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Adjutant
 
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Post 15 Jul 2015, 9:54 pm

I was just going to briefly reply to Sendric's EOG, but this turned into a long post and so I just made it a full EOG. This was my first game on Redscape, nice to meet several new players (and some familiar ones). Read on if you're curious about the mess that was South America.

Coming in as a replacement for Brazil, things were not looking good. The UK was demanding crippling payment for being given nukes prior to my joining (1 BB per turn in perpetuity), Argentina was pressuring me to pay the UK and had several armies which looked menacing, and the previous player had neglected the naval side which I thought was critical to defending my coastal SCs. Ecuador had nukes as well, and I wasn't sure what to make of that in the beginning.

I decided that the UK and Argentina were probably working to screw me over, hence the quick nuke of Argentina's dangerous new fleet. I tried to form an alliance with Bolivia, but he seemed extremely reluctant to consider Argentina's armies a threat, preferring to focus on Ecuador, so I eventually took a centre from him to improve my defense, assuming he was with Argentina as well. I knew I would need help from somewhere to have a chance against Argentina, so I begged the US to nuke him as well, in exchange for my pledge to vote for him if he dropped two nukes. One came quick, which was vital, but the second never came (he was clearly busy).

This was going to be an ugly grind, and I knew simply holding on against Argentina was probably the best I could do. I needed to gain more centres so I'd have enough units to cover my awkwardly large territory; France was saying he was my ally, but merely cut off an expansion route, complicated my defense, and was not helping me at all, so I took Guyana in order to gain an SC and be able to field fleets on my coast. I desperately needed an ally though, to tip the balance against Argentina.

I'd been talking to Zambia early on, and of course he was dying to help. :) I knew he would be in a position to take the lion's share, if not all, the rewards, but I had pretty much no options. So we coordinated against Argentina, which was fun. I tried reopening talks with Argentina at that point, offering to let up if he simply turned around and defended himself, so I could focus on Bolivia before Mexico swallowed all of him up. Both Argentina and Bolivia attacked me until they were eliminated though, so no luck there. Mexico and Cuba were drawn in (I'd tried getting Ecuador's ear before, but he seemed resigned to his fate against them), and I tried to make those two my allies as their forces encroached on South America. Of course I'd raised my concerns about the North American alliance to the African countries, but they weren't in a hurry to act against them directly.

Cuba was talkative, and very powerful (so few units needed to protect his empire, left a lot of nukes available), and while we were friendly for a bit, in the end I couldn't offer him enough. I went back and forth with France; I needed his SCs to survive, then apologized and made peace, back and forth. He wasn't doing much from my point of view other than letting himself become a late-game target, unable to project power or defend himself at all. I regretted not simply taking two of his islands in the late game; I didn't because Cuba seemed to want him alive, although it was obvious it was to set up a final grab in the end. Earlier I'd tried getting Congo to attack him as well, but he declined for the same reason (plainly stated, being saved as a late game target). Controlling the mid Atlantic would have been interesting, but was not to be. Zambia then started asking me to turn over the few votes I'd managed to take in my nearly fruitless war against Bolivia and Argentina; he made a statesmanlike pitch for them, I politely declined, and prepared for the worst.

My situation was pretty untenable, surrounded by supposed "friends" as they gobbled up South America. I tried to make a pitch for being a support country, but in the end Cuba, Zambia, and Congo predictably all turned on me at the same time (with Mexico and France also joining in). Two of those countries ended up winning, so what can I say, I was up against the best! ;)

Throughout the game I was aware of a powerful North American alliance, and a powerful African alliance. I'm not surprised at the final result; congratulations in particular to Cuba and Zambia, whose effective communication and tactics I experienced up front.

The many nuclear exchanges between the superpowers were highly entertaining. I wish I'd had had some of those hidden units to play with; I saw them used effectively both for and against me. This is a wacky variant, and epic. I wouldn't call it balanced, but that's not really the point. I feel like the nukes should be tweaked a bit, but I'm not sure how, and they are undeniably amusing as is. The coalition victory conditions are interesting, if imperfect. It's a bit of a political campaigning popularity contest in the end, with the lower class countries maybe at a bit of an advantage with their lower vote requirements.

In conclusion, I think Paraguay probably could have been nuked some more.
Last edited by zurn on 16 Jul 2015, 8:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post 16 Jul 2015, 1:55 am

zurn wrote:It's a bit of a political campaigning popularity contest in the end


:laugh: yes, thats exactly what it is.

sounds like you got to grips with things pretty quickly. It was kinda painful watching south america implode this game, it was the region China had least influence over. All the infighting seemed counter productive to me given the NthAm and African vultures were swooping from a very early stage. A stronger Sth America would have made a huge difference this game. I wonder how it would have panned out if you'd been in there from the start.
Adjutant
 
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Post 16 Jul 2015, 10:01 am

Samy, I'm just sorry we couldn't have worked together. The situation you took over from your predecessor was pretty bleak, indeed. He was exceptionally paranoid of everyone, and didn't make any friends in South America. I agree that South America was a mess, and the infighting was not exactly good strategy! If a couple of countries in South America could have banded together like the Africans did, it would have been a very different game.

For those of you that don't recognize this username, this is Mellisa, formerly of Venezuela.. I'm also writing an EOG from my perspective...
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Adjutant
 
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Post 16 Jul 2015, 12:49 pm

When my EOG is posted it will have only praise for you Samy, but here are two points in the meantime.

I tried to cultivate a South American alliance between you and Argentina. The goal was to stop infighting, which as you know was only setting you all up for invasion by African fleets we saw being built. Although talks to bring this coalition about seemed to be going well, Zambia told me he heard I was working for Brazil and Argentina to head against Africa - which of course I was. I said I wasn't, but that would have been a good idea. I don't know if he believed me or not, but at least it smoothed things over. However it did bring about the death of the plan. It seemed to me that you, Samy, was the likely leak, and that Marcel in Argentina was legitimately interested in it, and I received confirmation after the game that this was the case.

