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City States: AAR

PostPosted: 09 Dec 2013, 22:00
by attitudes
Game has concluded as a three-way draw between Iberia (Peanut), Lombards (Zadaron), and the Saracens (Pedros).

Feel free to comment on the game.

Re: City States: AAR

PostPosted: 10 Dec 2013, 03:18
by marsman57
Boring result because Peanut didn't know the rules. Bleh. I'd have told him much earlier if I had realized.

More later.

Re: City States: AAR

PostPosted: 10 Dec 2013, 05:38
by Xildur
Congratulates to the winner.

Re: City States: AAR

PostPosted: 10 Dec 2013, 11:55
by Zadaron
Thanks for the game everyone, i enjoyed it very much!

I was very impressed by the impact the zombies had. Around 1903 when there were only 4 of them, i thought they might be moribound (pun intended), but BOY did they prove me wrong! They doubled their numbers in 1904 and went on to cut deep into territories were they had never before been seen, eventually carving out a huge contigious zombie territory including Italy, Austria and much of the Balkans, eradicating the Blue and Yellow empires in the process. They plagued the Saracens for years and they weren't finally wiped out until the very end of the game.

The zombies made the game dynamic, unpredictable and very interesting! I would gladly play this variant or something similar again!

Re: City States: AAR

PostPosted: 10 Dec 2013, 16:06
by Pedros
marsman57 wrote:Boring result because Peanut didn't know the rules. Bleh. I'd have told him much earlier if I had realized.

As marsman knows well, I was under the same mistake until Fall 1909 (I asked attitudes exactly how he was interpreting the "game ends when the last zombie is eliminated" rule, and he corrected me!) Until that point I had believed I was very likely to win, as I cleared away the remaining zombies, taking a number of SCs; I had rapidly to switch from my zombie-destroy mode back to my earlier zombie-proliferate mode, trying to point them at Peanut who was clearly going to be favourite in a full-length game. But by now they'd frown tired of doing what I wanted, and the only effect was to hamper Zadaron!

However, before going any further well done the survivors - pretty much the ones who understood the Zombies. And particularly well done attitudes, who picked up the very tricky Zombie rules amazingly quickly.

I only joined this at the beginning of 1902 (and if I'd realised the victory conditions I probably wouldn't have joined then - part of the reason I didn't originally was because I didn't like them at all.) I didn't check the map (just wanted to test myself against the Zombies, having helped create them and GMd the first game) and was glad to get a Turkish base, but stunned to find that I had no fleet (playing Zombies, in turkey, no fleet???) The result was that I had to sit and defend for two years until I could get a fleet into action because of the Zombie in Sevastapol and dark blue threatening me from the Aegean. Once I got the fleet the game became interesting. I was certain I could handle the Zombies and thought I could probably do it better than anybody else. The only tricky bit would be the other players! And that came sooner than I expected. asudevil, the new owner of dark blue, and I had reached an accord, which suited me fine - I had my eyes on Moscow and St Petersburg, using the zombies to get me there (which was going to be interesting since Xildur had invented the strategy of building only fleets in StP south, invisible to the Moscow fleet (poor rule that one!)) But that was scuppered when asudevil decided to attract the Zombie out of Warsaw into Galicia, with the effect both of threatening my new holding in Sevastapol and at the same time taking pressure off Moscow. asudevil had to go!

He was hampered by a couple of Zombies in Austria, as well as the one just arrived in Galicia. I approached Pharaoh of nerds who was based in Tunis with outposts towards Italy with the suggestion that if he would work on the Trieste area (with zombies around there) and make life even more difficult for asudevil, then I would invade from the south-east. I owe you an apology for that one Pharaoh - it was clear to me that if you said Yes it would be suicide!! I couldn't believe my luck when you did!

asudevil didn't last long and Austria and the Balkans were flooded with Zombies. As I saw it I would be slowly picking them off and gaining all of those territories once I was ready to move. Eventually Xildur was pushed out of Russia south of StP and I began mopping up. As I said, at that point I believed I was going to win; the only difficulty would be finishing off a couple of Zombies in Italy, but I felt I could do that without too much trouble.

