AAR – 90788. Florida Challenge; T solo

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AAR – 90788. Florida Challenge; T solo

Postby WHSeward » 23 Feb 2015, 20:30

I’m just getting started and will come back and finish this AAR later. Others feel free to pipe up before I am done. I will probably just edit the OP. (I am also going to feel too guilty if I don’t write a couple of mentor game AAR comments before I do this one so it will be a bit.)

Normally when I write an AAR, I just focus on my game and a few highlights, but I think this game was so well played, it is worth doing a bit wider and deeper analysis. My perspective, of course, is shaped by what I was privy to as a player. Hopefully a few more players will flesh out the analysis.

This invitational included 6 of the top 11 finishers in the 2014 Classicist League. (There was a 5-way tie for 6th in the League.) I was, as dib called me during the game, the “wild card entry” who didn’t really belong in the field. I hadn’t yet finished a Classicist game when the 2014 League ended, but I thought having a “bowl game” for the leaders to celebrate the year was a good idea, and if I was going to organize it I might as well play!

I am glad I did. This was without a doubt the highest quality game I have played in my time at this site. Zero surrenders. Zero NMRs. 7 Star Ambassadors and all the communication that suggests. Most important, this had 7 strong players fighting hard the whole game. As a group, the table had a PureDip average rating of 1776 which, for comparison sake, would make it just above the strongest board in round 1 of the PDET.

I feel very fortunate to have nabbed a solo off of this board. In a game with 6 strong opponents, I tend to think the best you can do is look to create solo chances and see what happens. I got a chance and it came through.

Data Tables:

Some data on the game for reference. In the SC and tempi chart, the bold, underlined numbers are the leaders. Also, I copied a good idea from El Conq, I have included an analysis of messages, just to see what it looked like.

Image
When calculating tempi, I use Windsor’s method with some minor adjustments for “tempo-less” moves (e.g. Turkey move to Syr). Since it is cumbersome, I could have made some errors on tempi. The final year tempi tables are estimated assuming auto-disbands as needed. (Estimates in italics).

A couple of things to note. France came out of the gate very strong and I would say he was clearly the board leader through 1903. Mem was 2nd in SCs to Russia but was first in position. In 1904, Russian setbacks in the north and some good fortune for A-T in the Med moved us up from 4th and 3rd place, respectively, to 3rd and 1st. Turkey never looked back and the breakthrough in tempi starting in 1906 presaged the solo run.

No surprises with messaging - about 2x the communication with the eastern powers than the western and about 2x again with Austria my principle ally compared with the rest of the East. Of course the averages are a bit deceiving because they are taken over the entire game. There was a lot more going on between Turkey and the West in the mid-game and very little communication during my solo run.
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Re: AAR – 90788. Florida Challenge; T solo

Postby charliep007 » 23 Feb 2015, 20:39

Just passing by, but I had this game on my watch list and for the longest time I was just admiring the work of Turkey - who played what looked to be the perfect game as the Sultan. Then I find that it was none other than WHSeward!

What a quality solo it appeared from the spectators gallery!
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Re: AAR – 90788. Florida Challenge; T solo

Postby Buachaille » 24 Feb 2015, 01:19

charliep007 wrote:Just passing by, but I had this game on my watch list


Me too. Looking forward to everyone else's contributions to the AAR. Added the results into the Classicist's League Table.
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Re: AAR – 90788. Florida Challenge; T solo

Postby alvin1912 » 27 Feb 2015, 14:45

It is a great game I have even played! I enjoy a lot with all of you.
This week I am a little bit busy so I would probably do the AAR next week.
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Re: AAR – 90788. Florida Challenge; T solo

Postby WHSeward » 27 May 2015, 09:21

My apologies to the other players for the three month delay in between posts. Real life has sucked up most of my hobby time, and what has been left has been invested in other things. I have finally found some spare time to get back to this.

One comment at the outset since it is apropos to some forum threads lately; for those that say a Diplomacy game should never end in a solo, this game is a powerful counter-example. This was an extremely strong set of players (see the OP), and no one made any serious errors. (It is easy to second-guess players in hindsight, that isn’t what I’m writing about.)

Perfect Checkers is a draw. Perfect Chess is probably a draw. But perfect Diplomacy, due to it being a game of imperfect information, need not be a draw. If the board can be kept in a state where there is no stable draw, solo chances can emerge. This board achieved a position in 1906 where it was highly likely that someone (A or T) was going to get just such a chance.

Turkey’s Keys to the Game:

1) Pre-game.
To avoid being too stale or predictable, I often work up a strategic plan before a game starts to help guide my opening rather than just fall into patterns. Of course, the diplomatic framework that I discover in-game may shred any such planning (and this was one of those games). Since this game was Anon Countries, my pre-game planning was based solely on my imagination. I decided on seeking an I-T as my 1st choice of alliances for its surprise value, and a 2nd choice of an E-R-T triple for the sheer power of it, understanding it might be a harder sell.

I will say this game was Anon in name only. Before S01 executed, I had identified who was playing all six other powers. Of course I couldn’t be certain, but I was highly confident. (3 players I was certain about.) As the game progressed and players began to reveal themselves, I learned that every ID I had made pre-S01 was, in fact, correct. Knowing who was whom didn’t really change anything on my side of the map, as the board drove decisions pretty quickly.

2) Opening: Saving Austria. Initial comms indicate an E-R-T is a no-go; England isn’t interested. Russia is pretty aggressive in negotiating with me, but I am aggressive right back at him. It actually seems to go OK, and R-T is a possibility I want to keep open. JonS, however, seems pretty enthusiastic about I-T, and as that was my pre-game plan, that is what I am thinking to go with.

In 1901, Italy goes for Austria’s jugular and succeeds, walking into Tri in S01 and advancing to Trl in F01, while we combine to zero-build Austria by denying him Gre. Austria is in trouble.

Fall 1901 ending positions
Image

It is never easy to initiate a Janissary conversation, and it is especially hard in 1902, since that is so early for a player to be thinking in those terms, but I was focused on tempi and keeping every power in the game that I can, so I reach out to dib in S02 and see if there isn’t some way we can get his units fighting for us rather than eliminating him.

dib responds like a pro and we start to kick around radical ideas to extract Austria from the mess of 1901. I am loving dib as a player here because we are really thinking outside conventional moves together and how to take some big risks. (I’m having fun.) At that point, I am still thinking I-T and am gently urging peace with Italy and an A-I-T triple that blasts towards the MSL. I don’t want to push too hard though, as I feel dib needs to come to this decision himself.

