AAR: Gunboat Purity - Italian Solo

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AAR: Gunboat Purity - Italian Solo

Postby Charleroi » 16 Oct 2018, 04:44

ENGLAND -- idea2go
FRANCE -- ali_bani65 surrendered Spring 1902, replaced same season by Dougboy
ITALY -- Charleroi WINNER
GERMANY -- pajunior
AUSTRIA -- istef
TURKEY -- chaos215 surrendered spring 1902, replaced fall 1905 by yoyojiii, surrendered fall 1906
RUSSIA -- who dares win

So it's a bit unusual to write up a gunboat AAR, but given the rare outcome here made it worthwhile. Italy and Austria survived to the end, nearly equal in power. Italy took the solo without capturing any Austrian or Turkish centers.

Final position Fall 1917
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I had intended to play a straight, full gunboat game. I noticed after I joined that this one was not DIAS, which made it possible to cooperate through draw proposals. I don't particularly like that - it undermines the pure tactics of true gunboat - but as the facility was there, I thought I may as well use it.

I can't seem to find a record of it, but I'm pretty sure I offered an Italy/Austria draw in spring 1901 in order to send some friendly vibes at the Austrian. I renewed the sporadically through the next several years and it let us both do something useful with Trieste and Venice other than stare down one another.

Spring 1901
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I opened in a bit of two minds. I'm not sure in retrospect why I moved to Piedmont (anti-French) but to the Ionian. Paired with Rome-Apu, I would have been able to (at the very least) try to defend Venice had Austria moved in. Fortunately he didn't. Developments elsewhere were very positive. Austria, Russia, and Prussia were all deeply entangled; France and England bounced in the channel; and Germany was moving on the low countries.

Fall 1901
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France and I bounced in Marseilles - not ideal as it let him build there. Would have been better to hold and deprive him of the build. Germany helped Russia into Sweden, good for me as it keeps Austria honest. Even better, Turkey was being held to Bulgaria only. I snatched Tunis.
Russia built A Moscow, F St Pete (NC) - this was great. Germany went army / army (Mun & Kiel) which seemed very strange. Why help Russia into Sweden if you're not building fleets to hit England? France and Turkey had no build NMRs (or a deliberate no build?) and Austria began what was going to be his problem throughout the whole game - he went with armies in Budapest and Trieste - no fleets.

Spring 1902
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With Turkey apparently absent, I decided to rush the Ionian east, gambling that Austria wouldn't try to slip in. I got lucky there and got a big leg up. Meanwhile France showed he was *not* absent despite the missed build. I started my other fleet west even though that divided my forces. Germany swept into France; Russia and England locked horns in Scandinavia; Austria made some weird moves here. Why use Serbia to support a move into Budapest rather than the attack on Bulgaria?

Fall 1902
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I still couldn't make any progress into France and, troublingly, Germany was just snaking his way deep into French territory. I did snatch Smyrna as Russia grabbed Constantinople and Austria seized Bulgaria. France surrendered here (but was quickly replaced).

I went for another fleet build, hoping to get something from Iberia before Germany took it all or Britain got his act together and swung south. Russia kept his focus north with A St Pete; France built an army in Marseilles; Germany built a fleet (finally) in Kiel and Austria, again, built an army. I appreciated how friendly the Austrian builds were, but given how weak Turkey was and how I had split my fleets east and west, I can't but help feel that he should have built fleets and made a play for domination in the Med.

Spring 1903
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I once again gambled and left the Ionian open. I was a bit frustrated that I couldn't help the Turkish unit hold so I moved into the Aegean to maximize my influence on the surrounding units. I was also getting increasingly worried that Germany would get too strong too fast. Russia was still stuck in two theaters, so I wasn't as worried about his influence (and Austria was providing a significant counterweight to Russia in my theater anyway).

