AAR PDET 2017: Top Board

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AAR: ODC @ PDET 2017: Top Board

Postby Buachaille » 01 May 2018, 22:26

ENGLAND: Machiara
FRANCE: Bromley86
ITALY: BullCall
GERMANY: Conq
AUSTRIA: Lebigmac (2way DRAW)
TURKEY: Bravo Papa Alpha (2way DRAW)
RUSSIA: StarMonkey

Congratulations to the winners!

In my limited experience, energy for AARs dissipates the longer it’s left, so no harm in helping out ;)
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AAR PDET 2017: Top Board

Postby Lebigmac » 01 May 2018, 22:52

Thank you to Bauchaille, who could have taken his position back, but never even suggested it. Thanks also to WH Seward and the other Admins here. I appreciate getting the credit for the game. I mean, it makes sense, but as a sub I had no "legal" standing.

I am honored to share the title with Bravo Papa Alpha.

From my first email to him when I entered before the Spring 1902 moves: “I like this game and know it depends on relationships. Hang in there with me!”

By contrast, I wrote this to Russia when I entered: “Generally, my goals for Austria are anti-Turkish. You're in Bla. That seems pretty easy.” My preference would have been to work with Russia. It’s much, much easier. Italy was committed in the west. Germany was committed in the west. So, I had Russia and Turkey to myself, so to speak. The good news for me was they were not working together.

As the game developed, I figured out that Turkey and I were of the same philosophical mindset. That’s how AT finishes 17/17.

Now, were there bumps in the road? You betcha!

When Turkey moved to eliminate England because of German threats, I was upset. It made me question his reliability. When Turkey built a surprise army, I was upset. When Turkey broke the “no communication with Germany” rule that he created without telling me, I was upset. When Turkey essentially insisted on dragging me to a 2-way (instead of taking the safe 3-way), I was upset.

However, there were two things that kept me coming back to the AT: 1) He always responded well when I pushed back; 2) he and I could talk details, negotiate, and trust each other to do what we said (for the most part). Our relationship was stronger than our momentary disagreements. We bounced ideas off each other, improved each other’s plans, and had a lot of fun.

There were a few key moments, perhaps none more so than when I attacked Bulgaria in Spring 1903, I thought it was clever. I destroyed the army and had Turkey out of position. My hope was to get Italy to move at least a fleet east. I needed to take Turkey out while I had him wounded. However, Italy wouldn’t commit. If you want a lesson on how to turn a situation around, read this from Turkey post-stab and learn:

“Italy is already resigned to fighting you. He fully expects you to build a fleet in Trieste whatever you say. And, let's be honest, he may not be wrong! He is so convinced of that, he just asked me to order ION-ADS.

I think he will send TYS-ION because he believes that I have no choice but to send ION-AEG, something that you just accepted was the obvious, logical play. But maybe he does not. Maybe you get into ION.

This only turns into a slog if you do not have a loyal ally. I am so loyal, I am even talking to you after you stabbed me!!!! There simply is no slog if I am fighting Italy with you. Russia is already just a matter of time. He can't get lucky every turn...
If he orders Lvn s Mos-War, then you can take Sev with Rum & Ukr and keep War with Bud s War.
If he orders Mos s Sev, you can take Sev with War-Mos to cut.
If he does not order Lvn s Mos-War or Lvn s Mos holds then you take Mos with Ukr s War-Mos & keep War with Bud-War.
In fact, I inaccurately assessed your chances in Russia because it is not a straight 3 v3. It is 3 Armies v 1 flet and 2 armies where that fleet cannot support inland. You actually therefore have a significantly better than 50/50 shot. If it was my money on what Russia would do, then I would say he the type to come out swinging;
Sev hold
Lvn s Mos-War or even Mos s Lvn-War!
But he is certainly not going to tell me.”

Don’t get mad. Find the win/win that will turn things around for you!

There was some serious smack talk in the public press in this game. Russia was particularly active, seemingly more so as his fortunes dwindled. He even rose from the dead to insult the remaining powers, which seemed a bit odd (to be kind).

We also had some unfortunate private press incidents. Some things were said that reveal more about the person saying them than anyone else. Russia seemed particularly vitriolic.

Back to the game proper. By Fall 1904, I was at 9 (home, Ser, Rum, War, Mos, Sev, and Ven) and Turkey was at 5. I think Turkey and I had already gone to the “Austria only builds armies and Turkey only builds fleets default.” Turkey eventually developed a whole stalemate line for us, which he later thwarted (by blocking my fleet).

