128987: laptop slapstick

Discussion of finished games.

128987: laptop slapstick

Postby ironcladsoldier » 23 May 2017, 23:06

England: ironcladsoldier (3-Way Draw)
France: ipanema
Italy: Corbin Kash
Germany: Thundax (joined 1902)
Austria: Resonance Capture (3-Way Draw)
Turkey: Shyvve (3-Way Draw)
Russia: TiberiusG58 (joined 1905)

First, thanks to all for a wonderful game and good communication/etiquette. Thundax and TiberiusG58, thanks especially for picking up the tough surrendered positions.

I've never had good luck as England. I always somehow get foiled in my early game to zero builds, and am usually the target of a Sealion. This game looked no different to me in 1901, and I was certain I'd be the first out. France saw through my clumsy diplomatic bluff of "I need the channel so I get two builds" and went ahead to bounce me. Russia said they weren't moving RA(Mos)-StP, and then I saw RA(Mos)-StP. The original Germany was stunningly incoherent. Then France and Russia both build fleets in the Atlantic.

France's opening had me incredibly scared, and if it weren't for Italy and Germany's intervention, we would have stalemated in the MAO until doomsday. They wanted me to back off first, and I almost had the original Germany convinced to join me in a land invasion of France if they hadn't been attacked by Austria. France had a very strong 1901 but then built FF(Bre) and FF(Mar), which left their center completely undefended. With Italy's help, we could have taken them down easily. I did not count on or realize that T/A/R were all working together.

Russia continually told me they were not hostile, and I was surprised year after year to find they weren't lying -- especially after they had build two fleets in StP.nc. As it went on, I was shocked to see T/A/R hold together as long as possible, and I submit that Russia's fault is being too honest.

In 1905, Turkey set up the E-A-T alliance and that held for the rest of the game, though it wasn't clear that it was all three right away. Germany had just fallen, and Russia was still saying they would not attack me, despite all of their forces pointed at NTH. I, of course, stupidly forgot to build in W1904 and had to deal with 4/6 units for 1905, which was not fun. I had spent the whole game nudging Turkey to just stab northward already, and was thrilled to see they had finally taken my suggestion. When they did, the original Russia resigned almost immediately (boo). It was a very decisive stab, though Russia was not unplayable, and TiberiusG58 did strike a deal with me to try and defend the south... whereupon I ignored it and attacked them right out, since they still had all units on my border.

At the same time, I saw France had overcommitted to the Mediterranean after our break, and took Brest in 1905. The Iberian fell soon after, but the two-front war and my relative lack of armies (thanks to Russia's three fleets) meant we were all playing a weird cat-and-mouse game in the lowlands before it all settled.

By the start of 1907, France was no-factor, and there were only four Russian territories for us to split. At this point, Turkey attempted a stab, which I warned Austria about it during the spring moves, which led to just enough pushback for Turkey to back off the stab. I didn't expect them to -- they had a good chance to take the Austrian home centers, were way ahead of me at the stalemate lines, and had fleets too far in the Mediterranean for me to really offer a resistance.

Whether or not you would have made it... who knows. You would've at least gotten to 16 or so, and it would have been all about Munich, Marseilles, and Spain. I would have tried it, if I were you, because in the worst case you still get a three-way draw. You likely wouldn't have been beaten all the way back, especially as Austria was going to be hit very hard by it. Austria and I were planning contingencies for the rest of the game, and I kept building in case that were the case.

I considered offering a two-way wicked witch draw to Turkey, but I wasn't certain that I could stop the solo if I also attacked Austria, so that was off the table. Honestly, I'm surprised that I made it through at all. Had Russia attacked me at any of the chances they had, instead of being so darn honest, they could have finished me off.

Anyways, wonderful game, and this trainwreck was still my best start as England, so what do you know.
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Re: 128987: laptop slapstick

Postby Shyvve » 25 May 2017, 02:01

I would like to thank ironcladsoldier (ICS) for taking the initiative here and posting his AAR about this game. As the game wound down, I floated the notion of doing an AAR myself with the specific intention of highlighting my decision and thinking regarding my possible solo attempt. I wanted to get the other players' thoughts on this and also feedback from the Forum in general as to whether I "chickened-out" too soon by forgoing the best solo position I have had to date onsite.

