First up thanks to all our GMs for running the game, it's always much appreciated.

Australia was definitely an interesting power to play, being so isolated had plenty of positives and negatives to balance. I think in itself it's probably positioned about right (SCs come easy while votes come hard and you've definitely got to think long term) but I think this SE Asia area in general could benefit from trying to make the region slightly more fluid and linking to the other continental land masses, its a tough place to be an E power but more on that later.

I was a bit concerned at the initial player draw given there were so many strong players nearby. I wanted a good relationship with both Indonesia and Philippines off the bat partly to make sure we were covered against massive US growth and to begin with it worked out ok. I was also very keen to keep on the right side of the USA until broader alliances had become a bit clearer but it was probably unlikely all 4 of us could hang together much longer than we did. In some ways I was allied with USA pretty much from the beginning of the game and this probably directed a lot of what happened in the region.

I had some good breaks early on. USA stabbing France and the resulting backlash meant the Pacific was more open than usual, and UK seemed to be in/out with his communications leaving easy pickings that might usually be more contested. I set up a deal with him where we disbanded his wing down here but I left him the SC open so he could have an extra unit in Europe where he really needed it.

The flip side of UK struggling was Indonesia got off to a flying start and was looking dangerous early on. I think Matt made the right call stabbing him when he did, I don't really see any way he could have avoided getting squeezed between USA and Indonesia otherwise, even if the 3 of them had come at me first he would have been in poor shape to deal with the next phase. I recall speaking with USA plenty about the area and I'm pretty sure we had a different preference for which E power was going to stick around longest, mainly down to geography I think, but I'm glad it went the way it did anyway. That really set the path for the rest of the game for me. I think even at that early stage I started speaking with Philippines/USA about having a dream of the 3 of us controlling all the waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Once we were working together we just needed to control the sea zones and we'd have a lot of options for making landfall.

Of course it was just an ambitious vision at that stage and I spent plenty of time speaking with people about USA. He had a lot of enemies in the early/mid years and I had plenty of people asking me to attack him, but tbh it never really made much sense for Australia. Frances moves and the nukes that USA took essentially brought USA back into the pack and accordingly actually made him a much more attractive long term ally. Having said that, the Russian NBR was huge, who knows what direction the game would have gone in had those builds all ended up being nukes instead of armies.

So I pushed on towards Africa and South America without being really sure which one would be more receptive to Australian units. To begin with neither were, perhaps unsurprisingly, but with some effort and good fortune things ended up working out well with a few of the natives but mainly big shouts out to Zambia and Brazil and I got a foothold on both continents.

I forget when discussions with Germany really took off but I do remember that eliminating UK from his island holding was in part due to his lack of involvement in the game but also largely down to wanting to do Germany a favour and hand him the vote over. He was the clear leader already back then and looked odds on the first spot in the win and there didn't seem many ways to work directly with him beyond this. I don't know how important it was in the end but it got us talking anyway.

I forget much of the order of things after that. Pakistan and Iran were looking incredibly strong and as D powers a huge threat. I really enjoyed working with both but something had to give in the end and fortunately we managed to get China on side to move west. I mean I say we, it was mainly Tom, it felt like USA had China on a piece of string for much of this game and it was a difficult relationship to breakdown.

Big nods to Kenya as well for playing on and on for so long with just one unit, it was great to get him back into his home capital in the final year!

I had good relations with a bunch of other powers too. Russia was fun to talk to and being honest my darkest moment in the game was when he got stabbed, it's never nice seeing a 4-5 power alliance pull off a big game changing move that you weren't involved in. That move definitely got me nervous and strained things with USA for a couple years till we built confidence again.

But we got through that and every other speed bump we encountered and tbh had been coordinating with Germany pretty closely for the last few years. I'm not sure how many noticed the BB I borrowed from Germany in the mid game which was on a continuous open offer of return as soon as he needed it (he never did).

So, a fun game, a big congrats to my fellow coalition members, it was a good ride and thanks to all for having me; till next time.


Oh - and I was going to talk about the map. Honestly I think Philippines/Indonesia/Sri Lanka are real tough powers to play with incredibly difficult paths to victory. Matt had a great game and I'm really not sure what more he could have done, but maybe that's the way of it with E powers. Still, you look at the ones in Africa/Europe etc and they have much greater potential. I'd like to think we can make it a bit more accessible for the 5 E powers down here to really do well, especially the island powers who tend to struggle. Philippines basically eliminated all 4 of his E power rivals and was still nowhere near winning.

I wouldn't advocate huge changes but I think a couple of island SCs in the Pacific/Indian Ocean could actually help link things together a bit more and give more options for most powers. Perhaps I'll leave that for another discussion though.