AAR: The Battle Rages On 151044

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AAR: The Battle Rages On 151044

Postby bagrationi » 25 Mar 2019, 23:01

This was a very interesting game, a lot of intrigue and a lot of great communication throughout. Thank you to everyone who played. Despite the heated conversation at times it was some of the most fun diplomacy I've played. I also enjoyed one of the best alliances I've had in the game, with tortellacci (Italy), which made the stab in 1912 especially hard.

ENGLAND: wordmonkey (surrendered S 1909), bohem0th (surrendered F 1911), marotta
FRANCE: stewie365 (surrendered S 1911), yoshi1234 (surrendered S 1914), drikkes
GERMANY: ozymandios (surrendered F 1915)
ITALY: Tortellacci
AUSTRIA: snervmergly (surrendered F 1901), bagrationi (Winner)
TURKEY: phlegmatic
RUSSIA: bishopweaverjr

Final board:

Image




I'll be giving my view below over the next couple of days. This is my first time writing an AAR but I will try to keep it reasonably brief. If anyone else wants to contribute before then you are most welcome.
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Re: AAR: The Battle Rages On 151044

Postby Charleroi » 26 Mar 2019, 00:01

How on earth did you get an Austrian army into Denmark - that has to be a very rare outcome, although perhaps more common than getting an Austrian fleet into Scandinavia.
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Re: AAR: The Battle Rages On 151044

Postby Tortellacci » 26 Mar 2019, 00:31

I'll get around to posting my AAR as well. I'm excited to hear Austria's perspective!

Charleroi wrote:How on earth did you get an Austrian army into Denmark - that has to be a very rare outcome, although perhaps more common than getting an Austrian fleet into Scandinavia.

Germany NMRed. :^(
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Re: AAR: The Battle Rages On 151044

Postby Fatmo » 26 Mar 2019, 01:26

Did Austria ever have more than one fleet? If not, how on earth was he not harassed at all by anyone with fleets? Did Italy shield him until too late? Even so, Austria said he stabbed Italy in 12 and I can see from the player descriptions the game went to at least 15.

And Germany also nmrd at the end?

I just can’t believe six other players allowed you to get into this position. You must have done very well in your actual diplomacy, because objectively looking at the final position makes no sense. Always feels good to get wins that look like that, but kind of a shame that Germany nmrd. On phone so can’t quickly check if he only nmrd the one turn at the end or the whole final year.

Also just wanted to post to mark my place here so I can read the actual AAR!
You don't know what I'm thinking...because I don't know what I'm doing.

Conq wrote:Fatmo — you are a relentless mountain stream, ever-flowing, slowly but surely carving away at the rock face below.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjEgjTfcEJk
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Re: AAR: The Battle Rages On 151044

Postby bagrationi » 26 Mar 2019, 23:21

@fatmo - interestingly enough I never had more than one fleet, and in fact had zero fleets from 1907 to 1916 (the last year) when I built a pretty superfluous one.

This game can be divided into five distinct parts, let me dive right into it.

1901
I saw the open Austrian position in the chatbox. The turn was fall 1901 orders and the position was very interesting. The previous Archduke has made a gunboat opening, ignoring anyone and everyone while moving into Tyrolia and Adriatic while letting Russia into Galicia.

Image

The board seemed riddled with good and communicative players so I took the position and got to writing. First goal was to steady the ship, not lose a center and develop a working relationship with Italy and one of R/T. I got positive responses from almost everyone. Italy and I started discussing the Lepanto and I agreed to let him have Greece. Turkey said he wouldn't fight me for Serbia and Russia evidently had bigger fires to put out and we agreed peace. With that I was feeling pretty good about my chances early in the game. Elsewhere, Germany was very worried I'd hit Munich and tried his hardest to make it seem like he'd be protecting it. I had no intention hitting Germany of course, and didn't, while he ended up lying and going for Warsaw instead of Munich. Not a great start to the A/G relationship which would probably have an effect mid-game. Here was how the board looked at the end of 1901:

