Heptarchy XIV: AAR

7 player game set on the British isles. Created by Geoff Bache and redrawn by joe92. GM'ed by nanooktheeskimo. Threeway draw between Cornubia (Groo), Northumbria (joe92), and Wales (buckielugger).

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Re: Heptarchy XIV: AAR

Postby Groo » 05 Mar 2018, 13:57

I agree with Joe regarding Scottland. It is a challenging position to play, but the execution of Scottland's opening moves was poor, and it only went downhill for Scottland from that moment. The way he let Joe walk in his home center is just "unforgivable" and it kind of shaped the whole game, not just for you, but for the rest of us who had to chase Joe.

I bet Antigonos also had his dilemmas - attack me or Scottland, but when he saw you wounded, he had to claim a part of the pray before Joe takes it all. Lucky me, I guess.

edit: a proper AAR will follow on the weekend I hope when I get some time.

ps. Kudos to Buckie for playing absolutely brilliant. You were my only enigma this whole game, and it's mostly your "fault" this game didn't end up in a solo either by Joe or by me in the end.
I'll say only this ahead of time. If you gave me JUST... ONE... MORE... TURN (can anybody spot a reference?) I'm pretty positive I'd get that solo.
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Re: Heptarchy XIV: AAR

Postby Groo » 07 Mar 2018, 15:12

Heptarchy XIV AAR: Groo's point of view

1. Pre-Game mentality:
This is my first forum game, and my first variant so when I entered this game I set myself a goal to get a triple. This is why I bet so high on Cornubia who, in my opinion, is most similar to France in the standard Dip due to its corner position. I'd argue that Cornubia's position is actually even better because the usual arch-nemesis Britain is swapped for Ireland, who has much more places to go to and is not as protected as Britain is in standard Dip (Ireland has 4 neighbours that potentially can build fleets opposed to Britain's 2 and1/2 - ...cough, Russia...)

So, to cut the intro: I took the country I thought was OP on this map, and set a cowardly/rational goal to draw. What a chicken! :D :oops:

2. First turn and the early game
This is the most interesting and fun part of every game to me. Talking to all those new people, hearing out their strategies, and ultimately preparing your own. I was happy when I heard from Joe the first time. He proposed to me and Anglia that we should work against Mercia. Anglia was up for it, and he was willing to leave me two southern neutrals. Joe basically handed me a workable plan on a silver plate!

Of course, I assumed his motives were selfish - I thought his plan was to a)secure his southern border for a while by taking Mercia down b)make me and Anglia fight against one another c)use the turmoil to solo. This assumption was always my mantra. A guide to developing a broad strategy of my own, which would mostly counter that Joe's plan -> stab Anglia and stand by Mercia's side. Ally with Ireland and turn against Wales. I thought that In the endgame it would be me, Ireland and Joe. I was sticking with that plan, more less, the whole game.

The fact that Joe managed to slip through Scottish defenses meant only that I have to hurry with the execution. In the fall 02 the decision to stab Anglia was made. I was also thinking about entering Celtic sea at that point, but I'm glad I didn't risk it. Not only because Antigonos covered it, but because I assumed it will be really difficult to persuade him to attack Wales in the future if I do that :mrgreen:
MAP (don't worry it won't download it, it's just a direct link because the images are too large)
download/file.php?id=25842

Good relationship with Antigonos in the early game was crucial for my plan to succeed. And I must admit it wasn't easy to get on the right track - he repeatedly asked me not to build fleets which I had to ignore. I knew that I'll need at least 50% of my units to be fleets in order to defend my peninsula, be it from Ireland or Wales. I also needed a fleet which would be super efective against Anglia who had none. The stab on Anglia went surprisingly well, and it was only the start of a successful campaign. With Mercia's help, I even entered London in the fall of 652.

MAP, FALL 652: download/file.php?id=25927

Mercia, on the other hand, had even more troubles than I assumed he would. First, Joe attacked him from the north because Scottland was already down on his knees, and Scottland who promised us to help Mercia against Anglia and did just the opposite and ordered
North Sea South Support Norwich to Hold

This was the only move in the game that really pissed me off. He was actively helping his own Northumbrian invader by helping Anglia as I explicitly explained to him and he did it anyway.
download/file.php?id=26022
Furthermore, Mercian moves in the spring of 653 were not that great and the combined Anglo-Welsh attack on her was so effective that he instantly disbanded two units. I lost my ally, who fought honorable to the very end!

