Renaissance AAR

GM: asudevil; winner VaeVictus (Holy Roman Empire)

Renaissance AAR

Postby asudevil » 24 Apr 2014, 02:42

Congrats to VaeVictus as the soloist of Renaissance

GM notes may come later. But I look forward to hearing what you have to say.
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Re: Renaissance AAR

Postby luckythirteen » 25 Apr 2014, 16:33

Congrats to VaeVictus for playing a great game. Also thanks to Asudevil for acting as GM so we could play this variant. It's an interesting one and I appreciate you giving us the opportunity to try it out.

A few thoughts on the game:

Italy and France are my favorite powers in classic Diplomacy. I bid strongly for Spain because it meant I'd play in a region of the board I was very comfortable with. I knew I could easily control ION and MAO (both pretty key regions), plus the setup of Iberia makes it easy to defend, so I figured at a minimum Spain would be a useful partner for someone stuck behind a stalemate line. Going into the game, I figured I would play a defensive game, ensure I'd be part of a draw conversation by making myself useful to allies, and then take a shot at the solo if I was presented a good opportunity. I didn't want to go into this aggressively because I didn't think I could sustain any early game momentum since I was surrounded by water and bottled up by France if I tried to move via land.

I felt that controlling MAO would be critical to my success. I focused my early game efforts on trying to ensure I could control this space. My experience with Italy led me to believe that NAP would be very difficult to keep without more units in the region so I decided to use diplomacy as an ally, get a good friendly relationship with Venice, and focus my attention on France or England.

France was interested in an early game attack on England (along the lines of the Sealion opening in classic Dip). I assumed that Spain and France would be natural opponents so despite not normally liking early game attacks, I decided to go for it as it had the advantage of being unexpected. I felt I had a strong relationship with both Venice and France and could afford the risk. Things didn't go to plan at all. Venice stabbed, and France and I didn't put enough pressure on England to finish him off. I ended up with a very weak attack, completely stalled, and left myself horribly exposed.

After that, the game became one of survival. I tried to find who I would be most useful to, and that was obviously HRE. We started working together against France and had a pretty strong relationship, primarily because VaeVictus played a *textbook* game of Gunboat Diplomacy (in the traditional sense, not that we didn't talk :P). I was basically FORCED to keep working with HRE because he could have crushed me if I did not. In fact, that's basically what happened. When I finally got tired of being a pawn and decided to build defensively so I could start having some influence in the game and force myself into a draw, I was attacked. VaeVictus timed it perfectly.

From that point on, it was just a halfhearted attempt at forcing a draw. Because Switzerland is not neutral, the defensive position around Iberia isn't quite as strong as in classic Dip. and defensive lines are more difficult to form (a good thing IMHO!). Honestly, I just made my move too late, I think Morg (Poland) and I both knew it, and neither of us put a huge effort into trying to coordinate that much. I tried working with Venice but it basically came down to him or me in the draw and we weren't talking much, so I attacked in an effort to survive. Really, from the mid-game on the writing was on the wall about the HRE solo. I had simply waited too long before making a move.

So in summary, I was completely outplayed by VaeVictus. Kudos to him for the win. 8-)

As far as the variant itself goes, I felt it was a nice change of pace but nothing amazing. The setup provides some nice changes to the opening negotiations and new challenges for the players. I like that Switzerland is not neutral as it makes it more difficult for the end-game to grid-lock. I expect to see more solos in this variant than in classic Diplomacy. I also like that it can be played on a classic Diplomacy board so it's easy to use in face to face games. I'm definitely going to try it in person some time.

