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Post 10 Mar 2014, 2:27 am

First, a big thank you to George J. for your fine job as GM. I especially liked the little history lessons you gave us along with the reminder emails before each major deadline.

Second, congratulations to Monte and Dave L. for their shared board top, and to Dave S. and Paul for their survival to the DIAS.

Third, this game came at an incredibly bad time in my real life. There were a couple of moments when I probably should have resigned from the game, but I wanted to stick it out, partly because it served as a diversion from the real problems I was facing.

Fourth, and last, about the way I actually played this game. What can I say about it? From one point of view, I made mistake after mistake, and generally turned in a pretty bad performance. From another point of view, I was the victim of a major assault way back in Fall 1901 (!), yet somehow I managed to stay in the game until 1910, and that’s got to be *some* sort of an accomplishment worth noting. I mean, at the end of the first year, I saw myself as possibly the very first player to be eliminated from the entire tournament, facing sure relegation, and yet I hung on and on after that point, almost all the way to the DIAS.

1901: The roster for the game was pretty scary from the get-go. Not to slight the other guys, but I knew that Jaundiced Jaffe, Lingfish, and SuperAnt all had reputations as some of Redscape’s most formidable players. It doesn’t surprise me at all that two of those three ended up sharing the board top, and the third managed to be one of the other two survivors. My early dipping seemed to be going OK, but then got a big boost when Austria and Russia proposed a triple alliance to take out Italy. It turned out to all be a ruse, of course, but I do think it could have worked. Turkey would take both Bulgaria and Greece, and build 2 new fleets. Together with the Austrian fleet, we could sail west in 1902 and devastate Italy right away. Meanwhile, Russia and Austria could use their armies to attack Germany. When the time came for fall orders, I was planning to issue orders that would have secured Bulgaria, even if Austria was fibbing about Greece. But in negotiations, SuperAnt played me like a fiddle, and talked me into changing my orders, which led to Austria taking Bulgaria, destroying a unit in F01, and denying me any growth. As I told them at the time, I was sure a time would come when they would regret not taking out Lingfish, one of their most formidable rivals, when they had the chance, and targeting me instead. I stand by that claim.

1902: Luckily for me, David L. didn’t jump on me too, which would have sealed my fate. According to his EOG, Austria and Russia weren’t willing to cut him in for a fair share of the spoils, and that’s certainly believable. I managed to hold my ground in the spring. David S. made some blunders, too, especially leaving St Pete undefended, while the Austro-Russian assault on Germany proved to be something of a fizzle. Monte jumped on St. Pete, and in the fall, David S. was already pulling units away from the Turkish front in order to respond to England. Also in the fall, David L. made his devastating stab on Austria. I had dodged a bullet. In the winter, all the Austrian and Russian disbands were on my front, and I had a new lease on life.

1903: Italy and I were working together well, and Austria was quickly on the ropes. We approached Russia, trying to get him to abandon Corruptone as doomed, and work with us to make sure Monte didn’t have too easy a chance at running away with the game. For the second time, I was in a “might-have-been” alliance which could have been very effective. But David didn’t reply to the offer, and then just before the deadline came up with his big objections. He played me once again, persuading me to tell him details of my plans, and some of David L.’s, because I thought that since the deadline had passed, I was in the ‘explaining my actions’ phase, rather than the ‘negotiating’ phase. Then, he and Corruptone changed their orders based on what I said, and George J. accepted the new orders, because he had not yet processed the turn. In the controversy, I hold that the GM ultimately made the right call, but it was a bit of a mess, and David L. was very upset. Not least with me. However, I did get two builds, and was back in the swing of things. I probably should have built a fleet then, to defend myself against any possible future stab. But I knew it would antagonize Italy, and probably cause him to attack me immediately, so I went with two armies instead. David S. threw in his lot with Monte at this time, and disbanded his northern fleet, which had been the cornerstone of the possible IRT.

1904: Italy and I had some differences of opinion about how to fight Austria and Russia. I noticed that Italy was rejecting every plan that might result in me getting any centers west of Bul and Rum, while favoring plans that dropped all of them into his hands. I still think that in a sincere partnership, I should have ended up with at least one of Greece, Serbia, Budapest, or (eventually) Vienna, and if we were to be truly equal partners, I should have gotten two of them. Also, in the spring, I recognized that Rum was vulnerable, and I wanted to abandon it in favor of taking Sevastopol, which I could have done. David L. insisted that I should try to hold Rum. Also, George A.’s Germany was playing an ambiguous role at that time. We weren’t at all sure who he might side with. I think Austria and Russia took both me and Italy by surprise, though, as Corruptone abandoned Ser to take Rum. I had an army destroyed in Rum, and Sev was by then better defended, so I couldn’t take it for quite a while. But Austria’s position was very bad, and in the fall, became hopeless as George A. turned actively against him. George A., David L. and I wiped out Austria in one turn. I retook Rum, and Italy got both Ser and Bud, and Germany got nothing more than some short-lived gratitude. At the same time, England invaded France, and set Germany up neatly for a stab.