Image

:!: NEW CHAPTERS COMING SOON :!:
3) 653 - The Pivotal Moment
4) The Gr007
5) Endgame and planning of a SOLO :twisted:
6) Final Words
"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."

Cornubia in Heptarchy 14 - 3WD
Front Range in Emergence - 3WD
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Re: Heptarchy XIV: AAR

Postby joe92 » 07 Mar 2018, 22:08

Introduction
Heptarchy is the very first game I GM'ed to become an accredited GM. Since then I also GM'ed games 12 and 13 pretty much concurrently at the start of 2017, largely due to the thread buckielugger started asking about a variant like this. I also spent some time redrawing the map into a more aesthetically pleasing version, and I've created and kept up-to-date a statistical analysis of the games played on this forum. Through all of this I've found myself as comfortable with this map as the standard diplomacy map.

I think it's a great variant and I've suggested it as a main site addition before. Heptarchy also makes it onto the Hall of Fame at Variant Bank.

The stats from the games played on this site though show Northumbria, Scotland and Ireland as the weakest 3 powers with not a single solo achieved by any of them. I knew from the very start that I wanted to bid max on one of these powers and solo it to prove they are not unplayable powers and thus make the map an even greater contender for main site addition. Since I'm from Yorkshire and it's part of Northumbria on Heptarchy my top bid was a clear choice.

Pre-game plan
Before the game started my plan was to ally with Scotland and throw myself entirely south to devour Mercia. I wanted to act as a match maker and ally Cornubia and Anglia to help me in this endeavour and probably keep that running as a long term alliance with an eventual hope that it would naturally disintegrate and I could profit from the fallout. I wasn't too concerned about Wales and would have gone with the flow regarding his movements but would obviously need to keep on his good side by sharing centres. In the allying with Scotland I would have undoubtedly made an enemy out of Ireland so having Anglia and Cornubia on board would have been paramount to making this all succeed before Mercia and Wales could be convinced into working with each other to attack me.

The best laid plans of mice and men...
Early game negotiations showed the pre-game plan was not going to be possible. Scotland was not going to be convinced into attacking Ireland. In fact, I became quite worried that the opposite was going to be true, and that Scotland would attack me. In my first message to Scotland I hinted strongly at attacking Ireland without outright saying it. In return I got a message of offering Isle of Man to me if I let him have Stranraer and Dumfries. Given that IoM was not his to offer nor Str or Dum mine to seriously contend I was very confused and a bit suspicious. A later message from Ireland had my mind whirring further when Antigonos said that Scotland wanted to create a 3-way alliance between us. A 3-way alliance between us could theoretically have worked but I wasn't interested in finding out, and mostly it just made me suspicious that Scotland planned on attacking me.

In the meantime however my talks with Anglia and Cornubia seemed to be going ok. Both were responding positively to my proposals, Anglia much more so than Cornubia. In early talks Wales was very noncommittal, short in response, and quite frankly I found a bit difficult to talk with. However, was not hostile and seemed agreeable to what I was putting out so it seemed like as long as I did not attack him I would have nothing to worry about. A new plan formed. Ally with Ireland and attack Scotland. Attempt to ally with Wales and attack Mercia. Ally with Anglia/Cornubia and attack Mercia. I was allied with everyone on the board except for Mercia and Scotland. In the alliances of attacking Mercia I knew I had to be slow to prevent a counter-attack while I was still busy tied up against Scotland.

There was still time for negotiations though, and with more talking another alliance formed. A triple alliance between Anglia, Ireland and myself. It was imaginatively called "The Trio". While Ireland and myself could have been guessed at being in alliance with one another, no-one would have guessed Anglia was with us too (at least that's how it seemed). We agreed to keep support to a minimum while we could to mask this alliance.

Opening years
It all pretty much went according to plan. In the first year Anglia did me a favour and created the rumour that Scotland was going to attack me and with that I was able to move into Northumberland while exclaiming I was expecting to bounce. That led to the early capture of Edinburgh which no doubt set in concrete Scotland's path to elimination. I recall being a little frustrated at Ireland's reluctance to join in with an immediate attack against Scotland, but in the end he did follow through with an attack in the second year. I believe this frustration came from a rumour created by Cornubia that I was planning on attacking Ireland as soon as I could?

