AARs

GM : Queen of Hearts then Pedros. Winner: Ceebs (Mexico)

AARs

Postby Pedros » 03 Jan 2011, 15:50

I hope many players will conribute to these AARs on what has been a fascinating game. I'll add my two-pennyworth when it appears that the players comments have been completed.

It's been a pleasure to GM this game - very few problems indeed (apart from a fair number of adjudication errors; thanks to Ceebs (mostly) for spotting them!)
"Sooner or later, one of us will stab the other. But for now we're both better off as allies" (kininvie)
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Re: AARs

Postby laurens » 03 Jan 2011, 16:29

about damn time! started 16 June :D

I don't remember half of what has happened since the start but here goes:

I got Argentina and was happy with it. You have a good chance at 2 builds in the first year, and you can easily take control of South America and work your way upwards, which is what I tried.
I allied with both Brazil and Chili, intending to stab Brazil and remain allies with Chili. This is exactly what happened and everything went well for a while. I was slowly picking at Brazil and Chili was taking out Peru.
Then Chili started NMRing and I took his centres. At that point I looked at the north half of the map and saw Mexico was growing. I entered a 4-way alliance with Venezuela, Spain, and Peru. I am pretty certain Mexico would not have succeeded if Peru hadn't gone inactive, but what can you do. While I was mopping up Brazil and Chili, Mexico kept growing and won. There was no way I could get a solo before him, and I am pretty sure he would not have agreed on a 2-way, so I just sat in the south waiting for the end :P

Well done Mexico, shame on you waterice man, good game to all!
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Re: AARs

Postby Ceebs » 03 Jan 2011, 20:25

I'm thrilled not only to have achieved a solo win in this game, but also that it was played out fully to its conclusion--a rarity in Forum games. Thank you all for playing in this game!
For the purposes of this AAR, i have divided the game into three simple eras.

Early Game (1901-1904)

I was actually a bit disappointed to draw Mexico when the game began. It was not even among my top three requests (i wanted any of the other 3 North American powers) because it appeared to have relatively poor opportunities for 1901 expansion (in fact, nobody wanted mexico...see the sign-up thread).

My game started off with pleasant communication with Great Britain and also Chile (surprisingly). GB (downblitz) and I had friendly negotiations about the dismantling of USA and about his minor role in the Caribbean/Central America. If anything, he was perhaps too nice in agreeing to honor my claims to central america and also to refrain from taking Oregon early on.
I attempted to open contact with USA as well, but he was not very communicative and so his fate was sealed early on. Spain was also an early ally of mine, with whom i had ongoing communication which would later develop into a brief spell of cooperation against Great Britain.

Although i negotiated heavily and planned out my actions carefully in the early stages, i can't deny that my success was heavily influenced by the spotty participation of my neighbors. Columbia was pretty much AWOL from day 1, so i didn't have competition in central America from the south. USA's effort was half-hearted and some key NMRs brought about his destruction very quickly. Great Britain had some hiccups from having a replacement in 1903--Although i essentially continued the same relationship with GhostEcho that i had with downblitz (friendship eventually leading to a stab...i wanted North America to myself from early on). Even Spain had some brief confusion with a short-term replacement.

So by the end of 1904, i sat in a pretty good position. USA was dead, i was secure from the south, and i was already beginning to play Spain and England against one another.

Mid-Game (1905-1908)

I don't really remember the diplomatic circumstances during this period, and it's difficult to piece together from my messages history, but essentially in 1905 i went solo for a while. (Also, come to think of it, i was away during late august and not able to communicate a lot, so that had an impact on my solo-stlye) Over 1905-1906, i made some very successful northward advances into British territory (taking advantage of his lack of armies) and also took advantage of Spain's substitute to exert some influence in the Caribbean as well, taking Jamaica.

Over 1907-1908, i finished off Great Britain and was able to protect myself from his nomadic wandering through the midwest. From then on, my focus was primarily southward, and a Peruvian-Venezuelan alliance had come to be my primary opposition. Peru was encroaching in the northern pacific and his close relationship with Venezuela quickly became apparent. CS (peru) was apparently not very interested in negotiating with me, so it was kind of an automatic war between us and i was left to look elsewhere for friends.
In 1908 i got back in contact with Spain to arrange an armistice and get him on my side against P/V. This was a major turning point in the game for me, because if Spain had instead chosen to side with P/V, i could have been sunk! Miraculously, Spain agreed to a deal where i could keep Atlanta (which i had taken from him) and i would return Jamaica and help him against Venezuela.
This relationship worked out better than i could have imagined, and was actually pretty one-sided in my favor! I emphasized the urgency of taking on Venezuela, and thus managed to never have to give back Jamaica AND convinced Spain to throw himself against Venezuela, which essentially occupied the both of them while i focused elsewhere against Peru.

