WitA 7: AAR

10 player variant set in North and South America circa 1840, created by Macario Reyes. GMed by NanookTheEskimo.

WitA 7: The War Awakens.

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WitA 7: AAR

Postby Nanook » 25 Feb 2019, 08:58

game ends in a draw between Venezuela and Spain. Congratulations to them, and to Argentina, Britain, Chile, and USA for surviving to the end.

Leave your AARs here.

I thought this was a pretty well played game that probably should've ended around 1850 or so. If people want I can talk more about the decision at the end to leave NME on the board and why that was the right choice after the Spring had been adjudicated without the mistake being pointed out, but I don't want to turn it into a thing if nobody cares.

I do owe the players an apology for the crappy reliability of adjudication time the last month or so. I hadn't planned for this game to run this long to be perfectly honest, and it sort of took a backseat to RL things like class work, childcare, and toothaches, and to the ToS, since delays there have longer term implications than delays here. That kinda sucks for you guys though, and I'm sorry for that.

There was also an element of not wanting to NMR people, cause a couple of you were serially late or very close to late, even with reminders. And to me, NMRs ruin a game much more than delays do. That was only a small part of the reason though, I haven't been holding for that very often at all the last couple months, just for the reasons described above.

Comments on map balance and how good or bad discord was for playing are especially sought after!
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Re: WitA 7: AAR

Postby Don Juan of Austria » 25 Feb 2019, 09:38

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Re: WitA 7: AAR

Postby Aeschines » 25 Feb 2019, 17:37

Thanks for running this Nannok, even if my participation ended about 9 months ago! ;) ;)

My big notes:
1) What a weird variant! For Brazil they have to pick an enemy right out of the gate which was a little jarring!

2) Sorry Alman! I really did want to work with you once you'd joined but you were a little late getting to the party and (before I'd realized that was going to be you) I'd made plans that couldn't be unmade. Obviously, it didn't work out well for me - I'll consider that a lesson learned!

3) Kim - I'm very sad about you. I know Mr. Preacher Alman is very persuasive but we had the potential for a really good thing. :oops: :oops: I hope next time around you'll be more open to a long-term partnership.

4) TTBen, I'm glad you pulled that out! You definitely deserved the win. I'm sad you chose to snuff me out in the end, but I hope you'll carry a candle for me in the future.

5) Everyone else, good games! I'm sorry if I basically don't remember what we talked about (it's been a little while). But you're all wonderful people (with the exception of Groo, who is a wonderful ToS partner).
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Re: WitA 7: AAR

Postby TTBen » 26 Feb 2019, 01:06

I’m not sure I’ve written a good AAR yet so I reserve the right to go back and edit or add more as needed.
First some observations from the map that I see: 1)The west coast is far more open than the east and that leads to some balance issues in my eyes but nothing that can’t be overcome; 2)In South America it’s absolutely critical to start with Colombia/Venezuela and Chile/Argentina aligned it seems but if they do then Brazil and Peru are almost certainly going to be squeezed. I felt bad for ASU and Aeschines this game but never felt I had a real opportunity to do anything to help either.

Spain I enjoyed playing this game, I appreciated your flexibility and willingness to bounce ideas off each other we worked well together early, but I was most impressed that after I moved on you when you were going at Colombia that you had the sense to come to me concede additional centers I hadn’t taken yet but say you were still willing to work with me if I agreed to stop attacking you after that.

Argentina, I enjoyed playing with you even though coordinating communications were often difficult and led to some of my aggression but I certainly see a player that I enjoyed the tactical discussions with and look forward to playing with again. I’d have loved to have made this a 3 way draw with you and Spain but you remained fiercely loyal to Britain and Chile and I can respect that. I’m

Colombia you are the toughest one to write about. Early on you were the best partner I could ask for, you came to me almost immediately promising a DMZ and lived up to it giving us both a chance to grow. The map setup certainly gave you an edge with less west coast pressure and as you started to grow faster than me I began to look for others willing to move on you but I kept getting rebuffed with everyone expecting me to make the first move. I wasn’t thrilled that you continued to be unwilling to balance out the centers a little but I had little choices and was going to run with the 3 way as long as I could. The turning for me was in Fall 1845 when you missed a Support to keep me in SCr and let Argentina in, it may have been an honest mistake but I have my doubts and from that point forward I never really trusted you, I tried to work things out some but didn’t mind if you went out.

