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Posts: 1571
Joined: 15 Sep 2001, 10:27 am

Post 19 Jul 2015, 12:43 pm

first of all a big thanks to Sendric for GMing and congratulations on running a very smooth game. The GMs are always what have made Redscape special. Thanks for putting up with us and for giving us the chance to play these games.

I was reasonably happy with drawing China. I think it's a fairly decent power. It doesn't have the global span of UK or France and obvious nuclear inferiority to Russia but it can be a strong power nonetheless. My attention was immediately drawn to the African colony. Seemed to me that was going to be essential for me if I was to do well. Without it I'd be locked into Asia and as a B power would find it incredibly difficult to build a wider network of allies or get access to enough votes.

I think I wrote to most in the African region. My goal was simply to find allies. I wasn't particularly interested in growth over there. 1 vote and 3-4 SCs would have been more than enough for me so long as it allowed me to build some relationships. Things didn't start well though. I felt I had to get at least one of Kenya or Egypt on side to start with. Egypt didn't respond to a single message though - not promising. Kenya was talkative but incredibly pushy. Dave made it fairly clear he wanted China out of Africa. I really didn't get a good vide from him to begin with. I think his opening proposal was that he take JUB and I go north to take ASW (which borders the Egyptian home SC). Not even close to being a sensible opening move for me unless Egypt is going to be willing to give up ASW - and to ask for it would be almost as inflammatory.

Anyway - it wasn't a good start and I looked for alternatives. I approached France and USA both suggesting we take over East Africa from the get go. I only really needed one of their units. Either the French wing in DJI or the American wing in DIE to come help me out. Unfortunately France wanted to send his wing north to help USA in Arabia (I wasn't really sure why). I think he'd have been better focusing on developing his own base first before moving into Arabia.

The offer to Dario was even better I thought. I said give me your wing in DIE and you can have mine in the Pacific. He immediately agreed, but I think he was just telling me what I wanted to hear because when I asked him to move west he moved south. That kinda set the tone for me with USA the rest of the game. We talked a lot at face value but it always felt like I was just getting told what he thought I wanted to hear. I think this game is set up at the start for the bug guys to lose. Dario later admitted he felt China+USA is an almost impossible alliance to make work. I couldn't disagree more. I think USA focused everything on being the paternal figure to a wide network of smaller guys, which worked well - but he also went to war with every single B power on the board, which didn't work so well.

I do wonder what might have happened had Dario honoured the deal to swap those wings.

anyway - France/USA weren't interested and almost by default I was left working with Kenya despite Dave being less than inviting. I know Dave is a strong player so I hoped we could make it work but it was obvious he wanted an african alliance first and foremost and the first 2-3 years were incredibly frustrating for me. The fact I haven't even mentioned Asia yet in this EOG is testament to the fact that I must have spent well over 50% of my time in the first few years trying to keep my African guy alive and find a home for him somewhere.

Asia was simple. Russia Steve was terrific from the start. He sent one email a week every week, but it contained an analysis of the positions that made sense and his proposals were always fair. It was incredibly easy. I know others seemed to have a lesser experience with Russia but I couldn't really fault him in his dealings with me. We worked with Korea to invade Japan and then had to remove Korea as he was just a little too eccentric. He also reneged on a deal to send me a BB in the first year to send it to South America instead (I thought I was going to have to use a nuke in Africa immediately so was a bit pissed with him for that)

I made early agreements with both India and Vietnam - but long term I saw Sri Lanka as my most natural partner. We didn't have as much to talk about directly in the early years but I found Randy was a bit distracted at the start of the game. He did respond but it was difficult to get into specifics as A. We didn't have a lot to talk about and B. He didn't write very much. But I knew Randy was another solid player so I didn't think I needed to worry about developing that relationship too much - I know he can read a board so it was all rather obvious wasn't it? Maybe not...

We got to about 3 years in and I was getting really squeezed in Africa/Arabia. India was being a bit pushy with SC splits and border guards (access to Tibet? He wanted Yemen?) and was only talking about building armies and nukes (not giving China warm and fuzzies). I was essentially allied with all my neighbours now and it was getting to the stage where I felt I needed to find a new avenue for growth. Looking back I think that may have been wrong. Russia had been talking about nuking USA for a year or so and we knew the Nth American alliance was looking far too strong. I recall plenty of other powers saying the same thing to me - I naively thought if we nuked the board leaders we'd get some credit for it.

