Sorry this took so long and it’s so long! I tend to ramble sometimes!

To begin, I would like to thank Tom for GM’ing this game! I think he did an absolutely fantastic job keeping things rolling and minimizing mistakes. It’s a ton of work being the GM and having to run the adjudication every week at the same time all while people are eagerly awaiting results, and I think he pulled it off wonderfully! Tom, thank you!

Now, on to the EOG:

At game start, I was somewhat dismayed to pull Zambia. While I specifically requested a small nation, I didn’t like how Zambia was situated with a beefed up South Africa to the south, and no direct contact with major powers. It felt as though early on (with the exception of the UK), I was somewhat on the backburner for the larger powers. Compared to last game as the UK, that took some getting used to. Right from the start, I had concerns with my neighbors as well. I got a very aggressive vibe from South Africa Dag right away when he practically demanded both WND and ZIM, and UK Stephan was talking “down” to me it seemed, seemingly trying to force his ideas upon me (and apparently I wasn’t the only one) without concern for other alternatives. Thankfully, I was able to hit it off with Kenya Dave (and slightly later with Congo Trevor), and things looked up from there. Practically right out of the gate, the African trio was formed with the objective of getting at least 1, preferably 2, and ideally all 3 of us into the winning coalition. Without a doubt it was this early cooperation that set the stage for our success.

In my end of the continent, my first order of business was trying to get South Africa weakened. With SA Dag practically demanding I head north (by him claiming WND/ZIM) to fight Congo and Kenya (while at the same time claiming he wanted African unity), I knew removing him from the continent would be of primary importance. Despite my reservations of giving UK Stephan space in Africa when he was virtually forcing people to either accept his ideas or he’d threaten to destroy you, I knew giving SA Dag even more power in South Africa would be more dangerous. Thankfully, SA Dag seemed to have drawn the ire of both UK Stephan and US Dario, giving me much needed firepower to assist. Through the first 2 years, I was able to keep in SA Dag’s good (enough) graces while the UK and US wings/fleets harassed the coastline until I was able to step in and make the stab in 2013, which worked out nearly perfectly.

At this point it’s probably important to mention that I was the owner of a Terrorist unit. As such, in Winter 2012 I had to make the decision as to where to put it. Given the probability of having success against SA with UK and US help, it was decided to place the unit in SAN to prepare for a future invasion of South America.

After the stab on SA Dag went so well, I knew my space was running short. With 2 allies up north and the UK and US to my south, I had to make another move, and fast, or find myself out of space and stagnant. Thankfully, word around the board was that the UK was about to be cut down, so a move on CAP seemed prudent in the near future. Not only would it give me another vote, but it would effectively cut the UK out of the South Atlantic (along with FLK falling) and give me a springboard position to get into South America. Again, the stab went smooth, and with the major stab up north, I don’t think UK Stephan was even that mad at me compared to his feelings about US Dario and Canada Leif.

And so we went into early 2015. At this point, my alliance structure still consisted of primarily Africans. Congo Trevor and Kenya Dave were the primary allies, with peripheral allies across the continent. With Egypt getting attacked, and Tunis only responsive some of the time, it really was still just a core group of 3 allies. Also at this point, I was still disappointed that I was being ignored by the eastern big powers. Russia I messaged many, many times, getting I think 1 or 2 responses all game. China Dave and I would talk, then go quiet for a couple weeks, and then talk again. It was both our faults, but it was frustrating even so.

