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AAR: 153917. Friend or Foe?

PostPosted: 20 May 2019, 14:48
by Mr.E
FINAL RESULT
ENGLAND - sleepyjim: Eliminated 1910
FRANCE - RcihardLion: Eliminated 1908 (previously Tandordraco until F1906)
ITALY - Toefirefire: Eliminated 1910
GERMANY - Mr.E: Solo.
AUSTRIA - The SHIV: Elminated 1911 (previously Electrikk until S1902)
TURKEY - diplo99: 9 SCs (previously Merica123 until F1902)
RUSSIA - MeatPopsicle: 7 SCs (previously MTGMaster until F1901)

Germany. Really. Ugh.

I known, of the central powers, Germany has the statistically best chance of gaining a decent result. But she's also neighbours with everyone else, with the sole exception of Turkey. It isn't that I mind putting in all the work of messaging five other powers regularly from the off, but it makes Germany an intensive power to play.

How does Germany win wars? Well, actually, it tends not to do so. She starts well then comes a cropper. In the long view of European history, Germany is usually a place where wars are fought and, actually, her creation of a unified state in 1871 probably caused the two most catastrophic wars in history.

So it never looks great when you're Germany.

Right - opening strategy. DMZs with Russia and peace with Austria; discourage Italy from entering Tyrolia but don't rule it out. Offer alliances to everyone in one form or another, including Turkey:
Germany to Turkey, S01
We don't really get to work together unless we both head for Moscow. That's tough for me to do, given that it leaves E/F behind me. Not impossible, I suppose, but not easy.
(I did say of one form or another!)

I also need to sort something out about Scandinavia. As it happens, I don't even get to speak with Russia because my initial message is left with a stony silence. Which is one of those uh-oh moments, until Russia NMRs in S01 (and promptly gets kicked following F01... *sigh*).

That, of course, leaves England and France. Despite the many-neighbours problem, these two are my main concerns. Make the offer of an alliance with both, separately, and see what happens: Which will make the most promising ally. Oh, and try not to push them together. Last thing I want is an Entente breathing down my neck.

"Survival" is the name of the game right now. Go into the game looking to win, oh yes, but that isn't going to happen if I'm wrecked in the early game, is it? So the aim is to be Mr Lovey-dovey, right now, and pick things up as they develop. Offer much and deliver what's absolutely necessary.

Without the worry of Russia, 1901 goes pretty well. France and I have kept out promises to keep out of Burgundy, so that's nice. However, that is as far as my agreement with France went. I did promise him support into Belgium but, well, it was clear from S01 orders that he is getting Spain and Portugal (I had floated with Italy the question of him moving to Piedmont in S01 but he had turned it down) and giving France 3 builds in 1901 isn't really a sensible option.

I had also promised Belgium to England, with the idea that we'd keep France cornered and concentrate on grabbing the non-Russian influenced Scandinavia. We discussed plans that allowed England into St Petersburg and Norway while I took Sweden and Denmark, and gave him Belgium while I moved into Holland. Obviously, not all in 1901, but in the short-term. England seemed pretty enthusiastic about it at this point but I don't think he ever really was: he had France as being his first target, I think. In honesty, for me, it was about getting English units spread across the north in a thin orange line; we were even discussing my putting him in Moscow! I suppose England might have switched his focus because of Russia's absence...

I knew we weren't exactly on the same page in F01 when England wanted support for A Edi-Bel, whereas I was hoping to support F NTH-Bel and have England convoy Edi-Nwy. If you're looking to get England into Moscow pretty early on, you need an army in StP. Oh, well.

Italy was actually the player I was getting the most communication from. He seemed to be a good prospect for an ally, even though he did turn down the chance to discomfort France. And I have to admit I wasn't overwhelmingly chuffed by his seeking to attack Austria but I figured that all that would mean was Italy watching my back instead of Austria. And Austria was very quiet.

Other than Russia, the biggest mistake in 1901 was Turkey's. The moves in the south were as follows:
SPRING 1901
AUSTRIA: Vie-Tri, Tri-Alb, Bud-Ser
ITALY: Ven-Tyl, Rom-Ven, Nap-ION
TURKEY: Con-Bul, Smy-Con, Ank-BLA

This left Austria needing to use both her fleet and her Serbian army to take Greece if she wanted to make sure of it, and it would mean that, unless Russia jumped on board, Turkey could take Rumania. In the end, F01 went like this:
AUSTRIA: Tri S Ser HOLD :? , Alb-Gre.
ITALY: Tyl-Vie, Ven-Tyl, ION-Tun.
TURKEY: Bul-Gre FAILED, Con-Bul FAILED, BLA-Rum.

