Imperial - AARs

GM: Waterice man. 3-way draw - Aardvark Army (Turkey) / thegame (France) / Kininvie (China)

Imperial - AARs

Postby Waterice man » 14 Jul 2009, 12:03

GM: Waterice Man

Austria: speakerbox1217/Spekulatius OUT
Brazil: Retsam
Britain: ak47
China: Kininvie
CSA: Lord Cornwall OUT
France: thegame
Holland: Firestorm94
Japan: Jaded Knight
Mexico: Flatley
Prussia: Mkcontra/The Raging Falcon
Russia: The Raging Falcon/lotr_freak/Washington/dilip
Turkey: Aardvark Army
USA: raytheruler

Turkey (37)
France (25)
China (24)

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Why did the chicken cross the Möbius strip?

The word 'surrender' derives from old French
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AAR for Turkey

Postby AardvarkArmy » 15 Jul 2009, 08:22

Looking back, I have to laugh at myself for wanting to swap countries with USA when the assignments were announced – I wasn’t too astute at recognizing the natural advantages of the Turkish position:

1) To begin with, The Black Sea and the Mediterranean formed a “moat” around my home; once I established a naval presence in both seas the Turkish homeland was never at risk of invasion – Turkey was probably the only country (except, perhaps, Brazil) that never had to plan for a homeland defense.

2) Second, I soon learned what a huge benefit the African dead zone could be – with only 2 or 3 armies scattered north and south, I was able to defend half the African continent.

3) I had the perfect starting size and configuration, with six forces all in a relatively compact area; we all saw what a tough time the starting “super powers” had holding onto their far flung empires, while some countries simply started too small to have a real shot (Mexico achieved the same 6x growth rate that I did, but since he started half my size he ended half my size). I think it is no coincident that China and USA started with similar mid-size positions and also ended quite well.

4) Lastly, I was blessed with two neighbors who were desperate to make peace: Russia, because he shared my fear that an early Russo-Turkish war spanning our long border would be disastrous, and Austria because he was stuck in the Central Europe maelstrom.

Hence, I have to say that 90% of Turkey’s success was due to the good fortune of the map.

The Raging Falcon as Czar I was an extraordinarily good ally. We established trust quickly with disengaging moves around the Black Sea and shared a vision for sweeping both eastward and westward together. One of the most critical breaks I got in the game was Russia’s honoring of our agreed division of the supply centers around Iran. I had jumped my forces ahead to capture “forward positions” against England, leaving empty TEH and BAN in the backfield, adjacent to Russia’s forces, for a couple of turns until I could catch up with myself and fill in those gaps. If Russia had decided to get greedy and take all of South Asia, this would have been a very different game. Lotr-freak as Czar II also proved utterly reliable, and worked with me to achieve the two most important diplomatic successes that we had: A peace accord between Russia, China and Japan that I helped to mediate, and England’s agreement to surrender India without a fight in exchange for safe passage and assistance to Australia. Czar III was another story (see below)…

Thegame of France and I never set out a plan to become allies as I did with Russia; it just developed slowly over time. We both managed to keep our fingers off the trigger in the Mediterranean despite having navies stacked next to each other. Then I sent my African armies to help push England out of Morocco, and retreated just as quickly so that they would not create another flash point between us. At the time that I attacked Holland, I didn’t know if France would come to Holland’s aide, but I made a point of pulling further back into non-threatening positions along my frontier with France, and France agreed to turn on Holland in Indochina. From then on, we gradually found more opportunities to work together (against Austria & Prussia) and further disengaged in Europe at the same time that he (finally, reluctantly) agreed to the need for my armies to join the fight in West Africa. After working successfully together against England, Holland, Austria, Prussia and Brazil, we were solid allies by the end.

Where my alliance with France developed gradually, Turkey and China were thrown together suddenly by circumstances. We had had a great deal of communication early in the game regarding the Russia-China-Japan peace accord and the English surrender of India, but those communications were on a level of adversarial civility. We gradually developed a rapport, and shared observations and forecasts with each other. But we weren’t “allies” in any meaningful sense until the Russian calamity forced us to work together (see below)…

I know that the word on the street (ahem, that means, raytheruler’s highly efficient propaganda machine :lol: ) was that Turkey stabbed everyone. The fact is, all but one of Turkey’s attacks on neighbors had very specific causes or provocations:

1) England violated a first-turn DMZ agreement in the Red Sea. Now, truthfully, I knew from day 1 that I would have to fight England, but their DMZ violation gave me reason (excuse?) to take Addis Ababa and Aden in order to “secure” the mouth of the Red Sea.

