Imperial IV AARs

GM: Waterice man. Six-way draw between England (raphtown), France (slayer666), Russia (cs), China (Palin), Japan (thegame), Netherlands (BigBert)

Imperial IV AARs

Postby slayer666 » 27 Aug 2011, 01:19

I don't have time to fully write an AAR right now, but let me first thank the other draw participants (Raphtown, BigBert, Palin, cs and thegame) for their successes and continued participation despite all of the speed bumps we encountered in this game. Secondly, I want to make clear the efforts of Pedros (our fearless Moderator) who stepped into a game for which he had no direct involvement and did everything he could to get the ball rolling again after our GM's extended absence. Finally, I would like to thank Waterice man for all of the work he did as GM up until the point at which he stepped away from the game. He was a very consistent and thorough GM and, despite the fact that he abandoned his duties in June, we would not have gotten this far without him.

I'll begin a more in-depth AAR at some point soon, and I encourage anyone and everyone who was involved in this variant to do the same.
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Re: Imperial IV AARs

Postby BigBert » 29 Aug 2011, 13:55

Well, it looks like I'll have the honour of kicking off in this AAR thread. So here is the AAR for The Netherlands (warning, long story!).

Initial thoughts

I joined the game after just a month of activity on PlayDip. Although I did have a bit of experience in face to face games, I still considered myself very much a newbie. When Waterice Man messaged me that I had been assigned the Netherlands, my first thought was: Cool, my own country! My second thought was: Oh dear, this is going to be a very tough country to play.

What makes The Netherlands such a difficult country country is that it has it's starting centers all of the world, with nowhere really a strong presence. I therefore had to make an important strategic decision: am I going to try to hold on to all my belongings, or am I going to concentrate on a few regions, and abandon the others?

First year

Opening negotiations were very interesting. Quickly it appeared that the other two Imperial nations, Britain (raphtown) and France (slayer666) were pretty active diplomats, and both were willing to cooperate closely. We decided rather quickly to play as a Triple Alliance. The three of us were unique in that respect that we all had possessions around the world. All the other nations are just located in one place. We figured that if we would work together, we would be able to hold on to all our colonies, even the small ones.

Other players with which the opening talk was very interesting were Brazil (Kininvie), Prussia (pico93), Turkey (Beowulf7) and to a lesser extent Japan (FranFloresJr). Brazil was VERY active diplomatically, even with those countries he had no direct involvement. I figured I would love to keep good relations with him, as I thought he could be a great ally in the later game. Besides, he was very useful in giving me strategic advice, and information about the rest of the board. Unfortunately, Kininvie went missing after the first year of play. Prussia for some reason allowed me to pick up a second center in Europe (if I was him, I would have eliminated Holland straight away), and all this meant that I doubled up from 8 to 16 in the first year!

Mid-game (Starting war with Britain)

After picking up all the neutrals, I found out I was pretty much surrounded by Britain on all sides. The whole area where I was strong, that is the Indian Ocean and Indonesia, was surrounded by British possession on all sides.
What made things worse was that the rest of the board noticed our Triple Alliance. Soon enough, many players tried talking me into stabbing Britain or France. Also, Britain had not yet made a single enemy anywhere on the world. I suspected he was being just as friendly to everyone else, as he was to me and France. These two facts, along with very pressing arguments from especially Japan, lead me to decide to a stab against Britain in the fall of 1863. I had nowhere else to go, and as I feared Britain would turn on me at some time anyway, I decided to take the first-mover advantage.

I had discussed my stab with both France and Japan, and both had stated that they would join my side once the war was on. Some smaller countries, namely USA, Mexico and Turkey had also expressed their interest in waging war against Britain. On the other hand, stabbing Britain was quite a gamble, as both Japan and France obviously had good relations with Britain as well. I even have good reason to believe that Japan leaked a lot of information to Britain, making my attack much less effective. If those two players would betray me, I would certainly lose.

