AAR 107522 "The Return of the Prodigal Son" (5-way draw!)

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AAR 107522 "The Return of the Prodigal Son" (5-way draw!)

Postby Cardlinger » 23 Jan 2016, 12:55

Hi all,

Well, that was a long 4 months. I will talk you through the game as one of the survivors and those who started and ended the game. It's a topsy-turvy story. The first half will be the meta: all the stuff that got in the way of the game. The second half will be my personal voyage within that game, affected in part by the stuff "in the way", but with an outcome which I found satisfactory. you can find the game at 107522's archive.

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THE WORLD BENEATH THE WORLD

Surrenders and NMRs
This game was marred by a number of early NMR/Surrenders, for a variety of reasons. A few weeks in Austria surrendered and was replaced; I was pleased about this (I'll go into that in the second half). Five days later England was auto-surrendered as it transpired metagaming between the *former* Austria (now surrendered) and England. The pleasure of that excellent investigation by Alman et al can be viewed here, and is a worthy read!. Massive credit to Alman and the Cheaters forum for keeping our game clean.

We got a new England in who then had to sit for 8 days because Austria NMR'd then surrendered. Argh! A new one came in and we got a couple of seasons out of the way before Austria NMR'd then surrendered *again*! Are you keeping count: 4 Austrias. Then, 2 days after a new Austria joined, Turkey quit. Sheesh. So by fall 1905 we've had 2 englands, 4 austrias, and 2 turkeys.

After this point things actually settled down: Ironically, the person who set up the game (jkid) later surrendered as Germany but he was hastily replaced and that was the end of our surrendering.

This was my first rated game and I honestly found this the worst part; it's hard keeping people engaged with 3-day delays after surrenders, 1-day delay after NMRs, and having to strike up new-old-relationships with the next person. As Russia every surrender affected me in some way, as by the time England was replaced I was over that side of the map, and Austria/Turkey obviously were important to me. Ditto Germany as when they appeared I was hovering around their home SCs.

Discourtesy, rudeness, abuse of public press: the Tuomasm file
What all these surrenders above mask the honestly appalling diplomatic efforts by the France in our game (Tuomasm). This can be split into a few layers, some excusable, some not:

1) During the period 1904-1905 a plethora of private messages flew around where France was hectoring people and saying they should surrender. Whilst this is no doubt within the confines of excusability, given how affected the game had been by surrendering - both in terms of relationship building and the time spent replacing people - I found this immensely galling. Hence my public press message of early November where I basically tried to find something nice to say about each nation. But really, trying to encourage surrender is surely cutting one's nose off to spite one's face, given how the game had lumbered and shambled along thus far.

2) from Fall 1905 onwards (literally to the bitter end) France repeatedly accused our fourth Austria of being a "cheat". To put that in context, the Austria had played France before in a previous game, found France's communication style deplorable but thought he'd give France the benefit of the doubt and join the game - as our fourth Austria! So imagine my ire when France decided this implied some level of metagaming. Histrionic public press messages and - yes - a trip to the Cheaters forum for Tuomasm, in which he was put back in place. To FrankC's credit, he got locksmithvic in to sub to try to defuse the situation, but ironically inflamed it again when FrankC had to return (vic needed to sub out, and Frank couldn't name another-other sub). But I found that entertaining!

For this part of the saga, I could have handled a France who decided one accusation of cheating was enough, a trip to the forum proved otherwise, who then swallowed their pride. Instead France continued to whine and moan, and continued to accuse Austria of being a cheat. This despite the fact that the game had been adversely affected early on by real cheats. This latter complaining was inexcusable. France poisoned the public press and even continued to use the 'cheat' term after a formal message was put in public press reminding people not to accuse others of cheating.

3) France was using the public press to hold conversations with himself as "France" and "anonymous". Excusable, but truly pathetic. And entirely holier-than-thou! At one point I highlight the inherent cowardice of hiding behind anonymity and falsely accusing others of cheating to receive a surprised reply suggesting 'coward' was untoward. Such hilarity.

