AAR Westeros Diplomacy

GMd by Presser84. 2-way draw: letram13 (Greyjoy) and shockj (Stark)

AAR Westeros Diplomacy

Postby presser84 » 25 Jan 2013, 05:56

The game has ended with a two way draw between Greyjoy and Stark, accepted by all remaining powers. Congratulations to the winners letram13 and shockj.

This thread is reserved game after action reports. Also, let me know what you thought of the variant and my gm-ing. Thank you everyone who stuck it out. I hope everyone had fun.
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Re: AAR Westeros Diplomacy

Postby Blackfish » 25 Jan 2013, 08:28

Thanks a lot for making and GMing this, Presser!

I really enjoyed playing this, although I didn't play it since the begining and only picked up after the previous Tyrell left the game, it was still very interesting and playing a new variant based on my favourite fictional setting was awesome!

Regarding balance and the like, I found that this was really quite balanced for House Tyrell, at least from the start of my role as Lord Tyrell. The only reason that I ended on such a bad note is that I made a large blunder with my orders many turns ago, not because of balancing reasons or unfair distribution of SCs etc.

Again, thanks for the variant and GMing, Press!
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Greyjoy AAR Part 1

Postby shockj » 25 Jan 2013, 11:01

Given my time constraints and the fact that letram and I were the only ones to play from start to finish, I think I am going to break my AAR into parts. I want to be thorough as this is the first version of this game. I will say right off the top that I really enjoyed this variant on a bunch of different levels (Map, GoT theme, Players, etc), and really thought that Presser did a great job GMing it. I probably enjoyed this more than I've enjoyed any normal Diplomacy game, and that's a credit to Presser all the way. I can't even imagine how great it would be to play with the same group from start to finish. I very much appreciate everyone willing to fill in and help continue the game, even in some very tough positions to inherit. I think that definitely bended the arc toward Letram and me, although I tried to give every fill in a fair shake, and did my best to get them up to speed, even if I did put my own spin on things ;) I would like a chance to defend my title in this game with a different mix of players. As selfish as that may be. Anyway, without further adieu...

Pre-Game

Presser held a bidding type system to decide countries. Looking at the original map the countries I was most interested in playing were as the Starks and as the Lannisters. I'd never done an auction system like this before so I just put the most toward my two "favorites" and just randomly scattered the rest around. Little did I fully realize... no one wants to be the Greyjoys. They weren't really my favorites in the books either, so I certainly don't fault anyone, but even my meager bid was vastly more than anyone else was interested in bidding. I was stuck with the Greyjoys.

Once I got over the disappointment of being stuck with the "stinker" I decided to look at their... my... position with a fresh set of eyes, taking out my pre-disposition against them. They are actually a very unique kingdom to play. Their island holds means it is nearly impossible for you to be wholly eliminated at any point in the short game, except for possibly a strong Stark/Lannister alliance. And once established, I felt that it would be very difficult to get me out entirely, as those islands felt extremely defendable. In addition, with such large water spaces, but (relatively, I felt) so few coastal SCs, I figured that having a strong Navy would make me a very appealing ally to partner with, and I figured I could at least keep myself in the mix diplomatically, even if I was a "2nd tier" player. I figured if I survive in the beginning, I would have a strong opportunity to at least be in the mix at the end, and have a say in who won, even if it wasn't me. And so that was my mindset going into it.


Early Game

As I said at the outset, my biggest fear was a Stark/Lannister alliance against me. In addition, for whatever reason, I just immediately was rubbed wrong by the Arryns. I played a long with their plans as best as I could, but I didn't really ever think for a minute it would go anywhere. So I threw everything I had into keeping the Starks and Lannisters away from each other. According to the books, this shouldn't be difficult at all, but obviously that means little in a game like this. But I think some people might have brought that mindset in to the very beginning of the game, since (from what I gathered) everyone was such a fan of the books or show, it's hard not to carry that "prejudice" into the game with you.

Winter 300 Builds

Only way I could get off the Iron Islands is by boat, and so to have the most influence early on, I decided to embrace the Greyjoy tradition and build two longboats... err... Fleets. I also offered to serve as the Lannister Navy (I know, it sounds just as crazy to me too) and gently ensure he built two armies, thereby making sure I was safe from a sneak attack for at least the first year. Starks and I had some good opening dialogue. He was hard to read by his Fleet in White Harbor.

