AARs

Variant in which random spaces become black holes turn by turn. Introduced by Pedros from a variety of older, similar games and GMd by Pedros. Winner: Radical Pumpkin (Italy)
Enjoyment rating: :D :D :D :)

AARs

Postby Pedros » 29 Nov 2012, 05:21

OK, this is where you tell how it really was for you!

Radical Pumpkin's Italy took the solo, with Janepeg's France, demmahom's Russia and Kithchener's Austria surviving to the end. A thoroughly enjoyable game from my point of view!
"Sooner or later, one of us will stab the other. But for now we're both better off as allies" (kininvie)
User avatar
Pedros
 
Posts: 12465
Joined: 25 Jan 2009, 12:59
Location: Somewhere full of gorse and brambles, West Cornwall
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1085)
All-game rating: (1314)
Timezone: GMT

Re: AARs

Postby VGhost » 29 Nov 2012, 16:24

Not much to say here - except that I am not at all surprised by the winner!

I was unable to establish a working relationship with either Austria or Russia this game. I initially planned to move against Russia, but Austria got Russia on board with a move against me - only to be stabbed by Italy. For most of the game neither Austrian nor Russian moves matched the intentions they gave me, leading me to the impression that Italy was pulling most of the strings. Radical Pumpkin denied it the whole time and claimed as much confusion as anyone, but I feel like the result speaks for itself - even if he wasn't actually a puppet master, he worked the chaos to his benefit.

I was starting to make some progress after Austria went down, but Italy decided to help Russia take me out, and that was that. I didn't manage to get a unit free to go pirating around the board, even.
"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
User avatar
VGhost
 
Posts: 1851
Joined: 10 Aug 2008, 04:56
Location: Baltimore
Class: Ambassador
Standard rating: (995)
All-game rating: (982)
Timezone: GMT-5

Re: AARs

Postby Kithchener » 29 Nov 2012, 20:52

I'll try to be brief

I tried to treat this game like a normal game, indeed it was with black-holes in Clyde and Gulf of Bothnia not affecting me much. I was bored of succesive defeats as Austria on the mainsite, so I tried to get somewhere different, a committed alliance with Turkey but with more caution than in other games I had played

Italy opened diplomatic negotiations poorly saying "I'm attacking you, what are you going to do to stop it". I wanted an alliance with Turkey, so asked for peace, to which he replied "I want alliance or war". So that messed things up.

I also didn't trust Russia that much. Italy turned out to be OK, taking Munich, but we still didn't trust each other, and to cut a long story short, I should have stuck the alliance with Turkey. Shows me

I'm surprised I hung out in Sweden so long though

As for the variant, I quite like it, very chaotic and stuff. I would be tempted to make it a solo only game, seeing as upholding a stalemate line forever is impossible. I'll fill out the feedback form soon
This account is dead RIP.
User avatar
Kithchener
 
Posts: 7730
Joined: 14 Apr 2012, 12:28
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1123)
All-game rating: (1130)
Timezone: GMT

Re: AARs

Postby Radical Pumpkin » 01 Dec 2012, 09:04

Hi all, I just wanted to say that an AAR with be forthcoming, most likely tomorrow. These things take a while, and I haven't had a ton of time for it these last couple of days.
Radical Pumpkin
 
Posts: 835
Joined: 31 Oct 2010, 15:58
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1599)
All-game rating: (1620)
Timezone: GMT-5

Re: AARs

Postby Radical Pumpkin » 03 Dec 2012, 08:04

OK, so here's my AAR. I hope other folks haven't been waiting on me for this--I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on the game. The following is put together as well as I can remember it, and I've browsed some of my saved messages, but there may be some errors.

I don't have much experience playing Italy in classic Dip, and I don't think it suits my natural style (notwithstanding the result of this game!). The way I see things, Italy has one advantage going for it: everyone wants (or should want) to be friends with Italy at the beginning, but Italy is going to go somewhere. Theoretically that should give Italy significant bargaining power. From my observation of other Italians in past games, the trick is to be forceful in negotiations without alienating people. That was my goal at the beginning of this game.

