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Joined: 02 Oct 2000, 9:01 am

Post 10 Jul 2014, 2:20 pm

I’m going to start with a pre-EoG commentary on the game itself building on my prior comments: NWO is an awesome game and greatly improves on the game of Diplomacy. Vastly more complicated that standard dip, new rules, new powers, new units, new geography, more diplomacy. The game balance has been greatly improved. While Diplomacy is a FTF game that is better suited to internet play--anybody who tells you otherwise is not being logical--NWO is a game that can only be played via the Internet, and it makes the most of the media: a 50 player game. 50 players! In the same game!! There are powers on the board that I don’t think I ever even dipped with! I shared the victory with Orang Pirate, but he and I only started dipping at the end of the game. In standard dip, you've got 6 other players, here you have 50! Don’t like this guy, screw him and pick another ally.

In standard dip the games have self-reinforcing feedback loops a stalemate lines so that most games aren’t even played to the end! That’s a staggering indictment of game flawed game design; that the players, even committed players, will vote to end a game prematurely. In NWO, anyone, absolutely anyone who’s still on the board can win in the end. You just have to survive and keep on dipping.

Players can take commanding leads in standard dip and the outcome is all but assured. Why bother playing it out till the end? In NWO you can have a leader and he’s constantly looking over his shoulders (yes, both of them!) What are the other powers saying, are they going to nuke the crap out of me? Should I nuke them first? But then would they vote for me? You've got to be so paranoid in this game! Rob D found out first-hand how tough it is to be a leader. His game was so strong, but he was nuked into bits and pieces of an empire scatters across the map.

Just to convey the scope of this game: I save the dip I receive from all my games, which allows me a little quantitative analysis:

I got 1,378 messages individual messages this game. Any other PBEM game I've played in the last 15 years, I never got more than 400 messages. The game went about 150 days so that works out to over 9 messages received every single day! I told Dave when I signed up for this game give me a tiny, quiet power in the middle of nowhere, and I got 1,378 messages! I had no clue what I was getting into. This game is a major commitment, and I was Sweden, starting with one stinkin’ army! What was it like to play the UK, the US, France, China, etc.?

I can’t imagine what it’s like to GM. Impossibly hard. Real yeoman work! Someone needs to figure out how to have a Realpolitik extension to handle this game, because without it, I think it would be too hard to find a GM.

Finally, let me say that I've played a lot of board games, not so many computer games, but enough, and I found the very concept of a 50 player game to be novel, and it’s not often that one has a completely novel gaming experience after playing games for 30 years. So part of my effusiveness may be related to novelty, because I will also say that the game was exhausting, and requiring of a great deal more thought and attention than a standard dip game, even beyond the extra dip. I’m not familiar with the provinces, for example, so even writing orders became both difficult and new experience; you've really got to think about them, because you've never seen these territories, or worked with these units before.

Tom was very modest in his accepting of praise for his game design in my earlier comments, but he shouldn't be, he should be very proud. It makes me think that if someone really put their mind to it a whole new subclass of games with dozens of players to interact with could be developed.*

Anyway, depending on my time commitment at the time, I would love to try it again. I’m sure that I won’t be winning again anytime soon, but would love to try another power.

* I realize that MMORPs have hundreds of players, but the nature of those games are so different, to my knowledge.
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Post 10 Jul 2014, 6:10 pm

Egypt EOG

I'm going to jump on to the winners' bandwagon, and post my thoughts now, while still fresh and marginally relevant.

First, and foremost, congratulations to George, Randy and Zac for winning. I voted for many over the course of the last game years, but this really was the coalition that managed to dominate. Argentina and Orang Laut grew and took advantage of every advantage offered, eventually dictating world policy with an uranium-enriched pair of fists. Sweden made good allies, fought and dipped hard, and earned the respect of all as such a powerful F'er.

