Greek City States IV: Fall 486 BCE (Game End & AARs)

7 player map set in the Aegean. Created and GM'ed by Aeschines.

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Greek City States IV: Fall 486 BCE (Game End & AARs)

Postby Aeschines » 09 Jan 2019, 03:29

Game Ends!
Thank you all for playing!

Greek City States IV Fall 486 BCE (game end).png
Greek City States IV Fall 486 BCE (game end).png (57.47 KiB) Viewed 141 times


Sparta: ccloughley
Sea of Athens MOVE Aegean Sea
Delos SUPPORT Sea of Athens MOVE Aegean Sea... supported unit failed
Gulf of Ephesus SUPPORT Sea of Athens MOVE Aegean Sea... supported unit failed
Lycian Sea SUPPORT Halicarnassus HOLD... supported unit succeeded
Carian Sea SUPPORT Miletus HOLD... supported unit succeeded
Samos SUPPORT Gulf of Ephesus HOLD... supported unit succeeded
Naxos SUPPORT Gulf of Ephesus HOLD... supported unit succeeded
Messenia HOLD... succeeded
Mount Ida HOLD... succeeded
Thermopylae SUPPORT Larissa HOLD... supported unit succeeded
Straits of Euboea SUPPORT Skithos Sea HOLD... supported unit succeeded
Cretan Sea MOVE Sea of Athens... bounced

Thebes: Groo
F AG s Epi to hold... supported unit succeeded
A Epi s Lar to hold... supported unit succeeded
A Del s Lar to hold... supported unit succeeded
F Skithos Sea s SoA to Aegean Sea... supported unit failed
F Cha s SoA to Aegean Sea... supported unit failed
F Eub s Skithos Sea to hold... supported unit succeeded
F Lar s Skithos Sea to hold... supported unit succeeded

Athens: Don Juan of Austria
Eliminated fall 492 BCE

Ephesus: Nanooktheeskimo
Hal S Mil... supported unit succeeded
Mil Hold... succeeded

Illium: StarkAdder
Eliminated fall 498 BCE

Halicarnassus: AKFD
Eliminated fall 499 BCE

The Empire: AardvarkArmy
A - Ephesus (Byz) - support - Miletus - hold... supported unit succeeded
A - Sardis - support - Ephesus (Byz) - hold... supported unit succeeded
A - Caria (Lao) - support - Halicarnassus - hold... supported unit succeeded
A - Laodicoa (Sar) - support - Caria (Lao) - hold... supported unit succeeded

A - Thesally (Pel) - support - Larissa - hold... supported unit succeeded
A - Pella - support - Thesally (Pel) - hold... supported unit succeeded
A - Macedonia (Thas) - continue to watch with bemusement, and encroaching boredom, as the game grinds to a painful halt until Sparta stabs his sad little vassal... succeeded

F - Gulf of Macedonia (Imb) - hold... succeeded
F - Thracian Sea (Illium) - support - Gulf of Macedonia (Imb) - hold... supported unit succeeded

F - Aegean Sea (Illium) - hold... succeeded
F - Imbros (Illium) - support- Aegean Sea (Illium) - hold... supported unit succeeded
F - Illium (Illium) - support- Aegean Sea (Illium) - hold... supported unit succeeded
F - Chicos (Chi) - support- Aegean Sea (Illium) - hold... supported unit succeeded
F - Sea of Pergamum (Les) - support- Aegean Sea (Illium) - hold... supported unit succeeded

Minor Powers
Eliminated fall 492 BCE
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Re: Greek City States IV: Fall 486 BCE (Game End & AARs)

Postby Groo » 09 Jan 2019, 10:50

GG well played!

Marking my spot for an eventual AAR - but in short: my initial strategy was to team up with the Empire for a 2wd and fight him for a solo. Nook had the same idea, I remember. This backfired because AA and I didn't manage to find the mutual language (probably until the last turn or something) so it backfired and I pretty much struggled the whole game to stay alive. I did my best there and I don't know what else I could have done. The rules were not on the side of the weak tbh.

Thanks Aeschines for this amazing varaint and for the patience with us (I'm the first to admit I might have sent some orders a bit too late)

Thoughts about the variant:
The early game is fun and absolutely brilliant. If it only could have lasted longer! Assigning DP's to neutral units and working your way figuring out what other players might do. Even possible collaboration in spending DP's - it's all so great!

I feel there are some slight disbalances in the game, which would probably be non-existant without the empire. So, I'd encourage the players to try the 6 player version of the map.