1905: This was the high-water mark for my alliance with Italy, my third “might-have-been” alliance of the game. Italy helped me against Russia, and finally began moving units away from our border. Our alliance was a bit soured by Italy’s reluctance to help me get more centers in exchange for my help against Austria. Italy probably could have made it clear to me that he expected me to put up with that imbalance as the price of keeping me alive earlier, and I probably would have agreed, in exchange for a big DMZ on our border. But instead, we were both resenting each other a bit, while keeping our feelings to ourselves. Whatever opportunity there might have been was missed. England made his extremely devastating stab of Germany in the fall, and I finally took Sev.
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Post 10 Mar 2014, 2:31 am

(continued)

1906: Italy moved massively back towards our border in the spring. He explained it as overreaction to the possibility that I might stab him. I had entertained some private thought that I might try to leverage him to give me Gre while he took a center elsewhere in Germany or France, but that was the closest I came to considering a stab. Mostly, I remained grateful to Italy for helping me survive, and I thought he would want me to continue wiping out Russia, who was finally in a terrible situation. In the fall, maybe I could have fallen on his mercy, and offered to be a good janissary if he would just pull back his attack, but I didn’t. In hindsight, it was almost certainly already too late. I realized at the time that he was very likely to take Rum, but I was so blinded by wishful thinking that I somehow thought he might follow through on his promise to support me into Warsaw at the same time. I considered a change of one order, to have A Sev support A Rum instead of tapping Moscow. If I had only done it! The way it turned out, Rum would have been safe, Russia would have moved A War to Mos instead of bouncing me, and I would have walked into Warsaw unopposed. Italy’s stab of me would have gotten him zero centers, and I would have gotten a build! The whole game would have been different, and I would have been much more of a factor. Oh well, I let blind wishful thinking rule the day, and I didn’t make the change. The best I could do after that stab was to try to patch things up with Russia. Another “might-have-been” alliance, I guess, although this one ultimately failed due to tactical issues rather than yet another stab of me. I made a controversial decision to keep my A Silesia in the winter, instead of the A Ukraine. I hoped to cause Italy some headaches with that army almost behind his lines, and I did, but the other choice probably would have given me a much better shot at defending my homeland.

1907: At this point, I pretty much just began playing out the string on a losing situation. Russia and I were trying to work together to make sure neither England nor Italy could solo, but we really didn’t have the strength to do much about it. France was falling to England, but Italy showed good signs of helping France survive. Germany and Turkey were both looking rather doomed. In the fall, Russia and I had a last hurrah when I helped him retake Rum, and in the winter he built a northern fleet to work behind Monte’s lines.

1908: Italy made his most inexplicable blunder of the game, abandoning MAO to England for no reason that I can see. At least he kinda made up for it, by moving back to North Africa in the fall, but by then, Monte had taken Marseilles from France, and continued to be a solo threat. Meanwhile, David L. was so focused on the east that he totally ignored any chance to make a move into Germany. David S.’s little adventure in Norway was squashed, and he had little choice but to fall back into the role of janissary to Monte and hope for the best. I was reduced to last-stand status.

1909: The war ground on closer and closer to stalemate. Germany was eliminated by England. By now, it was obvious that Italy had to conquer Ankara to stay in the running for board top. I made my last deal, making it easier on Italy by disbanding my fleet, in exchange for his promise to support me into Sev for a survival.

1910: The DIAS that could have been, if Italy had kept his promise to me: 14/14/3/2/1. But to put it simply, I never once this game remember David L. supporting someone else into a center if he could take it for himself, and that’s what happened in Sev. Now Monte was one center behind, and I was out. Oh well, I knew I was getting 5th place whether or not I scored a survival.

Post –Turkey era: I thought it would be more interesting for Monte to take Warsaw and leave St. Pete in the bag, but you guys were able to work out a 15/15/2/2 DIAS anyway.

I’m glad there wasn’t a pre-arranged 17-17 tie, by the way. That’s my least favorite Diplomacy outcome, because it’s totally artificial. It requires two players who have a legitimate shot at a solo to voluntarily give it up, and IMHO, that’s totally against the spirit of the game.

Anyway, all in all, it was a good game. I hope to see you guys on other boards in the future, but not all at the same time again!

Bob
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Post 10 Mar 2014, 5:35 am

Bob, great EOG. Thanks.

I tend to write longish ones as well, so please be patient and mine will come.
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Post 10 Mar 2014, 5:59 am

Great EoG Bob,

I disagree on the 17:17, it's the purest result possible if done properly. Two players trying to solo but being forced to stop 1 step short.

Interesting to see your thoughts on the IT partnership :-)
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Post 11 Mar 2014, 8:03 pm

Thanks for the replies!

Dave L.: When 2 big powers, both trying for the solo, happen to end up with a 17-17 tie, that's fine with me. It's when they work together, helping each other gain the last few centers, that I believe it becomes totally artificial.

Also, I noticed a certain symmetry in the way we played. You become frustrated with Austria when he wouldn't even give you Greece. Later, I became frustrated with you when you wouldn't even give me Greece. Oh well.