It was absurd that I shared in this victory. I never played the game before, and I only learned enough rules to start. I was only a tiny power in the middle of nowhere, so why bother learning all the rules until I need to know them? This led to some really dumb errors, but none of them were bad and some of which were actually helpful. It was definitely a case of Forrest Gumping my way to the top of the board.

The beginning of the game had this UNITE movement, where all the small powers were trying to coordinate. It is a great idea, as the tiny powers together are bigger than the mighty powers and if they did coordinate, could really pinch the major powers from the start, but it was never well-organized and fell apart. I believe it suffered from a fifth column.

Locally, you look to see who you can work with: Germany: Yes. Poland: No. Serbia, Italy, Russia, UK all Yes! So Poland was short for the game, but after that, when you're friends with all your neighbors just what is a dipper supposed to do? Well, in NWO, you can go for a long time without having to decide. I got to grow to a six or eight center power getting along with everyone. During that time I not only developed strong “I got your back” alliance with Germany, but also great communication with Argentina, Mexico and Turkey.

But eventually I had to attack someone, and I dropped a unit in Canada over the NP. Ling was going to be my target, but unfortunately the UK had nuked his easy supply centers off the board. The one thing that landing did give me was nuke tech from the USA, who was looking for another front against Canada.

But right after I dropped that unit in Canada, the Russian, who had been a terrible communicator all game went silent for a week, and then well after the deadline, asked me to change my orders, and that was it. As I explained to him later, I’m not someone who does things late. I need to be on-time and prepared, and I just couldn’t be tied to a guy that was so scattered and unpredictable. So I changed my orders all right, I moved in to take his centers!

It was a fit of pique. At the time I was, I think, an 8 center power, that just acquired nuke tech, taking on a 24 center power with unlimited range. I poked the bear, for no good reason! This upset the Turk, with whom I developed a great working relationship, but others on the board were generally supportive, at least verbally. What shocked me was that no one moved against the Russian the year after I stabbed him. I thought others would jump on the bandwagon, and take a piece of him, but no one did.

What saved me was a Russian NMR (which considering how scattered he was, was not a surprise) and Fred in Mexico, who sent a couple of nukes into Russia for me, which was absolutely critical. And that was the rest of my game on the board: attack Russia. After a relatively short time the writing was on the wall and others started to join in and feast on his carcass.

Attacking the Russian when I did was fundamental to victory. It was the right time, it also meant that I only had poor relations with one country, so everyone except Russia was my friend.

Observations: I learned a lot from other players many of whom mentored me through my first game. Thank you all for that. Powers that deserve mention by name: Argentina, Randy, he has an ability to see the board in a way that is prescient. Brilliance is probably a good word for his ability with a Diplomacy board, but he should probably learn how to manage his anger better. Mexico, Fred, your help was absolutely critical, and I only paid you back with votes. I wish I could have done more. The blow up at the end between you and Randy is almost tragic. UK, Rob D., played one of the finest games of Diplomacy I had ever seen. Yet, it all came crashing down on him. His UK was a great example of why NWO is a better game than standard dip: you really can stop the leader with a concerted effort. Still, I was pleased to see that one of his coalitions had enough votes to win at the end. I hope he could feel at least a tiny bit of satisfaction with that. Turkey, Rob G., we had great dip throughout the game, shared lots of info and in the end, I refused to help my close ally Germany attack him, while he allowed me unfettered access to Russian stars in central Asia, and we shared votes. Small powers need allies like this. Germany, David, was a fantastic ally. From my limited experience, I believe tiny powers can advance in this game when they have someone at their back: Germany/Sweden had each other’s back, so while we didn’t really help each other by supporting units, we didn’t have to worry about the other, which freed up our limited resources for other things. The USA and China were helpful setting me straight on some rule issues.

And our GM, Dave, man, I don’t know how you did it. GM’ing this game, to me, anyway, would seem like a full time job; seriously hard work. Yet it seems like he got some pleasure out of watching the game develop.

Finally, as a data geek, I would love to see end results of other NWO games. I see from Dave’s observations that tiny powers often do better than they did here. I’d like to see some other game ends, though I guess the pirates were new, and likely changed the balance. I never had anything to do with two of the pirates and Orang, Zac, only late in the game, but they clearly did well in comparison with most of their neighbors.

So finally, unlike Randy and Zac who actually worked for the end game, Sweden’s share in the victory was no doubt all about good luck and Forrest Gumping my way to the top of the Diplomacy board. Thanks to all. It was a BLAST!