AAR 133338, All the things you said you'd never say...

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Re: AAR 133338, All the things you said you'd never say...

Postby souderjpt » 30 Oct 2017, 13:08

Yeah, I can't blame you. I'd suspected the "Stop Turkey" message long before Russia forwarded me the message, though suspiciously lacking any of R's contributions to it. I made an assumption that anyone who would use a tactic with me would use it against me as well. Your and Russia's open discussion with me: could soon go against me, colluding with England. Quoting messages to me: likely leaking my messages in turn. Thus, I was hesitant to share my specific Mediterranean plans with either of you, even if it meant I was slower and less efficient in the moment. And my delay, using your assistance until the last moment before making a final stab through you: used again soon against Russia. When you find a tool you like, you keep using it, right? I hope in future games to both refine and expand my toolbox.

There have been lengthy early discussions between myself and E about an agreeable two-way draw, meeting over the remains of a R-G-I draw line. I figure that, given my slower opening, I will be lucky to attain the draw unless something changes drastically. I express that we'll need to be a more level or balanced alliance if E wants to work toward the draw, as I cannot collaborate with E unless I can "catch up" while E sits idle. E is not as patient as I'd hoped.
I ask R and G what their hopes for the end game are. R states they're happy to have played a part in whatever the final outcome is, but hope for a 3-way draw with T-E. G states their goals are (1) survival, (2) revenge, and if those can't be had, (3) sacrificing supply centres to R for fun.
G-R convinced me earlier to stop picking off their back centers, lest E run away with a solo victory. And so the three of us work in unison to stave off E. I don't know what mischief G-R will get up to after the E threat is abated, if that is even an attainable goal. Nevertheless, I go along as part of the Three Kings of the East, until the time is right for me to make my move. E has been begging me for years to complete the stab, to finally move in, take a few centers off of G-R, and meet them over the smoldering ruins in the middle. As it turns out, 1911 is the fateful turn. I use G's continued pressure on Marseilles to pop a few E units along the way, setting up in W Med, and then agree to move out from Piedmont so I can support G there. I take W Med decisively, and discover that I might be able to squeeze through into MAO. I note that, if England really wants to force me out, I'll use MAO as a handy retreat option. That retreat never becomes necessary, but it's a wonderful option to have.
In the Fall, I set up to push G into Piedmont, but then make the arranged stab along with R. I take Vienna, Trieste, and Rome, and support R into Munich. Now I have the entire western Mediterranean, and enough support to help myself up against the E lines, without G's extra units. R also takes Sevastopol back from me this turn. I think it might be worthwhile to use this as the illusion of a stab rather than an agreed contract, but R quickly leaks that it was part of the plan all along, the cost of doing business. Oh well.

G lets me know that they're "not even mad" for the stab this time, but they start calling out to me and E for R's head on a platter. I laugh with E over it. G also amends their end game goals from throwing supply centres to R to making R pay for the stab. I'm a little surprised at this, and reply, "I'll see what I can do".
As for E, we've quit discussing tactics along our Iberian/Mediterranean front, as neither of us sees the purpose in further subterfuge. We discuss what R might be up to, and have a friendly conversation about things other than Diplomacy. I wish that I had opened this line of discussion earlier, as it immediately alleviates any tension or animosity. We won't discuss the specific tactics again this game.
I don't yet let R know my full hope of solo victory. I convince myself that I'll guarantee 17 supply centres by having T (3) + Balkans (4) + A (3) + I (3) + Tunisia (1) + R except St Pete (3). But the 18th, in St Pete, Munich, or Marseilles, would require E's negligence, or R's aid, or both.
Of course, I know R will not hold Munich for long if I do not wish it, so I let them know how desperately they'll need my help. I tell R that I'm open to a 3-way draw, but it will be up to R-E to eliminate G. I refuse to discuss terms further until G is eliminated.
I make moves which threaten R, and let them know that they'll need to cooperate with me in order to be left alive. E forces them out of Munich, and I move to the doorstep in Rumania, Budapest, and Galicia. I try to let R know that I don't want to have to conquer them, but I leave it clear that I will have to if they don't help me to squeeze into Iberia. All the while, I'm trying to give R information to keep E at bay in St Pete, though never enough to really reclaim Scandinavia and start making builds to send my way.
In Fall, I continue playing slow against E, trying to convoy over from Rome to Spain, but leaving N Af open. I continue to make no progress, and curse my own caution. This season, I also make good on my threats to R, taking Warsaw and Rumania, while I simultaneously help R back into Munich, destroying the E unit there. And seeing now that a R attack on Burgundy is the only way I'll get into Marseilles, I immediately regret all my stabs. I was too eager, and now I'll be forced to settle for the draw unless I can somehow apologize sufficiently to R. Blast. I start making quick apologies to R, who is surprisingly willing to talk.