Ultimately, dib announces he is going to stick to the war with Italy. At the time, I expect this decision means a quick exit for Austria until…

3) Opening, 1902: Roman Reversal. S02 is a wild turn, and I flip my strategic thinking as a result. The Russian F Rum is destroyed, and this creates a tactical opportunity to demilitarize the R-T border. Meanwhile, Italy moves unannounced into Gre, giving up Tun for another year, and catching me off guard. I was planning on taking Gre myself to get another army on the front.

I see the Italian move as a big warning. If I-T are allies, then Turkey is a land power. Italy could not have known I would get into Rum, so I saw his orders as intending to squeeze me into a one province-wide front (Bul) and potentially zero-building me. Not very friendly.

Meanwhile, Germany gets involved in the A/I war on Austria’s side (belated Anschluss?) and Russia advances to Gal. That last bit I suspect is bad news for Austria, but altogether, Italy is not nearly in such a strong position as in 1901. I try one more time to work something out with JonS, but he doesn’t want to take any risks with me, being too worried about R-T; this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In the Fall Turn, I change directions, or rather, I don’t change directions and convoy into Gre exactly as I had set myself up to in S02, dislodging Italy. Austria makes the aggressive play and slips F Alb into the Ion, and Russia supports Austria back into Vie dislodging the Italians again and significantly, allowing me to hold onto Rum. Italy is routed and dropped to 3 SCs, Austria grows to 4 and holds Ion. Together A-T has naval superiority in the Med. A R-A-T triple is now in full force. We have 16 SCs between us, and the Italians are vulnerable. It’s time to run the board in this alliance structure and see where it takes us.

Fall 1902 ending positions
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4) Mid-game, F04: Saving Italy. The A-T counter-attack on Italy was devastatingly effective, with Austria taking Ven and Turkey capturing Nap in 1903, leaving Italy at 1 SC. The RAT now combines for 20 SCs and can sweep the board if we can hold it together.

I am nowhere near a solo chance yet, but I want to maximize the likelihood of one. I start looking to see if there is something to be done to save Italy.

I actually first started to broach the topic of saving Italy to France in S03. France was the board leader at that point, and I was reaching out to see if we could work some kind of deal. However, I was taking a hard line as I liked the strength of the RAT and wanted to see substantial concessions from mem. Mem wasn’t buying it so no deal to save Italy or broker F/T peace was found. I kept JonS abreast of my efforts so he would know I wasn’t interested in wiping Italy out.

In F04, Italy was facing elimination and as far as I could gather, France was asking for a suicide mission from the Italians with Apu m Rom, an order that would help France but had no chance of success. I suggested an alternative: would Italy go for Nap instead? This would keep Italy alive and take away a build from France. Italy agrees, and I fired off a message to Austria to put in change orders for the season.

Unfortunately, I didn’t hear back from dib as time in the phase ticked down. I was out of time and left my original orders in. I failed in my effort to save Italy. Of course I could have taken the risk on to do it without coordinating with Austria, but decided against that for a host of reasons. Ultimately, I didn’t think the risk-reward was there (not the least of the risks being the diplomatic risk of not getting Austria’s buy-in on the plan). It is very unusual to keep all 7 powers in the game, so losing Italy was hardly shutting the door on a solo. Still, I was glad I had tried, and by genuinely trying to save him, I got Italy’s last order to help Turkey instead of France, picking up two additional tempi and causing a swing of one SC away from France and to Turkey. Not an insignificant outcome. After 1904, Turkey was the board leader, a position I would hold for the rest of the game.

Fall 1904 ending positions
Image

5) Mid-game, F05: Saving Germany. The RAT, like most triples, was a lot of work to hold together. There was plenty of tension between Austria and Russia. I felt Turkey benefited from the triple, so I tried to play peacemaker, talking Austria down from attacking Russia and assuaging Russia after each Austrian provocation. Indicative of the diplomatic maneuvering required to keep the RAT going, at one point dib wrote me (quotes reproduced with permission):
WHS

I am not convinced of the strategy of allowing Russia to overrun the north with me sat in the middle....

Your way I just think Russia will become unassailable but I have burnt my bridges with France...

I will admit its both a weakness and a strength of my game of if in doubt ATTACK Russia.

:lol:
Meanwhile, saving Germany was a recurring topic in my conversations with France starting in S04. F/T never found a framework for peace, but we kept communicating and shared thoughts on strategic topics. I argued it would be a mistake for France to let Germany die and move the game toward a draw due to the stability of having three big powers on the edges (F/R/T). I knew France wanted to create a solo chance too (at that point, it was just as likely that France would be the beneficiary) but the diplomatic situation in the west seemed quite complex and I was not privy to all of it.

In F05, these two themes combined and there was an opportunity for deal. Austria was pushing me to take Sev:
dib wrote:Russia wont be dissuaded from going for his two builds and he wont protect Berlin. My view is you should take Sevastopol now before he can rebuild his armies in the middle.
Fine, I want Austria to stay firmly onside. Plus, I had just made a pretty striking anti-Austrian order S05, so I needed to show dib some love. I tell him I'll do it.

Then I approached France in a small bluff. If a con-artist can sell a bridge he doesn’t own, perhaps I could sell France an order I was already committed to make. Mem had been pushing me to attack A and/or R. I offered a straight exchange: I attack Sev, he protects Germany. It was a quick and easy deal. (Perhaps mem was bluffing me back, and he had already decided to save Germany?)

What I didn’t expect was Germany to attack Russia as well, but it probably worked out for the best. France left Berlin alone, Germany added Den getting back to relevance with 3 SCs. Russia was zero-built, which worried me at the time as I had not wanted to weaken him that far and cause a collapse, though Laza would navigate the storm.

Fall 1905 ending positions
Image

Germany staying in the game was of no material, immediate consequence to Turkey, but having him alive and fighting was a destabilizing influence in the west that would keep the board from moving toward a draw. I had neither the power nor position to hope for a solo yet, so I wanted to keep extending the game. Germany’s relevance helped that.

6) End-game, F06: Breaking The Last Stalemate Line. The key position of the game was obtained this season. Turkey in the MAO coupled with Austria’s capture of Ruhr meant there were no stalemate lines left in front of A-T. Our position wasn’t yet a lock as we were still 2 SCs shy of a majority of the units on the board, and it was possible to push us back, but we have a path to pick up the SCs to make us the majority alliance in Iberia, and there are still 4 small powers on the board each scrambling to survive such that they cannot afford to perfectly cooperate. Only the top 3 powers are likely to be included in a draw, so E/F/G/R each had to split their attention between A-T and each other.

