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Post 31 Mar 2017, 10:08 am

First, allow me to thank Joseph for taking on the GM duties and allowing me to actually play in one of these. It's been too long. Also, big thanks to everyone who played the string out. I know there were some people who were ready to throw in the towel once the whole Ling thing happened, but I'm grateful we were able to finish it up. As for my EOG, I'll try to break it down by year, but my memory is a little fuzzy so I may get the timeline wrong in some places.

Year 1: When last I played, I learned the hard way you not only need to communicate early and often, but you need to maintain that communication throughout the game. I began the game reaching out to as many people as I could. I contacted all of the large nations, all of the Americas, the Pacific, and a good chunk of both Africa and Europe. I probably had around 25 messages going out right off the bat. Most people responded well, and I kept up communications with many of them throughout. Some didn't offer much, most notably USA and China. I hit it off immediately with both Argentina and Ecuador. Brazil wanted to form a South American coalition. Nice idea, but these things never work. I didn't wholly trust Bolivia, and after hearing about the E coalition for the UNTF I decided to use my mistrust of Bolivia as a way to break up the UNTF voting. I think everyone knew that Ukraine was acting hostile towards Russia, and that he wanted the UNTF for protection. I asked for protection from Bolivia, which ultimately wasn't needed, but it did defeat Ukraine's vote which resulted in two things: I endeadered myself with Russia, and it helped break up the E coalition. Mission Accomplished.

Year 2: I leveraged early communication to grab nuke tech from Serbia, and began the dismantling of Bolivia. This time, I left ATA vulnerable, which worked out because Bolivia didn't try for it. I also spent some time during this year prodding around for people who might be interested in taking on Australia. I really coveted those three votes (SYD, NCD, AUK) the entire game. With allies north and east of me, I needed a place to go, and Australia seemed the logical choice. Unfortunately, no one was willing to commit. France came the closest, but he kept pushing it off. I also reached out to South Africa and let him know that Kenya was prepping to attack him, which helped lead to an attack on Kenya. More on that in a bit. At the end of year 2, my ally Argentina and I pushed for another massive vote to defeat the E coalition. We succeeded again, and the E coalition seemed to pretty much fall apart after that. Oh, and I won the highly prestigious Backstabber Award, so that was fun.

Year 3: During this, tensions started to run high in our South American alliance. As it turns out, Kenya told Brazil that I had told South Africa that Brazil and Argentina were heading his way. As stated above, this is false. I assume Kenya and South Africa worked this out after the stab, and Kenya exaggerated my role to Brazil to him against me. Brazil and I hashed it out, but I was still pretty annoyed with him for how it was handled. Of course, I never mentioned what really happened. Deny, deny, accuse. Meanwhile, with a little help, I finished off Bolivia and began looking for more options for growth. People were still reluctant to move on Australia. I even tried getting Mexico and Canada to move west, but they wouldn't really bite either. Meanwhile, I sent a fleet south to help out with Africa, and I picked up Tahiti with Australia's blessing. I had hoped to use it as a staging ground for assault, but that never materialized.

Year 4: Nuke production begins! The assault on Africa was now in full force with nukes from Argentina, Brazil and myself throughout the year. Despite that, Brazil was really getting on my nerves at this point. I decided to plan a stab against him, and Argentina was on board, more or less, despite his commitment to Africa. One of the reasons I was annoyed was his insistence on nuking Tunisia instead of other, more desirable targets. So, I let it slip to Russia, who I knew was allied with Tunisia. The result was a retaliatory nuke on Brazil, which subsequently led to Brazil essentially quitting. To his credit, he continued to put in orders, but he told Fred and I to take his centers. I scrapped my plot to stab and took him up on his offer instead. Meanwhile, I worked out a deal with Ecuador that landed my Lima while I helped him into Panama. This gave me the vote, and lessened the need to stab him later while also putting him on the front line against Venezuela. This was pretty much the best possible result for me. This was also the year that Brazil began his crusade against Russia. He somehow managed to convince UK to sacrific himself. I offered strategic advice to UK, but his ultimate decision to blanket nuke the east coast of Russia was a head-scratcher for me.