In spring 2015, I made the big move into South America. Thankfully, at this juncture, South America was still a mess. Partly through luck, partly due to my chats with Brazil, and partly (I’m guessing) due to US/Cuba/Mexican influence in the region, Brazil was still fighting Bolivia/Argentina. This worked out nicely since I was coming to “rescue” Brazil. The landing in PAT worked out *almost* without a hitch. Initially, I had hoped to capture SAN and secure all of southern South America for myself. However, the Mexican convoy south via Argentina foiled that plan. Thankfully though, this was one of those situations where a foiled plan turns out better than the original one. Originally, I had wanted to keep Brazil around as a satellite state to be a buffer between me and the Americans as I moved elsewhere. Thanks to many talks between myself, Cuba Zac, and Mexico Dave however, things worked out better than expected. What started as a regional peace between myself and Mexico Dave in southern South America morphed into continent-wide cooperation as Mexico Dave, myself, and Cuba Zac took out Argentina, Bolivia, and then Brazil with help from Congo Trevor and France Russel. I don’t know how much of this had to do with my talking ability, how much had to do with the fact that my two perfectly timed bomb explosions against Argentina tipped the tide in my favor long term, and how much had to do with Cuba Zac vouching for me. Mexico Dave, would you care to elaborate a little on what made you make the decision to ally with me?

It was at this juncture that the game really picked up for me. What for the first 4 years was a mostly local game, securing Africa and having mainly African allies really changed after the move into South America. After the success in moving on Argentina and the start of building a working relationship with the Americans via Mexico Dave and Cuba Zac, I was really able to turn my vision outwards as it became clear that there wasn’t going to be a major flare up between the N. American and African alliances. 2015 also saw a lot of developments that benefited my (and my fellow Africans) position. The Russia/China/Vietnam team simultaneously battled India/Pakistan, launched a nuke strike on US Dario (while China absorbed nukes as well) and fought US/Australia in the Pacific, and fought in Eastern Europe against Italy/Germany. The UK was still getting hammered globally. And South America was still an all-out war zone. All these things combined meant that basically, the Africans were flying under the radar still. We controlled 2/3 of Africa, had landed successfully in South America, and had no real enemies. Things couldn’t have worked out better for us.

2016 was another big year in terms of game developments. It was in this year that Mexico Dave and I really kicked things off together. He took the plunge and got in on the attack on Argentina, allowing that region to be cleared up a lot easier than previously thought. I have Cuba Zac to thank for facilitating the conversations between us. I know early on I had a lot of paranoia about Mexico Dave, but Cuba Zac was able to temper that, and help forge the alliance between us that would help ultimately lead to the success we saw at game's end. Elsewhere, and just as importantly, Sri Lanka Randy stabbed Vietnam this season. I like to think I had a big hand in convincing him to go after Vietnam as opposed to Australia, but I don’t really know if that’s true. Randy, care to weigh in? To me, seeing Sri Lanka Randy attack Vietnam was a huge break. Randy was poised to put Australia on the defensive, and knowing Randy’s skills, that would have led to a Sri Lankan dominated Australian region. More importantly, it would have meant that the Sri Lanka/Vietnam cooperation would have continued, meaning there may have been a China/Russia/Vietnam/Sri Lanka coalition in SE Asia. This would have been very bad news for the future of the African group, as we would not have been left as some of the few “E” powers being successful and with power on their side if Vietnam/Sri Lanka hadn’t fought. In addition, as things were not all cleaned up in South America yet, I did not necessarily like the idea of being hemmed in on all sides by friendlies so quickly. A Sri Lankan dominated Australian region would have left me trapped in South America by friendly Americans, trapped in Africa by allied Africans, and nowhere left to go except offer the support role. Instead, what we got was SE Asia embroiled in battle, tensions rising between Sri Lanka Randy and China Dave, and a brief reprieve while South America was consolidated in order to prep for future moves.

That opportunity came around in 2018. Australia was looking for a place to go. Tensions had risen between China and Sri Lanka. It was the perfect opportunity to gain some influence. And so, a combined US/Mexico/Zambia attack on Australia was launched. It coincided perfectly with the Australian/Chinese attack on Sri Lanka, essentially giving us a back door into Australia while engulfing the region in chaos. I find it a bit interesting that although everyone had a bit of an inkling (or at least it seems like everyone had somewhat of an idea) of what was about to transpire, it still all went down the same way. To say that I wasn’t pleased with the results would be a lie though. China Dave wasted nukes on Sri Lanka Randy, while Mexico Dave, US Dario, and I got into position in Australia. By the time 2019 rolled around, Australia was a shell of his former self, and saving him would have required more expenditure of China’s nukes (which we saw in Spring 2020) that he really couldn’t afford at this point. We had basically free reign in what we wanted to do in the region as no one could really threaten our territory or votes at this juncture. This turn of events in SE Asia had huge repercussions on the end game. With the simultaneous strikes on Sri Lanka and Australia, both of them were decimated and looking for a way to continue influencing the game. China Dave had become more isolated due to his falling out with Sri Lanka Randy. And Sri Lanka Randy wanted a bit of revenge on China Dave, which led to a fantastic opportunity for the Africans.