Fall 1906 ending positions
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This board is now primed for a solo chance. Who was going to get it?

Dib and I had never negotiated about the end-game. Dib had sent a message in the mid-game to the effect of "I need to get a fleet in the Atlantic to win." I took that as "dib is going to try to win." That was fine, then so would I. I appreciated that there was no false-talk about a two-way. An A-T two-way is possible-but-extremely-convoluted, and we didn’t move tactically for such a two-way to be practicable. We were going to grow together, break the back of the West, and then race each other for 18. At this point, we were on the brink. Game on.

7) End-game, 1908 & 09: Fast and Furious. My lawyers insist that I add the disclaimer to this AAR: danger, do not attempt this at home. Even though it worked, mine was not an ideal solo run. It is usually easier to get your solo in big steps rather than grinding it out one SC at a time, however, going from 12 to 18 SCs in two years was a serious reach. I gave myself a less than 25% chance of pulling off the solo when I made my move.

Why, then, did I go for it in 1908? Several factors.

First, I had real life pressures bearing down on me, and I valued the chance to bring the game to a close. My large advantage in power versus Austria (12 vs 8) which was about to mostly evaporate as I expected a 0 or +1 SC year while Austria would have built 3. (As it was, Austria captured 2 SCs in 1908, but I zero-built him by taking 2.) France had been urging me to strike for some time, and while I tried to ignore mem, there is no doubt he had some influence. I certainly hoped what he wrote was true, and there would be dysfunction among any ALA, but I doubted it considering the caliber of the competition. (France also had smartly enabled the stab in the first place by walking away from Por & Spa, giving me the power advantage I now enjoyed and needed to take the shot.) Finally, I felt I had let the diplomatic game get away from me. Austria now seemed to have a better relationships with E-G than I did, and there was a thaw between him and Russia. I certainly did not like where that was going! I wanted Russia for my end-game ally, and I was out of time. If I didn’t attack Austria then and there, there might not be enough Russia left to work with and he might just be committed to stick to the dual-monarchy.

I almost backed out before S08. Russia had not met my earlier requests for peace, and I had become convinced that Laza was forwarding my messages to him along to others, if not the text and least their content. This is a big no-no for me and an indicator he wasn’t going be there as a potential ally if the solo run failed. Still, I kept coming back to, if I didn't strike now, would my chances be higher or lower than 25% with more time? It was a close call, and perhaps I made the wrong call, but I decided to forge ahead.

S08 I make my move. In F08, I obtained the key position I needed to have a chance at 18, improving my chance of success to 50/50 by my reckoning. In S09, I abandoned any thought of working with Russia should my solo run fail, and I started to reach out to Germany instead, who now looked like the potential #2 power on the board. It didn’t matter: I guessed right in spring and was a lock for a solo in the fall. Game over.

Player Comments & Questions:

This was a power-house board. A lot of fun to play with everyone.

AUSTRIA, dib. Great, funny, and very fun player. The only guy on the board that out messaged me. We did not get a smooth start in 1901, but we put it all behind us and I thought made a great team. I loved watching and listening to your aggressive, exciting play-style.

ENGLAND, gareth66. After very rough 1901, you never had a chance to get critical mass in this game. That was too bad and meant we never had a chance to do much together. We need another game.

FRANCE, mem101. I am going to name you the Florida Challenge MVP. (Others are free to give their own awards, this is mine.) As far as I’m concerned, you were the best diplomat on the board. I aspire to be as good as you are. Your opening worked brilliantly and put your power firmly in first place with seemingly everyone wanting to be your ally. As the numbers grew against you, you cut the deals you needed to and took the right chances to get the break-up of the A-T you needed. I knew I was being manipulated by you, and I just let it happen anyway. I think that is the definition of a great diplomat.

GERMANY, Alvin1912. I give you honorable mention for MVP. Struck hard in 1902, you never gave up, demonstrated some tactical mad-genius moves, and kept a vulnerable Germany in the game. I am especially impressed and hope observers notice how after sinking to 2 SCs in 1904, you built Germany back up to 4 and if the game had not ended in 1909, I predict would have continued to surge ahead. You just ran out of time to make something of the board.

ITALY, JonS. Ah Jon, we need a do-over. I’m still not sure what happened after we had such a good 1901 that it all fell apart in S02. (That is not true, I do know what happened, I’m just not sure how it happened.) You are a great gentleman, and I am sorry I couldn’t save your Italy in the end. Looking forward to catching up with you on another board.

RUSSIA, Laza82. A strong player who made some really brave and crafty plays. If I would make one critique, it is that you seem to use aggressive rhetoric too often. It just is so rare that it gets the result that you want, I’d urge you to use that more sparingly. I am especially thinking of 1907 when there is nothing Russia can do stop Turkey. Making ultimatums there was just ineffective as it is an incredible threat and aggravating to both us. My guess was later in the game you were trying make those past threats true, but that didn't really help your cause, it just made me decide I would sacrifice Russia to help another power. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the game with you and if a couple of moves had gone another way, this could easily been an R-T instead of an A-T charge over the stalemate line.

****

This was a such strong game, I think it is worth more analysis than just these highlights. I’ll come back later with some more detailed looks at turns, but maybe this kicks the AAR off again a few more of the players participate. I hope the long layoff hasn’t made it all go hazy.
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Re: AAR – 90788. Florida Challenge; T solo

Postby WHSeward » 31 May 2015, 23:33

I want to do some more detailed analysis on a very well played game. Each map can be clicked on to take you to the complete orders for the season.

Turn-by-Turn Analysis – The Opening

Spring 1901. Mem Mesmerizes the West. Rome Strikes Austria!

Image

England opens Northern, Yorkshire variation and Germany opens Blitzkrieg. Two pretty typical choices. The Yorkshire keeps open the possibility of defense of Lon in the fall and is the only opening that can guarantee England a build. Germany’s opening has the twin attributes of being aggressive yet not committing Germany against any of her neighbors.

The French opening is more intriguing, a variation of the Maginot (Mar s Par m Bur) but with Bre m EC(!). It appears to be both anti-G and anti-E by forcing Burgundy and occupying the Channel, though the move to EC has no possible convoy on to Britain, tempering it a bit. This certainly had the East talking, trying to read those tea leaves. I find it impossible to believe that Mem is antagonizing both his neighbors, ergo, at least one of those moves was agreed. In communicating with E & G, neither gave a hint that they were seriously concerned. Were both moves pre-arranged? At the time, my guess is they were and that Germany is going to be the worse for it. (My guess is wrong, at least about the later part.)

