AAR: 140673 - Dancing with the stars (English Solo)

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AAR: 140673 - Dancing with the stars (English Solo)

Postby champinoman » 07 Apr 2018, 15:17

140673 - Dancing with the stars

This was a game opened up to Star Ambassadors in order to get a high level of communication into a game. Thanks to boldblade for getting it up and running.

The player list and final result:

ENGLAND: champinoman (solo win)
FRANCE: Pootleflump (replaced Bobmats in Fall ’02)
ITALY: Don Juan of Austria
GERMANY: boldblade
AUSTRIA: bindlestiff
TURKEY: mjparrett
RUSSIA: arthae

Final board state:

Image

I will post my AAR in the coming days but wanted to open up this thread for discussion in the mean time. Feel free to post :)
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Re: AAR: 140673 - Dancing with the stars (English Solo)

Postby mjparrett » 07 Apr 2018, 16:25

Congratulations England. Turkey here, who was faced with, lets say "questionable decisions" by Italy which essentially ruined the game for both of us. I warned him it was coming but he either didn't see the obvious or didn't want to admit it. Faced in 1902 with instead of T/I vs A/R (which I think we would have won), it was A/I/R vs T. But instead of quickly killing me (which is hard against a competent Turkey) and then facing the west, they bickered and messed around and essentially handed the game to a E/G 2 way alliance. England very cleverly manipulated into position for a stab and took the solo, so hats off to him.
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Re: AAR: 140673 - Dancing with the stars (English Solo)

Postby Pootleflump » 07 Apr 2018, 16:48

Not much to add. I took on a sickly surrendered France and tried my hardest to wheedle my way into the E/G bromance. Despite my best efforts, it didn't work. They continued to stab and saw me off the premises in jig time.

Did warn Germany repeatedly what was going to happen.

Maybe you should have stuck with me after all. :^P

Well played England. It was evident you were the solo risk for most of the game. Congratulations. A well deserved solo.
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Re: AAR: 140673 - Dancing with the stars (English Solo)

Postby arthae » 07 Apr 2018, 21:50

Russia here. I was stabbed by both Germany and Turkey in 1901. I made some bad choices early, and things went down hill from there. The high points of the game for me:
1. I had four units when I started the game.
2. France was eliminated before I was.
3. If you look closely at the end game board Armenia is still under Russian control.
Congratulations England on your first solo as well as your first child.
talk? Talk. TALK!!! Oldies member, classicists member, and all around good guy.
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Re: AAR: 140673 - Dancing with the stars (English Solo)

Postby Shyvve » 07 Apr 2018, 23:18

Hear, Hear! Congrats on your first Solo (and child), champinoman! Time to update my spreadsheet I reckon...
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Re: AAR: 140673 - Dancing with the stars (English Solo)

Postby boldblade » 08 Apr 2018, 01:02

Congrats Champinoman! Great game. It was a pleasure playing with you. Good luck with that baby. I am glad you can tell her that you were in the middle of winning your first solo during her birth haha.

Below are some of my broad thoughts on the game with a lot of focus on the first year as it shaped what I did the rest of the game. There are a few other items I would like to bring up or discuss in later posts if people stick around here to chat.

I initiated this game as I was getting annoyed with the crappy communication from players in the standard random games. I thought it would be fun to play with a group of players that were proven communicators. It was quite fun.

Spring 1901 -
Refreshing I would say is the best word for it. 50+ messages in the PP and I sent 60 messages myself (12 times what is needed in a season to maintain star status). Relationships were made. My first impressions went as follows:

England - He and I started off quite well. Conversations surrounding dining got us off to a very good start and warmth and friendliness flowed between us. This would pretty much be the story of the game.

France - Also kicked off well but I found him quite demanding and his opening strategy put me off a bit. This led to some problems. Later I would learn who he was after his surrender and it all made sense. I played with him before and those demanding tendencies concerned me at that time as well.