So we did try to set up a South American alliance, but it seems at the time you thought the Africans would be of more use for you than against you. I think you were probably right about that, in the short term, and I think you were willing to stay put and join up with both Africans and Americans and help out, but in the end it seemed more beneficial to take over Brazil.

The other note is on the end game vote procedure as a popularity contest. I've heard this said a few times, but disagree with the assertion. The North American alliance and the African alliance were started from the beginning (NA for sure, Africa I presume), with the intention of sending at least one member to the final coalition, and counting that as a success for the blocs as a whole. This took planning and coordination from year zero to get an America/Africa victory, and it wasn't done by playing nice and being popular, but from expanding nuke programs, vote captures, etc. as rapidly as possible. A counter-example is with China, who rejected a regional alliance proposed by Sri Lanka (maybe with good reason, as a B nation to an E nation, but that's debatable). China grew rapidly and gathered a decent amount of votes before stalling, but he ended up stabbing, hindering, or otherwise disrupting most other nations on the board at one point or another, which disrupted his own growth, made him only enemies, and took him out of contention.

Another good example is Germany, who was able to play a good game of defense in the end, and was able to set up an extensive network of nations to vote for him in a coalition that passed with around 10 excess votes. Some of those I presume came from China for the purpose of giving the finger to Kenya, but others were gathered by his partnerships and deals he must have been making.

Voting is a tricky part of the game, but to call it a popularity contest trivializes the vast amount of planning, both in dipping and on the board, that goes into securing enough votes to ensure your coalitions will pass, and that opposing coalitions can not pass. You're depending on yourself and your closest allies - which a coalition victory allows - to bring you a win.
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Post 16 Jul 2015, 4:27 pm

Argentina may have said he was interested to you, but he did nothing to stop coming after me. You may have been hopeful about it, but he basically suicided himself against me all game, so I really doubt anything could have come of that. He was very aggressive and non-conciliatory in his communications with me, no hint of a possible peace (he was combative from the start really).

I can't remember if I mentioned anything about you talking of me and Argentina invading Africa to Zambia, but I doubt it. Even before then I was fighting entirely made-up rumours about South American countries headed for Africa.

However, well after that, when you were suggesting heading to north Africa, I did mention that to France and Congo, in an attempt to get their interest in reigning you in. Even late in the game you hadn't really done anything for me, and were a big threat to my north, so I was trying to get people worried; if nothing else it would give me a role in an African alliance as the frontline to you. In any case fighting Africa was a non-starter so long as Argentina and Bolivia were hell-bent on attacking me.

Re:voting, you're right of course, the main reason you and Zambia were in almost every coalition was because of your military success, brought about through planning, diplomacy, and tactics. No doubt about that. All credit to that effort, I don't mean to undermine it.

The politicking (and that's what I really mean) comes in when, for example, certain team members in the various alliances become the principal beneficiaries of votes from the rest of the team. Each vote cast for a coalition that does not contain the voting country is a result of politicking. Maybe I see it too much as voting for a draw not including you. It's clearly different, but the range of "win" results in the coalition vote system blurs the victory line even more for players than in regular Diplomacy. In regular Dip some players disagree about the value of surviving; here there's even more to disagree on, from placing, to being able to vote, to doing sort of well in the vote, all below the actual win result of top coalition. That kind of vague distinction between various "satisfactory" results brings in the politics, and allows people to be convinced to effectively vote "against" themselves.
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Post 17 Jul 2015, 10:25 am

I bring up the voting note mainly to share a bit of strategy. Forming early regional blocks with the purpose of sending at least one to a win greatly increases each member's shot at a personal win, and I'm interested to see what happens when this strategy is adopted by enough regions that you get blocs warring each other rather than working together as we've typically seen, e.g. Africa and North America this game.
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Post 27 Jul 2015, 8:12 am

As UK, I just wanted to note that I had great things going on with the old Brazil and when he was replaced and the new Brazil decided to not go on with the greatness the old Brazil and me had planned, the game pretty much collapsed on me.

In return for a BB per turn, Brazil would effectively get every support I could spare, especially since I needed him strong to do something about North America. It truly is a shame for both of us that the new Brazil apparently decided not to trust me.

This unfortunate player change effectively showed my weakness and them the globe smelled blood.
I had similar mutual profit deals with a couple of others but it all meant nothing thanks to losing Brazil..
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Post 27 Jul 2015, 8:19 am

Real alliances don't start with being pressured into an aggressive payment plan.

If you needed Brazil to be strong, why would you cripple it by asking for 1 BB per turn?
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Post 27 Jul 2015, 11:22 am

I didn't pressure him, he wanted nuclear technology and we had some friendly negotiations on the matter. We agreed to some pretty standard deal of a BB in year 3 and 4 for the tech in year 2 or something similar (I simply had better offers than one BB, hence I didn't do it for one yet. He was in a hurry to get the tech).

Since he was in a hurry and I noticed he really wanted it sooner, I think he was very willing to go with nuke tech in year 1 for BBs in year 2 and 3 or something, and as we talked it morphed into me granting him full support and protection for a BB every year starting from year 3 if I recall correctly. Apart from the nuclear deal, we were also allies, so this worked quite well in that picture. I would help.him a great deal.with nukes where needed and I would make sure he makes it, basically.

So there was no pressure at all. It was just a simple deal and an alliance, and they both kept getting an upgrade on mutual consent.

While I'm at it, I did NOT betray Iran. Mutual consent, he would ask for it and get it when he needed it. He was defeated before he needed it, sadly.