PDL 1, Round 3, Game 1. AAR

After game reports for PlaDip Diplomacy League games

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Re: PDL 1, Round 3, Game 1. AAR

Postby Verse9 » 05 Sep 2018, 02:03

He wouldn't have got a solo without the "irregularities".
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Re: PDL 1, Round 3, Game 1. AAR

Postby Charleroi » 05 Sep 2018, 16:13

Well, I may as well kick things off and given France's interregnum, I suppose I'm the player with the longest view of the game.

The early game was cagey all around. Italy, Germany and I agreed to an initial triple alliance. I tried to play nice with Russia and Turkey at the same time. My initial goal was to draw Russia down against Turkey and then work with Germany to prevent Russia from growing. So Turkey was target number one, with Russia two on the list. I didn't particularly want much from Turkey's destruction - Greece, Bul and Rum were early targets) but my goal was to stop Russia from getting more than one or two centers. Germany helped by agreeing to bounce Russia from Swe. Germany and I then intended to take a joint campaign to War/Mos. In the fall 1901 orders I got suspicious of Italy. I'm not sure why but I decided to move Bud->Tri. He was certainly talking as though he was fully on board with the central alliance we had ostensibly arranged but his moves were odd. Rome Hold seemed to get him nowhere - he couldn't convoy anywhere, he couldn't threaten anyone, it was just ... there. So I covered Trieste. This was the fall orders:
Fall 1901
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Italy's move really annoyed me. It was the kind of petty stab that I can't stand. It didn't gain him anything substantial and it ruined his credibility with me. I don't mind being stabbed--I certainly worked with other folks who attacked me pretty mercilessly here. But I do mind being stabbed by a move that doesn't gain the stabber anything. That just makes me think that the stabber doesn't have a good tactical sense and isn't trustworthy. One or the other is fine in an ally - if I know you're strong on tactics I will just work to make it in your advantage to stay loyal. And if I know you're trustworthy I will happily brainstorm the tactical moves with you to anticipate weaknesses. But if I can't trust you to be loyal and I can't trust you to make moves that are genuinely in your self interest, it becomes very hard to forge a lasting alliance. So my goal quickly became - set Turkey and Russia to fighting one another without result and use that time to crush Italy.

This made it a bit disappointing that France built an army in Marseilles. I could have used some help or at least some threat looming in the western Med to pull Italy away. No dice. In 1902, I tried to force my way into the Italian peninsula (unsuccessfully) and looked on in horror as Turkey and Russia started to play nice. This was very bad. There wasn't an immediate tactical threat at the end of 1902, but I was certainly running out of friends and the friend I did have (Germany) was in a bad way.
1902 Build Phase
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Re: PDL 1, Round 3, Game 1. AAR

Postby Charleroi » 05 Sep 2018, 16:27

The southeast turned into a big squabble at this point. My priorities evolved a bit - Turkey and Italy were now actively working against me and, as much as I was burning up the wires trying to get France to attack Italy, he was not interested in that ... at all. So I was hemmed in. I kept making nice with Russia (he may have suspected I was planning to attack him once Turkey collapsed but I had made no hostile moves toward him). Russia and I were able to hold off the Italo-Turkish partnership with some fancy footwork. All of this was only possible because of the appalling unit allocation by Turkey and Italy - they only had fleets in theater and, after capturing Greece and Bulgaria, they were unable to move on Serbia or Rumania. That kept me alive and kept things pretty much stalemated.

Fall 1903
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Fall 1904
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Re: PDL 1, Round 3, Game 1. AAR

Postby Charleroi » 05 Sep 2018, 16:38

Fall 1905
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So my salvation in 1905 was that Russia made progress against Turkey. That allowed me to marshal my forces in the Med without worrying as much about the eastern Balkans and Rumania. Italy's attacks continued to be largely ineffectual. Troublingly, England seemed to have won over Germany as a pawn. at this point I was desperate to get France to attack Italy and he still ... wouldn't do it. It seemed pretty apparent to me that England stood poised to make a lot of progress in Scan and that France would fall behind if he didn't move on Italy. I also didn't say it, but if France moved into the Med now he had a great chance to get over the stalemate line and become a true solo threat. I think France made an error here. As the game played out, France was able to squash England, but when he did the other players were able to circle up and stop him. We could only do that because France was behind the stalemate line in every theater. I think the conversation would have been different if France was in Tunis, Rome, or the Ionian when he pounced on England.

As you see, I got so frustrated with France that I decided to put pressure on him directly. I moved into Tyr and tried to force France to occupy Marseilles. Italy continued to help me out by using fleets to attack my coastal provinces.