Fall 1903
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This was the period in the game where I didn't want to antagonize Austria but also worried that I was vulnerable to an Austrian stab. I opted not to hit Trieste or Greece and instead cover Smyrna and focus on France. I figured that Austria would have to cover Trieste and that would stop him from building fleets even if he did want to attack me. Really worked out well. On the other hand, France effectively collapsed - real bad for me. I needed him to hold off Germany until I could get a solid fleet presence outside the straits of Gibraltar.
On the other hand, this was a really bad year for Russia. England crushed him in the North while Austria demolished his Balkan presence.
Austria had to build in Vienna. This was great for me - it forced him to fight Russia and Germany, not me. I built another fleet. Germany built two and an army - he was going to fight it out with England. I needed to move in to help England defend with my fleets until someone (me or Austria) could hit Germany on the land side.

Spring 1904
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I'm not sure what the exact sequence was, but somewhere around here I sent some combination of draw offers to signal that I wanted to work with Germany (at first) and then that I wanted to help England against Germany.
My friendship with Austria kept on chugging. I did finally cover the Ionian but he was focused on keeping on against Russia. Germany moved north and left me surprisingly unconfined in France. I took MAO (huge) and spain.

Fall 1904
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Germany and Austria were still the dominant powers at this point. Russia's collapse was almost complete at this point. I picked up all of Iberia and got up into NAO. This gave me control of Lvp (and really, all of Britain) but it also put me in position to help England if I wanted to. And at this point I definitely wanted to.

I built a fleet and an army. Austria (finally) built a second fleet and a Viennese army. For the first time in a long time, Germany was no-built.

Spring 1905
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So that thing I just said about wanting to help England - yea turns out I was mistaken about that. I hit Lvp and moved up into Gascony. With Germany still shifting north I was pretty secure in my hold on Iberia. I really wanted Austria to move into Boh/Sil/Tyr. Instead he moved his fleet south and covered Trieste. We bounced in the Aegean. Not great.

Fall 1905
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Austria moved into better position to take Anatolia by supporting himself into Sevastopol. That was starting to look like a matter of time. I kept cycling fleets north. Germany took control of the North Sea.
I built another army. Austria, again, was forced into a double army build. He was trying to attack me but forcing himself to build units that he couldn't use against me. Objectively, he should have been able to destroy me in the 1904-05 period. But I was able to hold him off with two fleets because he had no naval strength to speak of, and what little he did have was rendered totally ineffective because it was parked on land. With his fleet in ADR rather than Alb, I would have been sunk.

Fall 1906
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Because things are getting more straightforward, I'm skipping to one recap per year for a while.

Austria saved my bacon by moving on Germany in the mainland. I didn't mind losing Smy - that was a great trade as far as I was concerned. I destroyed my fleet in Nwg. England put up a heroic defense here - retook the North Sea (probably a mistake as it let Germany retreat into London), captured Belgium, defended Norway.
Austria, again, had to build an army. He was now way too army heavy and they were in the wrong place - he needed them in Pru/Liv if he was to stampede Germany. Instead they were in the Balkans.

Fall 1907
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I took Brest and Paris. Austria streamed north but, again, failed to open Trieste for a fleet build. England, finally, was a crumbling but still got Holland.
I built an army and fleet, Germany destroyed his channel fleet (I would have done Sweden or Finland in his position).

Fall 1908
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I swept north east, pivoting around the Swiss hinge. I had also set up an impenetrable barrier in the Med. Until Austria built more fleets, he would never break through. Eventually he did get another fleet, but it was too late. It forced me to leave a unit in Naples supporting the Ionian but that merely prolonged the game (because I was left unable to use my full compliment of builds for several years with only Rome open to build in).

Fall 1911
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Things progressed, if slowly. Austria finally got his third fleet but couldn't go anywhere with it. Incredibly, he attacked *out* of Munich in a fall turn. He lost Berlin and failed to capture Munich, instead pushing me out of Tyrolia. I lost Lvp to England, which was annoying. It would take *a long* time to finally kill that unit but it would get done eventually. From here it was a lot of little maneuvers.

Fall 1912
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Fall 1913
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Fall 1914
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Fall 1915
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Fall 1916
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Fall 1917
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Fine
Charleroi
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