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Post 11 Apr 2017, 10:44 am

This was my fifth game of NWO, but will be my first ever EOG. As always, the recollection of events is from my perspective and may not accurately reflect everything.

So I drew Italy, and I knew early on that because of my position in the center of Europe I would be almost forced to build more units and less nukes than my competitors. I figured that if I avoided being a large nuclear threat, I could avoid any coalition forming against me as I grew. I figured I would have a few nukes myself to use as a scalpel, and have my allies with nukes do the heavy lifting of bombing our enemies(therefore allowing me to avoid the nuclear fray) Unfortunately, after the stab on Russia, I was reliant on two David Lings to protect me, so I got screwed. Really a shame because I wanted to see if my strategy in this game would actually work.

Before I get into the year-by-year, I would like to thank the replacement Canada. He didn't listen to my advice, to his detriment, but he clearly was putting in the effort to learn the variant and write everyone involved, which I appreciated. He got thrown into an incredibly difficult position and I would recommend he definitely be invited back if we do have another game.

Year 1: The search for allies! I usually favor taking my own neutrals first, but as Italy I felt I needed to pick up some contested neutrals year 1 to avoid being boxed in. I wrote Serbia first. I had one main goal - to make sure he didn't move to Croatia Spring 01. If I got an alliance out of it too, that would be great. Stephan's negotiating style immediately rubbed me the wrong way - anything I didn't outright say no to he took as a yes, and he was very greedy. I kept agreeing and agreeing of course, knowing Serbia is a small difficult power and I could easily stab him later. We had a whole plan to potentially stab the German for Austria, but Germany agreed to not take it, so we entered into a triple alliance at that point. I reached out to France, genuinely preaching alliance. He was quite wary of my intentions, but after a lot of discussions he agreed to support me into Switzerland. I also offered an alliance to Tunisia - it was an easy offer, I volunteered to move into the Ionian and give him an uncontested build year 1. Although after the Spring turn, I noticed he never asked for my UNTF support for his coaliion, so I knew he didn't quite trust me. I also spoke with Turkey at this point, also offering a possible alliance. I suggested I get Greece and he get Crete. Turkey seemed on board, but never explicitly agreed to give me Greece. So I decided to railroad him - I reached out to Egypt and we agreed we would both move to Greece & Crete respectively to split the risk of Turkey bouncing us, in the hopes of forcing him to pick up IZM with his fleet instead.

All of my planning and coordination worked out great year 1. I had preached Mediterranean solidarity and us all limiting our fleet builds - of course I knew I would have to build fleets myself, but figured I could get away with a lot before it came back to bite me.

Year 2:
I first spoke with Israel this turn, and he asked me about stabbing Egypt. I mentioned that if we pushed Egypt into Turkey he would potentially have his units out of position, but since Israel and Egypt had seemed to have a good alliance it would be Israel's call to stab him. I'm assuming this information was twisted by "Jon" because when me and Egypt discussed taking the Aegean, we had a quite hilarious back and forth - we both wanted to support the other into the Sea, I had told Turkey I would support IST - AEG and asked him to move IZM - EMD to bounce the Israeli fleet - so I had figured the move would succeed. I wanted my fleet to remain in Greece so I would be in position to stab Serbia with it. Me and Egypt couldn't come to an agreement so I moved to AEG on my own to try and bounce Turkey, which didn't work out as Turkey supported himself in.

I also urged Poland to move south on Serbia. Meanwile, in my "triple aliance" Serbia moved to Munich with the plan to move onwards to Wiemar. Germany was having trouble with the USA but Serbia still didn't want to stab him. That was fine with me - but I gave Serbia a chance to not get stabbed - I asked him for Croatia, as he had a mountain of un-taken neutrals under him - but he was so greedy he wouldn't even give me that. Poland moved south, at which point he asked me for support into Austria. I told him that Serbia was moving onto Wiemar and wouldn't be covering it, but he offered to seal an alliance between us if I supported him. I agreed and supported him in, instead of taking Milan and Croatia like I had planned.

When I saw the results for year 2, there was quite the twist I was not expecting - Poland had neglected to tell me Russia and the Ukraine had patched things up and would be moving on Serbia. So I thought I was screwed at this point lol.

