AARs

This game: Coastal convoys, Portage and Moveable Home Centres. GM: Pedros Winner presser84 (Turkey)

AARs

Postby Pedros » 25 Sep 2012, 10:33

Firstly, apologies from me. There were far too many errors in this game; carelessness had crept in, and hopefully you noticed a slight improvement in the last few turns.

It was a good game. I don't know that the variant rules made a lot of difference (except probably the movable centres, introducing a slight element of bujild anywhere which as usual favoured the country going forward - although Italy made interesting defensive use of them.)
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Re: AARs

Postby diplomat42 » 25 Sep 2012, 14:48

Ahhhhhhhhhh...will post AAR later.
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Re: AARs

Postby presser84 » 25 Sep 2012, 16:42

I started this game in 1906 with a 6 center defensible position as Turkey. The fleet in Sev was awkward but that was the only thing that looked strategically difficult.
With Turkey in NMR Austria had already spread out to Munich, Milan, and Warsaw. However, those positions were going to be difficult to defend without a Turkish peace. I sensed that Italy would welcome me in with open arms as he was over run by Austria. I set out a frame work of an alliance where by I will fain an alliance with Austria, allowing me to walk into Moscow uncontested and then promptly stab Austria and help Italy retake his home centers.

1907 Being in Moscow meant that I must try for a more worthwhile relationship with England. We agree that, when feasible, to have a NAP (easy enough) and a DMZ in Moscow and St Pete.

1908 I could take Greece without contention if I wanted, Austria I sense knew this and Austria offered me Naples instead. This was strategically weak for me as I would 1) be relying on him to ensure my growth 2) it left me surrounded with the lone center in Naples and no way to defend it if need be. I countered with a swap for Greece....I only subtly hinted that it would be a lot worse if he said no but I was purposfully obstinant in negotiations as it was actually ideal for me to attack him. No agreement came and thus I have kept my word with Italy to attack Austria. I convoyed to Rumania and positioned for Serbia as well. This year I swapped Austria for a more desperate, subservient ally in Italy. Germany is all for this attack and England has little to say about it, not that he should.

1909-1911 My assault on Austria is uneventful, Austria is fighting a three front war that he can not win without Italian counter pressure, and I push all the way to Vienna. By this time Italy has retaken Milan and Rome. I gain 6 centers to Italy's 2 and this makes me a major threat to Italy. This is why I begin moving Home centers away from the Med, in a hopes of appeasing him. Austria, to his credit continued diplomacy through out this time. He wanted to impart on me that patience might be needed by me if I intended to solo. Normally I would have agreed with him but I knew it would take a EGI alliance to stop me. I had already been sowing mistrust between England and Italy. I kept asking England "why hasn't Italy offered any help him against Germany?" I could tell by his orders that England was nervous himself about an IG alliance.

I slipped a fleet into Apulia claiming some sort of peaceful benefit for Italy. With me limiting my fleet builds, moving my home centers away from him and allowing him to hold the Ionian Sea I felt Italy would not be too upset by this. He didn't like it but it didn't bring us to blows.

It's decision time for me. At 13 centers, I should start looking at my solo prospects. What 5 centers can I get and hold? Italy's 3, Munich, and St Pete? hmmm St Pete can't be held for long it'll have to be my 18th...that means a long term alliance with England is needed....Also with Austria gone I need a place to send Italy that isn't against me... This is when I propose that England and Italy ally with me to take down Germany and we go for a three way draw. worst case I end up stalemated with a three way draw but I needed a diversion from my disparately larger size. Surprisingly Both were game and this was what would set up to solo. The hope was that Germany would maintain his defense of the west and give up the Russian stalemate line to me. Once I had in roads there I could take on Italy.

1912..England kept dancing with Germany in Scandinavia and Italy NMR'd the spring...England retreating to St Pete gave me probable cause to move back to Moscow and be in position to attack St Pete when the time was right. I took both Munich and Berlin. I thought Berlin was a nice bonus. It let me build the fleet that would give me naval advantage in the Med. Germany retreated to Burgundy.

This is where I proposed the three way draw. It was a gambit meant to appease England and Italy of me as a solo threat. If England and Italy accepted the draw then Germany would likely not be inclined to help them against me. The gamble was that Germany might accept it. It's funny because I never actually messaged bluestreaksoccer and told him to decline, even though he hinted as much. It was a pure gamble on my part.

