208396. BootIQ-A-2626 -- AAR

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208396. BootIQ-A-2626 -- AAR

Postby edmgrim » 23 Jan 2023, 16:13

AAR for 208396. BootIQ-A-2626.


England edmgrim (3way DRAW)
FRANCE theseko (3way DRAW)
ITALY aphyer (3way DRAW)

AUSTRIA cwwalker
TURKEY Darryll629
RUSSIA Uncle Lee

First of all, thank you to everyone for a very enjoyable game. This was my first Gunboat game and I have to say, the complexion of this variant over conventional Diplomacy was more striking than I imagined. I feel fortunate to have come out as well as I did especially because of, in retrospect, some rather serious mistakes I made in the form of mixed messages to my precarious ally across the channel. I'm glad that my overtures in the Public Press from 1906 on allowed cooler minds to prevail against some clearly ambiguous moves I made in the vicinity of Belgium.

I not only welcome, but invite all of you to add your two cents to this thread, in particular if you have suggestions about how I can improve "communication" with prospective allies. And now, on the The English perspective:


A fairly standard opening for England in Spring where I would normally negotiate a DMZ with France for the channel. I'm not pleased that he moved in there, but I take comfort from his attempt to Burgundy as well. I know this is going to delay my landing on the mainland by a year and I debate whether the lesser of two evils is a French presence in that channel with two builds or promoting a German resistance with the hope of repelling France. Ultimately I decide that with the mess that is brewing in The Balkans, France will appreciate my blocking Germany from Holland and allowing him two builds as sufficient motivation to leave the channel empty in '02 (and beyond)


Did I mention that there is trouble in the southeast region of the map? Italy has come out swinging and the balance of power down there is already precarious. I see that at least two of A-R-T need to enlist help from another (or someone else) and I know Germany will not be coming to anybody's aid. With everything going on down there I see and opportunity to sweep across the map diagonally from the top left to the bottom right. I want to promote cooperation with France and also make a friend in Russia. So Spring is about preparing for Fall. I'm figuring Germany will go for Sweden and expecting Russia to block him. I'm surprised when the conflict is over Baltic instead. But I don't care, I move into SKA from Norway and backfill from North Sea, putting EDI into North Sea. With that unfortunate Fleet in BRE, London isn't going anywhere anyway.. In Fall, I see a way to put Russia into Sweden and me into Denmark. But Russia doesn't see it. At the end of the year France gets his build and I get Denmark. Germany proactively destroys so he can rebuild. Meanwhile it is not lost on me that Italy is the only other power building and that Austria is not l long for this world. I am hoping someone in that neck in the woods will figure out how to slow down what appears to be the beginning of runaway Italian train.


I make a mistake here that I (at times) rationalize as having been an accidentally shrewd decision, namely proposing the R-T draw. I am initially apologetic for this and wonder whether it had any impact on any decision making processes. I was just messing around with the interface; I thought PlayDip.com did not allow draws to be proposed before 1905. On the other hand, it is not lost on me that if R-T had found a way to work together, they might have been able to slow (if not stop) Italy's progress. I'm curious, though. What was your reaction to this proposal?

Russia's frustrates me further. Instead of taking the hint from the previous year that I want to put him into Sweden, he retreats back to St. Pete. His miss will be my gain....sort of. I'm still not really wanting to go after Russia. Meanwhile, I am increasingly concerned that Italy is getting way too comfortable with the gaping DMZ in the Western Med and Gulf and hoping France is paying attention. But he is not cutting me any slack maintaining a distinctly northern posture.

Right now, it is E-6, F-7, I-7, G-3, A-3, T-4, R-5


I am not happy with the F-R builds. As for Russia, his greatest risk is in the south and I have sent him signals that I am willing to give him slack to address them. As for France, I have left him alone in The Channel and hope he sees the danger Italy poses. Builds in Brest and St. Pete are both worrisome. My focus this year will be more about building a defense than about any acts of aggression. I decide to send France a signal that he needs to vacate the channel. Meanwhile, I am not going to encourage Russia in Scandinavia either.

I'm not really understanding Germany's moves to LIV, but when he makes a play for St. Pete in Spring, since Russia isn't doing me any favors, I decide to support him in Fall. But in Fall, he inexplicably goes for Moscow.

Nevertheless, I take Sweden. France takes Munich while Austria loses three to Russia and Italy.