Fall 1906
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1906 was desperation survival mode for me. I was grasping at straws to stay in the game. France finally made a move on Italy and I made a move on Russia (Turkey very graciously reinitiated contact and we tried to get a relationship going at this point).
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Re: PDL 1, Round 3, Game 1. AAR

Postby Charleroi » 05 Sep 2018, 16:42

Spring 1907
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Fall 1907
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I've shown both here because there's a lot going on. England is in crisis and France is running rampant on the continent (but is still outside the Ionian with a lot of fleets stacked up on the other side holding him out). I seem to have recaptured Trieste and I'm honestly not sure if that was agreed or not - haven't taken enough of a deep dive in the messages to know for sure. In the fall I took Venice from Italy. Partly, I was bitter that he had been such an annoyance for so long while also failing to eliminate me. And partly I didn't trust him to stick together in an alliance. In any event, I decided I was better off with my armies moving north to stop France than with Italy holding on to the centers.
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Re: PDL 1, Round 3, Game 1. AAR

Postby Charleroi » 05 Sep 2018, 16:48

Spring 1908
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Fall 1908
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Italy was understandably distressed. He teamed up with France and retook Greece while Turkey hit Constantinople. The game was very chaotic still. It would be another year before we all rallied into a stop-France alliance.

Spring 1909
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[b]Fall 1909['b]
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In 1909 Italy, by all appearances, was still working with France against me. Russia was having a rough time and England's collapse continued apace. In the fall, I think with Italy's agreement, I managed to convoy into Apulia and get him Venice back. I believe we planned the moves this fall (and possibly the preceding spring?) as the early part of the anti-French coalition. We were able to set up a strong wall down the spine of Italy and build a new fleet in Rome. But we still needed to recapture the Ionian.
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Re: PDL 1, Round 3, Game 1. AAR

Postby Charleroi » 05 Sep 2018, 16:58

Spring 1910
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Fall 1910
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In 1910 the anti-French alliance recaptured the Ionian and consolidated the line through central Europe. Critically, France retreated back to Tun from Ion rather than forward into Albania or Apulia. Those aren't great places for a fleet, but they would allow him to distract several units behind our line while he maneuvered to get more fleets into the Med.

The game settled into a stalemate while France waited for one of the other six of us to turn on one another. Instead we held together. Turkey sacrificed Bulgaria to allow Russia to build another northern fleet and I captured Munich and Piedmont. In 1912 Turkey destroyed the Russian fleet in the Med to allow a second fleet build in St Pete.

I think France's error throughout this period was to continue to press on all fronts. I was perfectly willing to fall on Italy, Turkey, or Germany, but I needed more confidence that France wouldn't immediately step into a solo. I suggested to France that he draw back out of the med to allow this attack. Instead he stayed in place. I don't know what his goal was here - continuing the attack only consolidated the alliance against him. Drawing back would have shaken the game up and allowed a whole new dynamic to develop. He would have remained the dominant player and, because he controlled the straights of Gibraltar, he would have a virtually unassailable position. And, because he only had Tunis, it would have cost him no more than one center. Instead he pressed on ahead. So I captured Marseilles (in a daring and totally surprising raid, I must confess). At the end of 1912 we were here:
Fall 1912
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Re: PDL 1, Round 3, Game 1. AAR

Postby Charleroi » 05 Sep 2018, 20:59

In spring 1913 we were joined by a new France. After about thirty minutes it became apparent from the public press that our new France was Pootleflump (based on the public press alone). I'm really bad at the "guess who the opposition is" game but even I was able to nail that one. This put the rest of us in a quandary. It was clear that a lot of anti-France aggression was helping to hold the coalition together. A new France could peel off one or two of us and set things adrift.

This is a place where I probably blew it for my chance of getting anything better than a 2WD. I had a few opportunities to really improve my situation from here on out and I couldn't make anything of it. I was trying to decide when it was a good moment to turn on my neighbors. I planned to snag Warsaw and make a strike for Berlin. It was all achievable but I had to be the first one to move. Instead, Russia jumped the gun on me - he snagged Warsaw in the spring. I had already decided I was taking Warsaw but I had intended to make the move in the fall so that it was impossible to counter. I'd be interested to hear from Pootle and GPD whether and to what extent they planned this one together.

Here are the spring 1913 moves:
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And Fall 1913:
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As you see, I was able to move on Italy in the fall. That got me Venice, but I still wasn't able to do anything useful with Marseilles (my plan here was to pull Munich into Burgundy or vice versa but I wasn't able to pull it off. Again, I can't get over the feeling that I blew it. Insight from others would be appreciated on this point. And without being able to grab Warsaw, I missed my chance to get the builds that would give me control of the east. I was hoping that I could hold Marseilles and Munich and grab the southeast to take a solo. Without getting a leg up on Russia, that was impossible.

