Enlightenment & Absolutism-AARs

14-player game set at the beginning of the War of the Austrian Succession; numerous special rules. Created and GMd by VaeVictus. 3-way draw between Russia (Alupi), Saxony-Poland (Stanislaw) and Spain (Shibabalo)

Enlightenment & Absolutism-AARs

Postby VaeVictis » 13 Jan 2015, 01:31

AARs may go here.
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Re: Enlightenment & Absolutism-AARs

Postby Antigonos » 13 Jan 2015, 04:23

I am glad that I had the opportunity to play however briefly and want to thank VaeVictus for his work as moderator. Congratulations to the draw winners. Later this week I will try to post a more substantive post about the game from my perspective.
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Re: Enlightenment & Absolutism-AARs

Postby Stanislaw » 14 Jan 2015, 04:30

Wow, what an epic game. Six months, fourteen players, and a PM folder filled with 373 messages.

So, as far as how playing Saxony-Poland went (which very quickly turned into just Saxony), I ended up with one of the most awkward positions I've ever had to deal with. Controlling two separate nations was fine, however having my main power Saxony be scrunched between the various powers vying for control in Germany, and with Poland off to the other side of Prussia very vulnerable it was not an easy start. My first order of business, was working out how to deal with Prussia. With my armies on either side of him, it was a tricky situation to work through, but Antigonus quickly became a good partner and established a very good working relationship to control northern Germany. I was also determined to get two builds for the Saxons, so I struck and early deal with Bavaria lead by King Solomon, who also turned out to be a good long term partner though that wasn't quite the plan at the time. Solomon actually ended up making a rather threatening move to Wrz, a space bordering both of my home SCs which still puzzles me as to why he did it, though I ended up with 2 SCs and knocked France, one of the big powers down a peg which was not a bad start. On the other hand, I lost Poland completely to Russia, which in hindsight I should have stopped and just used the Polish armies to stop the soon to be Russian monster, but I didn't see Sweden falling so fast so didn't end up doing that.

So with the first year down I still had many potential enemies surrounding me, but at least I had more armies in Germany than anyone except for my ally Prussia which was good. With him protecting my eastern flank, and Bavaria the south, I decided to kick England or the Netherlands out of northwestern Germany/the Low Countries. Ultimately, I was able to take complete control of the area which gave me a nice SC base, but it took a fair amount of time and I flip flopped between helping the Netherlands and Great Britain. Since especially mambam14 had no choice being under heavy pressure from England.

While my campaign in northern Germany got under way for the next few turns, Bavaria firmly entetched himself fighting in Italy, Austria, and France, which was good for both of us as our border was without a doubt secure. Neither me nor Solomon could afford to attack the other without great cost to ourselves. Prussia was also completely locked down by the Russian hordes, so I had nothing to worry about there as I was picking up England's two centers in Germany.

It was at this point that Denmark-Norway (Bindlestiff) approached me about betraying Prussia. Antigonus has nothing protecting himself against me, since he needed all his armies to fight Russia, so despite meaning I would lose my bulwark against Russia, but I'd gain an SC in the process. So I went against Antigonus, who had been a great partner but one I couldn't see keeping if Saxony was to grow. I now had an alliance against Russia with Denmark, though Alupi approached me with yet another betrayal idea I couldn't pass up on-taking Denmark's newly acquired Prussia territories. It wasn't as easy a choice, as I knew if I went against Denmark I'd be the only one holding up Russia in the north. However a big gain of 3 SCs ultimately proved too good to pass up on, so in the Fall of 1744 I grabbed all of northern Germany for Saxony. At this point, growth got held up for awhile, but with Solomon in the south now a solid ally and still held up with his own wars, I felt very secure. What I did not expect was Bindlestiff's complete handover of his SCs to Russia after I betrayed him-an understandable move, but one I was still disappointed about as it's something I usually only reserve for threats when a solo by a few players is very near.