Spring 301

My initial read of the map indicated that in the first year, almost every country had 2 "sure thing" builds if they played it safe. But those "safe" centers really weren't in strategically advantageous positions going forward in the game, and also might end up several units holding SCs in the Fall, without much else to do. As such, I decided I'd try to gamble a little bit and attempt to get a neighbor to help me into a bit of a more strategic center to assert my influence going forward. Luckily, unlike other people, I felt like my opening moves were pretty straight forward.

Image


Fall 301

Seagard was obvious. I got assurances from the Starks that he would respect my rights to Flint's Finger the following year. That gave me a little flexibility if I wanted to take a gamble. I had had good talks with the Lannisters, promising him I'd move against the Starks going forward. I got him to support me into Riverrun. That was a big break for me, and I felt like that really set me up going forward. I also thought that I had my choice of choosing between a Greyjoy/Stark and a Greyjoy/Lannister alliance going forward, should it come to that, depending on which would serve me best. Not a bad place to be.

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More to come.
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Re: AAR Westeros Diplomacy

Postby asudevil » 25 Jan 2013, 14:07

I think the game was pretty balanced...I didn't put the time into early coms that I should have which lead to my demise.

I tried to get an early alliance with Stark, but apparently Stark was tied into Greyjoy way stronger than I anticipated. I wanted Stark to drop builds off the west to take out Greyjoy, but once he started building fleets on the east, I knew my time was limited
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Re: AAR Westeros Diplomacy

Postby Mortiferus Rosa » 25 Jan 2013, 23:08

The game was probibly enjoyable for most. But unfortunately I inherited an impossible position where my demise was already predetermined. Not to much to say unfortunately.
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Re: AAR Westeros Diplomacy

Postby presser84 » 25 Jan 2013, 23:17

Mortiferus Rosa wrote:The game was probibly enjoyable for most. But unfortunately I inherited an impossible position where my demise was already predetermined. Not to much to say unfortunately.


yes sorry about that. Thank you for taking them over. Unfortunately I needed a lot of subs and I think the initially alliances were tight and did not accept many new comers.

Also thank you to everyone who stuck it out to the end. I realize since this is a large map it's a longer game. Thank you for that.
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Greyjoy AAR Part 2

Postby shockj » 28 Jan 2013, 22:11

302

Having gotten off to a good start in the first year, I tried to just build on that momentum and attempt to consolidate my foothold in the area. I was able to take Flint's Finger with the Starks' blessing, while also supporting myself into The Twins, which I felt would be a very pivotal territory going forward. Nice year, although the Lannister actions around Riverrun in the Fall worried me.

Image


303

This is where we lost our first 2 players. Lord Zerix Lannister was replaced by BigBert Lannister, and there was also a change of power in house Martell too. I felt like the previous Martell put themselves in a very awkward position that the new leader probably wouldn't be able to get out of. BigBert and I had some good communication in the beginning, and an emerging Baratheon/Arryn alliance helped to take some of the heat off of me. I was able to gently urge the Lannisters southward, while also executing what I thought was a pretty creative convoy to The Fingers in the Fall.

From my conversations with the rest of the board, it was slowly becoming obvious to me that what was really going on was a strong Stark/Greyjoy alliance in a "cold war" with a strong Tyrell/Baratheon alliance. Knowing this, I did my best to manipulate the rest of the "lesser powers" to aid us in our quest to gain the upperhand on the Tyrell/Baratheons. As such, crushing the Arryns quickly before they could turn against us with full Baratheon support, while also making sure that I had Naval superiority in the waters around the Westerlands would ensure that I had a platform from which to keep a muzzle on any Tyrell moves north. The Starks and I also successfully swapped Barrowtown for The Twins, which was a great sign that we would be able to trust each other going forward. This Fall turn was the beginning of setting all of that into motion.

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304

This was an extremely pivotal year. I had been friendly with the Tyrells up to this point, knowing I would have to turn against them at some point. I convinced the Lannisters to trust me and that I would work with them against the Tyrells. I thought that it would be best to keep the Tyrells hemmed in, and I thought it was more effective if I used the Lannisters to do that, rather than trying to stab the Lannisters and letting the Tyrells benefit from that.

