AAR: PDES18 Game 1B

Discussion of finished games.

AAR: PDES18 Game 1B

Postby jay65536 » 03 May 2018, 20:30

ENGLAND: Blackrake (4way DRAW)
FRANCE: the_discourses (4way DRAW)
GERMANY: Charleroi
ITALY: Citizen Joe
AUSTRIA: Hollabackatcha
RUSSIA: jay65536 (4way DRAW)
TURKEY: jimbobicus (4way DRAW)

Please add post-game commentary here if you wish.
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Re: AAR: PDES18 Game 1B

Postby jay65536 » 03 May 2018, 20:37

I will share the Russian perspective on this game in due time, but I hope to hear from others first, as I'm very curious about others' perspectives on the game. (Also, there was a very unusual circumstance I was placed in from the very first turn, that I tried throughout the game to conceal from everyone; I think maybe I told France but that's it.) I hope that in addition to the survivors, some of the central powers come back and give their perspective! This was a hard-fought game by everyone. Good game to all.
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Re: AAR: PDES18 Game 1B

Postby the_discourses » 03 May 2018, 22:24

I'll start this off.

I was playing France. My early game strategy was simple: secure a near-to-the-end of the game alliance with either Italy or Russia, figure out which one of Germany and England I could work with better vs. the other one, and hope to get to a decent position by the time the eastern triangle got resolved.

The game started off weird. Germany was the main cause of it. I've never seen someone so transparently trying to goad me and Russia into attacking England. Sure, he talked to us both separately, but we talked to each other, compared notes, and saw something fishy. Furthermore, England was telling us Germany was pushing him to attack us. I figured that Germany's long-term plan was to get England on his side by causing one (or both) of us to attack England, then come to rescue as 'his friend', and get SC's. It was a dumb plan. Germany can get virtually nothing from France if he pulls an EG vs F, and after the Russia-friendly 1901 opening, and the lack of advance vs. Russia in early 1902, it was obvious that Russia and England were friends. I had a very nice DMZ with Italy, which we both kept to for the vast majority of the game, so Germany could either immediately team up with me vs. England, or flounder and die. Italy was also gifting him SC's in the south, where he, for whatever strange reason, backstabbed Austria.

In 1903, we had this opportunity . I had gained a build off Belgium from England with Germany's help, and had built a fleet, urging him to do the same. England had taken Denmark the last turn from Germany, showing him as anti-German. It was a clear case of working together against a common threat, where we would both profit. The goal was to attack England, and split him between us. It was strategically sound for both of us, would give us a secure, easily defendable borders, and allow us to concentrate on Russia and Italy should we want to (F vs. I, G vs. R). So, Germany, naturally, decides to instead help England, ending up with me with three armies and two fleets holding off England and Germany. Germany had no hope of advancing vs. my Maginot line defense, and England soon realized that breaking through me would be hard as well, especially since Italy kept to our DMZ, kept on growing, and started obviously being Germany's puppet master.

At this point, everyone in the north is pissed with Germany. England already had him in his cross-hairs for the early game attempts at turning everyone against him, I did not trust him since he not only betrayed our agreement, but did it for reasons I cannot fathom and absolutely no gain. He actually helped England get back Belgium. He got nothing out of the deal, not even Denmark. Basically, betraying a good strategic position and ally for absolutely no reason. Italy started begging me to help Germany vs. England, but I thought it was a lost cause. Germany had only one fleet, mostly armies, and they were all piled on my border. The more he insisted he'd help me vs. England, the more suspicious I got. How can a one-fleet Germany help me vs. England ever? And why did he refuse to pull a single unit from my border? Or, for that matter, why didn't he build and do something when he actually could? So, when England and Russia asked me to help take Germany out, I did the very minimum necessary to do so, cutting a key support which brought the whole thing down. A bit of more diplomatic maneuvering got me Munich after first Russia getting it, then Germany getting it back, then me getting it and keeping it. England got Kiel, Russia Berlin.

Simultanously as the pathetic end of Germany was going in the north, Italy was expanding like crazy in the south. He was on the verge of conquering Turkey, having already blown through all of the Balkans, in no small part to the excellent DMZ he and I both kept to. Not a single fleet from the W. Med to the Tyr. Sea until 1908! For some fucked up reason, though, he decided to allow Turkey to live, hoping to use him vs. Russia. Russia, instead, simply let Turkey have Sevastopol, and then helped him wreck Italy's empire to pieces. Italy also, for whatever reason, broke our DMZ thinking I'd attack him. Which gave me a reason to move down south, which caused him to split his forces, which started the downward spiral.