Year 3: I began to push all of my efforts into making sure I was Poland's main ally and not Russia. Poland was reluctant to attack Russia - he mentioned as to the reason that they were working together was that he was terrified. I even offered Serbia a chance to be my Jannissary in exchange for survival - at which point he sent me one of the most condescending notes I've ever received in a game, telling me I was screwed without him and "no diplomat" So, I had no choice but to work things out with Russia. He offered me one of the Balkan votes ("one for each of us" was the way he put it, but since the Ukraine was his Jannissary I took it as two for him and one for me/Poland) - I had no problem with that split, but Russia offered me Budapest. I wanted Serbia itself, since it was coastal. When Russia agreed to my suggested split I figured he was genuinely trying to work with me for this season at least, and we started a group thread and orderly eliminated the Serbian unit in the east. I spoke with Germany at this point, who was unwilling to work with me against Serbia, so me and Poland started making plans to take him out as well. I also put a temporary hold on my attack on Turkey, since he was Russia's ally. By the end of the year, I was able to convince Russia to let me and my mediterranean allies take out Turkey, but he was't interested in joining in himself.

Years 4+ to come later :)
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Post 14 Apr 2017, 3:07 am

looking forward to the rest.

I forgot about that AEG mix up early on. that was a weird time, but I do remember not wanting to leave CRE exposed like that, was kind of over extending as it was. I supported Israel into EMD instead because I wasn't sure you had committed to AEG, otherwise I probably would have supported you in.

I came to the same position to have Israel do alot of the heavy lifting, but not so early and not by choice. There is something to be said about the value of being in a second or tertiary role early on, you can still rise to power, but are not an obvious threat to other's victory.
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Post 28 Apr 2017, 9:06 am

Been procrastinating this too long. I'll get a year or two done at a time :)

Year 4: So at this point France was completely taken out of all his other theaters except Europe. Was a shame, because I was hoping I could count on him as one of my primary allies - knowing that being surrounded by all of the A/B powers except China I would need one on my side to take the others out. However, I soon began to view Russia in this role and begin to pitch him on the idea of taking on the UK - he had just banked a few credits and had a strong position in Iberia/the Atlantic. I proposed convoying his one European army to Iberia. I also reached out to Morocco to get him to attempt to stab the UK. The UK and I had pretty frosty relations all game - but we started communicating fairly well at this point. However, a few things solidified my desire to take him out. First, he really wanted me to stab France (I was always going to - France didn't write me once after he got wrecked on the rest of the map) but only offered me two centers out of it, and no votes. Secondly, at this point he asked me to DMZ the Western Med - however he currently had a fleet stationed there, which made it (to me) quite a silly request.

The UK also asked me repeatedly to stab Tunisia. Going into the Spring, I had tried my best to convince Tunisia to stab Morocco. He could've squished Randy like a bug at this point and I wanted to pivot west as my eastern border was secured with allies - we were in the process of cleaning up Turkey but that route of expansion would only take me so far.

The UK heard from both Russia and Morocco that I was plotting his downfall. However, I lied to him and explained that I was just wary that he was coming after me, and that I had no plans to attack him. There was a nugget of truth in there - I would no way have attacked him unless I knew the plan would succeed, and he had nukes and I didn't. I then lied to the UK and agreed to not move into WMD if he moved his fleet away, and then of course moved my fleet into WMD anyways. I explained it by saying my plans changed in the east at the last minute and I wanted to secure WMD with one unit instead of two which was my original plan. While we had frosty relations all game, I was pretty blunt and honest, which paid off here, because he bought it.

There was one wrinkle that I didn't expect though with the spring moves - Tunisia's move against Egypt. He had told me little of what his next move was going to be all game. So that season I figured he would move against Nigeria, because every other time he was ho-hum about his plans he had ended up moving south. So when he moved his units East in a very ham-handed attack on Egypt, I was caught in quite the pickle. I could've stabbed Tunisia that turn, but that would involve moving one of my fleets - which were currently in position to deliver the Russian army into Iberia and get the knife away from my back. So I decided to support Tunisia into Crete as he requested, knowing two things. One, I could do okay with Russia and Tunisia pushing into the Middle East, although there aren't many votes in that route for Italy. Two, that this move would remove an Egyptian fleet from the board - which meant if I had the opportunity to work with Egypt again I could potentially gain Crete. I also knew that it would be easier for me to stab one of Russia's allies AFTER I had gotten his army out of the Balkans and was under less threat from him.

I was terrified of Russia as his newest ally, but I needed to find somewhere productive for his army to go. So I invited him to go to Albania through Serbia. At that point, I knew he could stab me for Serbia, but figured a 1-center stab would hopefully not be too juicy as to get myself stabbed. It's funny, because Zac was actually initially quite hesitant to agree to my plan - he wanted to get his army into the Middle East, and was allied with the UK, Morocco, and Tunisia.