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1902 - 1906
The Eastern triangle was resolved by 1906. Briefly about this period: Russia was under heavy fire from all directions in 1902 and was thinking more about survival than anything else. Turkey, while responding positively, was being pretty careful and non-committal. We briefly discussed allying against Italy and Russia but he was understandably hesitant about pulling the trigger too soon. He had also developed a good relationship with Italy (they had had an agreement about Greece) which he wanted to think twice about before going back on; naturally, my request for Turkish support into Greece was stalled. Though I/T isn't the most natural of alliances I was cautious about it working early in the game, so I felt I couldn't be non-committal myself, and decided to go with Italy - long-term - against Turkey and Russia right after. Turkey was stabbed in 1902 and would be eliminated by 1906. Russia took a beating from the East and the North, while I stabbed him in 1904. By 1906 he was down to one center, which he would hold for a while. Meanwhile, Italy and I managed to develop a lot of trust over these 4 years. In 1902, I was occupying the Ionian Sea and Trieste with Venice, Naples and Tunis vulnerable. This alliance had the legs to go all the way though, so I set out with plans for a possible 2-way draw with Italy, which he responded positively to. Here's the board from fall 1906.

Image

1907 - 1908

In the West, Germany and France were tightly allied, while Italy and I were talking to England and trying to flip him. By spring 1907 both Germany and France had stabbed him, taking St. Petes, Norway and Belgium. Germany was trying his absolute hardest to break up the I/A but wasn't getting far. England got some breathing room since Italy was distracting France and I was going hard against Germany, but he wasn't completely sold on the E/I/A and understandably so. I couldn't shake the sense that he felt like the outsider in the alliance. Tactically, it would have made a lot more sense for England to ally with F/G who were exposed at the back and moving South against I/A, rather than ally with I/A who were moving northwest towards England. With Germany in his ear, asking questions like 'where do you think they'll they go after we're eliminated' etc, I didn't expect the alliance to work.

The very next turn, we got a message from England who said Germany wasn't just asking where we'd go after F/G were eliminated, he was suggesting that Italy and I were in fact the same person. England wasn't buying it of course but the fun ended 2 turns later when he went with F/G regardless and they set up the stalemate line against us. Side note - by now I had gone from 1 fleets to zero as per my agreement with Italy. This would stay so until the very last year in 1918. This is the board from fall 1908.

Image

1909 - 1911

Breaking up the Western Triple hadn't really worked. Germany, France and England were all being pretty stubborn and were even unwilling to eliminate the 1-center Russia. Germany was threatening to kingmake me if England or France attacked him; 6-way draws were proposed but were rejected from our side. I made it clear it would be a non-result and I wouldn't agree to it, but at this point, the game was at a threat of qualifying for a deadlock, so we had to fight fire with fire. After conversing with Italy I began a campaign to kingmake Italy, 1 center at a time. While I wasn't certain it would work, something had to be done to shake the game up. I began by giving him Bulgaria. However, as a preventative measure I also moved into Sevastopol and Rumania to be able to defend myself if the Western Triple cracked and the game was back on. This seemed reasonable to Italy and he didn't object to me positioning along these centers. Also during this period, there were a number of surrenders, but since it was a protected game, there were no NMRs and new players didn't tend to change all that much. This was the situation in fall 1911, when I was at 10 centers.

Image

1912 - 1916

The stab came in 1912 when I moved for Italy's Turkish centers and Bulgaria. I was going for the solo but knew I would need some luck. Italy was an absolute gentleman after being on the end of a stab - unfortunately he didn't have the pieces in place to really defend against the onslaught. Surprisingly enough, France and Germany weren't playing nice with him and continued to pick centers off of him. I was at 14 centers in 1913 and had a decent shot at a solo. However I had lost two 50/50 toss-ups in Trieste, first occupying it myself during a build phase when Italy didn't bounce me, and then losing it to Italy the next year which was crucial since it kept me at 0 fleets even with builds available. Still, I had a reasonably clear path to at least 17 centers, with the 18th being decided by toss-ups. In 1914 though, with F/G nibbling away at Italy, he decided to kingmake me - such was his dislike for Germany. I was a little surprised, and the next year Germany surrendered, which I was pretty happy about since it allowed me to not eliminate Italy and didn't change much else.

Here's the final board of what was a most enjoyable game of Diplomacy.

