Elite Championship AAR:110816 PDEC Gold-for all to comment

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Elite Championship AAR:110816 PDEC Gold-for all to comment

Postby charliep007 » 01 Feb 2016, 14:32

Guys

I think we should post the AAR in here, the PDEC forum is under tournaments which only allows premium players to post, I'd like to open this discussion up to anyone who would like to look at this game and ask questions of us. I think we have a good opportunity to really give an insight into playing dip at the deeper end.

So here are the intial links to the game and start of the discussion, I will repost my opening message, but lets continue the chat in here!

Original forum post:

viewtopic.php?f=726&t=51979

Game link http://www.playdiplomacy.com/game_play_details.php?game_id=110816
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Re: Elite Championship AAR:110816 PDEC Gold-for all to comme

Postby charliep007 » 01 Feb 2016, 14:33

Before getting into the AAR proper, I just want to address the 6 way ending at the start of this as it really is quite the surprise ending. I didn’t expect it in the slightest, but is it such a bad thing that it happened like this? I don’t necessarily think so.

Lets put aside site ranking points aside and get to the heart of diplomacy. There is a discussion going on right now regarding what is a win and is a win a draw etc. So I think this draw ending dovetails with that discussion.


I’ve been playing diplomacy for just over 2 years now from never having had played a game in my whole life. I think I’ve got a natural flair for the game, though FtF I’m a total newbie and can see that I’d find that more difficult to play at a high level than I would online (the ability to make quick strategic calls I don’t possess in my tool box yet) So over these two years my game has been rapidly developing, 2 summers ago I got to play in the top 7 and got my 2 way carebear heart slaughtered by standing aside from a defensible position and was beautifully tricked by El conq who saw his chance and solo’d. He did good and did right, but it also was a huge step forward in my game. It moved me from being a player who allowed personal relationships and connection within game from affecting my relationship for how I would see a game finish, to putting that aside and reconciling that for me to play, I want to play for solo always. I think Kimber Stormer once said something on a forum that playing for a solo is the only way to be fair to everyone and respect all. No-one is being treated unfairly, because the solo is the victory condition.

So I come at this game as a player who wants only one result – me to solo. That is exactly how I approached it and my play early game was to say to folk – I just want to bust past stalemate lines – which is exactly what was happening. Now I got into a positon where a solo was within grasp (faint chance – but still there) But I came up against an ally in Germany who was pushing hard for a 3 way draw with Turkey and myself. No matter what I said and did with him he was sticking to his guns. So I got to the point where I knew if I continued any more with him, he’d have enough centres to repel any attack from me and I’d be forced into a draw position. Also at that point Italy was vulnerable and I could easily have taken Rum F07. So I stabbed Germany for 2 (Bel and Mun) and gave Italy a lease of life. Dangerous because Italy could easily have turned it back on me (which is exactly what he did – and did very well)

So I ended up with Italy pushing me back to a stalemate position in the Med and me facing a G/I alliance with Italy holding all the cards. But I could just about defend myself to prevent the Italian solo push. I knew that if I aggravated Germany at the start of 1909 then it was highly probable that Italy would have taken MARS soon enough and then I’d have been pierced with no return, I knew Italy knew that too and that was why he moved as he did (I’d have done the same as Italy probably – though maybe a little differently which we can discuss later) So at the end of F08 I had lost Munich, lost the initiative and had certainly lost the solo shot. Italy was too strong and had me pinned too badly. Germany hadn’t spoken to me virtually all of 1908 so I had to make a play that would possibly turn the table on Italy and give me a chance to get some initiative back. That was the draw offer and the reasons for doing so. I accepted it, as I felt I needed to show the others that it was no bluff and posted my acceptance in the Public press – I was called out (by England I guess) as throwing my toys out of the pram, but it was a calm and calculated move. I wanted England and Turkey (and perhaps Austria) to feel like I was willing to do what I could to save them, and if Germany or Italy were refusing to accept the draw, I wanted for those others to back me for at least going for the solo rather than draw whittling. If I Germany was a carebear player looking for the 3 way then he would probably start to re-engage with me. Which he did almost immediately. He said he wouldn’t accept the 6 way and wanted to see it come down a bit – I thought ‘perfect’ there is the ammo I need to use with the smaller nations. Germany is looking to kill you guys. I just needed Germany to give me some breathing space and turn on the Italian. However in the negotiations, I really didn’t sense that Germany would, he was asking me to back away too much and hand Holland over. I figured that if I did that, I was at his mercy where he could take out England’s centres, and become the major power on the board very quickly while I became impotent. So I dug my heels in with the Karma. I told him there was no chance I would back away and gave him a set of defensive moves that allowed us to hold our place while Italy took out Turkey. I said I’d take that but wouldn’t risk me become shot down. It was how I felt it would most likely go.