Anyone else I’m willing to comment on but I don’t have strong opinions for one side or the other
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Re: WitA 7: AAR

Postby boldblade » 27 Feb 2019, 21:28

Wow, long game. Glad to be a part of the first PBDiscord game. I love what it has evolved into and do wish we had our own server for this game. Would have made it a lot easier to look back and remind me of some details when it comes to timelines for various aspects of this game that I am interested in discussing. So, I may come back to this and try to add some chronological details but my plan for now is to detail this by relationship/alliance and how that evolved over time instead of trying to patch all of that together and match up timelines. I hope that will be a reasonable way of looking through this.

Britain (Kim):
Without question the greatest delta between in game relationship vs out of game relationship for me. I like Kim quite well and consider her a good discord friend but to say I mistreated her in this game is a massive understatement. I knew when I saw our positions that my success basically demanded her failure in the Caribbean. So, I made it so. I lied, I manipulated, I did whatever it took to eliminate her from the region. Then I headed north and repeated the process until all she owned was the small piece of the southern hemisphere she started with.
There was one stage where I made an agreement with her that I intended to honor. I promised to leave Toronto to her if she would destroy her last unit in the North. She agreed and I honored it…. For two game years. I intended to honor it longer but the second year was the year of the Venezuelan stab and I was desperate to keep units on the board so I took from her again. I think any move she could afford that would bother me after that she did. Which is very fair. She got a rogue fleet to the north that I had to deal with and ultimately took Alaska from me with the Help of Chile. None of which really helped her too much but it definitely was some very well-earned pain for me.

Chile (Morg):
I should have known that demanding the Bering Strait DMZ early on would come back to bite me when I violated it. It seemed he and I had a nice arrangement surrounding Hawaii but he was just biding his time till he could make me pay for the betrayal and assist Britain into Alaska.

Argentina (Alman):
Once he came online after missing much of the opening dialogue, I found him quite charming and easy to get along with. Periodically he would invite me to coordinate assaults on Venezuela. Each time I denied him. There were a few things I could never quite figure out about his strategy. Every pitch he ever made to get me to attack Venezuela could have been copy and pasted to another power with Spain replacing Venezuela. He only ever focused on the threats Venezuela posed (threats that I felt I was posing as well) and never once provided me with an argument for how an offensive against Venezuela improved my game. Anyways, I am curious to know the strategy involved in trying to get me to flip. I challenged him on it every time without getting too much back. Maybe I can hear more now.
It did seem at one point in the late game I finally got somewhere in our dialogue by demanding that if I was to turn on my longest ally that he would have to demonstrate willingness to do the same with his game long allies, Chile and Britain. I think that seemed to change some things about the end of the game. I would like to hear his thoughts on that before I speculate too much.

The Southern Triple (Britain, Chile & Argentina):
Obviously, I was not a part of this alliance but I find it worth commenting on. The steadfastness and coordination they demonstrated throughout the game was pretty admirable. Even when many if not all of the members appeared to be mailing it in to some extent they still never seemed to quibble or make unnecessary errors resulting from lack of trust in each other. That said refusal of any one of these to stab another early and take a dominant position in the south cost them the game. Sharing such a small region and trying to push north like they did made little big picture sense to me.

Brazil (Aeschines):
We spoke a little but almost never had a chance to work together. Frequently warned me of a Colombia/Venezuela alliance. Looked for me to apply pressure when he was under a great deal of it himself but I really could never afford to help. Nor was I willing to betray my best ally for him.