Germany’s attempts to get a 7-way draw, then a 6-way, were ridiculous. There was friction on his side of the board and we (AT) knew it. Was England really going to let Germany claim a victory (with most sc’s on the final board)? No, he wasn’t.

Would Italy and/or France also flip? Italy never did. France said he would, then remained on board with Germany.

Germany kept proposing draws that were not going to pass, refusing to go with a 2-way that would have let him survive. He didn't think we could go 17/17. He told me he had always wanted to go 17/17, but could never find an ally strong enough. My translation: he had always stabbed his partner when they got close to 17/17.

A summary:

England: he was fun to play. He had a good sense of humor and good ideas. His error was committing to heavily into France, so much so that he was open to Germany’s stab.

France: I didn’t have much interaction with him. However, when EIG come after France, it’s pretty tough.

Germany: told me he wanted to ally. However, he had a definition of “ally” I don’t understand. I think allies should work together and plan together. His idea was so nebulous I can’t explain it. There was quite a bit of friction between the two of us. He said he wanted to work with me, but rarely put forth concrete proposals. He did that the last few turns, but they were nothing less than “give me dots or you’ll regret it.” He freely passed press, which made it all the more difficult to trust him. He got very frustrated with me, in part because I was “supposed” to attack Turkey. An AT could not work, or so he thought. I can see why he succeeds, but his negotiating tactics were not effective vs. me and Turkey.

He played the blackmail card too often for my tastes. He used it successfully against Turkey a couple of times, resulting in the elimination of England (whom Turkey had proposed using as a 3rd country to wear down Germany, and to act as a buffer between the two of us) and the building of a Turk army. However, he was threatening to throw the game to me (even congratulating me publicly) while moving in ways that helped Turkey.

I thought his public listing of his moves and subsequent submission of different orders was immature. He did some other things I won’t bring up (unless he does) that I also did not appreciate. No matter how upset I got with Turkey (for trying to force me to eliminate Germany), Germany was never going to be a plausible alternative. Again, I think it helps to be “nice until it’s time not to be nice.” But, that’s just opinion. However, I do believe when the endgame rolls around, your “niceness quotient” matters a lot. Players will try to not allow others whose behavior they’ve not liked to survive.

Italy: I am not generally a fan of Italy going west without very solid reasons. He went west and Germany was the main beneficiary. He also seemed to think there was an AIG. While I like that alliance, this was not that. When I asked for help vs. Turkey, I received no commitment. That turned the game around. I decided to do what I prefer: play the players, not the position. Does that make things difficult? Tactically, yes. Strategically and diplomatically, it simplified the game.

Russia; some of what he said about the other players had validity, including what he said about me. However, it was a little tough to take his proclamations of superiority seriously when I’d taken all of his dots save Stp. Was he right when he said Germany should not have taken Nwy from him? Yes. However, his own behavior probably contributed mightily to that. He says he doesn’t care what anyone thinks. Okay, you can play that way. It’s my opinion that it doesn’t wear well.

Turkey: He plays the game the way I like it to be played. Was he flawless? No. In fact, he bugged me often enough that I nearly decided to move to Serbia (to protect Bul) and regretted letting him having Venice. Is that because I didn’t want the 2-way? No, it’s because he was getting a little too controlling—okay, a lot too controlling. In fact, if Germany had been less “give me dots” and more “let’s break Turkey and here’s how” I might have gone for it. The German method of “breaking Turkey” always involved me surrendering my dots, never threatening Turkish dots. In fact, when Germany retreated to Hel and Bal at the end of the game, I asked why he’d never proposed convoying me to England. He’d never thought of it. Why not? Because all he wanted was Austrian dots, not Austria as an ally.

I was fairly confident Turkey would not play for Bel on the last turn. Why not? It wasn’t because he was unwilling to win. It was because he wanted to validate the work he’d put into the stalemate and because taking the win would validate Germany’s methods. That was also why I would not use Bur to support Bel. I wanted to make sure Germany was off the map and not able to keep threatening to let Turkey solo. That’s also why I had no use for the request for an extra 5 hours. What for? So he could make another run at convincing Turkey to win? No thanks.

The last few years were tense. I didn’t know if we’d make it. But, at the key moments, we always did what we had to do to make it work. There were times I would propose ABC. He would send back BCD. I would send back CDE. We would then compromise on ACE.