End-Game (1908-1914)

Peru managed to get Hawaii from me, but by 1909 i had the resources in place to push him all the way back to his shores. My navy in the pacific steadily grew and overwhelmed Peru's. Although i think i could have done so regardless, i was helped by the fact that cs resigned (an odd turn considering he was still actively playing in other games) and Waterice Man (whose participation was really only a byproduct of an agreement we made in which i would sub in for a country in his imperial 3 game) was spotty in his defence. Although he definitely put up a fight as Peru, i imagine that there was little communication or organization between Peru and Venezuela, which allowed me to have Spain as my puppet and succeed to a point where most players seemed to have viewed my solo victory as a foregone conclusion.
I finally stabbed Spain in 1911 and began my final push towards sealing the solo victory. Due to the geography of the map and number of SCs, this final act was not actually a walk in the park, considering i needed a significant foothold on the south american continent and had to fight through the complicated waters of the caribbean.
In 1911, i had pushed south into the southern pacific and also stolen Peru's capital in Lima. The following year i worked my way back north a little to guarantee my control of GAL and ECU. In doing so, it meant that Argentina could shut down the stalemate line in SPO and my chances at further gains on the west side of south america were gone. The final push would have to come against Spain and Venezuela.
At this point, i was 100% flying solo of course, since it was clear to everyone that i was on the war path to win. Evidently, some players chose to put everything they had into stopping me (Argentina and Peru[esclavier] working together, and Spain trying kamikaze tactics), while others couldn't be bothered and just waited for the inevitable (Venezuela did nothing and Brazil was out to benefit himself only).

Truthfully, i believe that if all of my opposition had come together in an organized attempt to stop me at any time from 1911 right up to 1914, then they could have been successful at forcing a stalemate--or at least prolonging the game significantly into a hard fought battle (i would have needed to sacrifice some SCs in order to destroy some useless units and rebuild more fleets in the Carribbean).
Even in Spring 1914, i had a tough time figuring out how i could get myself two more centers to secure the solo. I needed 2 of HAI, SDO or MAR, and if Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina and Spain had all wanted to stop me, they definitely could have.

In the end, Pedros has actually made one last adjudication error. I have only 29 centers out of 58, but because i have managed to hold on to my position in SAR and ECS, SDO would be mine in 1915, and so the game is essentially a fait accompli anyways.


So in the end, although i am happy to have come away with the Victory, i cannot deny that it was largely a result of spotty play and NMRs from my various neighbors. (not that i mean to completely disparage their efforts--at times they all played very well, just not consistently)

I hope this variant is played again, although it could use some tweaks. First of all, the map we used differs from the original variant bank submission (by Macario Reyes) in that California, Chicago and Trinidad are all meant to be Supply centers (which could have affected the game a lot, although i suspect it may have only made me stronger).
Second, i think there ought to be some changes made to the outer sea provinces to avoid late game stalemate lines. SPO and MAO both make for extremely strong choke points to stop any North American power.
On an even bigger scale, a fault of this map that i noticed from day 1 is that North American nations are considerably advantaged over the south. There are six nations crammed into the south and only 3 on the north continent. Just as it turned out in this game, it is easier for a north american power to consolidate that continent far earlier than a South American country can do the same. I think that finishing the game with a strong North American power squaring off against a coalition of southern countries would be a common result.

Nonetheless, there;s only one way to know for sure: play it again! With or without changes, it certainly makes for an exciting variant!

-------------------------

Tip of the hat to Pedros for his dedicated work as GM! Despite plenty of small errors ( :P ), he put a lot of effort into keeping this game running for all of us, and i for one appreciate that very much!

Kudos to Laurens for sticking it out with me from the beginning as Argentina, and putting up a good fight at the end. Although we never really had any need for diplomatic relations, i enjoyed playing against you.
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Re: AARs

Postby UFOash » 04 Jan 2011, 06:45

I'll get one out in a bit lol.

Nice AAR's you 2 though.
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Re: AARs

Postby VGhost » 05 Jan 2011, 22:05

I took over for Great Britain briefly, starting in 03. Although the game was going alright, it was already fairly apparent that Mexico was a leading contender; I received a PM from the former GB saying "I've got an alliance with Mexico, you should probably work on continuing that". The US of A looked in poor position: my strategy was going to be to work with Mexico and Spain to take him apart, and then attack whichever one of them wasn't playing nice with the help of the other.