The early-mid game is basically a Russian roulette for one player and that bothers me a bit - because when the Empire arrives it usually means the death of at least one player. The only thing other players can do to prevent being eliminated in the first or the second turn of Empire's arrival is if they opened a chat with the Empire and try to persuade him to work with them. This only works if the Empire didn't start on your backyard, so the way you play the draw part of the game is also very important (picking countries, assigning points for the Empire - ie. I picked Thebes and added some points to Persia. It isn't enough to ensure that the Empire starts opposite of you but it might work.) So basically there is very little counterplay if the Empire wants to get you and if you're not lucky. I think this is the first reason why the game with the Empire is unbalanced (unbalanced=little counterplay) I am not saying completely unbalanced because there is some counterplay, but luck plays a vital part in it too (guessing which dots will the Empire take, bet on when he arrives at the map)

In the middle game, I think the Empire gets unbalanced and too strong, BUT I GET THE IDEA - blitzkrieg.
a)he has A LOT of DP straight of the bat. Maybe there should be a diplomatic penalty for playing the Empire (like -2DP, or +2 dots required to get the same amount of DP as someone else)
b)The Empire has 3 extra units that can't be get rid of! It basically eliminates the one person giving the Empire a great head start, but more importantly it creates great disbalances in the end game
c)At least 2 and possibly even 3 people are needed to stop the Empire from rampaging off the bat. This didn't happen in this game and the Empire was free to roam.
I have the feeling that the game is set up in a way this (the Empire rampaging freely) would happen more often than not = if you need at least 3 people to kill him and the map is kind of split into two parts with 3 people, then wherever the Empire arrives he will only have 2 opponents to fight which is really doable for him at the moment.

End game:
I think having 3 extra units that don't require dots are really unhealthy for the end-game. I didn't see it until I played the game myself, but the possibility to create stalemate lines wherever you feel like it due to excess of units is completely broken.


Solutions/Tweaks:
give the Empire a deadline: ie. you have x (5-7) turns before your 3 initial units die
"Convert to Republic": disband the initial 3 units. Gives you the ability to be a part of a 3wd. Removes -2DP handicap.
->if this is optional, it gives the Empire more room to play with. I think the Empire would stay too strong so I recommend that it is NOT optional and it should happen in the X amount of turns.

-maybe even give the players vision of the Empire's offboard units ONE TURN/ONE SEASON prior to their arrival on the map. This will let the players at least partially prepare for the Empire. It might make the early game feel less like Russian Roulette.
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Re: Greek City States IV: Fall 486 BCE (Game End & AARs)

Postby Aeschines » 09 Jan 2019, 15:51

I am ver seriously considering adopting this rule set for future empire games (though, I love your suggestion of playing the 6-player version, Groo!).

NoPunIn10Did wrote:Potential New Design for the Empire
I have an idea for a sort of pseudo-timer that gradually modifies how the Empire may or may not vote for draws rather than a static limitation to the end conditions they will accept. This would prevent a permanent stalemate and add some urgency to the Empire's actions. It would also create a sort of high-risk scenario where Greek players can collaborate with the empire, but only if they are willing to let him creep close to the victory condition.

(Any of the references to OBSCs below are to the Empire's on-board center count, excluding their three off-board freebies. Feel free to tweak these numbers as you see fit if you like the general concept.)

I Will Not Grovel Before My Enemies
For the entire game, the Empire may not officially propose any draw or concession; someone else must do so.
The Empire will always vote YES to a concession proposal to the Empire.
The Empire will always vote NO to a concession proposal to another player.

Nothing Less Than Victory Is Acceptable
For the first 8 years, the Empire automatically votes NO to any draw proposal.

No Peace Without Honor
Starting in year 9, the Emperor will give his generals permission to entertain peace treaties, but only if he (or she) can claim a large enough victory.

If the Empire has the most OBSCs of any player, with no one tied, he may begin to vote for draws that that include the Empire, but only if he also controls a minimum of on-board supply centers (per the list below).

OBSC Minimum to Choose to Vote for Draws:
  • 16 OBSCs: may vote for a 7-way.
  • 15 OBSCs: may vote for a 6-way.
  • 14 OBSCs: may vote for a 5-way.
  • 13 OBSCs: may vote for a 4-way.
  • 12 OBSCs: may vote for a 3-way.
  • 11 OBSCs: may vote for a 2-way.

I Tire of Failure
However, as the war drags on, the Emperor will tire of his generals' inability to come to a satisfying conclusion. Eventually, he will summon them home to be made accountable for their disgrace. Each year, starting with year 9, the Empire must control a minimum of OBSCs or they will be forced to vote YES on any draw proposal, even those that exclude the Empire.

When this restriction applies, it overrides the player's ability to choose to vote for or against draws as provided in the "No Peace Without Honor" section.

OBSC Thresholds by Year to Avoid Auto-Accept of Draw Proposals
  • Year 9: At least 4 OBSCs
  • Year 10: At least 6 OBSCs
  • Year 11: At least 8 OBSCs
  • Year 12: At least 10 OBSCs
  • Year 13: At least 12 OBSCs
  • Year 14: At least 14 OBSCs
  • Year 15: At least 16 OBSCs
Starting in Year 16, time has run out, and the Empire will now vote yes to any draw proposal.
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Re: Greek City States IV: Fall 486 BCE (Game End & AARs)

Postby Groo » 09 Jan 2019, 17:06

I do like the idea of a timer. The sense of urgency is just what the Empire player needs and it gives some hope to the Alliance of Greek City States.
I don't know how fine-tuned it is tho. Some test games should be played as well.
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Re: Greek City States IV: Fall 486 BCE (Game End & AARs)

Postby ccloughley » 09 Jan 2019, 19:55

I think I've already expressed these sentiments, but here they are again:

I think that the end of the game ground to a halt for one reason: all incentives to stab were removed. If I stabbed Thebes, I would lose through kingmaking. I couldn't stab Ephesus because the Empire was supporting him to hold, so I supported him to hold. The only possible way that the game could have progressed was if Thebes teamed up with the Empire to take me out, but that evidently didn't make sense for Thebes, as he didn't do so. I know that there was some drama between the two at an earlier point in the game, and that seems to have put a nail in the coffin of that idea.

