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AAR: 129116, Shift Right, English Solo

PostPosted: 13 Jun 2017, 04:34
by condude1
England: Condude1 (Solo victor)
France: ken31415
Italy: Megasimperator
Germany: Gooderian
Austria: ColonelApricot
Turkey: No idea. Was silent and NMRed out immediately
Russia: lukeskye

Alright, my first ever diplomacy AAR thread, so here we go!

Part I: Pre-game

This was a Shift Right game, which means no one starts anywhere near their home scs. Well, except for France, if you count Trieste and Marseilles as close together. I'd never played one of these before, so I was looking forward to giving the variant a go. I got the last spot in the last game available too! My initial impressions before the game started were the following:

First, looking at the number of turns to get home on an empty board shows the following:
England: 5 (around Iberia's the easiest way, although many different convoy routes turn up the same result.)
France: 3 (charge straight through Italy to Marseilles)
Italy: 4 (Warsaw and Sevastopol can both book it equally quickly)
Germany: 5 (Con-Bul-Rum-Sil-Boh-Mun)
Austria: 6 (need to convoy to the mainland though!)
Turkey: 5 (Germany in reverse)
Russia: 5 (charge from Paris to Warsaw, or Brest to Stp).

I didn't do the calculations before the game, but it's interesting to note.

Austria sucked. Highest geographical distance to make it home, plus charging through busy terrain, plus needing a convoy through NOS makes his life hell. On the bright side, the British Isles are relatively safe.
England also sucked. Again, the convoy is required, except this time you need to do it far away from home. That's a logistical nightmare. Plus, 5 turns home is poor, but not terrible.
France was awesome. Easy waltz home. Also one of the only two powers who could get builds in '03 (barring weird multi-power convoy shenanigans).
Italy was also awesome. Can get builds in '03, plus a bonus unit! Also, to get home, he has to march through scs. Epic bonus!
Germany was pretty average.
Turkey was pretty average.
Russia was slightly better than average, given the fact that he had a relatively uncontested march home (northern Europe's in low demand early on).

Part II: Opening

I got England. Boooo. He was actually the power I liked the least off the bat because of the awkward convoy needed to get into the Isles from the mainland, or having to go through the bottleneck in MAO. Either way, that's awkward. However, I immediately hit up everyone with generic greetings. And I was forming a devious, cunning, scheme. I have a thing for unorthodox, outrageous strategies. About halfway through Spring '01 I get the following stroke of inspiration:

How to deal with England's logistical nightmare

The one perk I could see about England is that the person in his home scs is as screwed as he is. Plus, I bordered Austria's home centers. There might be a chance for a beautiful alliance here. Austria is communicative, funny, receptive, and smart, everything you want in an ally. We talk it over, and the board looks like this after '01:

Fall 1901:


Everyone's doing what they can to make it home, except France is going through Germany instead of Italy. That's a relief. I'm not really expectign a stab at this point, since everyone has more pressing concerns than little ol' England.

Spring 1902 is where Austria and I shock the board with our innovative and gorgeous play:


2 power, 4 fleet convoy from Wales to Tuscany in Spring '02. Of course, I wasn't just being kindhearted. The deal was that Austria convoys me back into London while he takes Rome off me, to keep center balance equal. It's an insanely aggressive strategy for the both of us, and is super-high risk, super-high reward. It works perfectly.

Fall 1902:


I made it home faster than was possible on an empty board, Austria's also in good stead. My fleets are effectively his to command, and he has no shortage of scs to make sure he keeps all three of his units until he gets builds. Turkey's NMRed out at this point, and France, Germany, and Italy are chewing each other up. Good, chaos is beautiful for me, who is home already!

Unfortunately, Russia decides in '03 that he doesn't like me. We had a decent truce going, and I promised not to touch his stuff if he didn't touch mine. He decides that I'm growing too fast, and nabs London off me to slow down my builds :evil: . He tells me it's not a stab, he just needs to slow down my growth a bit. I realize that this alliance isn't going to work out. You can't have this sort of hamstringing in a functioning alliance. Austria and I are on great terms, with my Tunis fleet helping him out. He's also home. Who needs more than 1 ally? ;) Meanwhile, France is down to one unit, but is home free to his home scs, which are completely uncontested.

