Played with a different set of Wing rules. GM: Pedros; Winner: Diadem (Turkey)


Postby Pedros » 26 Jan 2014, 12:53

So - victory to Turkey, and again, well played Diadem. Just for the record, even if Turkey had not achieved 33 that time the victory concession would immediately have been approved anyway. I'd like comments on the development of the game as usual, but particularly on the map, which is already approved for main site use if it's proposed and voted in, and on the Wing Rules, which were (I'm sure you'll remember) experimental.)

My comments? Diadem played an exceptional game, and his use of the Wings was totally impressive throughout (I especially liked the way that he built one at the opening and sent it, unescorted, off into the desert to pick up an SC!) But I was, for years, stunned by the way nobody else seemed to realise what was happening, with Italy continuing to move everything westwards, opening himself up for a massive stab; once Turkey decided to go for it then it was far too late to stop him But even then, and even when Turkey announced he was after a quick solo, Italy and the Western powers continued to snipe at each other rather than turn on him.

Now, the map. First time I've been involved in Modern (apart from one year as emergency sub for a dying Poland) and I must say I was extremely disappointed. It suffers for me from the usual problem of expansions of the regular map - lots of space and lots of extra SCs in the East, while the western powers have to continue slogging it out amongst themselves. Short of a massive alliance from the start I suspect Turkey will always be in it at the end. (I know that doesn't tally with results here, but I can't understand why not! Maybe I'm overstating the case, but not a lot I think!)

My other issue with the map is that Egypt really has only one neighbour - always a sign of a map weakness. Italy is too far away really to count.

Now the Wings. Quite clearly, the ability to attack two squares away makes them too powerful. What we do about that (or completely redesign them - but I quite like the way they operate) is probably a discussion for the Development Forum afterwards; but clearly they won't do as they stand. I would want to see a bit more of them, in a more balanced map, before I fully accepted the criticism levelled before the game - that they favour the outside countries. What they do clearly favour is the country which is moving forward rather than those defending.

Anyway - you were the people struggling with it all. What do you think?
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Re: AARs

Postby sjg11 » 26 Jan 2014, 13:13

I took over and I did so with the objective to survive until the end of the game. I achieved that goal and even managed to expand a little bit and reclaim all of Iberia.

If Italy had taken the time to guarantee my survival by forming a Grand Alliance against the Sultan, I would have rolled with that.
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Re: AARs

Postby ThorondorNL » 26 Jan 2014, 13:18

I played this game a bit stupid. Instead of building armies in the beginning I should have build some Wings :(
I think wings are a bit overpowered, if used well.

Not much to say about the playability of the map, France is dificult I think, surrounded, and in the west there are not that much neutral SC's as in the east.
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Re: AARs

Postby Diadem » 26 Jan 2014, 14:06

I have to go in 5 minutes, so a very short AAR. I'll focus purely on the map and rules here, and will discuss the game later.

I think I wrote in my opening bid that I thought Italy was the strongest country on the map. I didn't bid Italy, because I suspected it would be heavily contested. Turkey for me was a very close runner-up (and perhaps, now that I know the map better, I should rate it even higher than Italy), with Russia a good third, so those were the two I bid for.

I have to say the map is not really balanced. Some countries are obviously much stronger than others. Take a look at Turkey. You have Iran as a a guaranteed build, and Greece and Bulgaria will also naturally fall to you. You are also in a good position to contend for Serbia or Geo (Russia is in a terrible position to take it. He has Ukraine breathing down his neck, and he needs your friendship much more than you need his). So you start with 4 centres and will have at least 3, and likely 4, builds. That's insane. Compare that with Spain which starts with 3 centres and is lucky to get a single build.

What happened in the actual game I think pretty much illustrates how many neutrals I had. I didn't take Bulgaria for 3 years! Not because it was contested, or because I didn't want it, but because there were so many centres to pick up I just didn't have the units to spare. A ridiculous situation. I was basically at 10 centres after 1 year, having 4 builds and two of my guaranteed neutrals (Greece and Bulgaria) still for the picking.

Another reason that Turkey is so strong is because Russia and Ukraine don't really have a choice but to fight each other. An alliance between those two would be extremely awkward. But this also means that as Turkey a coordinated effort by your northern neighbors against you is extremely unlikely. So with my northern neighbors busy and my large amounts of neutrals, I was able to throw everything against Egypt, who was in a terrible position, facing a larger neighbor in a better position, with no help in sight.