France finally builds a fleet in Marseilles, but I am not so sure that's only because Brest is occupied by that army. Does he have eyes on invasion?

Meanwhile Italy builds three and has a spare build waiting for next year in the bank.

France proposes a draw with me which Italy obviously rejects. But the message is not lost on me. Things are tense in our neck of the woods, but there are bigger fish to fry. In fall, I pull out of the channel and hope tht he, in turn will choose a land rout for his fleets making their war to the Iberian coast. Meanwhile, I am not focussing on growth this year as much as trying to build a strong defense and opportunity for '06

France disappoints me by re-taking The Channel in Fall and further worries me with another fleet in Brest!


I'm a little frustrated with France. I want him out of my hair, but I want him to know i don't want to go to war. So I reiterate my desire to draw with him before launching an attack in his direction. I just want him to give me some breathing room. I know he is taking Berlin, but I don't want him going further up on me, so I follow hem from Denmark into Kiel. I go up one, but he doesn't lose.

Meanwhile, Italy rejects my proposal and immediately follows with on of his own where he adds himself into the mix. I am happy to accept and France seems receptive too.

In Fall, I move to Holland. It occurs to me afterwards that while the numbers are the same, my being in Holland puts unnecessary pressure on Belgium. In my mind 6 to 1 -- half dozen the other, but Holland borders North Sea while Kiel is insulated. Fortunately, France does not overreact!

At the end of the year, absent agreement from Germany, Turkey, and Russia, France and I are matched in strength and Italy is plus 1. We are getting to parity. Meanwhile, Italy is bogged down all of a sudden. Not from any coordination of his enemies but because of the geography.


1907 marks the start of me starting each day with a new EFI Draw. GTR are adamant about not approving it even though the writing is on the wall. On one hand, props for fighting to the end. On the other hand, prolonging the inevitable, especially in light of the Italy's proactive retreat from France's borders.

I, on the other hand, and more wary of a stab from France. Italy is giving him room to turn on me. I am mildly aggressive towards him. We play back and forth over the channel while my primary focus is on getting Italy into SEV and me into MOS and WAR.I keep wishing Berlin would go to Prussia to accelerate the inevitable, but it's not a huge deal. By proactively proposing the draw along with Italy's enthusiastic agreement, I feel comfortable with the detent along my borders with France. But I make a mistake moving on Belgium. It was an unnecessary move and I apologize. I hope that even though France shoves me out, he notices that I proactively retreat anyway. Besides that, my token jabs are just that, nothing strong enough to damage, but enough to discourage further aggression.




Final map:


Nothing more to say. Thanks for the game!
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Re: 208396. BootIQ-A-2626 -- AAR

Postby aphyer » 23 Jan 2023, 17:21

I was Italy in this game. Mostly I ended up without a good way across the stalemate line, hoping you and France would fight each other seriously enough I could get over - but you held a kind of constant low-intensity slap-fight without ever actually doing any real damage :cry:

Highlights from my perspective:

I was trying to work with Austria at first. But in Spring 1902 Turkey blocked the obvious Lepanto attempt, and Austria started making good progress against Russia, and I was worried about Austria growing while I deadlocked with Turkey until someone came around and rolled me up, so:


And from here Austria is very very dead, and I get to pick up most of the spoils while Russia and Turkey trip over his armies.

My largest blunder probably came in Fall 1904. Looking at the board after Spring:


I was making good progress against Austria, France was making good progress against Germany. Hoping to slow France down a bit, I entered A Tyrolia-Munich. The hope was to e.g. cut a support and let Germany keep Kiel for another turn, or block France's Burgundy-Munich followup and slow down his expansion, but when moves resolved:


I managed to inadvertently capture Munich. The army was unsupported and couldn't hold it...I got three builds in the south anyway (!) so the fourth build went unused, and it provoked France and got Gibraltar blocked for the rest of the game. I would probably have had better chances if I let France grow a bit faster than me and hoped for an England-France fight to break out.

