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Emissary
 
Posts: 3405
Joined: 12 Jun 2006, 2:01 am

Post 08 Jul 2015, 3:29 pm

Guess I may as well write this up now. It'll be brief because I really have very little to talk about. This was a very frustrating game for me and ended for all practical purposes after about year 4. I did somehow manage to cling on in there right up till just before the voting season but there really wasn't any purpose to it and I wasn't all that disappointed when my zombie existence was brought to an end at last.

Right off the bat when I saw the country allocations I knew I was in for a hard game. India is a notoriously tricky nation in NWO anyway, but I was also faced with the prospect of Randy in Sri Lanka (who I had a massive falling out with in the last game which hadn't been properly resolved since) and Dave Ling in China, who never saw a stab opportunity that he didn't take and to hell with the consequences. Somehow I had to try and find a way to prosper in spite of having these neighbours, and obviously I failed to do that.

Working with Sri Lanka was more or less a no brainer. India has essentially nothing to gain and everything to lose from trying to attack Sri Lanka in this variant. At best you can get 1 or 2 SCs from that war, but to do that you have to commit so many units to the south as to make yourself a sitting duck to everybody else, and the only voting centre among them is the Sri Lankan capital, which you may not even end up controlling by the time it counts. It wasn't hard to convince me to forget about that idea. In all fairness though, and somewhat to my surprise given some of our dealings in other games, Randy turned out to be a fantastic ally and I never regretted that decision. It was one of the few good decisions I made all game.

China was a much more difficult issue for me. The fact is that India's relations with China are a much bigger deal than China's relations with India. You have to make a decision early on how to play it. In my case, I certainly didn't want to commit to an attack on China unless I could be certain that Russia was also on board, and ideally a few others too. There wouldn't have been any point to that, especially since the potential gains didn't include many voting centres. It rapidly became clear that Russia not only wasn't interested in fighting China but in fact didn't even want to bother talking to me at all. As such my choice was clear, I needed to ally with China, string Pakistan along for a turn or two and then set up a stab against Pakistan that could see me grow to about 15SCs by turn 4 or 5. At this point I'd be in great position to start expanding into Arabia and Africa and there wouldn't be any need to ever break my alliance with China.

I remain convinced that this could have worked. The stab against Pakistan went off without a hitch and with just a little genuine support from Dave I could have rolled Ethan pretty quickly and been way too strong for the African minor powers to stop. As it was though, Dave had other ideas and wound up launching a catastrophically stupid stab against me at the very point that we were both about to get liftoff. I never did manage to get a plausible explanation for his thinking on this. It didn't make any sense at the time and still doesn't. It's not unreasonable to suggest that stabbing India like he did cost China the game. Dave did at least stay relevant and keep having fun through till the conclusion though, which is more than you could say for me....

Looking more generally, I do think India is a very difficult nation to play. I'm not sure anything can really be done to strengthen it without being horribly unfair on Pakistan, but If China is going to continue to have the colony then something needs to be done to create some strategic balance for China's neighbours in Asia. As it stands, unless some kind of a grand coalition against China forms right away, by the time the likes of India, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Pakistan are in a halfway strong position they will always and invariably find that China by this point is 3x as big with multiple BBs in the bank and in no position to be challenged. In the turn immediately following the stab against me China was hit by 8 nukes and still ended up at +7 !! How can you possibly deal with that as small-medium class power in Asia ? I don't think that you can really, and this severely undermines the range of strategic options in the game. Something has to be done to nerf China in the early turns or I suspect no Asian nation will ever win the game again. I realise that the NWO is an inherently unbalanced game, but we shouldn't be wholly reliant on a Russia/China to war to make Asia interesting. My suggestion would be remove some of the SCs in mainland China to slow down early growth, but maybe others will disagree.

Anyway, congrats to the winners, especially so to Zack who played an absolute blinder to win from Cuba. Thanks also to Tom for hosting, you did a great job. I look forward to playing the next one. Hopefully we won't have to wait till this time next year before it starts.
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Dignitary
 
Posts: 1568
Joined: 15 Sep 2001, 10:27 am

Post 10 Jul 2015, 3:23 am

I think your big problem was Kenya, I'm not sure you realised that. I'd have stayed with you had you been willing to talk about Africa, you didn't seem keen though and just wanted to build armies and nukes? Seemed pretty anti-chinese.

You could be right about the stab though. With hindsight it was probably a mistake. I knew it was a risky move at the time but thought it was the right one given what was happening elsewhere. I felt for you though, you were really caught between a rock and a hard place.