Image
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Re: AAR: The Battle Rages On 151044

Postby Tortellacci » 27 Mar 2019, 01:31

What a game! I'll likewise dive right into my perspective of the carnage:

Part 1: 1901

I began this game by drawing Italy. Call me a masochist, but I genuinely like playing Italy - I find the dynamics interesting. In any case, I reach out to everyone with bold initial letters. I tell Turkey that an I/T doesn't tend to work but because it's so unexpected, and because we are such communicative players, we can make it work. I reach out to Austria, gushing about the great tempo of the A/I, I appealed to the equity of a G/I, nonaggression with France, open communication with England, all that good stuff. Of course I also reached out to Russia, who is generally the best friend a lonely Italian can have in a cruel world such as this.

Unfortunately for me, Russia seemed very hesitant to work with me, and we did not really hit it off. Austria never responded at all, Germany was hesitant to respond to my alliance request but kept the conversation open. France wrote back claiming he was going to respect our DMZ, and England was thrilled about a communications exchange. Overall not great. One thing to mention was that Germany floated the idea of a Venice -> Piedmont opening, and I did consider it. Ultimately I decided to move in the standard, boring fashion...

Image

... oh. Okay. Apparently Austria decided to open gunboat... and then he surrendered. I suppose Turkey is my best bet given our quality of communications and his shotgun attack on Russia. I was slightly worried about a Western Triple given the Lvp -> Edi and Mun -> Sil moves, and I tried to mitigate that threat through communications to Russia and the Western Triangle. I did not mention much of it to Turkey, as he would benefit from a WT and he did not really need to know my concerns. Also, I ask France to move MAO -> Por rather than to the south coast of Spain. I make plans with Turkey to convoy into Greece rather than Tunis. I figured that if a new Austria joins that is unfriendly towards me, a foothold in Greece would maybe allow me to survive.

Crucially, a new Austria joins, who is extremely communicative and pleasant to talk to. He agrees to back off his armies to fight Turkey. Do I believe him? It doesn't matter - he has three units lined up on Venice. I convoy into Greece.

Image

So France respected our MAO -> Por agreement, Turkey allowed my convoy into Greece, and there seemed to be some hesitations in the probably-Western Triple.

But I did have an important decision to make: to side with Turkey or Austria. Both are incredibly competent and communicative players, and both players seem to play trustworthy. It would take me a while to think, but in the end I decided to side with Austria, which was cemented by the builds, in which France build F Marseilles. I thought it would give me a better chance to cross stalemate lines.

Part 2: 1902

With my plan to side with Austria, and heavily suspecting that he values trust and communicative players, I decided to let the Austrian fleet in Albania into the Ionian to move to the Eastern Med. I effectively put my life in his hands here, but I believed it to be the right thing to do. I believe it was, but it is still just a belief. Although it helped us finish off Turkey easier, the fact that I let Austria into the Ionian may have easily been fodder for a counter-alliance later in the game. Austria and I decide to make an A/I/R with Russia, with the intent that it would not last too long. I figured that I could potentially force the I/R dream later down the line if Austria genuinely did attack Russia. But again, would Russia believe me after Alb -> Ion with Italian blessing? From Spring of 1902:

Image

Finally, England moves on France just as France moves Marseilles -> Gulf of Lyon. Side note: I find playing Italy tends to involve a French timebomb - i.e. will France enter the Med now or later? If England is winning against France, when will England enter the Med? From Fall of 1902:

Image

Anyways, this board state continued until Spring 1903, when Austria stabbed Russia for Galicia and Rumania. I keep in contact with Russia afterwards, but I was not in a position to help him out, and our communications were so dry and sparse that I think it would be the right choice to stay out of the conflict regardless. It makes Austria more powerful, but he still would not be able to brutally stab me without being in Sevastopol, Bulgaria w/o a Constantinople garrison, or close to my homeland. From Spring of 1903:

Image

Part 3: 1903 - 1908

Our third alliance partner becomes England rather than Russia, after France and Germany simultaneously stab him. Communications between England and Austria & I are initially pleasant and frequent, but they taper off overtime, until eventually [unless this was a lie], Germany threatens to throw the game to Austria if England does not stop the A/I advance. Germany seemed to be a very direct and effective diplomat, and he had more than enough material to work with to flip England even though he and France had deceived England repeatedly in the past. At one point, Germany suggested to England that Austria and I were the same person, as Austria says in his account. He even posts in Public Press that he was reporting us for cheating, which I found as somewhat of a compliment on how well Austria and I were working together. Either that or Germany didn't know it was against the rules to call someone out for cheating. Anyways, England reluctantly accepts Germany's ultimatum.