In the south Anglia and Cornubia attacked Mercia as planned, however Anglia was very frustrated with Cornubia and it transpired he anticipated a stab was coming. He was trying to get Ireland to send a fleet to attack Cornubia's west to keep him in check, or I believe also asking Wales for the same. None of this panned out in time and Cornubia soon stabbed him in the second year. This was the first hiccup to the newly formed plan.

Being Northumbria there is a lot of ground to cover to pick up centres. You become spread thin very quickly. By Spring 652 though things were so dour for Anglia that I had no choice but to commit a unit to attacking Mercia. It was 1 of 2 units on my southern line that was defending 5 of my 6 centres from an assault from the south. If Cornubia had not stabbed Anglia I would not have attacked so soon. Thankfully Groo had made the mistake of also threatening Wales with his units and so I was able to finally cement a relationship with Wales in our joint endeavour against Mercia. Ireland attacking Wales a little later helped cement that alliance further.

Mid game treachery
In the fall of 653 Mercia was eliminated and Scotland reduced to a single centre in Flanders. It got to the point where the original goal was pretty much at completion and the time was to think about the future.

Ireland was a formidable size and nearly all of his units were in the north without much of a thought being voiced of sending fleets to attack Cornubia. In fact, when pressed I was told that he wanted to focus on Wales first before attacking Cornubia. Which was reasonable, but it made me conscious of the fact that if I let Ireland grow too much then stabbing him would eventually be impossible.

Prior to this Groo had reached out to myself and Wales with the talk of a 3-way alliance and had bigged up the threat of Ireland. I had responded on that thread and kept it alive to keep my options available for the future. I chose in the Spring of 654 to change my triple alliance and stabbed Ireland and consequently Anglia too. I convoyed my army up to Edinburgh while bringing Aberdeen down to Fife and in the fall I was able to take Glasgow and begin my bitter long fight against Ireland.

I've run out of time writing this. More coming soon...

Part 2.

Frustration of Cornubia
My time in the new triple alliance was mainly spent being extremely frustrated by Cornubia. Immediately after stabbing my previous allies on the promise of a new alliance Groo continually reneged on all promises to attack Ireland. Him promising to attack Ireland was the principle reason I even went through with the stab. While I was following through on my promises of attacking Anglia he was not following through on his promises of attacking Ireland. Instead all of his attention was focused on heading east, towards me. I quickly began to regret my stab. The only positive from it as I could see was that Wales was recovering and would be able to become a solid balancer to Cornubia.

Missing Flanders
Scotland was still not eliminated and had a lone fleet hanging around the coastline. I reached out to Scotland during these years and asked for support against Anglia and was quite surprised to receive it. However, it was during the year of 654 that I should have instead been positioning myself to take Flanders. I could have moved to Dogger Bank in the fall and taken it the following year. I would have lost my northern defence against Ireland, but with a new fleet built it would have been relatively easy to reclaim Aberdeen if lost. Heck, I lost that anyway when I moved fleets out of Durham. If I had taken Flanders that would have cemented the territory as mine and would have created a clear demarcation between myself and Cornubia that could not have been breached without declaring war, war on both myself and Wales. This I believe was my principle mistake.

When I realised a season too late that I needed to take Flanders I requested that I take it to my new alliance. My reasons were that I was only 1 centre ahead and desperately needed another fleet to cover the huge geographical area I was defending. Groo, rather unreasonably in my mind (and still to this day I find unreasonable), objected based on the fact that I was the board leader. Being the board leader is not necessarily a reason in itself for objecting to something, especially considering how I presented a plan which would have seen him grow to an equal size as me. It just meant that he had to actually stab Ireland to achieve that. He would not go for this plan. Given how he had so far completely failed to even threaten Ireland I did not believe him when he agreed to leave Flanders for another year to assess the situation. We bounced in Flanders.

Walls falling in
My alliance with Cornubia was obviously over at that point. He had demonstrated an unwillingness to attack Ireland throughout our short alliance, and then at the point of actually being able to both profit he moved out of Cork to Leinster while bouncing me in Flanders. I knew at this point that Groo was gunning for a solo just the same as I was. I immediately threw all my weight behind Anglia in a bid to keep him alive for as long as possible, and to even see the chance of him recovering a build and potentially becoming a new (renewed?) ally. I also explained all my thoughts to Wales about where Cornubia was heading. Buckie must have been having a great time as the middle man listening to us both moan at him that the other one was going to solo!