So when after an hour of me sending that message to Karma past the game ended. I figure that Karm realised that his solo shot went too, which basically left Italy as the solo fav – though Karma and myself held enough of the stalemate lines to stop an Italian solo. I was prepared to sit it out for a 3 way if that was what was needed, I was not prepared to be walked over. So when all is said and done, to this community a 6 way may look like a damp squib of a result, but though I didn’t expect the draw vote to be taken, for me I see no difference in my position as it was from taking a 6 way or a 3 way. The solo was gone and so were my chances, I became the hunted and was only going to go south from that point – there was a chance that I could have worked something with England but that wasn’t looking like it would materialize and it was too much of a risk with Germany able to tap Bur and unlock the kingdom for Italy to run me over.

But folk, come back at me on this, this is a great opportunity to assess your own approach to playing on this site – how you view a 3 way better than a 6 way and why? If the solo is gone, its gone. At this level, if you realise you are beat by an opponent (I realised I was beat by Italy) you take the money and run – a draw is a draw is a draw. Yeah we could’ve taken Austria, England and Turkey out no problems, but what did that prove? We know how to move pieces round a board to draw whittle? I’m afraid I’m no longer into that, once I was but now I see it as an inferior way to play this game. You go for the solo, or you accept the draw. Period. One could argue that Italy shouldn’t have accepted the draw or Germany, but that’s for those guys to give an analysis for. From my end, I proposed it as a tactic as I was back to the wall, it got accepted, the game ended and I came out as tournament winner (in my opinion shared with Carebear as table leaders) But championship winner was no biggie for me, I really wanted to solo this baby, I couldn’t and we’ll dig into the detail of the game over the next for days I’m sure.

One point I will be looking at is the effect of Russia disbanding his last unit rather than retreating to Rum. By allowing Italy to get a rebuild of fleet in Nap – it really hurt my chances!! Grrrrrrr


So folkds rather than go – 6 way draw, what a flop… lets engage with this one openly and understand why it is or isn’t a flop and how can people develop their game from here. One of the things I’ve learned is the power of a truthful reputation and also to not be scared to state the intention of going for solo. More to follow no doubt!
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Re: Elite Championship AAR:110816 PDEC Gold-for all to comme

Postby Carebear » 01 Feb 2016, 14:42

charliep007 wrote:One of the things I’ve learned is the power of a truthful reputation and also to not be scared to state the intention of going for solo. More to follow no doubt!

Can you talk in more detail about these two tidbits?

Re: Truth - Karma was projecting that he wouldn't work with you any longer, we will see if he says if that was honest or not. I would probably only work with you if you had decided to cede the solo. To me, it felt like your diplomatic capital was spent and you would be several seasons alone in the wilderness.
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Re: Elite Championship AAR:110816 PDEC Gold-for all to comme

Postby HonestAbe » 01 Feb 2016, 15:21

I think a 3-way draw is definitely a better result than a 6-way draw, and a 2-way better than a 3-way, and of course, a solo is the best outcome. While the argument can be made that the draws are essentially the same, whittling eliminates countries and in essence brings the remaining players closer to a solo. With that in mind, isn't a 3-way draw three steps closer to a solo than a 6-way draw? Moreover, the dynamics of the board do change in the whittling process and so can provide potentials that may not have existed before. Another way to think about this is from the point of view of the tournament itself: if all draws are essentially the same, why bother giving more points for a 2-way draw than a 3-way draw, etc? I don't think you can have it both ways.
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Re: Elite Championship AAR:110816 PDEC Gold-for all to comme

Postby Hindu Warrior » 01 Feb 2016, 15:23

Why austria was left and not vanquished ??????????
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Re: Elite Championship AAR:110816 PDEC Gold-for all to comme

Postby mikeoregan » 01 Feb 2016, 15:58

Firstly congratulations on winning the tournament, charliep. Well done. Sincerely.
And although I didn't qualify it seemed to me that the tournament was excellently run, so a site-wide thanks to WHSeward is in order.

