So, where to begin? I guess with a hearty congratulations to Kenya and Sweden on the joint victory! I’m sure much will be said about this later, but it was great working with you guys and I enjoyed every minute of it! To Tom – Many, many thanks for putting up with the craziness of NWO (and its players) and our complaining when things don’t go our way. You’re the bomb, and you ran a fantastic game. I hope you enjoyed watching as much as we did playing!
So, back to the start. I had asked Tom for a larger power. I was hoping to draw Russia honestly, given the hard times it fell upon in recent games. Instead, I got China. A solid power, one that had done well lately, but never crossed the finish line in first. A good challenge.
I decided early on that my game in the beginning was going to be all about making friends. The plan was actually to remain a “smaller” power in Africa while helping regional allies get powerful so as to have a great voting bloc come end game. I immediately reached out to Russia, India, Japan, the US, and all the African powers looking to be buddies. I figured I had a couple years to just grab neutrals and grow peacefully without riling anyone up, and could see how things shook out then. Thankfully, literally EVERYONE responded positively. I’m not sure if this was just a stroke of really damn good luck, or if I was that persuasive, but literally all my neighbors were happy to work with me (or at least they said they were). The moves bore this out. I was able to make great gains, and consolidate without any real threats.
Early in year 2 (I think), Sweden and I started talking about a potential move on Russia. He had Poland and Serbia on board, and with Russia focusing on Central Asia, I knew I had an opportunity to rid myself of a potential great threat. So, in year 3, the move to take down Russia was made, and went off without a hitch. Pakistan helped by moving into UZB in an effort to save himself from India, which only further weakened Russia. It was quick work, and I couldn’t have been happier with how it happened.
So that brought me to my next move. The question was, the US, or Japan. Japan and I hit it off real early and he was 100% on board with the unexpected China/Japan alliance. I’m not sure if anyone expected that to last all game. I’m happy it did. The US and I had a great relationship too though, so it was a tough call. The US and I could have probably dominated the board even more than me, Sweden, and Kenya did, but I would have always been looking over my shoulder and wondering about if I was the next nuke target. So with that said, Matt, I’m sorry for the brutal stab. We could have done great things together, my paranoia just flared up, and decided I needed to keep myself as the dominant power. The fact that the US chose to punish Japan for the stab instead of me only solidified me as the pre-eminent power on the globe. I’m a little curious about this choice though, Matt can you elaborate?
It was about this time (year 4-5-ish) that I started realizing I wasn’t going to have to be the smaller power in Africa. With the US taken down many pegs via nuke, Russia obliterated, the UK floundering, and France getting attacked too, I stood to become an unopposed power militarily. The goal then became to identify two or three primary allies who I’d stick with through the rest of the game, and thin out the rest of the competition. I already knew in Africa, Kenya was going to be that person. From there, I knew Egypt would have to go, as well as Turkey (who was going to steal Egypt’s votes instead of Kenya). It was also time for me to really pump up my vote growth, so I setup the stab on Vietnam. George, I know you were a loyal ally to the end, so I hope you believe me when I say the stab was nothing personal. I needed votes in my own column (for appearances to look strong), and it was either you or India. And as I mentioned earlier, I wanted to eliminate threats, and an “E” power is more of a threat than a “C” power almost always given the voting requirements.
From this point on, it was pretty simple cleanup work. Vietnam was taken out, and then Malaysia in order to boost Japan up a little bit and make sure he stayed engaged and loyal. Egypt and Turkey were taken out in short order. The three main events were my attack on Morocco, the nuking of South American, and my attack on Germany. First, Morocco. Again, this was not a personal attack, or anything Morocco had done wrong. As we were approaching the end-game, I was fearing an EEE coalition that would be a protest coalition. Morocco says he was a loyal ally and wanted to win with me, and I believe him. However, if he was in an EEE coalition, and presumably voted for it, he could have inadvertently been a figurehead for the anti-China push. I believe this stab may have been a mistake given I only got 1 vote out of it, and ended up almost giving more votes away than I gained, but with Canada voting for the winning coalition, it ended up ok. The attack on South America was yet again another way to stymie competition. I knew my closest allies and I would have lots of votes, but not enough to get over the top. So I made an effort to try to buy loyalty of players like Mali and Mexico by attacking the people attacking them. In this regard, I think it was a success. Mexico rallied and actually gained a vote, while Mali only lost 1 vote in an agreed concession to South Africa. Finally, the attack on Germany. This is probably the most questionable move I made for lots of people. As Germany no doubt told lots of people, I encouraged him to move on Serbia. It is true. I wanted unrest and conflict there. Unfortunately, he was successful way too quick, and was on the path to dominating all of Europe. He would have been an even bigger “E” threat than Morocco was. And truth be told, I wasn’t sure I could count on him to stick to China/Germany coalitions only. Hence, the mass nuking and invasions by Canada/Sweden. My apologies to Patrick for cutting him off at the knees after he had played a brilliant first 2/3 of the game. You deserved better sir.
So, that’s about it. I think that covers most of the game. Overall, I had to play a different style of game than I usually like to. In a way, I was a victim of my own success. I had to stab people I never intended to, and make moves I didn’t think there’d be enough time for. Having 15+ nukes a turn is awesome…until it means you have to break your agreements one way or another. I never expected to top 10+ a turn, and hence, the pickle I put myself in a few times. It’s a learning experience, but one I’m glad I got. And hot damn, how awesome is all that yellow on the map?! :D
I’m now going to briefly touch on a few players in more detail:
Japan: Leif, I’m beyond pleased that our alliance did as well as we did. I don’t think many people expected the Japan/China to really work and last all game, but I think we showed it’s feasible. Even without much southern pressure on the US in the Pacific (due to lack of a Philippine player), we managed to dominate and control the entire Indonesian region and most of the Pacific. Thanks for a great game and for being a great ally!
Sweden: Randy, always a pleasure to play against you. When we put our heads together and come up with a grand plan, it’s great to see it executed. Taking down Russia so smoothly is a real feat, and you laid the groundwork for it early by getting Poland/Serbia to not allow Russia breathing room in the west. A really smart play, and one that paid dividends in the end. I’m glad we got to finish in the winning coalition together.
Kenya: Mike, another player I am always happy to see on the map. You played a great slow game, knowing that early success wasn’t likely for you once you chose to move into the Middle East instead of into South Africa. Your patience in the middle years where you weren’t making big gains is a testament to your strategic thinking and your ability to see the big picture. It’s always a pleasure to be able to work on plans with you.
India: Mellisa, a pleasure to talk to you all game and do so well together. India/China again I don’t think people expected to be game-long allies due to them having a hard time being in winning coalitions together (too many votes needed). I’m happy to say we proved that wrong with a second place finish for China/India/Kenya! It goes to show that diplomacy can really make things work that on the surface seem unusual sometimes. I can’t wait to meet you in another game!
Germany: Patrick, I just wanted to give you a shout out for the great game you played early on. It’s a testament to your success that I had to blast you with 10 nukes in order to get Sweden and Canada enough room to take you out. You played a superb game and in any other situation, definitely would have been on the winning coalition. Well done sir!
USA: Matt, I think you had a lot of potential this game, and if it wasn’t for my paranoia, we could have done great things. I feel like you’ve got a great grasp of the game and I really look forward to playing against you again in the future! Hopefully you’ll be back for more!
To conclude, I’d like again to thank Tom for GMing. It’s a thankless job sometimes, and you’re on the receiving end of complaints, but you did a fantastic job! Until next time everyone, the Emperor is heading out! All hail The Empire of the Rising Sun (or you’ll get nuked next)!