AARs

GM: Pedros. Winner: haroonriaz (USA)

AARs

Postby Pedros » 23 May 2014, 17:35

It's victory to the USA under the leadership of haroonriaz. Many congratulations Haroon after a very well-played game.

As I wrote in the final season's post, the best game of War in the Americas played here by a long distance. I'll add some comments later, but for now it's over to you all.
"Sooner or later, one of us will stab the other. But for now we're both better off as allies" (kininvie)
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Re: AARs

Postby ThorondorNL » 23 May 2014, 18:48

It was a very nice game from the beginning. England and USA were winning and they had won if Bigbert didnt left the game. Sadly no other active player could be found quickly, and the game slowed down. The more the game reached it's end I was for a USA win. Chile had not gained my trust earlier and Britain and USA would have won.
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Re: AARs

Postby GhostEcho » 23 May 2014, 21:41

Thanks to everybody who took part - this was one of the better games I've played in. If this is the level possible, I'd definitely second Pedros for including it on the main site, if they're looking for larger variants. Kudos especially to haroonriaz and ThorondorNL, the only other two to make it all the way through from the beginning of the game.

This game began pretty well: I bid high for Chile, and was surprised that I was the only one. It's a corner power with a fairly defensible position and no natural enemies. My plan was to set up an alliance with Argentina and march North: when I saw I'd drawn Flatley as my potential partner I was fairly happy given my play with him in previous games.

(Side Note: I see in the blind auction that Argentina and Venezuela were low-bid by everyone. Venzuela makes sense, although there needs to be a power there for balance and the right alliance structure would yield possibilities, but Argentina I don't quite follow. Sure, Britain's got an SC right off the coast, but surely that's negotiable.)

Things quickly fell apart, however. Flatley disappeared and the new Argentina was not the same caliber player or communicator. Instead a three-way alliance developed with myself, Peru, and Mexico. The goal was to hold the Pacific and work East. With a little help from Brazil and Britain, Argentina got knocked out quickly.

Now things get a little fuzzy.

Mexico did okay for a while but let USA build up too large a force; he died. Peru tried to poach Ant; I stood him off and then we agreed to go after Brazil together. I didn't have the troops in my North to fight him. Britain helped out along the Brazil coast, allowing me to crack his line; however, Brazil had a lot of troops on Peru's border and with help from Colombia had my ally beleaguered.

In 1907, I agreed to a cease-fire with Brazil and started moving troops North to clean up anything I could from Peru's demise. I also managed to swindle Britain out of Patagonia by the obvious possibility that Britain could be attacking - he told me to take Galapagos as well to re-cement our cooperation. This was BigBert's last year: he may have simply not wanted to have to work something out, and then had to drop. My goal was to create the beginning of an alliance with Brazil, as it was clear one of two things would happen: USA would stab Britain, or the rest of us would face a USA-Britain alliance and we needed to be on good terms.

This lasted for a little while. Our new Britain never quite established himself in the game; a new Colombia (FortressDoor, who played a solid game when he wasn't NMR'ing) shook things up a little. In 1909, USA finally stabbed. I couldn't do much, practically speaking; I spent the next few years shuttling fleets around in the Pacific to block the Alaskan passage - I actually took Alaska in 1910 with the agreement of both USA and Britain, USA because it was a stab, and Britain because we were anticipating a bounce but if not better I have it than USA. In 1910 I also had my armies lined up, and hit Brazil. This may have been strategically unwise, but our communication had fallen off and I had a working relationship with Palin, who was going to need builds to slow down USA.

I want to mention here that USA really should have won this game. If he had thrown everything at the choke-points - the Alaskan seas, Panama, and maybe even the South Atlantic since Britain and I were fighting Brazil - and cleaned up the Caribbean and Greenland later, this game would have been over long ago. It's entirely possible that this would have let a rogue fleet loose somewhere, but as it was, haroon played it safe, and let us establish blockades over these critical areas. (We lost Panama on a Britain NMR but got it back on a USA NMR, so that's a wash.)