4) What you can't see, as those looking in post-AAR, are the tenor of the private communications sent by France. Suffice to say I wasn't put out by these - and certainly didn't get the worst of it (I certainly got copied a ton of it). A hectoring, bullying, strong tone works for some diplomats. But, those diplomats if that are going to play loose and aggressive need to be very tactically savvy, and also able to use the dove with the hawk. France lacked these attributes in spades, so effectively systematically alienated the board, nation by nation, leading to the inevitable result. Again, excusable, but really pretty poor in terms of gameplay.

The dumpster fire
By this point we'd also picked up some spectators, watching France throwing his toys out of the pram. Much like WHSeward, I was kind of wishing the game was over by now (3 months in), but another month ahead lingered. Suffice to say all of the mucking around in the private press, dubbed "dumpster fire" by jkid, the false accusations of cheating in a game which could have been poisoned by it, had Alman et al not removed the first Austria-England, and the terrible diplomatic effort by France, rendered the game in a situation to which I'll turn now.

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THE MAP: 1900 to 1912

This section of the AAR will be Russia's view on the game as it was played. I'll refer back to where "the world beneath the world" impinged on decision making within my AAR, as there will certainly have been other options which were not taken as a result of game-decisions.

1901-1902: the first Austria negotiated then broke a Galicia DMZ. Kudos to him, I'm never opening the Squid again. Then he started getting all sweary in private press, then resigned. Turned out he was a cheat (thanks again Alman, great detective work), see above, so I was delighted to see him go. Rude and deceitful.

Turkey and I bounced a bit and I tried as hard as I could to get Juggernauting. Turkey saw I was on the back foot thanks to Austria so was non-committal.

Germany bounced me in Sweden but let me in in 1902. He realised France and England were united against him in the early years and had to regroup.

1903-1905: Turkey and I go to war, the new (by now, 3rd?) Austria expands quite well - always more chance when Turkey/Russia aren't friends. Germany pared down to 1SC, England 2SCs. I am a little worried that the West will resolve triumphantly for France before we resolve the Eastern triangle even slightly. France and I at this point are on some semblance of good terms.

1906: Turkey quits and I get a new Turkey to work with: first step, withdraw armed units from Turkey and reposition on Austria. Relations with France cool when I build F StP (NC).

1907-1908: England eliminated (I try and grab what I can). Austria implodes under my realigned troops, going from 6 SC to 1SC (so by now England is out and two nations are on 1SC).

At this point in the game, I had the following feelings:
I am in a solo-able position with some good work ahead, 10SC or so.
But, I'm spread out across the north of the board, with some vulnerable SCs (Kiel, London, Sevastopol)
So, why don't I see if I can create some semblance of a potential three way draw.

I reach out to the new Turkey and suggest a froggernaut-light: If we can eliminate Germany and Austria (who were on but 1 SC), and Italy (who could simply be squeezed between France and Turkey), a 3-way draw is a good outcome for all of us, and of course if I could set up to be able to solo in the future, so much the better. Why not lock in a 3-way draw now.

Turkey then sent me a bunch of messages from France, some stupid, some rude, some immature, and simply said they would have no part of a draw involving France. Totally understandable! By now we've seen all sorts of ad hominem attacks by France on - inter alia - England, Germany, Austria and now Turkey. Italy's no-nonsense approach also meant France was out of options.

So I went from a cold game position ("a 3-way draw is well within my reach, if not a solo, all I have to do is work with France as much as I can. He's untameable, I'll have to manage him as well as I can, this may backfire terrible, but if I can get Turkey on board we can wipe the smaller nations off easily") to a more moral position ("France is out of friends. I can't work with *just* France as that exposes my rear to Turkey, and France could flip out and go mad at any moment. What I need is France off the board").