I am posting here because I have been vocal in the Cheap Seats forum, where non-premiums can't see. (Thanks for running that gsmx)
And I'm kinda reluctant to do so, because I know I'll get flamed ... but here goes ... my fragile ego will just have to take it.

charliep007 wrote:But folk, come back at me on this, this is a great opportunity to assess your own approach to playing on this site – how you view a 3 way better than a 6 way and why?


No I don't think that a 6 way is necessarily worse than a 3 way. What I think is that there was plenty of play left in the game and that it is not a good example of a 6 way draw. Or of a draw at all in fact.
Now, obviously I am not half the player any of you seven are, but it seems to me that Italy could have taken over the east and then pushed for the line, while easily holding you in the west med.
And, that would have brought about a crisis for you and Germany (and indeed England). Because the units in place on the main stalemate line (around Munich), are simply the wrong ones to hold it from the west.
Now I'm not saying that you guys wouldn't have sorted out your differences. But you did have differences to sort out and Italy might have been able to take advantage.
Nor do I want to understate the task of eliminating the likes of Konk and Daximus.

Was there any guarantee of success? No.
Was it worth a try? I think so.
If Italy had tried and failed, would someone else have had a shot at a solo from there? Quite possibly, but is it not better to have risked it all on one turn of pitch and toss, as Mr Kipling would say?

This was THE show piece game of the year. Was this the best our site/community had to offer.

To win the US Masters in Atlanta with a double bogey, is still a win.
But it is also, still a double bogey.
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Re: Elite Championship AAR:110816 PDEC Gold-for all to comme

Postby Zosimus » 01 Feb 2016, 16:10

I haven't looked at the game in great detail, but all I can say is that Russia's play to the first two seasons is inexplicable. If you want to get an uncontested Sweden, you have to be nice to Germany –- that's a given. So opening to Warsaw - Silesia is questionable right there. Nothing less than an iron-clad guarantee from France to render support into Munich would convince me to open thus, and even then it would have to be a very weak moment to convince me.

It should be obvious in the fall that Germany is not about to let Russia have Sweden, so why not simply play the fleet to the Baltic? You have nothing to lose and perhaps much to gain, especially if you can convince England to move to Denmark and take the vacated square.

With a more normal Southern Defense and active cultivation of a friendship with Germany, Russia might have gotten two builds to start. Certainly it would have taken nerves of steel for Austria to deny Rumania to Russia under those circumstances. Additionally, assuming that Russia isn't invading Galicia to start, he must surely think that he has some sort of a deal worked out with Austria. So why isn't the fleet trying to go to Rumania so that Russia can build a second fleet and engage Turkey more actively?

Even a more normal Moscow - St. Petersburg to start would have given England a well-deserved heart attack and certainly would have been better than directly antagonizing Germany.
Be more aggressive.
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Re: Elite Championship AAR:110816 PDEC Gold-for all to comme

Postby charliep007 » 01 Feb 2016, 17:41

Carebear wrote:
charliep007 wrote:One of the things I’ve learned is the power of a truthful reputation and also to not be scared to state the intention of going for solo. More to follow no doubt!

Can you talk in more detail about these two tidbits?

Re: Truth - Karma was projecting that he wouldn't work with you any longer, we will see if he says if that was honest or not. I would probably only work with you if you had decided to cede the solo. To me, it felt like your diplomatic capital was spent and you would be several seasons alone in the wilderness.


Karma was projecting to me that he wanted to turn on Italy but I'd have to yield Holland and nth. I couldn't risk being overrun and I couldn't risk annoying him more so that Italy could take advantage. As you said CB, I ran out of diplomatic capital. I think it's fair to credit you with a lot of that as you got me to stab Germany then turn it around. Nicely played
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Re: Elite Championship AAR:110816 PDEC Gold-for all to comme

Postby BullCall » 01 Feb 2016, 17:52

Congrats to all on the gold board! It was a great achievement. I do find it amazing that a game dominated by players who are great at solos ends in a 6-way though.

I think it was a really well played game however. On Charlie's comments about his draw vs solo intentions - if you really believed in the solo as the only victory wouldn't you have continued to fight on? If any draw is still a loss why take a 6-way? Keep fighting, let Italy make a run for the solo, shift the alliances again later and try to make a comeback.

