AAR: PDES18 Game 1B

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Re: AAR: PDES18 Game 1B

Postby jay65536 » 04 May 2018, 23:10

Alright, with France and Turkey having posted AARs, I don't see the point in waiting longer than this to post. I'll try to break the game into phases that make sense from the Russian perspective, and I'm going to be leaving some stuff out of this.

The overall theme of this game for me was, I had to play "on my back foot" the entire game, with one exception. There was virtually never a time in this game where I felt that defense was not my #1 priority. I don't think the other players fully understood during the game--though possibly I can explain now--why that was the case, or what it meant for my strategy. After going through the game leading up to my hardest decision, which France and Turkey already referenced, hopefully you'll be able to see why it made sense to me to decide the way I did. (Sidenote: I absolutely stand by every decision, both strategic and tactical, that I made in this game.)

The Opening: S01-S03

The opening set a tone for the game that I was unable to fully turn around in later phases. Specifically, I'm referring to something Turkey already admitted to in his AAR--the complete and utter lack of press from him. It helped that I was able to stay a "step ahead" of the strategy here. Turkey already mentioned that he hoped me telling people he wasn't talking would ruin my credibility; I anticipated that telling people about this would make me look weak, so I told no one at the time. (If I recall, I told France later. No one else knew unless they're reading this thread now.) When asked by other players about R/T relations, I think all I said was that I was sure Turkey would be attacking me and that defending myself from him was my top priority.

So obviously my southern strategy was based around rallying I/A to fight Turkey. This was a total disaster. Austria and I seemed to come to terms, but for whatever reason he decided to throw it away and put everything into fighting me. Italy, on the other hand, was very straightforward about his total lack of desire to fight anyone except Austria. But in a bit of foreshadowing, his plan of attack, while sincere, didn't make a lot of tactical sense. It would not be too difficult later to figure out when Italy's negotiations went from "sincere but sub-optimal", as they were in this phase, to "insincere", as they would be (or at least that's what I inferred) in all future phases.

In the north, my strategy was simple: try to buy time with everyone so that I would not be attacked. Since Turkey was forcing me to defend myself tactically in the south, my only hope was to defend myself diplomatically in the north. France already talked in his AAR about how we compared notes on Germany's high-pressure sales pitch; I concluded from that exchange, and from my talks with England, that the best way to buy time in the north would be to encourage an E/F--not something I would normally do as Russia, but this was just one of the ways this game was so strange. I thought that if England viewed Germany as too unreliable to cooperate with, he'd fight him first and leave me alone. And since I genuinely did view Germany as unreliable, and I wanted to keep France as a long-term strategic partner, I would be well-served to be honest with France about my read on Germany. (As France points out, my read proved true when Germany supported England into Belgium late in this phase.)

Only four non-terrible things happened in this phase: Italy's attack on Austria stopped him from helping Turkey against me; England refrained from fighting me; Germany let me into Sweden, allowing me to build a much-needed third army; and Germany turned on Austria.

Italy's Midgame: F03-F08

I'm going to skip a lot of the tactics involved in this phase and just talk about the general strategy. I count 1903 as the time when it started to become apparent that Italy wanted me, and not Turkey, to be his second victim. This started to become clear in F03, when instead of moving Ven-Tri and guaranteeing himself a build, he moved Ven-Tyr and allowed Germany one. At the time, my interpretation was that Germany talked Italy into it in order to be able to build an army and attack me; but it would become apparent later that it was actually Italy calling the shots. Either way, the G/I alliance became a second existential threat to me at this point.

There was a mix of good and bad things happening in this phase. First of all, on the good side, Turkey finally started talking to me right at the point when the threat from G/I outweighed the threat from Turkey. Second, partially on the good side, Italy stabbed Turkey--but while trying to still fight me at the same time. I suppose he was gambling that Turkey and I would be unwilling to mend fences. This was a gross miscalculation--I'm a very flexible player, or at least I try to be.

One thing that went wrong in this phase was that while E/F were partnering with me to cut Germany down in the north, France showed himself totally unwilling to put any fleets in the Med. He clearly placed a lot of value on the Mediterranean DMZ that he had with Italy, which I found annoying because Italy was using this freedom to attack me.

