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AAR 149171 History Lesson

PostPosted: 15 Dec 2018, 00:57
by wordmonkey
Thanks to everyone who completed this game - I appreciate the time and effort you’ve all put in to it and I’m sorry if anyone feels hard done by. That’s Diplomacy!

As a bit of background, I played a bit of email diplomacy about 20 years ago, using the old Judge system, where you had to type your orders and press in using specific commands. I haven’t played for many years. This is the first game I’ve ever won.

I was very wary drawing Austria as, clearly, it’s surrounded. So I started off with an approach of talking to everyone. That meant I was going to upset someone very early on but I made assurances all around that I was looking for allies. Italy was quick in there with talk of a Key Lepanto, which I persuaded him to downgrade to a standard Lepanto because I didn’t want to find Italy staying in Trieste. For the record, I’m sure he wouldn’t have done it - he proved nothing but faithful and honest, right up until the point I stabbed him and contact broke down.

This was clearly going to be to the detriment of Turkey, but by Fall 1902 I’d made my bed and was staying in it. I attacked Bulgaria and Italy and I positioned ourselves in the south east seas. By the following year, we’d made landfall and Turkey was down to a single centre.

During this time Turkey was in constant conversation. I’d take territory off him and he’d still be talking - a supreme effort of not giving up in the face of adversity. He persuaded me that I needed to strike out at Russia and that he would be useful in doing that, which indeed he was. England had surrendered and Germany was fighting for survival, and it looked to me like the game was going to be a battle between Russia and France for the win. I felt if I didn’t strike at Russia, and Italy didn’t push into France, there’d be nothing left to fight for.

So Turkey helped break into Russia but by the time I’d got into Sev, I couldn’t keep his fleet hanging around, so he had to be finished off.

From there it was a steady roll through Russia, which hadn’t kept back enough resources to defend itself. However, he pulled back far enough to hold St Petersburg - there was one fall when I could have taken it when it was vacated for a build, but Russia hunkered down for the rest of the game, building a stalemate line and sitting on it.

It was at this point that I had to seriously consider where to go next. I was twice the size of Italy in terms of units and in 1905 Italy built an army when I thought he should have built another fleet. We needed fleets to take the Med from France so I needed to pull units back from Russia. If I brought them too far, I’d have nothing to perform a thorough stab with, so I decided the time was now. I took two centres from him in 1906.

I appreciate this upset the Italian player and I took no joy in it. I just felt it needed to be done to progress the game in the best way for me to maximise my chances of victory or of a draw with the fewest number of players, which I think is the overarching goal of a game of Diplomacy. I had no other option, I had to take the chance on a stab at some point and I felt it was my best chance at getting a significant number of centres in one go.

From there the Italian homeland fell quickly as Germany charged through into the Med to block everything up. Italy was justifiably scrabbling for supply centres in the West. The only option I had was to talk to France.

I pressed him not to be the lacky of Russia and Germany, not to save the game for them if he didn’t want to. Germany was occupying his homeland and I told him he was pivotal to the outcome of the game. This was all true. I also told him I wouldn’t attack him, which was not true, and that I’d settle for a four way draw if I could eliminate Italy. I promised him anything I could think of. I honestly don’t think he ‘fell’ for it. I don’t think I tricked him. He just made a decision about how he thought the game should play out. I’d be interested to hear his thoughts on it.

Anyway, the diplomacy worked. France took back French soil, Germany suffered and Tunis eventually fell, once I’d got enough fleets around to push back through. Then, I was on 17 centres, I couldn’t possibly not push for the last one. My final stab.

The last turn could have not gone my way, as mentioned by the teacher, but I was pretty much relying on Germany and France not to be having meaningful communication enough to build a defensive plan. I decided to push into Spain. In fact, it was moot - Russia didn’t defend Munich anyway.

Again, thanks all for playing and to the teacher for setting up the game and offering words of wisdom as we travelled through it. It’s been quite an experience. I hope there are no hard feelings about the way the game played out. It’s only a game, after all, and sometimes these things go our way and other times they don’t. This, it would seem, was my time. My first win, it may be my last. It may not have been the greatest win there ever was in a game of Diplomacy. I’m going to take it anyway.


Re: AAR 149171 History Lesson

PostPosted: 15 Dec 2018, 01:14
by Big Gun
Well-written story. I enjoyed this.

Re: AAR 149171 History Lesson

PostPosted: 15 Dec 2018, 17:36
by hedge trimmer
Indeed. I wish I could write as coherently.

Re: AAR 149171 History Lesson

PostPosted: 16 Dec 2018, 07:45
by captvimes
My Issue with you was, I was very open with you and was willing to discuss options. I even went as far as openly discussing a "stab" from you and clarifying that I would understand and support it. I would have said "Fair enough" and played on. I knew that I was exposed and that it was something that was crossing your mind. I opened the door for a dialog. You had the opportunity to say, "Listen, I'm taking these SC's the next turn, I'm going for the solo" I had no units defending, nothing I would have done would have changed the outcome. Instead, you took a cheap shot. Turkey was fantastic with communication during his defeat, I had great respect for this. I offered you the same, you threw it in my face. I have been playing this game on and off for about 40 years. I have been stabbed before, and I have stabbed. It's part of the nature of the game, I get it. Please understand, I thought your strategy was sound and you played well. However, I still feel that your success was empty, for my part.

Re: AAR 149171 History Lesson

PostPosted: 17 Dec 2018, 00:55
by wordmonkey
I'm truly sorry that you feel this way, it wasn't my intention to be rude. I didn't feel like I could really come out and say I was going for the win. I didn't see how you would do anything other than try and block the stab, if not directly then by letting the others know what was coming, which might have left me on the back foot. This would have been counterintuitive to what I wanted to achieve: to reduce the numbers in a stalemate draw or go on to win if I had any opportunity to do so.

I haven't got anything like as much experience of the game as you have so I will take this away as a learning and hope I can make my play less divisive in the future.