Now, the same time I was moving down south (1909 or so), mostly at Russia's and England's urging, both of whom were worried about an Italian solo, England started making noises about how I was out to get him, though I've not done anything aggressive to him for years. Sure enough, the moment I move down south, he attempted to take Belgium, move into the channel, and basically screw me over. Sheer luck and defensive orders prevented anything form happening, and I got a build to boot (that was the turn I capured Munich, with Itlay's help). Pissed, I built a fleet in Brest, and moved en masse to attack him, occupying the EC, NAO, and Irish sea by the end of 1909. England was going down so long as simply didn't gain a build. I invited Russia into the attack, offering him help vs. Kiel (which was in English hands), and then pointing out to him that Denmark would fall soon afterward, and I'd help him to Edinburgh. The split was fair: I'd get three builds, he'd get three builds. Instead, by what I can only assume is blood magic or on-line hypnotism, England convinced Russia to not only hand him Norway, but also disband his only fleet in the north. It was literally the make or break moment of the game--if Russia had betrayed England, we'd be looking at a likely FRT three-way. This made it a near-certain four-way. I had to slink back, unable to crack the fleet-reinforced defense of the isles, and told Turkey (who was now Italy's liege) who was urging me to attack England, that I could only do so if I had an extra build, like Tunis. He told me 'ok', then didn't give it to me.

Russia never attacked me the whole game. He also never helped anyone attack me the whole game, and he and I were truly strategic partners, though he obviously cared deeply for England. So, when England started pushing for a three-way defensive line to set up a four-way tie, and Russia agreed enthusiastically, I could only sigh and agree. Turkey was insanely blunt in his conquests, and the only real chance I had of beating back England post-Russia fiasco was the Tunis build which he didn't give me. So, with that off the table, I fell in line, got England to pull his fleets back so that I was safe, got Russia's guarantee to help me if the truce fails, and than sat and waited.

We waited like that for close to 5 years as Turkey's tunnel vision cleared and he realized that he was not going to convince us to break the truce since it was an obvious trap to his solo attempt, he missed the boat to have an ally by not relinquishing an SC earlier, and that the four-way tie we were proposing was only going to turn into a five-way tie if he didn't kill Italy because I knew the deadlock procedures in and out, having had to use them in the past. In the end, he also fell in line, killed off Italy, and we got a four-way tie.

It was a frustrating game. Twice England managed to convince countries that had absolutely no good reason to help it to give him SC's at their own detriment just to save his ass. I was pulling diplomatic and strategic rabbits out of my hat to get a single SC past the easy Iberian ones, which is nuts. The game was incredibly static in the north, and Russia basically decided the northern resolution. If it were up to me, I'd have annihilated England, turned south, and went through the med until I hit the Levant. But, alas, it was not to be.
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Re: AAR: PDES18 Game 1B

Postby jay65536 » 03 May 2018, 23:28

the_discourses wrote:Instead, by what I can only assume is blood magic or on-line hypnotism, England convinced Russia to not only hand him Norway, but also disband his only fleet in the north. It was literally the make or break moment of the game--if Russia had betrayed England, we'd be looking at a likely FRT three-way. This made it a near-certain four-way.


I will give a more full accounting of this point later. Fall 1909 is the one turn in this game where I thought I had a real difficult decision--stab England or not. In response to this quote, though, let me just say for now:

1. I actually pulled an army, not a fleet. I never pulled my northern fleet--it ended the game in Denmark. The unit I pulled was in Sweden, though, so I see why it felt like that's what I was doing.
2. My decision was not based on anything England said or did. It was actually based on things Turkey said and you did. Like I said, I'll explain more fully later.
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Re: AAR: PDES18 Game 1B

Postby jimbobicus » 04 May 2018, 01:09

The Turkey perspective:
(While reading this it may help to refer to the map https://www.playdiplomacy.com/game_hist ... =O&gdate=0)

1901: I was disappointed to draw Turkey. To me it's a very boring country to play - one I would never choose given the choice. But hey-ho!
I started off in slightly unorthodox style - I tried hard in diplo with Austria and Italy while completely ignoring Russia. And I mean literally blanking him - not even responding to messages. Idea is that I'm a fan of anti-Russian opening so as long as Austria is someone I can work with (and he was), I like the Smy-Arm in 1901 variant. But I avoid having to lie to Russia's face and can also make other people suspicious of Russia when he claims not to have heard from me while I claim to have good relations with him. I succeeded in establishing alliance with Austria against Russia, but slightly unfortunately for me, Italy decided he wanted to attack Austria. I'd have much preferred to see him attack France and leave me and Austria to attack Russia.

