turkey, Austria and early England (I felt for Norway (diplomat42) who knew exactly what was going on but was in a too weak position to survive (but that really isn't a balance issue at all)), so frankly I don't rate my growth highly. It was almost inflated. Latter England's growth was only predictable at the point as well, and he did what he should have done, given how reasonable France was. However Italy did really well given his troublesome situation. For me, he has been the highlight of the game. France put up a really good resistance and as brilliant marsman57 is, I knew I couldn't relax at any point. From 1901 I knew France was the major enemy that I was dealing with. But England was always a threat right from the start. Well played, France and Italy. Both of you thoroughly deserve to be in the draw.

As for the surviving England, I am sick and tired of juvenile players like attitudes acting like whiners. You really need to have an ear for mourning and reprimands when playing with him (I kinda like it too, it's not a bad strategy but I feel like I am playing with my grandmother all the time). If we are in a game together again, I promise to send him exaggeratedly subservient messages groveling and begging him for bestowing the honor of his grace's high approval of alliance to me. For someone who sends you a message "I won't be opening your messages in this game from now on", this is a pretty decent definition of mutual agreement to end dialogue. I honestly have no time for his emotional bullcrap as there are better things to do. So you are one player I don't regret saying goodbye to.

At the same time, I am thankful to you for accepting the draw and putting everyone else including yourself out of the misery. And you know that.

Though I agree 100% with everyone here that this game had a lot of play left. And that is the worst part. My apologies to the moderator for this circus.

Thank you Pedros for brilliantly and patiently moderating the game. Sorry for all the illegal orders. You have my admiration.
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Re: AARs

Postby Pedros » 10 Feb 2013, 12:26

haroonriaz, I have to say I am very disappointed in your AAR, on at least two grounds. Firstly the personal invective isn't worthy of a good player. So attitudes got under your skin. I'd have thought that was success to him!

And secondly, how you can say that Norway being in too weak a position to affect the game at the start "isn't a question of balance" I don't understand, unless you don't understand the concept of balance. This variant is badly unbalanced. Neither Norway nor Spain have the slightest hope - way worse than Italy and Austria in Regular. The land-bridge to Ireland that was discussed at the outset would help Norway slightly (it probably wouldn't come under immediate attack from England) but not, I think, that much. And I can't see anything that could help Spain.

I will say nothing else (for the moment).
"Sooner or later, one of us will stab the other. But for now we're both better off as allies" (kininvie)
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Re: AARs

Postby VGhost » 10 Feb 2013, 21:34

I took over a 2 center Italy in 1907 and finished with 4 8 years later, so I think I'm counting this game as a moral victory!

This was a very weird game. By the time I joined, it was down to a Jug (Russia dominant) vs. a not-abnormal EFIG ALA, so it was basically a regular game from my perspective. The only unusual geography I had to deal with was Sicily, and that was never a factor.

The game would have been very different if Turkey had remembered to build... well, pretty much ever. My hindsight "prediction" is that pressure would have forced him to turn on Russia, which would have beaten down the white pieces much faster. I would have either gotten myself some Austrian centers, rebalancing a five-player game (EFRIT) and tried to establish NAP with Turkey and an anti-France alliance with England... or not gotten more centers and gotten squeezed out between France and Turkey, which is what was happening when I took over. Germany, I think, was doomed regardless.

But of course, Turkey didn't build. I'm not sure why France didn't finish eliminating me immediately, though I'm grateful; until Russia started seriously losing ground (and Turkey and Germany were eliminated), I played the Faithful Ally. No choice, really: without Venice, and with the Med crammed with French fleets, I had no power base to operate from.

I barely talked to the original England. attitudes was far more communicative, but I found his attitude (sorry) curious: he was entirely focused (at least in his diplomacy) on the ALA, and did not view my eventual personal sideshow favorably. If I am trying to justify his opinion, he may have (correctly) predicted that France would over-react, potentially handing Russia back an advantage in the Med which EF had painstakingly taken away from him in the North. As of the final position, Russia would have taken Greece, probably taken Trieste, and (finally) gotten his Bul fleet into open water, which would have made it a truly messy endgame - definitely there was more play left, but I took the draw since I think further play would have led to my elimination.

France (marsman57) seemed to be the tactical mind between the ALA and distrusted my intentions - sort of rightly so - basically from the beginning. But I do think, as I said above, that his reaction to my attack on Naples (and then Rome) - which he saw coming, no less - was an overreaction. I was committed to the ALA, but not at my own expense, and took the opportunities I had. As a further note, the turn I grabbed Naples France had not replied to messages; had he done so (thus confirming our other plans) I wouldn't have taken the risk. Not doing things you say you will is dangerous! As it was, I had a (somewhat thread-bare) pretext. I was suspecting France to order Tyrhennian -> Naples, and was hoping to bounce it. Taking Naples (if Tyrhennian held or moved to Ionian) would have been a bonus; I did not even think about a move to Rome, so he got me there, although it put him in an untenable position. Although again, given the tenor of his diplomacy, I was expecting a move Tyr->Ven from him the next year (thus my Tri-Ven to bounce) and ended up messing up my own position for good had the game not ended.