Why did Turkey do that? Why not Bul-Rum, with support from Black Sea. She would have been in a much better position. She would need to build a fleet in Smyrna or Constantinople but she'd have her Black Sea fleet in place to support Rumania or attack Russia in force. And then Turkey built armies in Ankara and Smyrna... which meant she'd given up on a Mediterranean strategy.

Turkey was not going to recover from this poor position any time soon. Italy and Austria were at war, and Russia had made a false start. This had been Turkey's early game chance. Messed up nicely.

1902 looked like this. I'd built armies, England had built fleets, as we'd agreed. But things were breaking down with England. I was talking about pushing on against Russia - he didn't even reply to these suggestions. He did want to talk about grabbing France but either my explanation of my ideas was poor, or he just couldn't see it. He just wanted to keep his army in Belgium.

And France was mixing things well. He'd persuaded England that I was going to stab him. I was now trying to keep England updated with what I was telling France I was going to do. But England was just a little too paranoid.

Russia was now active as well. The new Russia had entered the fray, and so I was working hard on keeping him neutral. The last thing I wanted was a Russia that would push west. It wasn't likely to happen but new players can be a little unpredictable.

I'd told Turkey he needed to rotate his forces, getting his Rumanian fleet into the Black Sea. Unfortunately I'd told Russia that was what he was going to do, too. So Turkey ended up doing nothing... not even Smy-Arm. Seriously... Austria was equally ineffective in S01 and ended up effectively holding everywhere, while he and Italy further entrenched themselves in a war.

England buggered up, frankly. He ordered Nwy-StP instead of being patient and Russia simply held in St Petersburg. England now had nothing to move against Russia, mainly because I'd decided to not move Swe-Fin, as I'd said I would, given that England didn't seem interested in Scandinavia.

I'd told France I'd support him into Belgium from Picardy, explaining that I'd supported England there to let us destroy the army in S02. Instead I moved Ruh-Bur with support from Munich. England also supported the move from Belgium, so there should have been no doubt in France's mind that England and I were allied now. Oh well.

My moves had left Holland open to an English attack and I felt that was a possibility. I actually messaged Italy in F02 the following:
Germany to Italy, F02:{/b]
I may not have a build yet. I smell a change in the air. ... It's definitely possible that England could take Holland so I have to make him a better offer, I guess.
I can't say what really tipped me off, even looking back over our messages, but something did.

But here was the first key point in what led to my solo: England stabbed [b]without attempting to take Holland. If he'd done that, I wouldn't have been able to build from gaining Denmark. Instead, England ordered Nwy-SKA and NWG-Nwy... and that was his stab. I can only assume he expected France to do something different. France had dislodged my army in Burgundy, as I knew he would, and I'd hoped to retreat into Gascony, but France order MAO-Gas. France also ordered Bre HOLD, however. England had his army in Belgium, his fleet in English Channel and a fleet in North Sea - I could only stop him attacking Holland if I used Bur S Hol-Bel... and only if Burgundy wasn't attacked. So England messed up his game then and there. Instead of getting a build from Holland, he got nothing, while I got a build from Denmark.

Austria had left, pathetically. OK, he hadn't played very well, but he was in a decent position if he could get some sort of alliance with Russia or Turkey... or even if he and Italy could agree to stop the war. He placed his orders, however, and went. And those orders had gone pretty well, in the circumstances: he'd taken Bulgaria from Turkey and swapped Vienna for Trieste with Italy. He'd gained a unit... and still quit. I can only assume something big had happened IRL.

S03 looked like this. My build was a fleet. In Kiel, but a fleet. If I could keep the status quo with Russia and Italy, I was well enough defended against France and England on land, so I could look to strike England where it hurts - at sea. Perhaps.

Honestly, at this point I was very much still in survival mode. Although I'd got away with something there, England and France seemed to be working together and, if they achieved some early success, why wouldn't Russia jump on board.

This was proving to be a strange game. Often, by 1903, you can see one area of the board getting close to being resolved. But not this game. The south had seen Russia and Austria surrender and be replaced. Italy and Austria were at war. Turkey looked to be ineffectual. In the north, the Saxon Alliance between England and Germany was broken, and France seemed to have found a way back in, thanks to his successful undermining of England's trust (if England was to be believed). So much was up in the air.

Things looked to be going poorly for me in S03. England successfully moved into Sweden, dislodging my fleet. Russia moved StP-GOB and War-Lvn. I'd tried to win England over with a fairly lengthy message which ended:
Germany to England S03:
What I'm saying is, whatever reasons you have for shifting towards France (and I'd still be interested in understanding why), the Anglo-German alliance still has a lot of play in it.
England's reply didn't offer much hope:
England to Germany S03:
Interesting ideas....I need to look that over.