Once Gibraltar got blocked, there wasn't anything for me to do but clean up R/T as they clung grimly to life, and hope for E/F to blunder and somehow let me solo (which they sadly did not).
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Re: 208396. BootIQ-A-2626 -- AAR

Postby BillyBud » 23 Jan 2023, 22:25

Good to see some AAR's. Too often, folks either abandon in the last few seasons or don't even comment in the shoutboxes! Come on guys - interact a bit. Silence stinks. I even prefer what I have observed to be one member's tendency to declare any game he lost to be one of the worst played games in history on the part of several others! :P

I was Germany and what can I say - I got overrun from the start. Getting bounced out of Holland is rough for Germany, and then to be piled on by France and then Russia finished me off. As for my unusual moves - when faced with clear elimination, I prefer to do the unexpected. Ideally, I maneuver to a stale-matable position however unlikely. But early game, German centers are... not that. So I suppose I was headed for STP. Really though I will attempt to punish whoever I feel behaved "least honorably." Bouncing me out of Holland - well done England - I can respect that! But Russia moving into Silesia to pick at my bones? Boo. Let me fight the good fight against E/F. Try to gain a scrap and hasten my demise and I'll do my best to make sure you don't benefit. Let that be a lesson to you!

So - if you're satisfied with the 3-way then congrats. If you're not, then I certainly understand and this loser offers you a "meh."
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Re: 208396. BootIQ-A-2626 -- AAR

Postby edmgrim » 24 Jan 2023, 01:55

Thanks to BillyBud and aphyer for their comments. I hope more will join in.

Pretty sure BillyBud is referring to conventional Diplomacy regarding comments in the shoutboxes. I wish I could have thrown a couple comments into the shoutboxes here; one at the start simply to wish everyone a good game, one in the middle when I accidentally proposed that R-T draw, genuinely an accident due to my misunderstanding the algorithm on PlayDip. And then one at the end to thank everyone and mention this AAR. That said, I totally agree and think that sometimes the AAR is almost as rewarding as the game itself when the participants actually engage in the reasoning and commiseration over some of the decisions of the game.

Regarding Holland, thanks, Germany. I'm sure, had the roles been reversed, you would have done the same. Blocking you out of Holland was more intended to dis-incentivize France than it was to help him. And, if you look at some of my subsequent moves, I was flip-flopping between you and Russia for a couple years trying to decide whether facilitating opposition to Italy or France was most important. I still wish Russia had picked up on the hints I was sending him. While, after passing on the time I supported him into Sweden I was probably never going to consider letting him back in, had he taken Sweden when offered, we would have had a nice detent in the north and he would have been better equipped where it mattered most.

And speaking to your desire to hurt the one that hurt you most.... yeah, I get that. I'll just add that you had my support into StPete in Fall that year but opted for Moscow then. And to that, if you had gone to St. Pete, would you have then become a mercenary on behalf of England?

Regarding the 3-way, sometimes you have to take what is given. I recognized early on that Italy was going to have a leg up and that regardless of anything else I did, putting up more than a moderate defense against France while he tackled Germany would only result in (as Italy observed himself) an opening for Italy to move west before anyone could stop him. For me, there was no hope that I could turn my position into a solo with Italy both so firmly planted in The West and also at a 4-center advantage to my minority share. I had hoped that France would shift his attentions sooner due to my limited opposition. And I did see opportunities developing to whittle France down in the last couple years, but at what cost? It would have done more to king-make Italy than it would have to promoted myself Pretty sure France saw the same thing when he had the early upper hand.

So, it was critical that Italy took the first step in proposing the 3-way. By taking himself out of my and France's calculations, we could go about picking off the rest of the competition. And that's why, after Italy proposed the 3-way, I took over the mantle of re-proposing it each time it failed to pass. I was playing more aggressively in The North and I needed to give France comfort that any "stab" from my quarter would be nullified by his accepting the draw. And I'm pretty sure that France was waiting to see Italy's vote before he wrote his own orders for the same reason.

Regarding Italy's comments on the Lepanto. That's tough to pull out even when Austria and Italy can talk to each other. No surprise that it collapsed here. What was surprising, though, was that neither Russia or Turkey put up anything more than a token effort to stop Italy's progress.

Getting back to level of satisfaction over the 3-way. As I stated earlier, this was my first "GUNBOAT" game, and so my expectations were low for my success. But even if I had been more ambitious, given that my hopes for a solo were all bu dashed by 1903, I'll take what I can get. That said, it would have been interesting if Italy had rejected the vote for the 3-way. A stalemate line would have probably been drawn but each of us would have had cracks that needed cooperation of others to prevent breakage. It would have been exciting to see who blinked first but my money would have been on Italy to pull it out.
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