Nope, we got no credit whatsoever. Stabbing India seemed to open me up far more than I'd realised. I should have talked it through with Randy first but we didn't have that back and forth relationship you need and his units were so far away that he couldn't have done anything anyway so I went through with it without it and figured I'd get him on board later. After that I could finally deal with Africa where Dave was continuing to frustrate.

so I dot-grabbed a little bit to get some extra builds to allow us to build the nukes to hit USA. The other advantage of attacking India was I thought it gave me the excuse to build 5 nukes without worrying Dario. Turns out that didn't matter and really it had the opposite effect providing him with the perfect excuse to nuke me.

after that I was on the back foot. The north americans were in the dominant position and now Dario wasn't playing to win which helped Canada/Cuba/Mexico immeasurably. Africa was growing in strength and there seemed a certain level of inevitability about what happened for the rest of the game. Both the alliances continued to expand and eventually effectively merged. I tried my best to try and create something equivalent between the Europeans and Asians but Europe seemed distracted and a little bit under the spell of America. I think there was a season where we had an excellent opportunity to shake things up but Turkey/Germany weren't too keen with Fred in particular still trying to play both sides - a little bit of commitment one way or the other would have helped Turkey a lot more I think. Fred did eventually try and make some moves to mix it up but it was too little too late from what I could see.

I wonder if things may have been different had I sided with Sri Lanka over Australia. Randy nuked me first of course but I think he saw me stabbing India as a stab on Sri Lanka. I didn't expect that and its a shame that was his view. I'm not sure it would have made much difference though tbh. He didn't seem keen on really doing anything about Africa which is where our problems really were at that stage, or at least seemed to be to me (well - he did want me to nuke Saudi Arabia but that seemed madness to me at that stage and felt more like he just wanted to create enemies for China). It wasn't an easy decision at all and I changed my mind frequently during that week leading up to the deadline, along with trying to persuade Australia that he was about to get hit (I didn't realise how hard) and that actually we should back off. I'd been trying to get an alliance together in Asia that could compete with Africa and America all game, but either due to my own actions (e.g. stabbing India) or others (Europe fighting Russia, Sri Lanka stabbing Vietnam etc) they had kept stalling. But when it came down to it I didn't believe what Randy was telling me. I wanted to, but it just wasn't hanging together. So I went with Australia (I understood his position - he thought the only way he could win was with SL votes - impossible of course but I respected that) and Vietnam which meant I got to keep Patrick alive, he'd been a great ally all game too and that was one pleasing thing that came out of the game for me.

In the end I think the guys who deserved it most got the win. Zac had a terrific game in Cuba. I would worry that that is the last time you ever see Cuba kept alive by USA! Rob D had a very strong game in Zambia as well. Its hard to know exactly who is the driving force behind an alliance and you definitely need some luck but Zambias growth from his start position was definitely the most impressive from a board perspective. And Dave. He seemed to play this game on a very different level to the one I was operating on. Perhaps there is an element of being an E power rather than a B power but he wasn't overly focused on expansion or owning SCs (unless they were Chinese), or even votes, not in a material way, it was about doing the things that would get him into a coalition. and it worked.

So congrats to those three. well played.

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Post 19 Jul 2015, 2:11 pm

India was being a bit pushy with SC splits and border guards (access to Tibet? He wanted Yemen?) and was only talking about building armies and nukes (not giving China warm and fuzzies).

That's not how it was at all. I made an early move to Oman with a view to expanding in Arabia on the one hand while also being in good position to double back and stab Pakistan on the other. You then announced that all of my potential expansion routes in Arabia were going to be cut off because you'd struck a deal to abandon Africa(!!) and you needed somewhere to go. You specifically asked me not to interfere in Yemen (in fact you asked for and got my support into there at the time) but then offered to let me have it long term, which I obviously accepted. I was utterly baffled that you were making such a cowardly retreat from Africa in the first place when at that point two nukes would have been enough to cripple Kenya, but that was what you wanted to do so I went along with it. Quite how this makes me the unreasonable one is something I'll never understand.

Yes, for the first few turns I wasn't wanting to build any fleets. The reason for this was that I was trying to set up a nuke cycle and also planning to stab Pakistan. This also explains why I broached the subject of being given permission to transit through Tibet. This much should have been transparently obvious, but I'd suggest that what really ought to have alerted you to the fact that your suspicions were unfounded was when I did actually attack Pakistan, stripping almost all of my units away from the Chinese border in the process. Hardly the actions of a man who was planning a dastardly stab into China...

Your obsession with me building fleets (which had no no immediate use) over armies (which could be used to flood through Pakistan and ensure my growth) was frankly bizarre to me at the time. Why the hell should I build fleets to harass Kenya (for no short term gain) when you were running away from Africa ? In retrospect I possibly should have realised that it was just your paranoia and taken a few steps to placate you, but ultimately you were presented with cast-iron evidence that my intentions were not anti-Chinese and went ahead with the stab anyway. It was immensely stupid IMO. If you'd have helped me instead of attacking me we'd have ended up controlling resources that could easily have crushed the Africans before they became a major force and we'd have been able to compete with the Americans as well.

Ah well, these things happen I guess. At the end of the day neither of us had our shit together and we paid the price for it. Just have to be better organised next time.
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Joined: 15 Sep 2001, 10:27 am

Post 19 Jul 2015, 3:12 pm

yeh, I mean in some ways it came down to making a choice between you and Kenya at that point - and I went with Kenya. It was probably a mistake.