The first part of the campaign went swimmingly. By 1904 USA was off the map - and I went after Spain as Mexico went after me. This rapidly turned into a first-order debacle as I read the map wrong and fell down in my diplomacy with Spain. On the first note, I had thought I could hold Michigan against Mexican surprise attack... only to learn that Lake Erie (E Great Lakes) was impassable. On the second note, I wasn't able to establish any relationship with Spain, and we proceeded to get in each other's way as Mexico rolled me over.

By the end of 1908 I was down to one SC, and elected to try to disrupt things for Mexico near his home base rather than hold out in Greenland. I suspect if I'd done the latter I might have lasted out the game, but it wouldn't have changed the overall outcome. In 1909 I was overrun.

Not my worst game ever, but not one of my best, either. If I had picked my friends better in the beginning, or worked harder on the talk-to-Spain thing, the game would have been very different.

Still, well-played all.
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Re: AARs

Postby Ceebs » 05 Jan 2011, 22:37

GhostEcho wrote:By the end of 1908 I was down to one SC, and elected to try to disrupt things for Mexico near his home base rather than hold out in Greenland. I suspect if I'd done the latter I might have lasted out the game, but it wouldn't have changed the overall outcome. In 1909 I was overrun..


I was kinda glad you did that . I would have eventually had to send a second fleet up to Greenland, so you wouldn't have lasted the whole game, but definitely longer.
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Re: AARs

Postby UFOash » 08 Jan 2011, 05:32

Okay, if I were to name this I guess I could call it "The Brazillian guide to being a good loser" xD, or a bad loser who won't accept defeat. :lol:
Either way considering I was betrayed by, or betrayed myself my allies of this game right until I had none left but me & my 2 armies, think survival is a decent award to be honoured. ^^
Okay so I've horded my messages during this game so I should be able to write out my cruddy experiance properly here.

1st Moves
Alright this was my first forum game actually and my first non-standard variant I've played.
I didn't bother tryng to choose my nation preferences by their potential because I don't know what the hell I'm talking about so instead I chose by my favourites.

My first message (or at least my first that still remains) was from Argentina asking about how we'd deal with Asu & Uru.
Chile implied an alliance.
I asked for a Non-Agression Pact with Venezuala to which he agreed.
Well In fact, in the opening phases I think US, Columbia & Mexico were the only ones I didn't speak to.

I had an odd plan I put to Spain, where he would go & attack the British to his North with fleets while I flanked round & secured Greenland.
BoomstickS agreed (at least he told me), but was worried about Venezuela so I promised we'd come after them after Britain was destroyed.
I was heading North & planned to take the lesser antilles (Win) on my way but Cuba was determind for a 3rd SC to match Britain.
I ignored him & we clashed over the islands in the Fall.

I didn't trust Argentina, I wanted to expand in the Carribean or my North across the seas but any hostility from Argentina would scuttle those plans because I couldn't hope to hold two fronts without collapsing & the nations around me were not in great positions to try & protect me from Argentina.
Great Britain was looking out for his interests in the Falklands, he wanted peace between me & Argentina and said he had been assured by Argentina that there would be no fighting on the East side.
Peru was coming to help by moving south to CBo, but I'd told hiom not to bother because I was weary of having him next to my SC's & Argentina was supposedly at peace with me.

Spain seemed quite passive-agressive about losing his 3rd SC, he told me he was going to invade Venezula & he didn't need my help.
I also had to swerve my units from north to south to face the apparently imminent threat of Argentina by the end of 1902.
These two facts practically ended my plans for an attack on Eastern Canada, as the Falklands fell it looked like Peru was my only ally against Argentina.

Paraguay
Peru & Chile had agreed on neutrality, but Chile & Argentina were obviously allied & so war was inevitable between them.
In Early 1904 my fleets routed the Argentine army in Urugauy & captured it for ours.
This victory came at the cost of being flanked by Argentina, which would later prove quite a major mistake on my part I believe.

I was protective over my island in the Carribean, even though (as I think it was cs pointed out later) it actually caused me no good because I had to keep a unit to defend it & it was only worth one anyway.
Still that one unit could prove a tipping point in the full scale war now being waged between Spanish Cuba & Venezuela, both of them appatrently knew this because I got 2 pms, first from Venezuela then from Spain, asking for me to support their units.
I agreed to both but as Venezuela couldn't knock me from Win while Spain could I chose to side with them, since Venezuela had a reason to keep me on my island.

Boomstick was pissed and send me quite a few angry messages saying he was going to crush me but oh well :D .

