AAR 128445 Juggernaut Rematch

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Re: AAR 128445 Juggernaut Rematch

Postby FloridaMan » 30 Apr 2017, 21:32

French AAR Juggernaut Rematch

At the beginning of a game, I generally reach out to all powers. In this game, I engaged in communications with every power from the beginning.

I heard from England quite early on, and I also communicated with Germany. England was suggesting a Western Triple, and I suggested to Germany that we could use that as a cover to surprise attack England. We did so very quickly, and I’m sure it was a very unpleasant surprise for England. England was so good as to open anti-Russia, convoying to Norway, which I think really sealed his doom as much as anything else.

My medium term plan at this point was to decimate England, who I consider to be a natural obstacle to France, while maintaining friendship with both of my other neighbors, and then work with whoever was convenient to strengthen France. I had no special loyalty to Germany at this early stage, and indeed in messages with Russia, I suggested that he needed to consider Germany as his primary threat (a threat I suggested I could help with) after the fall of England.

I felt that by building two fleets, I could ensure I took virtually all of England and make inroads in Belgium and Holland later (stealing German territory)-as long as I could make sure Italy didn’t invade me! Italy was rather understandably paranoid, not realizing that the Western Triple was dead as soon as I supported Germany into Belgium over England (who expected to get it). I reassured him that my moves would show my plans were anti-English (and ultimately also anti-German), not anti-Italian.

Things change, though.

By Fall 1902, it is exceedingly noticeable that Russia is going to become a superpower in the East. This worries me a bit, though I still believe that I can be the winner if he and I tag team Germany, followed by Italy and I tag teaming Russia. I don’t discuss this too much with anyone, just trying to stay on good terms with all parties.

Happily, Austria and Italy are fighting now, which I think will keep Italy occupied for a while.

Although our anti-English progress has been slow, I capture Liverpool in Fall 1903, and salivate while planning to seize the entire island. I’m happy to be allied to Germany, who is a shield between me and any other powers (and is also someone I could easily attack with Russian help in future). However, I am beginning to rethink the Russian combination. I don’t bother messaging him further, since I want to see if something slows him down in the East before I push the idea of him helping me take Germany out.

Germany and I make further plans about England, and it seems he’ll go down pretty quickly now, and I can choose between attacking Germany (high risk, high reward) or Russia and/or Italy in the North and South.

I get a nasty surprise in Spring 1904 when Russia moves into Norwegian Sea. I know what that means; he wants a piece of England, or possibly me. He’s left Sweden empty, which seems to mean he’s trusting Germany.

Russia (unsurprisingly) makes the unwise move of supporting Edinburgh to hold, thus planting the seeds of his defeat. It’s worth noting that if he had supported me in or moved toward attacking Germany, I would probably have joined in at that point. Russia wasn’t a monolith in the East, and Italy would be able to slow him down enough to give me decent odds of a solo if I was smart.

Too late for that.

Germany fortunately remains loyal (unsurprising, since stabbing me would give him about an 80% chance of causing a Russian solo), and Russia seems to have massively miscalculated everything about the West. Germany and I both know that geographically, he’d be at a massive disadvantage if he decided to fight me. Progress would be slow and difficult, and Russia could easily stab him at any moment (and would have every incentive to do so). Germany would be an absolute fool to do it.

Russia now shifts his attention to me. I’m rather impressed by how badly he has fumbled this, considering his brilliance on other fronts. He sends me a Spring 1905 message, to which I do not respond, proposing that I stab Germany for reasons that make sense only to Russia.

Italian build choices suggest he does not intend to attack me, so I plan to send almost everything I have North to blow Russia away. I am big on disproportionate retribution when my opponents make this sort of mistake.

Germany likewise plans to attack Russia, since it is transparently obvious that Russia is attempting to make us pawns in his solo scheme.

Fall 1905: I seize Edinburgh, North Sea, and Norwegian Sea, while Germany moves into Warsaw.

Italy makes the most gains, though. I build a fleet in Marseilles to ensure I can defend myself effectively against him.

Unfortunately, as we advance against Russia, and I continue the communications I have continually with Germany and Italy, Italy feels it is to his advantage to move some units West, under the pretense of defending himself from my fleet Marseilles. I don’t move.

