US Diplomacy - AARs

10-player variant set in North America with 50 USA supply centres. Created & brought to site by tarheel86. GM: tarheel86. WINNER: shavemybaby (Florida).

US Diplomacy - AARs

Postby shavemybaby » 08 Apr 2011, 00:38

Honestly, this game far exceeded my expectations. When I first saw it the concept interested me, but with nearly every space a SC I expected stalemate lines to form faster than you could say "10-way draw". Much to my surprise, the game ended in a solo victory. I had a great time playing, and I think tarheel86 deserves a round of applause for his excellent GMing. However, I believed that this game was defined by NMRs. While I understand that real-life concerns may make it impossible for everyone to submit orders 100% of the time, this game was absolutely plagued with NMRs, and I do believe that I gained a very significant advantage from my opponents disappearing. If anyone is frustrated that I took the solo over a draw I completely understand, I probably would be too in their position. However I decided to be Machiavellian this time around and take the advantage that was given me; my choice to take the solo was also largely just to confound people like me who expected this game to end in a horrible mess of stalemates. Anyway, I'm going to avoid the old get-a-sub-before-you-vanish speech and get straight to my take on the game:

THE BEGINNING

I chose Florida because it has a corner position, I figured I would either build an easily defensible empire with few surrounding opponents or get pushed into the Atlantic right off the bat. When the game began I sent introductory messages to everyone on the board, and all the responses I got were cordial enough. Tennessee (pink) seemed to be the worst communicator so I chose him as my first target. A kind of Mid-Southern triple alliance fell together between texas, kansas and I, and initial communication went very well. After a few missteps we eliminated all of tennessee except a lone pink army that roved around the northwest for a few years until finally meeting its end in Delaware. By the end of 2003 I had a comfortable 5-state empire in the southeast corner of the map, and the triple alliance shifted from being an active tactical arrangement to more of a non-agression pact.
It's interesting to look at my initial impressions of the other areas of the board, mainly because they proved quite wrong. New hampshire NMR-ed the very first couple moves, so I thought that he was uncommitted and would be quickly gobbled by new york (purple). In fact, after 2001 purple stopped submitting orders, and yellow's seemingly hopeless situation turned into a victory that left him in control of the entire northwest. At the onset of the game I thought washington had the strongest position on the board, since he was isolated from other players and had a lot of neutrals to take unopposed. After the first few years him and arizona were pretty evenly matched, I envisioned a lengthy struggle for the west coast area. However, washington as well was crippled by NMRs and eventually destroyed by arizona. Minnesota (orange) also seemed to pose a great threat, and I guessed that kansas would have a hard time in his central position. For a while I was afraid that kansas and texas might stab me, but instead kansas and minnesota started a bitter war, and texas and I agreed to demilitarize the gulf of mexico and went our separate ways on good terms.

THE MIDDLE

With pink out of the way I had to choose a new enemy. I talked in vague terms to texas and kansas about betraying the other,but none of them seemed very interested and they both seemed pretty sharp, I didn't want to attack either unless victory was assured. So instead I launched a bit of a surprise attack on Virginia (brown), who I had had very little communication with. By this point the Mid-South triple had somewhat outlived its usefulness, so I approached yellow about forming a juggernaut-style east coast alliance. In the short term we would carve up virginia, and in the long term we would sweep across the nation much like Russia and Turkey can in the classic game. New Hampshire was a very good communicator, and we divided the mideast quite amiably. At the same time Texas and I decided that the northern war was tipping in kansas's favor, and we could betray him without fear of orange becoming too powerful.
All three of my NMRs for this game were in the middle period of the game, which resulted in some difficulties in weakening kansas and finishing off virginia and the last pink army. Nonetheless it became obvious that the east was under the control of new hampshire and I, the central area of the map would soon belong to texas (blue), and arizona owned the west. I became aware that I had advanced too far north for new hampshire to have much of a chance heading west without attacking me, so I began to plan for war with him. This was going to be my first large-scale fight, and also my first without an ally to back me up. I was a little uneasy, but I knew that it would be better for me to strike first than to be caught ill-prepared. I decided that 2009 was time, so for the winter of 2008 I planned to build a few fleets to move up the east coast and strike at the centers left open by new hampshire's canadian adventures. Unfortunately he was thinking the same as me, but I missed my fleet builds with my last and most frustrating NMR, while he did not.

