AAR 103007, a Students game

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AAR 103007, a Students game

Postby Nanook » 21 Oct 2015, 10:57

AAR for Students game 103007, What's The Ugliest part Of Your Body?

After two weeks, I've finally finished writing this! So, here we go...

The players:
England: Terminus
France: Lelemud
Germany: BlueBorjigin
Italy: NanookTheEskimo
Russia: PJL (from Spring 1907 on), anaupr (until a surrender in Fall 1906)
Austria: I Love Italy
Turkey: Gooderian (temporary sub PeytonManThing from Spring 1906 until Fall 1906)

The Result
1913 three way draw between France (14 centers), Italy (11 centers), and Russia (9 centers).

I'll keep my initial recap brief. If there's anything that people want answered, I'm happy to go into further detail.

Starting strategy
I went into the game with a general idea of how I wanted to play when I saw I'd drawn Italy. The ideal path in my mind, was to ally with Russia and Austria against Turkey, then move up into Austria with Russia, all the while taking my first chance to attack France in the midgame. There was other stuff I put into place as well of course, as back-up plans, but that was my ideal route to victory, whether as part of a draw or, if the opportunity was there, a solo. The first problem: Russia. I don't normally bad mouth people, but I have little to no patience for quitters. Anyways, it became readily apparent that the weak link in my plan was the allying with Russia part. For a short time I thought that I would be able to influence him into doing what I desired him to, but he proved unusable even for that. Turkey I reached an accord with, but I never had the impression he intended to honor it, and that combined with a strong early relationship with Austria resulted in my sticking with the plan of going after Turkey early on.

Amended starting strategy
So, after talking to everyone and assessing the board, I reached the conclusion that my plan needed to be tweaked. Based off my talks, I determined that I had two viable choices. I could pursue a central alliance with Austria and Germany (with the idea of looking for a stab of either A or G later in the game for either a two way or a solo). Or, I could pursue an alliance with France (at the time we agreed to try and take it all the way together, as neither of us had ever seen an I/F go the distance and we both liked the thought of the challenge and making it work). Either way the open was the same: take down my most immediate threat for control of the Med, a relatively uncommunicative Turkey. Confession time: I was a bit bored of playing Italy when this game started. I'd played it a lot recently. And, to be perfectly blunt, I knew this was a game I could get away with some weird crap. And, being kind of bored, I decided to play it a little off the edge. After all, sometimes a little crazy can end up being a nice reputation to have, and it's not a hard part for me to play. Anyways, I wanted a reputation as someone that made some possibly questionable decisions. With that in mind, I opened with a weird, strange, not on the surface of it particularly good opening. Spring 01, I ordered Rome to Apu, Ven to Rome, and Nap to ION. In the Fall, instead of either of the standard convoy choices (Apu to Tunis or Gre, convoyed by ION), I did this:


Why did I do this? Because I knew I could, basically. I sold it off to France, Austria, and Germany as being a whim. I gave Austria more information ahead of time obviously, to secure his spport, something about wanting to be able to really get a jump on Turkey. It was a bit of an odd opening, and it did end up handicapping me just a bit against Turkey in the end (because I still had to take Tunis), but I knew I could make it work, and I thought that with E and G aggressive towards France early, it would keep him at ease even more with me.

With the exception of one incident, I'll skip through most of the early to mid years. The incident I'd like to talk briefly about is my almost stab on France that I then abandoned. Around 1902 or 1903, I decided, partially at the behest of England and Germany, that I wanted to attack France. I worked out a peace agreement with Turkey (or so I thought), coordinated with Austria to free up my fleet in Greece to move West while also giving the appearance of preparing for a stab on him (which would be helpful with making a deal with Turkey, and keep France on his back foot hopefully). Then I moved West...and everything went to shit. Turkey didn't follow through, which would have been fine because I still had the upper hand on him enough diplomatically that being even on the board wasn't a worry. Except that England also chose this time to stab Germany and mildly screw me. I talked to him again, and he indicated he would continue to help me against France....only to disregard that completely and focus entirely on Germany. So, I made peace with my French brother, and switched gears, taking it to Turkey with the help of Austria (who gave way too many concessions, and should probably not have let me make as many gains as he did), and Russia, who as I remember I was essentially feeding moves to. It ended up going from this:

