DoIaF AAR

GMd by presser84. Winner: Tagaryen (shockj)

Re: DoIaF AAR

Postby presser84 » 03 May 2013, 08:10

Blackfish wrote:
presser84 wrote:
Blackfish wrote:Break up Blackmont, I think. If a Martell unit gets in there, Tyrell will have serious issues, and, seeing how it is so close to the Martell/Tyrell conflict line, it isn't a good idea.


I think that's the point. That more diplomacy will be required to create that "invisible wall" between them rather than a mountain range that makes the NAP essential.


It's too heavily skewed in favour of Martell. My propose solution causes diplomacy to still be necessary, as Red Mountains still borders Highgarden, but allows Tyrell to still have a chance in open conflict. A simple change, but important, IMO.


I disagree. There are plenty of places on the map like that for other houses.

Ppe. Same with SOD. golden sound. South sunset. Blackwaterbay. It's balanced by diplomacy.
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Re: DoIaF AAR

Postby Blackfish » 03 May 2013, 09:29

presser84 wrote:
Blackfish wrote:
presser84 wrote:
I think that's the point. That more diplomacy will be required to create that "invisible wall" between them rather than a mountain range that makes the NAP essential.


It's too heavily skewed in favour of Martell. My propose solution causes diplomacy to still be necessary, as Red Mountains still borders Highgarden, but allows Tyrell to still have a chance in open conflict. A simple change, but important, IMO.


I disagree. There are plenty of places on the map like that for other houses.

Ppe. Same with SOD. golden sound. South sunset. Blackwaterbay. It's balanced by diplomacy.


But in the case of Blackmont, Martell doesn't have a mirror space, for Tyrell to return the favour.

If we look at regular Dip, Russia and Austria have a similar situation. If an Austrian army manages to make it into Ukraine, Russia will not be happy. The difference is that Russia can get a unit to Galicia, to make Austria's life more difficult.

It's an interesting improvement, I just think it can be improved further.
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Re: DoIaF AAR

Postby Blackfish » 03 May 2013, 10:05

Pre-Game
I'd played this variant twice before, on paper, with friends. I decided that it was a "sort of" balanced variant, dynamic and interesting, right until the end, though it did have its flaws. In these games, there was a Stark solo and a Targaeryen solo.
Before this game started, after I discovered I was playing House Tyrell (again! :)), I took a long, hard look at the map. In the previous times I had played this game, I had played as House Baratheon and House Stark (the winning Stark). I was content with playing House Tyrell, as it was in a good position, in the corner of the board, with an interesting situation.
From my analysis of the board, I determined that obvious alliances are Tyrell/Greyjoy, Targaeryen/Martell, Tyrell/Martell and Lannister/Stark.
As one may notice, I chose the Tyrell/Greyjoy alliance as the method for my primary objective: The elimination of House Lannister. I decided I would also try to secure an alliance with Stalin, as House Martell. It seemed like a logical choice, let Stalin do his own thing, against lecrae Baratheon and I would work against Zadaron Lannister. It would be the best agreement for both of us.

Opening Year
Spring 298AL
I talked with ThomasValiant Greyjoy and we decided that I would take Lannisport, while he took Casterly Rock and Riverrun. He would move to the Golden Sound while I moved to South Sunset Sea. One of the moves would have to succeed, as House Lannister is given one solitary fleet, to defend against an almost guaranteed Tyrell/Greyjoy alliance, a fatal weakness. I also ordered an army to The Reach, as that would basically sign House Lannister's demise. I also secured an alliance with Stalin Martell, dictating that he would take Sandstone, it being one of "his" neutrals, as long as he didn't impeded my capture of Starfall, one of "my" neutrals.

Fall 298AL
Noticing that Martell hadn't moved towards Sandstone yet, I had a devilish temptation to block it and deny him the Supply Centre. Said temptation passed quickly, as it would all but destroy the alliance and was a silly move, in the long run.
I used the Greyjoy fleet on Zadaron's doorstep as a distraction for my fleet from The Arbor to silently slip into the South Sunset Sea. At this point, I hoped that Zadaron would order Lannisport S A Riverrun - Casterly Rock, so I ordered The Reach - Lannisport, to break to support, rather than try to grab King's Landing (E). He submitted a crafty set of orders, much to my dismay, which caused him to retain both CR and Lannisport. More work would ned to be done, this next turn, as Zadaron had taken a build from Harrenhal. ThomasValiant and I's strategy of Shock and Awe would end up turning into a longer battle, at the cost of expansion elsewhere. I didn't like this. The person who had most to lose from this situation was myself.