2) Austria muffed major multi-national alliance plans…twice! France, Russia, Austria and Turkey were all going to attack Prussia in order to end the Central Europe stalemate, but Austria NMR’d both times, screwing up the plans and forcing Russia to back-peddle and patch up with Prussia. So, we decided if Austria couldn’t be counted on and put all of our plans in jeopardy, then…

3) Holland was a plain and simple territory grab. I found myself completely encircled by three large powers – my ally Russia, France and Holland. There was also wide speculation that France and Holland were forming an alliance, which would have been extraordinarily dangerous to me. I had tried to warn Holland off a few turns earlier, asking that he NOT take too much of the Indian Ocean but push more towards Indochina. So when he left his Island and South African supply centers wide open, I saw my chance to break out…

4) Russia. This was the big story. I had built Turkey’s entire game strategy around my alliance with Russia. Re-building that alliance with Czar II took a lot of effort, but when Czar III took over he simply lacked the context of all that had come before. The southern centers of India were to be my reward for the efforts I had made brokering the Russia-China-Japan peace and the English Raj surrender. But Czar III sent me a note indicating his intention to take all of India for himself. When I tried to explain the history behind our efforts in India, he told me he would hold off but also told me that he wanted no further communication between us. If I was going to have a 3000 kilometer border with a hostile major power, I knew I had no choice but to get the jump with an attack, even though I wasn’t really positioned as well as I would have liked.

Kininvie of China can attest that I believed that the break with Russia was the end of Turkey’s hopes – I foresaw the sort of grid-lock war of attrition that Russia and Turkey had sought all along to avoid…. Luckily, since Kininvie of China and I had established a good relationship of trust and communication through the game, he threw his lots in with me to join in the attack on Russia. From then on, we were committed to finishing the game together.

There were three scenarios that received a lot of time and attention in my in/out mail, but which never happened:

1) Alliance with USA. Raytheruler and I hit it off early in the game and put a lot of effort into corresponding with each other. Early on, he broached the idea of a cross-continent alliance, and I quickly agreed to the idea in principle. However, we were simply never able to get on the same page regarding who else would be involved. Once I decided to challenge England, I practically begged USA to boot England out of Canada, but ray didn’t want to upset his peaceful balance in Canada while still fighting CSA in the south. A few turns later, when ray decided to launch his all-out efforts against France, he tried his best to pressure and cajole me into joining. But, by then, I was settling into a period of peaceful stability with France and had decided that France was worth far to me alive than dead (and, boy, did he take a beating for 4 years holding the Western Front!!!)

2) Alliance with anyone else in the Western Hemisphere. I, along with Czar II of Russia and kininvie China all tried our hearts out to get Mexico or Brazil to break ranks with the BUM alliance. The logic of geography pointed our attention mostly to Mexico, but to their credit, Flatley and Retsam seemed utterly immune to any form of persuasion.

3) Two-way alliance. As became a subject of widespread correspondence in the last year, I had always favored a 3-or 4-way alliance (specific proposals that were floated, at various times, were Russia-Austria-Turkey; USA-Russia-Turkey; Russia-France-Turkey; and China-Japan-Russia-Turkey). However, China was a tough sell -- he preferred a two-way, since he had no real alliance history with France. I was doing my best to argue for a China-France-Turkey deal while China was drawing up contingencies for simultaneous war against both Japan and France. Luckily, Japan tipped his hand, with a memo that explicitly expressed the desire to join with the USA and which also included proposed moves that China felt hinted at a coming stab. Since China felt that he had to attack before he was fully ready (as I had with Russia a few turns earlier), he was compelled to reach out to France as an ally, and I was spared the predicament of having to chose sides between the two. I still don’t know how I would have handled that…

So, in the end, I got lucky with geography, I got lucky with some of my critical alliances, and I got lucky in avoiding some different outcomes that might have been. I can categorically that this was the best group of players and the best GM I have ever encountered, and hence, it was the most fun I have ever had in a game of diplomacy. Thanks to everyone for a fantastic game!

1930-China/BattleIsleA-Winterfell/S&S-Turkey/WORLD INFL-Venezuela/LECRAE-Dublin/WWIV.2-Cali/IMPERIAL1861.1-Trky/YNGSTWN.1-Grmny/AMERICAS.2-Mex/AFRICAN.2-S.Arabia
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Re: Imperial - AARs

Postby Firestorm94 » 16 Jul 2009, 06:19

I think the best way to summarize this was that I overextended myself.