I had to consider the chance of Germany being rallied against me but I considered this low risk. He would have to trust E/I too much not to just kill him off later once they used him to take the stalemate. His only sustainable way to survive was to hold in Mar and even then I would have to ultimately accept the 4 way draw which I would not have.
The rest of the game is just guess work.
1913 Build an army in Warsaw I take Kiel and St Pete
1914 I give up Kiel knowing I could get Naples/Rome in order to hopefully take or keep Italy out of Burgundy. It seems that Germany and Italy got their shoes crossed and Burgundy stayed vacant through out the year
1915 I push into Burgundy and that pretty much signals the end of things. swapped Milan for St Pete and nabbed Belgium for my 18th center

The only way this could have been stopped was Kiel to Ruhr, Holland to Belgium and, even if that had happened, it would have only prolonged the game by a year as I would have taken Rome the next year cutting Savoy from Bur

I realize some might blame Germany for the lack of coordinated effort against me at the end but seeing as I would likely have not let him survive to the end his play is somewhat inconsequential.

Thank you Pedros for GMing. The errors were easily rectifiable and to me did not take anything away from the game. Good Game All.

The two key elements of this variant were the movable centers and the Milan Map. Coastal convoys/Portage were not very useful for me but they could have been for others. I wouldn't call it a pure build anywhere though. The fact that you had to wait a year to build there added to the strategy. you had to plan ahead. For me the move of a Home Center in Warsaw was to set up taking St Pete later. The move to Bulgaria was set up building a fleet in the Med in a less conspicuous place than Smyrna or Greece. Vienna allowed me to rebuild on the stalemate line more easily should my armies behind the line be destroyed. In a pure build anywhere I could have just built as needed and not had to plan it ahead of time.
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Re: AARs

Postby marsman57 » 25 Sep 2012, 21:14

Impressive victory presser! I had some concerns you would be able to get to 18 with the weakness of StP, but I like how in the end you were able to take advantage and make grabs for both Milan and Belgium to make up the gap (though I think if Venetia had supported Rome's hold, you would have held that instead).

How often do you see Belgium as one of Turkey's 18? :)

I'd be interested in hearing more in the AAR about how the various rules impacted the game. I only followed this casually, but I think Milan and moveable centers were the only strong changes. Did anyone use portage? It seems coastal convoy didn't get much play either.
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Re: AARs

Postby presser84 » 25 Sep 2012, 22:56

marsman57 wrote:Impressive victory presser! I had some concerns you would be able to get to 18 with the weakness of StP, but I like how in the end you were able to take advantage and make grabs for both Milan and Belgium to make up the gap (though I think if Venetia had supported Rome's hold, you would have held that instead).

How often do you see Belgium as one of Turkey's 18? :)

I'd be interested in hearing more in the AAR about how the various rules impacted the game. I only followed this casually, but I think Milan and moveable centers were the only strong changes. Did anyone use portage? It seems coastal convoy didn't get much play either.


Thank you. he couldn't both defend Milan and attack Rome at the same time. So I split the baby knowing I'd have the forces to get the whole peninsula the next year. I could have just moved Bur-Savoy which as it turns out would have also given me the win. The reason I did it the way I did was that I expected him to Support Savoy to Rome and I didn't want my Bur army to get sandwiched in Savoy and be unable to threaten his French centers and Belgium the following year.

I knew St Pete wasn't going to be sustainable but it served as a distraction to keep England occupied and not using his units in Germany. Once I had Munich and Berlin I figured I could hold those 2 and get all three Italian centers to get to 18. Italy was caught, I think, between his own solo ambitions (he was at 9-10 centers at one point) against England or whether he would need to defend the Med against me. As a result he built fleets did not have the armies required to defend both France, Belgium, and the Italian Peninsula. Obviously I didn't plan on Belgium being #18 :D
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Re: AARs

Postby VGhost » 26 Sep 2012, 01:52

Summary: You live by the NMR, you die by the NMR. Alternatively, "Well, it's clear presser84 and I still see things very differently!"

This was possibly the best game of Diplomacy I've played from a skill perspective (what this says about my skill is probably not complimentary), and simultaneously the most frustrating as I ended as one of only three players eliminated.