Then attitudes dropped his bombshell. By that time I had cleared all the Zombies from close to the German border and Peanut was becoming a very clear threat. I put out bait to tempt the Zombies over there but they didn't bite. Eventually Peanut reached 13/14 and was growing steadily, and it was time to batten down the hatches. Zadaron agreed quickly to head for stalemate, although it wasn't easy - there were still Zombies around and we had far more fleets than we needed, with a shortage of armies to hold the German border. There were gains to be made, but it was going to take time. We knew the timetable was extremely tight but believed we could just do it.

It's a long time since I went for that stalemate line from the east, and the problems are very different than they are from the other side. And that was coupled with having to design a line in the Med which I've never seen before. None of the online stalemate resources I usually go to was much help, but I found the section in Richard Sharp's book describing a basic one - which actually appears to me to be flawed (another illusion gone!) and gave me a few minutes' panic towards the end. But we made it. Great game.

A couple of points about game design, where I'd value the opinion of other players (and attitudes.) Firstly the victory conditions. If I hadn't been proliferating Zombies fairly early then the game would have turned into a standard game of Build Anywhere Classic by the mid-game. Frankly, I've no desire whatsoever to be left playing that, unranked, through the Forum (I'm bored stiff with Classic at the best of times!) The regular Zombie victory conditions -end the moment the last Zombie leaves the board - were designed by Malevolence to fit the Zombies perfectly.

The other point concerns the power of the Zombies. There is the issue of sea boundaries, which we are trying to address, but we don't know how successfully. But marsman commented to me at one point during the game that he felt they were under-powered. I'm not convinced about that - they were never intended to be likely winners of a game unless the players were particularly inept; their function was to provide a different and serious test. I'm not sure that any changes need to be made to achieve that, but I'd like to hear what others think - I may open a Development thread around that in due course.

But once again, a thoroughly enjoyable game. Thanks everybody.

Re: City States: AAR

PostPosted: 10 Dec 2013, 18:30
by Peanut
First off I want to thank attitudes for taking over this game and running it so well, it’s greatly appreciated.

This variant is a lot of fun which throws up some interesting challenges; I think the balance of players to Zombies worked very well.

The first job was to sort out the build phase; I could see that a free-for-all could’ve left some players in difficult positions, so I came up with a country pairs plan that would’ve trapped six of the initial Zombies in England & Turkey, four in Scandinavia & Tunis and two in Bre/Par. Everyone agreed to this, but when the bids were revealed not everyone had gone with the plan. This left us with many more Zombies in central Europe than was hoped for.

With the countries revealed the first thing to do was to form some initial alliances. Zadaron was an obvious choice as he was my neighbour, I was very pleased with his response and we were very quickly plotting our strategy to deal with the Zombies in Bre/Par.
Shibabalo (Bel/Hol) was my second choice for an ally as I was keen not to let Red, who had gone back on our joint agreement not to occupy England, make any progress. Unfortunately all the Zombies in Germany meant that Shibabalo couldn’t fight on two fronts and he was eventually eliminated.
Zadaron and I were making progress and started our slow advance into the Med, Germany and England. It was a great alliance with both of us sharing our ideas on how best to proceed every season.

It was about this time that I started thinking about the end-game; I couldn’t remember the specific victory conditions, so I went looking for the rules. I found them in the Rules Archive under ‘Zombie Diplomacy’.

Pedros wrote:They (Zombies) were then moved to the 1900 map in diplomat42's City States and Zombies, with a variable number of players (actually 11) bidding for a pair of SCs and the Zombies inhabiting the remainder. Version 1.1 of the rules was used for all of these games.

Rules Version 1.1 wrote:Victory conditions
16. The game ends when and only when the last Zombie is annihilated, and the nation(s) with the highest number of controlled SCs at that time will be the winner(s).

The only problem was that these weren’t the rules we were playing with. Diplomat42 had posted some modified rules for this game in the sign-up thread that hadn’t been transferred to the Rules archive. These stated that 18SC were required for victory.