Winter 298AL
Shockj, in his AAR states that fleet are much more important than armies, for this game, as the only Non-Coastal SC is Riverrun. During the first turn, I debated whether to build a fleet in The Arbor or an army in Highgarden. This was due to a number of factors:
1. Armies are more versatile than fleets, in this variant. The continent is surrounded by water, granted, but the tactical advatage of holding central, non SC spaces that border SC spaces, is important. Stormlands borders no less than 5 spaces, and is only really accessible by army, as it is too easy to impede fleets from sailing up the Blackwater.
2. Armies can travel distances faster. An army can reach a space such as Prince's Pass from Highgarden faster than any fleet ever could. This doesn't apply to situations such as Oldtown to Winterfell, where a fleet can reach the latter in 4 phases, but to cross the continent, from West to East, Armies are invaluable. I think that shockj started realising this, towards the end, when he started convoying armies to Kingswood and Karhold etc.

Skipping a few years
Fall 300AL
Battles raged in the Westerlands, but that isn't what this section was about.
This is the point where I decided that Stalin was beginning to be a danger to my SCs. The unique shape of Westeros means that Dornish Marches and Storm's End was the furthest Stalin could move North, before being forced to move West, to eliminate the threat that would be House Tyrell. If he picked up too many builds from the area, the game would be over for me, as having armies charging through Blackmont, Ashford and Stormlands would be the bane of House Tyrell. I decided that I would strike a deal with lecrae, who was losing home centres, that I would allow him to move to Starfall, if he would aid me against Lord Martell. I needed someone to be the "vanguard" against House Martell. He accepted.

Spring 301AL
This was the turn that ended Zadaron, as House Lannister. He lost all his SCs in one turn, and this is why I blitzkrieged all of my previously engaged armies into the war against Stalin, what I call the defining moment of the game for me. At this point Stalin had to know what I was up to, both armies in Highgarden, Stormlands, Blackmont and a Baratheon army moving unopposed to Starfall.

Fall 301AL
The Fall of House Lannister meant that I could now concentrate completely against Lord Martell. I managed to take Dornish Marches, costing Lord Martell an SC, but I made the mistake of not breaking into Prince's Pass early enough, to grab Dornish Marches... A great example for teaching people that instead of satisfying immediate want by taking an SC, it may be more benificial to move into a non-SC space I realised that this was an enormous setback, enough to cost me a chance at winning the game. As I have stated, I spent so much time in a stalemate against House Martell, around the Red Mountains, that it allowed Houe Greyjoy to grow completely unopposed, in the Riverlands and Sunset Sea.

The rest of the game looked like this, for me:
Attack Martell. Attack Martell. Send persuasive message to Greyjoy. Be disappointed that it does not bring out the good in him. Greyjoy continues to move south. I start losing SCs. I rejected the draw. Targaeryen solos.


Basically, those were the important parts of the game and strategy for me.

The thing I enjoy the most about Diplomacy Variant Games is that since many do not have previously determined strategies, plays and alliances like regular Diplomacy. Here, one has to improvise and invent on the fly. These were some of the strategies and decisions I made in DoIaF.

I really enjoyed the game. Thanks to all players, congrats to shockj and a big thanks to presser84, for GMing this game! :D
Last edited by Blackfish on 05 May 2013, 07:14, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: DoIaF AAR

Postby presser84 » 03 May 2013, 13:04

Blackfish wrote:But in the case of Blackmont, Martell doesn't have a mirror space, for Tyrell to return the favour.

If we look at regular Dip, Russia and Austria have a similar situation. If an Austrian army manages to make it into Ukraine, Russia will not be happy. The difference is that Russia can get a unit to Galicia, to make Austria's life more difficult.

It's an interesting improvement, I just think it can be improved further.


but overall this map is less dynamic. There are similar places of conflict all over the board. Fleet gold sea blackwater.
Split Blackmont amounts to nearly the same in my mind. I'll consider it.
feel like the the mountains push an early natural NAP between T and M.
Last edited by presser84 on 04 May 2013, 17:17, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: DoIaF AAR

Postby shockj » 04 May 2013, 10:30

Winter 298AL
Shockj, in his AAR states that fleet are much more important than armies, for this game, as the only Non-Coastal SC is Riverrun. During the first turn, I debated whether to build a fleet in The Arbor or an army in Highgarden. This was due to a number of factors:
1. Armies are more versatile than fleets, in this variant. The continent is surrounded by water, granted, but the tactical advatage of holding central, non SC spaces that border SC spaces, is important. Stormlands borders no less than 5 spaces, and is only really accessible by army, as it is too easy to impede fleets from sailing up the Blackwater.
2. Armies can travel distances faster. An army can reach a space such as Prince's Pass from Highgarden faster than any fleet ever could. This doesn't apply to situations such as Oldtown to Winterfell, where a fleet can reach the latter in 4 phases, but to cross the continent, from West to East, Armies are invaluable. I think that shockj started realising this, towards the end, when he started convoying armies to Kingswood and Karhold etc.