Early Game:
I was one of the three "superpowers" of the game. I saw an alliance with either of the two to be pretty powerful and decided to test the waters and see what I'd have to do to get either France's or Britain's good graces. Since France was spread out much like I was, I decided to work with him. Turkey was really persistent about communications with me, so I decided he'd make a great ally too.

Early-Mid Game:
Russia came to me talking about a Japan/China alliance. I told Russia that I would attack in the south and get France to help. France and I made a good start in China and kept a presence there to distract China. I had considered attacking France before Russia's message, but I couldn't get Turkey to commit to helping me.

Mid Game:
Stabbed by Turkey. Maybe I can still get France... never mind. Yeah, looking back I had it coming. AA taught me to keep my defenses up the hard way. My empire collapsed and my idea of being on the winning side crumbled with it. For a while, I was just kind of waiting to see who would get my last SC.

Late Game:
Brazil came to me and asked for support into S. Africa. I had nothing to lose so I basically gave Brazil all of the help I could including giving him SCs in the hope he may be able to hit Turkey. When Brazil realized that France and Turkey were a solid alliance, we were done.
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Re: Imperial - AARs

Postby raytheruler » 16 Jul 2009, 21:55

This might take a while.. doing it from memory.

First Impressions
So. I drew USA. Not bad I thought. could be CSA or Mexico. that would be bad. There are a lot of SCs around me, but another power that wants them (the CSA). Mmy experience with World Dip playing canada taught me that overseas alliances are good ones especially as a western power. There was also a superpower to my north and a russian center in alaska.

Initial Diplomacy
I start talking to people and find a solid prospect in mexico. We talk and agree to blitz CSA early in the game. I really didn't want another power competing with me for the modern day United States. Then I start talking to mexico and just my luck, he is one of the best communicators id found. We plan to blitz mexico early. I had to spend a long time deliberating on whether to attack mexico or the CSA. In the end I went with attacking the CSA because it would be easier, even though stabbing Lord Cornwall was very hard mentally. ;)

I also start talks with Britain, who agrees to be my ally, which I thought of as a plus because of his vast empire... This would prove less valuable than I thought. We agree to take down the russians in alaska by containing them there the first year.

I also start talking to.. turkey? This was a suprise early in the game because it didn't immediately effect me. I thought of getting a strong overseas ally so that we wouldn't have to fightover the same centers. I watched turkey demolish my other prspect, britain and decided that it had to be him. He was getting all too powerful. Even in the early stages.

Early Game
I beat the CSA. This was a little more difficult than I thought because of one flaw. Mexico noted my large size and fugured I would be profiting most out of a blitz on mexico. He bailed on me at the last second. This got me worried. I was facing a stalemate with mexico and the csa. After cajolling Flatley (mexico) thoruougly, I got him on board. Wiith a condition. I could not stab him after we were done with the CSA. I agreed reluctantly. I had a dream of controlling north america once more (world diplomacy was my first experience) , but I sacrificed it to be his ally. This would be annoying later in the game.

Russia grows in the north and actually starts beating britain and I back. Britain is being beat up all over the map and I have heavy pressure from turkey to join in. BUt I needed a safe north border so I decliuined again and again.

Brazil in the south starts fighting france. He comes to me and mexico with a plan to rid america of all foreigners. "America for the Americans." We accepted and the BUM was born.

Meanwhile, turkey is still growing, alongside france and russia.. which brings me to my next segment.

Picking a Side
I am beinig pressured to stab britain in the north by turkey. We have not stopped talking since the beginning and I am beginning to realize what a threat he would be if I were his enemy. He was a good talker and I wanted his typing fingers on my side. So I start bothering him for an allinace. I know that he is really tight with russia though so I include russia in the deal. We were planning on hitting france at the same time but turkey didn't entirely trust me so I had to prove to him that I was ready for was with france. I made the first move. He said he would pile on if I did. I took cape verde from france. But I got led on by turkey. He kept telling me that an attack was coming. Somewhere along the way I made the stupid contition that mexico had to be a part of the alliance as well. I didn't want to stab him just yet and I wanted a goood ally that I could fight with if turkey and russia made a run at us. I called the condition a "dealbreaker" and well.. It broke the deal. Along with my repeated stabbing of russia in the north. (also an error)

So I found myself facing an enemy I was evenly matched with my BUM allies. I began to see that we were going to need help if we were going to beat FHRT. I tried enlisting the help of japan and china and the responded favorably. I gave japan hawaii as proof that I wanted an actual allinace.