So at Spring 1908, following Turkey's sharing of the fact he couldn't work with France, I send this message in the private press to Austria, Italy, Turkey and Germany:

"A Daring Proposal"

Hi folks,

So you know me as 'the cheerful one who inexplicably works with France'. At the moment I've been playing a 'best result' game which invariably means, looking at SC distribution, a draw involving France plus A.N.Other in some way.

Since the start of the game - and to varying degrees of success - I had favoured Turkey as the 3rd nation in a 3-way draw, if for no other reason that Russia and Turkey go together like peanut butter and jam, or bacon and any other available foodstuff.

However, we all know that the tenor of France's communications up till now have been a tad undesirable, both personally and publically. For some reason I've been spared the worst of it - either because I've not attracted his ire, or have gone along to get along in Russian terms.

But, I was wondering what people felt - especially as I'm not fussed about ratings, solos and all that claptrap - whether we could organise a coalition of the willing to destroy France, thereby lowering his rating (which he seems precious about) and cutting him out of any draw proposal. Then, we would propose and agree a 5-way draw between surviving nations, and I'll pen an apology AAR to England that he didn't get a share, plus an explanation to France about why such an implausible result can occur in-game!

In the first instance this would mean a couple of things:
1) Italy fending, then fighting, in the Med
2) Me stabbing in the UK and repositioning in Western Europe (troops from Austria moving West, sometimes through friendly centres).

Additional corollaries would be:
3) Austria and Germany continue to survive despite any French efforts to end them: 1-2 centres at all times.
4) Co-ordinated movements (as best as possible) and no stabs of coalition partners for simple/short-term gains.
5) No inducements from France to join his side to be heeded by any nation!

We only have 28hrs till the next phase so I appreciate this may not be the best season to start this. In fact, another season of me "making nice" to France may reel him in further to thinking it's him and me versus y'all.

So for now, I'd ask for two things:
a) to tell me whether you are in or out to such a proposal on the terms above
b) to not let France in on the plot!

It strikes me that one of a couple of results are currently most likely, which is either an unsatisfying solo for someone (either a solo for France which pleases none of us, or a player who won't take pleasure from it given the tone of France's communications), or a draw which involves France (which means most likely a ratings boost for the player who has antagonised most). I'd personally (and aesthetically) prefer a coalition wiping France off the board in favour of a peaceful, 5 party Europe!

Hope to hear from you all soon with your thoughts.

Best,
Russia


Fall 1908 - Spring 1912
And so the coalition of the willing was born, which you will see play out across the next 4 years. Germany and Austria swell to 4-5 SCs; we lose jkid and jkid's sub, Lucifer's Hammer, who put in a fantastic cameo in the public press fighting back against France's weaker cries, but pick up a permanent Germany who is happy to continue with the 5-way draw suggestion (massive thanks to the new Germany for not taking the opportunity to alter the game dynamic massively with yet another surrender-replacement).

1908: Germany-Austria to 2SCs each. Turkey incredibly decent, moving through the med to support Italy and not taking the undefended Sev from me.

1909: France loses another SC to Germany, and control of the North Sea to me.

1910: France loses Marseilles to Italy. Turkey swarming the med. I let Germany into Denmark as I can afford a destroy in the war against France.

1911: France loses 2 more centres to Germany, goes from a major player to the minor, marginalised one.

1912: France heeds his own petty advice and surrenders. 5 way draw proposed and accepted.

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CONCLUSIONS

What have I taken from this game? What do I hope others take from it?