From that point on it took me a few years to solidify my control of the Low Country. By this time the game was coming down to four players-myself, Spain, who had been steadily growing but outside of my sphere, Russia, who now with Denmark's lands and the long waited betrayal of Turkey was big, and Bavaria who was straddled across central Europe like myself. Austria had held out this whole time, despite attempts to remove him.

Around 1748 with the removal of the Netherlands and basically Britain, the question was what to do with Bavaria. Spain and Austria wanted me to betray him, though I was hesitant at first given he was holding up the Spaniards, and even pushing them back. I knew a stab would give Spain more growth. However I did go for the stab on another ally, as by this point with Russia dominating the seas north of me that was my only area of expansion. The attack with Austria's help actually worked very well, I picked up 5 out of Bavaria's 8 SCs, but another trustworthy ally was gone.

By then, there was really not a whole lot I could do. Now as the middle man in a three person game, I knew I couldn't solo. Russia had me completely blocked, and even almost took my Prussian lands for good at one point. I was surprised I was able to take back those lands, either mistakes on Apuli's part or luck on mine. Interested to hear what Apuli has to say on that. I was also surprised Shibabalo never took Paris, I was preparing for that eventuality and working out how to stop him, but it never happened. Think he lost steam as well near the end. Anyway by then I was tired of holding back the endless hordes to either side of me. Spain, Russia and I discussed a draw, and from there it was easy to remove Austria and split Europe between the Spanish, Saxon and Russian empires.

I think at one point, I had a shot at a solo. After betraying Denmark, had I been able to churn out enough fleets from Hanover, maybe I could have taken control of Cop, Chr and Lon, bringing me very close. It was my plan for awhile to grab London. However, Bindlestiff's determination to make me pay for my betrayal completely held me back, and gave Russia time to form a much larger fleet than mine, as well as allow the Spanish to reach the British Isles before me. My two fleets at that point couldn't do much but defend my coast-I needed at least four I think. The whole lack of a coast for Saxony/Bavaria I think makes it really hard for those two powers to win. Technically, I could have two-Courland and my one extra chosen home SC, but I always thought keeping a hold of Poland and Saxony was very difficult-it would require me to completely obliterate Prussia quickly, and then I'd have to deal with the Scandinavian powers having a big edge up over me in fleet power even before I get a coast. Because of that, I think a solo for the small German powers is pretty difficult compared to the large, map edge powers-you have to vie for control among several other powers, then get a fleet later. Yes, technically you could win without a large fleet-but that's very hard, and would require 1) and Denmark/Sweden preocuipped up north and 2) a weak Russia, allowing however wins the German war to expand east.

As far as my thoughts on the variant as a whole, it's not balanced. There's a mix of small central powers who all have a rougher start compared to the big powers-England, Spain, Russia, and especially France. But as this play through showed, being the big guy isn't always a good thing-there was a team up on France that happened incredibly quickly, and he was doomed from there. Plus, this is a historical variant, there's really no possible way to make it balanced, given the imbalance of the powers historically. However, maybe the victory requirement should be lowered just a tad, something I remember discussing raising with Vae back in the development phase. Had it been kept at 18-Spain, Russia or myself would have soled without a doubt. Probably Russia, I think he hit 18 first.

In closing, must say this variant was a lot of fun, thank you Vae for GMing and everyone else for taking part.
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Re: Enlightenment & Absolutism-AARs