Peru (ASU):
Showed great kindness to me early offering some advice and guidance for playing Spain. Never really asked for anything, nor did I have anything to give. Then suddenly he was gone. His chaotic approach to his own elimination may have helped a great deal in stopping a Colombian solo. So for that I am at least thankful.

Mexico (Groo)
Lots of interaction between us early. Something about our relationship left me on edge and I was nervous that he could not be trusted early on. We kind of got around that and worked together pretty well for a time. I received tremendous pressure to do something about him after one turn where he took the lead in center count. The funny thing was he was not far ahead of me and not even over ten SCs if I recall correctly.
I had basically decided by then that I was choosing him over USA as a long-term ally. It seemed like he and I made more natural allies that I made with USA. I really did very little damage to USA if any. He and I had been on good terms through most of the early game. Ultimately Colombia snuck in and dealt a serious blow to Mexico so I jumped into the attack, ever the opportunist.
All of this ultimately wound down with Mexico ever threatening to throw the game to a Colombia solo which led to an interesting agreement with USA (more on that in a bit). I had a good relationship with Colombia at this time and didn’t really see a good chance for him to solo. Not to mention no one was even over half the centers necessary for a solo at this point. Ultimately, I was the one to eliminate Groo when Alaska was his final SC and NPO is final fleet. By this point he had changed his tune about throwing to Colombia and was using his last unit to bother him instead. I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around this even though it did appear to be true for a least a turn. Finally, I took Alaska in a spring turn and for the fall order sent my fleet to NPO to cut support just in case he was lying and had a final trick up his sleeve. He had entered a move order as promised. Unfortunately for him it bounced sending me back to Alaska. Keeping him around would have proven to be quite useful later on if he remained true to his word.

To echo a few things I mentioned with Mexico I was pretty torn early on about whether I wanted to ally with Mexico or USA. I had some familiarity with Don and less with Groo and Groo did make me uneasy at times. But at a certain point Mexico seemed to have a better plan for the game and I threw an offensive at USA. Everything happened so fast when Mexico became a major power and got struck down in what seemed like a single game year. Which led to a pivotal shift in the game for me.
Mexico was threatening everyone nearby that he would throw the match to Colombia if we didn’t let up. After dealing with that for a bit I got a message from USA suggesting that if Mexico was going to throw to Colombia then he though he should throw to me. I told him that seemed a little premature but did outline a plan that involved him forgoing further builds in favor of mine but working closely together. My end of the bargain was that I would never eliminate him or vote him out of a draw.
For a while this worked marvelously for me. It enabled me to deliver a fateful stab against Colombia and safely throw Britain out of the north entirely. I had one hiccup where I agreed to a change in orders that gave him one of Britain’s SCs and then forgot to actually update my orders. It was an honest mistake and while he was pissed at first we talked it through and got back on track.
Then there was the coup. AKFD coming in was an immediate huge concern to me. Don and I had a good thing going. Good for me mostly I suppose but I think it was working for both of us and it definitely felt we were headed towards a draw in this game. AKFD screwed me when he NMR’d at which point I decided I could no longer rely on USA in our agreement and began to move against him. Don returned and did not communicate much. I tried to talk to him about reviving our agreement but never got any replies and was shown only hostility on the board. So, I began the march towards his elimination in concert with the elimination of Colombia.
I was pretty disappointed with the way things ended between us but I intended to hold to our agreement for the duration of the game. I would have been put in a sticky situation with him once the 2-way draw came about though.