Year 5: And so the fun begins. This is the time in which nations started coming toghether to take down Russia. Brazil handed the reigns over to me to take the lead. Canada was willing, but expressed concern that "she" was being sacrificed. Australia was willing as well, and India joined up, though I forget exactly how. Anyway, I started a group chat with the four of us, and laid out a detailed plan on how to make it happen. The only sticking point was the MAD orders. Canada was to take the lead, but India wanted me and Australia to go next. I wasn't overly thrilled with idea, but couldn't find a way out. Discussions went on throughout the year, and everything was going according to plan. Incidentally, the primary reason I was willing to take part in this is because I felt Russia was being cagey and unreliable with me up to that point. Even though he said he would try to win with me, I didn't believe him, and I felt it was necessary to take him out. I also felt he was too large, and with unlimited range, he could take anyone out at any point he chose.

Year 6: I forget when exactly Israel and Egypt joined the party. I think it was just before the winter of 05. Regardless, India reported that both Israel and Egypt wanted to join the attack on Russia. Australia and I couldn't figure out how they even knew about it (though in hindsight, obviously Israel knew because he was also Canada). In any case, we discussed the potential consequences of the attack, and the inclusion of Israel and Egypt for days leading up to it. We ultimately didn't like where things were going and felt as though there was an India/Israel/Egypt coalition brewing. We felt that if we went through with it, they could easily turn against us afterward. So, we decided to let Russia know (I left Australia to that task), and we bailed on the strike, setting up India to take a massive hit in the process. Before we did so, though, we managed to worm our way out of the MAD structure. After the strike, people were pissed. I'm not going to lie...I definitely threw Australia under the bus. I may have even run over him a few times. (Sorry, Rob!) I told Canada, and ironically Israel, and maybe a couple other people that Australia manipulated me into bailing. Canada, Israel, and I then began formulating a plan to take Australia out. Finally, I found someone willing to do so. I actually got excited, because there was almost no one else who would have benefitted from the attack in terms of picking up votes and supply centers. It would have been a huge boon for me.

Year 7: As winter rolled into spring, I began thinking more critically about what taking down Ausrtalia would mean. As things stood, I was pretty confident that he would vote with me, so taking his votes, while appealing, didn't necessarily offer me much value. Additionally, I felt there was a strong Italy/Egypt/Israel coalition, and that the three of them were going to push for the win. Obviously, I wasn't on board with that. To top things off, Canada was being belligerent, which I felt was absurd. Yes, we bailed on the strike, but Canada came out way ahead of the game in spite of that. Her/his anger was way overblown. As a result of all this, I decided to take a different track. Australia knew Canada was about to hit him hard, so a retaliation was inevitable. I decided to jump on board, and after much discussion with Mexico, convinced him to join the cause as well. This was critical in making the strike work because Mexico was the only one in position to take centers. The plan would have devastated Canada, but then Canada was outed as Ling, he quit, and Canada was replaced. Mexico remained on board with the plan, but he had been enigmatic and unpredictable the entire game. Australia and I weren't real comfortable letting him grow unchecked into Canadian territory, so we switched again. This time, we worked with Canada, and took down Mexico. I'll admit, I felt a little bad about this, but there just wasn't the comfort level I wanted from Mexico. Around the same time, Italy and I started having major issues. In my opinion, he was being a little too antagonistic, and I felt he wasn't being sincere when I asked about sharing a coalition with him. So, I went elsewhere. I made deals with the UK, Morocco, and Sweden, and agreed to protect their interests. As a result, I hit Portugal, and Italy basically flipped out. Our relationship only deteriorated from there.

Year 8: After the take-down of Mexico, Canada started to get squirrelly. He made weird comments about Cuba and Italy being allied. He moved into Iceland after we specifically told him UK was under our protection. He moved aggressively against Cuba after we specifically told him she was on our side. As far as Australia and I were concerned, he was allied with Italy, and he had to go. We knew there would be retaliation, but we also knew it would be worth it. Canada also flipped out. I tried to explain it to him afterward, but he thought I was messing with him. I wasn't. That was the last we spoke. I took the brunt of that retaliation,and I expected more, but he failed to submit orders. In the meantime, Australia, Argentina and I were coordinating heavily to take down Nigeria and clear a path for Argentina to pick up a ton of votes. At this point, we were in full on "let's win this thing" mode.