In the meantime, I was also messaging Russia:
[b]Germany to Russia, S03:
So, it looks very much as if England has turned. I doubt I've given myself much chance of turning things around by building the fleet in Kiel, but I also don't think I had much of an option.
The only question I have about his 'stab' is why he didn't take Holland - he had ample opportunity to do so.
If I can't hold out, move in behind me. It isn't exactly kingmaking, because I won't be handing you the game, but I'll defend my western front and let you into my SCs behind me.
...
Well, I don't think [England's] being persuaded by my arguments. I'll lose Sweden this turn, so if you want to move StP-GOB, I'll support you into Sweden. Might be that England will actually be forced to contact you.

Italy told me he was trying to work with Russia in the south, but Russia dislodged him from Galicia. Which allowed Italy to retreat to Warsaw... still, Italy was furious.

So, it was time for something risky. I set things up. I challenged England about his stab. This seemed to bring out some kind of offer from England that we'd be back working together. Not something I could trust, though, so I planned to continue the war.

I asked Russia about Sweden and he told me he would 'tap' it from Gulf of Bothnia. I was happy to let him do that.

But the plan was about tactics, this turn. I ordered HEL-NTH, BAL S Den-Swe. This was a sacrifice move: with England in Skaggerack, North Sea and Sweden I knew he'd move on Denmark. I could defend Denmark but that wasn't going to be enough. That would be digging the trenches... well, OK, not trenches as the battle line was between Sweden and Denmark, but you get the idea. So England would use Swe S SKA-Den with North Sea's support, or Swe S NTH-Den with Skaggerack's support. He wouldn't try to leave Sweden.

I also decided to attack Belgium: Ruh S Hol-Bel and Mun-Bur to cut potential French support for Belgium... which France ordered. However, England got a little greedy. He ordered ENG-MAO and Bel-Pic, presumably gambling that he could catch me napping with his offer of an alliance - he'd get Sweden and Denmark, reducing my units by two, and he could afford to move against France too. Another mistake.

This was a season I was pretty proud of, tactically. I lost Denmark but retained control of Sweden, I'd also gained Holland. England and I maintained our position. In fact it was quite a slow year overall. The only player that got a build was Turkey... and that was to rebuild something he'd had disbanded.

Spring 1904 looked like this. I had a positional advantage over England in that I'd separated his fleet in Denmark. I had three armies on the French border, facing one French and one English army. And I had the North Sea with both London and Edinburgh indefensible. England and France couldn't build an alliance against me, up to this point. Russia was still pretty neutral and had the problem of the rogue Italian army in Warsaw.

I already knew what I was going to do with the North Sea fleet. I would fail to order it to the Channel - England couldn't allow NTH-ENG, and I couldn't allow MAO-ENG. So we bounced. England ordered Den S Nwy-NTH, which would fail if I hit Denmark... but I chose not to do so - I wanted the North Sea fleet to be dislodged because I'd have the choice of London or Edinburgh as retreat destinations. Preventing England from moving to London would prevent North Sea and English Channel combining to kick me from London if I eventually decided to retreat there. To prevent the potential loss of Kiel (Den-Kie) I ordered BAL-Kie and arranged with Russia that his GOB fleet would support me in Sweden. Eventually I decided to retreat to London. This wasn't the safest place of the two, as I would possibly lose it in 1905 if England moved into the Channel. But I'd hold it in 1904, at least.

The south got the little bit more messy with Turkey quitting and being replaced. This meant that Italy was the only original player in the south... and he'd handed control to another player for a year while he was away for a game year, another player who'd not distinguished himself at all. Turkey had a new leader pretty quickly but this was adding to the confusion and instability there. For me, this was a positive simply because it meant Russia's main attention had to remain in the south. If England had ever reached out to him with any determination, though, I think Russia would have ended-up working with him. In the end, this didn't happen and Russia was very supportive of me in the north; I was regularly promising him Sweden and he was very patient!

In F04, the London fleet was a dilemma. I wanted to prevent England moving MAO-ENG, and I could only do this if I ordered Lon-ENG. But then it wasn't guaranteed to work: NTH S MAO-ENG would succeed. And, if England didn't try to move to the Channel, I'd move out from London and not gain the SC. So I held. In the event, England surprisingly used MAO S Pic-Bre which was never likely to work, and didn't. I would be safe in London for another turn, at least. Sweden and Denmark bounced each other. Belgium wasn't attacked, as I expected it to be, so Bel S Mun-Bur worked, which was a surprise.

In the south, Russia and Italy seemed to be cooperating. Russia helped Italy into Vienna, and Austria lost a lot of ground, also losing Greece to Italy and Bulgaria to Turkey, although he took Trieste from Italy.