I definitely see what you're saying, but I guess I'm saying that I was surprised people started the game army heavy. I'd think it would make much more sense to start fleet heavy and then fill in armies when you have the means to convoy them effectively. But as I said, a lot of that is just more Targaryen (or possibly Greyjoy) specific rather than a universal truth.

Great AAR, Blackfish. I didn't know you've played this variant before. That would have definitely changed my perspective in our negotiations a little bit. How did you solo the paper game as Stark?
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Re: DoIaF AAR

Postby shockj » 04 May 2013, 11:08

Targaryen AAR

Result: Targaryen Solo

Pre-Game

I chose the Targaryens because I wanted to mix it up a bit from the last Westeros version, but wanted to use somewhat the same strategy that had served me so well previously. I also liked the challenge of starting out with only two units. Thought it might help me stay under the radar a bit as the previous winner. I was very surprised at how many players ended up with "realms" they've played before.

As I mentioned before, my main goal going into it was to control the Narrow Sea, and figured that would be crucial in allowing me to determine my own fate going forward to a certain extent. So that very much colored my actions in the early going.

I'm at a bit of a disadvantage without the ability to look at the maps as I write this, but I'll do my best to recap.

Early Game

I was able to hammer out an agreement with the Starks in the early going which allowed me to focus on my issues in the south. I hammered out a basic DMZ with the Baratheons, while also having some good conversations with the Martells. I was able to play them off each other (which may be giving myself too much credit. They did most of the heavy lifting themselves), while also keeping the rest of the board keenly aware of what appeared to be early strong alliances between the Lannisters and Baratheons, and Martells and Tyrells. This took the heat off of my alliance with the Starks, which I feared everyone would be putting under a magnifying glass since we shared the draw last game. So I had to work even harder to keep a low profile. During this time I already had a grand vision for a Greyjoy/Targaryen alliance pinching the board from both sides of Westeros, with relatively minimal risk of stabbing one another due to your separation. I figured that a longterm Stark/Targaryen alliance would be untenable, so I had to have a back up plan.

I decided to toss my lot in with the Martells against the Baratheons once it looked like I didn't have a Martell/Tyrell alliance to worry about, and luckily the Martells distracted the Baratheons a great deal while I got to swoop in and pick all the meat off the bones. Very Dragonlike indeed.

Stark help got me King's Landing, which by sheer luck, and strong diplomacy I was able to keep for the rest of the game. Something I am very proud of. Tywin Lannister would be proud.

Mid-Game

I was getting pressure from all sides about the Starks, and due to our plan to use his armies and our fleets, he was unfortunately so ripe for the taking, that I couldn't justify turning the entire board against me for the sake of keeping my alliance, than to make the move I needed to make to win me the game. Letram was an awesome ally and never once did I fully trust ThomasValiant, as great as player as I think he is, so it was very difficult for me to stab a trusted ally in favor of a cunning, but ultimately very opaque player like ThomasValiant.

But I'm also very uncomfortable with "meta-gaming" and didn't really know how it would play to carry an alliance all the way through two consecutive games, so I figured it would really be best, and also ultimately a more interesting and fun game if I shook things up. But I was very actively aware of everything Greyjoy was doing, and always was trying to stay a step ahead. I did just about anything I could to always get at least 1 build out of a year, to keep my momentum going.

Late Game

The one thing that ultimately surprised me was Blackfish. As it got clearer and clearer that it was coming down to the three of us, I expected him to be a bit more active diplomatically. We had had some good conversations and had even worked together against the Martells a bit, but he didn't seem that interested in trying to break up my alliance with the Greyjoys, or to foster our own alliance either. Obviously with our locations it would have been difficult to do too much together, but there was certainly room for us to talk, but it seemed like you had it out for me at that point. Or at least that's what Greyjoy indicated to me. But I'm sure that was also him doing his best to muddy the waters between you and me. I'm sure he was saying similar things about me to you.

Either way, I thought the three way tango would have been a bit more compelling than it ended up being. At one point, Greyjoy vaulted ahead of me in SC count, and I quickly started pressuring him to propose a two way draw between us, as I was unsure I could prevent him from soloing. However, he wanted to wait until 15(!) centers to propse a draw, which indicated for me he was at the very least seriously considering going for the solo. At that point, I also put it in my mind to at least attempt the solo. Once I gained the upper hand, it was he who came calling for the two way draw. I agreed to the draw, and would have been fine if it had been accepted. It had been my goal to finish in a two way draw with somebody from the outset, so I was okay with it. However, I felt that I had played a very good game by my standards, and was definitely secretly hoping Blackfish would reject the draw, so I could take a shot at the solo, so thanks Blackfish for playing a bit of spoiler, haha. Sorry ThomasValiant. You played a great game.

