AAR: 126605. Red Ryder

Discussion of finished games.

AAR: 126605. Red Ryder

Postby edmgrim » 12 Jun 2017, 02:10

My first solo in online play. And an unexpected one at that.

The Players

BRITIAN -- bjc13 (Surrendered Spring 1903) edmgrim (SOLO WIN)
FRANCE -- kbaktidy (Surrendered Fall 1903) kwc
ITALY -- Castleaaargh (Surrenderred Fall 1901) cairoblue
GERMANY -- mff11d7 (Surrendered Spring 1912) hornpipe2
AUSTRIA -- Foibleson
TURKEY -- QuinnysJoan (Surrendered Spring 1904);DukeofAquitaine (Surrendered Fall 1906) whiteric
RUSSIA -- Jette (Surrendered Fall 1901) ken31415

Here's the complete game

A little background

I came into this game in Spring 1903 taking over an abandoned (and what I thought to be hopeless) English position, In general, I shy away from games with greater than 2-day deadlines because I feel like they move too slowly unless the group is highly communicative. Judging from public press at the time, I thought there might be some potential here and even if there wasn't, my time would be short enough lived anyway. My goal was to make sure my demise came at a cost to whoever came to kill me.

Executive Summary

This game consisted of 4 phases:

In the Beginning -- 1901-1902
A period of ineptitude. It could be excused if it was written off purely due to the mistakes of an inexperienced player who was unfamiliar with the rues and the interface. But a nearly complete absence of communication from the original England cannot be pardoned. Austria makes his mark early on

A New Hope -- 1903 - 1904
KIng George abdicates and Jack (me) joins the fray. The era is marked by the crown's sconsolidate, establish relationships, prepare to move forward, and most importantly, turn everyone against Austria

The reformation -- 1905-1910
I form an alliance with Germany and together we begin to give Austria a run for his money.

The End Game 1911 - 1913
I show my true colors and no longer depend upon the cooperation of anyone else on the board. That does not mean I won't enlist their help anyway.

The whole story

In The Beginning -- 1901 and 1902

Lots of trash talk in the public press and King George has put in his two cents (and may have contributed anonymously as well. It looks like this might be a dynamic game. Looks can be deceiving.

We will excuse King Edward for his spring orders under the impression that he is brand new to the game and does not understand movement. He takes North Sea but Liverpool and London are stalled by impossible orders.

Meanwhile, Russia stalls his Fleet in St. Pete by moving it directly to Sweden.

France is a little more confusing; he moves to Burgundy but inexplicably ORDERS Brest and Marseilles to stand put.

And while Italy, Austria, and Turkey all manage to make more reasonable moves, it does not look like there is a whole lot of agreement in that part of the world either.

Looking at the Private press, the King is pretty tight lipped. He has initiated no conversations and only responded to Austria, promising to pass along intelligence in exchange for the same in return.

Germany has proposed a non-aggression pact. France and Russia have been silent.

Image

In Fall, England makes the best of a bad situation and at least manages to take Norway while London keeps the North Sea. But LVP tries AGAIN to go directly to London! What gives?

Meanwhile, it appears France actually had a plan. He moves into Belgium and taking advantage of a vacant Piedmont, vacates Marseilles for Spain.

Russia surrenders The new Tsar makes his introductions and incurs the immediate wrath of an anonymous power who demands, "Russia must die"

Italy surrenders Barely 24 hours pass when Italy surrenders! The Russian surrender is somewhat understandable after the gaffe in Sweden, but Italy looks OK. A new Italy joins with a vow to stay to the end. He is welcomed enthusiastically and a wild round of trash talk ensues all the way through 1902!

Germany anticipates a French offensive and retreats from the Russian Front back to Munich. Fortunately for him, the new Tsar retreats too. Maybe this is the beginning of an alliance? Is the King paying attention?

Meanwhile, war has already broken out in The Balkans.

Conversation is still sparse in The West. In fall, England has only written a short message to Italy to assure him that he is still playing. There have been no conversations coming or going about strategy much less cooperation.

In Winter, despite the mistakes, The King still has his build and France is not in a position much different from many french openings, even if it may have been achieved in an unusual way.

1902 rolls in and King George makes an interesting move; he vacates Norway to Norwegian paving the road for Russia to romp in. But it looks like there may be a method to his madness. North Sea take Skag and London follows int the North Sea. So The King won't be getting a build in 02, but at least he has a chance to hold on to what he has and will be pretty strong up North if he does.

France seems to be cooperating, but Germany and Russia look like they might be working together now. Between the German fleets in Helg and Den and Russia's northern presence, it looks like things are going to get tense real soon. But France's moves up to the German border might be enough of a distraction.

The King has not written to anybody since assuring Italy that he is still here, and I think that is contributing to what is going on with Russia and Germany. And it seems that everyone else is fine with that as they have not written to him either. In fact, until Jack gets here, it's going to be radio silence.