In the Retreats phase, the dislodged French army in Burgundy was disbanded. It could have retreated to Marseilles. Maybe he was planning on building a fleet in Marseilles? Seemed daft, but what other explanation could there be? In the end he built an army in Marseilles. I built a fleet in Holland - the first time I'd had the chance to take advantage of the Build Anywhere rule.

Spring 1905 looked like this. Russia's build of an army in St Petersburg threatened Norway - which was good for me. On the other hand, it showed he was OK with leaving Moscow empty with an Italian army in Ukraine. Given Russo-Italian cooperation in the previous turn, this looked like they were about to divide the south, which wouldn't be a great thing for me. Austria seemed to be on the way out, having just two SCs left. Turkey looked penned in.

If Russia would continue to be helpful in the north, I was pretty confident that I could now overcome England. I needed to concentrate on fleets, though, so an emergent Russia would threaten my eastern border. It was going to be risky.

So there needed to be some more risky moves this turn. I would move out from London to Yorkshire. This was on the basis that, if England didn't move NTH-Lon, I could defend London (possibly) or move to Edinburgh. I moved out of Burgundy (I didn't have a way to move anywhere useful in France and I'd promised France I would), Ruh-Hol and Hol-HEL.

England moved NTH-ENG, thanks to some manipulation from me. Turkey had built a fleet in Smyrna, rather than building anything to defend against Russia. So I used this to raise the spectre of a potential Juggernaut or R/T/I alliance. England bought it. We agreed moves that I didn't intend to keep, partly because I didn't trust him, partly because I intended to go after him anyway. And the damage was done.

However, England got a bit of a lifeline. France - who had been getting nowhere all game - made a critical error. He ordered Bre S Por-MAO, which was bound to succeed. However, he also ordered Spa-Gas. Perhaps he was intending to bounce my ghost order of Bur-Gas, or perhaps he intended to prevent me retreating Bur-Gas - he'd succeeded in the latter before. But it left Spain open... and England retreated MAO-Spa(nc). France could kick him out in F05 but this would allow England to retreat to Portugal.

So in F05, I would be able to take Denmark, had the chance to hold London or move Yor-Edi unopposed and gain another unit over England... but England would still get a build from Spain/Portugal. I decided to hold onto London by ordering Yor-Lon and bouncing with England's ENG-Lon. There was a very definite reason for this. London would be open and that would give me the chance to build there. France didn't try to do anything against England in Iberia. He ordered Bre S MAO-ENG, dislodging England's fleet. This meant that the English fleet in Spain would have Portugal open to him. Shouldn't be too big a problem because France still had an army in Gascony (Gas-Spa had bounced). England could move to Portugal if he wanted, but France would take Spain if he did.

In the south, things got a little messy again. Russia had occupied Serbia in S05, and with Italy able to take Trieste in F05 would mean Austria would be the first casualty of the game. Except Russia ordered Ser-Gre, taking an SC from Italy and keeping Austria alive in the game. And that was the end of the fledgling Wintergreen alliance that could have tied the south up.

England disbanded his Channel fleet and rebuilt it in Edinburgh. I built a fleet in London. S1906 looked like this.

This was a turning point year... but a damn messy one. S06 I buggered-up an order, for which I can only blame my phone. I'd meant to order Yor-Edi, Lon-Yor but managed to order Lon-Edi. In the end it didn't matter because England ordered Edi S NTH-Yor. My Yorkshire fleet was disbanded. Still, London wasn't under any threat because England couldn't get there. Then again, I was back in control of the North Sea and I'd be able to take Norway this year.

Unfortunately, England would also be able to take Portugal and keep Spain because France NMRed in S06. This was repeated in F06 and France was gone. This is what made 1906 a pivotal year. Taking the gamble that France was gone, I cleared my armies from the Low Countries, ordering Mun S Bel-Bur and NTH C Hol-Nwy. I held the North Sea and, although England gained Portugal I'd taken Norway. I got another build, and another unit ahead of England.

In the south, Russia lost Venice to Italy, but Italy lost Venice to Austria. Austria, the power who was weakest in the south, got another build and because Russia had prevented Italy from taking Serbia, he was able to build there. From the brink.

1907, then, looked like this, with me building a fleet in Belgium and an army in Holland (I'd been forced to disband a fleet in Yorkshire, remember) and England building the disbanded fleet from Norway as an army in Liverpool. England looked pretty secure in her homeland now.

France was gone. England looked like she could hold onto her homeland and potentially, with the right moves, take London back in time. I could have decided to keep the war of attrition going by going after French SCs and penning England in. On the other hand, France was no threat, so I could have gone with taking the fight to England and leaving France for myself.