A small solo hope
I tried to convince Wales to help me get Anglia back into his home territories but it was falling on deaf ears. He was not going to jeopardise his relationship with Cornubia for he felt he had too much to lose. I had Ireland continually causing me grief in the Norwegian Sea, and Cornubia was sending fleets to back up his attack Anglia and myself. Things were looking dire. I made a plea to Wales to let me into Warwickshire as he was unwilling to move there himself so that I could attack Cornubia with the help of Anglia. He agreed to that. While there I realised that was going to be the best opportunity I had to solo given the dire state of the board. It was a slim chance, slim as any I've ever taken, but I determined that I had to give myself at least one solo attempt and took this opportunity to go for it. I figured if I could throw my armies against Wales and quickly pick up his northern centres I could build new units to take myself into a solo potential position. The moves were agreed upon. Wales was going to cut Cotswald support in the fall of 657 so I could get into London. Anglia was going to support me with Northamptonshire and Cambridge.

I walk this lonely road
Well, Wales didn't follow through with the cut but that wouldn't have mattered. The fall failed because Anglia forgot to give the order for Cambridge to also support the move. I bounced from Oxford and was subsequently auto-disbanded. My armies in the north of England had moved into position to stab Wales, but without the knock against Cornubia the path looked pretty dour. I had no negotiation leverage against him but just had some better position in the north. Had I taken London he would have had to disband a unit, either the fleet in Exmoor opening up his western flank to a theoretical attack from Wales, or the army in Portsmouth making his defence of Anglian centres more difficult. Alas, it didn't happen. With Ireland committed against me since my stab against him and now Wales facing a wall of my units he was undoubtedly not going to see me as a friendly player anymore. I was against most of the board and I was still 8 centres away from a solo.

The next couple of years were spent trying to keep Anglia afloat while trying to take more centres from Wales than he could recuperate against Ireland. I barely spoke to anyone at this point. Come the fall of 658 it was clear to me I was not going to solo.

Changing course and heading for the draw
I made a draw request and reached out to Wales and Cornubia and confessed to trying to solo. I've long been of the opinion that there's no shame in trying for a solo and failing. At that point you need to pick yourself back up, swallow your pride and accept the draw. It's only a game and I'm not some lame ass solo-or-die player. The draw definitely beats being eliminated.

My messages were received as warmly as they could be given my solo attempt. We agreed on a set of orders which would deescalate our position and move towards setting up proper borders where stabbing one another was impossible to do as a surprise.

Treachery, lies and a rocky final sprint
Well, Cornubia stabbed me at this point. Then the following year Wales stabbed me. It had seemed like we were going to move towards a quick finish by eliminating Antigonos who always refuses draws that don't include him and drawing between us, but instead the flavour of the month was lying. It got so bad that I outright threatened to kingmake. I was legitimately fed up at this point. Lie after lie was landing in my inbox and every time I chose to believe it. I was worn down and just wanted the game to end. It had become very unpleasant to me at this point.

This part of the game was just vindictive punishment against me because I had made a solo attempt. This isn't a theory but exactly what Cornubia told me it was. He had the "Moral highground" and they were both justified in continuously bare faced lying to me because of my prior "crimes" of a solo attempt and thus they had to destroy me to a pittance of my prior self before I could make it into the draw. I have maintained a sense of pride through my playing of diplomacy of never lying unless it's absolutely necessary, and I do not think any of the lies at this point were necessary. The season upon where I rekindled our comms, sure, as you couldn't have been sure of my true intentions. But after that the lies were not necessary. I had done nothing but grovel and follow through on every single word I gave. I must stress at how awful this period was, and if every diplomacy game did this to whoever went for a solo run I wouldn't be a hobbyist of it. I prefer to take pride in stopping the solo and seeing them come back tail between the legs asking for the draw. I have no desire to punish a failed solo attempt.

I met the end of my tether and threatened to kingmake in the winter negotiations of 659. I've never made a kingmaking threat with so many units but I was just fed up of the game. My message was simple. Whoever attacked me would be handing the game to the other. If they both attacked me, I would hand the game to Wales. Since Cornubia had done far more lying to me than Wales I thought that was justified.

