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Posts: 18
Joined: 18 Nov 2014, 3:36 pm

Post 09 Jul 2015, 11:04 am

Germany End of Game

Hard to even know where to start with this one. I jumped into this game because someone, I forget who, posted a note about the variant and the game starting up in the Diplomacy forums on I'd never played on Redscape before, but after I spent a bit looking at the variant info I thought it sounded interesting enough to try. This was actually the first game of email Diplomacy of any sort that I've played in several years. I used to play online a lot, but in recent years I've pretty much just played face to face games. So it was fun to try a game where I didn't know any of the players at all.

I started out treating it like a standard dip game in a lot of ways. Try to find an ally to work with early on to get some decent expansion going and see where it leads. Being new to the variant I didn't really have a long term plan beyond that. Grow. Try to figure out which of my neighbors I can work with and which I can't, etc.

Right off the bat I knew that I was going to have a problem working with UK. It wasn't a trust issue so much as that his requests right out of the gate were somewhat unreasonable. He wanted Denmark in 1901 and also inquired about taking Holland. But the real problem was that nowhere in there was there a sense of "Here is a plan we can work together on." It was all "Here are the things that I want, and you should expand in the other direction." To me that's a very bad sign. So I ended up lying to UK in 1901 and bouncing him from Denmark that fall. I figured if I think he's a problem, no reason to give him an extra build.

Instead I ended up allying with Italy and immediately taking out Serbia. I felt a bit bad about that because Serbia seemed like a fine player, but I wanted to get rolling somewhere, and the board layout really lent itself to Germany/Italy doing just this. It was a simple and straightforward alliance where we could both gain by cooperating and where there was minimal opportunity to stab early.

I never really had much of a relationship with Russia at all - good or bad. We just didn't talk a lot, and he seemed more focused on other things. I encouraged Sweden and Poland to work together to hold off Russia, but that didn't last. I think the NMRing by Ukraine really changed Europe. Had Ukraine actually been in the game, and worked with Poland early on, they could have potentially kept Russia at bay. Or at least bought me a bit more time.

Dealing with France was trickier. I knew immediately that Russ was stronger player than several other people I talked to. We both agreed that UK was a problem, and nominally we were on the same side the first couple years. I was also trying to stay on Dario's good side by helping get his European wing out into the North Sea. The problem, in my mind, was that Russ seemed more focused on expanding in Africa than actually taking down UK. (To be fair, he and UK were fighting over Iberia) Strategically that may have been exactly the right decision for him, but at the time I didn't like it.

I was very worried about getting trapped in a box with nowhere to expand. I didn't want to attack my ally in Italy, and I was afraid that if I moved on Poland it would just benefit Russia. I hadn't built correctly to attack Sweden, and in any case I was trying to keep him on the anti-Russia team. (Until Poland stabbed him anyway.) That bit was likely a mistake looking back on it.

Winter 2012 Russ built only a single fleet in France, and it was in Bordeaux and not Paris. That meant that 1) stabbing him was tactically very feasible, but more importantly 2) he wasn't going to be much help pushing into UK proper anyway. This pushed me toward continued cooperation with the Americans, since I needed them against UK, and convinced me that Italy and I should just get on with it and try to take out France. If I had it to do over, I'm not sure I'd have stabbed. The game could have gone very differently had Russ and I decided to prioritize trying to invade UK ourselves before the Americans got there, but I didn't recognize the importance of that and certainly wasn't advocating for it. That's a long way of saying that whatever problems Russ and I had were probably more my fault than his.

The next couple years were predictable. Keep plowing into France. Canada invaded Scandinavia before I was ready for it. Italy and I started squabbling with Russia over Eastern Europe. USA/Canada finally broke through and landed in the UK. Oh and the first round of nukes between China and USA.

By this point I had a decent relationship with USA and Canada, but I knew I was a third (or fifth) wheel in this relationship, and I needed to be able to point them in another direction to keep them from rolling straight through the UK and into me. So I spent a ton of time convincing everyone that now was the time to take down Russia.

I was really proud of that. I think we had 7 different powers attacking Russia in the spring of 2016, most using nukes. The plan was that we'd knock Russia back on his heels and then Canada and I would invade Russia proper while Italy pushed south into Africa. The problem was that the plan worked too well. Russia was basically done for after that year, and all that was left in western Russia was mop up. There was no chance of pushing all the way into Central Asia as Pakistan immediately gobbled up all the stars there. So Canada still had nowhere to expand but into me.

I spent a while trying to convince Dario to invade Africa, and I even turned on my Italian ally, but it didn't ultimately change anything. I got stabbed by USA/Canada almost immediately when Turkey and I attacked Italy. After that my game was just playing defense and seeing what I could hold on to until voting came around. Try to get Poland and Turkey to hassle Leif, and keep talking to them as much as I could. I was just trying to stall until the first round of voting came around really.

What may have saved me from the fate Turkey suffered was that I got nukes late and never expanded my range at all, so I wasn't really that dangerous. They basically spent the minimum effort attacking me to ensure that I didn't grow, and proceeded to pound Turkey, China and later France. My strategic stupidity in not understanding how nukes would dominate the late game kept me alive.

I think this was a very well deserved win by Kenya/Zambia/Cuba. I was impressed with the Africans all game long. I think their basic strategy was very smart. Just play like one big power to offset all the real superpowers. If the South Americans had done that the game would have gone very differently.

I also think Canada played well and I don't think he got enough credit for that. I didn't understand how limited Canada's options are when the game started, but it almost seems like he has to invade Scandinavia. Attacking USA, aside from being very difficult, is only minimally profitable as there aren't any stars there. In retrospect I should have seen this coming and just invaded Scandinavia myself before he got there. It might have put us in conflict, but I think I'd have had the advantage. And it would have let me work with France to perhaps keep them out of Europe. Hard to say.

I never did get the hang of talking to everyone. Even at the end of the game there were several important players that I rarely if ever spoke to, like Mexico and Congo. Next game I'll have to be more disciplined about doing that.

Thanks again to Tom for doing a great job GMing. Had a blast!
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Joined: 15 Oct 2011, 5:20 am

Post 09 Jul 2015, 11:52 am

What may have saved me from the fate Turkey suffered was that I got nukes late and never expanded my range at all, so I wasn't really that dangerous. They basically spent the minimum effort attacking me to ensure that I didn't grow, and proceeded to pound Turkey, China and later France. My strategic stupidity in not understanding how nukes would dominate the late game kept me alive.

This is part of what impressed me and convinced me you deserved a real shot at a win. You outplayed USA and Canada in traditional, nuke-free war in the last part of the game while they/we focused nukes on more threatening players. And you correctly pointed out to me early on what you said above, that you weren't blasted because you didn't expand your nuke capabilities. This and many other observations you made throughout our discussions definitely placed you as a top contender in my opinion. I'll look forward to seeing what you do next game now that you have a better handle on the intricacies of NWO. You certainly proved you know how to play the vote game in the end. Congrats on a well-played game with a very high ranked, passing coalition.