[i]Fall 02[/b] offers no reassurances for The Island Nation as its leader, again, makes inexplicable moves that had no hope of helping its position. Yorkshire moves to LVP. North Sea bounces Helg and Skag Bounces Norway.

Germany did his part by attacking Sweden. Maybe those two are not communicating so well either? In any case, the chance England had to re-take Norway has been badly muffed. He has to destroy something now: prepare to say goodbye to Skaggerack!

Image

A new Hope -- 1903 - 1904

The new year comes and King George abdicates. The new leader of British Military Operations joins in a mere 40 minutes later and is immediately welcomed. after an inquiry from The Tsar over title, I crowns myself "Jack" citing the colors of The Island Nation. The announcement is met with enthusiastic debate. I immediately set upon correcting my nation's wrongs, reaching out to all nations, letting them know that the silence of my predecessor will not be an earmark of the new administration.

Even though I see this game as a lost cause for England I send messages to all my neighbors telling them how I am willing to accommodate their needs in return for them letting me live.

Everyone responds except for France. Austria feeds me intelligence that, based on what I see on the map, is pretty consistent with my current perceptions. Russia and Germany send me somewhat inconsistent messaged. Germany concedes (and confirms) he attacked me because of m predecessor's silence. He expresses concern over Russia, but his position seems inconsistent with his words. Russia is non-committal but sounds like he can be reasoned with.

Italy and I engage in genial conversation about how he tried to convince France to take me out and his perceptions about the relative strength of the current line-up. I observe that, at least in the public press, I am surprised the entire board has not united against Russia. We ultimately agree that we will share intelligence with each other even if cooperation may not be immediately possible.

I just want to get myself into a place were I can defend myself. My biggest concern is that nasty French fleet in MAO. I need EDI to protect London and Lvp while I keep everyone out of North Sea also. It turns out that France has no intention on taking advantage of my weakness though. he is focused on Italy, perhaps rightfully so. Meanwhile, Germany messes up his orders to try and take Belgium from France and he and Russia have engaged in The North. I'm essentially where I should have been in Fall 01 and given the turmoil I see on the mainland, I see hope that I might survive longer than I originally expected:

During the Fall, Later, Austria sends a message to me, Germany, and Italy with suggestions on how we can pick apart France. I respond privately to Germany to be very wary of Austria's invitations to offer help. It is already clear to me that he is the biggest threat to Europe. Germany is less convinced and we exchange several messages where I lay out the threat Austria represents. Meanwhile Germany wants me to support him into Belgium and I make it absolutely clear that any help he gets from me is contingent on him helping my army to make landfall on the continent.

Then, France Surrenders. I write in the public press:
ENGLAND (Fall 1903, Mar 10 2017 18:29 (GMT-8))
Let's see....

Unranked... 4 auto surrenders. Only Turkey, Russia, and Germany remain... shall we call it and find a new game?

I've been here for 9 days and only executed one order. Even a quick exit is painfully long. I propose a merciful end to the game and an extended debate ensues. I repeatedly offer draws, ironically always excluding myself, and propose that those who wish to continue form a new game where all of us can start on an "even" playing field. All the draws are rejected and I have to do some damage control with Germany to assure him I will still play it out.

A new France joins in and me being the friendly guy that I am, I immediately reach out by giving him my view of the world:
=======From ENGLAND Fall 1903 Orders =======
One more in a long line of nmrs. I think everyone who remains is at least committed, if not competent.

Watch out for Austria. He's friendly enough...freely dispensing advice that looks good for you but better for him.

Don't know if we can work together, at least not yet. But let's keep our options open. I welcome your ideas.

--Jack

France offers intel that others are telling him Germany and I are in cahoots. I vehemently deny it, pointing out my dismal position and complete absence of any cooperation between the two of us in previous moves.I hope he does not notice that The current military commander in Britain has only made one set of orders so far. France then tries to convince me to work with Russia up north.

And I am talking to Russia, commiserating with him over Germany's acts of aggression. I'm asking him to make me an offer to help him out of his misery, but he is not giving me anything I want. Still, we are cordial, so I feed him accurate intelligence about Germany's plans up north along with the knowledge that I will be supporting Germany. I assure him that this is a ploy to gain Germany's trust fr next year when we turn the tables.

Germany helps me into Belgium and I have a build:

Image

France is upset and writes to me and Germany that he intends to king make. He implies he will turn over his centers to Italy and Austria. I respond with a plan to help him stab Germany. Oops, I didn't notice that I replied to all and Germany has gotten the message as well. I spring into damage control sending all kinds of ambiguous messages privately to France and Germany, trying to convince both of them that my "mistake" was an effort to confuse. I'm actually hoping that this flurry of nonsense will serve as the real confusion so that I can get back to a form of negotiation.