Now, this is the point in the game where there would normally be a draw of some sort. Yet, the ruleset prevented that from happening, and as a result the game ended in such a disgraceful manner.

I'm personally not sure how to fix this, and as this is my second time playing the variant, the Empire was a lot stronger this go-around than the last one. Perhaps a middle ground could be found?
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Re: Greek City States IV: Fall 486 BCE (Game End & AARs)

Postby Aeschines » 10 Jan 2019, 05:51

I don't want to Monday-morning quarterback, but I must say I found it very surprising that you didn't make the play for the solo (or two way draw) ccloughley. I couldn't come up with a way that the Empire could definitely solo, even with Thebes' help. Did you discuss the possibility of splitting a 2-way draw with the Empire? That was certainly what I was expecting you to do when the game got locked into place. I kind of assumed you were the only one guaranteed to be in the draw/picking up the solo.
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Re: Greek City States IV: Fall 486 BCE (Game End & AARs)

Postby AardvarkArmy » 10 Jan 2019, 07:20

Aeschines wrote:I don't want to Monday-morning quarterback, but I must say I found it very surprising that you didn't make the play for the solo (or two way draw) ccloughley. I couldn't come up with a way that the Empire could definitely solo, even with Thebes' help. Did you discuss the possibility of splitting a 2-way draw with the Empire? That was certainly what I was expecting you to do when the game got locked into place. I kind of assumed you were the only one guaranteed to be in the draw/picking up the solo.


I echo this 100%

1) I am also blown away that Sparta didn't make a run for it. The bad blood between Empire and Thebes was so patently apparent, it was a good bet that Thebes would NOT have thrown the game to Empire.

2) I am equally blown away that Sparta never - not once, not ever - discussed the idea of a two way with me. I broached the idea a couple times, but got only platitudinous replies...


Now, as to the rules... yeah... I shoulda known this was not going to be an improvement from the solo-only version I played before. IMHO, 2-way draws are unicorns - it requires such precision of trust and maneuver at the end to prevent one from sneaking over the solo finish line.

Sooo... I have been envisioning a vastly simplified version of Aeschines sliding scale:

Empire has the advantage of 3 off-board centers and the resulting units, so translate that into the solo requirements:

Empire solo is 20

Empire may enter into a 2-way draw at 17 or more

Empire may enter into a 3-way draw at 14 or more

This solves the problem of the impossible-logistics 2-way... there is wiggle room margin of 3 centers. So, for example, game could end with Empire at 18 and another player at 16

That would make negotiations possible for the Empire - but still holds it to a Vastly higher standard


That's my thought....
SOLOS
ICE&FIRE.1-Martell/EXCALIBUR.1-Angles/EXCALIBUR.2-Scots/EMERALD-Sno/MOD.4-Italy/SENGOKU.1-OdaNobu/S.AMERICA.1-Peru

DRAWS
1930-China/BattleIsleA-Winterfell/S&S-Turkey/WORLD INFL-Venezuela/LECRAE-Dublin/WWIV.2-Cali/IMPERIAL1861.1-Trky/YNGSTWN.1-Grmny/AMERICAS.2-Mex/AFRICAN.2-S.Arabia
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Re: Greek City States IV: Fall 486 BCE (Game End & AARs)

Postby Groo » 10 Jan 2019, 11:01

Aeschines wrote:I don't want to Monday-morning quarterback, but I must say I found it very surprising that you didn't make the play for the solo (or two way draw) ccloughley. I couldn't come up with a way that the Empire could definitely solo, even with Thebes' help. Did you discuss the possibility of splitting a 2-way draw with the Empire? That was certainly what I was expecting you to do when the game got locked into place. I kind of assumed you were the only one guaranteed to be in the draw/picking up the solo.


Maybe I'm a scarily good diplomat? :P

But yeah, if he stabbed me I'd probably toss a coin and throw to that person. I don't take anything that happened between AA and me personally.

Still, at the prospect of 100%loss or 50% loss, I'd stab me if I were Sparta. (and that's why I thought it was a bit unfair from the GM to publicly announce the decision to end the game in a "LIAS". I mean you could have kept it at least a secret :P)
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Re: Greek City States IV: Fall 486 BCE (Game End & AARs)

Postby ccloughley » 10 Jan 2019, 15:50

Ha, call me a care-bear if you want! 'Tis true, I do have a soft side on occasion, and this was one of them. I never claimed to be a good player ;)
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Re: Greek City States IV: Fall 486 BCE (Game End & AARs)

Postby Don Juan of Austria » 13 Jan 2019, 21:45

Marking for later, maybe, hopefully, possibly....?
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