This is actually only like my 2nd or 3rd solo in my entire diplomacy "career" so I am very proud of it. Thank you so much to everyone involved. Really enjoyed playing with all of you. Thank you especially to Presser for all the work you do to bring us these games. You should at least start an Amazon wishlist or something hahaha.

Thanks again!
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Re: DoIaF AAR

Postby Blackfish » 04 May 2013, 12:02

shockj wrote:
Winter 298AL
Shockj, in his AAR states that fleet are much more important than armies, for this game, as the only Non-Coastal SC is Riverrun. During the first turn, I debated whether to build a fleet in The Arbor or an army in Highgarden. This was due to a number of factors:
1. Armies are more versatile than fleets, in this variant. The continent is surrounded by water, granted, but the tactical advatage of holding central, non SC spaces that border SC spaces, is important. Stormlands borders no less than 5 spaces, and is only really accessible by army, as it is too easy to impede fleets from sailing up the Blackwater.
2. Armies can travel distances faster. An army can reach a space such as Prince's Pass from Highgarden faster than any fleet ever could. This doesn't apply to situations such as Oldtown to Winterfell, where a fleet can reach the latter in 4 phases, but to cross the continent, from West to East, Armies are invaluable. I think that shockj started realising this, towards the end, when he started convoying armies to Kingswood and Karhold etc.



I definitely see what you're saying, but I guess I'm saying that I was surprised people started the game army heavy. I'd think it would make much more sense to start fleet heavy and then fill in armies when you have the means to convoy them effectively. But as I said, a lot of that is just more Targaryen (or possibly Greyjoy) specific rather than a universal truth.

Great AAR, Blackfish. I didn't know you've played this variant before. That would have definitely changed my perspective in our negotiations a little bit. How did you solo the paper game as Stark?


Well, I secured an alliance with Greyjoy and Targaeryen early on. I captured Moat Cailin and Beyond the Wall, with the fleet resting in the Dreadfort, to defend against a possible Targ aggression.

Anyway, this was ages ago but I remember betraying Greyjoy with the help of Tyrell, destroying Lannister with the help of Tyrell and using fleet builds to close off the are around the Iron Islands, strangling G. We then kept pushing at Ironman's bay and North Sunset Sea until we got a hit. It was an interesting situation, having three greyjoy fleets in his three home centres, while I had a fleet in Ironman's bay and in North Sunset Sea, while Tyrell had a fleet in Golden Sound. It meant that the game over there would be trial and error. We got lucky and took Harlaw. Boom, the end of House G. I then held my fleets on the Iron Islands while Tyrell and I cooperated against Baratheon. Using fleet builds from the Iron Islands to build in White Harbour and Karhold allowed me to start attacking Targ and once I had Braavos, everything fell into place. I used fleets to attack Tyrell while I had coerced Martell to attack him. Targaeryen ended up with one half of King's Landing and everything south of Braavos (not including) along with Storm's end and Griffin's Roost. Martell had fleet units constantly harassing Targaeryen and armies harassing Tyrell and I ended up with a clean 17.

I personally think the victory conditions need to be harder. I didn't have to move any further south than King's Landing...
Anyway, it was a while ago, and I can't remember the game very well, but the best player in that game was Martell, by far. An old buddy of mine, we have been playing dip for a while. Lannister and Greyjoy were probably the worst players and that contributed a fair bit to my win.

A bit of a lucky game, but, hey, what can I say? :D
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Re: DoIaF AAR

Postby Zadaron » 04 May 2013, 13:07

I'm surprised that people thought Targaryen would be weak! While they only start with 2 centers, they have a great position, they can grow unimpeded early while everyone else is almost guaranteed to come into conflict immediately.

How come everyone feared the "alliance" between Baratheon and Lannister? I was busy trying to defend my home centers from the start and i was just praying Baratheon wouldn't snatch King's Landing.
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Re: DoIaF AAR

Postby Blackfish » 04 May 2013, 13:57

Zadaron wrote:I'm surprised that people thought Targaryen would be weak! While they only start with 2 centers, they have a great position, they can grow unimpeded early while everyone else is almost guaranteed to come into conflict immediately.

How come everyone feared the "alliance" between Baratheon and Lannister? I was busy trying to defend my home centers from the start and i was just praying Baratheon wouldn't snatch King's Landing.


I think that Lannister is the hardest House to play as. Simply because it must needs be eliminated early on by Greyjoy and Tyrell if they want to grow unimpeded. There's no way around it.

A second hardest place goes to Baratheon, as they are bound to e attacked by Martell and Targaeryen, though House Baratheon's position isn't as fatal as House Lannister's.
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Re: DoIaF AAR

Postby Stanislaw » 04 May 2013, 15:50

Hopefully with the mountains gone between the Tyrell/Martell lands it will make it a little easier on Lannister and Baratheon as their enemies to the south have the potential to go after each other.
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