By Fall 1904 I'd fallen back to defend my shores and as a result lost Urugauy before I could make any use of it.
Peru was just chasing the remnants of the Columbians down at Panama & was also now warring with Chile, which meant he would no longer be able to lend much support to me until Chile had been defeated.

Despite that Argentina was by Fall 05 & then 06 carving the first of my homeland into their empire, I was confident that Peru would finish Chile in time and then turn all his newfound resources to defeating Argentina with me. (or "for me" haha)
It look as though Venezuela, Me & Peru were 3 way allied, my main concern wasn't my downfall but was that Peru was gaining too much, me and Venezuela agreed that he should give one or 2 SC's to us after South America cooled down if he had too many.

Downfall
In 1906 I lost my entire coast, I noticed Argetinas strengh was their navies & charged inland where they couldn't go.
Unfortunately Spain was determined to get revenge on me despite its inpracticality, luckily for him I had moved my armies defending the coast inland and BoomstickS actually took Bahia.

Veneuzula stepped onto my lands in 1907, seems like it was just to remove the Spanish from Bahia to deny them another SC, and by 1908 Spanish Bahia rellied on Argetine aid to hold.
Peru had marched east, which was a clear sign for the betrayal in 1908.
Luckily I had moved the unit west, now my army had reached through the enemy lines and had 3 unguarded Argentine SC's surrounding it.
The Argentineans inevitably removed my unit, but I had caused them trouble and denied them a build that year as well as not having to destroy a unit of my own for another year.

By Fall 1909 I looked screwed..my harrasing unit in Argentina had to be destroyed and my only remaining unit was holed up in Minas Gerais, surrounded on all sides by the now enemy controlled coasts, the Venezualans to the North and the two enemy armies that would invade my last stronghold in 1910.
By luck the Venzuelans had been down SCs apparently because they were forced to destroy their unit in Para so I moved the unit up North and then by fall into Suriname.

Anyone looking at the map could see by then that Mexico was the leader here, in the south argentina had taken all the Chilean SCs Peru had been fighting for since the start.
However because all nations but Mexico were in one-on-one wars with other nations, I was able to sneak round and grab Guyana too from jeanphi.
I asked Jeanphi to bounce out Argentina with his fleet in the antilles in return for me staying away from his SCs, but he didn't so I moved further west to Bolivar.

Argentina folded up my Guyanan territories and I was on the retreat.
If Venezuela hadn't been in Anarchy I would probably have fallen at the final hurdle and been consumed by Argentina.
But I managed to take Caracas and hold it for half a year until Mexico became the victor and I was saved by the bell. :D

To think I was the only one who didn't want to concede to Mexico xD

P.S. Thanks to Pedros and Queen of Hearts for GMing. Sorry about stabbing you Jeanphi I know you weren't too pleased about it. (and you too BoomstickS)
Jesus Christ I just previewed it maybe I went abit much lol
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Re: AARs

Postby Pedros » 23 Jan 2011, 13:06

Everybody's had time now, and thanks to those who've contributed so far. I want to add three things from the GMs point of view.

Firstly, thanks again to the players - it was an enjoyable game to GM, and a high level of commitment from most players. I certainly think it's a game worth repeating; with more consistent play it could be extremely tough.

Secondly, I agree entirely with Ceebs that he was, to some extent at least, gifted the victory. Two successive Perus let him gain control of the northern and central Pacific; without that it could have been a different story. Even as late as 1912 when Esclavier joined in I felt that there was a real chance of halting Mexico if only the rest had managed to pull together, but in the east especially there was too much ongoing infighting and not enough resistance. I'm not blaming anybody for that - I have no idea what tensions had been built up earlier through betrayals etc. But from where I sat it could have been done. I did think it odd that at the time when it became clear that the game was only going one way Spain seemed to be helping Mexico rather than resisting him - but agaiin, I don't know what went on behind the scenes.

Finally the map. There was a lot of discussion before the game started, but especially during Spring 01 and in the period before the Spring 01 map was posted about the map which was being used. In particular both Great Britain and USA lost starting SCs which disadvantaged them enormously compared to the original map on the Variant Bank. When I took over as GM (Fall 03, initially on a temporary basis) it was immediately clear to me that the chances of each of them were greatly harmed by that - but it was far too late to do anything about it by then! Any future game should be played on the original map unless there is a compelling reason to change it, and in particular (for any Forum game), the exact map to be used should be available to the players well before the starting positions are drawn (because once that's happened, clearly everybody is going to arguing from a biassed position.)

But once again, a good game and pretty well played.
"Sooner or later, one of us will stab the other. But for now we're both better off as allies" (kininvie)
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