By this point, it was a matter of looking to the end game. In an attempt to keep more votes in “our” column, a plan to save Sri Lanka was put into action. Through nuking BRU/JAK, we essentially denied China Dave 3 possible votes (including Sri Lanka’s capitol), while rendering his handful of nukes and conventional units used on Sri Lanka a complete waste. While he did get BNK/RAN, those two votes hardly made up for the expenditure of time, units, and nukes used in the region. At the same time, I gained the support of Sri Lanka Randy for “saving” him from elimination, allowing him to continue influencing the game. A total of 3 nukes were used on BRU/JAK to save them, for a gain of 3 loyal votes.

By the time voting started, it was pretty clear where the end game was headed. The Americans/Africans were tight as an alliance, and we held 42 votes between the 7 of us. Combined with the 3 from Sri Lanka, and 1 from Saudi Arabia, we had 46 votes, almost enough to pass any combination we wanted of us. Despite being the board leader in votes, to say I was shocked to see myself in 15 of 17 coalitions would be an understatement. Quite frankly I was humbled. I knew I played a solid game, but I never expected to be in almost every coalition nominated. At this point, winning seemed nearly a foregone conclusion, it was just a question of who I would win with. Some coalitions I boycotted due to people attacking allies, some I boycotted due to the people being under attack by allies at that moment, and some I boycotted simply because I would have been disappointed if that third party snuck into the win when other powers had played better IMO. In the end, I was very pleased to see the top coalitions that passed. To see two Africans end up with the win, after it had been our goal all game long, was a very nice cherry on top to end the game. And to win with Cuba Zac (who played a phenomenal game) was also a great ending. I’m still pretty new to NWO, but I think this *might* be the first time where 3 “E” powers won and it wasn’t just a protest vote. I’m very happy with the ending, and want to offer my congratulations to my fellow winners!

That about sums things up for me. I know I missed a bunch of things regarding Europe and that theater, but I’ll leave that to those more directly involved (instead of just lobbing nukes around like I did). I’d like to close with some individual comments though!

Congo Trevor / Kenya Dave – Guys, I probably can’t say much more than we’ve already said to each other, but I’ll give it a shot. First, Trevor, this win is just as much yours as it is mine and Dave’s. The three of us were only successful early on due to the fact that we made such a tight knit group so quickly. Without knowing that my north border was totally safe, I would not have been able take on South Africa, the UK, and then invade South America so quickly. The importance of you as an ally cannot be measured solely in terms of how much you helped me militarily or diplomatically, but rather, has to be viewed through the lens of the entire game. It was my pleasure to work with you Trevor! And Dave: Man, sometimes you know how to drive me crazy. You have a way with “wacky” plans (Saudi in Australia, and almost putting Australia in Africa?! Kenya going for UZB?!), but it’s just that spark of creativity that helps keep us on our toes. Despite being the smallest (militarily) of the three of us, you did a lot of heavy lifting diplomatically, and you more than earned your keep. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversations and look forward to playing with/against you again in the future!

Cuba Zac – What started as you telling me you almost didn’t play and that you were just going to kind of coast along this game ended up turning into possibly the most important relationship I had all game. Your push for Mexico Dave and I to get along and ally in South America was, in my mind, the most important moment of the game for us and our allies. Instead of being two rising alliances with potential tension between us, we quickly meshed and ended up having virtually free reign to do whatever we pleased around the globe. Your strategic and tactical leadership in that group is another thing that needs to be viewed through the lens of the entire game. Without a doubt, you deserved this victory, and I am very pleased to be sharing it with you!