France still refused to enter the Med when I/T made up and threw everything they had at me, with Italy apparently selling out and handing Turkey centers so that Turkey would not turn on him. In fact, more than one of France's decisions in this phase made me wonder whether he was rooting for I/T to defeat me. These things added up to play a role in my decision-making in the next phase.

1908 was the third of three years in this phase (1904 and 1906 were the others) when I had a make-or-break tactical decision in the spring and I got it right. (Hat tip to England for talking this through with me; my original orders did not include StP-Lvn or Nwy-StP.) The end result of this turn was that I had stonewalled Moscow and Warsaw, so that Turkey had no path of expansion to the north. Once Turkey realized his only path to expansion was through Italy, we negotiated a peace, and the next phase of the game--the beginning of the end of Italy--was on.
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Re: AAR: PDES18 Game 1B

Postby jay65536 » 04 May 2018, 23:10

Early Endgame: 1909

France and Turkey already pointed out that Fall 1909 was the key turn for me. I had a chance to stab England for the kill. But to understand my decision, let me start with S09, the turn before.

This was the turn when, as Turkey points out, he, France, and I had negotiated a 3way coalition to mop up England and Italy and--ostensibly--draw the game. However, at no point in this negotiation did Turkey ever seem sincere. From the beginning, he kept messaging me in support of the notion that he did not want the game to end in a 3way, instead asking if I would go for a 2way. The entire notion was absurd to me--2ways are only possible when there's a stable stalemate that can enforce a 17/17 split, and for R/T there was none. What Turkey was really asking me to do was cough up a solo to him by attacking France after England was dead. Obviously I was never going to do that.

The other side of the coalition was France. I was finally optimistic about going on the offensive because France had FINALLY put a fleet into the Med, which I'd been waiting for for years, and because England had just tried to stab France without telling me. My idea was that France could use a small force in the Med to help with the Italian fight--which at that point was still in doubt--while also helping me with England using the minimum number of fleets possible, so as not to get too tied up after England was dead. To that end I suggested some tactics to France that I thought were sound. They included preparing an army to be double-convoyed into Clyde, and moving Wes-Tun, which was meant to be an important component of the southern tactics I had planned with Turkey.

France did not even discuss this plan with me. Instead he brushed me off, and he pulled out of the Med while pushing ALL of his fleets north, preparing to attack England using only fleets.

So with that as the backdrop, here was my thinking in Fall 09:

-England and I were game-long allies. I usually have a general rule that I do not stab game-long allies with the sole intention of whittling down a draw. In this position, though, I was considering making an exception. In order to do that, though, I had to think very hard about what the resulting 3-power endgame would look like.
-Turkey was prattling nonstop about not stopping at a 3way draw. To me that meant that he would refuse to vote a 3way. I also assumed that Turkey was saying the same stuff to France as he was to me. So I calculated that if I stabbed England and was successful, one of two things was going to happen: either France and I would stalemate Turkey and force him to take a 3way, or Turkey would make a pitch to France to cut me out and push for a 2way, and France would try it.
-If France actually stabbed me for a 2way attempt, I was not going to make it into the draw. I would either lose to a 2way or I would lose to a solo.

So I figured that NOT stabbing England would lead me to an almost-certain 4way draw. But stabbing England would lead to either a 3way or a loss. That meant stabbing England was a high-risk, low-reward prospect. But how great was the actual risk of a loss? That depended on France. But France had just shown, the very previous turn, that he had no interest in being in the Med, and he had every interest in committing his entire navy to the north. I thought, based on this, that France really might have been susceptible to Turkey's 2way pitch later in the game.

To recap, there were 2 things that ultimately drove my decision:
1. I figured the potential reward of turning a 4way into a 3way was not worth the potential risk of turning a 4way into a loss. If France had been a more reliable ally, my risk/reward calculation might have changed; and I admit, it's entirely possible that France would not have turned on me and I was worried about nothing, but I wasn't confident enough about that to stab a game-long ally for a relatively small reward.
2. In this game in particular, I was especially loath to take any action that would introduce any unnecessary risk of me losing to Turkey. I have a long memory, and Turkey's lack of negotiations in the early game was not something I was ready to forget.