THE END

In the spring of 2009 I was as uneasy as I ever was in the course of the game. My NMR meant that my fleet in MAO was sure to be dislodged, and new hampshire's northern empire looked difficult to attack at best. I ended up losing delaware and MAO in 2009, but I sent my fleet behind his lines into NAO and managed to grab maine as well as forcing my way into indiana and ohio. This left me with 4 builds and a much more optimistic tactical position. I created the much needed fleets and geared up for a difficult battle with what I saw as a very astute opponent. However, fall 2009 turned out to be the last orders new hampshire ever submitted. After years of NMRs tarheel eventually surrendered him, allowing me to take the northeast quite easily. I would say that this is the main reason I was able to gain a solo victory. If yellow had stayed in the game our war would either have dragged on for a long time or ended in stalemate, I would not have been surprised if the game ended in a 4-way draw. As a matter of fact the draw proposals started coming out around this time: first texas proposed a two-way for me and him, then arizona a two way for me and him, and finally texas proposed a DIAS. I had mixed feelings about the draw, it seemed fair to include the other two who had stuck it out to the end, but at the same time I could taste victory. I accepted the first draw but arizona rejected it, I rejected the second one and simply didn't respond to the third. Maybe it's in the spirit of the game to take every advantage you can get, fair or not, or maybe I'm just greedy, either way I ended up stabbing texas for the last few centers needed to get me a solo.

Overall this was a fun game, and I'm excited to have won my second-ever forum game, but it's unfortunate that there were so many NMRs. During the game texas actually dropped out, but he responsibly found himself a very capable replacement before he left. If new hampshire had done the same the outcome may have been very different. Nonetheless it's been a great game, thanks to everyone for playing and thanks a lot to tarheel for the great GM-ing. :)
Last edited by shavemybaby on 08 Apr 2011, 22:33, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: US Diplomacy - AARs

Postby mat.gopack » 08 Apr 2011, 00:45

I had a lot of fun too, but I'd like to apologize for my NMR's at the end. I guess I had problems ordering that many units around ;)
GG Shave, you were a great ally, and thanks for the compliment ;)
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Re: US Diplomacy - AARs

Postby dontejones » 08 Apr 2011, 03:14

Even though I wasn't in the game and knew none of the players, I'm actually pathetic enough to have followed along with some interest.

My #1 criticism of the variant as designed is that there should be more players at the start. It took way too long for the powers to start having to interact in any meaningful way.

My #1 criticism of the game as it was played is that the NMRs were rife throughout.

p.s. I'm not from New Hampshire but for whatever reason I was rooting him for him to take the prize. Congrats to the ultimate victor.
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Re: US Diplomacy - AARs

Postby tarheel86 » 08 Apr 2011, 05:25

I do think the number of players was about right. The reason it started slowly is that each player started with only one center, which made it like an "Age of Empires" variant.

My biggest concern was that the most likely outcome was a huge stalemate (which I didn't realize until after the game had already started). I'm pretty convinced that if it weren't for the plethora of NMRs, that is exactly what would have happened.
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Re: US Diplomacy - AARs

Postby kogarfire22 » 09 Apr 2011, 05:31

Time to give my AAR from where I took off.

Santiago had warned me there was unrest between our Texas state and Arizona.
When I saw it, the stalemate was there and our stalemate was one of the only stalemate lines on the board. I knew that was going to change sooner or later. Whether it was us DMZing our stalemate line or attacking each other.

I was planning to further my goal to advance in a two-sided war against Florida with New Hampshire BUT when New Hampshire decided to build fleets I was not notified (or didn't pay attention) and proceeded to finishing off Central America.

From there I moved on to Arizona.
Truly looking back, I shouldn't have waged war on you.... but you could say it was only destiny that we would meet in the middle of Mexico...
At the beginning I was certain that I could push you back but you gained that northern front on me and from there I could only stall you inevitably until
Florida stabbed me. (due to new hampshire leaving) After that I tried to stop Florida myself (being the state in the middle of the two powers),
....that didn't turn out so well and well.....

CONGRATULATIONS SHAVEMYBABY on a game well played.


You too, gislason for putting up that year with the stakes of a draw high! Respect to you sir.

A final word to shavemybaby, I'd like to ask that one year after my draw was rejected... if I had held off Arizona in a stalemate would you have agreed to a 2-way draw that year if Arizona agreed?


On a final note for my AAR, it's sad to say that we all had a kind of mind-set where we knew stalemate lines were bound to happen and because of this many of us thought a solo was impoosible, inconceivable but shavemybaby changed his goal when he realized he had the opportunity to do so; so overall I think if a re-run of this is ever played that players understand that a solo IS possible and that should be the ultimate goal as all diplomacy games are meant to be played.
Maybe that's just me. :D

Great game everyone!
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Re: US Diplomacy - AARs

Postby kogarfire22 » 09 Apr 2011, 05:33

ANNNDDDD Thank you tarheel86 for gm-ing this great game!

I hope to see you in the future!

(or in deviant diplomacy :))
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Re: US Diplomacy - AARs

Postby shavemybaby » 10 Apr 2011, 17:33

A final word to shavemybaby, I'd like to ask that one year after my draw was rejected... if I had held off Arizona in a stalemate would you have agreed to a 2-way draw that year if Arizona agreed?


I agreed to the first draw, if my solo plan hadn't worked out I would have agreed to a different draw in a year or two.
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Re: US Diplomacy - AARs

Postby Freddafred » 06 Feb 2012, 23:53

It was a great game.
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