So, I continued playing with the wrong target in mind. I stabbed Zadaron too early as a result, and left Marsman alive when I should’ve (and could’ve) eliminated him earlier, I also didn’t rush to the German border like I should’ve. As a result Zadaron and Pedros were able to set up a stalemate line and stop me. I didn’t find out the error until the season I thought I’d won.

Obviously I’m disappointed with the outcome, but this is still a great game which was made all the more enjoyable due to the excellent alliance with Zadaron – thank you for that.
And thanks again to attitudes.

Re: City States: AAR

PostPosted: 11 Dec 2013, 10:41
by Zadaron
Peanut wrote:Obviously I’m disappointed with the outcome, but this is still a great game which was made all the more enjoyable due to the excellent alliance with Zadaron – thank you for that.

I enjoyed the alliance too, thank you!

In my opinion the victory condition we played with is better than having it end as soon as the last zombie died. While playing a normal build-everywhere-game on the forum isn't overly exciting, it would' feel very unsatisfying and anti-climactic if someone won on the other side of the map just because they had a few more SCs.

Re: City States: AAR

PostPosted: 11 Dec 2013, 22:22
by marsman57
I took over the position of Red/KOTR to help save this game from dying (big props to attitudes for subbing as GM). I thought the position was pretty good and liked the fact that I would never have to deal with Zombies in my "homeland". Unfortunately, I didn't know that my predecessor had reneged on a bidding deal and set Iberia/Light Green against him as an enemy. Despite the fact that I believe Peanut gave me a fair shake, it was not really enough to turn the tide of relationships that had already developed on the board. Our diplomacy was a bit more hampered by my taking the Channel soon after joining. It really was my only option to have any realistic springboard onto the mainland, and I didn't intend to attack Light Green... unless Lombards/Brown were in on it, which he never was. Brown did make a few statements from time to time to imply willingness to stab, but he wouldn't commit, probably because of their pre-existing alliance, and second because he probably felt they were both too weak to act independently for much of the game.

I similarly got tepid responses from most of the rest of the board, so I decided to just play as boldly as possible and it worked well at first. I grew to 6 SCs which was tied for first at the time. I arranged some handovers to appease Light Green, and I had even supposedly finally organized an alliance between the three of us. Unfortunately Light Green got nervous and grabbed at some SCs while my luck ran out on my risky moves and suddenly I was down to 3 SCs. From there I knew my game was over without a real ally. Dark Green kept saying he was going to work with Light Green to take me out and while he'll claim he was converted back, the relationship was too far gone for us to trust one another and we never got it going again.

From there my goal was to hopefully end up sitting on the stalemate line in a way I couldn't be eliminated. I made it to STP but that wasn't quite far enough. My secondary goal was to outlast Dark Green whose betrayal I saw as the final death knell for me. I did succeed in that at least.

I had hoped Peanut would pull off the solo, but alas, he was not fast enough.

Re: City States: AAR

PostPosted: 12 Dec 2013, 05:43
by Pedros
marsman57 wrote:I had hoped Peanut would pull off the solo, but alas, he was not fast enough.

Perhaps the defence was just too good!

Re: City States: AAR

PostPosted: 12 Dec 2013, 06:18
by Xildur
Funnily, Masman.
I have felt you betray me first and that is why I stabbed you.

For me, my goal is just growing and make friends.
But pincered between competent Asudevil and Pedros in south, I don't have plan to go on South and just taking area in the North waiting for the wind change or something major in the South.
Both Marsman and Peanut come to me with proposal and I still wondering which way to commit.
Hence I'm playing along both side to see which one I can trust first.

Marsman firstly lie to me in the matter of German territory.
After that, our relationship just spiralling down without his intention to make up our relationship.
Naturally, I accept Peanut proposal to split Marsman territory.

I don't know why Peanut betrays me as well in the middle of our attack.
Apparently, he see opportunity to take out both Marsman and me.
So, I was eliminated at 1911.