There's more to say about the map, but I'll write that when I have more time.

Regarding Wings: I was extremely confused to see so few of them build during the game. Wings are really strong, but they are even stronger when not facing other wings. The best counter by far to wings is wings, since a single wing can intercept many. For much of the game my wings were completely unopposed, allowing me to use them as I saw fit. Early game I was using a wing in the spring against Egypt, supporting a move into the Eastern Med, and in the fall against Russia, supporting an attack on Rostov. That kind of flexibility is awesome.

I wouldn't say wings are entirely unbalanced. If you have too many of them you suffer, because they are exposed alone, and enemy wings can intercept too many of your units at once. But they are definitely a must have, and people generally built way too few.
Draw in Diplomacy Stew 2, playing Italy
Winner Four Seasons, playing England
Draw in Layered, playing Yellow (Russia + Turkey)
Winner Shuffle, playing Turkey
Winner Vain Rats 4, playing France

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Re: AARs

Postby ColesD » 26 Jan 2014, 17:41

I came late to the game in a decent position, but when the pattern was already set. Given Turkey's and Italy's position, any chance I had of a win was already effectively gone, so it was a case of hanging on in there, establishing a defence, and hoping that the balance of power between Italy and Turkey would remain equal, and that they would cancel each other out and force a stalemate. I was able to do the former, but could do nothing about the latter. I ended my predecessor's needless war with Spain to defend the entrance to the Atlantic, and cooperated with Italy to finish off Germany, hoping Italy would then agree a fixed border between us and so turn east. Sadly he didn't, and attacked me. He seemed wedded to his non-aggression agreement with Turkey, and put up no defence when then inevitable push for the solo came, so that was that. I don't know what else I could have done, beyond perhaps deliberately giving up more centres to Italy, but I'm not sure even that would have helped. When the solo push comes from the opposite end of the board, there's only so much you can do - Turkey and I only shared a border on the last turn.

I agree with Diadem's assessment of the board, although I think a well played Egypt can cause Turkey serious problems. Russia and Ukraine seem almost obliged to fight, and certain countries are far more favoured with the distribution of neutrals than others. Wings make for a faster game, and more or less kill stalemate lines. They favour attacking, aggressive play, and so benefit countries who have to worry less about defence - another point in Turkey's favour (and England's - if I'd been in from the beginning, I'd have built a lot of early wings. England though does have the disadvantage of not being able to move them without convoys). The board does seem slightly more concerned with modern geographical accuracy than balance, but that's what the variant is. If I were to make one suggestion, perhaps a fixed starting set-up, rather than a opening Winter (if one could be agreed) could help balance things out better at the start. Still, an enjoyable game, and I'm glad I asked to be a reserve.

Oh, and another nit-pick - England should really be Britain. I know we have to put up with it in regular Dip, but in a modern game as well? The Scots haven't left us yet. :)
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Re: AARs

Postby kevinsmith4 » 27 Jan 2014, 06:43

Based on commentary from the others, I am not the only one who believes the map is not properly balanced. There is too much empty space to the east and the home centers of Rostov and Gibraltar are very limiting in my mind. I'm just not a fan of home centers separated that much as they force the players hand.

After sorting through my initial press, I decided that the best ally I could find would be Turkey. Diadem and I had a good rapport from the beginning and although we had discussed pursuing a two way split, I myself would have easily stabbed him had the solo been within reach. Working together though, we pretty much had our way with the rest of the board so I can't complain too much. I had hoped to keep growth with Turkey on par with myself, but ultimately fell short of that goal. Simply, I could not keep up the pace of Turkish growth. Egypt had a particularly devastating early NMR that really changed the map dynamic. I had hope Egypt would stall Turkish growth for a bit, but without a neighbor south, Turkey was able to take advantage of the inevitable Russo-Ukrainian mess. With a few years to go, I knew that Turkey could roll to victory and I could not stop it. Even if I had attempted to mount some stop the leader alliance, I do not believe it would have been sustainable.

Regarding the Wings themselves, I found them to be quite useful, especially in breaking stalemate lines. They are far from perfect though; I dislike the need to specify an intermediate space when acting 2 spaces away. I believe they should behave more as a convoy with multiple ordered routes. So long as the wing has one valid path, it is not intercepted. We didn't deal with much interception, but 1 wing should not be able to intercept multiple aircraft, another issue I saw.

All in all, I enjoyed the game but map imbalance and frequent NMRs really took away from my enjoyment.

Happy Stabbing and remember...

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