Mexico Dave – After we had a little bit of a weird relationship last game, I’m really glad we got the opportunity to work together this game. You and I efficiently and effectively dismantled South America, and put ourselves in position to possibly win the game together. You were a solid ally, and one whose ideas matched mine almost exactly when planning for the future. I really enjoyed working with you; my only wish is that we could have had more chats. While we worked together great, RL didn’t give us as much of a chance to actually just talk about things and deepen the working relationship. It’s not necessary for successful Diplomacy, but it’s just something I like to be able to do in order to get to know my fellow players better! I was proud to call you my ally!

China Dave – I was disappointed by how things ended up working out between our respective spheres. I feel that if we had gotten off to a quicker start diplomatically (both of our faults on this one), things may have been quite different. There really was an opportunity for a China/Africa team-up early on, however, by the time you and I started talking more, things seemed to have already soured between you and Kenya Dave. This led to much of our eventual communication being tainted by the knowledge that my ally and you were on bad terms, making it somewhat disingenuous. Couple that with the fact that our communication was too sparse to really build up a good trust level and we never really got to the level of cooperation that we could have had. Which I view as a shame, as I think things would have worked out real well between our respective spheres. If nothing else, China/Africa cooperation early may have prevented the Africa/N. America alliance from forming as it did later on in the game, as there might have been a plan in place to attack the Americans from both sides.

Turkey Fred – There was a lot of talk in the late-early game/beginning of the mid-game about you joining us Africans and us all working together (or at least you plus the 3 of us). At the time, it seemed we were all on the same page about that, and that it was going to happen. From my end, what seemed to happen is that there was a lack of trust on our part of you as you seemed unwilling to give straight answers or let us into your thought process. Things seemed to be kept very close to your chest, and when you did let us in, it was in a manner that was obviously solely in your best interest (like the time you pushed everyone to attack China). This seemed to erode the relationship between you and Kenya Dave (who I think you maybe talked to the most of the 3 of us?), which again led to an eventual falling out and the nuke attack later in the game once the Africans hitched our wagon up with the Americans. Again, I feel this could have been avoided with more openness and trust between our groups, and if it had been avoided, could have reshaped the game considerably.

Australia Aaron – Aaron, I felt terrible after executing the strike against you. If you ask Kenya Dave, and others, they’ll tell you that while I probably “lead” the strike against you, I felt terrible about it. This is especially because at the same time, I was not exactly discouraging your strike against Sri Lanka Randy, AND you had an inkling that you were about to get stabbed (at least, I think so). And yet, you trusted me not to, and you got whacked. I think you played well for your first (right?) NWO game, I think the best thing for you in the future though is to just be a bit more aggressive and assertive. You’ve seen now how far even tiny countries can expand in 10 years, so get out there and make it happen!

Germany Matt – Matt, I feel like you’re a natural Diplomacy (and NWO) player. Throughout the game, when we were talking, you asked the right questions at the right times, and your insights that you chose to share were spot on. I think you did a fantastic job in your first round of NWO, especially with understanding the intricacies of voting. You were spot on with pretty much everything you said there, and managed to scrounge up a lot of votes for yourself as well! Well done! That’s not even mentioning how well you played defensively when you found yourself in a tough position. As we discussed, yes, part of it was the fact that the American/African nukes were used elsewhere instead of on you, but even acknowledging that, you still played a great game defensively, and didn’t give up. I really look forward to playing you again, whether in NWO, or another map!

Brazil Samy – Welcome to NWO! It must have been tough stepping in mid-game to find yourself already at war, and even tougher when the guy who came to help you ended up helping facilitate your fall. Don’t get discouraged though! You did well with what you were given, and I think if you started off the game right from the beginning, you’d do a great job! Hope to see you next time around!

Russia Steve – Steve, what happened? I know I was a small fry the first time I messaged you, but only two responses over 2 and a half months? Did something happen? Did I say something to make you mad? I feel like we could have had a great working relationship if the African/Russian relationship could have been developed more.