F2F in NYC Feb 19th (AAR POSTED!)

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Re: F2F in NYC Feb 19th (AAR POSTED!)

Postby Onar » 22 Feb 2012, 20:54

Well, I said I'd do one this time, and here I am(Rock you like a hurricane).

In the early game, I wanted to make a WT happen, and I had all intentions of following through with it, maybe stabbing england, but Sam is such a nice guy that I'd feel bad if I did. Curse him for that, it led to my downfall. The real turning point for me in this game was when I got too nervous about entering the med, and wound up stalling, giving the newcomer, Germany to stab me (albeit, ineffectively). However, even at this point, I was willing to turn around, and be friendly, and work with him, but his insistance that he would come for Paris from brest forced my hand, and I had to choose between fighting in the mediterranean theatre, or on my homefront.

Once I got down to two centres, I kind of stopped paying attention to the game, but I remember the chili being awesome, and being happy to see my good friend, Paul once more.

I completely forgot to mention, I'm Joe, and I was france in that game.
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Re: F2F in NYC Feb 19th (AAR POSTED!)

Postby ZarathustraVonWebdip » 03 Mar 2012, 22:37

Feb 19 F2F: "Where the hell is Italy?"

Hello! I had a little spare time (or rather I put off doing things in favor of writing about Diplomacy) and decided to write an EOG (you seem to call it AAR here) this time.

The game started with several new faces around the table and one that particularly worried me, a middle-aged guy who ended up drawing Austria. The reason for my concern was that, unlike most new faces I see at Diplomacy, it was immediately clear to me that he was going to be a good negotiator from the way he was interacting with the group and likely have a good deal of experience.

Fortunately, I drew England and was therefore somewhat removed from his sphere of influence. I'm pretty sure he would have torn me apart if I had been closer to him. France and Russia were two guys I played with previously and Germany was pulled by a guy who played online, but was new to face to face. I would have rather pulled another country because I played England in the previous F2F, but given the circumstances it was fine with me.

Spring 1901:
Germany and France immediately begin talking about a Western Triple in earshot of all the other players and then pull me over to get my agreement. I agree and then speak with each of them individually. Each of them seem serious about the alliance which I thought (or perhaps hoped) had been a clever bit of misdirection given that they had made it easily known to all other players. It was then I decided would be a grand idea… for them. Given that each spoke too loudly to make truly secretive plans, my best bet was to play along with the Triple as I went hard against Russia. I figured the timing should play out that I am securing St.P just as France and Germany realize they have run out of places to go and decide to plot against each other.

In the meantime, I worked decided I would use Belgium as the way to sow disagreement between Germany and France. I told Germany I was with him all the way and supported his plan to go for three builds. I spoke with France and told him to let Germany have Bel because it would help Germany move against Russia and once Germany was committed, I would help him into Bel. I managed to speak briefly with Russia and told him I had no intention of following through with the Western Triple he had overheard and he gave me a juicy bit of information by telling me Turkey opened up negotiations with a proposal to bounce in Armenia. I reinforced his misgivings about it in hopes of mitigating an RT.

The northwest opened relatively as expected. I opened strong against Russia with fleets in North Sea and Norwegian Sea, and my army in Edi. France opened to the Iberian, fleet in MAO. Germany opened rather aggressively against France, taking Holland with Kiel instead of moving it to Denmark to go for the Swedish bounce. France must not have seen it this way though because he made no mention of it to me. Russia moved to Bothnia, but otherwise focused south.

The more attention grabbing moves were in the South, where Austria had moved to take Greece and Italy walked into Trieste. I think every other player was astonished at the move, but I immediately knew what was going on. Austria and Italy we going to Key Lepanto. Perhaps this was a bit of metagaming, but I knew the guy playing Italy and how much he loved the Key Lepanto. This was an unfortunate situation for me because I knew my endgame was likely to be against Austria and Italy because that degree of trust just builds up and is very hard to break. Russia and Turkey seemed to have coordinated their moves, but I honestly didn't pay much attention to Turkey and Russia for the rest of the game once I saw the Key Lepanto.

