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

Post 12 Sep 2016, 11:13 am

Welp, the game didn't really go the way I intended, but I'll at least try to explain my decisions.

I, like everyone else in the game, decided pretty early on that I wanted to work primarily with Rob in China. We talked before the first moves and he seemed very excited about trying to get a draw that included two big powers, because that doesn't normally happen. I'm a sucker for trying to do things that are new and interesting, rather than necessarily the thing most likely to work. I'd only played this variant once before (I was Germany in the previous game) and certainly in that game there was permanent tension between the big powers and an ever present expectation that they were about to stab each other, which they generally did. To me this seemed like a more "fun" objective than just trying to get big and stab Rob, so I went for that whole hog. I was pretty much never going to attack Rob unless things went sideways.

I spent a while early on trying to figure out of I could attack either Canada or Mexico right out of the gate, but ultimately decided it was pointless. I could take out Canada, but I'd lose a lot of tempo sticking builds in North America for a mere one or two stars so that seemed silly. Moreover, if I attack Canada that helps UK, who I want dead if I'm going to work with China. Probably no room for 3 big powers in the draw.

I almost went after Mexico early, but with no Cuba in the game it made more sense to just build fleets and go grab the Caribbean stars. I didn't rush on that project as I cared more about getting units dropped other places on the board. I'm sure this annoyed Mexico as he'd expressed an interest in those starts too. If I hadn't gotten stabbed by China there's a good chance that I'd have had to attack Mexico eventually, but once I was out of the running, I didn't really care about him taking those stars any more.

Pretty much all of my decisions in the Pacific were premised on the idea that I was working with China long term. That meant pushing south and taking the centers in the Philippines and Malaysia. with a long term goal of going after Australia. It also meant taking Hawaii, which I know annoyed Japan, but which I doubt was really the reason he stabbed me.

As an aside - I think the board set up really put Malaysia in a tough position. There was so much open real estate between he and I that I was really encouraged to move south. But of course USA is so much stronger than Malaysia had little chance of really slowing me down. As it turned out Australia was also encouraging me to hit Malaysia early, so that was the path of least resistance. I probably should have done the harder thing and gone straight after Japan, but I was too tempted by the vacant Philippines.

The plan, if it wasn't obvious, was that Japan was going to move past me and he and I were going to attack Australia together. That's why I nuked that one Australian unit the same time I got stabbed. I was actually pretty happy to let Japan grab all the stars out of that while I focused on Indonesia and basically connected up with my units in the Indian Ocean. I suspect for him these gains seemed too distant and speculative, but I was actually going to totally go through with it. My intent with Japan was to simply try to find things for him to do so he was still growing and didn't feel the need to attack me or Rob. Sadly, they stabbed me at the same moment I stabbed Australia. So failure on that one.

The Middle East was a bit of a slog for me, but I think things actually were going fine. Rob stabbed me basically right at the moment where I'd turned the corner and was going to be able to clamp down the whole area. Iran was at 1 or something, and I had a good relationship with Kenya and Turkey and were going to take out what remained of Israel. This would have let me push north either into Central Asia or Eastern Europe as needed. I would have had a pile of builds that year, so you'd have seen several drop in the middle east. My relationship with India was pretty good, but we never really had any cause to come into conflict until well after I'd been stabbed so the dynamic was different. If Rob and I stayed together I assume we would have attacked her eventually.

After I got stabbed I tried to stay engaged for a while getting other players to oppose China, but I got almost zero traction. The theme this game was that the only people who wanted to fight China were those he'd already stabbed, and we were too weak to matter. Everyone else seemed terrified of being the next target, so seemed content to roll the dice on maybe being one of the other two people in the draw. Honestly I checked out a little bit after that, because if nobody was fighting China my moves just didn't matter. Whether Mexico took my stars or not was irrelevant. I think you could ague that nothing that happened in the Americans really mattered the last 2 or 3 years. We're all fighting each-other but none of us were going to be in the coalition.

Rob asked why I retaliated against Japan instead of him; I guess the answer is that he was too strong to bother hitting. The stab was good enough that I only had 3 nukes to hit back with. Hitting China with 3 just wasn't going to do much. I briefly tried to see if I could hit him with 3 in Africa, figuring that if we destroyed his colony he'd be in much tougher shape in the end game. But without other players willing to take advantage of me weakening him it was a pointless exercise, and nobody (Kenya in particular) seemed interested in that. Japan was small enough that nuking him actually caused him problems. Besides, Japan had strung me along and I considered him just as complicit in my downfall, even though I imagine Rob was pulling the strings.

Anyway, thanks again for the game. I still think it's an interesting variant even if this one was pretty frustrating.
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Post 12 Sep 2016, 10:49 pm

Alliances between the major powers can only ever really be temporary. The chances of ever getting an A and a B power into the final coalition are slim to say the least, as are two Bs. If that wasn't the case then this game would be very boring of course, because all the little guys would simply be making up the numbers. Rob understood that where perhaps you didn't.

With that said though, USA is extremely difficult to win with. You have a massive target on your back right from the outset, very few votes available at home in North America and your colonies are so spread out that it's hard to make good use of them. You also really need to be super-active, which must be draining after a while. It's a bizarrely tough gig and you did ok. We've seen USA reduced to almost nothing a few times over the years.
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Post 14 Sep 2016, 11:58 am

As Mexico, I'll put my own EOG, but in the beginning I was always worried about you just rolling the Carribean. I could have made it tough, but ultimately I could never hold you back.
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Post 30 Sep 2016, 12:08 pm

Big powers can seldom be good allies.
I do think it's very possible to be a "decent friend" all game long, but "ally" not really.
The big boys can work together as long as they each get their way and this is possible for a long while, but soooo many little guys are looking to take out bigger powers as that is how THEY will win, it's just too hard to stay tight all game long.

The USA is a VERYdifficult power,
While they take part in more wins than any other and they do certainly have an advantage over EVERYONE in many ways, they seem to be a boom or bust power. Nobody but nobody has so much talking to do with other powers, it's frankly a bit overwhelming for all but the most dedicated players (Not saying anything bad about this games US player, I did not play and have no idea, I am simply pointing something out). Taking even a day off for real life and others sense they are being ignored and they start to talk about attacking Goliath.

The US (IMHO) can not sit back, not for very long anyways. They need to start wiping out other players with brutality while helping those they want in her corner at the same time. This is the one player who simply needs big brass balls all game long.