Another thing I should mention: as he stabbed Britain, I was negotiating with USA to swap partners and work for the 2-way victory between us. This got hung up on several problems: 1) USA wanted me to go after Colombia, which I shrugged off both because Colombia bordered the critical Panama point and because I had next to no troops next to Colombia at that point; 2) I didn't manage to keep my growth up. I might have been able to, but fighting across South America is a pain in the neck - I didn't want Brazil to get anything loose behind my lines.

By 1911 I managed to get everything out of Brazil I wanted except for Cuz, which I snagged later on the last game pause (server issues) on the pretext that Brazil hadn't responded to the latest messages. Actually he did, although not with anything meaningful, and I can't recall now whether I decided not to change my orders and take that SC to solidify my position, or just forgot to put in new orders. I'm about 70% certain I just forgot.

That's a little bit out of order, but brings us down to 1914. In 1914 Colombia took Cali from Britain; at this point I started trying to figure out how to knock Britain out. He'd been the steadiest ally but had very little left and it's always easier to coordinate just your own troops. However, I still needed Britain, as Brazil was being incredibly wishy-washy about the whole let's-stop-USA-from-winning thing.

USA finally got armies down on to the southern continent: this is another thing that he could have done earlier and, with Brazil actively or inactively aiding him, and my armies not North yet, he would have won faster. As it was they didn't really contribute much to the end-game.

The last few years were a bit of a mess: USA took Crt on another Colombian NMR. On what turned out to be the final turn, I decided to knock Britain out. I set up a safe-guard by making sure Britain kept control of the Atlantic: I'd be able to move Mal -> SAO and PBA -> CoB next year to secure it myself. I think we should have had USA stalled but Brazil elected to throw the game. I honestly thought the game would keep going: I didn't anticipate Brazil giving away the winning center. I was confident that we'd take Crt, which we did. Brazil argued that USA deserved the win. The actual argument - that Britain and USA would have won, based on the position in 1907 (more than half the game ago!) - is nonsense. When BigBert bowed out, the two between them had barely enough to win if they'd been one player; when USA stabbed, they'd only collected a couple more centers, and that was with a new player for Britain; at the end, we had enough stuff to contain USA. On the other hand, the name of the game is Diplomacy, so if USA convinced Brazil that he deserved to win, then he did actually deserve the win. A frustrating end, though!

Players:

haroonriaz: well-played throughout, if a bit timid tactically (<-- personal opinion). A fine game, and congratulations on the win.
FortressDoor: the good old college try. Neatly played, and congratulations on surviving. Try not the NMR!
stalin813: we never really had much communication, but a neat attack on Peru could have got somewhere
ThorondorNL: well-played on the whole. I'd prefer, of course, if we saw a little more eye-to-eye strategically
Palin: a steady presence and solid play. Could communicate a little more, but you got stuck with a rough position.
numberwang1: worked fairly well together, but I can't recall much about your play beyond that.
BigBert: an enjoyable game; pity you had to take a break
Shibabalo: I think there was potential, if we hadn't had that minor scrum that let Brazil run you over.
mr bump: Didn't really talk to you at all. I'm curious to hear the Spanish point of view, as I mostly ignored the Caribbean diplomacy - never got anywhere near there myself.
mambam14: well, somebody had to draw the short end of the stick. We never had much contact, due to positioning.
Stanislaw: man, that looked so good for a while, and then - stab! Better luck next time
Flatley/ajpaolello: not much effect on the game, more's the pity

And... I think that's everybody! Good game, all.
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Re: AARs

Postby haroonriaz » 23 May 2014, 23:08

It's finally over, but I knew I had this one right from the start, believe it or not.

Wow, that's one long and comprehensive AAR (Wish I had that kind of memory) by GhostEcho, who is the one left the most bitter by the endgame, so my regards to him. Well played and applause.

Some accurate comments by Chile. Should have won it a long time ago, yes. Made a couple of mistakes, NMRed, missed orders, certain random coincidences, that's life. Couldn't do much about it.