In the spring, I was supposed to move to Blackcrown while the Lannister Fleet in Redwyne Straits would bounce the Tyrells out of Oldtown. Since it was a Keep, I needed the Lannisters to keep Oldtown empty, so that we could take it in the Fall.

Lannister botched the bounce order. The Tyrells were safely in Oldtown, which means it was protected against our forces. And I had to somehow explain to the Tyrells why I passed on a wide open stab against the Lannisters, and ended up in Blackcrown. It completely threw my entire game off. That move was going to probably be the "biggest" of the game, up to that point, and it was a missed opportunity. I do very much wonder what the game would have been like if we had executed it properly. But mistakes happen. But at that point, I didn't feel like I could trust the Lannisters, and also made the calculation that it would be more costly to me to prop the Lannisters up than it would be to make the stab now and have the Tyrells also benefit. I also needed time to lull the Tyrells back into a false sense of security if I were to attempt another big move. I was also attempting to sew seeds of discord between the Baratheons and Tyrells, and figured that would be all for not if I moved against the Tyrells too early.

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305

This was really the year that won us the game, I feel. The Starks and I simultaneously broke the backs of the Arryns and Lannisters. In addition, we lost Lord Valiant Tyrell, and he was replaced by Lord Blackfish Tyrell. Once that happened, the seeds of division I had planted between the Tyrells and Baratheons sprouted into full bloom. I honestly think that was probably the biggest mistake Lord Benjen Baratheon made, was quickly turning on the Tyrells. Obviously I encouraged him to do so, but I also knew that once he did, it would be difficult to defend his sprawling territory with no allies to support him. I had also run the math and counted up centers, and realized that as long as Lord Stark and I were able to prevent Lord Baratheon from pushing into the Riverlands, while also holding the lands of Lannister, a Baratheon solo would be impossible. As such, it was just a question of holding our alliance together and executing sound strategy.

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306-309

This is where things started turning into a little bit of a grind. The Baratheons were winning the battles but losing the war. The Starks and I continued to slowly stretch forth our Fleets and attempt to "outflank" the Baratheons, and make them have to defend more and more of their holdings. The Tyrells, still upset at being stabbed by the Baratheons, also served to harry and harass the Baratheons in the south, preventing them from growing too quickly. The Starks and I were also able to continue to swap centers

Fall 309 also included my first retreat. A pretty good accomplishment 9 years in, if I do say so myself.

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310

This was the year the Flood gates opened. Our "slow but steady" strategy really broke things open this year. The Baratheons lost NS - Pentos, and I was able to sneak into The Reach, which I thought was a pretty clever maneuver. I don't think it was a coincidence that Lord Benjen Baratheon stopped playing after that Spring turn. That really marked the "end" of the game, in my opinion.

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311

After I came away with 3 builds because of Lord Benji's NMR, a small part of me did think about building in the North and trying to go for a solo, just because I loved the variant so much, I thought it would be a pretty cool accomplishment. But at the end of the day, I was so stretched out, and without Stark support, you could say "overextended", that I felt that the whole board would turn on me and I would fall into the same trap that the Baratheons did. I also very much enjoyed my alliance with Letram13, and felt that sharing the victory with him would be more rewarding than a stab like that. So once I passed up on that window of opportunity, I knew there was no going back. I proposed a draw in 310 when we lost Benji, but his replacement wanted a shot to soldier on, which I respected, but it was too late in the game to attempt to change sides or mix things up, so Letram and I put a pretty quick end to that.

This was the final map before the draw was accepted.

Image


Wrap-Up

Overall, I loved the game, and thought that I probably played the best overall game of Diplomacy that I've ever played. I would have loved to see what it would have been like if certain things had gone differently, like not losing players or making that big move against the Tyrells that got foiled. Thanks to Presser, Letram, and everyone else who made the game possible. I definitely plan on playing again.
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Re: AAR Westeros Diplomacy

Postby BigBert » 02 Feb 2013, 23:43

Great AAR shockj! Always nice to read after the game what went on behind the screens.

It's been a while since I played here (I was eliminated by 305 I think), but let me summarize what I recall:

===Lannister AAR===

I got into the game as a replacement for Lannister in Winter 302. Just two years gone and actually my position was not bad, so I thought I had a decent chance. And in fact I still think I had a decent chance at that point; in contrast to Mortiferus Rosa who had nothing to win. But I screwed up and lost (more of that in a bit).