So that is ultimately why I did not stab England.

Endgame

That was basically the end of the game from the standpoint of anything exciting happening. Italy was mopped up and then we called DGP on Turkey because he adamantly refused to vote a draw. I guess games like this are why the DGP is in place on this site.

Parting words--

England: Your negotiating style I thought meshed the best with mine, with the possible exception of Austria (but Austria committed against me too early to be able to tell). We spent a lot of time in discussions going back and forth with our ideas, which was helpful. I'm very lucky that you did not stab me in the endgame. Now that the game's over, I'll be honest--I considered myself to be the easiest power to remove from the draw to make a 3way. I'm glad you didn't go in that direction.

France: I respect your game, but we never could totally get on the same page in a lot of the 3-way negotiations we were having, be it with England or with Turkey. As I pointed out above, I read something into your total commitment away from the Med before and during 1909, even when the writing was on the wall for Italy. It's possible I misread the situation, but hopefully I've laid out my thinking well enough that you at least understand my thought process now.

Germany: I was actually really surprised to see, at game's end, that Germany was you! I had a fairly positive experience playing with you in PDET 2J, where you were also Germany (and I was Italy). As far as this game goes, the only thing that confused me was why you were so adamantly trying to get me to move Mos-StP in S01 when I tried to very clearly lay out the case that I didn't see anything in it for me. If your play to Prussia in S04 had worked, you surely would have taken me out.

Italy: The only thing about your game that confused me was why you seemed so insistent on lying to me even though you should have known I wouldn't believe you--sometimes when your lies were directly contradicted by earlier conversations we had. This, more than anything else, is why I spent large swaths of the game not bothering to talk to you. I was completely sincere in the midgame when I told you that if you backed off me while continuing to fight Turkey, I would support you into Sevastopol when the time was right. But I feel like I understood your strategy--you chose a high-risk, high-reward option. If you had managed to break my line in S08, this game would have turned out VERY differently, probably for both of us.

Austria: I tried as hard as I could to get you on my side early, and then to flip you in S02. All of my offers to you from that time were sincere--if you didn't believe me then, surely you do after hearing that Turkey wasn't talking to me. From our early conversations, I have a feeling you're a better player than your result from this game showed. And if I hadn't bounced you out of Moscow in S06, you probably would have outlived me.

Turkey: From Spring 01 onward, I would have taken any opportunity to knock you out of this game, but thanks to Italy and Austria I never got one. All I can do when I'm under such a dedicated attack is to make sure you have more incentive to look for your centers elsewhere, which I feel like I did well enough in this game, and to make sure others have more incentive to attack you than to attack me. I feel like I did that fairly well in this game too--everyone who helped you attack me was eliminated by game's end, and I'm still standing. Perhaps the next time you are playing with players who know what they're doing, you might consider negotiating with them on the first turn--even if it is just to say you are attacking them--and you might also consider refraining from childish diatribes about "negativity", "ambition", or how the game is "supposed" to be played. I don't know if you were being honest or using that as a negotiating tactic, but if you were using it as a tactic, it backfired. You certainly never succeeded in making me feel guilty about any decision I made in the game, and the stunts you pulled in this game I found to be quite classless. Nevertheless, you fought hard.

Good game to all.
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Re: AAR: PDES18 Game 1B

Postby jimbobicus » 05 May 2018, 01:30

jay65536 wrote:Turkey: From Spring 01 onward, I would have taken any opportunity to knock you out of this game, but thanks to Italy and Austria I never got one. All I can do when I'm under such a dedicated attack is to make sure you have more incentive to look for your centers elsewhere, which I feel like I did well enough in this game, and to make sure others have more incentive to attack you than to attack me. I feel like I did that fairly well in this game too--everyone who helped you attack me was eliminated by game's end, and I'm still standing. Perhaps the next time you are playing with players who know what they're doing, you might consider negotiating with them on the first turn--even if it is just to say you are attacking them--and you might also consider refraining from childish diatribes about "negativity", "ambition", or how the game is "supposed" to be played. I don't know if you were being honest or using that as a negotiating tactic, but if you were using it as a tactic, it backfired. You certainly never succeeded in making me feel guilty about any decision I made in the game, and the stunts you pulled in this game I found to be quite classless. Nevertheless, you fought hard.