In the end, I did both. I took Marseilles and Paris from France, leaving France with just his fleet in Brest remaining. I allowed England to take London, swapping it for Edinburgh. If I'd been a little less cautious I could have had both, but I used ENG S NTH HOLD to allow NTH C Den-Edi. And I eventually let Russia into Sweden. So a big swap year with me coming out one up. But I'd also got a little antsy over Italy, who had an army in Tyrolia while Munich stood empty so I ordered Kie-Mun, successfully.

This meant I had Norway, with Russian units in Sweden and St Petersburg, and I had an open and indefensible Denmark. If Russia decided he needed units in the south, he could attack me almost with impunity. He reached out to me, however, and we agreed that he wouldn't build in Warsaw if I didn't build in Berlin. This wasn't a problem to me: I had to build in Denmark anyway. I rebuilt the disbanded fleet from London in Belgium.

In the south it looked as if Russia and Turkey were trying to work together, and Austria was being kept alive to further hamper Italy. It was working.

S1908 looked like this. France was mine for the taking, but I wanted to leave the Brest fleet where it was for now. Instead I planned to order Mar S Par-Gas and move on Spain.

I was looking further on from where I was, now. I could see Russia/Turkey tying up the south. I would break England down eventually and that should probably lead to a Germany v Russia/Turkey alliance. So I approached the Juggernaut powers separately:
Germany to Turkey F07B:
I've been looking at the map and I think a pretty equitable end, given the way the game's played out so far, would be a 3-way draw between you, me and Russia.
I've already sent the same thought to Russia and I almost sent a joint message to you and Russia but held off.
The reason I didn't send it was because I've also looked carefully at Russia's position and it seems as if he can dictate - almost - what's happening in the Balkans.
Now I can't say for sure but it wouldn't surprise me if Russia was aiming to confine you, put you in a long running battle with Italy, and go for the solo. If he is looking for that he'll offer me a 2-way draw.
If that is the offer he gives me I'll let you know. You can take it from there. I find 2-ways unnatural and speaking to Russia in the past, so does he, I think.
So first, what's your view on a 3-way?
Turkey's reply came in S08 and he agreed to it.
Germany to Russia F07B:
I'm looking a little forward now towards the end of the game. There seems to be a strong Juggernaut building. I could be wrong, of course, but that's the way the board looks.
Given that you've been pretty supportive - and patient! - I'm thinking perhaps an eventual 3-way draw between you, Turkey and me is the most likely outcome. What would you say to that?
Russia also agreed, if a little less readily.

A twist this year: France became active. He approached me asking for support from me to put him in Gascony, as he wanted to move on Spain. My reply was that this is what I was going to do. So he said something along the lines of "fine" and that was it. But then I looked at the board again. If I put France in Spain, England would lose another unit. It wouldn't necessarily matter that France had gained one. France was no threat. On the other hand, if I didn't offer to keep him in the game, then he might well cause me problems in the Channel, working with England. So I wrote back and said that I'd changed my mind. He said he'd move there... and promptly ordered Bre-ENG. As it happened, England also ordered Lon-ENG: if there was any attempt to coordinate, it was poor.

I bounced Wal-Lpl with Edi-Lpl. I ordered NWG-NAO, giving me another unit bordering Liverpool in F08 and so taking that SC. England had posted Public Press in S08:
England Press S08:
Russia if you dont get after Germany he will solo.......
Germany Press S08:
England, if you haven't done the maths, I can't solo even if I took all of England and France.
England Press S08:
LOL Ok......
Germany Press S08:
*sigh*
There's nothing particularly interesting about this, I know, and England was right - I was looking for ways to solo. But I was also right: even with England, France, and Iberia added to my SCs I would reach 15 only. I was looking for other SCs to take beyond this, and that should have been obvious to everyone... and maybe it was. But I'd started negotiations with Russia and Turkey about a 3-way draw, I was messaging Italy about helping out, and the three additional SCs I was looking for were not obvious (although I knew the ones I would target: Sweden, Tunis and one from St Petersburg, Warsaw, Venice or Rome). This whole exchange was an aside, though, as nobody else seemed to find it worthwhile joining in on... and I can't blame them.

Fall 1908 - the first business was getting rid of France. He was a loose cannon who seemed to have joined the game for no reason at all. I took Brest. I also took Liverpool, ordering NAO S Edi-Lpl, which couldn't be stopped and allowing England to move Yor-Edi if he wanted. I was getting Brest, I could afford to swap Liverpool for Edinburgh. I was more interested in preventing a possible Yor-Edi, Lon-Yor combination, so I ordered NTH-Yor. In the end it wasn't needed: England missed the chance to take Edinburgh.