Fall 1903:


Part III: The Middle-game

Italy, RUssia, and I are doing pretty well for ourselves (Italy and Russia have a ton of scs, I have the bare minimum needed to keep me building, but I have uncontested builds) Turkey's dead, France is hurting, and Germany is close to home, but running a bit late. Austria's about as good as an Austria can hope for.

Here's where the tides start to turn a bit. Italy stabs Austria, which is a horrible idea. I think he misjudged the strength of the AGE alliance, and thought I'd be fine with the stab. Germany and I are unamused. Austria also finally got his last fleet into the action, meaning that Italy's fleet is going to be perpetually stonewalled, and his armies are going to have a difficult time breaking through as well. Austria, however, loses his grip on his homeland. Austria never regains control of these scs, and never once has a build, even though he survived until the finish as an influential power.

After Fall '04:


Italy's on 8 centers, I'm gorphing Russian centers in France (he's actually fine with this. He says he'd written them off anyways.) . I promise Austria that I'll leave Edinburgh his until he gets his home centers back, he stabs me, I die, or I solo. This works for me for a couple of reasons:

1. It's mine whenever I want it. This helps conceal my true number of centers a bit (17 centers is a LOT more menacing than 16, etc.)
2. Austria's firmly in my court now. I'm showing him mercy, and letting him get a free center in perpetuity. That's major diplomatic cred.
3. It's fun. It's a cute symbol of our friendship, and is a good thing to talk about when there's nothing else to.

I get the first build (tied) of the game, as Russia also gets one. NOS is DMZed, and we're still stonewalling Italy down South. Italy tries everything to get me to let his fleet through, and I decline. He has way too many centers to be let in. Now's my first major decision of the game, do I stab France and his guardian angel Russia, who I've just made an uneasy peace with, or do I let France regrow a bit? Russia and I agree to let France regrow...

Fall 1905:


...And I promptly go back on my word. I attack Russia, and skewer France. It's easy enough to clean up France, but Russia's getting big, feasting on Italy, who still hasn't really made it home. Italy loses 4 centers, gains one, and is no longer a major player on the board. However, Russia has a ridiculous number of centers now (Fall 1906), with plenty more fattening up available (9, +4 other easy pickings). On the bright side, Germany and I can crush him in the North:

Fall 1906:


Fall 1907:


Russia is beaten back to Stp , and is trapped in place there. He also doesn't really gain ground in the South. I'm now the center leader, and I never relinquish that position (although I'm tied for it at one point). Dominating France has made me fat!

Spring 1908 France is eliminated by virtue of me destroying his last unit. Unfortunately, he nabbed an Austrian center before he went, one which I intended to use as additional buffer for my solo (I can grab up 2 free centers at will if Spain is pink).

My second stab of the game occurs here, on my long time ally, Germany. It's painful, but it's a beautiful sc farm. I convince Austria to join me (we're still joined at the hip!). Italy's staged a bit of a comeback, managing to sneak 2 units into the peninsula. Austria picks 2 up off of Germany, I pick two up off of Germany, and Germany's reduced from 7 units to 3 in one season.

Fall 1908:


I misjudge Germany's thirst for revenge, and lose a center to the ever-growing Russia, supported by everything Germany has left. I prefer it this way, since it takes pressure off of my little ally, Austria. Austria's a smart cookie, and realizes that I'm going for the solo. We talk about it, and come to an agreement. He sticks by my side unless it's clear I'm going to solo in the near future, and in return, if there's a draw, I let him third wheel it. 2-ways are notoriously difficult to get anyways, and I'd love to have Austria survive if all else is equal.

Part IV: The End-game

In Fall '09, I'm on 13 scs (Edinburgh is 14), Russia's at 9, Italy 5, Austria 5, and Germany 2. The next few seasons are pretty basic maneuvering, in which Russia gains massive ground. I'm locking him into Stp and BAR, such that he has no way of bringing in reinforcements ever, but in the middle and South he chews up Italy and Germany. The race is on!

Fall 1911:


Fall 1911 looks a bit different: I'm at 14 (15) centers, Russia's at 14, Italy has 2, and Austria has 4 (and still all three original units!). Russia proposes an ARE 3-way, which I shoot down, knowing that a solo's well within my grasp. Stp and Sweden can't be held from the southern side, and for some ungodly reason, Russia isn't building fleets in the South! Both Russia and I are trying to keep Munich out of each other's hands, resulting in the lone Austrian army defending with a strength of 6(!) in Spring 1912. However, I make two critical breakthroughs, taking Venice and Sweden in one go. Unfortunately, I am now at 16 centers (Edinburgh makes 17!), and can't pick up the 18th. Austria defect to try to stop me, and is the second largest naval power, with just his two starting fleets!