1902 to 1904: It was becoming clear that Austria was going down. A shame because I liked him. But I had good relations with Italy so started to work with him instead against Russia.

Spring 1905: Italy stabs me. Disaster! I didn't see it coming at all. Italy really knows how to lie and manipulate. Although the one positive for me was I sensed Italy and Russia were not particularly friendly with each other. Probably not helped by Italy's plans to be a puppet-master, sending everyone to attack Russia. This is very much what saved me here. If Italy and Russia had been able to work together here, I was a goner!

Fall 1905 to Spring 1908: A curious stage of the game. Firstly, I started communicating with Russia and apologised for being a bit of an ass for the first 4 years, but on the plus side I could point to the fact that I never lied to him. In general, that's not my style of play. I dislike lying to people - it can sometimes get you a short term advantage but should make people suspicious of you in the longer term. So I try to keep it to a minimum. So I started working with Russia, but quite strangely also with Italy. He decided he wanted to mend relations after his stab as long a I joined him in attacking Russia. I was rather skeptical at first, but the moves he proposed were often good for me and very similar to what I was going to do anyway - including bounces on the I/T border. Quite perversely, we had a situation where R/I were at war with each other, both courting me, but asking me to do similar moves. I wan't really sure what was going on... was it a trap? Especially when Italy started bribing me with a couple of SCs to attack Russia. - I thought it was an opportunity too good to refuse.

Fall 1908, Spring 1909: After much discussion with France and Russia, we make a 3 way RFT alliance with the plan being to kill Italy and England. This was great as far as I was concerned, I now had a concrete plan to emerge out of all the uncertainty and confusion of the previous few years. The future was looking up - the game would probably end a 3 way RFT draw. Or possibly even better if I could get a 2 way alliance with one of R or F against the other. I even started discussing this possibility with Russia. However, sadly this was not to last. Troubles started when France backed away from helping against Italy. Although I don't think this really mattered too much as Italy was going down anyway. Then things really started getting messed up...

Fall 1909: Russia breaks RFT alliance and instead hands Norway to England, giving him an extra build to defend against France. This struck me as a bizzarre decision and sadly the ensuing stalemate completely wrecked the game.

1910 to the end: It became increasingly clear that England and Russia had some kind of special bond with each other that meant the game was just going to fizzle out. In 1911 I tried to organise a deal with France for the 2 of us to work together. Unfortunately France didn't go for it. I can kind of understand why as he'd be relying on me to be a good ally. But at that stage I would have been. My style if I have an ally I can work with towards a 2 way is to be a good ally and work with them. I'd only try to stab for a solo right at the end. I'm not one for going for solos while being the only big power with a chance of solo - in top player games, I think others should gang up on you to stop you. So France would have been able to ally with me and trust me not to misbehave, while he caught me up on SCs (I even had plans to feed him southern SCs to enable him to catch up). But I guess France did not know what was in my head - and having seen ER act thoroughly negatively decided to do the same. From then on, this was a hugely frustrating game as I tried to incentivise EFR to break out their shells and do some attacking. To me it's a real shame and very anti-diplomacy how they played. Any alliance of 2 against the other 1 could have worked and allowed us to finish the game as a 3 way instead of a 4 way. But they were determined to be boring. But above all, I thought this was very much against the spirit of the game. To have 15 years and none of ERF make much of an attempt to attack each other in that time is pathetic.

England: I have to say you were the chief bore. You wouldn't even discuss what was needed to get you to play the game with more attacking flair. I thought an EIT alliance could have been very good for you, but no interest at all. As someone who plays this game for fun and tries to be an enterprising player, I found your style and lack of ambition throughout a complete anathema.

France: You at least showed some willingness to attack. It's a shame you weren't prepared to trust me in 1911, because I think it could have worked.

Germany: We didn't really have too much contact, except for a bit early on. Although I never really felt I had your cooperation and wasn't too upset to see you go out.

Austria: my early friend. Shame it didn't work between us. I think fall 1901 was where it went wrong. Some wrong guesswork by us their. If instead you'd bounced Italy in Vienna, maybe the game could have gone very differently. But given this Italy, you had a tough spot.

Italy: you were a big talker, highly manipulative and devious. But I have to say, compared to EFR, I like the fact that you played with ambition. I'd much prefer to play with you in another game than with England for example. Good game.

