131655 Funkychicken (French solo)

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131655 Funkychicken (French solo)

Postby gingerbreadmen » 20 Jun 2017, 02:53

England: beer_not_fear
France: gingerbreadmen (solo)
Germany: ACHASHVEROSH
Austria: Yahya Al-Qatari
Turkey: Premier Flood
Russia: enrach (surrendered fall 1902)
Italy: Hospitaller (surrendered spring 1904)

I started this game off as France sending out a message to both England and Germany proposing a Western Triple. While I was writing that message I had received a message from England looking to secure an alliance against Germany. I talked with England and we agreed to wait for Germany's reply and see if a Western Triple was feasible. Germany messaged back saying they were on board and so we all agreed to England's proposal that I would get Belgium and England would get Sweden while Germany took their usual builds of Holland and Denmark. I was extremely committed to this plan, I messaged Italy to feel them out and sent vague peace offerings. Italy in turn replied with the same vague responses. When neither of us asked explicitly for non-aggression or a DMZ in Piedmont I was fairly certain Italy intended to move West. My plan for the early game was to take Belgium in 1901 and Spain with the army in Marsailles that I expected to bounce out of Piedmont. Meanwhile, with my fleet I had hoped to make a beeline for Italian waters, bypassing Portugal for now.

Everything basically worked as planned, and this was the position in Winter 1901:

Image

Now in 1902, the plans started to get derailed a bit. Germany, somewhat inexplicably in my mind, decided to make enemies out of everyone. They attacked Sweden, pissing off England by bouncing them, they attacked Warsaw, bouncing Russia, and they walked into Belgium when I left it undefended to throw everything at Italy. I still don't understand attacking three powers this early in the game, but even so all of my forces were facing south and I couldn't spare any of them to fight Germany. In any case I had little hope of retaking Belgium anyway, so I messaged Germany and told them I would give up my claim on Belgium if they agreed to not set foot in any mire French territory. Germany agreed. Meanwhile England was encouraging me to attack Germany, I gave the casual 'well they just attacked me of course I'll be attacking them back' which I never did. I took Portugal which compensated for the loss of Belgium, and I took the opportunity to take the Ionian Sea.

Position at the end of 1902:
Image

Well having a French fleet in the Ionian by 1902 got the attention of both Austria and Turkey, who both requested my assistance against the other. Russia surrendered, which must have been a godsend for Germany since it meant they could walk into Warsaw and Moscow. Austria and I also had a chat about them joining the attack on Italy, which I was eager to see happen. I also assured Turkey that I would attack Greece so that they could make some productive moves without losing Bulgaria to Austria. I followed through and Austria was a little miffed about this development. Austria messaged basically asking if we were at war now, to which I replied that I just didn't think it was fair that he would end up getting all of Turkey, in addition to getting Venice and Rome as we had previously agreed. Austria was understanding about my position and we negotiated a deal whereby I would get Rome instead of them and they would give up Greece, while in exchange Austria got all of Turkey. For awhile I intended to honour this agreement. But after talking back and forth with both Austria and Turkey, I went back to that old Diplomacy cliché of 'play the players' and I decided I could trust the Turk more. Also I liked being in the position of having a junior partner, whereas Austria would have been more of an equal partner, and furthermore, Turkey was on the verge if elimination and basically agreed to become a client state if I helped in their survival. So I defaulted on my agreement with Austria and helped Turkey rout them while I simultaneously cleaned up Italy. My policy toward Turkey for the rest of the game was generally one of extreme benevolence. I always made sure they were smaller than I was, but I gave them a lot of supply centres that I really could have claimed for myself, hoping this policy would serve me well by the end of the game. England and Germany continued fighting, to my delight. I was mopping up the south while there was no clear victor in the north.

Winter 1903:
Image

For the next several years things went pretty much the same: I joined Turkey in cutting down Austria, I carefully maintained my uneasy non-aggression pact with Germany while continually maintaining to England that I was going to attack Germany. Nothing too exciting for awhile, as everything was going according to plan.

By the end of 1905 things were looking like this:
Image

Italy and Russia had been eliminated and Austria was hemmed in awaiting their inevitable elimination as well. England and Germany continued to pummel each other in the north but now it was looking like England had the definite edge. I had remained allied to Turkey as well as both northern powers for the entire game, up until this very build in was an open question whether I would eventually stab Turkey or whoever won in the north. But this build clarified the answer for me. England had built yet another fleet. They already had more than enough fleets to destroy Germany, therefore the only plausible explanation for the abundance of naval vessels was that they expected to take Brest and Iberia after Germany. I mentally locked myself into a permanent alliance with Turkey, preparing for the day I would turn my forces north to face England.

That day turned out to be very soon, like the next move soon. I had enough forces to finish Austria while sailing the navy West towards Gibraltar. I also trusted Turkey enough by this point to allow them safe passage through the Mediterranean. After all it was either that or they might find something more useful to do with their fleets like attacking me. I would need the Turkish fleets to take on England anyway, the Royal Navy was as big as both of our fleets combined so we really needed to pool our naval power if an attack on the British was to be successful. In my regular communications with Germany I asked if I could assist them defensively. To my surprise Germany freely suggested I take back Belgium. Austria was swiftly eliminated and I was the supply centre leader. However my benevolence towards Turkey and Germany had left them favourably disposed to me in spite of my position and the game became an everybody against England war.

By spring 1908 things were going badly for England indeed:Image

I had generously allowed Germany a build in Munich and Turkey to dock in Tunisia. However Germany had promised me support into Berlin which never came as they appeared to NMR. That signalled to me Germany could no longer be trusted and their SCs would be better off in allied hands. I took Munich for myself and instructed Turkey to take Moscow or Warsaw (they chose Moscow).

Winter 1909:Image
By the end of 1909 I was on 15 centres and it was obvious a solo unless everybody banded against me. Turkey straight up asked me whether I would be satisfied with a two way draw or not. I briefly considered lying but ultimately decided on politely telling them the truth, that I would be going for the solo, and I even disclosed which centres I would try to be taking. I had hoped that all the goodwill I had built with them would persuade them not to block a French solo. Turns out I was right, Turkey not only declined to standing my way, but supported me into the English centres to end the game straight away.

This was the final position:

Image

All in all things went according to plan much more often in this game then they usually do, and it was an interesting strategy for me try out as France. Going after Italy first and Austria second must be pretty rare because I haven't really ever heard of a game unfolding quite like that, but it was a hell of a lot of fun.
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Re: 131655 Funkychicken (French solo)

Postby Scott4572 » 20 Jun 2017, 04:37

Nice AAR. Thank you.
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Re: 131655 Funkychicken (French solo)

Postby adamscottprice » 21 Jun 2017, 18:17

Thanks for taking the trouble, gingerbreadmen. An interesting account.

I very much like the dynamic you had with Turkey, particularly at the end. Kind of, "How to win without stabbing".
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