Italy - As well as I hit things of with England, Italy Left me totally torn between who I wanted to work with going forward. He was friendly. He was generous (although his generosity turned out to be a good bit devious). I liked him a lot and had no idea who I would commit to long term. If this were the Bachelor I would have cut the first impression rose in half to split between England and Italy.

Austria - I realize I am about to say something nice about pretty much every player. They all left me with good first impressions. It was all about who carried on the best for me at first. Austria was kind but he took the longest to ever speak to me which did concern me considering our two powers are so often tied together. I think he missed the first two days of spring 1901 and was a little overwhelmed by what he came into with so much PP and probably several messages the first time he logged in. I quickly came around to him and expected he would be good to keep close moving forward.

Turkey - He approached me early and cut right to the chase. I liked what he had in mind a lot so I had no problems here. But we didn’t talk much like I did with just about every other power.

Russia - Russia was great too. He disclosed a secret to me in his first message that would be his demise. As much as I personally liked him I had to use this information against him and leaked it almost immediately which slowly tore his nation apart. The leaked info: The Russian Czar preferred a lager to vodka. He stood no chance. His people turned on him almost immediately

The first 24-48 hours of the turn involved me trying to decide between working with France or England. Both seemed legitimately interested in being my ally against the other. Conversations with the other powers were pretty baseline and casual for a time. Eventually France seemed to feel comfortable enough with working with me to ask that I disclose my moves to him and he would do the same. I obliged anticipating the reciprocity. Upon reading his moves an alarm started sounding in my head as they showed he planned to support Paris into Burgundy. This all, of course, came with a carefully articulated argument for why that was such a good move for us.

While he and I squabbled over this my relationship with England strengthened (I was leaning towards him to begin with as I greatly enjoyed the conversation he and I shared but the Burgandy issues sealed the deal). Much of the final 48 hours were spent trying to decide how to deal with this Burgandy problem as it would create problems for me and England. Meanwhile, the last 48 hours also corresponded with Austria coming to the game and beginning communications. Once he came around I got the feeling a Central Powers Alliance might make sense. I already was enjoying conversation with Italy quite a bit and Austria seemed pretty genial. Thus, the Earl Campbell was born (code name I came up with for our relationship based on the resemblance of our powers to Earl Campbell’s massive thighs).

The interesting thing about this early stage of the game was that France was pushing me closer to England while Italy and Austria were drawing me into them. With not much time left in the turn Italy evened the playing field when it came to my loyalty. England was the obvious front runner as I got along with him great. Then, Italy, who I also liked came in to save the day with France and offered to demand a bounce in Pied with France. It solved all my 1901 problems and endeared me to Italy greatly. At this point I no longer had to worry about France and felt incredibly secure on all borders with the exception of France where I expected to do battle at this point. Come fall, everything was falling into place.

By fall England and I could coast. We both were assured that we could take two centers off the bat. Everything was about gaining position against France. In the east things were shaping up well. Turkey made incredibly hostile moves against Russia by moving to Armenia which left the CT guys trying to decide whether to go with Russia or Turkey as our primary target. The group chose Turkey as our target. I personally thought it should be Russia (a strong Russia just makes me nervous no matter my placement on the board lol).

I feel like I am spending a lot of time on 1901 but the fall of 1901 turned out to be critical in my decision making going forward. When the fall deadlined processed it became clear that Russia and Italy colluded against Austria. I bounce Russia in Sweden assuming he was going to gain Rumania (this was also a part of the plan to keep the CT secret. Austria would be working with Russia while I worked against him). However, the Italian stab on Austria had some interesting side effects. Italy sent me a message shortly before the deadline to warn me as he did not want to burn a bridge with me but simply felt taking on Austria was the best thing for him to start.

However, this ruined all of my ambitions in the east. It exposed the move to Pied as pretty self interested. It helped me a ton but it gave Italy an out for continuing to occupy Venice. It looked like he was just helping out an ally. So with the CT I played the role of a betrayed ally of the group. I let Italy know I was quite disappointed and would be scrambling for a new alliance. In reality it just made it that much easier to maintain and go forward with the great alliance I had already built with England.

