I am happy to issue an EOG and feel it my responsibility given the assistance I have had across the board to get to this point. I will go a little stream of consciousness here and I hope in the middle of it, you can follow my logic and that at some point is makes some sense. :)
I was really open to my early game E/F, E/G, E/F/G were all on the table. The only thing I required…was an army on the mainland, because I feel England is impotent and always kicked off the mainland if there are no foot soldiers involved. I must say these conversations were interesting. Germany frustrated me heavily, and perhaps it is because he was burned too many other times. He was unwilling to take any risks in any way until he knew where people’s alliances were. At some point, I don’t know why, I decided I was going to stick with him just to prove that we could make it work. In 1902 I had a great opportunity to stab him, but with an apparent eastern blok beginning, I thought showing my allegiance during that moment, would set the stage for a long term, successful alliance. And then the B&st*rd allowed my army in Belgium to be destroyed – despite my heavy effort to ensure it was safe. See my only requirement at the beginning of the game.
Losing that army was really disappointing to me strategically, and he effectively made my advance impotent, so I felt I needed to make up for the loss…I thought the best way was to stab and build 2 armies for the one I lost.
Russia had kind of a disappointing start..and I have no explanation, but that weakness over there given the strange dynamic is was made me attempt Stp and it worked out.
The only other note I have through 1903 was…why wouldn’t Austria OR Turkey accept my support into Moscow? I didn’t want it..I mean..i couldn’t keep it..so I figured figure out which of A/T wanted to be a leader..help them and then begin an alliance for mid-game. But Turkey was like – umm..really you want to support me? why? And Austr ia was like..how do I know you won’t support turkey instead of me? Well..one of them needed to believe me. What I saw down there was an apparent alliance…but they had created a front so those units were under-utilized and they were aligned…but not allied. This would be important as we moved to mid-game.
So sorry for Germany…but a common rule is..when you can put someone away…you do it. That meant the first order of business was finishing him off. As far as France goes, I had no hard feelings on Belgium from him…I expected him to attack. With my stab on Germany, and with Italy obviously pushing westward, he was all for jumping on an alliance to finish off the black dots. That supported my objective, so of course I was in on it. I wasn’t sure if France’s motives were pure, but it made sense to work together.
Enter Italy… France was in the middle…Italy was already moving westward for the AIT that never materialized and there was clear support from France to help defend his homeland from the English Fleets…so sadly we took advantage of France and snuck into Brest and Portugal. It was a risk for me, trying to finish off Germany AND France at the same time…but I felt Italy and I could work well together and quite frankly..the Austrio-Turkish détente and “slow-moving” advance was literally no threat to me. I felt I could finish off Germany because they couldn’t get organized before I acquired everything except Munich.
To my surprise and benefit, France wanted to have fun in the last few years..and despite the stab, was willing to help me vs. Germany for the promise of leaving Paris untapped. This was great…it provided me penetration into the Med, assistance in finishing off Germany, and enabled my ability to use armies vs. Germany and Scandinavia instead of wasting a single unit on the Louvre alone. The other areas were much more strategic for me. An official thank you to France at this point for his willingness to participate in a fairly entertaining end-game and I am happy I was able to honor my commitment in leaving France untapped.
In other parts of the world…it was all about slowing Turkey/Austria and trying to get them to turn on each other. Italy was very supportive of assistance from myself and France to prevent his overrun. He was incredibly effective in defending his homeland despite briefly having to vacation Venice. He also successfully convinced Turkey to finally turn on Austria, an end I never thought to be possible. At that point in the game, I figured that if they hadn’t stabbed each other yet and I was sitting on 10 centers…it would never happen. This stab, created the moment where the board was willing to allow me the solo..as Austria lost some interest/motivation after the stab and became willing to assist me in the final center I would need outside of what France was helping me with.
So the last two years were incredibly fast…gaining 4 centers in each of those years. This was a combination of three powers basically stepping aside.
Germany was more mad at Austria’s inaction than we was at my active dismantling of his homeland..so that was huge.
Sorry Kaiser – I really had wanted better for us, but thank you for your help at the end.
France wanted to participate in something meaningful, and he do so very effectively. We spoke early and were very clear on expectations toward the end. I was an incredibly easy finish due to his compliance, and I thank him profusely. It was a fun end game and I hope it provided you some enjoyment at the end.
Austria was burned by Turkey just at the right time…so that reduced friction an 1906. Thank you for that Jarrad.
Italy – You were critical in providing me confidence in a key growth stage for me. You were stuck when Turkey finally decided to launch fleets (so many were built that year!), and needed the Anglo-french navy to assist, so I know your frustration with Austria and Turkey provided us more cooperation than you would normally have allowed so close to your home centers, but I enjoyed having the little interactions we did. We have played together before, and your no-nonsense commitment to our alliance was refreshing in this game. I know you would have preferred a DIAS…but I hope you are not upset with the result. Thank you.
Russia: Short involvement, I know it was disappointing to you, but I know your surreptitious support of me into Denmark, ultimately proved to incentivize Germany to mistrust me – which led to a whole host of activities that drove his downfall, so if that was your objective-Mission Accomplished.
Turkey: You were very quiet…we didn’t speak much, but likely more communication from you, may have changed some dynamics. It appears you significantly changed your strategy 3 times in the game and it took a while to redeploy units to support your efforts – that delay made a huge difference in your influence..and quite frankly gave me and other space we don’t normally have when maneuvering.
Thank you all. It was a very strange game - in terms of personal dynamics. It had some strong frustrations..but also had some great alliance play and good communications. I hope to see you all in future games!