I prefer as Austria an Italy-Austria NAP leading to an eventual Austro-Turk alliance, and I mostly got it. Yes, I screwed up the Greece move in the first year. I was able to establish it anyway (with Italian help) and then talk Turkey back around: we went after Russia.

mKellogg, by the way, seemed competent enough but showed hardly any initiative - which led to my downfall. I talked him into - it seemed like, talked him through the steps to - setting up a border than was relatively worry free on either side... and left my troops free, which turned out to be a problem.

The stab on Italy was planned in 1903, supposed to go off in 1904, but delayed because of Turkey's NMR. I seriously considered removing Turkey (turns out I should have) but I was already feeling successful and didn't want to set myself up for ELS. Instead I jockeyed around for positioning, helping set Turkey up as an ally... which also turned out to be a problem.

I'm very proud of the Munich fake-out. It wasn't quite arranged with Germany, but I was working closely with him and merely "forgot" to mention the move - after he removed me (which was arranged - I needed the army squeezed through to the Western front) -we went back to working together.

Then, disaster. mKellogg NMRed out - which surprised me, his previous times had seemed uncharacteristic - and presser84 replaced him. I made several mistakes here.

First of all, my earlier troop dispositions were still in place - which assumed a completely trustworthy ally. I was too slow to adjust them or reinforce.

Second, I did not make much effort to explain my plans - Austria armies North, Turkey fleets West - which mKellogg and I had discussed in some detail to presser84. In fact, prior to the Greece debacle, here's the essential entirety of our strategic discussion:

GhostEcho wrote:Well, as you can tell from the last several sets of orders, I've had a strong alliance with Turkey, slowed down mostly by his NMRs. From my perspective, ideally this Fall you would take Moscow and attack the Ionian: either 2v1 there or Italy has to let me into the Adriatic and we break the Ionian next year.

Other than that, I've had little contact with England, and minor squabbles with Germany.


To which plan presser84 agreed. Now, I'm a great champion of the AT from both ends, and was having a good game to this point, so I didn't give it much thought until this:

GhostEcho wrote:Can you support Adriatic to Apulia this turn? That should give you Naples in the fall while I take Rome.


Was met by this:

presser84 wrote:but then I'll be surrounded by your armies and your fleets in Italy..... what if you take Naples on your own and you let me take Greece as a swap?


Which was clearly nonsense. True in the literal sense, but Austria fighting a fleet war against Turkey is dumb, and anyway I had already tied myself down against Italy.

Plus, Greece. As I argued - in great detail and at greater length - Turkey taking Greece could only mean an attack on Austria, Naples was no good to me, and anyway FLEETS WEST. Remember, I've spent 6 years of game-time at this point in this mode with a very different ally. presser84 basically telegraphed his stab and waved several red flags as well, but all I could do was argue - I had set up for a very different scenario.

I then made another mistake. I calculated - correctly - that the only way to deal with this was to knock Italy out fast enough to rebuild a line back home; but I also assumed presser84 wouldn't give up the Ionian for Greece when I could in fact grab more SCs on the Western end then he could take that year in the East. (I missed the convoy set-up, too.) So I played to try to do all of the following:

  • Cut the Ionian support (it moved)
  • Allow myself Rome but not take more Italian SCs if I could wangle a re-alliance (he said go-to-hell)
  • Be able to take at least two SCs and possibly three if Italy didn't want to see sense (Germany NMRed)

And... that's all she wrote. I spent the next few years trying to fight a 2 1/2 front war (counting Turkey as 1 1/2) while also trying to construct a stop-the-leader behind me. It was clear that presser84 was going for the solo and even if he wasn't was likely to stumble into one anyway. In the end I was forced to go kamikaze on Germany to try to survive, which ended any effective STL diplomacy on my part, but nobody except Germany had listened anyway. (Very odd, that I got two - three? I lost count - sympathetic Germanies in the one game despite my repeated predations.) England talked a little, but begged removal from the scene.

I was, however, absolutely furious when presser84 proposed a draw immediately after I was eliminated. If Germany had accepted, this AAR would have been written sooner and have been mostly unprintable. I could deal with a stab if it was going to yield a solo - as when he proposed the draw it clearly was - but missing the draw by basically a year would have been nearly unforgivable.

By the way, by far the funniest part of this game was that ridiculous merry-go-round in Scandinavia. Absolutely priceless - if I had any artistic skills, I'd make a .gif of it.