To this:

To this:

Somewhere in here Austria made the prelude to a stab, and I talked him back off the ledge. This was the moment that I decided I would stick with neither Austria nor France in the long term. Austria because he showed he was unreliable partly, but more so because he slowed his progress too much with the loss of momentum. France, because Austria showed me a message chain I had sent to France, slightly edited of course to paint me in a worse light, but that's all. Anyways, as Turkey was mostly dead, I had to make my choice: attack Austria first and then France (hoping I'd be able to beat France to a stalemate line somewhere and get the solo, or, if it looked like I wouldn't be able to, let it end as a three way between me, F, and R). Or, I could attack France, and let Austria and Russia fight it out. This is one of those times where I think I should play only one game at a time, like some more rational people do. I faced a similar choice in two games. In the other one, I stabbed my primary ally, in this one, I didn't, whereas I meant to stay the course in the other one, and stab in this one. I sent my fleets West instead of my armies East, and engaged France yet again.

The second time I attacked France somehow went even worse than the first. Instead of making the three center stab on Austria that I could, and should, have, I let myself get bogged down in the Med. Anyways, long story short, neither made any progress, and eventually he talked me into going back to a peaceful existence. We kept an uneasy balance in the Med for awhile, while I whittled down Austria with the help of New Russia (or as I thought of him, Good Russia). As I was worried would happen, France decided he'd had enough of my back and forth ways and would try to cross the stalemate line in Tunis and the boot. I can't recall now, but I had what I considered at the time to be a good reason for holding my forces back as long as I did. Possibly to get as many armies over to Austria as I could before I lost the chance. That brings us to here: Image

First, I want to cover maybe the best job of lying I've ever done. I'm not generally proud of the lies I have to tell in games, and I'm working every game to tell fewer and fewer, and to make the ones I do have to tell really count. This is the exception. I am very, very proud of this one. Why? Because it never should have worked. Even as I was whittling down Austria with Russia's help, I recognized that it wasn't going fast enough with France starting to make inroads in the Med, and threatening in the North as well. I needed more strength to stop him, and so did Russia. So what did I do? I called up Austria, and I sold him as hard as I've ever sold anyone on the idea that we needed to band together against France, that I had misread the board and made a mistake, that if we didn't stop fighting now France would solo and that would be bad for all of us. I even convinced him of the specific move set I wanted (which, by the by, had I been genuine and had I thought he was reliable, would have been the right move set). I of course didn't follow through on my end, because he'd been too unreliable to that point and I didn't want to count on him to stop a solo (I knew I could count on Russia, however). He partially vindicated that decision, by misordering that very same turn! At least, it was a misorder according to him. Here's what that looked like:

After that, it was just a matter of giving Russia the support and the space he needed, and blocking France off in the Med. There was one turn where i took a risj and left Rome exposed to build in, and after that it was really just a case of making sure I entered the supports properly. France did approach me towards the end with a proposal to go after a two way again, but I insisted on a gradual withdrawal of his fleets from TyS and then Tunis first (allowing for a presence of his fleets in GoL, WMO, and MAO, with NAf a DMZ), which is just common sense with the stalemate lines, and never heard back from him again after that. I don't know if it was a genuine attempt or a ploy, but I would be very interested to find out!

We (being myself and Russia) did manage to sneak into Munich at the very end, I'm not sure how, but after that happened France was finally willing to call it a draw, and we ended with a map that looked like this:
http://playdiplomacy.com/games/1/103007 ... 7-25-O.png

For my parting thoughts, I'd like to say once again, I'm sorry for the way I mistrusted you France. If we could've gotten on the same paragraph instead of just the same page, I think the game would've gone a lot differently, and there's a good chance I'd be writing about a two way draw right now. If I had played the game just a tad better, and stabbed Austria instead of France a second time, I had a legitimate chance to solo too. This wasn't my favorite game, there wasn't enough of an alliance structure to it and I could never quite find a good ally (part of that was my own fault, and my misread of Lelemud!), but all in all I'm happy with the way it ended up, and I can't help but be proud of the way me and Russia held up against France at the end. Also congratulations to PJL are due, for the way he came in and resurrected Russia after a surrender.

I hope everyone enjoyed the game, and I encourage you to share your thoughts on it here, if you have any :)
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