Year 9: The final year. At this point, it was all about coordinating with allies to gather as many votes as possible for our coalition. We specifically targeted Italy's nukes so he couldn't protect votes in the fall. Other nukes were used to help allies move in. I made a deal with Cuba to get her ANT and MXC while I took JAM. Unfortunately, I forgot to move into Jamaica. Thankfully, that didn't matter. I made a voting deal with her and Poland, and reneged on both. I was honestly worried that another coalition would do well enough to win. In the end, it appears I was wrong, and we pretty much ran away with the voting which I was pretty psyched about.

Well, that's the gist. A couple things I missed: I had talks with Nigeria during the mid-game to stab Argentina. I wasn't ever really committed to it, but I did consider it. Unfortunately, he made a comment about being super tight with Egypt. I wasn't necessarily certain Egypt felt the same way, but that line fully cemented my alliance with Argentina.

I was also prepared at one point to take out Ecuador. I really struggled with this decision for a good three or four straight seasons. I decided against it. I thought I would regret this when he was noncomittal about voting for me. He did, and so it all worked out, but I thought that one might have bit me in the end.

Final thoughts on the Ling fiasco: I was more disappointed that Canada and Israel ended up getting replaced than the fact that someone was cheating. Despite his faults, Ling is a pretty good player. I was fully expecting a war between two major factions: Argentina-Australia-Chile-Mexico vs Canada-Egypt-Israel-Italy. I'm (fairly) confident we would have come out on top, but I think it would have been pretty awesome. Alas, it was not to be.

Thanks again to everyone who played, and especially to my allies in Argentina, Australia and Ecuador, even if I was plotting your demise at one time or another (or two).
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Post 31 Mar 2017, 11:12 am

This is a great EOG, especially for an observer like me.
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Post 31 Mar 2017, 3:24 pm

I thought the Aus strike after Russian took the hit would have been really interesting. Israel had mentioned that you and Canada were scheming something of that nature. If things went in that route, I would have pressed into Nigeria and sided with the South Americans. Who knows what would have happened after that.

I didn't realize that the strike on Russia began with you guys, I thought that Canada had wanted to do it in cooperation with UK's efforts the previous year. That whole time was a very interesting point in the game. I think it was highly probable that if Russia didn't go down, Israel would have sided with Zac, and I would have been a goner
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Post 10 Apr 2017, 3:20 pm

The hostility stemmed from a few things.

First, you were the only power who thought I was loyal to Russia. Everyone else I had told my REAL position - that I wasn't interested in doing the hard work against Russia, but I would pick up his votes if he was taken out.

So, when Russia told me he knew exactly who was nuking him and knew I wasn't going to be, I knew it was you who was the source of the information. So I saw through your attempts at throwing Rob D under the bus - and I had told you repeatedly we would need to have honest conversations if we were to work together, so that was frustrating.

Also, my offer to win with you was in fact sincere - I would've won with anyone tbh. Which was why I was so insistent you stab Australia - that would leave me as the 3rd partner if you wanted to win with Argentina. I didn't want the 3-way partnership to win and cut me out. So your poorly explained reversal on stabbing Australia really led me to believe you viewed me as an obstacle in your way, not as a potential partner..

@Egypt - no, you would not have been screwed if Israel worked with Russia - I had your back (more so than even with Israel, because you gave me the opportunity to work with you after I stabbed you)

Best,
Steven
Italy
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Post 11 Apr 2017, 4:58 am

TheManInBlack wrote:The hostility stemmed from a few things.

First, you were the only power who thought I was loyal to Russia. Everyone else I had told my REAL position - that I wasn't interested in doing the hard work against Russia, but I would pick up his votes if he was taken out.

So, when Russia told me he knew exactly who was nuking him and knew I wasn't going to be, I knew it was you who was the source of the information. So I saw through your attempts at throwing Rob D under the bus - and I had told you repeatedly we would need to have honest conversations if we were to work together, so that was frustrating.