England soon after surrenders, who is replaced by a new England who seems much more committed to the belated Western Triple than his predecessor. It is also worth noting that the WT, chiefly Germany, were unwilling to eliminate the one-center Russia, despite it posing almost no risk to themselves. From Spring of 1909:

Image

Part 4: 1909 - 1911

These years were attempts to break up the Western Triple as we repeatedly threw our weight against their stalemate line. Austria threatened and genuinely began to toss centers to me. Crucially, he moved some of his armies slightly south in order to prevent against me going for a solo irrespective of if the WT broke up. I agreed to this, and this was the blunder that cost me the game.

Part 5: 1912 - 1916

So I had a new set of people to work with: France, England, and Germany. Communications with France and England were initially pleasant, and they seemed to be open to working with me. Germany, on the other hand, said that I had burned my bridge with him long ago and that he was not going to work with me, even if Austria was going to solo. I suppose he thought Austria tossing centers to me was unethical? That he hated me so much for being incompetent that he was willing to ruin the game for himself and his allies in order to ensure I did not take part in the draw? I don't know. But Austria was still a decent ways away from a solo, so I gave France and England an ultimatum: eliminate Germany, which they could have done before Germany could toss Austria a game-winning position, or I will toss centers to Austria instead. They agreed, but they never went through with it. I even gave them some leeway - two more chances, actually. But in the end, they never did work with me. From the Fall of 1912:

Image

I actually was stuck at Greece on the last turn of the game, and France offered to help me hold to *maybe* keep our ground, which I accepted, since there is no way out of that position. Meaning that he would not be able to take advantage of my weakness in the future. But Germany surrendered on this crucial turn, I presume either maliciously our out of disinterest, and nobody took his place.

Overall, I respect Austria immensely for the solo. He made several right calls and he was rightfully rewarded for it. To the last players of France and England, good game. There was almost certainly some negotiation behind the scenes regarding how to best go about stopping Austria, to which I was not party to. I understand. But I have much more trouble wishing the same to Germany. I don't hate the guy, it is a game after all, but he was confusingly mean and vindictive when he didn't need to be.

The final board, Fall of 1916:

Image

Good game!
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Re: AAR: The Battle Rages On 151044

Postby marotta » 28 Mar 2019, 05:28

I picked up England very late in the game.

By that point Austria was threatening to give the solo to Italy if England did not stab Germany (which was a crazy and empty threat).

Both France and Germany had all their units tied up so mine were the only ones able to move. I moved them toward STP to take out Russia and that angered Germany who had negotiated Russia working with them to stop Austria. In those conversations Germany and I were not working very well together, but Germany had only one unit with which to try to thwart me. Germany seemed worried I was going to stab him and wanted to dictate England's every move.

During my time France failed to move and NMRed and Austria stabbed Italy. Then Italy started asking me to stab Germany (which seemed like a ruse orchestrated by the both of them). When Germany threw in the towel there was nothing to hold onto and Austria took KIE and BER.

The blunders that lost the game were made by Italy and Germany, who oddly enough, were the only two not playing on ratings shields.

In the end, Germany's failure to continue to the end was spiteful and left a bad taste for someone picking up the game trying to help Germany hold the line. His surrender rate is now: 20 surrenders (rank games) (24.10% surrender rate). I would be ashamed of that high a surrender rate.

Maybe it is just me, but I think you owe it to your fellow players to put up the best play you have even when you aren't going to win. On average you aren't going to win, so you should learn to enjoy the play itself. And putting up a defense until the end respects the accomplishment of the person who does ultimately win.

Whenever I pick up a press game the first thing I do is to acknowledge that someone has abandoned this position and assure the players:

I am not going to abandon the game. My Consistency Rating is:
173 finished games
0 surrenders (rank games) (0.00% surrender rate)
0 surrenders (norank games) (0.00% surrender rate)
11616/11616 turns taken (100.00% consistency rate)

There is nothing worse that building an alliance only to have your ally NMR at the wrong moment when an untrustworthy ally might stab you.

And when I pick up a position I immediately look at every other players consistency rate. That is one of the factors I use to determine who to ally with and it determines how much I am willing to leave myself open in case they quit.
Regards,

David John Marotta
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