In S08, I'd agreed with Italy that he'd order Tyl-Pie and I'd order Mun-Tyl. I'd sent Italy a message offering A Mun as support in any way he wanted, and commenting that A Mar would be available in the near future, too. Italy was the one who suggested what I wanted: Mun-Tyl. This was intended as help for Italy. I envisioned keeping him as a bulwark to Russia/Turkey if I could. But it was also the start of the plan to get involved outside of my stalemate line.

In F08 I supported Pie-Ven and took away one of Austria's SCs. Russia asked about it: my reply was that I was looking to help reach the 3-way by minimising the number of powers available. If we got rid of Austria, then Turkey and I could get rid of Italy. Did he believe it? Who knows. Seems a flaky answer to me and I wrote it.

1909 started like this. I'd built an army in Kiel: I was aware of how open my eastern border was to a Russian attack so I needed an army there. But that wasn't imminent so I would have time to put it right later; for now, it was a stop gap build. I also built a fleet in Holland. England was beaten in Britain but I still needed to push fleets towards Iberia and the Med. In the Med, Turkey was dominant. I'd need some fleets there.

So let's bottle England up and move on Iberia. NAO S ENG-MAO, Mar S Bre-Gas. Spain would fall, and then Portugal. No opposition and no way to prevent it. Bel-ENG, Lpl-Edi to bounce England's Yor-Edi; Mun-Tyl - this to ensure my presence in the south was a little more significant.

This was the year of the third and final key events that allowed me to solo: Russia turned on Turkey. Turkey, throughout the game, had been pretty defensive, sometimes negatively so. He asked me in S09 if I thought Russia was going to turn on him.
Germany to Turkey S09:
OK so Russia told me he is aiming for a 2-way draw and is ready to attack you. Frankly, I think that's a bluff.
Russia isn't set up to attack you right now. There's no way he can break through without significant reorganisation of his units.
Honestly I don't think he's even thinking of a 2-way. I think he's getting an excuse ready for an attack on Norway.
Push in into Italy. If necessary I'll look for ways to prepare a move against Russia if he attacks you.
And Russia had told me that if he turned on Turkey we were on our way to a 2-way. I didn't say anything about this implicit offer then - I dislike the artificial nature of 2-way draws. And I genuinely didn't see why Russia would attack Turkey because, well, what was he going to do to break through the Balkans?

But Russia did. He attacked through Armenia, and this was a bad mistake. In fact I warned Russia about it:
Germany to Russia S09:
Turkey sent a message I've just read to ask if I thought you were going to move against him. My response will be honest - I doubt it. I'm not sure you're set up - yet - to take a shot at Turkey... Unless you're counting on him not expecting it.

But, once he'd done it, I knew I would eventually solo. Turkey all but confirmed it in F09 telling me that he would no longer be working with Russia, and adding an intriguing line that I came back to twice in the remaining years: "And if someone is going to take over my centers it might as well be you because you haven't moved against me (yet)."

I gained 2 SCs this year - Spain and Portugal. For some reason, England ordered Spa(nc)-MAO, while I ordered Mar S Gas-Spa and MAO-Por. I ordered Lpl-Edi: if it bounced, Edinburgh would be open to build in; if it succeeded (which it did) Liverpool would be open. Turkey and Russia were fully at war, now. Russia ordered Arm-BLA and Sev-Arm; Turkey ordered BLA-Sev; I'd told him I thought Russia would move to Black Sea rather than direct to Ankara and I was right

So, 1910 started like this. I'd built an army in Kiel, so as not to alarm Russia and a fleet in Liverpool. The army was to bolster the eastern front; the fleet to ensure I took London and provide an extra unit to move south. I had other plans for my fleet in NWG. Russia had asked me about that fleet: Would it move to Barents? I honestly said no - I hadn't considered that. There were other things I was going to do.

S10 was a setting-up season. Mar-Pie to move into Italy. Por-Spa(sc) to move into the Med. Lpl-Wal and Edi-Yor to take London. Kie-Ber and Hol-Kie. The fun would come in F10 - the final stab. Actually, only the second stab in the game, for me, and that's if you include the attack on France which never amounted to much and which I don't really count as a stab because I'd decided I wasn't going to work with him in 1901.

In S10 I'd told Russia that my defensive line was in place. I couldn't lose Denmark or Norway now. I had armies in Berlin, Munich, Tyrolia and Piedmont with a fleet in Kiel and another army in Gascony that could move to Marseilles or Munich as further defensive strength. So this was a very plausible story. The idea being that I took London, reached 15 and then grabbed a couple of extra SCs - Tunis and Naples (I was never going after Naples) - to hit 17 and then wait for Russia.