I'm saddened and surprised you felt that negatively towards me. Sure, my move to completely ignore you at the start of the game was me being a bit of an ass. But I apologised for that and I thought we had agreed to put the past behind us. I'm rather surprised you continued to hold such a grudge. In the middle game, as things developed, I thought we got on pretty well. I was very happy to work with you and I assumed you were happy to work with me too. When you, me and France set up the 3 way, I thought that was very good for you. If it held, you'd get a 3 way draw. While if there was to be a 2 way alliance, I think you would have been the least likely country to miss out since boardwise RT vs E and RF vs T were both easier than FT vs R. Added to which, as you should have known, my relations with France weren't exactly great. For my part, if RFT took over the board, I would have looked to ally with you instead of France. And we even had conversations about 2 way alliance too.

As for my criticism of your negativity... it's not a tactic... I call things how I see it. In general, I'm not one to lie and bullshit people. If you look over my moves, I think most of the time, you'd have found me pretty straight. If I say something, I say it because I believe it to be true and if I promise to do something I promise to do it. There were one or two times where I changed orders slightly or wasn't completely honest with you before RFT formed. But generally, I think I'm one of the more truthful diplo players out there - and despite having a less honest game than normal, I think I was still more honest than your average player. Coming back to your lack of ambition, as I say it's a real shame. Heading into 1909, you were in a great position, but then saw ghosts. While in the end, you had to rely on some equally negative play from England and to some extent France too in order to survive.
Also on this subject, your criticism of me for calling you negative seems to be rather re-writing history. You can't use that as a reason for justifying your negative play because your negative play came before my criticism - by definition!

Your reason for distrusting me was my talk or RT 2 way is curious too.... we did actually talk about that and I thought we were on the same page. You seemed enthusiastic too. Or were you just lying? For my part, no it wasn't a ploy to trick you.... while my eventual goal would have of course been to solo, I thought we should have been able to arrange something in both our interests. The idea is we'd both prefer a lottery of {50% solo, 50% loss} to 100% chance of 3 way draw. And provided you negotiated well, you'd have got an equal chance of a solo with me. And even still as I think I said at the time, it might have ended with one of us getting cold feet or us reaching a stage where no further agreement was possible - and if so we could just take a 3 way draw.
Also, you assumed I was saying the same kind of thing to France. No - as France I'm sure can confirm. This goes back to what I was saying before. You were my preferred partner not France. Perhaps if things stalled I 'd have then gone to France. But I wanted to give RT first crack. As for the dynamics you point out, with possibilities of other two countries allying against you. Sure, it could have happened. But it could have happened to me too - and yet I was prepared to chance it. At start of 1909, I don't think you were in any worse position than I was. In fact, as I say given FT was the least likely of the 3 possible 2 way alliances, I thought you were arguably in the best position. And then cowardice takes over! A real shame - and not just for me. Also for you and for the game.
"A friend to all is a friend to none" - Aristotle
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Re: AAR: PDES18 Game 1B

Postby jay65536 » 05 May 2018, 20:09

jimbobicus wrote:
jay65536 wrote:Turkey: From Spring 01 onward, I would have taken any opportunity to knock you out of this game, but thanks to Italy and Austria I never got one. All I can do when I'm under such a dedicated attack is to make sure you have more incentive to look for your centers elsewhere, which I feel like I did well enough in this game, and to make sure others have more incentive to attack you than to attack me. I feel like I did that fairly well in this game too--everyone who helped you attack me was eliminated by game's end, and I'm still standing. Perhaps the next time you are playing with players who know what they're doing, you might consider negotiating with them on the first turn--even if it is just to say you are attacking them--and you might also consider refraining from childish diatribes about "negativity", "ambition", or how the game is "supposed" to be played. I don't know if you were being honest or using that as a negotiating tactic, but if you were using it as a tactic, it backfired. You certainly never succeeded in making me feel guilty about any decision I made in the game, and the stunts you pulled in this game I found to be quite classless. Nevertheless, you fought hard.