That’s what made it work.

Well done, Bravo Papa Alpha !

The game was a great experience.
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Re: AAR: ODC @ PDET 2017: Top Board

Postby boldblade » 01 May 2018, 23:14

Lebigmac started this in the general AAR section

viewtopic.php?f=51&t=57770


Topics merged.
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Re: AAR: ODC @ PDET 2017: Top Board

Postby Lebigmac » 01 May 2018, 23:54

Buachaille wrote:ENGLAND: Machiara
FRANCE: Bromley86
ITALY: BullCall
GERMANY: Conq
AUSTRIA: Lebigmac (2way DRAW)
TURKEY: Bravo Papa Alpha (2way DRAW)
RUSSIA: StarMonkey

Congratulations to the winners!

In my limited experience, energy for AARs dissipates the longer it’s left, so no harm in helping out ;)


No harm at all! I'm not even sure I used the right format.
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Re: AAR PDET 2017: Top Board

Postby Fatmo » 02 May 2018, 00:31

Marking this thread.

Congrats to the winners.
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Re: AAR PDET 2017: Top Board

Postby Groo » 02 May 2018, 07:03

Congraz to the winners!

From the spectators pow Russian NMR on build phase 1901 pretty much enabled G to move against him straight away and lost him the game. That's something you dont expect to see on a top board.
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Re: AAR PDET 2017: Top Board

Postby Machiara » 02 May 2018, 07:19

This game was not such a great experience for me, lol. Let’s pick the scab and go into why!

Well, I started off establishing pretty good comms with both Germany and France, which is always a good thing but how much faith can you really put into first-turn comms. You just have to get a feel for the players, hope you’ve put your best foot forward, and cross your fingers.

From my pregame comms with the other players it seemed as if things were a little discombobulated in the east. Russia offered a northern alliance, and that seemed like a very good deal to me. Russia can be a huge headache for England so the idea of him building armies and fighting it out with GTA was something I could get behind. And I figured with the quality of the board we were on he wouldn’t want to risk opening north. That relationship seemed solid.

Both Germany and France were looking to be allies, and I had to make a choice. I think France lost out largely because he didn’t send comms until Germany sent me his first message in the early morning of January 8, and by the time France sent me his first message that evening Germany and I had already sent three pretty in-depth messages to each other.

France send me one message on Jan 8, one on Jan 9, and one on Jan 10. We did not get to really talking until January 11, and there were only a total of six pregame messages between us. In contrast, Germany and I had exchanged 14 messages. Germany just seemed like a better communicator (which is important to me, I communicate a lot) and we seemed to hit it off well. It also seemed to me as if there might be opportunities in the Med.

So I chose Germany. I would live to regret this decision. For a while, at least.

Image

So as you can see things opened up very well with France. I had Belgium and Norway guaranteed and the possibility of Brest if I wanted to take a gamble. Russia opened as he said he would and things were looking very promising early for England.

I went back and forth between Brest and Belgium. If I got into Brest it would cripple France, but if he bounced me that would set me back a build. I finally decided to go for Belgium. It was the wrong call.

Image

This is after the Fall 1901 build phase. I have a few problems. The first is that France went to Portugal and can now build F Bre and A Par. The second is that Russia did not build at all. The third is that Germany built a fleet in contravention of our agreement that he would build armies and I would build fleets.

In hindsight I should have just kissed and made up with France right there and turned on Germany for the lying bastard he is. But unfortunately I have no Russian threat to really work with and I’ve already committed myself against France, which as Lebigmac pointed out was probably a strategic error on my part.

That said, I still think the smart strategic move was to stick with Germany because he seems like a strong player and will certainly recognize that he will get more centers and a better strategic position from teaming with me than stabbing me and letting whoever comes out of the east get the upper hand. Despite France’s correct guess about Brest we really do have him on the ropes right now and we have the chance to take care of him and get into the Med/into Vienna while the east is still sorting itself out.

Image

Here we are after the Fall 1902 orders, which I think were perhaps the most important turn of the game with respect to Anglo-German relations. As you can see Germany has snuck into Paris, which is going to give him a build, and I have supported him into Sweden for a total of two builds. The real tipping point here was that Russia insisted that Germany take Sweden from the Baltic while I would have much preferred that he take it from Denmark, which was again our original agreement. In hindsight I should have just ordered my support for Den > Swe and told Germany to take it or leave it, but again I was trying to keep the alliance running smoothly because we had much bigger opportunities elsewhere than against each other.