Was this ever a plausible argument? Russia had mentioned a 2-way and went for it, despite my warning against doing so, and I'd reinforced that idea. It was never on my mind, though. But Russia seemed to be going with it. And, in fact, so was Turkey. I received this message from him (I've been careful not to post messages sent to me by other powers so far, but this one needs putting there):
Turkey to Germany F10:
You are clearly in the ascendant here. You can easily achieve a single win. However, Russia rather than trying for a three-way draw which is, or at least until quite recently was achievable. continues to act solely against me. The only way this makes any sense to me is if the two of you have decided that you are going to achieve the extremely artificial outcome of a two-way draw rather than your simply taking an obviously straightforward single win.
If so, please let me know now. You can have your two-way draw if that's what you're going to do anyway even though it's completely artificial and I can find something else to occupy my time. I play this game for the enjoyment of it so if there is metagaming going on here then let me know that my whole participation here is pointless and I don't have to waste any more time on a game that's rigged and therefore not particularly enjoyable.
Germany to Turkey F10:
Wow. I've seen some ridiculous comments in my time, but frankly I'm amazed that you think I'm metagaming.
You know that metagaming isn't agreeing to a 2-way draw, don't you? Metagaming is when something outside of the game affects the game. That's why it's called METAgaming.
I could, I suppose, be playing the metagame... which would be to present a certain type of philosophy, such as agreeing to a draw, or to maximise my points gain from a game by playing for a draw.
So, here's my response.
I DON'T CHEAT.
- I don't know anyone outside of the game (as far as I know).
- I haven't played anyone in the game in another game on any site (as far as I know).
- I'm playing in one other game which is anonymous, on this site, and - obviously - I don't know who I'm playing against there.
- The only username I recognise from the site is that of Austria... and that's from the forum. Since The SHIV joined the game, I've sent him messages but (I think) only had one reply.
As far as this game goes, I was going to go through the diplomacy I've had with players, but I'm not going to do that. You'll have to wait for the AAR for that.
Sorry, but if your immediate response to what Russia does is to assume that I'M a cheat, then that is amazingly ridiculous. If Russia and I have agreed a 2-way draw, that would be up to us... unless we ARE cheating, of course.
It looks to me that you've jumped to a paranoid conclusion, without putting in any research. If you think I'm cheating in some way, then get yourself to the Mods and report it.

So, here's the diplomacy I had with the other players, for Turkey's delectation. I think, throughout the game, I had three offers of a 2-way draw: from England, from Italy and from Russia. I don't think I accepted - explicitly - any of them. I told Italy that I don't usually go for a 2-way draw because I don't like them, but that I'd consider it if the player I was working with appeared to have somehow earned it. I told Russia that I don't like 2-way draws, and actually told him his attack on Turkey would be daft at that time; I did then reinforce Russia's 2-way draw aim - repeatedly - because it was helping me to set-up the stab against him. As England's idea was so early in the game, I didn't even consider it.

Turkey did reply to me:
Turkey to Germany F10:
Sorry you took it so harshly. All I said was that it appeared that metagaming was a possibility. I didn't accuse you of it, I merely made the observation that it was a possibility due to the quite odd behavior of Russia.
I still hold to that. Note the narrowness of the view, though: Based on Russia's behavior, metagaming appears to be a possibility. That's all - just a hypothesis used to account for known observations.
I will take your word for it that it isn't actually occurring. Fine. You're not metagaming. Glad to hear it. I'm not either.
However, I have experienced it in the past. I've only been on this site for a couple of months. I think this is my fifth game. However, a few years ago I was playing on the Droiddippy site ...
As far as a two-way is concerned, I have successfully pulled it off exactly one time. ...
Russia is playing as if he wants you to win, in that he's forcing me to defend myself against him while you come in to the Mediterranean from the west. Had he not done so I would have bottled up the Med good and proper. I even had a build in Tunis with that very plan in mind. However, Russia's continuing behavior of jerking me around about his fleet in Sevastopol made me nervous so that I decided it was unsafe to overextend to the west (with a flaky Russia, that is), thereby allowing you in. I can't fight the two of you simultaneously with any significant degree of success so you're now poised to put all those otherwise superfluous fleets to use in my back yard. Oh well.
Additionally, Russia said that he was forced to attack me because you insisted on a 2-way. OK, I took that as typical Diplomacy BS, just the way the game is played after all, but I found that statement especially odd.
Actually there is an additional Russian strategy which I hadn't thought of until now, that of destroying me while talking to you about a 2-way (not through metagaming, just through messaging) then expecting to pull off a last minute stab of you like Italy did to me a few years ago. A gutsy strategy which is probably not really on his mind, but it is a third explanation.
So there it is. It's my view that if Russia hadn't attacked me (and continues to force me to defend against him) we would have had a rock-solid three-way as you would never have been able to enter the Med and I would never have been able to carry off a single win. That he did so leaves me quite disappointed with the way the game is ending up, but the game is the game and I'll hang in there to the end regardless.
I've removed almost all of two sections here. In one, Turkey goes on about a metagaming experience he had - on another site (Droiddippy, ffs, which is rife with it simply because there's nothing to stop it - or there wasn't when I played there). Not yet, apparently, on this site. Hands-up anyone who hasn't experienced metagaming.