Colombia (AA)
He came to me early with a proposal and a map that showed a divide of all future centers. By far the most forward-thinking proposal I ever received in the game. He was charming, pleasant and a bit cocky but it worked for me. Initially we had nothing to bother with but were always discussing cooperation against Mexico. Mostly I put it off as I still kind of felt Mexico made for a more natural ally for me in many ways but I kept Colombia close and always entertained his ideas.
As things progressed it became clear that he was a better ally for me and that dropping Mexico was going to be a far more sensible road for me. I did get concerned with his pace of growth for a time and folded to massive external pressure to do something about it and I snuck into Nicaragua. This was a big pain point in our relationship but seemed necessary to me in a lot of ways. In some ways I almost regretted it but it seemed to buy me a lot of favor on the board. As much as I apologized for it and almost groveled at times for his forgiveness it did seem to help me out in a lot of relationships across the board.
He did get to a point where he was really growing at a bit of a frightening pace. ASU may have spared us all by harrying him with his death throws. I wanted to do something about it and at a certain point I became frustrated with his behavior. He was board leader and seemed to let that get to his head and started getting a bit dickish with some of his demands. I started to see a plan materialize where I could stab him but it would take some luck and maneuvering to get the appropriate position. But two game years later I was there.
I played it really close to the chest. Not even Venezuela got a heads up. There had been some wild stuff happening in the triumvirate (which I will cover in more detail in the next section) which led to some good-natured banter between Colombia and I that I still look back on fondly:
AA – “It would look good next to your Little League participation trophy!”
ME – “haha fuck off. Idk who told you I was terrible at little league but fuck them”
AA – “This is all about the little league comment, right?”
It of course was not. He tried to piece things back together once. I just didn’t see it. I had him by the balls and the southern triumvirate was always putting pressure on him. Unless they decided to let up which seemed entirely unlikely, I had a lot to gain by continuing my assault.
Near the end was when things with USA went sideways. So, I came to AA for the last time with a final offer. I described my prior agreement with the USA and offered the same to him. He scoffed at my offer as ridiculous and that was that. For the first time I rejected a DIAS. I would not be accepting one until Colombia and USA were both eliminated. That might have been a little petty of me but so be it.

Triumvirate (Colombia, Venezuela & Spain):
The three of us all got along really well individually and had pretty stable borders early on with only minor hiccups. Columbia created a group chat with all three of us and proposed we work towards mass elimination of the other players and settle for a three-way draw. The 31 center win condition definitely seemed really tough and this seemed like a pretty good result.
This charged along rather well for a good number of years. The three of us controlled half the board centers by 43. Columbia had a huge growth spurt and people got pretty nervous about him including myself and Venezuela. But at around 18 centers he faced a bit of a wall and I was now in a position to have a few big years in a row as USA and Britain positions in the north began to collapse (and my secret agreement with USA had begun around here).
In 46 Venezuela decided he had to do something to slow Colombia’s roll. Further he was worried a stab might be impending. This was about the same time I had decided I wanted to do something about Colombia’s position as well and began cautiously maneuvering into position for a deadly stab. Venezuela dropped into Colombian territory in spring of 46 prompting massive arguments between them within the triumvirate. In side conversations Colombia told me that he had been having decent talks with Argentina and that this was a sign that Venezuela needed to be and could easily be replaced by Argentina in out triumvirate.
I carefully made arguments in Venezuela’s defense to Colombia. By the end of the turn I managed negotiate a peaceful disengagement between the two and a clever bounce to keep both parties honest. It required both to keep significant assets off the front lines which was not ideal…. For them. For me it was perfect. This led to Colombia awarding the Nobel Peace Prize (which is what was to look good next to my god damn little league trophy in case you were wondering).
One year of the two of them on eggshells with each other was all I needed to get the rest in place before terminating the triumvirate for good. Unfortunately to my surprise that idea had gone around in another way.
The turn I stabbed Colombia Venezuela also stabbed me. The triumvirate was dead. Colombia tried to revive it once the dust settled and Venezuela and I worked out our peace but as explained in the previous section I had too much to gain from my continued expansion in his territory to really give it much consideration.

