AAR: Sheddy Does It Slow And Medi

Strategy discussions for the Ancient Med variant.
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AAR: Sheddy Does It Slow And Medi

Postby VGhost » 18 Feb 2013, 04:50

Game 47353

I waited a few days to see if Sheddy was going to put up an AAR for this one, but he hasn't, and I want to talk about it (I won). However, I'm putting this here instead of in AARs to make sure we have some focus on the variant.

Actual AAR
Looking at the map (I drew Carthage) it seemed to me that Rome and Carthage could quickly run East, in a Juggernaut-type alliance reversed. I anticipated that Rome would bog down in Greece, while I could race out to a solo; looking at the map now the other option seems to be that I would get caught in the Sinai vise and a realignment would be required (hi reality).

Rome was willing, and to that end I set about setting up Egypt for a stab. I agreed to let him have an SC (Leptis) which he couldn't possibly hold without my consent, and snagged it the next year. Meanwhile Persia pressured his other side. Greece and Persia split up Asia Minor, but Persia then advanced while Rome started a skirmish against Greece while stabbing me! Reacting to Rome's stab, I lost Leptis.

Greece clearly negotiated a truce with Persia (at least, based on destroys) to fight Rome, a truce Persia promptly violated. This tied down enough Roman units for me to retake both Leptis and Sardinia. I built up the Persian threat in my diplomacy, and left Rome alone while establishing a line in the Mediterranean. After kicking Persia out of Egypt, I then eliminated Egypt myself (a dangerous precedent).

My Mediterranean stalemate line was now set (as long as Greece survived). Rome attacked me again, which gave me a pretext (not that I needed one) to come after him. I was inexcusably slow getting a fleet to the Ionian, but Rome decided to rebuff the now-advancing Persian (!) units rather than play havoc with my plans.

At some point fairly early I had made overtures to Persia on the subject of a 2-way. I made good on this offer by proposing or accepting most of the draws that came up (including a couple late which included Greece), but the end drew near with two monster powers. I hit 17 first by maintaining Greece. Persia could have pushed and won by convoying his A Cyprus to Sinai (instead of Asia Minor), I think, but he didn't see it. He messaged me suggesting I let him take out Sparta: I counter-offered to do it in the Fall and then realized I could take it myself. I had intended to take the solo if possible, but wasn't really expecting the possibility: had Persia not made the appeal, I probably wouldn't have noticed it, and we would have either settled down to a deadlock or drawn the game. As it was, I stole Sparta, and held on in the Fall to win with 18.

Sheddy (Persia) - A solid game all around. A worthy rival!
UpQuark (Egypt) - You got really unlucky this game, though I think Egypt is the weakest power.
Respect (Greece) - Until I noticed I could take the win, I meant to at least let you live and maybe try to force the 3-way. Way to hang in there.
mmherl (Rome) - I'd love to hear your account of the game. You seemed a bit of a wild card.

The Weird Thing
For a game that lasted 14 game years, and six real months (hurrah for long deadlines), there was incredibly little diplomacy. I'm not a big talker, but I sent fewer than 50 messages (that's <4 per year) and received exactly the same volume. Partly this is because the pattern of the game settled down early after Egypt was eliminated: Greece stalling, Rome making trouble, and Persia and myself making our inevitable advances.

Strategic Thoughts
The Ancient Med map has weaknesses.

1) There are (pick one) too few players or too many SCs. The SC count is the same as Regular, but there are two fewer players. The effect is rather as though one took the regular map, removed England and Austria (compare Iberia and Asia minor to Great Britain and the Balkans) and tried to play Diplomacy. Compare, for instance, Baltic, with fewer players but also a cramped map. Though speaking of cramped...

2) The map has "choke points" which negatively effect play. In fact, it's incredibly hard to get a land campaign going without diplomatic trickery, because most of the land borders are vertical, and nowhere around the edges more than 3 deep. This limits options, even though the map designers clearly realized the problem: a "realistic" depiction of the era would probably only run 2 deep, with Rhaetia, Sarmatia, Bayuda, and Sahara excised. Of course, this could be mitigated by sea power - even in this game everybody built a ton of fleets - but...

With myself and Persia as the big powers, it would have made sense for Persia to dictate to Greece while leaving him alive, thus balancing the forces. Rome never made any headway against Greece, but I was able to fight a "balanced" 2v2 game until I could position to run Rome over, while Persia had to fight through Greece while sinking a huge amount of resources into containing my southern forces. As well, Persia never made a push into the Mediterranean before I had up a line centered on Crete.

In short, if Greece or Persia had played this differently, I'm not sure whether my strategic ideas about this map would hold water. But so far, this one game is all I have to go on. I'd appreciate any comments.
"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: AAR: Sheddy Does It Slow And Medi

Postby UpQuark » 19 Feb 2013, 02:55

Congratulations are due GhostEcho for this win.

Egypt has been discussed for its inherent weakness - but it is always fun to try. I tried, but fell to the asp like most of my predecessors.

I tried to cement 2 bilateral alliances with my east & west neighbors Carthage & Persia against Greece & Rome, while diplomatically egging those two to engage each other. It seems they never did really become friendly to face their larger foes, for whatever reasons, and this fed into Persia & Carthage having control of the map. Carthage & Persia also conducted very good diplomatic games, as is shown by the repeated treaties followed by stabs which inevitably worked in their respective favors.

Egypt was simply crushed in the middle, and Greece was never in a position, nor that willing, to risk it all to save me...

It seems Carthage & Persia really don't need Egypt to help them against Rome & Greece - and Egypt is simply a loose end which needs to be tidied up. As it usually is.

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