Livonian War AAR

4-player variant set in the Scandinavian-Baltic region in 1560. Devised and GMd by Shibabalo. Winner: Denmark/Norway (diplomat42)
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1. AAR

Postby Pedros » 25 Mar 2013, 18:23

Sorry to be so late on this one. My impossible two weeks has settled down a bit, and I'm catching up.

I think there are two parts to my response - the actual AAR, and comments on the map (where I have several). This is the3 AAR, although it's affected by the map issues, obviously

It was clear from the start that Sweden was going to be the fall guy, the one in the middle of four. The rest of us agreed easily to take him on first, and diplomat and I talked about Russia next. My problems actually started from the first moves, when Russia - expecting an immediate stab - moved in my direction (possibly expecting a bounce). That meant that I was immediately slightly out of position vis-a-vis Denmark. Not a big deal, but if I remember aright it led to diplomat offering me Stockholm at the start. That unit was never going anywhere, and became a problem at the end.

The dismemberment of Sweden/Finland proceeded almost routinely, and then I took my eye off the ball at the crucial moment. I went for the stab on Russia, totally ignoring the opportunities Denmark had. Once diplomat made his move the game was really over; we could have surrendered then, but it was worth a last shot to hold him up.

Well done diplomat42.
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2. The map

Postby Pedros » 25 Mar 2013, 18:31

Several serious weaknesses I think. The big one has been mentioned several times. Initialy reaction to the map talked about it being a circle of four (similar to Baltic), but actually it's a circle of three surrounding Sweden/Finland, who therefore stands no chance. I'd be surprised if there was ever a game played on this map, however often it was run, where Finland didn't go down very quickly. And the difference between Finland and the other three is that each of them have a wall at their backs, whereas Russia and Denmark will immediately move in behind Finland leaving it nowhere to hide.

The other big problem is that the sea areas are actually a cul-de-sac. Scandinavian and Baltic maps have to be big on sea action, but apart from the Osel area the sea territories form a single line from GoB in the north down and round to Copenhagen. There is little possibility for serious naval conflict, and that makes the map very inflexible. Contrast the Baltic map, where the central sea area has numerous sea and island territories so that the game for all powers (less so for Russia) is built around fleet action.
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Re: Livonian War AAR

Postby Shibabalo » 25 Mar 2013, 19:08

Your feedback is much appreciated, Pedros.

The map wasn't actually to be made a circle of four (like Baltic is.) My main issue with Baltic is actually that it is a circle of four--and hence, Poland and Finland can't fight, and Sweden and Russia can't fight. The purpose of this was for everybody to be able to attack everybody, so it's not exactly a circle.

With that said, you bring up a very good point: Sweden is at a serious disadvantage. Do you think it would even the playing field if I made it so that there is at least two territories between Sweden and everybody else? (While there is only one between the other powers.) This would certainly encourage the other powers to fight much more.
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Re: Livonian War AAR

Postby Pedros » 25 Mar 2013, 19:24

You might as well say that in Regular England and Turkey can't fight! I don't think it's mathematically possible to have a map on a flat surface where four players can get at each other without somebody being at a fatal disadvantage.

Let's just hope we get this game of Baltic off the ground!
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Re: Livonian War AAR

Postby Shibabalo » 25 Mar 2013, 19:30

Pedros wrote:You might as well say that in Regular England and Turkey can't fight! I don't think it's mathematically possible to have a map on a flat surface where four players can get at each other without somebody being at a fatal disadvantage.

Just to be clear: are you saying that the other powers can't fight? Or can just attack Sweden better?
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Re: Livonian War AAR

Postby Pedros » 25 Mar 2013, 20:19

Oh, they could fight. I just don'tbelieve they would, at the start.
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Re: Livonian War AAR

Postby Pharaoh of nerds » 25 Mar 2013, 21:06

First of all, I think the goal should absolutely be to make all of them able to fight. I think that's the only way to make a 4-player variant anywhere near as good as a larger one, because otherwise there aren't enough options.
I think we should completely restructure the sea territories, with Sweden starting with an island SC instead of Umea or Vasa.
I also think it's a problem that the Russian SCs are in a line like that. It makes it so that NOT attacking Sweden would leave them extremely spread out and with no consolidated base. Perhaps you can combine Murmansk and Archangel and put a SC in Siberia.
Perhaps Moscow shouldn't border Estonia
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