The sides were chosen. it was FHRT vs BUMCJ... (britain was also with us, though he didn't really do much.)

BUM makes gains in africa but are denied entry to europe. China japan mexico turkey and france all decide to kill holland so he gets wiped out of the picture. Turkey is growing expotentially. He is the real problem. Being the most powerful. The catch. Russia and france have made a protective sheild around him.

There wasn't a lot of diplomacy at this point. BUM did try to convert france but we weren't going all in. I tried my best to allow him to switch sides, but Brazil and Mexico decided to take his centers during the NAP :| I let him into the north sea and I really thought he could turn on turkey.

Russia and Prussia get stabbed together by france and Turkey. Dilip becomes the 5th czar of russia and I add him to the allinace.

But there was a problem. China and Japan weren't fighting anyone but holland in indonesia. I tried to get them to stab turkey but they wouldn't. I dont ever think they were actually with us looking back.

End Game
China stabs japan. The triple alliance CFT was openly known. There really was no hope for us. I had just started making gains in europe and even east and west russia. but turkey was too dominant. I tried to get turkey to solo, but he wouldn't. The draw was proposed and I accepted.

Thats about it. I probably left a lot out. Many thanks to Watericeman for GMing. This was the best variant I have played I think. I want to come back for round 2!!

Flatley - I did not stab you like you thought, though that promise could ave cost me the game. You were a good ally though so I dont really regret it.
Lord Cornwall - One of the best communicaters. I wish I could have allied with you. If you were any other country we could have done a two way draw. ;)
Retsam - You had some great (sometimes crazy) ideas. and really sparked the BUM and its initial gains. It was a pleasure.
dilip - I like how we can trust each other enough so that you allow me to convoy 4 armies into russia. haha. that was fun.
thegame - you annoy me with your defense.
AardvarkArmy - I have nothing else to say to you ;)
lotrfreak - i still think we could have worked it out... but oh well.
kininvie - congratulations. i thought you would've been stabbed..
Jaded Knight - you are foolish for trusting them but I forgive you ;) you were a good ally in the end.
ak47 - tough luck. I didn't stab you until very late though. you should be grateful. haha.
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Re: Imperial - AARs

Postby dilip » 17 Jul 2009, 18:33

I'll keep this short.
I joined at a horrible time for Russia, after it lost 6 centers. Not knowing who to trust, who not too, and all the politics, i tryed to stay non-committal for the first turn. unfortunately we disbands in north america, and abandoning the hopeless cause there caused turkey to misread me and continue the attack. china jumped on board, and though japan talked nice, i didnt believe him at first. basically i just allied with the usa and prussia automatically to try to thwart the F/T/C/J alliance, but knew it was too massive to hold off.
my immediate worry was the lack of communication from some people. ak47 never once replied to one of my messages, the raging falcon hardly talked after we agreed to work together. the later of those worried me since we could hardly plan anything.
there was a turn when china stabbed japan, putting him on our side. recognizing the need to subdue china and turkey, i agreed to let ray convoy in armies onto russia to help the defense. i managed to hold off turkey better than i had initially expected too.
thats pretty much it, then it ended.
Aardvarkarmy: nice playing. i'm dissapointed that you misread my intentions (or is that just what you told me?), but well done.
kininvie: well done too, i really didnt stand a chance in the east, since the previous russia appeared to trust you quite a bit, i had hardly any defense there
Jaded Knight: Nice working with you and trying the throw some thing together, but it wasnt enough
raytheruler: i liked the convoys as well. i only trusted you because i was desperate, ordinarily i would never trust you
ak47: talk! we may not have been able to do much at all, but still
The Raging Falcon: you became more of a liability after a while, and i had to try to take centers. vacation, i understand
others: didnt really talk to you, but good game
When arousing a tiger, do so with a long stick- Chinese proverb
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Re: Imperial - AARs

Postby Retsam » 18 Jul 2009, 06:23

Well, I'll take a "stab" at this.