Venezuela (TTben):
Our relationship started off slow but by the end of the game we were tight. We coordinated well to eliminate Britain in the Caribbean but I was skeptical that he and Colombia were even tighter than we were. But as time moved on we managed to be so cooperative with our border that the trust level consistently grew. As we entered into the Triumvirate I always felt just a little tighter with Ben and did everything I could to coddle that side of the relationship a little more. Eventually even seeding or at least watering any distrust between him and Colombia.
When we navigated his move against Colombia in 46 I felt incredibly solid in our relationship. I was a little devastated two springs later when a yellow army landed in Santo Domingo. I understood. He read the board well and saw where I was headed. My hope had been that our game might turn into a race to 31 without ever actually fighting one another. But that would have been rough for him. I was quite a bit ahead and might have never been slowed down had he not acted when he did.
Even so I knew the bond we had developed over the game years was good and I pitched to him some options to put an end to hostilities. I couldn’t finish Colombia and deal with and increasingly volatile USA with Venezuela pressuring me further. Ultimately we came to another solid agreement and were able to restore the peace we had in the first 7 or so years and they lasted again till basically the final spring.
Always calm, cool and collected. Ever rational and creative. You were a great partner to have during the life of this game. In the final spring I decided to level a stab. I felt it was fair to get even for his earlier stab on me. I doubted I could get to a solo but I figured I was close enough to take a stab at it and was nearly universally secure across the rest of the map. At the end of the day I was glad to share the two-way draw offered to us. I wanted to pursue the solo and would have at least given it a bit of a shot if not for one thing to be discussed in the final section. But all the same sharing the draw with Ben was both a privilege and a relief to see an end to this game.

I enjoyed the game quite a bit. I hope to see this game come to the main site. I think it would be a blast to play and try out various powers. Would be thrilled to play via discord as well…. Maybe. I found the cadence of the game to be annoying at best. I get the desire to keep a game going and avoid NMRs at all costs but a certain point it seemed like the behavior was encouraged. By the end of the game I had lost all sense of time and deadlines and more or less missed one myself. I don’t want this to seem like a giant criticism of Nanook because I realize it is a hard job and would not venture to say I think I could do better. But at the end of the day that aspect was rough and it was probably amplified by the fact that this was my first PBF game. Evens so it was fun. Discord I thought worked great for this.
Finally, I was really pissed off about the final turn. I had withheld vote on that two way draw because I wanted to level a stab and see how things looked after spring. Once I found out USA was allowed to keep a piece that I thought had been removed (because I read the orders and am apparently blind when viewing the actual map) I put the vote in and the game ended. I felt like that was a pretty rough call and it ended my solo ambitions. After that I was just done. Glad it’s over now. It was fun everyone. Looking forward to running into you all again.
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Re: WitA 7: AAR

Postby Alman » 01 Mar 2019, 01:06

I feel a bit bad following Blade's AAR since I"m not going to do as well as he did, but I will try to cover the basics and perhaps help answer Blade's question. :)

I missed the announcement that the game had started and as it hit right at a busy moment, I was late starting comms and my obituary had already been published in the paper by the time I arrived on the scene. I pounded the diplomatic pavement hard and was able to, with some work, hammer out an alliance with Chile, while also making nice with everyone else in some form. I was able to learn enough to know that Brazil under Aeschines was going to be my first problem/target. I thought it likely he was coming for me and I needed to take him out quickly for our newly minted alliance in the south to work. Chile/Morg and I were solid (I hoped) and Kim/GB was making positive noises although I was a bit hesitant about whether she'd really be with us. I was concerned though that taking the time to remove her would leave me to exposed to Brazil. I did feel that the Chile/Argentina alliance was just so crazy it could work.

It would have with a few lesser players to our north, but alas, that was not the case.

