Baltic VI - AAR

GM: attitudes. Winner: Pedros (Finland)

Baltic VI - AAR

Postby attitudes » 09 Jul 2012, 20:45

Sweden concedes victory to Finland. Feel free to make any comments you like about the game.
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Re: Baltic VI - AAR

Postby Pedros » 09 Jul 2012, 21:10

Guess I should go first! A pretty hollow victory really - before he offered the concession Paulus told me he would be holding for the rest of the game since I'd refused the draw and he didn't have much time coming up.

I bid for Finland because I've played two games of Baltic previously and felt that of the four countries in this pretty balanced game Finland was probably the most vulnerable early, and I like to see what I can do in that situation. I was clearly going to need an ally in either Sweden or Russia and negoatiated with both. Both seemed happy to go with me. I chose paulus' Sweden partly because I've played games with him before and knew I was reasonably safe from stabs by him (though I don't think I've ever been allied with him before), but at least as much because I felt it would be easier to make inroads against Russia who had Poland close to him in the south. Poland didn't really figure very much - too far away to be significant for me until the battle lines were clearly drawn.

Everything went well at the start. I managed quickly to get into Aland and the North Baltic, which I see as key squares in this fleet-dominated game. Russia went on trusting me longer than I think I would have done if the situation had been reversed, and paid the penalty.

Somewhere in 03 Paulus wrote saying "You know I'm a draw player; I know you go for solos. I will try to persuade you otherwise in this game"

The key season in the game was Spring 04. Throughout that season I had this niggling feeling that maybe the time had come to attack Sweden; if I had I'm fairly surfe I could have pulled off the solo. I'm not sure what happened - whether I was very busy at the time, or just got lazy, but I didn't seriously look at it. I should have known - when I have those feelings they're usually right. I didn't attack and Paulus came at me. When we played Colonial against each other I got to know him well, and I can imagine what that attack cost him emotionally. But it did what he intended. Initially I said "No, I reckon I have a chance even against you and Poland combined" (to this point there had been no collaboration between them). But the more I looked at it the more it seemed hopeless - if Poland really did join in I could have lost three of my provisional seven centres that year alone, and two even if Sweden was on his own. So I accepted that I'd have to grovel and take a draw, which Paulus was happy to concede. My view of the game is that he should certainly have gone for the jugular, but he didn't and I was happy to take it.

From then on it was a straightforward piece of work to demolish Poland and Russia (but full marks to them both for not conceding the draw and for fighting tenaciously to the end.) In the last year I wrote to Sweden saying "We're likely to finish this at 11-11. How do you fancy a race to 15 starting from equality, and no stab - just an agreement to fight it out?" But Paulus wouldn't go for it. Even then I intended to stick to the draw, but somebody wrote to me saying that Sweden should have taken the solo and not let me off. I knew that was right, which persuaded me that I shouldn't let him off now - I felt I could win the race.

But, as I said, Paulus didn't feel able to fight it out. Oh well. A very soft one, but a solo nevertheless!

And a good game, and excellently GMd. Thanks attitude, and all the players.
"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: Baltic VI - AAR

Postby VGhost » 09 Jul 2012, 23:31

I suppose I have a few things to say. Well-played by all, I think, though I am very curious about some of Russia's play. Still, an enjoyable excursion.

Strategy

I stepped into this game as a game-start alternate, so I had to look back to see how my predecessor drew Poland. Answer: he got screwed and this was his third choice. My long-term plan was informed by the (ought-to-be) stable border with Russia, the ease with which Poland can take control in the southern Baltic, and the awkward border with Sweden. I decided that it made the most sense to ally with Russia, take to the seas, and then wait for an opportunity - either Sweden leaving himself open, or (which I thought most likely) Russia getting ripped up - at which point I would help clean up.

Facts

My basic plan went okay. I got into the southern Baltic area.