Russia opens an Octopus variant with War m Ukr instead of Gal (aka the Squid.) This asserts Russian influence in Scandinavia early and suggests a friendly, trusting A/R relationship. That Russia was opening north seemed to be common knowledge before the turn. The DMZ in Gal plus my limited comms with Austria had me a bit nervous.

Austria opens the standard Balkan Gambit and pays a heavy price for it as Italy orders Stab Lepanto. This is perhaps Rome’s strongest opening IF it succeeds. This one does and Italy is guaranteed 2 SCs if he wants to take them. (JonS will opt not to.)

Turkey opens defensively in a variation of the Pastiche, Smy m Ank instead of hold. (With the bounce in Bla, is effectively the same.) Turkey is committed to only 1 build in 1901, but for that price, gains the flexibility of being able to have 2 fleets operating together in 1902 (e.g. F01 Ank m Con, build F Smy, or 2 on the Black). I was a little uncomfortable with the pre-S01 diplomacy so I wanted to keep my options open, and I wanted to signal to Italy both peace and the availability of a strong anti-Lepanto defense to discourage aggression. Pastiche fit the bill.

Fall 1901. Sea Lion Revealed! Austria No-builds, Russia Grows to 6SCs.
Image

Mem’s opening magic is revealed with both E & G trusting France is their ally; England leaves Lon undefended while Germany does the same with Mun. Attention players: there is a great diplomat sitting in Paris.

France gets to decide the course of the West. Mem chooses Sea Lion, supporting GER F Den m Nth. England’s convoy to Nwy is disrupted and the Nth is lost. France and Germany walk unopposed into 2 minors each and combine for 10 SCs. S01 was not classic Sea Lion but the F01 result certainly is.

England chooses to convoy to Nwy rather than take the guaranteed Nwg s Nth m Nwy. What does that mean? He obviously doesn’t expect Sea Lion. Does he mistrust one of them so he doesn’t want to leave Nth open? But he left Lon open? Does he think Germany would give up Den for Nth? Unlikely and he could have retaken it in the Fall with a fleet build 3 v 1 (or v 2). Was he expecting a WT and was getting ready to go head-to-head against Russia? Could be, though it isn’t consistent with the French opening. In any event WT is certainly is off the table now.

But England catches a break as the Bear sails into Swe and rather than moving directly Nwy, slides A StP to Fin. This opens up StP for a build which a bounce in Nwy would have made unavailable. The Tsar clearly did not expect Nwy would be uncontested. England now gets to retreat forward to Nwy and pick up a crucial build. In the south, Russia supports himself to Rum. It is not guaranteed, but pretty likely and in fact does secure it for a 6th SC and the board lead.

(How might have things played out differently if Russia is at 7 and England at 3 in 1901?)

Italy follows up the attack on Austria leaving Tri unsupported and orders Ven m Trl. This is probably the best choice; if Austria dislodges Tri, it can retreat forward to an open SC (likely Vie). Tri s Bul m Ser, a smart choice especially with Ion m Gre. If we get lucky, we might come away with Austria down 1.

Austria, however, makes no mistakes. Bud m Tri cutting any support and also defending against the possible Tri m Vie, Ven m Tri. Austria is losing one and only one home SC. He tries to make up for it with Ser s Alb m Gre.

Turkey orders Bul m Ser cutting the supported attack on Gre and to bounce the unlikely Bud m Ser. This order is also weakly anti-Key Lepanto (Tri m Ser) which was a possibility, though Austria could have forced the Key through with Bud s Tri m Ser if it was on, so I am at risk until I see the adjudication. More important to establishing an I-T, I am helping Italy to zero-build Austria. Ank m Bla gives me a support on Bul if it is a Key and prepares for a possible attack on Rum if it is not. Smy holds; I am planning to build F Con so I can pivot to either front as needed.

Fall 1901 Builds. Russia Leads The Board.
Image

Leaderboard SCs/tempi:
R 6/4; builds 2
F 5/4; builds 2
G 5/4; builds 2
I 4/3; builds 1,
E 4/3; builds 1
T 4/2; builds 1
A 3/2; no build

Notable builds:
GER F Kiel, FRA F Bre, & RUS F StP nc – watch out England.
GER A Mun – a balanced choice that enables influence in the A/I war.
RUS A Sev – I expect a build in Sev given I am in the Black. The army can march anywhere and is not a specific threat.
ITA A Ven – Italy is preparing to be a land power. A friendly build to Turkey.

Russia is the board leader and facing no overt attacks. F-G and I-T have been revealed by orders and builds. There are 3 SCs left uncaptured, 2 in the east.

Spring 1902. Knives Come Out: France Strikes Germany! Germany Intervenes in A/I War. Russia Expands in the North; F Rum Destroyed.
Image

In the first of a few alliance changes in the west, France strikes a deal with England and attacks Germany. France marches unopposed to Ruh, Bur, & Bel, while Bre and ENG F Lon bounce in the EC to remove that as a possible retreat when England dislodges GER F Nth. It is a very effective attack to push back Germany.

Germany's attempt to convoy to Britain is disrupted – the Sea Lion is short lived. Interestingly, he ordered Den m Kiel (a precaution against France? As a follow up to his Mun order below?) indicating anticipated peace with Russia as Den was undefended, though he would have 3 units available to address Den in the fall if needed. This seems an insightful realignment of his force taking a prudent risk with Den.

Then there is Mun m Boh. During the diplomacy of the turn, everyone in the east understood that Germany moving to help Austria against Italy. Observe, he leaves Munich undefended, betting that Italy will not make an unsupported move there, and instead marches to Boh and bounces the lead Italian unit, freezing the entire Roman line. It is the first of many mad-genius moves from the Kaiser.

Russia sails unopposed behind England with StP m Nwy, but also shifts his units to threaten Germany with Swe m Bal and Fin m Swe . This could be opportunistically picking off both sides of the E/G conflict, but I understand this as the beginning of an anti-G move, with Russia planning to offset the F-G alliance. The French stab of Germany may change Russian plans…

In the south, Russia takes a key position with Ukr m Gal unopposed giving him influence on Vie, Bud, and Rum. In the Black Sea theater, Sev m Arm is a bounce leaving F Rum no retreat when it is dislodged by Turkey with Bul s Bla m Rum. This is a crucial development for R-T peace and of significant value to Turkey. Removing the fleet in the Turkish rear enables a western focus; Con m Aeg is the first step in that direction.