Fall 1901:
My western friends were amiable to my anti-Russia move and encouraged me to move to Barents and take Norway with my army, as I already had planned to do. This would be especially important given that Germany was not going to be able to bounce Russia out of Sweden. The positioning also let me encourage France's predilection to move against Italy because I was not much of a threat. None of the southern powers were interested in talking given the Italian attack/Key Lepanto. Russia and I chatted but the only thing to come out of it was the Diplomacy equivalent of Russia saying, "Not in the face!"

One interesting thing that goes on around this time is that Austria says, "RT!" about a hundred times and even leaves a note on the table just saying, "RT." I didn't think it really was true, given what Russia was telling me and knowing how the Turkish player goes about things. However, I saw that I could use that to keep Germany and France dedicated to the Triple, so I reinforced the alarm sounded by Austria and became more concerned about him as a late game threat.

[Sam loses steam here and stops caring about writing a play by play]

I make the convoy as planned with the move to Barents. Russia took Sweden. The Italian-Austrian Alliance is made clear as Italy moves to Serbia and Austria takes Greece. I feel better about encouraging France to move south .

Russia's ownership of Sweden made it quite easy to justify my takeover of the SC to Germany and he was quite willing to support me there in the name of the Western Triple. I continued to mildly encourage France's action against Italy. I wished I had diplomacy time for the builds so that I could have told him to build in Brest to not make the move so obvious. Italy starts talking to me, now that he sees I am facilitating the French move by keeping good and far away from France. He starts his pattern of talking to me briefly every other phase or so asking me to present some threat to France.

Years blend together (I have been writing this too long and have kinda forgotten what happened and in what order)

Over the next couple phases, I continue to push against Russia, all the while telling Germany and France that we should stab the other soon and to get into position for it. I stop short of taking St. P because Russia was getting hit pretty hard and I needed him to keep fighting Austria. Unfortunately Germany became interested in Russia and I ended up having to defend Russia once I found out Germany planned on walking into the undefended St P because I was taking my good old time about it. I forced a bounce in St. P which didn't bother Germany as much as I thought it would. Austria bugged me about why I hadn't taken St. P and I had to quickly come up with an excuse about needing him to fight Turkey and the interconnected board. I hadn't been ready for the question because we were both sitting at the board and I became more concerned about Austria as I realized my first impression was correct.

France did a decent job of fighting Italy, but Germany was getting antsy and decided to make a move on France. France on the other hand wanted me to help him take France. I saw this would be a great time for a stab, but the stab was unsuccessful (I will leave you to decide whether it was an honest mistake or a planned mistake). Everything basically bounces in this move except that Germany gains a slight positional advantage over France.

All this time, just about everyone is wondering where Italy is during the diplomacy phase. Every turn he is getting pulled into negotiations with Turkey for 10 to 15 minutes of the diplomacy phase when we only have 15 min for diplomacy before moves need to be submitted. Austria is getting nervous about this while he stands around the table. I manage to speak to him once or twice without revealing much about what is going on in my negotiations. I get that he is a quick negotiator so it is likely that he and Italy are still able to coordinate moves despite the limited time he is getting with him. It seems it will take more than suspicious extensive negotiations to break the AI.

1904 or 1905

Germany has taken Brest from France. France makes a plea to support him into Belgium, as was his original desire when I made the stab attempt the prior turn. I agree to it on the condition that we do it in the Fall. In the Spring, I feign making amends and apologizing for taking a stupid move of opportunity. France is a bit miffed, but Germany takes it really cool. This makes me reluctant to stab Germany again because he was playing the negotiations well and he would make a strong ally. However, he has dedicated his forces to fighting France when I need him blocking Austria. Also, he is being a bit to susceptible to suggestions when I make them, even when I suggest rather poor moves. These factors lead me to decide to repeat the stab, but smarter. I decide to take Denmark and help france take back Belgium in the fall to knock Germany down a notch while getting into position to support or crush France as the circumstances require.