Ending in the draw
Whether my kingmaking threat (which was accompanied with yet further apologies for having the audacity to make a solo run) had done the trick, whether they had actually punished me enough, or whether Groo had accepted he couldn't solo the game anymore I don't know. But that winter we saw another agreement to deescalate our borders and actually eliminated Ireland so we could draw.

Buckielugger approached me with a unique request; he asked whether he could please take Lincoln, and that I could have Nottingham in response. A supply centre for a non supply centre? He explained that he's from Lincoln and very much wanted to control it by the end of the game. We made a deal whereby he would copy me a complete list of his orders for that spring and that if I was not surprised by any of them come the adjudication I would make the swap in the fall.

Thankfully this final year was not like the previous few seasons. Everything we agreed between us came to be. Ireland was swiftly eliminated and we brought the game to a close.

Thoughts on players
  • Anglia: sjg11 - You were a good strategist and it was great working with you in the early years. If you hadn't missed the Cambridge order later in the game we might have gone on to fight together for a good many years more. Perhaps you would have made it into the draw?
  • Cornubia: Groo - You were frustrating, but that is not an insult. If you're not frustrating your opponents you are a weak player. I think you are a very strong player and your tactical skills were very impressive, so much so that I actually nominated you to receive the Valhalla award for Best Tactician. You were unable to qualify based on a technicality which was just added to the awards system about the game having to end in the previous year (even if most of the game was in the previous year). You fought a great game all game and I'm looking forwards to meeting you in another PbF game!
  • Ireland: Antigonos - When I stabbed you I did what I thought was the honourable thing and explained myself to you even so far as I was going for a solo run. You returned by accusing me of metagaming which is akin to cheating. I unwittingly over-egged what I was saying to you, but even if I did have some sort of inside knowledge that Heptarchy was being considered as a main site contender, which is how it came off, it would not in any way, shape or form, constitute metagaming or anything similar to go for the solo because of it. In every game you must expect that each player wants to solo regardless of the reason. This has been the first game between us where things have hit such a negative and that is a shame. Regardless, you were a very strong negotiator, our early game plannings were great and as usual you were the best tactician on the board for a long time. Even after my stab you continued to play to the very end negotiating with other powers to make my ability to solo as difficult as possible and for that I respect you a lot. I look forwards to our next game!
  • Mercia: RedSun - You were a poor communicator but a good strategist. You kept Mercia going for longer than most in that situation would have. If you were able to work on your negotiation skills you would be a tremendously successful player. It's not enough to just play around defensively until you can trust someone enough. You need to be actively communicating with your neighbours and influencing the situation on the board so that it benefits you.
  • Scotland: b1wein - You should not have let myself and Antigonos control the diplomacy channels. You let yourself get ridden over because of it. If you had not been so obviously against the idea of attacking Ireland we may have been allies in the start.
  • Wales: buckielugger - I found it frustrating to talk with you in the early game but as we progressed through the years it became more and more a pleasure working with you. My stab was fairly ruthless and bore no relevance to how I thought of you, it was just a desire to try and solo. Your tactical ability of balancing the power between myself and Groo as we both at different times went for the solo run was very impressive. I am glad to see another great player in the PbF community. On a side note: I hope your new asthma can be managed effectively, and don't forget about the Buteyko technique, that basically cured me of it!

Looking back
I think the main thing that stopped me solo'ing in this game was missing out on taking Flanders. Had I taken that I think I would have been able to set the grounds for a natural border between myself and Cornubia that he wouldn't have been able to breach without looking like the bad guy. From there I would have been able to more effectively pivot my forces in the north and move into Irish territories. Hopefully I would have had the skill to do all that while obscuring my success with more concessions in the Anglian territories.

Later, perhaps if the attack on London had succeeded this might have been a different story, who knows.

I also think I should have underplayed how comfortable I was with the game. I believe there were a few psychological reasoning's being made against me based on the fact that I've GM'ed it a few times and did the reskinning of the map. If I had played it down perhaps some players might have been less sceptical of me.

That's all folks
Well, that's my AAR. Please remember that everything I've written above is purely from my point of view.