Postby KingSolomon9 » 16 Jan 2015, 19:03

As Bavaria, I agree with most everything Stanislaw said. I have to say I was laughing that our alliance worked for as long as it did. I had originally been trying to get Austria, Prussia, and anyone who would listen to turn against you so I could move North as opposed to the Southern approach I had to take and which ultimately doomed me. For me, the most surprising moment of the game came from my gamble to take France head on. I had some tenuous support from S-P and Spain, but it was shoddy as best as I couldn't confirm the actions that they alleged they would take would actually occur. Sure enough, they came through and I found myself in Paris and as one of the leaders of the SC count for a few years. My biggest problem was once I expanded throughout France and was looking elsewhere, there was just no where to go. Which was a problem given that my rivals were soon far surpassing me in SC count. Spain was in the double digits and I was still sitting at 8. Personally, I think my greatest flaw was getting stuck in a never-ending slog between myself, Austria, and the Italian powers. There was just no good way to get enough leverage to create a breakthrough. As I committed more and more armies to the fight, Spain was getting the upper edge on my Western Front and was beginning to surround me. After years of this struggle, I believe I had finally moved into a position where the wheels were starting to turn again and S-P moved against me. Stanislaw's stab and assumption of my territory was not unexpected, though I think we could have continued to work together and optimistically fought our way to a two-way draw. Regardless, this was a great game and I enjoyed the opportunity of taking a 2 center central power to a much stronger nation that even fielded a fleet (not that it did much good :roll: ).
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Re: Enlightenment & Absolutism-AARs

Postby Shibabalo » 25 Jan 2015, 00:26

Like everyone else has said, a big thanks to Vae for GMing a spectacular game.

The beginning was such a very long time ago, but I'll see what I can remember...

Oh yeah, I remember now! This was the game where I decided to stab a different country every year, just to see what would happen. So, the first year, I stabbed France. The second year, I stabbed Sardinia. The third year, I stabbed Naples. The fourth year, I stabbed England. I sort of had to scramble the fifth year from all the enemies I had just made so I passed on that. But the sixth year, I stabbed the Ottomans. The seventh year, in a shocking turn of events, Bavaria stabbed me!

From then on out, I was trying to balance three fronts at once, all with different objectives. There was the Atlantic front, in which I was trying to absorb the bloody English before the Russians showed up. There was the land front, which was mainly a war with Bavaria. And the Mediterranean front, where I was trying to simultaneously finish off Naples and hold the Ottomans at bay. All of these succeeded to varying degrees, especially after Saxony went to war with Bavaria. At that point I explored various methods to see if a solo was possible, but they all fell rather short. I knew that a three-way draw was where we were headed, and real life was beginning to get extremely hectic, so after a few years, that was the way to go.

But anyways. I'm honestly not as proud of drawing in a fourteen-player game as I am stabbing five different people in just six years successfully.
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Re: Enlightenment & Absolutism-AARs

Postby Alupi » 26 Jan 2015, 15:29

Great game and many thanks to VaeVictus for being GM

Generally I think this is great variant where there is so many minor and major power balances that two games never will be the same. I did consider many powers in this game has possibilities for natural alliances. The reason I in the auction tried to get Russia is that I at game start did not have time to comminicate with everybody and I preferred a border power. The risk was that Russia always is feared and many alliances against me was possible.

With 14 powers my plan was to focus on powers close to me and make short replies to power far away - where some power thought I was a player not communicating very much. Made me think that low communication level also effect other players.

My first challange was Sweden where our area of interest was too overlapping for both to survive. Luckily I could make an alliance with Denmark which worked well for a couple of years. Saxony turned Denmark against me (which I should have done more to prevent), and that alliance could have killed me. Denmark was over extended (which I tried to increase) and Saxony could choose between a strong Russia or a strong Denmark with a big fleet. The temptation was too big and I was happy to see Saxony take Denmark down.

While Russia might have a nice border in the back there is also a long distance to the other end and any solo victory was about pace and timing. I was reasonable sure to survive to the end (after securing Denmark) and decided I might as well try to take a shot at Saxony. It start very well, and my fall 1750 move was important. I was unsure about which of two plans to use and I selected one and went to sleep - but I could not sleep and identified the perfect move - I got up and changed my orders and fell happily to sleep. Next morning I found out it was a very bad decision to change my orders. I do not know if a solo even was posible with a good move, but after 1750 I did no longer consider a solo was possible.

The rest of the game a 3-way draw was my goal.
With all the possible allainces against any power in a 14 power game, then I am more tahn happy with being part of the 3-way draw.

Thanks to everybody (and espcially VaeVictus) for a fun game

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