After the opening things were a little twitchy. While we talked a lot I never quite got to actually trusting Sweden because he kept doing not-quite-what-he-said he would do, which always raises red flags; I dislike lying so started to not discuss my plans at all. I didn't like the timing for an actual attack; I did not think that I should give Finland a hint by asking for an alliance, since Finland and Sweden seemed allied (my estimation was that the best possible result for me would be taking out some of the purple pieces while Sweden went opportunistic and knocked Russia out completely, forcing a 2v1 staring match); but I was working up to an assault anyway when things really fell through.

I still don't understand the stab. The Poland-Russia border ought to be inherently stable because you can't stab without the result that happened happening - unless the stabbee is content to lose just the one center and the stabber is willing to stop there. I though tend to punish stabbers as badly as I can - it would have been nice to survive Russia as well as helping knock him out, but hey.

Endgame

I moved against Russia; things were okay-ish, but any plans agreed on with Finland were ignored in favor of his own. End result, I had forces out of position, and not many of those. When Finland started growing too fast, I tried to orchestrate The Alliance but Pedros is apparently a better tactician than me (plus Russia not always following plans didn't help). In the end I told Sweden to just take my centers - I would in fact as Sweden have done it even faster than he did.

Epilogue

After my elimination, and with Russia down to one SC, I sent the following message to the GM with a header "Baltic: 'Sweden'".

GhostEcho wrote:I confess I don't understand the waived builds. I think Sweden has a win this year anyway:

Spring

A Warsaw S A Brest (Russia) H
A Vistula -> Wkra
A Danzig S A Vistula -> Wkra
F Sba -> Mba
F Hab S A Sba -> Mba
F Strulsund -> Sba
F GoS -> Nba
F Sundsvall -> SGoB
F Tornio -> NGoB

And then he takes one and probably at least two of Sli, Ala, Vasa, and Helsingfors in the fall.

But F Stockholm as a build would be that much more insurance.

I'd post this publicly, but that seems like bad form...


I was assuming here a 12 SC win condition when it's actually 15, but that seems to me like an even better reason for going for as much as possible. paulus apparently had other things come up, but I thought I'd put it here as at least a "might have been".

Questions

Russia (bluestreaksoccer): why the stab? I assumed at the time you were put up to it by Finland to stave off my attack, but I don't know.
Pedros (Finland): one thing I wondered about (not that we interacted much in this game): I am all in favor of letting what you know about players affect how you treat them, but did you try to apply any things you observed as a GM in the Stew game to what I might do? Or others here, or I guess in general?
Sweden (paulus): I admit, the thing you did that worried me the most was an early message saying, "Pedros solos but I go for draws." It seemed like it was 50/50 whether it was honest, honest but misleading ("I'm trying to draw but not with you"), or straight up disingenuousness. With 2 out of 3 falling against me, it was the biggest thing that prompted me to start planning against you as a threat rather than just a nuisance who couldn't leave the border alone.
"When you absolutely don't know what to do any more, then it's time to panic." - Johann van der Wiel
"I'm not panicking, I'm watching you panic. It's more entertaining." - Elli Quinn
"[Diplomacy:] No dice or chance. Just calculated insincerity." - Counter Trap
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Re: Baltic VI - AAR

Postby Pedros » 10 Jul 2012, 08:37

Just in answer to GhostEcho's question - I'm not sure that I've got a clear picture of you from the Stew game. Decent player certainly, but I don't have a clear idea yet about the kind of strategy you might adopt. The one thing I did bring was an impression from Seismic 3 that you may not communicate as much as some people, so that when Sweden told me he wasn't getting anything much from you it was believable.

Paulus on the other hand I knew a lot about not from watching him play so much as vry lengthy discussions we'd had in Colonial 2 (2 I think - the long one) where he played Turkey to my China, and I spent ages trying to separate him from a (fairly poor) Russia. He said, and it became very clear that it was true, that he was almost incapable of even leaving an ally, let alone stabbing him. It was therefore a surprise when he moved to stab me in 04! But he pulled back quickly when I agreed to the draw (I kind of hope this one might toughen him up a bit! Somebody who can't ever stab is out of place in a Dip game!
"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: Baltic VI - AAR

Postby Paulus Toronto » 12 Jul 2012, 16:43

Pedros wrote:Just in answer to GhostEcho's question - I'm not sure that I've got a clear picture of you from the Stew game. Decent player certainly, but I don't have a clear idea yet about the kind of strategy you might adopt. The one thing I did bring was an impression from Seismic 3 that you may not communicate as much as some people, so that when Sweden told me he wasn't getting anything much from you it was believable.