One more note: on the first draw proposal, I put off acceptance in hope to finish with one more SC (for purely selfish reasons)... and then completely forgot there was a draw proposal on the table. I was not lying when I said this! I'm curious what would have happened had I accepted then: Russia was the wild card, but it might have led England to view me less unfavorably later.

Players:

attitudes - from my perspective, it seemed that you mostly were concentrated on getting the game to a finish, which seemed to mean (to you) persuading Russia he couldn't win, and your only concern was not disrupting those plans. I think you would have been better off advocating for my expansion (rather than France's), and then allying with Russia once he had been reduced far enough. But maybe I think that because it would have been most beneficial to me!

haroonriaz - from my perspective, the best diplomat in the game. I feel like your tactical analysis wasn't always the best, though the position was awkward. I'm also not sure what to make of your AAR rant. In the last Seismic game, it was (as I recall) myself who came in for the condemnation of tactics, so I'm not sure if it's a coincidence of two games with non-ideal finishes, or if you've got a scapegoating mentality that may be a weakness. But as I said just above, you play in the game was quite solid, and you played the diplomat to the hilt.

marsman57 - Probably the best player on the board. Given the ALA when I entered the game, it is perhaps telling that I thought all along you were probably the biggest solo threat. Had you carried through on your attack at the end (had the game not finished), I would have held onto Rome and Naples as long as possible, and let Russia walk through Venice - not out of preference, but to prove a point. Anyway, you play the real-politik angle quite well.
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Re: AARs

Postby Kithchener » 10 Feb 2013, 21:37

I tried an anti- Germany opening, didn't work. Tried to attack Ityaly then teamed up with Turkey against Russia, then was stabbed by Turkey and died. Pretty bad game on my part.
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Re: AARs

Postby attitudes » 10 Feb 2013, 23:30

GhostEcho wrote:attitudes - from my perspective, it seemed that you mostly were concentrated on getting the game to a finish, which seemed to mean (to you) persuading Russia he couldn't win, and your only concern was not disrupting those plans. I think you would have been better off advocating for my expansion (rather than France's), and then allying with Russia once he had been reduced far enough. But maybe I think that because it would have been most beneficial to me!

Have you read the AAR's? Did you not believe my messages to you during the game? The part I bolded above was not going to happen, EVER!

GhostEcho wrote:haroonriaz - from my perspective, the best diplomat in the game.

In a game with marsman in it? The best one can hope for in that situation is to be second best diplomat in the game. Needless to say, my opinion differs here.

@haroonriaz: How exactly do you expect a player to react when blatantly lied to in the first season taking over a position? You do admit to blatantly lying to me regarding Kiel, correct? Then, when called on it, replying with a simple "Goodbye"? It was clear from the get go, any message from you would be nothing but lies. Thus, why bother? I didn't want you to waste your time writing them nor my time reading them.
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Be careful when you blindly follow the masses. Sometimes, the M is silent.

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Re: AARs

Postby marsman57 » 12 Feb 2013, 17:48

Okay, seeing other's replies, I do have more to say...

First, let me expose something that neither attitudes nor I mentioned in our AARs previously. A few years prior to the end of the game, we discussed a streamlined alliance that would involve culling Italy out of the game and then working toward a Russian elimination. At this point, we would duel it out and let the best man win. Maybe we should have continued with it. It could have been exciting.

The main problem is that I knew after our huge successes in the North that the game was about to destabilize because Russia was no longer a solo threat. I also knew Italy wanted to grow, so he kind of became a wildcard, especially after he built that fleet. Eliminating Italy was always in my long term plan, but the fleet made it much more urgent. Furthermore, combining this with me being busy with other obligations and unable to communicate extensively, rather than courting him properly for a peaceful handover of Naples, we got into the situation where he decided to force the issue. I was afraid to bounce him there because I thought he might slip into Tyrhennian instead and cause me all kinds of problems. As a result, I grabbed Rome. As he said, this put us both in a poor position.

I was very concerned about Italy because I knew he was too shrewd to let me talk him into his own destruction (as I had been doing with England before attitudes took over), and I also knew that if he saw me as a threat, he'd run to Russia as quick as possible. It had been hard enough to beat him into submission when there was a clear solo threat. With Russia weak enough now that this was not a threat, there was nothing I could do.

Another bad decision on my part was agreeing to trade off SCs with attitudes prematurely. It was very beneficial to him, but I just didn't really have the units to spare to adequately capture Belgium and Holland without throwing the rest of my stuff off position. This led to me losing Berlin in the last year we played.

Furthermore, I have never really gotten a grip on how to communicate with haroonriaz. My typical style is to fish for the other person to give me ideas and then I present my thoughts and adjustments. I didn't feel like I was getting anything at all out of haroonriaz except "attack England" which was not something I could work with because I didn't have a fleet in Brest to protect my back. Russia was supposed to dislodge Bohemia a year earlier than he did which was going to give me the ability to build that fleet. It could have changed the game, but we had a miscommunication and it never worked out. After that, I tried to guide the conversation back into elimination of Italy, but he never seemed to be into it. I think he saw that I was not going to separate from England and as a result, wanted Italy in the game as a counterbalance to harass me if he could flip his loyalty.