My thanks also go out to Thundax and TiberiusG58 for picking up the surrendered German and Russian positions in a timely fashion such that our game experienced no NMR disruptions.

A note about the players:
ipanema (France)-We had little interaction of substance actually so little to say here. Your defense of Italy and the western Mediterranean was frustratingly effective for a good while.
Corbin Kash (Italy)-Well, Austria and I had it out for you from the beginning and you defended yourself as well as could be expected.
tiz (original Russia)-As ICS mentioned, your only fault was perhaps being a bit too trusty in this game. I simply couldn't resist the stab. R/A/T formed early and was a solid alliance due in no small part to the early decision you made to commit to it. You never made a hostile move towards either of A/T once the initial "building trust" turns were past.
TiberiusG58 (new Russia)-I enjoyed some of the "death throe" banter in our talks but you never really had a chance with E/A/T bearing down on you at the time you joined the game
MarshalZhukov (original Germany)-Again, not much to say here as we had very little interaction. IMO you surrendered much too early (F02) from a 5-center position with decent prospects.
Thundax (new Germany)-Your username just fits being Germany! You gave us lots of tactical problems around Sil-War-Boh and played a strong game until overcome by numbers.
ICS (England)- There was much rejoicing among A/T when you decided to once again move against France around the time of the stab on Russia. You and I enjoyed a good rapport and communication throughout the game. I knew you were always watching.
Resonance Capture, RC (Austria)-We hit it off from the get-go and things only got better from there. I appreciate the level of detailed correspondence throughout. You were a fantastic ally and I hope I proved the same for you-even though towards the end I might not have been such a great ally after all.

The Game
Make no mistake, from the very first turn, it appeared that an RAT was going to happen. I agreed early on to not hassling Austria about Greece and hoped my S01 DMZ in the Black Sea would be honored. It was, as Russia opened to Rum and I moved my F Ank-Con.
The general plan was for A/T to proceed against Italy ASAP and A/R to concentrate on Germany. Russia and England were to achieve a quiet North.

It is of no small consequence that this game was an Open Ballot w/DIAS. This affected my decision to back away from a solo attempt later in the game.

Up until the time that I stabbed Russia, my strategy in responding to rather persistent overtures that I stab either of Austria or Russia was that the real alliance in play here was an R/A. Turkey was just a power of modest strength (four to five centers) which feared swift retaliation from R/A should Turkey execute any ill-advised stab on either. They (R/A) are forcing poor Turkey to go along with their evil plans! :cry:

I will skip now to the situation at the end of the W04 Adjustments phase.

By this time England and France had long ceased their titanic and ineffectual battle of the Mid-Atlantic. Italy is reduced to the single center of Tunis and Germany is down to its last center also. France has effectively bottled up A/T in the south.
Russia has made excellent progress in the North but is more than a bit exposed to a Turkish stab. During 1902 I had successfully negotiated with A/R that Turkey be allowed to transit an army to Gal to deal with some problems Thundax made for us around Sil-War-Boh.
England is facing the possible loss of the Nth Sea and Russia the possible loss of StP.
This was also the turn in which England unfortunately whiffed on its two builds. Ow!

At this point of the game, we were just about to pull the trigger on a 'friendly attack' by Turkish armies on Russia's F Rum; the idea being to destroy the retreated unit and rebuild (anywhere but Sev basically). My fleet build in Con was not really questioned that much by Russia, and I likely passed it off as Turkey needing another fleet in the Med or some such. I believe that I did inform Russia that I would be moving this fleet to the Black Sea just to insure Russia didn't change his mind and retreat thereto.

Also of note, I had investigated my opponents' stats prior to the game starting. There is no other way to say it but that the original Russia's surrender rate was absolutely shocking (roughly a 50% surrender rate with over fifty games played). RC and I had discussed this situation and what was likely to happen should Russia suffer a potent stab. It happened.