And then, just after I had committed myself to a war against Britain, FranFlores (Japan) disappeared. I was aghast. A new Japan stepped in (TheGame), and as he had no reason to keep the promises made by Fran, he decided to walk into my Indonesian backdoor. Britain had in the mean time also gained the upper hand against USA and Turkey. All these facts together will have lead France to decide against joining my side, and just keeping to the safe alliance with Britain. In just a few moves, I had lost all my friends, and the game looked pretty much lost to me.

The end of the game

In the following years, I defended to the best of my abilities, but to no avail. I was too streched up to defend from the British-French-Chinese-Japanese attack, and my empire shrunk very quickly. In the end, I reached a peace treaty with Britain and France. I would cease the defence, and in return I would be allowed to survive with 8 centers in South Africa. Although the treaty's terms were pretty bad for me, it seemed like the only way for me to survive.

It's a pity we weren't able to play out the game until the end. The game had had a very high level of play, and I was really curious how it would have ended. In particular, I was hoping that the British-French alliance would fall apart at some (distant) moment, in which case I could perhaps play a crucial role in Africa. This way, I was hoping I could still make it to the draw. But on the other hand, Britain and France could have easily eliminated me if they had wanted to. The six-way draw the game eventually ended it did include me, so I can be happy with that result. Still, it would have been more satisfactory if I would have really earned my place in that draw.

My thoughts about Imperial Diplomacy.

I really liked playing Imperial, and I've probably put more time into this game then any other game here. On the other hand, the game has quite a large negative side to it. The great thing about Imperial is that you are truely involved in world-wide diplomacy. Because of the colonies some countries have, you really have to talk to everybody. Other world-spanning variants (World diplomacy, WW4) do not have this, you're pretty confined to your own region for most of the game. This is what makes Imperial a great game, and I had communications nearly everyone on the board.

The downside of Imperial is that it is not a game with equal opportunities. This is immediately apparent from the number of starting centers, which range from 13 (Britain) to 3 (CSA, Mexico). Some countries will I think never get a real chance at growing beyond the 20-center mark. Britain, France and The Netherlands on the other hand can easily reach that number of centers in two years, if they refrain from starting an outright war right from the start. All in all, if you accept that all countries simply do not have equal chances at winning, it's a great game to play.

Some words on individual players:

Britain (raphtown): You played really, really well! I got the idea that you managed to become friends with literally everyone, only declaring war when it suited you. Giving everybody the impression you're their best friend, until they are no longer useful to you, that's the way it should be played, and I do believe you've made an art from that. I have always wondered: would you really have stabbed me if I wouldn't have attacked you, or was that just my paranoid imagination? I think it would have been possible for you to reach, or at least get close to a solo victory here.

France (slayer666): You were a great ally for as long as it lasted. The colony-swapping worked very nicely in the first years. And I can't blame you for choosing the safe side once things turned against me. Well played.

Japan (FranFloresJr/TheGame): Fran was one the best diplomats I've ever played with, and I'm really sorry to see he's no longer here. I don't know whether he was really on my side, he may have just attacked me after all, but his techniques of persuasion and argumentation were really outstanding. TheGame: I can't blame you for attacking me straight away, and after that we hadn't much contact.

The others: Well, there's really too much to say, but I've already written way too much. Let me just say that this was really a great group of players to play with, and I do believe I've learned a lot in this game. Thanks everyone, and I'll happily play Imperial again!
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Re: Imperial IV AARs

Postby VGhost » 29 Aug 2011, 20:07

I'll be honest, I already deleted most of my PMs and don't remember the game that well.

I picked up CSA as an alternate after Flatley had already botched the position by (apparently) stabbing without proper precautions. I don't have the message history, just what I picked up.

Anyway, I crossed my fingers, decided I would kick USA out and then try to make peace, while talking to Mexico about tackling Great Britain. Unfortunately, USA appeared unwilling to see reason – probably my fault, as it always is, so to take pressure off I encouraged Britain to attack him (not that the encouragement was needed). Net result: we managed to lose just about everything to Britian and Mexico, who attacked. It wasn't really a stab as I played pretty fast-and-loose with our supposed cooperation against USA.

Then the game sort of stopped. So I guess I survived, whoo?
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"[Diplomacy:] No dice or chance. Just calculated insincerity." - Counter Trap
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