Well, I absolutely despise writing EoG statements, but I'm going to give it a spin. I'll try to keep it fairly brief, but there were a few things that Dave noted in his own GM EoG that I wanted to respond to as they were quite insightful.

First off, thanks to Dave for coming up with the concept of the Pirates to begin with, and for letting me help tinker with the rules. Ultimately, I think they played out much as we had hoped -- the pirates transitioned well from being a "chaos element" early on to acting as conventional powers later in the game. I don't feel like they were generally over-powered, and the fort-building and spawning powers really didn't throw off the balance (except for the unfortunate Indonesia elimination in Year 1). I do think that putting them as C powers was probably a little overly strict, but given that by the end game essentially every proposed coalition featured a pirate, I can't really argue with the results.

So first off, I feel like I ought to blow the cover on one thing. I think everyone at one point or another suggested that there might be a Pirate cabal or conspiracy. As Zac and Kal will probably add . . . you were right. Pretty much from the word "go" the three of us were talking about ways we could coordinate. Our over-arching goal was to get a Pirate in the winner's circle, and we managed that (although make no mistake, all three of us would have liked to win). Heck ,we came thisclose to getting two pirates a win with the China-Aden Revenant-Orang Laut coalition that very nearly passed. This was one of the most fun alliances I've played in a while, and I like to think we kept things entertaining for Honorary Member of the Pirate Order, Dave, who we CC'd on pretty much all correspondence. Of course, that probably has reinforced in Dave's mind that he should never, ever, let Zac, Kal, and I play experimental powers again...

On to my own game. Dave is right that I played a slow and cautious game. Uncharacteristically so for me, and I wouldn't play that way again if I could. Two elements factored into it early in the game: 1) personal life, and 2) neighbor draw. From the personal-life angle, I was simply involved in too many diplomacy games at once when this one started and couldn't give the position all of the attention I would have liked (really, Dave doesn't understate the time commitment needed to do well in NWO). And since I didn't have the time, I went with the more cautious path that I knew would eventually keep me in the thick of things. I probably ought to have thrust my head into the North Atlantic sooner, as I could have arguably claimed AZO and CBL from the start.

From the neighbors angle, my region was, well, stacked. Randy in Argentina and Rob with the UK were both going to be major factors in the Atlantic, and it was important not to step on their toes too early. Moreover, I knew (unfortunately) that Dag in Venezuela was going to be a de-stabilizing force that could really inject a lot of unnecessary chaos into South America and potentially hurt my game around the Caribbean. So, already inclined to play things cautious, I decided that the best way not to get too much negative attention early was to take out Dag -- a move that I knew no one would really care about, and just might thank me for. Thanks to Dario for realizing that it was in his interest to help with that.

Not a lot to say about the mid-game. At this point, my most important ally was Dario, and that was mainly an alliance of non-interference. Dario was willing to keep me informed about things going around the board while I couldn't be as engaged as I liked, and in return I was happy to keep a few of his centers in South America safe so that he didn't need to worry about wasting units to protect them.

Towards the end game, my own schedule opened up and finally allowed me to play the more active, and aggressive, game that I usually prefer. Obviously both Mexico and Argentina loomed large over my position, and I was convinced that the best option for me to both thrive and collect votes was to set those two against one another. I frankly could have gone either direction here, but Fred wasn't very communicative, ostensibly because he was very busy, too (although after I learned of his attempt to launch an anti-Pirate conspiracy, I wonder whether that was more a pretense). I think I must have pestered Randy for a good three game years before he ultimately relented and decided that my plan for attacking Mexico was a good one. And when he did, well, the stab couldn't have gone better if I had hoped for it. Not to pat myself on the back too much, but I remain stunned by how we were able to take ALL of Fred's votes, except for his original one, in one game year (thanks too to Russ, for providing the nuke that made grabbing Honduras possible).

Two other quick notes about the end game. First, Dave raised a really good point about the possibilities available for me to use my spawnling to attack Sao Paulo and, perhaps in conjunction with Fred, to attack Argentina's other votes. Believe me, I considered it (and Randy was worried about it). Ultimately, though, it was a non-starter due to Fred's general non-responsiveness to me. As it turned out from his nuking both Zac and I, Fred was committed to an anti-pirate route rather than hitting Argentina. Having said that, Fred and I had some preliminary talks right before the game ended about him using his nukes in the spring to "clear a path" for me towards some of Randy's votes. We'll never know (well, Dave will) whether he did that in his final spring orders. Regardless, I probably wouldn't have made the move unless I thought the game was going to go on at least two more years without a successful coalition. Instead, the game ended on the turn I expected to.

Lastly, really not much to add about my stab of the UK to grab Azores and Casablanca. Dave is right that it's a move I probably should have made sooner. And had it not been for pressure from Zac and Randy to hold off (due to promises from Rob to back pirate coalitions), I likely would have done it sooner. The main reason for holding off, frankly, was the worry that Randy might not press on with an attack against Mexico if I shook things up by stabbing Rob sooner.

TL;DR Version: NWO takes a lot of time and I would play better if I was unemployed. I wish I was more aggressive, but glad that I eliminated Dag (and nuking Sergio (Ecuador) off the map was fun, too! I shook things up in the end, anyway, and that was a lot of fun. Congrats to our worthy winners, and thanks to Dave for running it!