The other section I took out was a recount of a 2-way draw he once got - and one he played for but didn't succeed in - which I took out because he'd told me he found absolutely artificial. Well, almost every 2-way draw is absolutely artificial. I've a long history of Dip in my past but I don't think I've ever attempted a 2-way draw. I'm not saying I never would, but I find it difficult to imagine a situation where I wouldn't go for the solo first.

And, by the way, to say I wasn't being accused of metagaming is legalistic. The accusation was there: this whole sentence rings of accusation without actually making that accusation explicit: "I play this game for the enjoyment of it so if there is metagaming going on here then let me know that my whole participation here is pointless and I don't have to waste any more time on a game that's rigged and therefore not particularly enjoyable."

I think you're right in that if Russia hadn't attacked you the 3-way was much more likely than any other outcome. As I said, the third of three key events that let me solo. I had nothing to do with any of them.

Anyway, with that interlude over...

In Fall 1910 I made my move, my stab on Russia, which was made without taking an SC from him. I took London from England, making 15 SCs, and sprung my almost last trap. Here's the F1910 map. Sweden would be mine and I could move Lon-NTH in S11 to take Norway and keep Sweden in F11. I was going to get into Tunis and in S11 have a fleet in WMS to keep Tunis for F11. That would put me on 17.

From there, Venice would be the next target, but Warsaw would also be possible. Although Russia would build in Warsaw on F10, I had a further plan, involving Pru-Lvn and Sil-Gal which could give me a shock positional advantage.

Spring 1911 started like this. I got Sweden but didn't lose Norway. I got Tunis and couldn't lose it. What did surprise me was being successful in moving Pie-Tus and Mar-Pie. I thought I'd be in for a hard tussle getting SC 18 when Pru-Lvn failed, because I didn't think I'd be in Tuscany. I'd sent Turkey a message about helping me into Tuscany or not opposing me; after all, he'd said earlier about me moving into his SCs while he fought Russia. His reply was no - I'd have to earn it. And yet, Pie-Tus worked. So that meant that I couldn't fail to get Venice.

The final map. What a shame I'd never occupied Picardy or Clyde.

It was a really messy game, and a really enjoyable one for being that way! Many thanks to these guys for making it that way:
sleepyjim (England) played well and got unlucky that France dropped from the game. But you should have taken Holland in 1902.
Tandordraco (France originally) never really got going. Why you quit when you did, I don't know. Put more effort into communicating.
Toefirefire (Italy) was a good communicator and I enjoyed being in the game with you. Shame you got bogged down in the war with Austria.
The SHIV (Austria) did a good job then got jumped. I'm guessing some nifty diplomacy to get Russia onside. And the Fall Retreat draw proposal in 1911? Sneaky :lol:
diplo99 (Turkey) played a strong game, possibly a little too defensive but you were there at the end and had a long way to build up to 9 SCs. I know you didn't enjoy how the game ended, but you played a major part in this game.
MeatPopsicle (Russia) played a good game too and I suspect you were the main reason the alliance structure kept changing in the south, trying to keep an opposition growing. The stab on Turkey was badly timed. But you did a good job from the false start. You didn't see the stab coming?

Fewer thanks to these guys:
RcihardLion (France) - Why? :roll:
Electrikk (Austria originally) - Quitting when you did amazes me...
Merica123 (Turkey originally) - Terrible move in F1901 and you never recovered from it. Still... quitting?
MTGMaster (Russia originally) - Why did you bother signing up? "Master" my ass(ter).

Finally, the thing I learned from this game was about patience. This may sound a bit daft considering that I was leading all the way through the game, but I was continually pulling myself back from moves throughout. I knew what I wanted to do but kept reining myself in to prioritise what was needed. And yes, I wouldn't have won if those three key events hadn't happened: England not taking Holland in 1902, France not leaving the game in 1906, and Russia stabbing Turkey too early in 1909. But having a clear view of what I needed to do, and prioritising over what I wanted to do, throughout the game worked this time.