All the same I played my role as betrayed CT member. I apologized for the bounce in Sweden and tried to convince Russia that he made a huge mistake not siding with Austria. Russia was staring at a no build first year and felt rather down on himself. Austria too expressed despair and anticipated he would not be long for this game. I did my part to try and convince each of them this was not true and that they could repair the problems between them going forward. Ultimately this was purely about not seeing the east crumble quickly resulting in eastern powers on my doorstep too quickly.

Meanwhile I continued to manipulate France a little bit hard in 1902. I still expressed loyalty to him and of course quickly betrayed him in spring while working with England to take Burgandy. Almost immediately after the deadline processed he surrendered which was unexpected in a star ambassador game.

This, of course, resulted in an interesting addition to our game. Enter Pootleflump. I felt weird about it at first. Everyone in the game seemed to know who she was almost immediately. I personally was clueless. This did lead to some interesting stuff. I played nice. I liked her. And I said I was going along with what she we wanted to help her out going forward. All this meant was a little bounce in Marseille to allow her a build. I of course did not go through with the bounce. I went ahead with the plans England and I had made. I was surprised when after the turn processed I got accused of doing the most sociopathic thing she had ever seen. I didn’t let up in the game but I was able to repair our relationship on an individual basis and like her well. I think even reading this she will be annoyed at me but I think overall we have moved past it.

Turkey also developed into a concerning threat around this time in the game quickly jumping out to a sizable lead on the board. So England and I began working on trying to get Italy, Austria and Russia to join forces and fight off Turkey. No doubt they were all worried about it as well. I don’t want to infer that England and I alone manipulated Turkey’s downfall from across the map but we certainly had it on our mind and wanted to encourage those powers accordingly. Thus the CT Redux was born.

I kept up talking with Italy and Austria during all this time and eventually started working hard to convince them to mend their relationship. Russia was invited as an ancillary friend in the battle against Turkey but was ultimately never expected to last. He was an instrument in the battle and that was about it. All this tore me up a little because Russia was starting to become one of my favorite players. He and I had some of the best chill conversations of the game. But for the sake of the game I agreed he was not going to remain with me in the long-term.

Finally we got to point where France was beaten down and Turkey was under control. I had to act. The CT required me to make my move on England. But England was my true ally. Really always had been. I convinced England to let me carry out a fake stab on him. I had treated him generously earlier in the game when he needed a center so he owed me one. He paid up and allowed me to “stab him.” I took st pt from him and bounced him in Belgium. He claimed he saw a good stab opening for me and made defensive moves. The board seemed to buy it. By the end of the next turn I executed my stab on Austria.

Surprisingly, Italy seemed to stab Austria too. I think he really just acted defensively and didn’t communicate well when Austria made some gains against Turkey and had a build that had to be done in Trieste. I didn’t try to talk Austria out of the idea we both stabbed him though knowing if he went after us both it was better for me.

Within the next few turns England had a great year with some builds in the same time where I was stuck maneuvering for position with no gains. I recognized England had a good stab opportunity against me and debated making a few defensive moves that would have lessened the blow. But also, if I was wrong it would have just looked like a bad stab on my part and probably would have ended my relationship with England. After spending the time to think about it I decided to roll the dice and hope I was more cutthroat than he was and moved forward with my moves against Austria. What I had going for me was that if I gained the positioning I needed I wouldn’t have had to ever really stab England I didn’t think. When I read the board it appeared that Austria was like a bunch of dominos stacked up and once I pushed over the first the rest would fall to me quickly and I expected to see multiple centers in my hands more quickly than England could stop me. But, England did the right thing and plunged that knife deep in my back. Honestly I applaud him for it and am glad he got the solo.

However, I could not possibly be more frustrated with myself for what happened next. I was able to rally the rest of the board to oppose him. Both Austria and Italy agreed. I suspected the opposition would come down to a big draw and began shouting that we should just end it now instead of dragging it on and take the 4-way. I was hoping that England would see that as the ultimate outcome. The truth was he was over the stalemate line. The advantage we had was that he did not have enough power in the south and had to guess right in the north to break through. And I kept outguessing him in the north and my friends in the south broke through his defenses and were about 1 turn away from taking back power there and forcing the draw if he didn’t guess right quick….