I agree with GhostEcho that the turning point of the game was the Turkish NMRs on builds. One reason I spared Italy was because of my huge concerns about the juggernaut. I did not think that Turkey was playing his border safely at all and was going to jug with Russia until there was an absolutely brutal stab that gave Russia the solo. I eventually got Turkey to wake up and protect his border, and I intended to take advantage of that to sweep in below him and start picking off his territories. The problem was that his missed builds caused him to be so utterly spread out that Russia started decimating him before I could get into position. Then England threw down the gauntlet that Turkey could not be eliminated on his watch and then we were in the sticky position that led to the endgame. I really only talked England into allowing the Turkish elimination by embellishing how unreliable that I thought Turkey was (he was a bit unreliable in answering messages, but my real motive was to reduce a wildcard from the game. Running a 3 person ALA was hard enough, a 4 person one was getting insane!)

GhostEcho says I overreacted to him taking Naples. I can see where you would think that, but really I was just looking for an excuse to get you out of the game. I believe I said this above already, but I saw you as a wildcard that had strong potential to jump to Russia's side once Russia had sufficiently weakened. I wanted you out of as a result and was using any pretense to convince attitudes to not throw the game if he had done that.

I should also note that there was one season where I almost stabbed England. I had determined that if he followed through with the orders I presented, I could stab him for all but one territory. The problem was that he realized it himself and sent back orders that would spare a second center. This would have allowed him to leave two units positioned well enough that I thought he could push Russia to the solo if he was serious about the poison pill. I also worried that such a brutal stab would have turned both Italy and Turkey (not that Turkey could've done much at this point) against me because they would no longer trust my intentions.

Long long long story short, I could have been bolder at some times and made a solo run, but instead I decided to play it safe for better or worse.


A few other comments about the game....

1. Balance - I tend to agree that Spain has a hard time in this game. I know I hit a point where I had to decide who to attack and he looked like the best bet as doing so would not expose my borders as much as any other choices. Spain (I forget the player name) was a pretty good diplomat though. He presented a good case for a Spain/France attack versus England, but just stabbing Spain seemed easier in the end, especially since there was an incredibly weak Italy in the early game.

2. Compliments - Thank you to everyone who complimented both my playing ability and my diplomatic skills. It means a lot to be thought of so highly.

3. Player/county shoutouts:
a. Spain - Solid play, sorry it just wasn't your game.
b. Italy (bluestreaksoccer) - Forgettable. I really think you should reconsider forum games until you have a more reliable schedule. I want to blame your age often, but diplomat42 brings it even though he is your age as well.
c. Italy (GhostEcho) - You played excellently from a terrible position. I can't remember why I didn't eliminate you without looking at the maps, but I think the answer was that I feared Russia too much.
d. Germany (mambam14 I think?) - I tried to work with you some, but you were in a bad position and not very responsive. You are a good tactician and player when you communicate!
e. England (forgot original player's name) - We had a fun arrangement. I got to take most of your SCs, but promised to keep you in the game if you kept working with me. I probably would have held up that bargain for quite some time because you were usefully positioned.
f. England (attitudes) - I have said most of it above. It was great working with you, though it was very frustrating that you insisted at first I and T had to be in the endgame.
g. Norway (diplomat42) - You did a good job, but there was nothing I could do to help you. :(
h. Russia (haroonriaz) - I never understood why you didn't answer my messages earlier in the game. We hardly talked at all until after the ALA had beaten you back a good bit. That was one reason I was more comfortable working with people against you.
i. Austria (Kithchener) - I have to give him credit for sending me a lot of good communication in the early to early-mid game about a long term Franco-Austrian alliance. It never really came into practice because of other players, but it was very long range thinking.
j. Turkey (AirsoftAlex) - Not a bad player, but the NMRs killed you before I could. ;)
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Re: AARs

Postby marsman57 » 12 Feb 2013, 17:53

Also, I'm taking a bit of a forum game break for a little bit after this has wrapped up so I'll expose something and let you chew on it before your next game. I hate soft draws, but I often end up pushing them when it comes down to it. If I push a soft draw it is because I don't think I can get a noticeably better result. For example, in this game, I thought it would have ended in a 3-way draw with an outside chance of a Russian solo (I didn't see myself or England really realistically soloing outside of some weird NMR situations). That was not enough better than a 4-way for me to risk not seeing a future Russian acceptance (if he started gaining ground again). As a result, I think I tipped attitudes into accepting.

If you think there is more to play, then by all means do it. Send me messages, offer me concessions, whatever you need to do. I'll play on in a game as long as people want to play. If I beat you into a draw, beat back a little, give me some breathing room so I don't worry about my own elimination, and tell me to man up. I'll definitely continue.

I'm not usually a grudge holder about draws either, though if you were a 2 center country that I could eliminate, I might do it just to satisfy everyone else, especially if I got the spoils that would put me in a better position if the subsequent draw failed!
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