My reality is that Belgium has never been more than a stopping ground. I needed it for a build, but holding it is impossible. I offer Germany a deal that I hope will ingratiate him a little with France while also allow me to consolidate my forces. I'm happy to forego a build for a stronger position. I'll leave Belgium and let Germany waltz right in as long as he supports me to Norway.

Meanwhile, life happens for Germany amidst all this and he asks for a processing exception. A little confusion ensues and the exception does not happen. Luckily, Germany does not NMR and life goes on. But even if Germany HAD NMR'd, he would have been saved because:

Turkey Surrenders I've been in the game for 15 days and we still have only finishes one game year! The discussion over keeping the game going continues with Italy, Russia, and I exchanging philosophies about playing diplomacy.

I try to improve my relationship with Russia also, but he is, understandably, wary. I do my best to demonstrate that with Germany and Austria at his door, I can be of great value to him, but it would necessitate him making a (temporary?) sacrifice in Norway. This begins a protracted conversation over several years where I make my case that I see myself as a hired gun to whoever gives offers me the best price for my services.

Germany wins the bid and puts me in Norway.


The Reformation 1905 - 1910
1905 opens with my increasingly worried about Austria's growing influence. I reach out to Italy and France, trying to broker something with them that will put the brakes on an ever-powerful Arch Duke. Italy is receptive, but France is less cooperative. It's not that he does not want to work with Italy. It's that he does not trust me to keep my side of the bargain. The irony is that if he had been more trusting, I would not have turned on him. It was his stubbornness that will ultimately drive me to eradicate him. But for now, my concern is that with France being so stubborn, he and Italy may turn on me. I forego trying to take control of the seas in favor of ensuring that London makes landfall in Picardy.

Up north, I am trying to convince the Tsar that as soon as he gives me a better offer, I will flip on Germany. But so far, the he is not offering me anything much more tempting than stuffed cabbage and phsychoanalysis. We will never be allies, but at least we have stimulating discussions for a while.

I take St 'Pete while Austria moves into Warsaw. Russia surprises me by keeping his fleet in Barents instead of protecting his homeland. In our conversation, he freely admits it is more his intention to throw a monkey into the works than it is to recover. He takes on the persona of a south american resistance fighter/mercenary....vowing to oppose anyone and everyone as long as they have a cause close to his own heart.

I'll spend a year up north focused on that distraction but fortunately Germany and I are getting along swimmingly. I can afford a few units up there while we work together in the South.

In 06, I begin working on Italy to help me out against France. But he wants nothing to do with cooperating -- at least not yet. It isn't that he wants to save the failing nation, it's just that he has other interests. He isn't opposing me, though, so I', not too concerned. I'll keep working with Germany to keep the pressure on along our flanks while he works the center.

If anybody has not figured out how tight we are, fall 1907 will eradicate any misconceptions. Entering into the Fall the map looks like this:Image

Germany has free reign to take London. He has a shot at Paris, and another at Sweden. I have a choice of either protecting myself against the stab or protecting myself against an unfriendly group of neighbors, better known as France, Italy, and Russia. I send Germany a short message and he responds:

From: GERMANY Reply
Date: Apr 19 2017 06:18 (GMT-8) Fall 1907 Orders

Re:Belgium

Oh. Yeah I could stab you a dozen ways to Sunday. But I don't need a protracted fight to my west and my east. I am supporting your fleet back into your territory and moving more troops west. I also have a unit moving to marsellies if you want to support as planned. I would if you could cut support from Spain to it would be perfect.


=======From ENGLAND Fall 1907 Orders =======
I see a potential stab. I won't stop it. Either we are a team or we are not.


I'm all in with Germany. Either I king-make him or we are partners....He proves his loyalty and by Winter I have re-taken EDI and Brest (and eradicated that naty Russian distraction in the waters surrounding my home).

Russia and Italy are collapsing now. Russia (at least in his messages ... and to a lesser degree in his moves (or the success thereof) demonstrates the veracity of his intentions. I is interchangeably working with Turkey and Austria against each other but committed to opposing Germany. He leaves me alone mainly because he can't do anything to me anymore.

The End -- 1910 - 1913
Spring comes innocently enough. I solidify our southwest corner and help Germany hold The North. Then Fall rolls around:
Image



I see my opportunity to stab Germany and plug in orders to do just that. Then I put them into the Orders Solver and realize that the time is not quite right. It's not that I am not planning to stab. It's just that if I stab now, Paris is exposed and I will find myself dealing with another Edinburgh. It won't be unmanageable, but it is an avoidable headache. I send Germany this message, and I mean it:
=======From ENGLAND Fall 1910 Orders =======
I'm thinking that this turn might not be so much a turn for obtaining new centers as much as one for preparing an assault next year.