This was a huge mistake, because apparently Germany wasn’t interested in taking centers from Austria and Russia while I took centers from France and pushed into the Med, making us the pre-eminent alliance on the board. He was interested in taking my centers. More thoughts on this later.

Image

This is the first German stab, which honestly I just couldn’t believe. He had an AMAZING opportunity to just ROLL Austria and instead decided to play Navy games with me, which he was much-less equipped to do and was going to take forever. I said as much to Germany:

Turkey and Russia are going to take up the attention of at least six Austrian units next year. This gives you a chance to throw armies south and muck up the works. I mean, imagine what a pickle Austria would be in if you were in Silesia, Tyrolia, and Munich right now.

*sigh* Missed opportunities.


I mean, look at this freaking map. Germany would have been driving straight into the heart of Austria with a ton of opportunities to team up with Russia and Italy to take out the Austrian. He would have been across the stalemate line. And he had an ally who had been incredibly accommodating to his desires, had only built fleets, and was clearly committed against France.

Yet Germany chose to stab his best ally in pursuit of a couple of centers. He said that:

=======From GERMANY Spring 1903 Retreat =======
Ha! I've seen stab responses of frustration, sadness, respect, pure, fuming venom, despondency. I think this is the first "ROFL" I've seen. :-) Definitely made me smile.

So...ya know...

It was a situation where I saw on the board that I had to stab you here. I mean, I knew Austria wasn't coming for me because he didn't have Russia on his side and Austria's don't go to the middle when there is viable turquoise in their corner. You were about to get a bunch of centers and you would end up at my back. I had a clear move and an entangled France.

On the personal side, I would have preferred to remain your ally. I was really looking for excuses on the board to do something different. But I felt, in the end, like this was a mandatory move.

It's a tough break for you. Honestly, if I hadn't been able to sneak into Paris last turn, I probably wouldn't have done this. And if Russia were not so beleaguered, or if Italy were not so keen to go West, I definitely wouldn't have done this. But it seemed like a perfect storm.

Doesn't change the fact that you've been a great ally and I've really enjoyed being on your team for most of the game.

With respect,
Germany


Whatever, Germany. Go blow sunshine up someone else’s skirt. The whole point of going after Austria is that he DOES have to commit against Italy/Russia/Turkey which allows you to blow him up with the additional pressure! And the beleaguered state of Russia makes this even more attractive, as he’s being pressed hard and would welcome an opportunity to work with someone to get back in the game. If he was stronger you might have to worry about Russia flanking you but given the state of the game the last thing he would want to do is blow up his only good alliance.

I also sent Germany these prophetic messages:

But I don't think the prospect of me being "at your back" is as bad as you're making it out to be. I'm building only fleets, and Austria is a real threat. If I were to attack you I think it's pretty clear that he would take the lion's share of the available centers. I would actually be one of the safest alliance options out there; I don't want to be part of an Austrian solo.

Stabbing me might have been a great move for you--and if so, well played--but it's not going to take Austria long to clean up Russia. Then, will Italy be coming through the MAO? That seems like it could be a big problem for you; you're not going to be able to get fleets to the MAO until Italy is through, and then where are you? Fighting a two-front war with Italian fleets in the west and Austrian armies in the east.

I mean, maybe they'll really go for a three-way? Maybe. But they have a pretty clear avenue via which they can crush you, right?


So essentially what your moves are saying is that you'd rather draw with Austria and Italy than with me. Which is just super disappointing given our alliance to this point.

And rather than moving forward with our alliance (and how accomodating have I been to your security concerns? Too accomodating, apparently, lol) you've decided to throw it over. Which is of course your decision, but what are you throwing it over FOR? Norway and Belgium? Maybe the English Home Centers, if you build fleets and do really well?

We can both agree that you're not getting past the Mos/War/Vie/Tri/Ven line at your current pace, right? They're going to firm that up before you're able to commit forces over there. So in addition to the nine centers you currently have (inc. Nor and Bel) you reasonably have a chance for Lon/Lvp/Edi and Brest. That puts you at 13. Do you see a solo from there?

And not only are you not soloing, but you're letting a possibly-antagonistic Italy into the MAO. So Italy and Austria can slowly grind you down with their center superiority, and you don't have a stalemate line to hide behind from which you can stop them.