Well, my first number one objective was to establish control over South America, specifically to get Europe off of -my- continent. I figured three countries with small strongholds could quickly lead to at least one country getting a near permanent footing, which would have been bad for me. France pretty much agreed to leave to go take Carribean territoy, offering me a potential alliance against Mexico or another North American power (something I'll get into later).
With Holland, I focused on preventing them from gaining a second center, which got interesting when they chose to build a second army, despite not gaining a center. I still managed to keep them contained and eventually offered them a deal; rather than keep their armies stuck useless where they weren't able to gain any ground, I offered to convoy their armies across the ocean into French territory. They decided that they no longer wanted to attack France, (needed them elsewhere) and then France kicked me out of MAtlantic and offered to convoy the Dutch armies themselves (into dutch territory, not their own), but at that point, I no longer saw the point to any sort of convoy, and suspected foul play, so I simply decided to forcibly take the territory and destroy the dutch armies.
To deal with Britian I initially sent two fleets, after them, and managed to take the Falkland islands, but left them wide open to take SGR. (And threatening two of my home centers) Perhaps a blunder, I was thinking that the fleet would destroy, since they lost their base supporting it, but I failed to account for other areas of the world, so Britain didn't need a disband. But, in one of my favorite diplomatic (heck, probably my favorite diplomatic move of the game), I convinced Britain to simply allow me to dislodge his fleet, have him destroy it, and allow me to take SGR, rather than him take it, and have me force him to keep a fleet there to defend it. I don't think I "tricked" him. I honestly think it was a good deal, rather than create needless hostility (after all, he doesn't really gain a SC, since it's really canceled out by the unit needed to defend it), he improved relations with me. But, it was still definitely one of my favorite moves, asking someone to simply give me a SC, rather than fighting them for it.

As for Mexico, we decided not to fight, as we feared that if we fought, European nations would either be able to gain powerful footholds or simply swoop in and use the distraction to take us out while we bickered amongst ourselves. (Which I still think was a distinct possibility).
Now, in the long run, perhaps preserving the alliance was my biggest mistake of the game. We really were somewhat ineffective, because we boxed eachother in. It was a solid defensive alliance, but while we had strong defense, Turkey simply picked up too much ground, and would have eventually cracked our defenses, though it might have taken years. (I mean real years, actually, not diplomacy years) I may have been stronger to ditch Mexico and take a European ally, but 1) they could just as easily have stabbed me, which would probably be game ending for me, and 2) I have issues with stabbing people. I can't usually bring myself to outright betray someone who I've established good relations with. And there were advantages to the BUM, too.

Middle game: (Basically from the beginning of the BUM/when I got control of Africa)
Honestly, when joining the BUM (we had another name for it, within ourselves, actually), it worked out because I was already at peace with Mexico, and I didn't really have a preference for USA one way or another. (I wasn't really threatened by them, and I didn't really forsee needing to fight them in the immediate future either) I think the best advantage for me with the BUM was that it allowed me to expand my influence, without having to gain terrritory. I consider myself quite good at "micromanaging" in diplomacy. By micromanaging, I mean, coming up with very good orders for my units when I have a specific goal. I think it comes from my background in chess. I'm good at looking at a position and seeing possible moves, and comparing those moves, and picking what I think are good ones. Of course I blunder sometimes, but I just think it's one of my stronger skills. Macromanaging, picking good alliances, and having a good overall strategy is not so much my strong point. Anyways, because I'm decent at micromanaging, I general came up with alot of the specific plans for our units, which in a way, allowed me to control many more units than I actually owned, and gave me some influence over the North Atlantic, and other areas that I had no actual reach. Of course, I couldn't use those units for my own ends, I had to go for the good of our alliance, but it did give me some more control than I otherwise would have had.
In the mean time, I focused on pushing France out of the MAtlantic and invading Africa, which took probably half of the game.