My strategy was a bit too careful, passive and cowardly, if you will, in the end. Perhaps because I didn't need much courage for anything. Or so I thought, for better or for worse. I would advise the same to a lot of other players reading this.

The game would have actually been continued for a few years, if not a decade, had Brazil not given up. It's about patience too. But different result, not too sure. Perhaps yes, who knows. I would not have had too many complains if things would have gone down to the wire with Chile growing a little and really blocking all margins of US progress. Stalemate. That would be a much better draw to have than the one that was offered, which was lazy and insulting, and frankly not even worth responding to.

Even though not sure if this map is very stalemate friendly (though Chile and I have proved that Alaska corridor stalemate will pass the test of time). I know there would be arguments for stalemates too, but it's a massive, massive map. Especially for two to three powers. Which is great for results and which is why I predict most games in this variant will be solos, unless we have very lazy and bored players (read WWIV teams), which is alright but incredibly insulting to the GM. Its balance could be questioned though.

An inaccurate comment, that stab was massive. Revisit it.

Chile should have worked harder with Brazil as the leader of the opposition. He never won his respect or trust. It gets a mention in his AAR, but surely not with half the weight it should have. That's where, in my opinion, he lost sight of the goal he was fighting for so hard in the end, and that's what made me talk to Brazil, the only South American power I had been talking to since the early years. That's where the scenario was sealed. in my opinion.

To me, this is actually the big topic for this AAR. Ironically, both Brazil and Chile had posted, but not too sure if we have learned enough.

But I understand Chile needed more centers, so it was rough for him. But Chile was fancying a two way draw with me at one point, which I would not have, had I been in his place, but then again, I guess he was just baiting for a response.

I had barely heard much from Chile overall, thanks to our geography, and there was no way I was going to end up in a draw with him, especially with Palin's Britain alive. But I like the fact that he finally overtook his centers. Now I can die in peace.

Colombia (FortressDoor), good fight, but the 3 NMRs were lame. Another player would have been kicked out IMHO.

Mexico (Stanislaw), good spirit. Apologies. Shoutout for being the first one anticipating a US solo.

Britain (BigBert), missed you and live healthy and happy. An honor sharing a diplomacy board with you.

Speaking of which, the only player who I would have agreed with to have a two-way draw would be the great BigBert himself. That was the intention of the juggernaut. I suspect I may have just respected it. BigBert's resignation had a massive impact on the result.

But all in all I respect the way Chile played. Some excellent work and I respect the fact that he fought till the end and still does not look in the mood to give up. That makes my day more than anything else. Nothing like competition.

Thank you Pedros for a well moderated game, like always, and for being patient with us and especially me. Salute of respect and appreciation for your hard work and judgment.

It was a great game, but I am not too sure if it is the most balanced map. There were issues of geographical proximity to the centers. However, the US winning is not necessarily an argument of topography. Different diplomacy could have knocked US out in very early years. Another run would be fun to watch. That's why I signed up for it in the first place.

Arguably, some South American powers would have hard time growing, but controlling the Ocean channels by corner powers is a massive advantage, though Chile is a bit too far off for my liking. But did anyone bid too high for the US? Not sure. I actually just bid for the US for the sake of it.

Would I have preferred tougher competition? I would not mind. But I guess, I am also fine with this one ending here and this day.

In the end, it is all about producing a result. It's pretty much like completing the delegates for an election or winning enough seats for a majority. That's what diplomacy is in many ways. If you can do it without getting too rough, all the better.

So who deserved to win in the end?

Does it even matter?
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Re: AARs

Postby BigBert » 24 May 2014, 10:22

I've just come back to the website a few weeks ago, after I had to quit in January for medical reasons. I hope to write a more detailed AAR some time this week, but for now I really want to congratulate haroonriaz on the victory! Great work to solo in a 10-player game!!!
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Re: AARs

Postby GhostEcho » 25 May 2014, 19:14

I want to comment on a couple things haroonriaz said - clarification, mostly.

haroonriaz wrote:The game would have actually been continued for a few years, if not a decade, had Brazil not given up. It's about patience too. But different result, not too sure. Perhaps yes, who knows. I would not have had too many complains if things would have gone down to the wire with Chile growing a little and really blocking all margins of US progress. Stalemate. That would be a much better draw to have than the one that was offered, which was lazy and insulting, and frankly not even worth responding to.