In addition, I begin almost all games with two other bits in mind. First, I was looking to do something a little wacky if I could find an excuse. I suspect I like wacky play primarily because it's fun, but I also think it puts the board into unusual positions that I'm going to be more comfortable with than the other players. Second, I was on the lookout for a long-term ally to run over the board with (ideally one who's willing to get crazy with me). That doesn't have to mean a two-way draw--and in this variant, a 2-way was unlikely--but it means sticking with that ally until one of us is able to make a run for the solo. The ideal candidate would be someone communicative, reliable, and good enough at Dip to have some sound original ideas, yet slightly weaker than me at tactics and long-term strategy so that I'd be somewhat more likely to come out with the solo than they would. Still, taking my ally to their own solo would count as a success of the alliance, even if it would be a failure of my overall play.

In my initial negotiations, I got a pretty good vibe from Janepeg in France and BoomstickS in England, though both seemed like strong players that might well get the jump on me. I was somewhat worried that they'd become long-term allies and roll the board, however, since Bluestreaksoccer in Germany seemed too uncommunicative to survive for long. Worse, it sounded like there was an Austria-Turkey alliance aimed at Russia, while demmahom in Russia was uninterested in my warnings and focused on Germany. I saw a future where England/France could steamroll a fragmented Germany/Russia while Austria/Turkey got fat on Russia centers. At that point the showdown between EF and AT would come, and I'd be stuck in the middle.

Worse, I felt that my "natural" ally in the east was going to get rolled, and I didn't have a good working relattionship with either GhostEcho in Turkey or Kithchener in Austria. GhostEcho didn't seem very interested in talking long term with me. He clearly knows what he's talking about, I think the two of us just have quite different philosophies. He seemed to take the view that it's all just meaningless talk until we see what everyone really means from their moves; my perspective is that I have no idea what I really mean until I've done a lot of talking first! But it was with Kithchener that I really screwed the pooch. As much as one can tell these things in 1901, he seemed like the best ally on the board: communicative, involved, competent... but probably not quite as good a diplomat or tactician as me. My problem was that my attempts to be forceful in negotiations clashed with his expectations. I really wasn't trying to say, "I'm attacking you, what are you going to do to stop it" in our initial talks. I was trying to say that Austria-Italy wars are worse for Austria than for Italy, while Austria-Italy alliances are probably better for Austria, and so if we're going to work together I should get a good deal before I've lost all y bargaining power. But I put it poorly, or he just wasn't receptive to that message, and our relationship was poisoned. I might have made it worse by trying to talk him into leaving himself open to me with a Key Lepantoish opening. My thinking was that actually following through on that kind of promise would reorient his perceptions of me, but my asking just pushed him away further.

So I decided the tentative gameplan would be to muck around in both the east and the west enough to stop Germany and Russia from getting rolled. My 1901 moves would accomplish both goals, I thought. they worried Austria enough to prevent him from making progress against Russia (while following through on my promise that I wouldn't be attacking him), they positioned me to get a piece of Germany if Germany was going to collapse, or they positioned me to turn A Munich against France if that would be enough to keep Germany alive. I ended up going with the third option, and the EGI was born. At that point, I my plan was to follow up on the fall of France by either working with Germany (if his communication picked up and he seemed like a reliable ally) or England (if not).

I don't think I had much of a plan for the east except that I wanted to stop Russia from dying, or at least from dying quickly. Things took a turn for the better there when Austria stabbed Turkey, but I really don't think I initiated that. I might have said some things about how there was an opportunity, but from what I recall Kithchener mostly decided that on his own. I was pretty surprised by that development too.

1903 was a busy year for me. In the west, my relationship with BoomstickS soured. He'd got up to 8 SC's and was set to dominate any alliance with him. I tried to suggest that hge might want to slow himelf down and allow me time to catch up, but that didn't go over well. Worse, I didn't think it was feasible to finish off France and then work with Germany against England (partly because Germany-Russia relations were so soured). That left the option of working with Japepeg immediately against England, something which had been my Plan B (or C) already in 1902.

In the east, I came to the conclusion that Kithchener wasn't going to ever be an ally, and so it was in my interest to keep him weak before he bulked up from the defeat of Turkey. The aim was to build up a strong alliance and relationship with Russia, both because that was in my medium-term interest and because it could be a valuable hedge against France getting too powerful. (That second bit became critical later.)

From there things went smoothly for a while: In the east, I slowly worked on Austria and Turkey. In the west, I worked on killing England with France, then turned on Germany once I didn't have much of an excuse not to. Most of my talking was done with Janepeg during this phase, since we were gradually transitioning from a position where I had the upper hand to one where he did, and I didn't want to let him get too close to a solo. I was actually working toward a 2-way draw, with Janepeg and I comparing notes on who would be most and least likely to concede a 2-way without being eliminated. At the time, he told me the motivation for his stab was that I'd said GhostEcho wouldn't agree to a France-Italy 2-way, and he didn't think it was feasible to leave someon other than Turkey as the 3rd power on the board.