Except I didn't tell Russia anything, particularly in regards to you, so you were being hostile for no reason.

TheManInBlack wrote:Also, my offer to win with you was in fact sincere - I would've won with anyone tbh. Which was why I was so insistent you stab Australia - that would leave me as the 3rd partner if you wanted to win with Argentina. I didn't want the 3-way partnership to win and cut me out. So your poorly explained reversal on stabbing Australia really led me to believe you viewed me as an obstacle in your way, not as a potential partner.


Perhaps it was sincere, but when you started being hostile I decided to look elsewhere. My explanation for not attacking Australia was perfectly sufficient. You just didn't like it.
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Post 11 Apr 2017, 7:15 am

Thorn wrote:I thought the Aus strike after Russian took the hit would have been really interesting. Israel had mentioned that you and Canada were scheming something of that nature. If things went in that route, I would have pressed into Nigeria and sided with the South Americans. Who knows what would have happened after that.


Had I known that, I might still have gone through with the attack on Australia. No guarantees, though. I'm a paranoid sort so even if you told me that I may not have truly believed it. Certainly would have been interesting, though.

Thorn wrote:I didn't realize that the strike on Russia began with you guys, I thought that Canada had wanted to do it in cooperation with UK's efforts the previous year. That whole time was a very interesting point in the game. I think it was highly probable that if Russia didn't go down, Israel would have sided with Zac, and I would have been a goner


You aren't wrong really. It originally started with Brazil, who was mostly responding to the nuke strike Russia sent his way. He ultimately passed the reigns over to me, but both UK and Canada were already on board by then.
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Post 11 Apr 2017, 6:27 pm

Sendric wrote:
TheManInBlack wrote:The hostility stemmed from a few things.

First, you were the only power who thought I was loyal to Russia. Everyone else I had told my REAL position - that I wasn't interested in doing the hard work against Russia, but I would pick up his votes if he was taken out.

So, when Russia told me he knew exactly who was nuking him and knew I wasn't going to be, I knew it was you who was the source of the information. So I saw through your attempts at throwing Rob D under the bus - and I had told you repeatedly we would need to have honest conversations if we were to work together, so that was frustrating.


Except I didn't tell Russia anything, particularly in regards to you, so you were being hostile for no reason.

TheManInBlack wrote:Also, my offer to win with you was in fact sincere - I would've won with anyone tbh. Which was why I was so insistent you stab Australia - that would leave me as the 3rd partner if you wanted to win with Argentina. I didn't want the 3-way partnership to win and cut me out. So your poorly explained reversal on stabbing Australia really led me to believe you viewed me as an obstacle in your way, not as a potential partner.


Perhaps it was sincere, but when you started being hostile I decided to look elsewhere. My explanation for not attacking Australia was perfectly sufficient. You just didn't like it.


You didn't tell Russia, but you told Rob D, who told Russia. Either way things just started off on the wrong foot. I definitely deserve a lot of the blame for our communication breakdown, just trying to point out what my mindset was :).

As far as Australia, you explained why you didn't want to stab him, but never offered a reason for why you were willing to stab him the previous turn but suddenly weren't. So I just took your offer to stab him as a lie.
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Post 12 Apr 2017, 5:12 am

TheManInBlack wrote:You didn't tell Russia, but you told Rob D, who told Russia. Either way things just started off on the wrong foot. I definitely deserve a lot of the blame for our communication breakdown, just trying to point out what my mindset was :).


There may be some truth to this. I don't recall the specific details of my conversation with Rob on this topic, but I'm pretty sure I couched it quite a bit as my opinion and not definitive fact. I obviously cannot control what Rob said to Zac nor how Zac interpreted what was said.

TheManInBlack wrote:As far as Australia, you explained why you didn't want to stab him, but never offered a reason for why you were willing to stab him the previous turn but suddenly weren't. So I just took your offer to stab him as a lie.


I was pretty transparent with my decision and explained it to multiple people (or possibly just the same person twice as the case may be). Perhaps I was not as explicit with you as with others, but by then I think we were already at odds and maybe I was just not as willing to explain myself to you.