Me first:
a) I can't wait to become a Classicist. The volume of surrenders is utterly tiresome in open ranked games. If you're committed to the game, and can handle the stabs and depredation, having to deal with one nation played by one player through the game is paramount. It's just too much work messaging a 4th nation to go through all that diplomatic work again! I am reluctant to play new games without checking surrender rates etc., as this was the worst bit about it.

b) as I now realise, there are times when you can opt for the "best result" (in my case that would have been 3-way or solo), or the "right result" (in this game that was France getting nothing from the game). That'll clarify in future games, but I hope - again - playing with Classicists might mean both results intersect.

c) I'm sorry to England that they were eliminated before we could set up our coalition. You also missed out on a share of the anti-france spoils, and you suffered as a result. I regret that, and would play with you again!

d) I will not play with Tuomasm again as it's clear that his play and communication style is bad for the game, not just "bad" in the tactical/strategic sense.

e) Diplomacy is a really fun game! Definitely want to play more, but may wait a while till I can fire off the hundreds of messages required to get through a game.

Others:

FRANCE (Tuomasm)
There's not a snowball's chance in hell Tuomasm will either i) come here or ii) accept the criticism with humility. What I have learned (and my wife already knew) is that some people will formulate an opinion ("you are lucky / a cheat / an idiot"; "everyone is against me, even the moderators"; "it's not fair") and won't see what is right in front of them: at 1908, I would have shared a draw with France. That fact was ended by France's - noone elses, not the other nations, not me, not the mods - inability to communicate well and civilly. France created this mess, but France will refuse to accept that point of view, even now, I'm sure. Given what FrankC posted from the previous game (a closing message full of contrition and 'I'll be more polite next game' from Tuomasm) it's clear that's rot, so no chance of me playing him again.

ITALY (ferdy0)
Played a great game and has the honour of being the "other nation that stuck the whole game out". His no-nonsense northern approach, pragmatic style worked great. I honestly found the messages a bit short - it was tough teasing more than a sentence out of you! - but I have a tendency to talk a lot, as this AAR will attest. Well played, Italy.

TURKEY (the Second, wenzu)
I think in the end it was a relief you said you couldn't work with France, but I honestly sweated 1908-1912 knowing you could totally stab me for Sev and possibly beyond. I appreciate you holding up your end of the bargain.

AUSTRIA (the fourth, FrankC)
Wow, you really did have to stand most of France's ire, eh! You're a great player and it was good playing with an old hand. that said, I'm glad you joined so weak, I don't fancy my chances against you from the get-go.

GERMANY (jkid)
I blame you for all this ;)

GERMANY (Brockenbrough)
Thanks for joining, keeping with the game plan when - as you joke - a solo might not have been impossible, if you'd united with France, burned some bridges...again when you joined I was worried but you proved honest and I'd play with you again, no doubt.

ENGLAND (can_of_squid)
Sorry you didn't get to be a part of the glory :(
Again, I'd happily join a game with you again. Your communications were extensive, detailed, polite, and clear. Easy to do business with you!

AUSTRIA/ENGLAND the first (nerdtilltheend & Martinoluterano)
You were rude, and cheats. Good riddance.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you've read this far, thanks! Feel free to look at the order history and ask questions; here's to hoping my next game isn't quite so fraught.

Best,
Cardlinger
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Re: AAR 107522 "The Return of the Prodigal Son" (5-way draw!

Postby ferdy0 » 23 Jan 2016, 14:26

This was just a bad game gone wrong for me....

Its a shame this game was marred by cheating and multiple surrenders - playing against players who's personalities keep changing is very difficult however I think we had a good bunch of players by the time the game was over (barring France obviously)

Shout out to:
Cardlinger - very good play from you, you came extremely close and if you hadn't of withdrawn you might have pulled of that solo.
LH - god I am glad we asked you to play your contribution was extremely worthwhile and made the game alot more interesting. hats off to you.
FrankC - you just kept running into issues here and its a real pity I would have loved to have worked with you throughout the whole game.
locksmithvic - Thank you for subbing for Frank your playing helped us all.
JKID - ......seriously you know how to make a game dont you? :P
Wenzu007 - Thank you for not killing me after we started moving against France, you had every opportunity.
BROCKENBROUGH - not much I can say since we didnt really meet each other.