Italy is aware that Germany is marching south and opts for Trl m Boh, Ven s Tri m Trl. It is not a bad move if the Germans order Mun m Trl. He can’t be assured of stopping the 3 unit attack that Austria can muster, so he gives up Tri and looks to play for position. However, the German move to Boh crosses Rome up and everything bounces. Rome sails opportunistically Ion m Gre, but an unsupported unit can’t easily hold. Does he expect peace from Austria? from Turkey?

Austria takes a risk with Ser m Tri instead of Alb. Support from Alb might have been cut, but dib takes the gamble as it is certainly more valuable to have an army in Tri to influence on Vie and Trl. The gamble works twice over (Tri has no support; Alb is not cut) and Austria recaptures Tri.

Italy retreats forward to Vie, recovering his lost SC.

Fall 1902. None Trust the Bear. Munich Falls to the French! Italy Routed!
Image

England tries a second time to convoy to Nwy supported by F Nwg using his last fleet to s Nth hold. He will fight Russia for Nwy. Meanwhile Germany demonstrates no trust in Russia either with Hel s Den hold, and Kiel m Ber, Hol m Kiel to cover, leaving Hol exposed and Mun unsupported. Mun & Den s Hol m Kiel are intended to thwart possible F-R cooperation against Kiel, though both are vulnerable to being cut.

Russia for his part proves to be a German friend and England’s adversary: F Bal hold, Swe s Nwy hold. The English convoy to Nwy fails a second time. I perceive this as the Tsar smartly playing a balance-of-power game in the west. When England was the OPO, Germany was his target. Now that Germany is disadvantaged, he shifts is weight against England.

Too bad for Germany, he didn’t understand the Bear’s true intentions. France takes advantage supporting himself into Mun. He reaffirms the E-F with Bel s ENG F Nth and Bre m MAO. Finally he picks up Por, the last western neutral SC.

Italy has the first “misorder” of the game with Trl s Mun m Ruh – cannot support Ruh & DNC – and makes 3 unsupported orders, Vie m Gal, Ven m Tri, and Gre hold. What to make of this? My read was/is this is a diplomatic Hail Mary coupled with duplicity. Italy has abandoned his war with Austria and wants peace with Germany but also wants alliance with France. Regarding the later, his “misorder” lets him claim friendly intentions to Germany while not interfering with France. The moves to Gal and Tri and holding Gre need Austrian assistance…

(Care to comment on my read here, JonS?)

…but none is forthcoming. The R-A-T proves to be in place.
RUS A Gal s AUS A Bud m Vie – ITA A Vie dislodged
TUR A Bul s Smy m Gre, Aeg c Smy m Gre – ITA F Gre dislodged
AUS F Alb m Ion – capturing a key Med pinch point.

This did not need to be as effective an attack as it was, but Italy was desperate for peace with Austria and desperation orders cost him. I also question the order of Ven m Tri. It strikes me as a diplomatic error to expect Italy to get a build at Austria’s expense, when Italy wants peace with Austria.

Turkey and Russia bounce in Sev/Rum, keeping our frontier safe. For Turkey’s part, this guarantees A Sev can’t march to Arm without costing Russia Sev. I left Rum unsupported so that Russia had the option to recapture Rum, but it would take support to do it. He chooses instead to help Austria and give me the extra fleet build. It is a very effective season for the RAT.

Italy smartly retreats both Vie and Gre OTB. It is the Fall Turn so he can rebuild one at home.

Fall 1902 Builds. France Takes The Lead, Readies to Enter Med Conflict.
Image

Leaderboard SCs/tempi:
F 7/8; builds 2, +4 tempi
R 6/6; builds 1, +2 tempi
T 6/6; builds 2, +4 tempi
A 4/2; builds 1, no tempi
G 4/2; disbands 1, -2 tempi
E 3/2; disbands 1, -1 tempo
I 3/1; builds 1, -2 tempi

Notable builds:
FRA F Mar, A Par – at least its only 1 fleet; I was worried I’d see 2
RUS F StP nc – the destroyed F Rum is rebuilt in the north
ITA F Nap – a smart rebuild rather than retreat
TUR F Con, F Smy – Turkey is now the Med navy for the RAT

France’s first two years are amazing. He takes over first place and is the dominant power in the west. Russia slows down and sharing power, but is part of the strongest alliance on the board, RAT. Germany, betrayed by France is now stuck between the two board leaders, not an easy place to play. England is out of immediate danger, but has an uncertain outlook. Italy is on the run, literally.

As Turkey, I hate to see an E-F, even an unbalanced one like this. It is almost always the worst western alliance for the Med powers as it results in French fleets clogging up the Med early. This game appears to be no exception to that familiar pattern.

Spring 1903. A French “Passed Pawn” in Sil! Turks land in Apu!
Image

England tries Nwg m Nwy unsupported. A kind of keep-Russia-honest order I suppose. More interesting was Nth s GER F Hel m Den – DNC. What was this? I doubt a misorder. Is it a thawing in the E/G relationship and England tried to help? Or is it an effort to break an arranged bounce between Hel and Bal? Seems unlikely. But there is more, the even more puzzling is the F/G “dance” in Mun. GER Sil m Ber, GER Ber m Mun, FRA Mun m Sil(!). Germany recaptures Mun without a fight, and France is over the MSL! And yet, there is conflict as well with the F/G bounce in Hol freezing 3 French units in place. What to make of all this?

At the time, I couldn’t sort out what was going on. No one was giving a clear explanation in the west, and I suppose they felt they had no strong reason to let me know. (In retrospect, I wish Germany had been more forthright with me as I could have helped him diplomatically, but I suppose he either did not trust me or thought I was interfering. Turkey is rarely a rival to Germany early, and certainly it was only in my interest to help Germany at that point of the game.) Russia, I believe, suspected treachery and interpreted this as an F/G deal to attack War and the rest was all a phony conflict. (The problem with that theory is it did not account for F Nth s Hel m Den nor Kiel m Ruh. If it is a phony war, I’d expect they would have F Nth do something useful against Russia rather than misorder. Similarly, Ruh would have at least held to be useful against Den and not threaten France.)

In retrospect, with the benefit of the orders and conversations that occurred after the fact, here is my guess at the truth; there was an E/F/G deal, but Germany, counting on Russian alliance, crossed up E-F and bounced in Hol when he was supposed to turn it over to France in exchange for Mun. By allowing the French into Sil, he could both advance to Ruhr and keep Kiel. Attacking Mun would have allowed a retreat to one of those two provinces. If my speculation is correct, it was a gutsy play that would require tactical and diplomatic nimbleness to pull off, but that is exactly what a Germany sitting between to superpowers (F & R) would need to try to escape.