The Stab
S05-Part 1
The 'friendly attack' goes off as planned and Russia destroys his fleet. The last German center also falls this turn to the Bear as Russia also snags Nwy. This has me a little worried about what I'm planning in the fall.
Significantly, England has moved back into the Channel, which I am sure made France rather apoplectic as Brest is completely defenseless. I honestly don't recall when these negotiations with England began, and I'm sure I didn't share my plan to move against Russia with England (or maybe not even with Austria for that matter). Obviously though, these talks about England moving against France had already begun.

F05-Part 2
I renege on my promise to vacate Rum and voraciously swipe Russian centers in F05. England takes Brest as F-E hostilities renew. Russia does (disturbingly) hold onto both Kiel and Nwy however. Austria has also joined in and taken Berlin.
The original Russia surrendered shortly after these moves processed-quickly and silently. TiberiusG58 joined shortly thereafter without even a post to the Forum advertising the position. All I know is I logged in one day to a new Russia!
In any event, after the stab of Russia in F05, a three-way E/A/T alliance was in full force.
Turkey is now at nine centers.

Skipping a bit more to the situation at the end of W06...
The Stab (that didn't happen)
So I have built my two new armies and have a fleet in the Bla for convoy duty. Austria is wide open to a Turkish stab unless he reacts in S07. Unfortunately, he did just that-not in a knee-jerk fashion but just enough to deter me from executing the stab.
England had grown at a pretty good clip over the past two years, two centers per year I believe. So I thought gentle concern whispered in RC's ear about our English friend's long-term intentions might gain some traction. I didn't want to overplay this as by this time, Austria and England were coordinating their moves with some depth and regularity as they put the finishing touches on France. A-E were probably engaged in more regular discussion than A-T were at this time.
Plus, the memory of my stab of Russia was still paramount in RC's mind I would think.

From the above image, it is evident that Austria could conceivably gain Mar, Par, Bel in Y07-even Kiel if need be-to offset the damage I would do with a F07 stab. I stood to gain the centers of Nap, and perhaps all three of Ser, Bud and Vie if Austria doesn't react in some fashion in S07. Had I gained all those I would then be at 15 centers with good prospects to acquire StP in addition.
So, on to the spring turn...

S07-Turkey balks
Austria's move of Ven-Tri has effectively saved his butt. It definitely deterred me from following through on the stab; well, this move coupled with the fact he had also gained Mar and would gain Par in the fall. RC could even have been given Spa and Bel.
Austria's move to Rome was per agreement (I think? On second thought maybe it wasn't and this was part of RC's defense against my stab). I still stood to recapture Rome and two of Ser, Bud or Vie.
But the effectiveness of my stab had been lessened as a build for Austria could have been engineered.
So, I back off. I agree to vacate Gal and confess to A-E my rather obvious temptation to have stabbed RC. I swear that I have now seen the error of my ways and am committed to a 3-way E/A/T draw.
The situation at end of W07.

Damn depressing isn't it? :(
It really was just downhill from here on out. Eliminate Russia and shake hands. I would take StP soon but that was the end of my run.
The game ended in E/A/T draw before the S10 moves processed.

Final Board

-I did consider just plowing ahead anyway with the solo attempt on the F07 turn. Other than the ability to engineer a build for Austria, there was also the DIAS factor which meant Russia would have survived (and likely joined E/A against me). In addition, France could have been left with Spain at the end of Y07 and Austria could have gained Mar, Par, Bel and Kiel that turn, giving her a build (in a likely bounced and vacant Bud).
So, now I would have been looking at a 5-way draw. Or, a long drawn out retreat to a minimal stalemate position for Turkey which would at best end in a three-way E/A/T draw.

-Could I have persuaded England to try for a 2-way?
Very unlikely ICS would have gone for that as I probably could have beaten him to a solo in that case.

So, I very much enjoyed this game but there is that bit of regret in my mind that I could have done better too. I don't have a whole lot of experience in mid- to late-game situations so every time I get there I'm learning.
Perhaps some of the other players would care to comment while the game is still somewhat fresh on their minds. And any comments from the Diplomacy grognards present on the Forum would also be welcome and appreciated. Berate me for my sniveling cowardice or commend me on my sage wisdom!
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