Aeschines and I tap danced around but soon were locked in combat. I began a game-long effort to get Spain to aid my game, but he was a bit too savvy to fall for my blandishments and that is why he ended up in the winners circle while I ended up under the wheels. Blade has asked why I didn't give him a more compelling reason for how attacking Venezuela improved his game. Part of the reason was I was never going to convince him that it was rain on his leg. I wanted him to worry about Venezuela enough to go to war against TT so that I could finally gain the ground I needed while Spain lost momentum. I thought I had finally succeeded after I put a lot (A LOT) of diplomacy and strategy sessions into convincing TT/Ven to land on the islands. FINALLY!
That is where the quality of player can destroy a good plan. Bold was too measured, didn't launch all out destruction in response, and the two of them PATCHED THINGS UP!! I was incredulous! All that work and I still can't make them enemies!!!!! Well, that was really the ball game at that point. I had been trying to time the right time to stab and destroy Venezuela and I was about 1 game-year off. I would have timed it right if not for the rapprochement between Vene and Spain. As it was, I launched too late and the narrow path I saw was gone. I was then ready to support a draw.

To speak to the strength of our three-way alliance and whether it was wise or foolish:
I thought (and still believe) it was a wise move, but I'm writing an AAR for a game I just lost, so there's that counter-evidence.
Kim and Morg were great allies and I tend to cultivate loyalty as an important strength in the game. I believe that constantly shifting alliances tends to hurt more than help, especially when you are playing in a community where you can develop a reputation.
Also, I find that short-term gains are rarely the best. Our strategy was to push slowly and watch early leaders get targeted and fall. It was going well for a time, but between some misorders on our side, and the strength of the opponents, it didn't end up working out. We stagnated a bit and as someone mentioned, there began to be a bit of "mailing it in" which may have caused us to miss some opportunities.
Overall though, I'm still not convinced that I had a great window to stab my allies. I feel that the time it took to take either of them out, build to replace their already in place units, and return to the north, would have resulted in a quicker loss than what ultimately happened. I did seriously consider it once or twice, but could not see a clear advantage over keeping pressing forward.

The "Juggernaut"
Ok, so this was my biggest frustration. Our plan was to move slow, inexorably, and probably eliminate GB as soon as we got into the north side of S.A. (Sorry Kim, but in the original plan you were designated for early retirement). However, after the first round, where some began to suspect that Chile & Argentina had allied, the hue and cry was raised, "JUGGERNAUT"!! To me this was a bit ridiculous. Not only because it worked against our plans, but I thought it distracted from far more immediate threats as Colombia and Spain were able to move much more quickly towards dominant positions. As the game wore on it was plain that the idea that somehow our two little South American Countries posed a threat to all that was good in the Americas was mostly hype and fever-dream. I thought it rather fitting but also frustrating that Peru, being the champion of the theory that we were a major threat was devoured by an quickly dominant Columbia who at one point looked like a reasonable candidate to solo while we never really made it very much past our early gains, other than some recreational Pacific Island hopping and an Alaskan cruise that was mostly just northern lights but no heat.

I appreciated Nanooks efforts to avoid NMR but I do think a bit more push to keep on deadlines would have benefited the game as it was easy to lose involvement, but having GM'ed myself, I know it can be a challenge.
As far as using Discord, I got used to it and there are things I liked. I agree having our own server would have been a bit better, and I didn't like having to switch back to PM's on the site for orders, but I preferred having the maps and adjudication here on the Forum. Overall I think Discord did help with better comms.

Ok, I've probably missed some things and if there are other questions about what the heck Argentina was up to, I'm willing to answer, but I doubt there is much burning concern. :D
Good game overall and I am thankful for strong players that make it much harder to win. I need to step up my game, obviously, but I enjoy the challenge and skillful opponents.

I will close with a final note. I was pretty skeptical of TT's strategy at several points in this game and got rather frustrated with some of his decisions. Reading the AAR's as well as seeing how it played out, it was obvious that I misread some things. His strategy and efforts resulted in a win for him and a loss for me, so obviously he was "righter" than I was. :D So hats off to you TTBen, and you BoldBlade. You outplayed us! Respect! :)
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War in the Americas 7 PbF

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Re: WitA 7: AAR

Postby boldblade » 02 Jan 2023, 06:59

Looking back on this I have only the fond memories of this game. Let’s run it back!
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