I'm not really sure what about the draw was "lazy". The only real objection that could have been raised was including Britain when (as I demonstrated shortly afterwards) he could be safely knocked out without jeopardizing the line. I was never going to be able to knock out Colombia without losing the game in the process, and same thing for Brazil. More so for Brazil, actually, since he'd demonstrated he already didn't really care about the result of the game.

haroonriaz wrote:An inaccurate comment, that stab was massive. Revisit it.


I agree the stab changed the dynamic of the game a lot, but it was always one of the possible outcomes. Rewind to 1907 when BigBert dropped. Strategically speaking, we had two allied powers (USA-Britain) at 17 each; an uneasy NAP/cooperation between the next two (Chile-Brazil) at 10 each; Colombia as a minor power; and, technically still alive but not a factor long-term, the remnants of Peru.

What were the potential results?

1) USA-Britain alliance continues. They either (a) run the table together, (b) work together almost to the end where one stabs (probably USA, as he has inside position) for the solo, (c) work together but get stalled at the end by mutual fear of the other getting a solo; some remaining power gets included in a draw.

I was fairly close in touch with every Britain; although I wouldn't have been able to stop (a) or (b), I'm fairly confident that in scenario (c) the third power would have been me - I had the corner, good relations with one ally and nothing damaging with the other, and with my work with Britain to knock out the only other challenger, Brazil.

2) Somebody stabs soon - almost certainly USA. This either results in a solo or the stabber gets fought to a draw. This is what actually happened; in my opinion, the solo should have happened, and faster; but we did manage to put together a line that should have forced a draw; but Brazil gave up the solo anyway.

Which brings us to:

haroonriaz wrote:Chile should have worked harder with Brazil as the leader of the opposition. He never won his respect or trust. It gets a mention in his AAR, but surely not with half the weight it should have. That's where, in my opinion, he lost sight of the goal he was fighting for so hard in the end, and that's what made me talk to Brazil, the only South American power I had been talking to since the early years. That's where the scenario was sealed. in my opinion.


I perhaps didn't emphasize enough the extent to which Brazil simply didn't communicate, cooperate, or really actively do anything. When I was attacking Brazil with Britain, he made no attempt - either before or after the stab - to negotiate terms. Brazil appeared to have no interest in the final outcome of the game. This made him a liability in an alliance even if he could have been persuaded to cooperate.

I finally called a halt to my attack - despite not taking Cuz yet - because we had hit a critical point where alliance was necessary and I simply didn't have time to finish Brazil before USA would get to his centers. At this point, despite including Brazil in my messages, moving exactly as I said I would, etc. Brazil still made no effort to stop the aggressor USA. As far as I could tell, in a couple cases he may even have been passing on moves. This led me to cut him out of the loop again and eventually renew my attack - compounded as mentioned by a mistake at the server downtime.

I don't know when ThorondorNL decided to just quit on the game and play out the string until USA won. You can talk about how I should have tried harder to win "respect or trust", and I guess you're right in a sort of technical sense, but I was working with nothing. Zilch. Apathy. Nada. Brazil never gave me any indication he even wanted to try to work out of his tough position. He clearly has a good tactical sense when he was interested - he fought down to Argentina in the first place, and stonewalled me a couple times during my attack - but... yeah.
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Re: AARs

Postby haroonriaz » 25 May 2014, 21:46

GhostEcho wrote:I want to comment on a couple things haroonriaz said - clarification, mostly.

I'm not really sure what about the draw was "lazy". The only real objection that could have been raised was including Britain when (as I demonstrated shortly afterwards) he could be safely knocked out without jeopardizing the line. I was never going to be able to knock out Colombia without losing the game in the process, and same thing for Brazil. More so for Brazil, actually, since he'd demonstrated he already didn't really care about the result of the game.