(I hope one of the original players comes back to the AAR and sheds some light on this one.)

Meanwhile France pushes two fleets into the Med as anticipated and Russia advanced in the north wtih StP m Bar and Bal m Den. Critical to Austria, Gal m War which is defensive for Russia and relieves Austria’s flank. And finally there is a friendly bounce in Rum with Turkey.

Italy remains in full retreat from Austria, Trl m Ven, Ven m Rom and takes a guess of Nap m Ion trying to bounce an advancing Turk fleet. He guesses wrong.

A-T takes full advantage of the passive Italy, advancing to Vie m Trl and Ion c Gre m Apu. Landing on the Apennine peninsula is big win for us. I was expecting one Trl/Apu, to get both moves was a coup. I take my time advancing my fleets with support rather than trying to jump all three forward unsupported. My caution costs me 2 tempi this season, but I expect to be stuck behind the Austrian fleet so there is no reason to rush.

Should Italy have ordered differently? He is clearly assuming F Ion m TyS or Tun and is trying to slow the Turk fleets from advancing. That is a fine guess. I am, however, surprised he neither supported Trl hold nor covered Apu with A Ven. He doesn’t need to cover Rom in the Spring and it costs him to move there early. If he wants to concentrate against Turkey and let Austria go free, then Ven m Apu is superior in case he is wrong in his guess about F Ion. From Apu he can always cover Rom or support action in Ven in the fall. On the other hand, if Austria is his target or he is just holding out waiting for French help, then Ven s Trl is superior to try to slow down Austria and hope he is right about F Ion. I am sure JonS wishes he had these orders to do over.

Fall 1903. Russia Invades Germany! France Captures Tun! Italy on the Brink!
Image

England bumps Nwy, again to no effect, and this time takes a shot with Nth m Hol with French support from Bel. France makes a small gamble and leaves Bur unsupported, instead ordering Bur m Ruh to try to cut support and get England into Hol. He attenuates the risk with Par m Bur to bounce and Sil m Mun to cut.

Germany shows off his tactical chops and bounces England with Hel s Ruh m Hol and defends with Ber s Mun hold. Once again England is denied an SC and the entire French line is frozen in place.

Unfortunately for our Kaiser, Russia strikes (reading an F-G conspiracy from the prior turn) with Den m Kiel, Swe m Den. Germany’s successful defense against E-F goes for naught as Russia takes 2 SCs off of him. Notable order: The Tsar also offers up War s Sil hold. Reading F-G alliance, he is looking to thwart a potential friendly attack on Sil by Germany to dislodge the unit and retreat it forward. The orders, however, reveal that there was no F-G cooperation however and War DNC. Nonetheless, it was a smart thought.

In the Med, Italy makes another long-shot order to try to stave off A-T, with Rom & Nap s Ven m Apu. He is hoping to either bounce Apun m Ven with 2 supports from Austria or else destroy the Turk unit, which would be of no small tactical significance. This is not a bad guess as Austria may well go for Tun with F Ion. Certainly A-T considered Apu m Ven as an option. For his part, France advances to Tun and TyS, presumably to prop up the faltering Italians.

Unfortunately for Rome, A-T gets the better of it once more as we order Ion s Apu m Nap & Trl s Tri m Ven. Losing two SCs cripples Italy. Meanwhile, the Turk fleets continue their plodding advance to the west while there is another friendly bounce in Rum. Rum m Bla prepares to get that fleet moving west as well.

Austria's Bud m Gal turns out to be a more controversial move. Certainly Russia is not happy to see that unit adjacent War, effectively wiping out the demilitarization that has been accomplished thus far between the R/T frontier. I can see the Austrian motivation; that is a key province and the French could easily have made a play for it. Austria is in a much stronger defensive position in control of that space. This does spark the first A/R dust up that Turkey will mediate.

Fall 1903 Builds. France and Russia Vie For Board Lead
Image

Leaderboard SCs/tempi:
F 7/10; no builds, +2 tempi
R 8/8; builds 2, +2 tempi
T 7/9; builds 1, +3 tempi
A 5/5; builds 1, +3 tempi
G 3/1; disbands 1, -1 tempo
E 3/2; no build, +0 tempi
I 1/0; disbands 1, -1 tempo

Notable builds:
RUS F StP nc, A Mos – The bear keeps a balanced force, but getting a 4th fleet in the north is significant as he can match the navies of E/F/G combined and has the potential to secure his Scandinavian holdings plus advance.
TUR A Con - probably my most aggressive build of the game, I was intending to waive and mentioned as much to Russia, but both Russia and Austria wanted me to be in position to use force against the other, so the army build proved unprovocative to both my allies. This was another strong signal (as if one was needed) that it was going to take a lot of work to keep the RAT going.

France is now second in power, but I still rate him first on the board due to his lead in position and tempi. He already has 3 units over the MSL (Tun, TyS, & Sil) and holds an eastern SC (Tun). Arguably it is Russia that is really in first, with a 1 unit lead in force and only 2 tempi behind France, he too has a strong position over the MSL with 5 western units and SCs (Kie, Den, Swe, Nwy, StP). However, the Bear’s grip on Kiel and Den is tenuous, so I give the nod to the French.

The opening is now over, and the mid-game is about to begin. After the Russian stab of Germany, I am expecting the worst case that the board will split into two power blocks: E-F-G-I v R-A-T. Our triple enjoys a 20 to 16 advantage in power, but Russia has all of the advantage in position. Turkey’s 9 tempi is not as strong as the raw number suggests; as a corner power, Turkey has much farther to travel to reach 18 SCs than Russia, and therefore requires more tempi to achieve the same position. In the mid-game, A-T will be looking to catch up.

Stay tuned, more to come...
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Re: AAR – 90788. Florida Challenge; T solo

Postby dib » 02 Jun 2015, 23:24

Reading with interest -
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Re: AAR – 90788. Florida Challenge; T solo

Postby WHSeward » 03 Jun 2015, 19:28

Turn-by-Turn Analysis – The Mid-game

The mid-game starts with a bang.

Spring 1904. Germany Mauled! Rome Falls! Austria Captures Tun!
Image

On the 7th turn of the game, England finally lands an army on the continent. At Germany’s expense, Nth c Edi m Hol with support from France in Bel. France also supports himself into Mun from Sil, but he doesn’t need it as the Germans are marching north to liberate Kiel supported by his remaining two units. Beset from all sides, Germany just can’t address all these attacks. It looks grim for the Kaiser.