I suppose you have an outside shot at Warsaw.

As for me, I find myself oddly in a similar place to where you were a few years ago. Let me offer you the same assurances you gave me that I know who my friends are and am not about to betray a trust.

Let me know if there is anything you want to coordinate.

-- Jack


But &%^$&(*!!! I forget to change my orders!
Image

I get three builds, Germany loses two, and I recognize that I may have some damage control. Anyone who knows me knows I have a general policy of not apologizing for stabs because they are calculated decisions intended to achieve an outcome that forms the basis of this game. While I am not opposed to draws, the objective is to solo and I will never apologize for seeking that outcome for myself. This stab is the exception because I did it when I did not mean to. I'll apologize for an accident.

Germany is nice enough about what happened, but his heart hasn't really been fully in the game for a while due to some personal issues outside the game, and this stab ultimately is enough for him to call it a day. He makes a halfhearted attempt to stay and oppose me but by spring 1912, he has had enough and the final surrender happens.

We have seen 7 surrenders and 16 NMRs this game (two players that did not surrender also NMR'd once)

A new Germany joins in and Lo and behold, Paris falls in spring. I volunteer that if he works with me, I can slow his demise while, if he opposes me, Austria will swallow him up anyway. I offer to take only one of his centers and to help him defend Warsaw from Austrian incursion. I also promise not to allow Austria to threaten Munich. Paris is toast.

It does not matter to me what he actually does, my moves are going to be conservative. He goes along for the Fall move but falls silent after that. Uh-oh, I think he is going over to the Austria...

I reach out to Turkey to enlist his help in keeping Austria occupied in The Southeast.He is happy to oblige. We work well together. Austria still makes gains down there, but he is being forced to compromise a little position to ensure success. It is making my advance a little easier.

During Builds, I send him a message beseeching that he destroy Gascony and Berlin. In return for this favor, I'll promise he can keep/save Warsaw, Munich, and Kiel. I figure he will eitehr go along or he will, instead, destroy Warsaw and Munich to give Austria some free centers. My biggest concern is Gascony. As long as there is a unit behind my lines, I have a headache.

I am delighted to see, when spring comes, that Gascony is gone. A bit disappointed about Munich. But I know the game is over now. I'm going to retreat from The Balkans, setting my sights on Naples while I set my sights on Berlin in the North.
Image

I'm not particularly concerned about any tactical disadvantage to my orders in fall. Still, I am mildly surprised to see that Germany moved back into my back yard and that Austria risked losing Smyrna just to get into Ionian. I suppose there is the hope that just in case I make a mistake in my orders, he will be ready to capitalize.But I already learned my lesson from my NMR earlier. I've checked my orders.

The final map:
Image

Conclusion

I prefer games that have a faster pace and more enthusiastic conversation. Outside of a few years with Russia and Germany and the final three years with Turkey that was largely absent here. The barrage of NMRs and surrenders on at least two occasions really made me want this game to end and I was perfectly ready to take the loss. That said, to all thse who stuck out to the end, I would be happy to meet you again in the future. And to mff11d7, I hope you are still around and that you read and respond to this AAR.
Last edited by edmgrim on 13 Jun 2017, 20:40, edited 1 time in total.
edmgrim
 
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Re: AAR: 126605. Red Ryder

Postby edmgrim » 12 Jun 2017, 03:15

Posting this on behalf of Austria (Foibleson) who is unable to post in the forum at this time. I am hoping that, in the context of this discussion, my reposting on his behalf will be permitted:
Foibleson wrote:my AAR thoughts

This was a game I started, it was a challenge of course playing Austria, except I had a spectacular alliance with Russia. We almost conquered Germany together which was an interesting and unlikely alliance. Frankly the game seemed so long and I played several games at once, I don't remember the early game very well - looking at the order history, I stabbed by Italy early in the game, and I moved up to Galicia because I was paranoid about a possible Russian-Turkish alliance. At the same time I managed to kick out Italy and he never recovered after that. Spring 1904 was amazing in turns of collaboration with Russia because we both really didn't like Germany, a case of where the usual geographical alliances are countered by personality and diplomacy. I don't remember much about 1905 except I think a strong English/German alliance, and a weak France, meant that the central powers were able to rally and push Russia/Austria back, after which I decided that everyone except me was against Russia, and in spite of my liking him it was time to stab because it was a losing alliance. After that Russia never really recovered, we collaborated on and off again, but it was never the same. In the endgame a new player joined as Turkey, who proved quite good at defense, and also a newbie joined as Germany which meant it was very hard to stop an English solo. However I could have ignored Turkey more and written more messages with Germany, but the lack of communication and loss of morale meant I didn't try as hard as I could have.

Overall it was quite a tense and exciting game, even for a non-ranked game with some surrenders.


Foibleson
edmgrim
 
Posts: 136
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