That fall, Russia moved to Albania as promised. Before the season, I proposed to Randy (Morocco) that he and the UK arrange a fake bounce, so that I could sneak into Valencia. Randy never replied to my plan but he moved successfully to the strait that fall while the UK held in Valencia. This, along with Russia moving out of Serbia, led to the UK telling me that he was glad he didn't attack me and that Russia and Morocco were his true enemies.

We also had a group chat going with me, the Ukraine, Poland, and Russia. I wanted the Ukraine eliminated - I was fine with Russia and/or Poland getting his centers but while I was pitching the idea of his army passing through Munich potentially at some point to go west, having a Jannissary wasn't necessary in that situation and it would've been a lot of headache for little reward. But I was terrified of proposing this to Russia - I was his newest ally and didn't want to end up getting stabbed myself. So I came up with a good tactical plan for us to advance into Germany, with Ukraine getting the Czech Republic. I sent this plan first to Poland, letting him know that I was down with removing Ukraine but wouldn't be the one to propose it to Russia (as I said before, part of my strategy was to build trust between me and Poland in case stuff hit the fan with Russia) Poland OK'd the plan for this year and we proceeded according to schedule against Germany.

I also moved some armies into France to get some easy builds, which put the UK at ease a bit. Little did he know, it was in fact me that was the architect of his downfall, which came in year 5 :).
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Post 15 May 2017, 12:23 pm

Year 5:

Two things broke extremely well for me this turn. The Egyptian immediately wrote me saying that even though I stabbed him he was still willing to work with me. I immediately agreed and from this point on was extremely loyal to Egypt for giving me a 2nd chance. I told him I couldn't move on Tunisia in the spring but could potentially in the fall if he wanted to. We also discussed a peace deal between him and Morocco. I was actually genuinely interested in the peace deal. Whenever a continent unites the way the South Americans did with the inclusion of Australia, it is dangerous for every other continent, and they have to cooperate in turn to try and take them out. When people attack their neighbors it makes them much less of a threat to other powers.

However, I pretty quickly got the vibe that any talk of peace with Tunisia by myself, Israel, and Egypt was just a ruse by Israel and Egypt to screw over Tunisia. I was okay with that, as Egypt and Israel had been much better allies to me at this point than Tunisia ever was.

I'll get to all the personal beef in another post but Leif never trusted me at all this game, and offered the reason why to be because he had never played with me before. To me that is unacceptable and not the way to conduct yourself in a Diplomacy game.

Israel and I had discussed happenings all around the board from Season 2 onwards in quite depth and he was one of my allies all game. I will just say now it is clear to me in hindsight that Ling held a grudge against several players in the community, including Zac (Russia), despite what he may have told Joseph.

The 2nd huge thing that broke for me this turn was the UK's very public declaration against Russia. I suddenly no longer had to convince Russia to abandon his hopes of going into the Middle East and he was now super willing to be the nuclear aggressor against the UK. I was even happy he would eat 3 nukes for his trouble, as I still was wary of him and didn't want him to steamroll TOO hard :).

We executed my plan of convoying his army to Madrid that spring, which was quite the highlight for both of us to look back on.

In the fall, I stabbed Tunisia. The fake peace plan worked (even though I told him they were stabbing him at the last minute to try and get his units to move East instead of covering against me) and I took Tunis. I also worked out a deal where I would temporarily get both IZM and Crete with Israel, who wanted one of them, in exchange for me sending him a BB and a center later.

However, I hit a major snag in Europe. We came up with a plan where we could eliminate Ukraine easily, but for some reason Poland did not want me to cover Austria so Ukraine could not retreat there, saying he planned on supporting his Nuke to hold the center with 1 power. At the last minute, Russia asked Poland to fire his nuke at the UK, so the Ukraine retreated easily to Austria.

I believed that this was a plan to screw me at first and was quite mad at Poland, but I eventually accepted his and Russia's story on what happened.

This was Poland's F up so we told the Ukraine to hold in Austria - he wanted to get convoyed to Iberia/Tunis anyways which I knew so I told him he could pass through Milan next year to get to Apulia.

I ended up building a spare wing in Milan the next year - this snafu gave me an excuse to do so (airlift the Ukranian unit) but Russia had moved his wing from the Black Sea to cover RUM, which peeved me out a little. I was determined to empty out the Balkans the whole time, and his move there meant it looked like he would always try to keep a knife at my back to some degree, so I could use that Wing to stab him. Zac later explained to me that this move was because of the ever-continuing Tension between Poland and Sweden, which I believe, but at the time I just viewed it as threatening.