Italy and I made some progress against the French fleets. But because Russia was back in the backfield again, I wasn't able to advance further into the Mediterranean. I was just dancing around in the Balkans.

Things got very dicey in 1915. Russia and I worked out an agreement to divide Anatolia and start narrowing down the draw at the very least. We both had played with Pootle before and knew how convincing she could be. We exchanged messages saying that neither of us trusted her and we both would stand strong together. We exchanged a complete order set for the fall 1915 orders. I then was offline for about 23 hours and logged back in just after the fall 1915 turn processed. I was shocked to see this:
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Needless to say, we hadn't agreed to that. Russia had requested a processing exception which I accepted as soon as I logged back in and saw it, but at that point the turn had already processed. Russia claimed he would have changed his orders to the moves we had agreed to if I had granted the exception. I didn't find this compelling - he had time to do the moves we agreed to (and had written to me about it so he had an opportunity to do it). Given the subsequent developments, I think Russia wasn't being honest about his willingness to do the moves we agreed to.

After the Russia stab, I thought my survival was seriously at risk. So I decided I could sacrifice Munich and Berlin and set attack Russia to get enough ground for me to survive. In the worst case, I could hold the Tyr/Boh/Gal line if Italy and I could take back Tunis (which seemed very much in play). So I attacked Russia:
Spring 1916
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Russia flipped out. Apparently GPD had decided that I hated Pootle and I hated her so much that I would never ever work with her. Basically, he expected that he could attack me with impunity and I would die happily and hold off Pootle while he annihilated me. I was surprised to hear that. Pootle and I have had run-ins in prior games that didn't leave me thoroughly impressed with some of her tactics but she's a serious player and I thought everyone here was a serious player - that means you work with folks even if you don't have the best history with them when its in your best interests.

In the fall 1916 turn a new Russia joined. This threw everything into the air. New Russia was not a league member and had not been invited to join. That ruffled everyone's feathers a little bit. At the same time, old France was able to come back into the game. Everything was in the air now.

I reached out to old France and new Russia to sound them out. I told new Russia that France was a major threat and could be contained if we worked out a plan. I told France that Russia was growing and had to be stopped if we were to survive. I offered a few plans to Russia and finally settled on this - as I saw, we were going to gain Smyrna and needed to decide how to divy up the centers to promote peace between us and get a favorable allocation of units against France. The key here is that I had destroyed a russian unit in the spring of 1916. So Russia could lose a center without having to destroy a unit. I reasoned that he didn't need a fleet in the Med - it would invariably cause tension between us and would make it impossible to work together. I also reasoned that builds in Vienna and Trieste were more useful than an army build in Warsaw. A Russian army in Warsaw would, again, cause a lot of tension and give an opening to attack south. My armies could be used to hold the line in Germany and around the Alps. I offered Russia the following: I would attack and destroy his fleet holding Bulgaria. He would destroy it rather than retreat. He could then help me in Smyrna or could take Smyrna himself and help me into Rumania. I would get two builds (Smyrna/Rumania and Bulgaria) and he would get one build (because he would have destroyed two units over the course of 1916 and lost only one net center). Russia wouldn't even consider it. He refused anything that gave me two builds and insisted he needed to have both builds. For a while, he didn't seem to understand how the center allocation worked and thought he was not getting any build at all. This did not inspire confidence. And, frankly, I was fed up. This yahoo had joined uninvited and was now promising to throw the game to France unless I did exactly as he demanded. Seeing as he had absolutely no skin in this game (which had now taken several months in real life for the rest of us) and was basically promising to do the online version of kicking over the table if he didn't get his way, I was angry. So I agreed to his demands and did the best I could to ruthlessly attack him in the fall. This was the fall move:
Fall 1916
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Re: PDL 1, Round 3, Game 1. AAR

Postby Charleroi » 05 Sep 2018, 21:12

This is where I got very lucky. France and I were in conversations about how to wrap up the game. He reached out and said that he didn't feel right about taking a solo given the various goings-on (his absence and the involvement of new Russia). So France talked with Russia as though he was working for the solo but encouraged me to continue and worked with me to arrange a 2WD. From that point out it was basically a matter of France and I wrapping up the maneuvers to crush Russia and Italy. This was made easier when Russia made a couple tactical mistakes that allowed me to progress pretty steadily against him.

Fall 1917
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Spring 1918
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Fall 1918
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Fall 1919
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Re: PDL 1, Round 3, Game 1. AAR

Postby jay65536 » 06 Sep 2018, 18:53

Charleroi, do you have any interest in an outsider's perspective on a couple of the things you talked about in your AAR? I was following the game starting around 1910-1911...if you do but don't think it's appropriate to put in the game AAR thread you could also PM me.
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