Pretty soon after that, Italy stabs Germany. I’m rather surprised that he didn’t ask me what I thought first. I would have suggested we should do more damage against Russia (and that he and I should be close to parity) first.

Oh well. I cling to Germany for the remainder of the game, aware that any other strategy offers about an 80% chance of Italian solo (according to my vision of the future).

A good game in many respects. Italy and Russia were (in my opinion) too clever by half. Both of them thought they could convince me to shoot myself in the foot, which I was unwilling to do. Italy (whether accidentally or on purpose) dramatically overstated the gains I could expect by stabbing Germany (who had essentially assured that he would throw the game to Italy in the event of a French stab).

I like the deck stacked in my favor; fundamentally, I’m a pretty conservative player, not a risk taker willing to stab an ally for a 20% chance of solo. If I could have switched positions with Italy, and then had to try to solo in his position, assuming I knew France would stab Germany, I would do it in a heartbeat.

Just my two cents…
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Re: AAR 128445 Juggernaut Rematch

Postby sock » 01 May 2017, 01:13

drintoul wrote:Unfortunately, as we advance against Russia, and I continue the communications I have continually with Germany and Italy, Italy feels it is to his advantage to move some units West, under the pretense of defending himself from my fleet Marseilles. I don’t move.


I'm pleased to hear drintoul's side of the story, since I was curious how fluid his thinking was at the beginning of the game. I'm not surprised to see a carefully laid out plan with a long-term strategic view. I failed to make a stronger connection with France, which would have given him additional options as he considered his post-English moves. But to be fair, I had always had my eyes on Spain and Mars, and so conflict was inevitable; the Austrian stab simply delayed my western actions. But I didn't move west until I saw the fleet in Mars, and not aggressively either, since I deliberately chose not to immediately respond with a move into Piedmont. Moving my fleet into the Tyr Sea seemed prudent, not aggressive.

drintoul wrote:Pretty soon after that, Italy stabs Germany. I’m rather surprised that he didn’t ask me what I thought first. I would have suggested we should do more damage against Russia (and that he and I should be close to parity) first.


Good point. But frankly I didn't trust you. I thought you and Germany were thick as thieves, which was accentuated by your building Mars. And Russia had abandoned Norway to allow you easy access. I had just taken Russian territory from him. So I thought the three of you were gunning for me. If I had a stronger comfort zone, I would asked V to consider giving me Vienna as he pursued Moscow, because that straightened out my lines.

It seemed more sensible to make peace with Russia, who never stopped talking to me, despite my Balkan stab.

drintoul wrote:
A good game in many respects. Italy and Russia were (in my opinion) too clever by half. Both of them thought they could convince me to shoot myself in the foot, which I was unwilling to do. Italy (whether accidentally or on purpose) dramatically overstated the gains I could expect by stabbing Germany (who had essentially assured that he would throw the game to Italy in the event of a French stab).


Maybe. It was not clever to find myself in a situation in which only 17 centers were easily accessible, half or otherwise. It was a blunder based on my own conservative play, further tempered by paranoia. But I was a little rusty, and there were players around the board who had played together before. Being the "new" kid made every more cautious.

It would seem reasonable to at least try to negotiate with the only other power that thought could benefit from a German stab. The point that I failed to make (whether it was good one or pure fantasy) was that Russia was not going to be too accommodating if I turned on him again. It wasn't an issue of centers. It was an issue of timing. If I gave you Munich and you took Sweden (which I think you would have) you would had access to the Baltic Sea, giving you the edge in capturing Berlin, and then working backwards to the centers behind your own stalemate line. It would have been a race, and it would have depended upon my ability to wrest Munich from you, which was highly debatable since you could have put "uncuttable" units in Burg, Kiel and Ruhr. I couldn't take STP, so the only way I solo was Munich or Berlin, both of which would have been firmly in your hands. I don't believe Russia would have actively helped me get a solo, which he would have had to do if I had any hope of gaining Berlin or even maybe STP.

I think your argument has merit. I'm not challenging it. And I don't fault you for taking the safe route. I probably would have done the same. But I did want to offer you some explanation for at least trying to unlock the stalemate lines that were forming.

Good play from my opponents and a healthy dose of paranoia sealed my fate. I can live with that.
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