Paulus on the other hand I knew a lot about not from watching him play so much as vry lengthy discussions we'd had in Colonial 2 (2 I think - the long one) where he played Turkey to my China, and I spent ages trying to separate him from a (fairly poor) Russia. He said, and it became very clear that it was true, that he was almost incapable of even leaving an ally, let alone stabbing him. It was therefore a surprise when he moved to stab me in 04! But he pulled back quickly when I agreed to the draw (I kind of hope this one might toughen him up a bit! Somebody who can't ever stab is out of place in a Dip game!

Thanks for accepting the concession Pedro's and congrats on a good game. Still no time to write or read in detail. Will do so in a week or so. Thanks attitudes for hosting a good game.
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Re: Baltic VI - AAR

Postby Paulus Toronto » 31 Jul 2012, 05:09

Hi and sorry for delay in posting this (if it ever will get read). I just felt I owed it to all the players first to thank them for playing through to the end without NMRs (if I recall correctly), and sticking with the game. I believe it may be the first Forum Game I've ever played in which this happened. It was a great game, one which I (Sweden) should have won, but as has already been pointed out, I did not wish to go for a solo. Not really in my nature, right or wrong. I don't like 7-player draws, of course, but I do like the notion of one team overcoming another. This is for another debate I know (or not:), but I think as Pedros pointed out, the game could have turned in my favour had I "gone for the juggular" around '04 or so when I forced myself on his shores and exposed his vulnerability. To clarify with Pedros, i am capable of stabbing, though I'm not fond of it. I like the idea of winning the game through diplomacy rather than force, and I find a committed team is the best way to accomplish this. My dilemma was, do I stab Finland/Pedros, or Poland/GhostEcho. I was on good terms with both. Poland was more desperate I think, seemed committed to the partnership and to trying to reach a draw. Pedros is a solo player. I guess Poland might have been a better partner. However, Pedros is such a brilliant tactician and excellent communicator, that I decided to stick by him. I knew I wouldn't side with Russia and I don't believe I heard from him once in the game, which was a disappointment.
I am a lousy stabber, but the timing was pretty obvious. Poland could not recover from my convoys into Danzig and Strulsund. It was an efficient elimination of both Russia and Poland, with Pedros' help. As he's written, kudos to them for sticking through with it to the end. I had hoped the game would end there, but I had a feeling Pedros might not be satisfied. I could have protected myself, or even stabbed a move ahead. But I was about to start a european vacation, and didn't have it in me to fight on. Truth be told, I don't think I would have done any different had I had all the time in the world. I might not have offered to concede. I do think it would have been an interesting race to the finish, but I think the last move left Pedros at an advantage from which I could not recover, save perhaps for a misstep... I've never seen Pedros misstep, so he fully deserves the win. My hope had been to win through "diplomatic" channels. Alas it was not meant to be. Pedros may rule the Baltic, but he will never rule my spirit ;) . Well played my friend, and thanks again for adjudicating so well Attitudes. You were responsive to questions, kept us on track with deadlines, and started us off on time, even with a last minute change-up. I hope you will GM more games in future.
Best to all. Paulus, former King of Sweden.
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Re: Baltic VI - AAR

Postby Pedros » 31 Jul 2012, 07:08

:)
"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: Baltic VI - AAR

Postby Pedros » 01 Aug 2012, 07:42

Actually Paulus, the final clincher for me was that you didn't take Slive for several turns, even though I kept suggesting it. That would have finished at 12-12 and I'd probably have taken the draw.

As it was, you not only left me Slive (which was certainly more in your 'natural' sphere of influence), but asked me to capture the last enemy SC, giving me 13. Since I'd not used two builds the year before that gave me three, and I wasn't going to pass up that opportunity!
"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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