I don't feel this was the best game for me to comment on the balance of the various powers. I definitely learned that Spain is a NAVAL power and should have gone with my gut and played more defensively. Since I started on the wrong foot, it's hard to say whether or not the map setup is poor for Spain or not. I just played poorly. As a side note, I can think of almost no scenario in which Span should not open with NAP - ROM. It protects you if VEN is aggressive towards you, but is of no threat to VEN if he doesn't attack. That was one of the biggest mistakes I made and it was on the first turn of the game! :oops:

France on the other hand may be in a really bad spot. I tried really hard to make the F/S work, and despite efforts by both of us, it just broke down. I believe that it's always possible to make any alliance work so I won't say an F/S can't happen, but it sure didn't feel very efficient as the Spanish player. France is the only real land area that Spain can move into and in order to defend yourself from France, you tend to cover up your home SCs which can make it difficult to build. I would guess that in the vast majority of games, France and Spain will not be able to co-exist and I think France has it worse than Spain because Britain, HRE, and possibly even VEN can all ally with Spain against France very effectively, while France will have a more difficult time finding an ally against Spain. An early E/F vs. S/H might be the norm I guess? I'd be curious to see what happens in other games. I could be way off base. :geek:

So overall, it wasn't the best game I've played but it was a nice change of pace. I'd place it again. I think there is potential, but if it's balance you are looking for, my gut says that it's probably less balanced than classic Dip. Despite the simplicity of the variant, I wouldn't put this at the top of the list for adding to the PlayDip site as a standard variant based on this one play-through. With more plays my opinion could change but I'm not optimistic.
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Re: Renaissance AAR

Postby Morg » 26 Apr 2014, 23:23

Well,

I am exhausted, I definitely stretched my limits while playing this one and it showed. Between this game (which I wanted to make sure it got a chance to be played), a tough game of Versailles (which I had worked ceaselessly to make sure it was right when it got to the main site), and a quite competitive game of Colonial, then GMing another 4 games on top of that, my workload affected my play here. I chose Poland-Lithuania because of all the initial powers, Poland had the fewest immediate concerns.

I quickly allied with HRE and I think Turkey opened up against me, but Turkey was quickly overrun. Then my interests varied between fighting HRE and fighting England/Spain & Venice depending on who was acting friendly and who I thought I could trust. Towards the end I saw HRE getting a massive build but thought too little of the risk and paid the price.

Overall, I think this game should be a DVFG Classic that gets played several times, but I'm not sure about the main site. The French position really worries me when it comes to balance.
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Re: Renaissance AAR

Postby VaeVictis » 30 Apr 2014, 05:56

That was an interesting variant. I certainly agree with Morg that this should become a DVFG mainstay, but probably should not make it to the mainsite. The problems concerning France and her neighbors and even the HRE/Venice, etc. have changed the dynamics of Classic to be somewhat more than unbalanced. I would think that drawing France in Renaissance is worse than Italy in Classic.

With regard to the actual game, I wanted to play as the HRE more for historical reasons than for any logical analysis of initial board position and setup. However, once I had secured my prize, I set about observing my position critically. I decided the best course of action was good relations with Venice and Poland early on as I tried to annihilate France with the help of England and Spain. About mid-game I became disturbed by the growing tension naturally unfolding between Venice and myself due to our relative size to one another and the long border of SC's we shared. A stab seemed inevitable and I wished not to be caught off guard and decided to act first. The struggle was more protracted than I had anticipated and left me quite exposed. All the while, since early game, I shared much information with Spain and we continued to assist each other well. My alliance with Spain became even more important when Poland attacked me in the middle part of the game. Later on it seemed expedient to switch allegiances to a Polish-Imperial alliance in order to stabilize my weaker eastern frontiers and I decided to betray my long ally, Spain. From there on out I continued and even increased my correspondence with Poland as the remaining powers worked toward what I perceived was developing into a three-way draw. Then, at one point, I saw what I thought was a chance at the solo and seized upon it in the east, hoping my scattered armies could hold in the west.

Overall, I think I should not have attacked Britain when I did since he had no intention of attacking me and was slowing down Poland in the Atlantic. I got lucky with Poland's NMR in the retreats for Fall of 1463 when I was sure that there would be an army in Moscow and a fleet in Baltic/Finland. Then Morg could have disbanded Black Sea and my attack would have been at greater risk.

It was a fun variant and game; I might sign up for it again should it be run here another time. Thanks again to asudevil for the good job GMing.
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