Fall 1912:


Spring 1913:


One final finesse as I pick up Munich and Rome in the Spring. I can't hold both Tunis and Naples, but it doesn't matter, since I have one extra center squirreled away behind walls of orange. In a final push, the Austrian flag over Edinburgh falls after having stood proud for over a decade. Austria and I are still on great terms at this point, and were throughout the entire game. Even when he tried to stop me at the end, we were still joking about it, and I appreciate his good humour.

Part V: Players

It was a good game all around:

France: Tough luck. You got steamrolled off the bat, and while we had a good alliance, I had to take you out early. I mean, it was effectively 5 free centers. You were a good communicator and player.

Germany: Pretty well played. It looked for a while like you were going to be a major power, which unfortunately meant I had to shut you down. Again, free centers are free centers. Your start was plagued by trouble all around, and Russia and I both had blisteringly swift starts, putting you at a unit disadvantage. I was happy to have you as an ally, and you would have been a force to be reckoned with on most boards I think.

Italy: You grew too fast, too soon. Everyone started panicking that you would start building heaps of units, so we had to blockade you from your home. You also misjudged the alliance between Austria, Germany, and myself, which definitely didn't help your state of affairs.

Austria: I may be biased, but you played a damn good game. Austria's a nasty one in Shift Right games, and you not only survived to the end, but were a major player throughout the game. A great ally, and a great player. You drew the short straw off the bat, and if it weren't for Italy being all over you, you definitely could have taken off. Everything I could have asked for in an ally.

Russia: You played a good game. The main mistakes IMO were the one sc stab on me, making me reconsider my alliance with you (I was planning on focusing in the South for a long time), focusing Italy for too long, and not building southern fleets. Was there a reason for the last part? In your shoes, I would have waived builds to allow me to build more fleets in the South. Building none flabbergasted me. You benefited off of Turkey NMRing out, but still played a strong game.

There's no one here I would be less than thrilled to play with in the future, and this was a really fun game.

- Your Eternal Monarch and Ruler,

Condude1 the Magnificently Foolish of England

Re: AAR: 129116, Shift Right, English Solo

PostPosted: 15 Jun 2017, 05:17
by lukeskye
Might be more detailed later. But in the mean time, I'll answer that last one: I didn't want to lose Austria as an ally. I didn't want to threaten Cons, but otherwise I should have done it. At one point Austria told me not to do it, but I should have brought it up again later in the game. Well played England!


Re: AAR: 129116, Shift Right, English Solo

PostPosted: 15 Jun 2017, 05:44
by ColonelApricot
Gonna add to this thread shortly. But re Con, yes I kept that as a threat to retreat to Bla if Russia forced me out. We kind of had a mutual insurance policy. Once I moved to Aeg then Russia could have built a fleet but it probably needed the Italian fleet onside to achieve the necessary timing.

Re: AAR: 129116, Shift Right, English Solo

PostPosted: 15 Jun 2017, 17:16
by condude1
Ah, so that was Austria's doing. That makes a lot of sense. The reason it was weird is that, even if I hadn't soloed when I did, there was no real way of stopping me from dominating the South, since the only non-English fleets there were Austrian (one of which was going to be forced to destroy).

There's a time in alliances for mistrust to be put aside and the allies to rely on each other. I gave Austria that trust in '02, when I let him use our convoy chain first. A stab would have absolutely crippled me.

Rather than creating a MAD scenario in the Black Sea, it would have given you guys a much better chance of holding if Austria let Russian fleets through on a Spring turn, or even traded Con for Ank. Of course, if that was just Austria being obstructionist for me, then all I have to say is: Thank you!

Re: AAR: 129116, Shift Right, English Solo

PostPosted: 16 Jun 2017, 03:35
by ColonelApricot
Here's my fuller AAR for the game.

Initial strategy

I started out thinking that England was a big threat to me because he'd be coming round the Gib and block my entry into the Med. So I sent out a few anti-England messages.