Russia: For a few years during the middle of the game, I thought we were really getting on well. And then fall 1909 happened! Not sure what that decision was about, but really it wrecked the game and meant we both ended with a 4 way (could have been easily been 5 way if I didn't whittle Italy away) instead of a 3 way or possible 2 way with us both having solo chances. Real shame. But also just horrible to see that kind of lack of ambition.
"A friend to all is a friend to none" - Aristotle
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Re: AAR: PDES18 Game 1B

Postby boldblade » 04 May 2018, 04:33

jimbobicus wrote:As someone who plays this game for fun and tries to be an enterprising player, I found your style and lack of ambition throughout a complete anathema.


jimbobicus wrote:But also just horrible to see that kind of lack of ambition.


Absolutely love your flavor of condescension jimbob lmao.
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Re: AAR: PDES18 Game 1B

Postby the_discourses » 04 May 2018, 07:48

I just want to say here, and have said it in the game: the 1910 turn, when I explained the situation to Turkey and told him that the only way forward for me to attack England was for me to be given an SC in Tunis was also key. Turkey snubbed me, probably thinking that England was attacking Russia or something. I warned him multiple times about the E/R relationship and what needed to happen for me to prevail vs. England--he ignored it.

Two years later, he was begging me to take Tunis, but it was too late by then. It's hard to take seriously someone begging you to help him attack a third party when they're at 14 SC's with good solo prospects. The 1909 decision by Russia was key in how the game turned out, but Turkey's inability to see the relationship between players and his myopia about the obvious 'goals' every dip player should have blinded him to the fact that the ERF relationship was more like some kind of a mutual suicide pact rather than outright antagonism or friendship.
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Re: AAR: PDES18 Game 1B

Postby jimbobicus » 04 May 2018, 08:57

boldblade wrote:
jimbobicus wrote:As someone who plays this game for fun and tries to be an enterprising player, I found your style and lack of ambition throughout a complete anathema.


jimbobicus wrote:But also just horrible to see that kind of lack of ambition.


Absolutely love your flavor of condescension jimbob lmao.

If you've gone through the order history you'll see my point - especially if you consider any swaps of Scandinavian SCs between ER were arranged and they didn't even pretend otherwise. I assumed that people go into games aiming for 2 way draws and solos. I know I do! At times it felt like I was the only one looking to take territory and expand. Very weird game!
"A friend to all is a friend to none" - Aristotle
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Re: AAR: PDES18 Game 1B

Postby jimbobicus » 04 May 2018, 09:12

the_discourses wrote:I just want to say here, and have said it in the game: the 1910 turn, when I explained the situation to Turkey and told him that the only way forward for me to attack England was for me to be given an SC in Tunis was also key. Turkey snubbed me, probably thinking that England was attacking Russia or something. I warned him multiple times about the E/R relationship and what needed to happen for me to prevail vs. England--he ignored it.

Two years later, he was begging me to take Tunis, but it was too late by then. It's hard to take seriously someone begging you to help him attack a third party when they're at 14 SC's with good solo prospects. The 1909 decision by Russia was key in how the game turned out, but Turkey's inability to see the relationship between players and his myopia about the obvious 'goals' every dip player should have blinded him to the fact that the ERF relationship was more like some kind of a mutual suicide pact rather than outright antagonism or friendship.


Yes, as I said in game, I screwed up there on not giving you Tunis sooner. The reason I didn't was because there was an ERT pact to attack you at the time and I thought that would be making progress, but instead England just played cagey defensive moves. And yes you're right, despite your warnings, I was very slow to realise just how tight and boring ER were determined to play this game. If I was in their position, I'd have never played the game the game that way. And I kept thinking "are they really going to keep playing this way? Surely one of them will show some ambition at some point." But no. As another measure, just look at the sheer amount of time that elapsed for EFR in the north to do something against one another. It wasn't until 1910 that I became a viable solo threat and an alliance of 2 vs 1 would need to start worrying about a possible Turkish solo. But for EFR to not sort out a 2 vs 1 alliance of some kind before 1910 id just a BS way to play IMHO. If I'd have played the same way, we could have had a 5 way draw years before and set new records for the most boring game in diplo history!

For spectators, to see just how boring EFR (or ER in particular) were here, take a look at the final position. I was willing to cede territory, put myself further away from a solo and ignite life back into the game. But Russia was not even willing to discuss what it would take.
"A friend to all is a friend to none" - Aristotle
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Re: AAR: PDES18 Game 1B

Postby boldblade » 04 May 2018, 14:29

jimbobicus wrote:If you've gone through the order history you'll see my point - especially if you consider any swaps of Scandinavian SCs between ER were arranged and they didn't even pretend otherwise. I assumed that people go into games aiming for 2 way draws and solos. I know I do! At times it felt like I was the only one looking to take territory and expand. Very weird game!


I do not doubt you in the least and share your sentiments. I just like the way you put it.
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