Long run/End game:
As the Russian/Turkey/France alliance got dangerous (or once it already was, perhaps), I made an attempt to pull France away from the alliance. I knew that I couldn't offer to simply stop invading Africa and NewZealand/Fiji. I figured the temptation for them to simply agree, then defend those regions, then jump back on the Turkey/Russia alliance, and leave us with little hope of any attack. So I based my self-titled "Worst. Alliance Proposal. Ever" on the idea that Turkey would simply use France as a western shield to their territory (which they were, really), then betray them, or just ditch them once the rest of us had weakened them (by picking of African and Pacific Territory, which was happening at that time). And, if certain events had gone differently (Russia declining and China switching sides, mostly), I still believe that that would have been a real possibility. So, my rather dubious (perhaps this is the main "crazy" idea that raytheruler is referring to) proposal was to keep invading French territory, but agree to work with them against Turkey and Russia (well, mostly Turkey, given their position) anyways. The proposal was more interesting because I didn't mention it to anyone before I sent it out to both France and my allies. (Needless to say, we weren't quite unified as an alliance in our different offers and opinions on the deal.) France essentially did what I originally described anyways; agreed (or pretended to go along with it, I didn't really believe them), took advantage of the ceasefire in the North Atlantic to shore up their already tough defenses, and then continued to work with Turkey. Though, I don't really know that it made a difference. Even when it was USA, Mexico, and Britain all coordinating against France to try to break through their Atlantic defenses, we didn't have much (or really, any) luck. And, with Britain declining, I didn't see anything else, (short of the unstable Russia suddenly switching sides to take on two powers of equal/greater strength virtually unsupported) that would tip the balance in our favor up there.
For the record, despite calling it the "Worst. Alliance Proposal. Ever.", I really don't offer deals that I don't think benefit the other person in some way. My number one principle in deals/alliances is mutual self interest. (Even if all I'm offering is to be is the slightly lesser of two evils) The difficulty is proving that it really is in both of our interests, and since neither party is psychic, that's largely speculative.
So, when France jumped back on the Turkey/France/China (who took the place of Russia) alliance, and I didn't see any other way to shake any of them off, or to take them down, I decided that that was pretty much game. (Oh and that NRM certainly didn't help) The only hope would be if the decided to fight amongst themselves and either eliminate one of the partners or even go for a solo, but I wasn't willing to spend weeks fighting a losing battle just hoping that they'd make a blunder and break apart their alliance too soon. I gave them the benefit of the doubt that they had more sense than that. (Another thing that comes from my chess background. I won't play out a lost game just hoping that my opponent (who was smart enough to beat me) will make an idiot blunder)

Overall/Final thoughts:
- I would say with so many different countries and players, there is alot of chance involved, but that makes it interesting, even if it does perhaps influence the outcome.
- I really enjoyed it, this has been almost without a doubt my favorite forum game I've played so far (though I haven't done that many), it was exciting, it was interesting, with the exception of the Russian musical chairs (or perhaps it was more like roulette...) it went of quite smoothly, etc. (I managed to avoid any crippling screw-ups (such as NMRs) until the last move)
- If you actually read all of what I've written: Kudos. I tend to make long posts, and I probably digress a little much. (Though I try to make up for it with some mediocre humor. Like that Russian Roulette joke. Classic.)
- If not: I don't blame you. (But if you had, there would have been cake.)

Personal messages: (Which I've blatantly stolen from raytheruler)

Flatley: While perhaps I would have been better off killing you off and brutally throwing you into the gutter, you were a good ally.
Raytheruler: Sorry about the NMR at the end. I'm not mad about the "inept" comment.
BUM: It's a shame things didn't go our way, but think we pretty much did the best we could as an alliance.
AardvarkArmy: It's a shame things went your way, but I enjoyed playing with you.
thegame: It's a shame things went your way. Especially since you're going to keep reminding me of this, probably. Get a facebook, already. Good game, anyways. (If you couldn't guess, we know each other in real life)
Lord Cornwall: Well at least you still have NASCAR.
Kininivie: Have we met? I don't know that we really said much of anything to each other... good game though.
ak47: Yo.
Firestorm: Thanks for the help at the end, it's a shame things didn't work out better between us.
Waterice man: Sorry for all the somewhat late/last minute orders. Thank you for GMing.
Everyone: I'm sorry I only know half of you half as well as I would like, and that I only like half of you half as well as you deserve. 8-) (Bilbo Baggins ftw)

(And sorry for all the lame jokes.)
Generalissimo Retsam, signing out.
"If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth -- only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair." -- C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity
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Re: Imperial - AARs Chinese View

Postby kininvie » 18 Jul 2009, 15:14

China’s position at the start has the advantage of being a compact power with considerable strength on land and several neutral Scs easily available. The disadvantages are its total lack of naval strength, its long frontier, and the immediate threat posed by locally powerful Russian forces in the North.

Starting Strategy: Secure the frontiers; build naval dominance in the Pacific.
An alliance with the naval power of Japan seemed obvious, and this was rapidly concluded on a rolling three year basis. In the south, I agreed to prop up England’s Indian holdings in exchange for the strategic port of Hong Kong. An agreed demarcation with France on the Thai peninsula added to the security of the frontiers. This left Russia. A DMZ could not work, as both Russia and China had adjacent buildable Scs. So Japan and I issued an ultimatum where Russia would give up three far eastern centres in exchange for a guaranteed DMZ, free passage for his fleet and help in convoying units to Alaska. It was perhaps not surprising that Russia rejected this, although, as things turned out, it would probably have been in his long-term interests had he accepted it. Turkey had proposed a four-way alliance, but I thought it would prove too cumbersome, and I would always have been suspicious of the Russian ability to conduct a surprise invasion from the north.