It was immediately clear that my greatest potential threat map-wise would be Greyjoy. I had only armies so I had no way to hurt him; on the other hand, he was all around my coastline. So I said to myself: try at all costs to keep Greyjoy as your friend! At least until my position would be more in balance. Fortunately, Greyjoy was very open to cooperation and moreover a very pleasant communicator, and he was willing to work together. We decided to try for a Stark/Greyjoy/Lannister team. Of course I know that in every triple at some point one has to go, but I was hopeful that that would not be me.

However, I actually wanted to work against Baratheon, and I wanted Tyrell to join me. I stirred things up by telling some half truths about Baratheon to Tyrell, and I think it worked: there was actually some distrust growing in the Tyrell camp. At that point, Greyjoy suggested we attack Oldtown (those of you who have read shockj's AAR will know what I refer to). Here is where I made the biggest mistake: I messed up the order. I told shockj with all the perseverance I had in me that it was an accident: I had been very busy (true), I hadn't yet studied the map sufficiently (not true), I had NMRed in another game too that week (true), etc. In truth though it was a deliberate (but stupid) move. The reason: I didn't want to alienate Tyrell so that we could move against Baratheon. Tyrell, however, did not attack Baratheon, and in the mean time Greyjoy was so upset that he attacked me. After that point it was over: I was much too weak in the west to protect myself from the Greyjoy attack, and besides Baratheon and Tyrell were coming for me too. The game for me was sealed. After that I haven't really followed the game, but it seems like the two winners were deserved winners, at least based on the time I was in the game.

Good game! All players were very communicative, and it was pretty dynamic. The map is good too. And thanks Presser for very prompt GMing!
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Re: AAR Westeros Diplomacy

Postby Blackfish » 03 Feb 2013, 04:11

I must mention, that, just like shockj, there was one part that completely changed the outcome of the game, due to the simplest of blunders

viewtopic.php?f=459&t=33728

I accidentally had the Army in Hellholt support the fleet in Summer sea to Hellholt instead of Saltshore. To this day I still kick myself for that, as that one fail I did, cost me a disband and allowed Baratheon a build. From there, everything went downhill. I still wonder what the game would have been like if I had managed to take Hellholt. I would have been able to hold on to Highgarden and pushed Baratheon back a little, allowing me to hit hard. Oh well, what's happened, has happened, the past is the past. Good game to everyone who participated! :D
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Re: AAR Westeros Diplomacy

Postby shockj » 03 Feb 2013, 12:46

Good call, Blackfish! I knew there was a 2nd significant "misorder" in a critical moment that really changed the game. That was one of them. I was very much on your side to that point and was going to stay off your back while we worked together against the Baratheons, but once you missed that critical build, I knew there was blood in the water at that point and I started plotting my next move. Not trying to rub it in at all, we've all made mistakes, but I had remembered another "misorder" just couldn't remember what it was until your post.

Also, I think the Baratheons missed a build around that same time that really kept him on his heels. To a certain extent, I almost feel bad for the Baratheons (Both of them), just because they did so surprisingly well in the early stages, and i think that gave him a little bit of a cock to his walk, and he started getting a little demanding. That really painted him into a corner just a little bit. Not only was he doing well, he was also ambitious. I never really doubted he'd push for a solo if he got the opportunity. But closer to the end, it just seemed like he could never get a build to stop the bleeding. I knew I was doing well, but I always felt so overextended that I felt like if he were able to catch a break and gain a build, make me or the Starks destroy something, and shift the momentum to his favor. But it seemed that whenever he was on the cusp of doing so, he'd unexpectedly lose a center to a rogue Tyrell or Martell unit. Just could never get ahead again. And if the Starks had ever decided to turn on me, I always thought that the Baratheons would be able to turn that into a Baratheon solo. Which is a credit to him, but also served as a great "threat" to the Starks to help keep them in line.

I'm far from picking on Benji, I thought he played a great game, and the 13? (I think?) centers he peaked at, was still more than either myself or the Starks were able to achieve up until the very end. Would love to hear his thoughts on the game. *cough, cough*
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