A good game! I'm not sure I can say much about the "variant". Movable home centers seemed the most interesting, and were definitely the highest used.
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Re: AARs

Postby presser84 » 26 Sep 2012, 04:52

ok nevermind the fact that I lied about really being commited to an alliance with you and I was playing both sides to find the optimal direction for me....here is the map at the start of 1907
Stew2.gif
Stew2.gif (67.52 KiB) Viewed 3076 times


(Italy retreated to Tunis and Spain should actually be green in the map)

We are at 7 centers each with you destroying Livonia.

Prior to this point we have had no discussion of division of centers in Italy that I can recall. You have those two armies in Serbia and Greece that force me to keep 2 units back in Rum and Bulgaria. I also have to hold 1 in Moscow. That's 40% of my units just sitting around. Rome was undefended and you could walk in there easily. The question was who would get Naples? You offered to me support me. I am now relying solely on your support for my growth. Let me play this out from anyone in my position, nevermind the fact that I was stabbing you regardless....You could have decided to take Rome and support yourself to Apulia. Then stab me and support Apulia to Naples. That would net you 2 builds and me 0. You could build army Bud and army Vienna. Without me gaining you'd pick me off in the Baltic rather easily because of the awkward fleet configuration I was dealt. Now...let's say you actually support me to Naples and play the dutiful ally. I'm still surrounded in Naples and I have to leave it holding there unprotected or worse move it into the Tyrh Sea and leave Naples vacant in order to continue with this fleets west plan to Tunis and Iberia. Not to mention that Italy might pull back some fleet to defend Tunis (though to be fair he's lose 2 units) and slow my growth. Then I when I'm over committed to the west and any relationship with Italy thoroughly burned you could just stab me in both the Baltic and Naples which would be crippling, possibly giving you a solo track. I didn;t like that I said something along those lines.

There is never an easy division of Italy. It's hard to crack but once it's broken it can fall quickly. One must have nearly complete control of it to defend it and just a single dot in Naples was not the right strategic location for me. I would need to move on and I wasn't prepared to be that spread out. I even said as much.

My proposal was that you can have Naples and Rome, it takes away all that uncertainty and makes my defense in the Baltic easy. We'd each net 1 build. I'd take Greece with a fleet so Serbia was in no danger, you'd retreat to Albania so I couldn't move any further on Trieste and then I'd build another fleet and continue moving forward, into the Med. Again, what you didn't know was I really was hoping to have a disagreement with you about this. It was planned from when I joined the game as I knew I had an Italian alliance in my back pocket and with you committed against him it would very difficult for you to rectify. I figured I could get to Budapest rather easily before you could get units back to defend, even if you suddenly made up with Italy.

So sum that all together. You were offering me 1 center (that I couldn't be 100% sure you wouldn't take for yourself) and at the same time I felt I could get 4 of your centers on my own stabbing you, still have a neighboring ally, and be a more consolidated force. To me it's a no-brainer stab. The only thing that would give me pause is my read on Italy. If I thought you'd be able to take him over and supplement your lost centers making me assault more difficult or I thought he would pause and suddenly attack me instead I might reconsider. I did not have that read (rightly) on Italy. So again the deciding factor to stab you had nothing really to do with this disagreement, as I was likely going to do it anyway, but I still disagree that the plan you wanted for us was feasible, balanced, or the right play for that scenario for all the reasons I outlined above.

One might say, "oh you can't stab Austria and let Italy be so strong, it's short sighted." That's where my alliance with England and friendly disposition with Germany came into play. He was concerned about Italy which is why I put no pressure on him in St Pete until later. I was rooting for England to win against Germany and I desperately wanted to see Italy and England go to war. That was the master plan #1. When England started ball room dancing in Scandinvia though I had no choice but to plow along through you. Whne it seemed that I was too large to get an England/Italy war brewing I shifted gears to the 3 way draw plan...

I explained that draw offer earlier. It wasn't mean to insult you (though I could see how it would). It was a calculated gamble. I suspected bss would decline the draw based on watching him in ME8 and continue to attack E/I, especially when all three accepted. I guess it was you who PM'd him and asked him to decline. If so I owe you an assist.

