Edwardian Diplomacy - AAR

Based on a map of Europe Created by VaeVictus. GM'ed by Alman

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Edwardian Diplomacy - AAR

Postby Alman » 05 Mar 2016, 18:56

This was an interesting game. Here's the spot to discuss it and reflect. Any thoughts or feedback on the variant are welcome too.
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Re: Edwardian Diplomacy - AAR

Postby VGhost » 06 Mar 2016, 00:31

I'm holding my AAR until we've heard from the game-long players, but I'll take this spot to offer congratulations to the other survivors and a good game to all.

I'll also note that I'm a bit surprised by my own survival - I thought (though I never went through and calculated it move by move) my Germany could have been pretty safely knocked out.
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Re: Edwardian Diplomacy - AAR

Postby PetesAHut » 07 Mar 2016, 06:42

Alright, finally have some time to put my thoughts down here. First of all...holy crap, this thing has been going on forever! Thanks Alman for sticking this one out with all of us.

Early game plan was simple: get Italy to head west, keep Germany out of Austria, figure out who of Russia and Turkey I trusted, and get the one I trusted to attack the other instead of me. Basically, I wanted DMZ's in every territory north of my home SC's while I grabbed Bos and Ser. From what I recall, Italy came to me early discussing the idea of an ATI alliance which never looked like it would work super well, but I figured I'd go ahead and least give lip service.

Anyway, first season orders resolve and, lo and behold, Russia has violated the Galicia DMZ, but he also took Black Sea from Turkey (Russia later told me that he forgot that he had agreed to the DMZ, but at that point I didn't really care - if he couldn't remember what he agreed to he already wrote himself off as an ally in my book). So, Turkey and I decide we're going to go take out Russia.

Except...I never really wanted to ally with Turkey. I figured once Russia was gone, Italy was going to have his hands full in the west, and there was never going to be a huge opportunity to take out Turkey once he got big. So, from the moment we started hitting Russia together I started looking for the opportunity to stab Turkey. Which led to the first stab in 1903, which I promptly botched with a critical mis-order.

I promptly threw every mea culpa I could think of at Turkey to make peace and keep driving into Russia, but I knew I needed to look over my shoulder, and Turkey and I kept churning our way through Russia. Around the time this was wrapping up I started looking for a next target and saw that our first Germany had basically pissed every neighbor but me off over the course of the first 5 years, and he was demanding control of Mar. If I went along with all the demands Germany was making I would run out of expansion space as I was crammed between Turkey and Austria. So I coordinated putting a ton of units a year away from Munich and Berlin and grabbed both in 1905.

Which turned out to go much more poorly than I thought. Yeah, I had 2 German home SC's. But it turns out that it's pretty difficult to get beyond those 2 when you're attacking the largest guy on the board (even though he quickly became not the biggest guy on the board). Meanwhile, I was hoping that England would promptly dig deep into Germany, but he played things much more slowly than I hoped for, which really stalled out my advance. Unfortunately, it was around this time that Germany stopped regularly entering orders, which meant that I missed some opportunities to grab centers during his NMR's.

So, since I couldn't really make much more headway against Germany, it was time to look on my other borders. Which pretty much meant Italy or Turkey. At this point, Italy and Turkey were at each others' throats, and Italy was in dire straits. I decided that I'd be Italy's glorious savior against both Germany AND Turkey, so I stabbed Turkey. I was able to get a few centers out of this, and I think I got as far as about 14 centers, but around this time England became a really big problem.

As far as I can tell, rather than dig deep into any particular theater, he basically just crept fleets around the perimeter of the map while everyone else was looking at what me and Turkey were doing, in an effort to make one board-wide stab for the solo. And he almost succeeded - I know there was a mis-order at the pivotal moment, but I forget whether it would have gotten him to 19 or not.

Anyway, once the stab to 19 failed, I basically did whatever I could to rally the rest of the board against England. It was around this time that we got our replacement Germany and Italy. Germany was more than willing to discuss things and organize a defense, but Italy v2 promptly lost Marseilles when it was easily defensible, didn't really talk, and missed some pivotal retreats which could have helped the board-wide solo defense. Meanwhile, Turkey was copy / pasting orders dictated by me, which made coordination in the Med super easy. Basically, I knew we weren't going to get this game done as a 5 way draw, and since I didn't trust Italy to properly defend his territory, I decided he had to go.