Right onto the AAR:

I started out with an alliance with Austria with a planned lepanto - which you can see in my moves below, however Austria chose that point to decide that giving me Serb and Greece was a bad idea after all - and this (1902) is where it all started going wrong......

Spring 1902:
Image

After this I played a few years of swapping SC with Austria until FrankC made his appearance at which point I made an agreement to swap Ven for Tri. This was at the same time as I started contacting Turkey to convince him Rus was out for the solo and as soon as I came to accord with FrankC I offered for the three of us to work together for a three way and the destruction of Russia and France etc as well as contacting England to start some movement against France

To England, Austria & Turkey
Anti-Russia

I think it is time we work together and bring him down a peg, but to do this we need to work together!


To England & Austria (sent at same time as other message)
I Think turkey is not needed in this thread but we also need to work together against France as otherwise if we soley focus on russia then france will take the advantage and gain more ground.


Fall 1905:
Image

It was shortly after this that Turkey a message (to everyone) that it would be a better idea to take France out first and here is the big change of movements, this followed what I had previously sent to the other players so if anything it worked with regards to my plan which at this point was basically - stay alive- which as you can see Russia withdrew and everyone turned against the threat that was France

Fall 1906:
Image

Which you know the rest I lived for the 5 way - which in my opinion was a good result given how close I came to being destroyed, and it was lots of fun convincing everyone I was not worth killing and how everyone else was much much more important....heh - trust me convincing everyone into a 5-way draw (with me in it) was fun even if it took a while.

Final Game map - 1911:
Image

Still apply the thanks to Cardlinger for posting this.
Last edited by ferdy0 on 23 Jan 2016, 20:21, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: AAR 107522 "The Return of the Prodigal Son" (5-way draw!

Postby I Love Italy » 23 Jan 2016, 17:54

Wow. Great AAR of what sounds like an epic game. Interested to hear Ferdy's perspective, when he gets around to it.
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Re: AAR 107522 "The Return of the Prodigal Son" (5-way draw!

Postby TreciKorpus BiH » 23 Jan 2016, 18:50

Thank you. It was a pleasure to serve in the ranks with you! :)
RIP #Germansolo1916
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Re: AAR 107522 "The Return of the Prodigal Son" (5-way draw!

Postby TreciKorpus BiH » 23 Jan 2016, 20:02

Perhaps we could get to gether for another game.
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Re: AAR 107522 "The Return of the Prodigal Son" (5-way draw!

Postby Cardlinger » 23 Jan 2016, 20:07

BROCKENBROUGH wrote:Perhaps we could get to gether for another game.


Hi Brockenbrough,

I'd definitely play with you again, no doubt. Was a pleasure getting you in albeit late. I'd be interested in how we'd get going from 1901 though!

Best,
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Re: AAR 107522 "The Return of the Prodigal Son" (5-way draw!

Postby ferdy0 » 23 Jan 2016, 20:08

BROCKENBROUGH wrote:Perhaps we could get to gether for another game.


#metagaming - the mods would kill us
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Re: AAR 107522 "The Return of the Prodigal Son" (5-way draw!

Postby TreciKorpus BiH » 23 Jan 2016, 20:10

Oh... It was a fun game while it lasted. I was hoping France would stay so we could whoop his arse.
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Re: AAR 107522 "The Return of the Prodigal Son" (5-way draw!

Postby ferdy0 » 23 Jan 2016, 20:22

I Love Italy wrote:Wow. Great AAR of what sounds like an epic game. Interested to hear Ferdy's perspective, when he gets around to it.


75% done Ill try and tidy it up later.
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I almost peed myself when I saw a message from you - UKPBA

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Re: AAR 107522 "The Return of the Prodigal Son" (5-way draw!

Postby TreciKorpus BiH » 23 Jan 2016, 20:28

I might give my perspective too.
If anyone is looking for a game with 24/24/24 orders or longer and is ranked, please PM me to join.
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