Aside from a couple of years towards the end this was an extremely great game. Straight in as one of my favourites. Thank you to everybody who took part, and thank you to nanook for running it. See you all in the next one!
Last edited by joe92 on 16 Mar 2018, 17:39, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Heptarchy XIV: AAR

Postby Groo » 07 Mar 2018, 23:57

Haha, cool stuff Joe. We have covered the early game.
Here's the rest of mine. Will comment later when you finish yours.

653 - The pivotal moment

The fall of 653 was very grim for me. I lost my only true ally, was surrounded by potential enemies. Scottland was also practically dead.
I remember how terrified I was that Ireland will attack me at the same time as Anglia. Luckily, Ireland decided to fight Wales!

I had to deploy all my diplomatic abilities at that moment: I had to convince Joe that it would be better for him to help me against Anglia and that sooner Anglia is finished I can fight against Ireland. I knew my fleets were my diplomatic capital and I didn't build them for naught! Everyone was scared of Ireland at that moment: he had 7 fleets at the time and he actually just built his first army and I used that fear to my advantage.

The Gr007
The year 654 went better than I planned: I managed to take the last Anglian home center, Dover, and trapped his 4 units on a peninsula. Ireland was in the middle of fighting Wales when Joe stabbed him in Glasgow and announced a war. Joe and I decided to split the Anglian territory.
I even managed to smooth the thing up with Wales, with whom I only traded blows in Sev and Bristol Channel so far.
viewtopic.php?f=809&t=56486

What Joe and Buckie didn't know at the time is that I found a new great ally in Ireland. He was glad that he doesn't have to fight 3 enemies at the same time and that he has someone who will help him defend or leak info like 007 and I was more than happy to continue my conquest of Anglia without interference from Ireland or Wales.

The game of cat and mouse began. I wanted to take down Anglia as fast as possible and stalled the attack on Ireland that I've promised in our "Trio" channel. Joe did the exact same thing: stalled in Anglia while fighting Ireland. I started counting 20 dots on the map and I knew Joe's doing the same.

In the spring 655 I faked taking Cork. Antigonos was surprisingly calm about it 8-) I guess he HAD to trust me at that point.
I also remember that in spring 655 Joe wanted to enter Flanders. This was confirmation to me that he's aiming for a solo. The fact that he had 11 centers or so already and also wanted another probably opened Wales's eyes (or at least I THOUGHT SO). A note worth mentioning: I thought Buckie is Joe's pet up to that point, he made me completely underestimate him as a player. That's a strategy that could be very effective and Buckie pulled it off, perfectly keeping the balance between me and Joe. Kudos to you once again, I don't think I would manage to survive what you did!

In the fall Joe and I read each other's moves - we bounced Flanders, he didn't help me against Anglia and I didn't take Cork. The only one who profited from our cat and mouse play was Wales who gained back his centre and probably realized it's his time to shine. download/file.php?id=26121

In the following years, I was concerned about taking down Anglia because I knew that he will try to reclaim his home centers, given the opportunity. I also knew Joe would stab him if that happens and win a solo. To control the Channel I needed Flanders, but I lacked the units, or rather tempo, my fleet was on it's way but it would have been too late for the party. I found the perfect solution. I reached out to the last remaining Scottish unit, using him against Joe, and stabbed him afterward with no regrets because I was still pissed at him for practically destroying Mercia and my plans for the swift destruction of Anglia a few years ago. (sorry mate, nothing personal)
viewtopic.php?f=809&t=56638

With the death of Scottland let's say we entered the final stage of the game.

Endgame and thoughts about SOLO
Wales was doing fairly well for himself gaining +1 in Ireland and I got mine in Flanders. I guess those events made Joe to start panicking(?). He made the solo attempt very obvious by entering War. He was also constantly accusing me of trying to solo (which was a bit far-fetched so I called BS. In a given situation I had the "moral high ground" as he was the table leader), which actually damaged him more because I preached to anyone who would listen the tale of Northumbrian solo.

Wales, Ireland and I now had to work together to stop the solo from Joe. I remember thinking: "Great! if they overextend I might REALLY have a chance at soloing myself". In all honesty, it was only then that I first had real thoughts about my own solo. And the fall moves of 657 in which I destroyed 2 enemy units with the help from Wales (this was one of the few small tactical victories I've had over Anglia/Northumbria that I'm proud of) only encouraged me even more. viewtopic.php?f=809&t=56759
This fall was the beginning of the end for Anglia who was divided by me and Joe in the fall next year. I managed to get 2/4 of his centers. I still wanted the other 2.