I'm saddened and surprised you felt that negatively towards me. Sure, my move to completely ignore you at the start of the game was me being a bit of an ass. But I apologised for that and I thought we had agreed to put the past behind us. I'm rather surprised you continued to hold such a grudge.


I mean, let me be clear on this: this is Diplomacy. I don't hold a grudge. Hence why, as you say, we were able to work together in the midgame. It was a very clear case of "forgive, don't forget". I was willing to work with you later on as long as it would help me improve my own result, but it was still an extra motivation to make sure that "the guy who thought he could get away with not talking to me in 01" didn't have that strategy pay off by beating me. "Holding a grudge" would be something like blowing up my own game to maximize the chances you also lost, which I wasn't about to do.

As far as the rest of it goes, calling others' play "negative" because of criteria that you made up is total BS. For me personally, as I said, making sure I don't lose when I don't have to is more important than trying to cut one power out of a draw. It's not like I passed up a chance at a win, which, in that case, I'd understand your perspective a lot more. At no point in this game did I see a path to a win. By the time I was freed up enough to ever go on the offensive, you already owned Sevastopol. To make it to 18 I would have had to plow through all of England, part of France, and part of Italy, all while holding you off. And you stabbed me when I was trying to start taking the Italian part, as I sort of expected (which is why I switched my move/support orders in S11--to keep armies near my home centers).

I was straightforward during the endgame about how I didn't want to play for a 2way with anyone although a "race" alliance was possible. But for that to work, we would have had to help give each other a chance to win. My part of that, in my opinion, was trying to tell you to push west as fast as possible before England and France ironed out all their differences, so you could try to get some French centers (we were also talking ERT at that time, and those 2 things were related). And your part of that, in my opinion, was to help me get some of the Italian centers. So when you demurred on supporting me into Budapest, and then stabbed me when I was supposed to take Vienna, it was clear you weren't interested in mutually improved solo chances--you just wanted me to help yours while freezing me out. It was at that point I was ready to take the 4way.

I'm flabbergasted that you think I didn't do enough "fighting" in this game. I fought 4 out of my 6 opponents at one time or another. And I avoided stupid fights, which is part of the strategy of this game. Your whole perception of what "ambition" is supposed to look like in this game seems askew to me.
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Re: AAR: PDES18 Game 1B

Postby jimbobicus » 07 May 2018, 08:42

jay65536 wrote:I mean, let me be clear on this: this is Diplomacy. I don't hold a grudge. Hence why, as you say, we were able to work together in the midgame. It was a very clear case of "forgive, don't forget". I was willing to work with you later on as long as it would help me improve my own result, but it was still an extra motivation to make sure that "the guy who thought he could get away with not talking to me in 01" didn't have that strategy pay off by beating me. "Holding a grudge" would be something like blowing up my own game to maximize the chances you also lost, which I wasn't about to do.

By the end of 1905, you'd already shown that my strategy of not talking to you at the start didn't pay off. No need to keep proving it for the rest of the game. It sounds like you are holding a grudge here. You weren't blowing up your game to spite me - that would be a very extreme grudge. But still it sounds like it did cloud your judgement. Also, would you have preferred I talk to you and just lie to you at the start? I thought this way, at least when I do come to talk to you, you can see that I'm honest and someone who generally keeps their word when they promise to do something. (Although admittedly I lied more than I normally do in that game. There are some games where I never lie about my moves to anybody. But I lied to you, or switched moves without telling you a couple of times here)

jay65536 wrote:As far as the rest of it goes, calling others' play "negative" because of criteria that you made up is total BS. For me personally, as I said, making sure I don't lose when I don't have to is more important than trying to cut one power out of a draw. It's not like I passed up a chance at a win, which, in that case, I'd understand your perspective a lot more. At no point in this game did I see a path to a win. By the time I was freed up enough to ever go on the offensive, you already owned Sevastopol. To make it to 18 I would have had to plow through all of England, part of France, and part of Italy, all while holding you off. And you stabbed me when I was trying to start taking the Italian part, as I sort of expected (which is why I switched my move/support orders in S11--to keep armies near my home centers).