I'm going to hand out an honorary fourth place to my partner-in-crime and the guy who sent me my first email about five minutes after powers were posted, Turkey Rob. He quickly forged an alliance with myself and Israel, and then just pushed forward. He kept the eastern Mediterranean a peaceful place and allowed us to put our backs to one another and focus outward. His tactical advice was usually spot-on, but he also led in "diplomatic" ways by keeping me involved with things when my attention would waver. He also worked to the end to keep Israel Steve alive, against repeated onslaughts and across the Asian sub-continent.

I'm not good at details, so allow some vague timelines and remembrances as I try to put the last half a year into some sort of coherent narrative (from my perspective.)
- As said, Turkey Rob forged a tight bond from the start between his nation, Israel, and my Egypt. I immediately screw it up by misreading the map and blending Port Said (SAI) and Sinai (SIN) in my head. I treated them as the same space and ordered my Cairo unit into Sinai, immediately threatening the arrangement that had been brokered. I was contrite and honest, and subsequently moved away from raising issues in the Mid-East.
- I saw the Red Sea as extremely important and worked to keep a hold of that space early. It was long and put me into play with Indian Pirate, France and China immediately. I would come to regret this contact. I made gaining Yemen my stated objective, even as others might also want it.
- I made peace with Tunisia and Nigeria and set some DMZs in Darfur and along the Libyan border.
- Contact with Italy proved trying. We never quite saw eye-to-eye, and at early points in the game Turkey and I shared him as a potential enemy. I was friendly to almost everyone else, so he sort of slipped into my cross-hairs. We proceeded to fight across Northern Africa and into the Sicily as the game progressed, and eventually he was removed from the board. In doing all of this, all arrangements made with Tunisia became invalid, so I moved west into Tripoli and on to Tunisia, picking up a few more voting centers.
- There was an early call from African powers (non-Chinese/French) calling for an alliance to remove the colonials from the continent. I didn't want to anger either, so I was non-committal, to say the least. With both I kept up some degree of dialog. France and I never were on the exact same page, and I will admit I pulled a lot of semantic double-talk, etc. as I pushed into Djibouti and the Gulf of Aden..
- As things rolled into mid-game I was looking good. 7,8,9 centers, four votes, no real threats. I had OK relations with the bigger guys and was keeping up with most everyone else. The Big Bs were starting to poke at each other and letting me know how to go about picking up some of the pieces.
-Nuking #1: UK - so things went south starting here. Why on earth was I being nuked by someone who I had almost no contact and definitely no conflict? I got some poor geopolitical explanations, but managed a degree of balance- though he did eventually creep back east and retake Tunis.
-Nuking #2: France- keeping me in my place? I got hit with four or five nuclear weapons over two game years, but they were often in non-SC centers. It definitely took the wind out of my sails, but I was able to keep rebuilding and defend the homeland.
- China- deserves mention, if only because I am not certain how much I need to blame him for my downfall. We did well from the beginning, and he even agreed and ceded Khartoum to me over the course of many seasons. He always seemed to be working with some concern for my actions and interests in mind. That said, he seemed to have a lot of very specific knowledge about unstoppable radioactive rain headed my way. Those who hurled them later indicated that China was influential in the decisions to attack me...
- At this point I got in touch with all the powers who remained and I had not had contact with (except for Atlantic Pirate...he and I only shared emails the morning of the final vote tally...) and a few final efforts to stay in the game if it dragged on were made. I was getting hammered and losing votes- now six units and two votes- but I wanted to stay alive. Fatigue was setting in and the winners were amassing their voting centers and supporters.
- Argentina had now eliminated Nigeria and I was the last of the original (non-colonial) African nations. Pacific Pirate was nuking everything else. Indian Pirate was pushing up the Arabian Peninsula and moving into Israeli centers. I had promises of help and lots of people saying that they weren't going to pressure me any more.

So. It ended.

I never successfully built/launched a nuke of my own (incompetent internal bureaucracy leading to a major misorder of adjustments late in the game) and gained a new respect for wing units. I enjoyed my corner of the world, but certainly felt a lot of pressure when surrounded. I had a lot of conflicts to my time and didn't always give the dipping 100% attention, but I always got my orders in well ahead of schedule and always looked forward to the results.

Thanks to Dave. Really. We all appreciate what you did.

Thanks to everyone who played.