War in the north, war in the South.
Initial Russian aggression was fairly easily countered; Japan started expansion into the Pacific, and Chinese armies were ordered north-west to the frontier with Russia. Meanwhile, the Dutch were expanding rapidly north, with fleets in the Indian ocean where China could not reach them. For the moment, the French retained their neutrality, but this was unlikely to last. Meanwhile Russo-Turkish forces were threatening India, which I had promised to help defend. It was beginning to appear that China would be driven into defending on all fronts, with little opportunity to gain in strength.

Russo-Chinese-Turkish agreements.
Faced with the prospect of an attritional war on a long frontier, both China and Russia needed to divert their attention elsewhere. Turkey took it upon himself to broker an agreement, and, after some haggling, peace was declared. The fly in the ointment was British India, which Turkey had promised to Russia and which China was pledged to defend, not least because British fleets were helping to delay Dutch expansion and I had no wish to see them switching sides. A second agreement, brokered by China in this case to a Turkish plan, defused the situation by allowing the British Indian units to be conveyed in stages towards Australia. Luckily these agreements were in place just before the Dutch and French jointly moved against Chinese holdings in the south-east. China retreated under the initial attack, but now that her armies on the Russian frontier were free, the threat was not mortal. However, the crippling lack of naval strength meant that it was hard to plan for counter-attack. Meanwhile the habit of co-operation allowed Turkey and I to continue to exchange information and ideas, although we remained in a state of armed neutrality.

War against the Dutch and the Turko-Russian confrontation
It was Turkey who called for total war against the Dutch, at a very opportune moment for China and Japan. As became apparent, the Dutch had become over-extended, and rapidly collapsed under sustained assault. The fate of the Dutch is a key lesson for anyone playing this map in future. Concentration of force, rather than expanding in all directions, is important. Japan and China benefited equally from the demise of Dutch power, and the Pacific was now more or less secure.
The breakdown of the Russo-Turkish alliance was an unexpected opportunity. It was - so far as I could tell - accidental, but momentarily shook Turkey’s confidence in his strategy. China rapidly agreed to participate in the carving up of Russia, claiming four centres as her due. Turkey concurred, and stuck to her agreement to aid China in getting them.

Middle Game Strategy
All the builds I had gained had been put into building fleets, and China was now a significant power in the inner Pacific. The BUM alliance had reached maximum expansion without coming into conflict with China or Japan. France had lost ground in Africa, and his south-east Asian possessions were now vulnerable to Chinese attack. Additionally, Japan, ignoring the precept that good fences make good neighbours, had left his home centres appallingly vulnerable - and was apparently oblivious to the fact that our three year rolling alliance was up for renewal, but had not been renewed. Turkey remained the strongest power, but was very difficult to reach, due to China’s continuing inability to get fleets into the Indian Ocean. At the same time, China and Japan were being significantly out-built by the major powers.

My initial thought was to gain the necessary increase in strength by taking out the French and for Japan and I to move against the US and Mexico. Turkey raised objections on the grounds that weakening the French could only contribute to increased BUM dominance in Africa and Europe. Equally, I knew that Japan was suspicious of Turkey and increasingly influenced by Ray’s propaganda. China was now in the position of King Maker. Which way to go?

The betrayal of an ally.
The crux came when Japan responded to a long message by Ray with the statement that he did not wish to attack the US. As I saw it, he had nowhere else to turn except against China, and I was immediately suspicious that the BUM was turning into the BUMJ. So I agreed an alliance with France and Turkey, and struck hard, picking up enough builds to propel me into a position of power. The game ended shortly after.

Thoughts on the end game (which didn't happen)
It looked suspiciously as though - perhaps a defect of the map - the BUM would be able to achieve stalemate in both Atlantic and Pacific. Certainly it was going to be hard to break in. My hope was that Mexico might take enough Japanese centres to make him enough of a threat to the other BUM members that they might turn against him. Who knows what would have happened...

A great game, which I much enjoyed,

Away, and mock the time with fairest show:
False face must hide what the false heart doth know.

(Macbeth - W. Shakespeare)
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Re: Imperial - AARs

Postby mkcontra » 18 Jul 2009, 21:53

The AAR of the Prussian Empire (or what's left of it):

In my first large-scale forum game, I drew Prussia, in an interesting position with 2 relatively large immediate neighbors in Austria and Russia, and 2 smaller (or more distant) neighbors in France and Holland.