This strikes me as a bad stab. Yes, it hurts me. Possibly fatally, we'll see. But I only lose one center (you can't stop me from taking Brest) and then we fight it out on the seas, right? THAT will take a while, and that's time in which Austria is going to be taking a bunch of Russian centers and solidifying his position.

Our original plan still works. My fleets can help you turn the corner into Italy. With Austria preoccupied against Russia and Turkey this is really the only time you're going to have to try and dent his line. And if you attack him before he finishes off Russia and Turkey it gives you ready-made anti-Austrian allies to flank him--allies you're not going to have if you have to finish me off before going after him.


These prophecies all turned out to be true. Germany took a strategically-advantageous situation and turned it into shit. And it happened exactly as I foretold; he got to about 13, the southern nations burst through in the MAO, and he just got ground down from there. The only thing I missed was that Austria would work with Turkey, not Italy.

So well played, Germany. Well played indeed. The shining silver lining of the game is that you lost. We could have dominated this game and you screwed it up. Really outstanding.

The rest of this game is pretty much me defending myself from Germany, which would be boring and there is not much insight to be had. I’ll let the rest of the group handle that.
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Re: AAR PDET 2017: Top Board

Postby jay65536 » 02 May 2018, 16:50

First off, congratulations to Lebigmac and BPA!

Groo: Misorders on top boards aren't as rare as you might expect. On the 2016 WDC top board there was one by the guy who would go on to win the tournament.

Machiara, after reading your AAR I really want to ask: Was this your first game playing with Conq?
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Re: AAR PDET 2017: Top Board

Postby Lebigmac » 02 May 2018, 16:58

jay65536 wrote:First off, congratulations to Lebigmac and BPA!

Groo: Misorders on top boards aren't as rare as you might expect. On the 2016 WDC top board there was one by the guy who would go on to win the tournament.

Machiara, after reading your AAR I really want to ask: Was this your first game playing with Conq?


It was, obviously, my first game with him. I thought he was excellent in communicating. I found the content of his comms lacking detail. I can't argue against his success. His record is amazing. In fact, I think his success worked against him here. He didn't have the tools to turn this around.

Just my opinion: if you threaten to throw the game, you need to be ready to do it. And, if you're just going to keep threatening, someone (like me) is going to say, "Knock yourself out." Threats lose their effect over time. There were some concrete suggestions he *could* have made, but he wanted things his way and only his way. As I indicated, there were several points at which my commitment to the AT was challenged by Turkey's decisions. However, Conq didn't seize them.
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Re: AAR PDET 2017: Top Board

Postby Fatmo » 02 May 2018, 18:27

One thing I'm kind of wondering is about the relationship between Austria and Italy very early on, before the Austrian player was replaced. Were they very close? Did they have any solid base and understanding? It's a pretty big commitment for Italy to open west like that, and obviously you don't see that most of the time. I happen to be a fan of doing so, but only when I think I have things set up in the east so that either the action is moving away from me (everyone is going for Russia or Turkey. If Turkey, send a token fleet to help in the effort and not give Austria a reason to build another) or if I get the feeling that the three of them are just going to spend a few years trying to get the upper hand in the Balkans. Got to have a solid understanding with at least one or two of them that in the midgame we will team up and dominate the east. Or some kind of agreement to go after an eastern country who has become a big threat.

If it was Austria that Italy had become closest with early on (and that makes perfect sense), I bet the replacement was kind of a blow to his plans. Because, as lebigmac says, you are playing the players when all is said and done. Every player will have different vibes and be inclined to want to do different things with different people. Obviously he was close with Germany as well. I'd love to hear from Italy and I guess either Austria about that dynamic. Maybe England and Germany also are privy to some of the Italian dynamics, since they all must have been talking together when attacking France. I know lebigmac says that Italy refused to help against Turkey on one specific turn, but there must have been more to that.

Lebigmac wrote:Just my opinion: if you threaten to throw the game, you need to be ready to do it. And, if you're just going to keep threatening, someone (like me) is going to say, "Knock yourself out." Threats lose their effect over time.


100% agree with this. What is frustrating though is when you promise multiple times to throw a game and actually do follow through with the moves you promise every time, but neither of the people in the 2-way want to take it. I'll take your word for it that Germany lost his credibility in your eyes and wasn't specific or honest enough. Haha he says this is the first time he's actually offered to throw a solo to someone and meant it. Maybe he's just not had much opportunity to have to play kingmaker because he usually does so well in his games that he's not often in terrible loosing positions like that where you can actually be a legit kingmaking threat.
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