I agree you didn't directly pass up a chance at a win. Much worse than that - you didn't even attempt to put yourself in a position for a win. If you'd have kept FRT alliance and attacked England in 1909 instead of switching, you'd have had as good a chance at a solo as either myself or France. Well, maybe I shouldn't even call it switching since I'd guess you never were attacking England.
Me stabbing you in 1911, was only because you had showed a total lack of ambition. As I said in 1909, I had planned to ally with you for the rest of the game if you'd have wanted it. Holding me off in the south shouldn't have been too much of an issue.... we had organised some pretty good DMZs and I had already discussed willingness to hand you Sevastopol back. So you knew I was very willing to compromise.
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Re: AAR: PDES18 Game 1B

Postby the_discourses » 07 May 2018, 11:55

I want to address Russia's 1909 move again here. I am a bit disappointed that he saw me as unreliable, as I had done my best to be reliable throughout the game. I think he took some of my maneuvering around Munich badly, since it first was his, then Germany's, then mine, and saw that I was talking to multiple 'factions' at the same time. I understand the fear of subterfuge, especially since I shown that I am not exactly above it.

But I was honest in hoping to have Russia as my long-term partner to a three-way, since FR is one of the easiest combinations to make functional on the board. But it is what it is.
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Re: AAR: PDES18 Game 1B

Postby jay65536 » 11 May 2018, 21:45

the_discourses wrote:I want to address Russia's 1909 move again here. I am a bit disappointed that he saw me as unreliable, as I had done my best to be reliable throughout the game.


So before I respond to this, let me just say I was hoping for some other perspectives here as well, either England's or any of the eliminated powers (just because you lost doesn't mean you don't have an interesting perspective!).

Also sorry for the long delay. This week I had a major life event--if the game were still going I'd have had to surrender. (Note: this fact did NOT affect my endgame play. If this weren't true I would have played it the same.)

Anyway, since France claims he was "disappointed" that I saw him as unreliable: France, here's a (possibly incomplete) list of times in the game where you did something that confused me to the point of questioning your reliability. Very little of this I attributed to outright hostility, but it still created a picture of a player who, if I needed you to do something, I'd be holding my breath waiting to see if you would. (This is one part of England's game that I really respected, and that I also try to do in my own game--if I asked him for something and he didn't want to do it, he'd say no and then tell me why he didn't want to, which not only opens the door for more truthful negotiations, but also means when he says he will do something I'm more inclined to believe him.)

1. The whole 1902-3 thing. You perpetrated a 1-dot stab of England (for Belgium) then spun it to me as "not sold on attacking England". In my mind, if you weren't sold on attacking England, why'd you take one of his centers?

2. The debacle in Spring 06. We had this whole negotiation going about what happens after Germany is dead, and how you wanted my help to turn on England after Germany was dead--and then you changed your moves to a tactically inferior option (Bur S Hol-Ruh) that had never been discussed and that both of us asked you not to do! (I specifically asked for Bur-Mun, and my plan was WELL thought-out although I don't remember how much of it I was explicit about.) You kept telling me that the answer to my concerns was to commit an extra army to the western front, an absolutely stupid play in my position--basically it kinda sounded like Italy was in your ear about what he needed to see from me, and you were trying to get it for him. Either that, or you didn't care about my eastern front. Either way, it made you look unreliable, though again, not malicious.

3. Spring 07. I lost Munich to a G/I attack--and my army was blown up--because you played Bur S Bel instead of Bur S Mun, defending against a phantom attack (that you should have known wasn't coming) while seemingly intentionally neglecting the real attack. Again, I had thought we were on the same page that you would play Bur S Mun.

4. Again with the theme of "it sounded like Italy was in your ear", we have Fall 07. In the east, my armies were in Mos/War/Pru. I had a feeling I/T were going to be working together at this point. So while it appeared on the map that I was safe, I knew there would be hostile armies in Sev, Ukr, and Gal the following turn. So my original plan was to keep Prussia on the back line and use it as an unbreakable support for Warsaw. The only problem with that plan was that you were pressuring me to move Pru-Sil. I had a very clear reason in my mind for why I did not want to do that: if my army were in Sil, then I would not be able to safely support Warsaw from an attack by the expected Ukr/Gal armies. In fact, I figured Italy would have loved nothing more than to see that move! There was, in fact, only one reason I ended up playing that move: I thought that if I was right that Pru-Sil was a move Italy wanted me to do, he'd be so excited about "forcing" Warsaw that he wouldn't see I could move Sil-Gal and Mos-Ukr to keep Warsaw safe--which is EXACTLY how it played out in S08. I was able to save my position, but it was only in danger because of a move that you asked me for.