Moves come in and despite having told Germany that I was going to take St. P (I'm still trying to support Russia's failing war against Austria at this point), Germany moves in with a fleet. I thought that telling him I would move there would prevent the attack, but Germany called my bluff. He had already take Warsaw, so Russia was really at the end of his rope. After confirming I would support France to belgium, I get called into a discussion with Germany, Russia, and Turkey. They apparently have made an agreement to fight Austria wherein Germany is going to vacate St.P and they want me to leave it alone too so that Russia can keep fighting. Germany is keeping a pretty good poker face about the proposal, but I know that in this situation I would stay in St.P. Combined with the fact that Germany has been SC-focused the whole game, I can tell he is not planning on honoring agreement. I tell them I agree with the proposal and that we definitely need to focus on taking out Austria. I leave the negotiations and write down my attack orders for a guaranteed take of St. P. Orders are resolved with me taking St. P, Denmark, and Belgium (I stabbed France on the request for support because he wasn’t going to be able to hold it and I needed him to change his attention to fighting Italy instead of continuing the fight against Germany).

I still haven't gotten a chance to speak to Italy for more than 10 seconds because Turkey continues to spend the whole time with him despite Turkey being down to about 2 or 3 SCs and having essentially no influence on the board. I begin to wonder about whether the negotiations are mutually agreed upon or whether Italy is essentially being abducted. If this was at all a strategy by Turkey, it was not a terribly good one because Italy left negotiations each time looking more and more flustered and, if anything, more dedicated to eliminating Turkey.

The Last Couple Years

A face a few troubles over the next couple of years as we approach the end. I thought I had secured Germany as an ally to keep Austria back for a few turns as I locked MAO and St.P. However, Germany turns on me and retakes Moscow with Austrian support after I encouraged him to move to Sev. Also, Germany has spread himself out in a desperate attack on Venice. He is surrounded with just one army in the fight against A-I. Instead of reinforcing the position or just running amok, he chooses to try to hold Venice when it just wasn't going to work. Meanwhile, Austria and Italy have busted France and Austria gets an army to Burg (there was a LOT of integration of Italian and Austrian forces which was one of the signs that trust between them was high and they would be a tough nut to crack).

So, France has lost the war, Germany has turned on me, Russia and Turkey are out, and Italy is knocking on the door, preparing to burst through Italy. I have a quick negotiation session with Austria and Italy where they are both very amiable to a three way draw (at this point I have been the biggest power on the board by a SC or two for a few turns, but Italy and Austria are right on my tail have better positions.) I figure we will just finish off Germany and France then call it because it was starting to get late any way and this would be a pretty solid ending, at least better then the end games we had previously. This assumption was a bad one.

I support Austria to Paris using the army I have in Brest while an uncoordinated attack finishes off the rest of Germany. I had spoken independently with Italy about the fact that North Africa was open and got a gentleman's agreement that we would leave it open so we could just end the game next turn. FAIL.

I get stabbed by Italy who moves into North Africa. For context, my line is not very strong. I have one unit too few to keep Italy out of MAO now that he is in North Africa, minimal forces defending my holdings in Germany, with my only real strong point in St.P which I have locked with an army. When I get stabbed I know it is game over for me and agree to resign rather than play it out for several stressful hours. I knew I wouldn't be able to keep out Italy, so I would have to do a controlled retreat, allowing Italy to make gains against me while keeping out Austria. However, I just didn’t have the units I needed to keep Austria out of my German SCs for as long as I needed. His troops were already in full march toward me since the fall of Turkey and Russia. My only hope would be to turn them on one another by creating the threat of a solo, but I was quickly going to lose control of my collapse, so I had little hope.

We decided to play out one turn because there was a small chance that I would be able to figure out their moves and block enough of their progress that I would have time to reinforce my line and MAYBE control my collapse. I had to make several guesses correctly all across the board and I ended up messing up one or two of them. Italy ended up with solid control of the Iberian and Austria was positioned to take all of Germany in a turn or two. I was about to resign, but Rob explained that the result was not going to be recorded for the purposes of any league or tournament to Paul and he was then fine with a 3-way draw since it was just recreational.

So, the end result was a 3-way draw, but in truth, A-I won the game. Well done Paul and Seth. The Key Lepanto worked out pretty well.

A Shout Out

I just want to take a moment here at the end to congratulate Germany on a game very well played. He is new to face to face Diplomacy, but he definitely has the poker face for negotiations. He was always cool and collected in negotiations no matter his situation. He is still a relatively new player from what I could tell, but with a year or two of experience focusing on tactics and board dynamics, he will be a very strong face to face player.
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