We can agree to disagree about Greece and that strategy as we will never know for sure if it would have worked. I do commend you for your effort. Even in the face of destruction you played the cards dealt to you to the fullest. It's rare that a player in your position keeps up dialog with his attacker. This is something I ALWAYS do but others seem not to. I negotiate to till the end, sow doubt where I can, and fight to bitter end. I admire that about your play.
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Re: AARs

Postby VGhost » 26 Sep 2012, 15:37

Like I said, one of my major mistakes was not discussing in detail with you stuff I had worked out with the previous Turkey (and if you want to ignore the part where you were attacking me regardless, I'm going to ignore the part where I was basically writing his orders).

That said, if we assume Turkey is fleeting West (as mKellogg was working on), then Naples is absolutely necessary to hold for freedom of movement. Equally, Greece in Turkish hands is nothing but a flank on Austria waiting to happen. Those are the two things from my perspective - giving up Mediterranean dominance (temporarily) and insisting on Greece - that made it obvious you were coming after me.

As for "tying down 40% of your units", I don't think you'll find many alliances where you can leave a border defended with fewer.
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Re: AARs

Postby presser84 » 26 Sep 2012, 16:38

GhostEcho wrote:Like I said, one of my major mistakes was not discussing in detail with you stuff I had worked out with the previous Turkey (... I'm going to ignore the part where I was basically writing his orders).


In that case I was the absolute worst player to have come in as Turkey. There is almost no way I let someone basically write my orders for me or take a power position in the alliance unless I am between rock and a hard place. Frankly, I felt you would sense your vulnerability more and be more willing to work with me considering it was obvious you needed peace with Turkey though I ultimately didn't mind because it gave me "reason" to stab.

GhostEcho wrote:That said, if we assume Turkey is fleeting West (as mKellogg was working on), then Naples is absolutely necessary to hold for freedom of movement. Equally, Greece in Turkish hands is nothing but a flank on Austria waiting to happen. Those are the two things from my perspective - giving up Mediterranean dominance (temporarily) and insisting on Greece - that made it obvious you were coming after me.

As for "tying down 40% of your units", I don't think you'll find many alliances where you can leave a border defended with fewer.


Control of Greece is paramount for control of the Balkans. At the very least for an AT alliance to be successful it needed to be a DMZ and I would argue that Turkish control combined with a DMZ is more a equitable alliance. The reason the 40% is more significant for Turkey is that I am not a central country. The western expansion, though far for Austria as well, is even further and slower for Turkey. It's much more difficult to sustain without additional forward units. The vulnerabilities for Turkey in Naples and Balkans can not be adequately addressed.

I agree with you if AT are going to play a Western strategy then fleet Naples, and frankly fleet Rome in a Milan map, are critical. However, strategically I think that was too vulnerable of a position for Turkey and Austria is certainly the power role in the alliance as Turkey is relying on Austria too strongly to ensure it's growth. While some times one must cling to an alliance out of necessity ideally in the mid-game you would make a push for things on your own.

Think about it from my perspective... You move to Apulia with support from Venetia while taking Rome with your army uncontested, we can destroy Italy's Apulia fleet with my move to Naples....Let's then assume you stick with the AT alliance and support me to Naples. Italy pulls that MAO fleet back to WMed and destroys his ECh fleet....Now, we have to either crawl over each other to get around Italy and get me Tunis....This will take 2 game years for 1 center of growth. By that time Italy will be collapsing and I'm too far away from the Iberia to beat Germany or England there (assuming they don't stalemate each other) or even you from getting the bulk of his centers first. The Milan variant makes it easier for you to spread into France because you can get into Burgundy via Savoy. You could easily flip to a more optimal A/G alliance where he takes on England and you press your advantage in the Balkans and Russia....actually you probably solo with that strategy. My analysis of the western expansion strategy was, and still is, that my supply line is disjointed and far from home, my growth prospects are slow and minimal, and these vulnerabilities are compounded by having to leave vacant centers in Italy and an armed Balkans, I'm basically relying on your good graces to survive. Yeah you could maybe ad that I could move my Home centers forward but to where? Naples? I already mentioned how vulnerable that was. Tunis? It would take 3-4 more game years before I would get to actually build there. It's beyond not an optimal mid-game strategy for Turkey, frankly it's foolish. Under that framework an AT alliance is doomed and it almost certainly should end badly for Turkey...
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Re: AARs

Postby Mortiferus Rosa » 26 Sep 2012, 20:46

Man, I wish I didnt have to back out (I was Italy for the first few years) when I did, this game looked fun...
R/,

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