Russia continues his march west, advancing to Ska and Pru and filling Nwy and War, respectively. He will retreat F Kiel to Bal. The careful avoidance of the French has the rest of the board concerned (as we would be for much of the game): has an alliance of the board leaders, F-R, formed?

In the Med, A-T scores another significant tactical victory. France tries to slip into Pie and, since Rome cannot be saved from this position, orders TyS m Nap, Tun m TyS (to bounce) assuming he faces Ven s Nap m Rom, Ion m TyS (to cut) which would guarantee Italy loses her last SC. Austria however crosses up France bouncing him with Trl m Pie and brilliantly orders Ion m Tun while Turkey fills from behind. Rome is lost and France is denied a build from Nap after Austria walks into Tun unopposed! More important, A-T cannot be stalemated at the TyS. This is a huge achievement for the RAT.

The result in the Med is so unexpected, Russia again suspects treachery, this time from F/A. Adding to his worry is the Austrian “misorder” Gal s Vie m Boh – DNC, Vie m Gal – bounce. Is Austria purposely keeping clear of France? Did France gift Tun to Austria? I do not believe there is any conspiracy (and certainly there was none from Turkey,) it was just a great move by Vienna in Tun. As for the Boh/Gal snafu, that may be the one true misorder of the game. Only dib knows…

There are more friendly bounces in Rum/Sev as Turkey carefully extracts forces from the Black Sea theater. Due to the A/R friction, I am in no hurry to move anywhere and no one really wants me to move either.

Fall 1904. Everyone Loves Germany? Bear Wounded! Turks Sink French in Naples!
Image

What a difference a turn makes. Germany goes from being attacked by E/F/G to being supported by all three! England attacks Russia in Den and orders Hol s GER A Kiel hold. France marches on Ruhr but adds Mun & Sil s GER A Ber hold. Not to be outdone, Russia Den s GER A Kiel hold and Bal s GER a Ber hold. That is right, German units in Ber and Kiel received 5 supports between them from the foreign powers and neither is attacked by anyone.

Germany is the kingmaker for now and sides with E-F ordering Hel & Kiel s ENG F Nth m Den. Russia loses 2 SCs this year. Still the Bear advances to Nwg threatening the English home centers and orders Sev m Ukr to answer any potential Austrian threat.

The Med sees a 4th turn in a row go in favor of A-T. As described in the Turkey’s Keys to the Game post above, Italy orders Apu m Nap, Austria cuts TyS while supporting Rom, and TUR A Rom s Ion m Nap. With that, Italy is eliminated, and the French lose a fleet (F Nap auto-destroyed) and an SC (Tun). Adding insult to injury, rather than bouncing in Pie, France withdrew with Mar m Gas to open up Mar for a build, but he will have one fewer builds than he expected this year, and as a result, Austria takes Pie.

In the Black Sea theater, Bul m Rum is not bounced as Russia shifts forces west. This unit can be used as leverage to keep the A/R peace. TUR F Bla moves to Con and prepares to link up with the lead fleets.

Fall 1904 Builds. Turkey Takes the Lead While England Rises! Germany on the Brink!
Image

Leaderboard SCs/tempi:
T 8/13; builds 1, +4 tempi
F 7/8; builds 1, -2 tempi
R 6/10; disbands 2, +2 tempi
A 6/8; builds 1, +3 tempi
E 5/5; builds 2, +3 tempi
G 2/1; disbands 1, +0 tempi
I eliminated

Notable builds:
ENG F Lvp – interesting choice when Lon was available. Trouble brewing in the E-F? I doubt it based on diplomatic communiques. I assume this unit will hold the line in the Atlantic, though he will regret the choice when he sees Russia’s disbands…
FRA F Bre – Is this to balance F Lvp? No F Mar is a big win for A-T.
GER disband A Ber - keeping F Hel is an inspired choice.
RUS disband A Ukr & A Pru – The Tsar sells out to hold his gains in the north by keeping all 4 fleets.
AUS A Bud(!) – Why not Vie? Another provocation, this one threatening R & T.
TUR waives – time to pass on builds to keep balance of power in the RAT.

Wow! What a year! Turkey takes the board lead on the strength of 4 consecutive winning turns in the Med. Meanwhile, Austria and England after suffering a miserable opening are both back in the thick of it. This could yet be anyone’s game.

Spring 1905. Another Reversal: Russia Controls the North Sea, while English Fleet Destroyed in Den!
Image

Snafu (or treachery?) in the north makes for a quick decline in England’s outlook. He pivots north with Lvp m Cly, NAO m Nwg. So far so fine, but Nth must be secured. England orders Edi s Den m Nth. France orders Bel s Edi m Nth – DNC. Germany orders Hel s Kiel. No coordination means Russia takes the key province with Nwy & Ska s Nwg m Nth and Lon cannot be saved in the fall. Bal s Swe m Den means the English fleet is destroyed with no retreat. This is a brutal turn for England.

What happened? Did the French misorder? Was there E-F miscommunication? This was costly to England and there was plenty of suspicion that we may have seen F-R covert cooperation.

As for Germany, playing defense with F Hel s Kiel is quite a change from F04 when the E-F was onside. Russia doesn’t threaten Kiel! This season he flips and lets Russia take Nth.

(Maybe one of the western players can comment further.)

What is more, Germany orders A Kiel s AUS A Trl m Mun, costing France an SC and bouncing Ruhr m Mun. France does push 2 units past the MSL, A Pru & A Sil. Having alienated France, how shall Germany save Ber in the fall? (It turns out, he has a few advocates on the board…)

The provocation of Austria’s build of A Bud generated a ton of consternation and diplomatizing in the east. Austria however stays onside with the RAT with Trl m Mun, Gal m Boh, Bud m Gal. Not only does he take a French SC, his orders and comms that season keep the A-T breakout in the Med rolling. Pie hold is a clever move, allowing Gas m Mar rather than bouncing it so France cannot easily build another Med fleet. France also orders F TyS s Pie m Tus – DNC. Austria has tricked France into wasting a move as our fleets race around him: AUS F Tun m NAf, TUR F Ion m Tun, F Nap m Rom, F Gre m Ion. 4 unsupported moves and they all work.

Meanwhile, there is a price to be paid for the build of A Bud. Turkey springs into action as the RAT enforcer and orders Rum m Ser, Con m Bul ec, Smy m Arm. It is not a massive stab, but a just-in-case order for the benefit of R-T. If Austria is onside, I can withdraw without doing damage. If he stabs, I have force in position to slow him down. I does cost me 2 tempi for my fleet.