The rest of the game is Wales, Cornubia and Ireland working against Northumbria. Wales played this part of the game perfectly. He was taking centers from Ireland and justified them on the losses on mainland against Joe. I kind of knew what was happening, he was securing that both of us don't solo, but I wasn't in a position to argue because it would only encourage him to continue doing it...it would have been like an open admission of guilt that I want to stab him in a year or two. I was trying to position my fleets so I can stab Ireland and Wales wile simultaneously fighting Joe at the other part of the map. Wales, I guess saw through it, and Joe offered a hand of peace just in time to ensure we're all on the same page. He openly admitted he was trying to solo, but he's defeated and would like to draw. This was a great move, Kudos to that. I still have a feeling that if we continued to fight for another year, I'd probably get that solo. I was counting on that.

viewtopic.php?f=809&t=57117

Antigonos didn't want to surrender which was great. Niether did I. I was trying a zillion combinations in my head, including making Ireland my kingsman and bluntly telling him the truth at some point. Whatever I played out in my head I couldn't find a satisfying solution. The game already turned a bit sour in the time Joe and I was accusing each other for the solo, and now If I actually tried to solo I feared that would make Wales turn against me, and that it would give Joe the upper hand. I mean, I guess this game could have continued for some time if I did try something. I would have probably tried it if Wales didn't get 2 builds in the last year of the game. I assessed the situation and concluded that 15 centers was the best I can do.

Also drawing as top of the board, after catching up to Joe for so long was pretty satisfying, given my starting goals.

Final words
I'm pretty happy with the outcome of this game. I think I made mostly the right decisions and that I've managed to anticipate most of the stuff thrown at me. I probably should have tried to create a better relationship with Wales in the early game (and I would if I knew he'll survive 4 years. I thought he's doomed from the start tbh) and could have handled the endgame a bit better and - some experienced players would probably solo this game by playing last 2-3 turns differently. I admit I don't have much experience in this game and almost none in endgames. I'm aware I need to practice that part, but hey, you need to survive till the endgame first to practice it!

Everyone, thanks again for a great game! It was quite an experience.
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Re: Heptarchy XIV: AAR

Postby buckielugger » 08 Mar 2018, 23:56

Thanks for all that Groo (and the compliments).

As it happened, i was working from the very beginning and right through the game, on the basis that you would only be after a solo (and quite likely to achieve it), your record showed that would be the case.
Equally i expected the same at all times from Joe.

My early attempts at an alliance was to get Mercia, Anglia and Scotland to join me against yourself and Joe (with Ireland an optional ally).
Sadly, i failed to cement such a partnership, and Mercia opened with an attack on me (if i recall correctly), so i had to then aim to establish as best a defensive position as i could to protect myself from the threat from my north and my south.
Unfortunately i did not have the units to defend from the west as well.
So i had to do my best thereafter to keep a seemingly friendly posture with both Joe and Groo to give me the extra time i needed to re-establish my territory.

Once i had achieved that, it was all about getting Groo to work with me against Joe and vice versa once Joe had been pegged back.

Then as well as getting the game into the three-way draw (which was my end objective), i also finally saw the chance to get my other prime objective of taking Lincoln, my home city.
I had hoped Joe would evict me from Nottingham whilst Lincoln was vacant, and i could do a triumphant retreat into Lincoln, but Joe scuppered that by both not taking Nottinghan AND moving into Lincoln himself.
I was left then with asking him openly for a rotational exchange. After a little persuasion this happened on the final move. (And if it had NOT happened, i would have played on until it did!).
Also given how the map had developed for me, i had dreamt up one other aim but failed to achieve it, and that was taking a Scottish centre. If the elimination of Ireland had not been agreed at the end, i would have been able to allow Groo another year and would have taken Stranraer. And that would have given me centres in six modern countries
..! Wales, England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man!!
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Re: Heptarchy XIV: AAR

Postby Groo » 09 Mar 2018, 01:16

Isle of Man is a country? :o
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Re: Heptarchy XIV: AAR

Postby Groo » 09 Mar 2018, 01:26

buckielugger wrote:Thanks for all that Groo (and the compliments).