Then, like a complete ass I NMR’d over Easter weekend. I thought on Friday I had cleared up all of my diplomacy responsibilities for the weekend and didn’t check in much on Saturday as I was traveling. Then when I checked again I saw I had NMR’d and given up two centers to England and had no hope of slowing him down long enough for Austria and Italy to knock him back down in the south. So, to Austria and Italy I am beyond sorry. We definitely had a chance at stopping him and I blew it. But the first few years of massive communications back and forth were all worth it. I loved the game 10/10 would play again.
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Re: AAR: 140673 - Dancing with the stars (English Solo)

Postby Don Juan of Austria » 08 Apr 2018, 02:38

mjparrett wrote:Congratulations England. Turkey here, who was faced with, lets say "questionable decisions" by Italy which essentially ruined the game for both of us. I warned him it was coming but he either didn't see the obvious or didn't want to admit it. Faced in 1902 with instead of T/I vs A/R (which I think we would have won), it was A/I/R vs T. But instead of quickly killing me (which is hard against a competent Turkey) and then facing the west, they bickered and messed around and essentially handed the game to a E/G 2 way alliance. England very cleverly manipulated into position for a stab and took the solo, so hats off to him.



Lol, still blaming me in the AAR for unsound tactics? I maybe ruined your game, but I wouldn't say I ruined my own.
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Re: AAR: 140673 - Dancing with the stars (English Solo)

Postby boldblade » 08 Apr 2018, 04:58

"Ooooh....the dim bulb brightens..."

Best quote of the game.
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Re: AAR: 140673 - Dancing with the stars (English Solo)

Postby champinoman » 08 Apr 2018, 15:25

1901

I knew that I was walking into a Star Ambassador game but I don’t think I was ready for the amount of messages that were sent this year. And to make things even more tricky it was actually my neighbours who were sending most of them (to me anyway). I’ve found that usually it’s pretty obvious straight away who I’d prefer to work with but in this case it actually took a bit longer because they were both super active and providing good options. France was concise and to the point, whereas the conversation with Germany was the complete opposite with the conversation being a hilarious dialog resolving around food. I was involved in one other game at the same time and I had just been stabbed and wasn’t doing so well so my initial feelings were leaning me towards Germany if only for the prospect of continuing our conversations. To sum up the conversations we were having, I present you with an image I sent Germany in the first season:

Image

And with that clear as mud battle plan our alliance was set and ready to go.

In terms of moves there really isn’t anything exciting to discuss in ’01 for England. Opened to NRG-ENG-Yor to keep things open in regards to France. I didn’t want to put all my eggs in the German basket straight away. Turkey moving to Arm and Italy moving to Tri was certainly helpful to ensure chaos in the East. And the bounce in Bur allowing me free passage into Bel was a gift. At the end of ’01 I was at the point where I needed to decide what to do, and that became obvious in the build phase with the builds Germany and myself made. We were set and ready to go.

Image

1902

Germany and I were in the fortunate position that no matter what combination of builds France provided, we had a plan already sorted to counter it. But that all didn’t matter when France vanished during the Spring retreat phase and destroyed their army in Bur instead of retreating to Mar. This was the first of only 2 NMRs in the entire game but it certainly helped with us making good ground on France quickly. Shortly after this France surrendered and was replaced promptly by Pootleflump. I didn’t really have much choice when she joined the game because I was pretty dedicated to going after France, so I spent a fair amount of time trying to make sure that others wouldn’t join her cause and end up stalling our progress. I’ve seen her handiwork before and was genuinely concerned about my existing relationships.

I was able to get myself a build in 1902 by promising Russia support into Swe in the Spring and using the opportunity to sneak myself into StP. And with Germany gaining Swe we were able to spend the year positioning ourselves in France whilst still knowing we were getting builds.