Fall 1905. Russia in Lon; Turkey in Sev! Germany Back from the Brink!
Image

England cannot save Lon but tries for the Nth nonetheless with Edi s Nwg m Nth: he is repulsed. A Hol s Kiel hold, keeps him on good terms with Berlin.

As described in Turkey’s Keys to the Game in a post above, France cuts a deal agreeing to leave Germany alone. True to his word, he attacks Russia instead and orders Pru s Sil m War and Ruh m Bur and leaves Ber untouched.

For his part, Germany fires a shot at Russia this season with Kiel s Hel m Den and it hits, capturing the SC and bouncing Russia’s Bal m Den. It is an English SC, yet but for Germany, it would have been in Russian hands. (I was not expecting this… see below.)

For those who are keeping score, Germany has now switched sides in each of the last three seasons. Of course he was attacked by all of E/F/R four seasons ago, so some might call this “payback”. He is back to 3 SCs now and has put a third party (Austria) in Mun who is fighting France for him. What is the difference between an Austrian and German unit in Mun, so long as it is doing what you want it to do? It is a very smart play really.

Russia takes full advantage of England’s exposed position and orders Den m Lon, Nwy & Ska s Nth c Den m Lon. It is guaranteed to work and having an army on the island is devastating for England.

Dib again shows what a pro he is and despite the provocation of my orders in the Spring, he accepts my explanation (an alliance enforcer move) and stays onside with the A-T in the Med theater. TUR F Tun s AUS F NAf m WMd bounces with FRA F MAO s F TyS m WMd. This is fine as we want to freeze the French fleet in place and certainly do not want to let it get so Spa or GoL before us. In the meantime, A-T finishes a trade of Tun for Rom as A Ven picks up the SC and my fleet works its way up the coast to Tus. In the next turn, we will have 3 fleets in position against 2 French.

Austria gets conservative with Boh s Mun hold, but this seems a fine choice for a Fall Turn. Crucially, Gal s War hold, defending Russia from the French attack. Meanwhile Turkey makes another provocative move, exiting Austria’s Ser but marching on Russia’s Sev. This order is also described in a post above in Turkey’s Key’s to the Game was agreed with Austria and France and bought the safety of Ber for Germany. It is a balance of power play gone awry when Germany takes Den. Rather than being +1 as I expected, Russia no-builds. Thankfully, Austria saved War or it would have been worse.

Fall 1905 Builds. Turkey Expands Lead.
Image

Leaderboard SCs/tempi:
T 9/16; builds 2, +3 tempi
A 7/12; builds 1, +4 tempi
R 6/10; no builds, +0 tempi
F 6/10; disbands 1, +2 tempi
G 3/1; builds 1, +0 tempi
E 3/1; disbands 1, -4 tempi
I eliminated in 1904

Notable builds:
ENG disband A Hol – a difficult choice to be sure, England gives up his only army and only unit on the continent. This SC is most vulnerable.
FRA disband A Sil – 3 tempi are lost when this forward unit is destroyed. More significantly, France is keeping force in the Med, while removing it against Russia. What does this foretell?
GER F Ber – having two fleets gives Germany the force needed to influence Scandinavia, but for now he is ceding control of central Europe to Austria. It strikes me as a difficult but correct choice.
TUR F Smy, A Ank – the threats from the prior season provide ample reason to get another army built, this time in Ank so as to be less threatening; the unit cannot reach a foreign held SC in less than 3 moves.

Another dramatic year! England’s fortunes have quickly reversed with an enemy landed and an unprotected Hol. I put him in last place. Meanwhile, A/T have continued to climb and are unambiguously the two leaders. What will next year bring? Is the RAT dead from Turkey’s grab of Sev? Will F/T cooperation continue?

In retrospect, this is probably where I made my biggest diplomatic mistake of the game. I shouldered all of the blame for taking Sev and allowed Austria to be the “good guy” by saving War. There had been enough A/R friction, and I figured I could take one for the team, especially given uncertainty on France’s next move. This decision cost me heavily in subsequent seasons with Russia.

Spring 1906. Setting Up for the BIG GUESS. The Mid-game Ends.
Image

England finds it is time to get aggressive and advances Nwg m Bar and threatens StP. Cly holds in position to either cover Lvp or support Edi. Germany strikes Russia as well with Den s Ber m Bal.

Russia advances for the kill on England with Nth s Lon m Yor yet gets defensive in the east with the self-bounce in Lvn and withdrawing Ska m Swe to cover.

Russia’s defense seems well considered as France tries to push east with Pru m Lvn and is bounced. F Bel sets off for the EC and F MAO holds. France seems to be setting up to hold the line at the Atlantic, but for now he is 1 fleet shy of the stalemate. F TyS tries to withdraw to GoL but is bounced by TUR F Tus. France does win the first round of the guessing game with Austria, covering Bur and leaving Ruhr undefended; Austria orders Mun m Bur and is bounced.

In the Med, AUS F NAf s TUR F Tun m WMd. This time we succeed as France must choose between defending WMd and GoL. Austria brings two more units into the center with Vie m Trl, Gal m Sil. Turkey takes the slow-but-certain approach in the east with Rum s Sev m Ukr, Ank m Arm. A-T is accelerating our march, picking up 8 tempi combined in this turn alone, more than we had in any other year to that point.

*****

Little did I know at the time, but the mid-game had just ended. In games like Chess where pieces are removed, the endgame is easier to identify; it is when there are few pieces left on the board. In Diplomacy, we have no such cue. I define the end-game as the period of the game when one power is near 18 SCs or one interest group (either a single power or alliance) is near a stalemate. While there were no stalemate lines in front of the RAT, significantly, A-T alone was now at the edge of the last line that could be held against us as a two-power alliance. Would it hold or would we break through? This would shape the remainder of the game.

The board is very unstable and set up for an enormous number of guesses in the Fall Turn. France can cover Spa or MAO but not both; Bur or Ruhr but not both. Shall England support Edi hold or cover Lvp? Russia cannot defend all of StP, Nwy, and Swe. Which does he choose, and shall he attack Bel or Hol or Den or Edi or defend from Nth? What about War & Mos? It is going to be a very interesting turn.
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Re: AAR – 90788. Florida Challenge; T solo

Postby WHSeward » 03 Jun 2015, 23:09

If anyone is reading this thread, I apologize for the messed up post this morning. Omitted sections have been added back and various edits made. Not sure how I messed that up.
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Re: AAR – 90788. Florida Challenge; T solo

Postby Gooderian » 10 Jun 2015, 13:19

This is a pleasure to read, keep it up!
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