As it happened, i was working from the very beginning and right through the game, on the basis that you would only be after a solo (and quite likely to achieve it), your record showed that would be the case.


This info is quite interesting. :ugeek: You do realize I played only a handful of games, and the solos I got were a combination of pure luck and enemy NMR's? Does the mentor game solo even count?! :D
The serious games I played I ended up losing...like that PDET.

buckielugger wrote:Then as well as getting the game into the three-way draw (which was my end objective), i also finally saw the chance to get my other prime objective of taking Lincoln, my home city.
I had hoped Joe would evict me from Nottingham whilst Lincoln was vacant, and i could do a triumphant retreat into Lincoln, but Joe scuppered that by both not taking Nottinghan AND moving into Lincoln himself.
I was left then with asking him openly for a rotational exchange. After a little persuasion this happened on the final move. (And if it had NOT happened, i would have played on until it did!).
Also given how the map had developed for me, i had dreamt up one other aim but failed to achieve it, and that was taking a Scottish centre. If the elimination of Ireland had not been agreed at the end, i would have been able to allow Groo another year and would have taken Stranraer. And that would have given me centres in six modern countries
..! Wales, England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man!!

If only you shared your wishes with me...that stab would come flying at you :twisted:
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Re: Heptarchy XIV: AAR

Postby joe92 » 16 Mar 2018, 17:34

Finished my AAR :)
Designer: Emergence, Modern Extended
GM'ing: Emergence

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Re: Heptarchy XIV: AAR

Postby nanooktheeskimo » 17 Mar 2018, 19:14

Thank you to everyone that contributed to the AAR, it's good to read some of the backroom stuff you only see the result of as the GM. My personal thought was that Joe broke for the solo a couple turns too early. I thought if he stuck with Ireland until Ireland was fighting Wales or Cornubia as opposed to relying on Cornubia to fight Ireland, that he would've had a better chance. That's obviously easier for a third party to say, and I'm sure there were other factors involved, but that would be my observation.

Well played all, and a big thank you for getting your orders in and nobody NMRing!
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Re: Heptarchy XIV: AAR

Postby Groo » 18 Mar 2018, 23:03

joe92 wrote:When I realised a season too late that I needed to take Flanders I requested that I take it to my new alliance. My reasons were that I was only 1 centre ahead and desperately needed another fleet to cover the huge geographical area I was defending. Groo, rather unreasonably in my mind (and still to this day I find unreasonable)

How do you find it unreasonable? You said it yourself - Flanders was your key to closing your borders and basically getting a solo by blocking me. I couldn't allow that :D

joe92 wrote:This part of the game was just vindictive punishment against me because I had made a solo attempt. This isn't a theory but exactly what Cornubia told me it was. He had the "Moral highground" and they were both justified in continuously bare faced lying to me because of my prior "crimes" of a solo attempt and thus they had to destroy me to a pittance of my prior self before I could make it into the draw. I have maintained a sense of pride through my playing of diplomacy of never lying unless it's absolutely necessary, and I do not think any of the lies at this point were necessary.


I'm sorry for this mate, it might sound vengeful but it was actually my strategy to get a solo myself, basically using your weapon against you. I don't mind players going for solo, but if other people believing it could get me a solo then that's my game. It was filthy and made me feel bad, but I rather wanted to see you frustrated than look like a solo threat myself. That was the only way, at least I thought so, to make Wales throw himself on you, and throws the game for me. Please, forgive me :oops:

Wales did a very good job maintaining cool-headed, but the best play he pulled through is that he made me believe he will throw himself on you and that stopped me from stabbing him. Buckie did an absolutely amazing job there and then he swiftly took a few centers and balanced us out completely and shot us down. :ugeek:

What I thought when I said "moral highground" was the fact that points you were making didn't have more gravity than mine because you were
a)trying to take Flanders which was obviously a very important strategic position for getting a solo
b)You were the board leader
c)You accused me of trying to solo at that point with 9 centers
d)I was in Cork that year in the spring, so I technically "attacked" Ireland (even though I wasn't planning on taking it you couldn't have known that)

My personal thought was that Joe broke for the solo a couple turns too early.

Absolutely. If you have waited only a year instead of demanding Flanders I wouldn't have any excuses left for not attacking Ireland which would make Wales your and Anglian ally basically. (or I would have been forced to attack Ireland which would also benefit you)
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