Image

1903

I can’t remember the exact circumstances during the spring moves but I managed to get myself into both Bre & Par. I think it was mainly due to France taking a defensive position in the hope of regaining in the Fall.
The Fall was a little more exciting. Due to gaining 2 SC in the Spring we were able to offer Russia an arrangement to ensure that they retained their 2 units. As long as they self-bounced in War (and destroyed GOB, I think) we offered them the ability to retreat into StP if needed, whilst simultaneously positioning ourselves to force it back the following year. We were getting concerned about Turkey’s growth and didn’t want them just walking into Russia’s territory. As it turns out, they didn’t need the retreat and I gained the bonus build.

Image

1904

Positioning in Spring to allow for a fake stab in the Fall. I’m not really sure how convincing it was but even just the seed of distrust between us was what we were after. Considering my double build the previous year it was Germany’s turn to gain the build so we effectively traded StP for Spa to transfer the build. But one other thing that I was after this turn was to get a fleet into StP instead of the army in Livonia. I was concerned about the vulnerability of Norway and the fleet in StP gave me a warning if Norway was ever a target.

Image

1905

France could have made things difficult in 1905 but they took the option of hoping for survival in Italy instead. So Germany and I were both able to pickup a build. And then I made my move against Italy I was very surprised to hear from Italy after my move to hear that they were going after Turkey and that they weren’t defending their homeland. I won’t dive into the reasons as to why as I’m sure they’ll discuss it themselves, but I was certainly appreciative.

Image

1906

Big gains into Italy this year with 3 builds. I knew the opportunity to stab was coming but there were a few things that had to be sorted first. Germany kept suggesting that it might be easier to trade Norway and Marseilles in order to split our territory. They were correct but I knew that Marseilles was an easy steal the following year if the stab was on so I had to convince them out of it. I also didn’t want any German troops pushing into Scandinavia because I believed I could make some quick gains there as well.

I considered stabbing into Mar in the Fall to prevent Germany from getting a build but decided that I’d get a 1 turn head start in the Spring if Germany believed I wasn’t stabbing. The trick was convincing Germany of this though after they saw my 3 builds.

Image

1907 onwards…

Stab time!

3 centers were guaranteed in the first year to get me to 15. I knew I’d be able to get into Ven for a while but once it was obvious that Germany, Austria and Italy were able to work together I knew that I wouldn’t be able to hold the Italian Peninsula for the rest of the game. The key in that region was to stall the loss as long as possible and very slowly fall back to a stalemate position in the
Med between Tun & Mar. In that time I hoped to get the SC I needed to get me the win.

1908 saw the acquisition of Ven but also a loss up North meaning I didn’t get the gain I wanted. This was the first time I let the thought of a draw into my head and I struck up a conversation with Germany and Austria asking what they would require me to do in order to allow them to eliminate Italy. Their response was that it would take too much time and that a 4-way was what was happening. This answer spurred me back on track to thinking about the solo.

1909 saw no gains other than position.

Positioning in Spring of 1910 meant that I was gaining a Germany home SC in the Fall and finally making forward progress again. But a NMR by Germany meant that not only did I get the gain in Kie that I was expecting, but I also gained Swe.

The gains of Kie and Swe put me to 17 SC and in a position to take the victory. I was able to get into Mun & Den in the Spring and successfully hold them through Fall. I did lose Kie in in the Fall but it didn’t matter, I had made it to 18.

1907:
[img]https://www.playdiplomacy.com/games/1/140673/game-history-small-140673-14-O.png[img]

1908:
Image

1909:
Image

1910:
Image

1911:
Image

So there we have it. Slightly aided by the late NMR by Germany but I still think that I was in a good enough position to take it and not quite the guessing game that I had suggested it was in messages to Germany trying to convince them to eliminate Italy.
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Re: AAR: 140673 - Dancing with the stars (English Solo)

Postby boldblade » 08 Apr 2018, 19:24

Denmark and Kiel would have ultimately fallen if it weren't for my NMR. But I think that's it. And I think that is enough of a guessing game that it would have taken long enough for you to lose ground in the boot.
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