By the time I / we (me and Turkey) were done running over Italy though, England was basically at 18 centers (technically, I think he grabbed Paris shortly thereafter). At that point, I was getting really concerned - I didn't see a way to force a stalemate with the territory that we held, I didn't see a way to guarantee more territory, and at some point England was going to find the vulnerable point in the line. So, I sent probably a dozen messages to Germany and Turkey to convince them to let me get to 19 centers over a 2 year period, while loudly declaring that I was doing this to England. I was pretty sure we could hold the line for 2 years, which was the amount of time that it would have taken me to get to 19, but it would have been a near run thing.

I think the 3 of us lucked out a bit. England never really made a concerted effort to concentrate all his armies in Europe once we stopped the initial solo attempt, which was really the point where there was no good coordination of the defense going on (in particular, the army in Scandinavia languished when designating one of the countless spare fleets to defending Arc would allow it to be released to service elsewhere). But other than this one oversight, England played exceptionally well - kudos to almost catching the entire board flat-footed.

Will post a separate message about the map / rules / stuff.
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Re: Edwardian Diplomacy - AAR

Postby PetesAHut » 07 Mar 2016, 07:00

So, I kind of wish I'd played 1900 before so I can compare and contrast, but I haven't.

No Russian builds in Poland basically makes Austria impregnable in the early game. Germany and Italy have enough to worry about in the western sphere that I don't really know how either of them can get involved against Russia early. But, at the same time, they're the only two nations that are within a year's march of Austrian home SC's now that Russia needs to march all the way from Moscow. I never really feared at any point in the game that someone would launch an attack on my homeland, which pretty much let me stab whoever I wanted whenever I wanted with impunity.

I've said this before, but I think lower victory totals encourage large draws (this is a continuation of the same thought from Ambition and Empire). People aren't going to suddenly not try to stop a solo because it's at a lower threshold, and if there are more players with more units on the board at the point when the solo is a real possibility, the potential soloist has that much more of an uphill climb to try to gain a solo. I think an open map is more conducive to forcing a game to end in a solo than any gimmics with victory conditions.

Speaking of a wide open map, we most certainly do not have one here (at least from the Austrian point of view). Getting a unit overland across the Ber / Mun / Swi / Pie line is basically impossible if the move is at all opposed. The same logic extends through Tyn / Tun / Sou, and obviously all the issues presented by Scandinavia and fleet disbursement in classic also apply to this variant. Which means, for Austria, you're basically looking at getting a solo on your side of these natural barriers. I didn't realize this when we started, and by the time I realized it I got stuck in a long slog with Turkey that I wasn't able to wrap up before the English solo threat could no longer be ignored.

Speaking of England, I might have sent him 5 messages the entire game, which is an impressive lack of communication between the top 2 center counts.

All in all, this game mostly makes me want to play 1900, because I'm curious how having access from MAO to Egypt would change the board (I'm guessing it would open things up significantly).
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Re: Edwardian Diplomacy - AAR

Postby FrankC » 18 Mar 2016, 23:04

I rarely do AARs because I find it very difficult to remember all the ins and outs, but reading Austria's report was interesting, so I'll add what I can.

First and foremost, thanks to Alman for keeping this game going.

Second, I really like this map. I do wonder if the game would be improved simply by requiring a majority of centers for a solo, as I agree that not having that requirement tends to push games to draws with at least 3 players, often more.

Early on, I thought I'd be eliminated early as Germany was running me over. That worm turned, and I was in decent position with fleets all over the perimeter of the board. But it was fleets. Too many fleets. I needed a couple of armies in some key places, like the far north, and I just didn't have them.

I also had a misorder -- goddamn auto-correct!!!!! -- when trying to retake Egypt. That order would not have gotten me to 19, but would have secured that important Sea Lane to allow for easier incursion into the area.

I find the lack of communication, which Austria noted, regrettable. This was my first Forum game and it turned out to be much harder to keep up than I anticipated.

Overall -- I enjoyed this a lot, and would play it again. Thanks to everyone.
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