Then England came up with the convoy plan. At first look it was pretty good for England with his unit landing in a home center whereas for me it landed in hostile territory (Italy). However I went along with it because everything else looked worse for Austria. And based on the other shift games I was right. Plus England sounded like he would do the right thing by me to help me home in the Med (and he did what he could). Also it was a fun maneuver.

Meanwhile I made a generous deal with Russia so that he could get past me in and get home via Scandi. That was a good deal for him too, and good for me in the sense that we gained some trust that would be useful later on.

France then ran into trouble with Turkey bailing. This really caused Turkey to be a dead weight on France's progress, which was further impeded by a couple of flubbs by France that reduced him to 1 unit when he should have got home with 2. That would have slowed England up enough that I think would have shifted the balance enought to Russia that England and I would have been fighting for the draw instead of Russia and I.


About this time I made my first bad error by not taking a home center (Vienna). It was Russia's recommendation and he was right but I was too worried about what Italy would do. That was really my one and only chance of getting home. :cry:

After that it was down to ensuring my survival at the end. I got myself into Munich that I knew would be a key square in the end game, and I was careful to preserve my fleets as I knew that the Med would be critical then too. Deadlocking Scandi would have to be Russia's job.

I was prepared to help eliminate Germany on the basis that the more complications created by presence of minnows the easier it would be for England or Russia to win. I asked Germany on his last turn to cut Kiel but he'd had enough by then. Nevertheless I enjoyed working with Germany and regretted my part in the traditional killing off.


I suggested counter attack moves to Russia to stall England gaining Sweden - as it happened this would have held England off for a turn, maybe longer, and maintained instability in the Baltic area long enough for Russia to kill off Italy. But with the immediate loss of Sweden I believe Russia should have accepted Italy into the draw that would have prevented England getting Venice and enabled the Italian fleet and mine to hold Ionian.

England's insertion to Tyrolia was a telling blow. Italy really needed to be onside to prevent this, but that didn't happen.

The last gasp was to try for a break out when England had to cover Marseilles. I suggested that Russia dislodge Munich and then if a gap opened up I would be through. But England covered this well by sliding south and the better play would have been a supported attack on Kiel that would have worked.

Overall strategy

Once I accepted that this game was unwinnable by Austria I adopted the goal of being in a three way draw as being the best possible outcome. I would curry favor with the two leaders England and Russia while attempting to maintain an even balance between them to the end of the game. The target was a 16-16-2 or 17-16-1 type outcome and the 2 or 1 would be me, not one of the other minnows.

England was aware of this of course and I expect Russia also. I talked up the bogeyman story to each of them about the other.

I knew England could take Edi when he wanted but I decided to trust him that he would leave it to the last possible moment. I would have liked to take that right down to the wire to see if he kept his word if the game was at stake but I couldn't quite manage it. I told Russia he needed to keep the pressure on England in the North so that England couldn't spare a unit to take Edi, even though I was confident he wouldn't do so.

The East Med was certainly a weak point. But I felt that if Russia had enough armies down there then in combination with my fleet and the Italian fleet that we could hold the coast. However the slow demise of Italy made this unworkable. If Russia had been able to delay English gains long enough to use Italy's supply to build in the south then this might have worked.


I enjoyed working with all players in this game. Hats off to England whose diplomacy was bright and excellent. He was generally minimalist with the bullshit (I called him out on it when he did) and was tactically excellent.

Germany too was fine and we had a nice three-way alliance going although as often the case with Germany was unsustainable in the end.

I was lucky that Russia was a good partner as I needed him to be in the end-game. Italy I didn't seem to get along with so well but perhaps that's unsurprising given that I obstructed him from getting home on the basis that as soon as he did he would have attacked me. That may have been my mistake.

So thanks to all for the game. I'm not sure I'd do the Shift Right again but as a one-off I found it enjoyable, perhaps more a credit to the players than to the format.


Re: AAR: 129116, Shift Right, English Solo

PostPosted: 16 Jun 2017, 06:27
by condude1
To answer your question, in a norank game like this, I'd have let you stay in the draw with just Edinburgh. In a rank (especially tournament) game, I would have stabbed you for the smaller draw.

Re: AAR: 129116, Shift Right, English Solo

PostPosted: 19 Jun 2017, 08:01
by ColonelApricot
In your view how would the game have gone if France had got 2 units home as he should have?