I don't play a real soloist game that way and accept draws all the time. I end up getting a lot more 3-way draws than solos as a result. But I wouldn't consider myself a pure soloist and I do think a 3-way draw is better than a 6-way. Perhaps its because the scoring system says it is though. If the tournament (or the rating system) was changed to zero points for a loss or draw and points only for a solo I think everyone's attitude would change.

The comments about being a soloist don't really jive with the reasons for taking the 6-way in my opinion. Was the solo really gone, never to be found again? I sensed in your writing a concern about being eliminated, which would only mean you consider a 6-way draw better than being eliminated. So maybe you're not quite the "damn the torpedoes" soloist you thought you were. I can certainly see a draw offer being used as a point of strategy. But i would think a real soloist would only use that if they were convinced it would not be accepted.
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Re: Elite Championship AAR:110816 PDEC Gold-for all to comme

Postby gsmx » 01 Feb 2016, 20:31

I don't know if you really need to explain yourself Charlie, from a tournament perspective you did absolutely the right thing. Any type of draw scenario where you were the SC leader automatically made you the tournament winner. No brainer. If the draw request came up in 1902 and you had 1 more SC then everybody else then of course ..accept it.

The head scratching falls on everybody else, why accept certain loss in a game that wasn't stalemated or even really played out all that fully-completely? It was only 1909.

Best i can tell from this is..
* France - Accepting the draw means he wins
* Germany - About to travel and wanted wrapped up
* Austria/England - About to get knocked out so wanted to hold onto some ranking
* Italy - Personal schedule getting busy[/list]

Not terrific reasons, but they're reasons. Turkey .. not really in danger so i really don't undertstand that one. Would love to get some insight into this.

So i think this sheds a lot of light into some flaws in the tournament worth discussing, so i have a few questions.

1) How much did fatigue play into everyone's draw decision?
2) Did the scoring system play in to the decision? i.e. Knowing you needed to either solo or draw with everybody seeded above you already knocked out. Buchaille and Carebear almost 'had' to solo to win the tournament due to their low seeding
3) Did the conflict of interest for winning for tournament purposes and protecting rating (ranked game) come into your decision?
4) Would this game likely to have carried on if one mandatory pause allowance was allocated to each player helping to alleviate external priorities?
5) How many of you actually clicked draw as a bluff assuming it would never have gone through and really wished the game to continue?

charliep007 wrote:But folk, come back at me on this, this is a great opportunity to assess your own approach to playing on this site – how you view a 3 way better than a 6 way and why? If the solo is gone, its gone. At this level, if you realise you are beat by an opponent (I realised I was beat by Italy) you take the money and run – a draw is a draw is a draw. Yeah we could’ve taken Austria, England and Turkey out no problems, but what did that prove? We know how to move pieces round a board to draw whittle? I’m afraid I’m no longer into that, once I was but now I see it as an inferior way to play this game. You go for the solo, or you accept the draw. Period. One could argue that Italy shouldn’t have accepted the draw or Germany, but that’s for those guys to give an analysis for. From my end, I proposed it as a tactic as I was back to the wall, it got accepted, the game ended and I came out as tournament winner (in my opinion shared with Carebear as table leaders) But championship winner was no biggie for me, I really wanted to solo this baby, I couldn’t and we’ll dig into the detail of the game over the next for days I’m sure.

This I really don't agree on philosophically. While different in this particular case since a draw doesn't balance out the same for each players (due to the tournament tie breaker system), generally speaking the "a draw is a draw" black and white attitude really doesnt' work very well for this game and we'd intentionally set up our ranking system to properly incentivize playing for "best case" outcomes. If we start getting into attitudes that it's gotta look like i have a shot at a solo or we just throw the game out then what's the point of even walking into the game? You need those incentives and rewards of making a better outcome to assist within the game of being able to create situations where solo's are possible "Psst..just do this and you'll probably work your way to a three-way." "Nah...I'm gonna draw anyways so six-way is fine, i'm gonna stick with stalemate".

I'm actually surprised you charlie specifically would endorse this attitude having not that long ago played a game where Turkey went from 1SC to solo, so you should very much know that solo dreams most certainly shouldn't be dashed so easily.
The first quality that is needed is audacity.
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