And now for finally dealing with R. I apologize profusely, though I've proven myself a liar by now. I have long discussed terms of a 2-way draw with R, if they could ever find momentum in the north - a deeply unrealistic and contortionist outcome, which R likely saw through. Those discussions backed down into a 3-way draw, but I continued to encourage R to find some greater foothold in Scandinavia before we could draw up the final arrangement. R knows that I'm both willing and able to work with them, and that I bear no lasting ill will. We discuss terms of striking up our alliance again, and I make whatever concessions I need to. The only thing I need is R to tap Burgundy and cut E's support for Marseilles. Trusting me, cutting a deal that is too good to be true, R escorts me into Marseilles. I use the distraction there to sneak into N Af as well, though years after it would have been most helpful.
If I can control Marseilles, pressing the lines slightly west, then I can pick off the last few centres from R-G and claim victory. I've agreed over the past year to whatever R has asked: sub-optimal builds in 12, ceding back Warsaw and Rumania, moving off of R's lines, a healthy R retreat option in Tyrolia rather than Silesia... but I'm still not too far away to jump back into position in a season's time. Which I do.
Having taken Marseilles, I consider each turn how to take Spain as well. But giving me the best chance of success there (Mar attacking with Lyo and W Med supporting) requires opening myself to a potential disband if E makes the right supported attack on Marseilles itself, so it's a no-go. So instead I focus on keeping Marseilles, and picking up the centres off R for 18.

The final game year looks like a formality. In Spring, the one remaining set of moves I fear is a final G-E agreement that will put Warsaw at risk (Mun to Sil, Swe to Liv via Bal convoy), but G holds and E misorders their convoy. That provides the necessary breathing room for me to get four units into position adjacent to Moscow and Sevastopol to take my final two supply centres. R signs off their correspondence, "Yours until you stab me again, Russia". I reply "Yours before, during, and after the stabs, Turkey".
And then in Fall, I get cute, ordering a supported convoy across the Black rather than a simple supported attack, forgetting to lock down retreat options and leaving open R's final move to the accursed Rumania. If I don't pick off G, thanks to E's dropped attention, I come up short at 17, and the rogue R army leads me on a frustrating chase through my prized Balkan states, where this all began. But Rumania becomes a final kind token to R for being so useful for so long. All in all, I walk away victorious and satisfied, if embarrassed at the last move.

Again, it was a fun game, played well and respectfully by all most parties. I am really interested to see others' thoughts, from both my fellow players and our mentor, on how the game turned out, what the pivotal turns or the decisive negotiations were, etc. The game would have been very different if the other Mediterranean powers had been around longer, but the order and means of their exit (A and F due to quick attacks, I due to later disappearance) set the stage for my comfort in the southern theatre. I think I might have played overly cautious through the mid-game, but that set me up to make a mad dash through my R-G allies in the final years. And I believe that my caution may have served me well: I never once had a unit destroyed due to lacking support, I never had to disband due to losing supply centres, and I only had to retreat twice in the entire game, with the last one being an intentional forward retreat into Tuscany in Spring 07.
Also, I'd be interested to see if anyone has any advice for writing up AARs. I hope that this has served its purpose, offering my perspective on the course of the game, though it came slowly, and it feels like I'm leaving out so much. Summarizing a war in a few paragraphs is a daunting task. If anyone has any questions or further input, I am eager to hear it. Thanks, all!

souderjpt (Turkey)
"We can at least behave like civilized people... How odd that it should end this way for us, after so many stimulating encounters. I almost regret it. Where shall I find a new adversary so close to my own level?" - Rene Belloq
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Re: AAR 133338, All the things you said you'd never say...

Postby Rotsu » 31 Oct 2017, 05:45

After 1910 I knew I couldn't really win short of a miracle, so I contented myself with moving things not even subtly anymore. I basically told the whole board what I wanted and how I was going to achieve it, just in slightly different ways that could be interpreted more favorably for them than others. For example I told Turkey almost point blank that I wanted to stop them and that I was going to try and stop them. I phrased it as me getting more SC than them in other areas. For England I would tell them of how I wanted to work with them but how they were too large and how they were too large of a threat. With Russia it was mostly just trying to gently prod them to do what I wanted and when that didn't work I used brute force and logic.

I felt like I was herding cats at the end, and figured that Russia was a fool for not listening, and he turned out to be the most intuitive on the last turn. To be honest seeing the whole board as clearly as I did, and never out and out lying to you unless I was actively killing you got me lots of information. Not being able to act on the information and get the people to work on it was the hardest part for me. People just didn't believe me. I wasn't lying about any threats, ever. Just exaggerating perhaps.

When Russia stabbed me, they asked me if I wouldn't do the same. I wouldn't, by the way. Turkey was just as much of a threat as England at that point and the only way to insure they did not just win, either of them, was to let England play footsie with the board. I actually blame myself for that last turn, I attacked Berlin because I had been showing someone new to the game how the site worked, and forgot to revise my moves afterwords. England did support me to hold I just messed up my orders. Of course I wasn't considering the chance that we could hold, not after the failed convoy of Spring 1914. I was just blind to the chance Turkey might showboat, because I always think "what would I do" and showboat was never the option for me. Ah well, the follies of youth. (in this game anyways).

If figured my mission statement was not being taken seriously as it should have been. It wasn't quite accurate as to what I wanted as much as it was revised to not seem rude. It was really a long list of bullet points on a google doc at the end, I just picked a few of the less aggressive ones and threw them at you. It worked pretty well with England, all things told, and that was all I needed. I thought.

Oh well, I was outplayed. Saying anything else is an excuse.

Well played everyone.

Germany / Rotsu. "The Manipulator"
Bravery is being the only one who knows you're afraid.
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