5. S09, I already explained.

Like I said--each of these things by itself would not have been so big. But enough "little cuts" over the course of the game added up to too much uncertainty to stab a game-long ally and be in a position of having to rely on you.
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Re: AAR: PDES18 Game 1B

Postby jimbobicus » 12 May 2018, 10:30

jay65536 - I probably had more reason than you for seeing France as unreliable. He'd consistently provided me with no help against Italy. And yet I was prepared to go for 3 way RFT. I think in 1908/9 the relationship between any 2 of RFT with each other could be described as less than perfect but workable. If you'd have gone for RFT, who knows how things would have gone. Sure there's a chance it might have gone 2 way of the other powers or another player solos - but I think that's true of any of me, you, France and it's part of the game to take those risks. The bottom line is I struggle to see any reason why you'd have been in any worse position than either myself or France. So on that basis, I think it's fair to say you'd have had a position worth at least a 3 way draw while keeping open solo chances - which is after all the point of the game.

Whereas what you chose to do was so negative - basically confined yourself to a 4 way draw at best. Unless you had some kind of secret plan to still do better which I'm not seeing?
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Re: AAR: PDES18 Game 1B

Postby jay65536 » 12 May 2018, 19:11

jimbobicus wrote:jay65536 - I probably had more reason than you for seeing France as unreliable. He'd consistently provided me with no help against Italy. And yet I was prepared to go for 3 way RFT. I think in 1908/9 the relationship between any 2 of RFT with each other could be described as less than perfect but workable. If you'd have gone for RFT, who knows how things would have gone. Sure there's a chance it might have gone 2 way of the other powers or another player solos - but I think that's true of any of me, you, France and it's part of the game to take those risks. The bottom line is I struggle to see any reason why you'd have been in any worse position than either myself or France. So on that basis, I think it's fair to say you'd have had a position worth at least a 3 way draw while keeping open solo chances - which is after all the point of the game.

Whereas what you chose to do was so negative - basically confined yourself to a 4 way draw at best. Unless you had some kind of secret plan to still do better which I'm not seeing?


I bolded the stuff I want to respond to, one by one.

1. I focused on the north with my dissection of France's actions, but don't forget, Italy was also attacking me! So France's refusal to attack Italy was hurting me as well as you the entire time.

My read at the time, and again, it's possible this was wrong, was that France put more stock in the Mediterranean DMZ than he did in being a reliable partner to me. He had told me, at one point, that when you and Italy were fighting, he didn't care who was winning. My interpretation of that was that if you beat Italy, he would be just as reliable a partner to you as he was to Italy, as long as you kept the DMZ in the Med that Italy set up with him. That aspect of my thinking, you couldn't have done much about.

2. There's a very specific reason why I thought a 2way between F/T was possible, but not between me and either of you. That's because there's a natural stalemate line dividing the board 17/17, that France was entirely on one side of and you were entirely on the other side of. I was across both lines. So in a 3-power endgame, you and France could have carved me up with minimal risk of coughing up a solo to the other one; the same was not true of any coalition that included me.

3. It's part of the game to take calculated risks, not stupid risks. I've been trying to outline why I thought stabbing England was a stupid risk.

If you want an example of people pulling the trigger on stupid risks, I've been following the PDL and noticed that you were on the board that coughed up an Italian solo for no good reason. They should never have stabbed you in that position. But by the logic you're expressing in THIS game's AAR, they did nothing wrong because having the game end in a 5way or 4way is too "negative", and it's "part of the game to take risks".

You keep telling me that stabbing England was "keeping open solo chances", but that's total BS. What collection of 18 centers was I leaving myself a chance to take for a win? By the time we were trying to arrange these endgame coalitions, I calculated that my shot at a solo was gone no matter what I did.