You make all the points yourself. If you are offering a draw, and if the stalemate line would not be affected by the elimination of Britain, then why not have Britain eliminated (Because perhaps at that very moment you couldn't afford to, but I always wanted to see Britains after BigBert eliminated)? Would it not increase the probability of a consideration? Why carry the burden of one more power?

Perhaps lazy is not the right adjective to describe it, maybe any other word would do, perhaps boring, perhaps half-hearted. But whoever proposed it, I guess they must be aware it would not be accepted. I was talking about the All Survivors Draw proposed, not that two way draw message you sent me. That message made perfect sense.

For the parts about Brazil, I guess the only person who can add anything more is ThorondorNL. .

EDIT: At no point was Brazil passing moves. ThorondorNL., would you want to add a word here? Haha.
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Re: AARs

Postby GhostEcho » 25 May 2014, 22:02

Well, there were several reasons to include Britain.

First of all, I strongly believe in DIAS - it's in the rules. I rarely, rarely, bend this one even when variant rules/GMs are completely okay with it. I will accept draws that don't meet these conditions in the face of pressure from other players, I admit - but since I was proposing this one, well.

Second, I had told the other powers that I would be proposing such a draw. This was mainly to get their reaction - I expected Brazil and maybe Colombia to object to including Britain, but I got no reaction. The only remaining step was to actually propose the draw - both to see if that prompted any reaction from my allies, and to see what, if anything, you would do/say.

Third, when I proposed the draw, I couldn't have knocked Britain out for sure, since he had a fleet in Mal - and since I was (as mentioned) keeping an eye on when I could take him out, I didn't want to alert him to this train of thought. If I'd left him out of the proposal, that would have been a clear red flag.

Finally, you had never replied to my message (sent during Fall 1915 negotiations) asking about a draw. With reference to that message, I was trying to demonstrate that I still considered the position a forced draw - which I still think it was if Brazil didn't throw the game.

What I expected to happen was for Britain and maybe Colombia to accept, and for you to send me a PM complaining about including Britain and Colombia. Instead I got nothing. From anyone.
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Re: AARs

Postby haroonriaz » 25 May 2014, 22:56

It's interesting and I feel for you, because I have been in that position so many times myself.

Perhaps you could have used better allies or partners. Full marks for your effort though.

I like DIAS too. It's a great reward for smaller powers to hang in there and to play a pivotal part. However, not too sure if I'd follow it too religiously every time.

Including certain powers in the draw is more about politics at times.
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Re: AARs

Postby ThorondorNL » 26 May 2014, 07:05

Well, let's explain my actions:

In the beginning of the game I had very good contact with Bigbert, and while he stabbed me together with USA I felt like they were surely going to win the game. Then Bigbert stopped and the search for a new Britain player took long. I lost slightly some interest in the game, and had not much interest in sending much messages again, besides I had a busy time at school. I always ordered directly after I got the warning message from Pedros, because I new I would forget if I didnt send my orders in at that time.

For myself I sort of decided to play forward as if it was a gunboat game. I didn't send much messages myself and if I responded to any message it was short. I knew my position was not that good and Chile was openly at war with me, so I was just defending my position. But the game kept and kept going and I lost more interest, and eventually I threw the game for you all, because I wanted to make an end on the game. And I had still the meaning that USA deserved the win together with Bigbert.

I read all your messages Ghostecho, but I didn't respond because I didnt want or had no time at that moment and forget later. I firstly wanted to stalemate USA, but while I couldnt trust Chile earlier I thought he would stab me again (I know I did not always order as I said to you I would as well) and while you moved your armies north you came in a good position to take me out so I defended southwest more than north. I thought that the not taking of Cuz was just a misorder of Chile and sort of gave it up.

Then Chile didnt attack me anymore and I did not much to stop USA, I was just defending against Chile and let my unist just support. Chile attacked me again and I let USA take some SC's from me.

That's my part of the story :|
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