After France's stab in 1906, the game took on a much more tactical character. I was glad that I'd maintained a good relationship with demmahom, and that was to be my salvation. The initial black hole in Piedmont was really bad luck for me, I thought, because it meant France could push into the boot before I'd had a chance to regroup my forces on my western front. After that black hole, I wrote to Janepeg saying that I thought be had the game. In the end I pulled it out because 1) Janepeg didn't manage to press his advantage ebough in 1907, allowing me to become more solid by 1908; 2) I was able to retreat a unit in F1906 off the board and rebuild it at home, 3) I had a more-than-one-center ally (who was not involved enough in the game to press his diplomatic leverage by running between France and me), and 4) I think my tactics were overall slightly better, or at least I took some risks that worked out.

And that was the game, pretty much. Only one more thing: I agreed to the late 2-way draw proposal because I was really OK with it. At that point I still thought France had a slight edge. Do other folks disagree?
Radical Pumpkin
 
Posts: 835
Joined: 31 Oct 2010, 15:58
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1599)
All-game rating: (1620)
Timezone: GMT-5

Re: AARs

Postby Pedros » 03 Dec 2012, 08:47

Thanks for all that Pumpkin. I'll just comment that at the time of the 2-way I was really surprised you took it. It looked to me clear that if the Black Holes turned out reasonably level you were going to win.
"Sooner or later, one of us will stab the other. But for now we're both better off as allies" (kininvie)
User avatar
Pedros
 
Posts: 12465
Joined: 25 Jan 2009, 12:59
Location: Somewhere full of gorse and brambles, West Cornwall
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1085)
All-game rating: (1314)
Timezone: GMT

Re: AARs

Postby Jegpeg » 03 Dec 2012, 23:16

The French view,

At the start I heard from several sources that Germany was trying to find allies to attack me. I tried to persuade England to join me in attacking Germany but I wasn't sure who he was wanting to allay with. Italy as RP said wanted something quirky and wanted to head to MAO and then England, I thought this was to threatening to my centres and offered him Mun instead. England's 01 moves were non-committal

Spring 02 went badly with England heading to ENG and Italy to Bur and heading to the Atlantic, my two allies stabbed me. England was still talking nice but it was obvious he would take Swe, Den and Hol as 1902 builds and then turn on me. I tried to get England out of the channel as he didn't need to be there fore defensive purposes but refused. In desperation I tried to make friends with Germany as he had also been stabbed (or so I thought) but was informed the move to Den was arranged and England was a nice chap who wouldn't stay in Denmark and take Sweden and Holland as well. I also tried persuading Italy that we needed to stop the leader but as RP said I think it was more his hard stance that resulted in us turning on him. I was never able to form a close bond with Russia at this time like Italy did, it was a working relationship but it was almost through Italy.

With Russia, France and Germany working against him England's fall was almost as fast as his rise and by S06 Italy and I were working together and talking about agreeing a draw. With Turkey not likely to accept a 2 way draw I thought as we got close to half the centres each there would be lots of opportunities to stab, England was offering to through the game in my direction he wanted anything but an Italian solo (sorry Broomsticks). It looked ot me as the game progressed that I would have less opportunities to stab and particularly with the Italian rogue fleet I could suffer from an Italian stab. I suggested ways for destroying the Italian fleet but RP wasn't interested.

I thought the chances of the stab succeeding were 50-50 at best, but my chances were less if I stayed with RP. If Italy to got no builds in 1906 I would walk into Italy for the win, with one build it was a guessing game. With the destroy of Munich he had two but the disappearance of Pie made it a guessing game and unfortunately I guessed wrong. From that point I knew I was lost unless I could get Russia on my side or was extremely lucky with the Black Holes. The great Baltic Hole meant that all the centres I needed to make gains in to sole were easily attacked while Italy could defend his front line with minimal forces and take out Turkey with the rest.

Like Pedros I was surprised that Italy kept playing down his chances of winning so I proposed the draw. I even suspected that he accepted the draw in the knowledge that Russia would refuse just to throw me off the scent.
Jegpeg
 
Posts: 1271
Joined: 08 Dec 2009, 20:56
Location: Scotland
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1125)
All-game rating: (1401)
Timezone: GMT


Return to Black Hole Diplomacy {All Maps Lost}

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MSN [Bot] and 2 guests