4. I was quite serious about ERT when we were talking about that. That would have left open a path to a 3way for me, with what I figured was a much smaller risk of being cut out of the draw.

To be honest, the fact that you were so insistent on FRT but refused to seriously try ERT, I considered a big tip-off to the fact that you were not dealing in good faith in the endgame. You kept calling it "too slow", but then when the 3 of us stalemated you, you threatened to stretch the game out to 1930+, so that was clearly a BS line earlier. In-game, the fact that you stabbed me rather than give ERT a serious chance, I interpreted as evidence that I made the right decision not to enter a 3-power endgame with you and France. All in all, I still believe I got the best result possible from the perspective that I had during the game at the time. I don't believe I ignored any evidence that I miscalculated the risk of stabbing England--if I did so, it was because of something I didn't know, not because of something I ignored at the time.
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Re: AAR: PDES18 Game 1B

Postby jimbobicus » 15 May 2018, 17:46

jay65536 wrote:2. There's a very specific reason why I thought a 2way between F/T was possible, but not between me and either of you. That's because there's a natural stalemate line dividing the board 17/17, that France was entirely on one side of and you were entirely on the other side of. I was across both lines. So in a 3-power endgame, you and France could have carved me up with minimal risk of coughing up a solo to the other one; the same was not true of any coalition that included me.


I'm not convinced that's true. I think the most likely result from FRT alliance was a 3 way draw. But if there was to be a 2 way, I don't think F/T was the most likely. There weren't any F/T discussions going on about a 2 way. I felt closer to you than France. Also, you and France had an England buffer there between you which meant you weren't going to attack each other any time soon. For this reason, I thought I was actually the most at risk in a 3 way RFT - but I was prepared to take that chance.

jay65536 wrote:You keep telling me that stabbing England was "keeping open solo chances", but that's total BS. What collection of 18 centers was I leaving myself a chance to take for a win? By the time we were trying to arrange these endgame coalitions, I calculated that my shot at a solo was gone no matter what I did.

4. I was quite serious about ERT when we were talking about that. That would have left open a path to a 3way for me, with what I figured was a much smaller risk of being cut out of the draw.

To be honest, the fact that you were so insistent on FRT but refused to seriously try ERT, I considered a big tip-off to the fact that you were not dealing in good faith in the endgame.


If RFT just settled for 3 way draw then none of us would have had solo chances. But if you were part of a 2 way R/T or R/F alliance then by definition there would reach a time when solo chances would arise.

As for the ERT thing, I was suspicious of you for wanting to go ERT instead of RFT which looked the far more natural alliance. I couldn't see any reason for you to prefer ERT unless you were planning something against me. It means you're pretty much giving up on Northern growth which should have been your main source of SCs. But England didn't go for it anyway. This was kind of expected - England had taken up the role as the resident bore very early. I think pretty much from the beginning of the game he was playing for a draw - despite being in some very good positions. So as critical as I've been of you, you're nowhere as negative as he was. Also, for you good it's a good job England was that negative. I think with a normal England, I'd have been able to negotiate a mutually beneficial deal to destroy you after you backed out of RFT. But this England didn't even want to discuss that option.

jay65536 wrote:If you want an example of people pulling the trigger on stupid risks, I've been following the PDL and noticed that you were on the board that coughed up an Italian solo for no good reason. They should never have stabbed you in that position. But by the logic you're expressing in THIS game's AAR, they did nothing wrong because having the game end in a 5way or 4way is too "negative", and it's "part of the game to take risks".

That other game had very different circumstances.... there was a clear threat of somebody soloing unless the other powers didn't band together. For whatever reason that I still don't get, France decided he didn't want a deal and so Italy soloed. I don't see that as even France taking risks - it's just him playing a clearly losing strategy. What should have happened there is an anti-leader alliance form to stop Italy, which then forces him to either accept a 4 or 5 way draw or (preferably) take measures to back off from a solo and so allow the game to get moving again. But the French player in that game had other ideas which I find completely baffling.

But that's a very different scenario to here... Nobody was ever a serious solo threat whom the other powers needed to band together and stop (well a year from the end, maybe I was - but I then took measures to back off from a solo).
Last edited by jimbobicus on 17 May 2018, 21:50, edited 2 times in total.
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