In the early going, I was able to strike a deal the Russians allowing me to secure my western and southern borders while ignoring our shared border with Russia looking eastward. Some early negotiations with Holland enabled me to peacefully make some early gains. My plan was to eventually cede England and the Scandanavian peninsula to the Russians while he assisted me in taking the rest of the European continent. Most importantly, I wanted to start launching fleets into the British Channel.

I was able to continue to survive early on thanks to France being distracted, Austria NMRing or being unable to penetrate my defenses and Russia playing along. Little did I know that Russia and Turkey were truly setting me up for the fall.

The most interesting section of the game for my small nation was deciding how best to influence the French-English conflict. Clearly I wanted them both dead, but tried to make the most out of the situation. England initially wanted my assistance in helping land troops on the mainland, but I was weary of England becoming too powerful before the Russians could come to my aid. However, I really should've helped the English as the easiest route to my expansion was in France, not the Emerald Isles. In the end, by not making a decisive contribution in either direction, I stagnated and left myself open to the eventual Russian stab.

By 1864, it was clear that I was just a pawn in the apparent Russo-Turkish alliance. It was convenient that my daughter was born right around that time so I was able to cede control to a new Kaiser who did an honorable job in staving off elimination. It was frustrating that the Russian turned, as I was confident that I had offered him enough growth potential and provided an effective land-foil to his baltic/nordic fleet. Alas, the best-laid plans.

All-in-all it was a really neat experience and game. I was of course very impressed by the Turkish and Russian ability to take advantage of my gullibility/need for alliance. The situation in the Americas was also intriguing to watch - kudos to Mexico, Brazil and the USA for making a strong alliance/NAP and sticking to it. Most surprising was the fall of Russia. He was in what seemed to be a strong position right around the time I left, but I guess he was unable to maintain strength on all of those borders (having 19 different Tsars does not help either).

I look forward to Imperial II (Modern)!

AardvarkArmy wrote:
2) Austria muffed major multi-national alliance plans…twice! France, Russia, Austria and Turkey were all going to attack Prussia in order to end the Central Europe stalemate, but Austria NMR’d both times, screwing up the plans and forcing Russia to back-peddle and patch up with Prussia. So, we decided if Austria couldn’t be counted on and put all of our plans in jeopardy, then…

This should've been more obvious to me, but I missed it. What was your motivation in selecting Prussia for the fall rather than the Austrians who were closer to you in proximity?
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Re: Imperial - AARs

Postby AardvarkArmy » 18 Jul 2009, 22:22

In answer to your question, mkcontra, there were two reasons why Prussia was originally the preferred target:

1) Prussia presented a greater threat/opportunity to both France and Russia (with Prussian forces invading the low countries and Northern France, and Prussian forces a turn's march/sail from Warsaw and all of Scandinavia), so I think both France and Russia felt greater need to go after Prussia; my primary goal in Central Europe was just to keep France and Russia happy, so I concurred -- even though it would be more difficult for me to directly benefit from a Prussian collapse.

2) Austria under Spekulatius had been an exceptionally trustworthy ally, so I didn't want to stab him. As noted above, my alliance with France developed slowly, so in the early game I needed Austria as a counterweight/buffer between me and France. It was only after Austria botched the Prussian invasion plans twice - furstrating and endangering all the parties involved -- that I decided he had become an obstacle to success.

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Re: Imperial - AARs

Postby Spekulatius » 18 Jul 2009, 23:57

This was an exceptional game. I entered after my predecessor NMRed twice in the first year or so. I took over and established lukewarm agreements with Russia and France. Turkey proved to be more than trustworthy, a skilled diplomat, and a smart man. I was lucky to have him as my neighbour and I certainly had no issue with him taking me out. I NMRed due to having no computer access twice at CRITICAL times for the game. I regret not trying harder to find an internet café or something.....

Beyond the basics it was a good game. I failed to be able to do anything useful against Prussia, essentially the only power I had to fight. With the string of Russian leaders came a certain difficulty in attaining some understanding on what was to be done. A coordinated attack on Prussia failed twice, at least, and both of those times were due to my aforementioned failure to meet order deadlines. Once the front was established there was very little I could do - outmaneuvering the Prussians was impossible as it was solid lines.

I regret that I was out of the game within the first 5 years, but I accept that it was my fault for failing to meet certain commitments. I had a great time nonetheless and I am happy to see that my allies were the ones who ultimately shared victory!
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