Historically England has been my weakest country. In the past I’ve had a hard time landing armies on the continent and keeping them there.

Based on geography, I like the English-German alliance. Given the players I was also concerned about a Russian-French alliance. So, I actively courted Germany. George was more interested in a northern alliance for reasons that I do not understand. He also seemed to want a limited aggression pact with France. He seemed to want to march troops into BOH and TYR more than anything which is different than standard Germany strategy. I had no choice but to go along with him as I was afraid of RF.

The northern alliance ended promptly after Fall 01 when Dave (Russia) marched an army into SIL. I think this was an error on Dave’s part in that it enabled me to rescue George and play the EG alliance that I wanted to play in the first place. In the meantime I wanted to retain a non-committal friendship with France in case Germany changed his mind. For example, Germany did not move to BUR in Spring 01, and for all I knew, the bounce in BUR in Fall 01 may have been agreed upon. It certainly looked that way. My highest priority was making sure that an FG did not form.

George and I made positive strides against Russia in 1902 and I started to position myself against Paul (France). My moves were fairly lame and I blew the relationship with a fairly half-hearted stab. This may have cost me in the future when I tried to regain Paul’s trust vis-à-vis Italy.

George and I had a loose agreement that he would build armies while I built fleets. This reduced the possibility of a stab, although it did hamper my moving beyond STP against Russia. In some ways I felt that worked to my benefit as Dave (Russia) could see that I didn’t have any territorial ambitions against him. I figured that if German-English hostilities came about later (whether thru my stab or his) it would be more likely that Russia was on my side.

I had mixed feelings about Italy’s stab of Austria in 1902. On the one hand I liked the idea of less pressure on German borders so that he could help me vis-à-vis France. On the other hand, I wasn’t crazy about Italy not helping me divide up French spoils. I find that France is one of the hardest countries to crack, particularly with only 1 or even 2 fronts. Italy’s retreat from French borders was a smooth move, but it made me very wary of any future Italian alliance which was important in the end game.

With Fall 1903 I was extremely frustrated with the German moves. He didn’t move MUN to BUR so Germany was not helpful in the battle against France. Nor did he pursue Russia upon Russia’s retreat from SIL/PRU. MUN to BUR and KIE to MUN were the obvious moves in Fall 03; KIE to RUH would have at least opened up the build.

I was also very disappointed with Turkey’s moves at around this time. I had suggested that he pursue Russia instead of Austria. Presumably Italy would eventually defeat Austria and there was no reason to quicken that. If Turkey took centers from Russia and better positioned himself, he could have been an equal (or even stronger) partner to Italy. He would have ended up with more of the Austrian spoils to boot. My suggestions were obviously self-motivated – I wanted to weaken Russia so that Germany could help me attack France -- but I think Bob had a chance for a top in this game at that point. I continued to offer Bob strategic or tactical suggestions all game, but London’s influence within the Byzantine Empire were limited.

Overall, aside from disappointment with German and Turkish moves, I liked my position. I had the only northern navy to speak of and a weakened France was my only real enemy.

In 1904 Germany made a suggestion which I don’t remember, but I did reject it because it opened me up to a stab. I countered, and then he countered with the offer that we trade SWE for STP. I was very surprised that he suggested this and I accepted. If we did come to blows I figured this would give me excellent positioning because the outpost in STP was of no offensive value whereas a fleet on SWE could be used to crack Germany. SWE was the pull for my stab.

The German build of A Kiel sealed the deal for my stab. Clearly A BER was the right build if he wanted to move on WAR and MOS. A KIE had no offensive potential and could only be used for a move against England (or defense against an English stab). At the end of 1904, Germany had 6 armies. Only one of those 6 armies (BUR) was of any use to our war effort against France; and only one of those armies (PRU) was of use in the war effort against Russia, and it wasn’t really being used anyway. This was the push for my eventual stab. I was getting minimal support against France. I would help him get PAR (so he could build another A KIE?), but there was not going to be anything that Germany could help me with. Frankly, aside from liking George, and really enjoying his humorous e-mails, I couldn’t think of a reason NOT to stab.

The next couple of years were very interesting tactically. My fleets were on land after the stab, and I had only 2 armies in 1905; clearly I would have to start a major building and convoying campaign. At the same time I had to get them into position on the continent as quickly as possible. It was clear to me that Italy would stab Turkey – my warnings to Bob fell on deaf ears -- and the race was on. It was also clear to me that Italy would not help me vis-à-vis France or Germany. By now I had seen that Dave is a very skilled player and someone he would say the right things diplomatically and do the right things tactically. But he wasn’t going to help me.

France, Germany, and Italy were all moving against me at this point so I supported Dave (Russia) into STP. In hindsight I think this was a mistake. I was trying to limit German strength as quickly as possible and force the disband of his fleet, but the reality is that the fleet on STP (sc) was not hurting me and by giving Dave his home center back I opened myself up to the stab up North.

The stab set me back time wise, but was easily dealt with. The silver lining is that I think it motivated Ling (Italy) to allow me back into MAO and eventually take MAR. I think this may have been Ling’s only error in the game. He did offer the 17:17 and I did pay lip service to it (as he describes in his EOG. I did not hold any romantic attachment to that outcome since I didn’t feel any loyalty to Ling from the game. We had basically pursued our individual objectives and hadn’t coordinated very much at all. We communicated constantly, but I suspect that he was trying to weaken my position the same way I was trying to weaken his diplomatically. But it wasn’t a situation where I worked with someone all game tactically and could enjoy the triumph of the friendship and a 17:17 finish.

I also didn’t think that 17:17 was possible. One of us would ultimately have to trust the other in SPA/POR/WAR/MOS. I just didn’t see that happening. But I was happy to pay lip service and get MAO and MAR until the rest could be sorted out.

At this point I was also eyeing Sassenach in “Cross My Fingers”. I wanted the top England in the tournament but he was way in 1st place and it seemed like I needed a top board to beat him. I thought it was possible that a tie for first with 17 centers would get me there, but not likely. I was playing for time in hopes that Cross My Fingers would resolve one way or the other.

My biggest regret in the game was not going full hog after Russia in 1909. I like Dave which clouded my thinking. Also, he didn’t have much to lose and I was afraid that he would throw the game to Italy out of spite if I overplayed my hand. Keep in mind that in 1909 there were still German armies in BER and MUN and 4 enemy units on my southern front.

In 1910 and 1911 I think it is possible that I could have beat Ling on the center count if I moved more aggressively. Certainly if I knew that Russia would mis-order in 1911 so that I could take WAR I would have done so. However, there were always risks that Italy would overtake me, and I didn’t want to come in 2nd after all these weeks (years?). There were possibilities of Italy supporting Russia’s MOS to WAR or France’s SPA to MAR and taking the top spot. But these were remote possibilities so in hindsight I should have been more aggressive in moving against Russia.

In any case, overall it was an interesting game and I’m happy with the outcome and my best performance as England, a country that I’ve played only one or maybe two other times. I thank George for his great GM’ing. I also congratulate Ling on his first rate performance as Italy, the toughest power. He frequently moved east or west or both and managed to build his empire the whole time. I also think that Paul played a very skilled game and I commend him for lasting as long as he did. There are very few Redscape players who could have survived that.

It was great playing with all of you … may all your fighting and wars be on the Diplomacy board.


Ray Jay