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Re: AARs

PostPosted: 26 May 2014, 21:26
by Stanislaw
Don't have a whole lot to add since I was knocked out so early. Started the game feeling fairly worried about my northern neighbor, which turned out to be a very justified fear. I contacted England early about building up an anti-American alliance, or at least a way to contain him, but the end of the first year really looked grim for me in terms of the American threat. Due to not making an aggressive enough opening on my part, America had 3 armies to my one, and was in position to take my gain next year from me, California. Worse, I was completely abandoned by the Brits once they convoyed their army to Greenland, leaving the northern American border completely open. Spain was also in no position to help me.

From there I felt it going downhill fast. My cries for aid and my foresight of the impending American threat fell on deaf ears, especially when it came to Britain as he refused to even make any moves that might make the Americans consider pulling back. At that point I tried to work out some sort of deal for survival with Peru and Chile, but the Brits put a stop to that once they came south from Alaska.

Congrats to Hoaroonriaz on the win, he certainly earned it. I'll keep my small measure of pride in having called it early in the game. ;)

I'd also second Pedros' suggestion to make this the next variant. More players makes it interesting plus I'd like to see a non Europe map.

Re: AARs

PostPosted: 27 May 2014, 10:11
by Pedros
Thanks everybody - the best set of AARs I've seen for a long time, following an excellent game. Just a few comments from me.

Firstly the US stab. I think that the years leading up to it were in fact the key moment in the game. I saw it coming at least two years before it happened and before Bert left - it was clear to me that US was preparing for it, and it was unlike Bert to miss it - I put it down to his illness, which he'd warned me about one year before he left. It would have been interesting to see Bert's way of dealing with it! I would be interested Haroon to know why you "knew you had this one from the start"?

Brazil at the end - frankly, I was desperately disappointed in Thorondor's attitude. To say that US "deserved" to win is ridiculous. Nobody deserves to win if they don't manage it. Whether US could have been stopped I don't know, but they didn't need to prove it. Ruined a good game.

re Fortress Door's three NMRs - it wasn't the player, it was the timing. To me the game looked all but over (I may have had it wrong - Haroon and GhostEcho agree that it could have gone on for years more) so there seemed no point; and in addition it seems currently impossible to get anybody to sign up for anything in DVFG - Crowded Othello just had to wait ten days to get a replacement for a leading position!

Next, GhostEcho's point about Spain and the Caribbean. Did Spain make any serious diplomatic moves at the start? In the three games we've played I don't think I've seen a serious defence of the Caribbean from any Spain player. Maybe it isn't possible, but Venezuela and Colombia both need allies and it must surely be possible to negotiate something between them which would at least make a fight of it.

And finally, Haroon's question about balance. I don't think it's proven yet. At least this game demonstrated beyond all doubt that my previous concerns about the strength of Mexico were unfounded! The lack of a real strategy amongst the central powers means that balance has never really been tested - in this game it was far too easy for US and Britain to expand there. "Distance from SCs" was one of Haroon's concerns. The interesting thing about this game is that the south and the north have very different problems here - the north is widely separated, but there are few powers contesting them. In the south the opposite is true - centres tightly paced but many nations struggling for them. The difference is so marked that when I was considering whether to run this game one of the things I did was calculate the ratio of centres to powers in the north and the south. They are in fact remarkably similar. It seems to me that there is scope for some serious strategic thinking to be done around this game. What the outcome would be I'm not sure.

And, probably my last word, I wish somebody else would run a game. I want to play it!!

Re: AARs

PostPosted: 27 May 2014, 10:24
by Pedros
I'd like to ask for reactions to one centre. I made Man a Brazilian home SC, although uncontrolled at the start. Since Brazil is probably in the strongest position in the South, it would level the field a bit if he couldn't build in Man. Reactions? And what about the other extra home centres (US in Chicago, Britain in Alaska and Toronto)? These are the three powers with the safest starting positions; why should they get the extra opporunities?

Re: AARs

PostPosted: 27 May 2014, 15:19
by ThorondorNL
For me it wasn't really nescesary to have Man as a home SC. Yes I have build some units there, but it wasn't needed to build there because Brazil has already 4 home SC's. To build closer to the north is really a good part of it, but maybe a bit too much in favor of Venezuela, I think it weakens Venezuela if Brazil can build in Man.

For USA I think 4 home SC's should be max as for Britain which has 7 home SC's in this game maybe 1 less would be good.

Re: AARs

PostPosted: 27 May 2014, 20:46
by haroonriaz
Pedros wrote:Thanks everybody - the best set of AARs I've seen for a long time, following an excellent game. Just a few comments from me.

Firstly the US stab. I think that the years leading up to it were in fact the key moment in the game. I saw it coming at least two years before it happened and before Bert left - it was clear to me that US was preparing for it, and it was unlike Bert to miss it - I put it down to his illness, which he'd warned me about one year before he left. It would have been interesting to see Bert's way of dealing with it!


As a matter of fact, the dynamics in North America were reaching a point that the stab was the only logical step forward. But both I and Bert were conscious of a stab continuously. Right from the start. Right from the point I had steered one of my fleets into New York State. That's why we sent each other bulky messages discussing all sorts of possibilities and I guess we both analyzed our confidence in each other. For whatever time he was active, we were constantly discussing and bargaining about certain centers exchange to keep the balance. So the stab would not have been half as easy with him. I think the Panama and Atlantic passages are key to how northern alliances are going to work. Having said that, you must also have a friend or two on the other continent. It was fortunate to have Brazil in the South, who was Britain's ally.

Pedros wrote:I would be interested Haroon to know why you "knew you had this one from the start"?


Nothing logical. Gut feeling.

Pedros wrote:Brazil at the end - frankly, I was desperately disappointed in Thorondor's attitude. To say that US "deserved" to win is ridiculous. Nobody deserves to win if they don't manage it. Whether US could have been stopped I don't know, but they didn't need to prove it. Ruined a good game.


Strongly Agreed. Unfair to the GM. This is why I am not a fan of accepting draws too easily either. I once ended in a three way draw on the main site which involved the elimination of a nation that was 1 short of a solo at one point. Anything can happen. But that really depends on how the alliance works. It has to be a close relationship. I guess Brazil was more bitter at Chile for attacking him than he wanted to stop a solo. So it's also about politics than just saying somebody deserved to win. But in most, if not all, solo results, there is some kind of weakness in the defensive alliance.

Pedros wrote:And finally, Haroon's question about balance. I don't think it's proven yet. At least this game demonstrated beyond all doubt that my previous concerns about the strength of Mexico were unfounded! The lack of a real strategy amongst the central powers means that balance has never really been tested - in this game it was far too easy for US and Britain to expand there. "Distance from SCs" was one of Haroon's concerns. The interesting thing about this game is that the south and the north have very different problems here - the north is widely separated, but there are few powers contesting them. In the south the opposite is true - centres tightly paced but many nations struggling for them. The difference is so marked that when I was considering whether to run this game one of the things I did was calculate the ratio of centres to powers in the north and the south. They are in fact remarkably similar. It seems to me that there is scope for some serious strategic thinking to be done around this game. What the outcome would be I'm not sure.


And a very competent player commanded Mexico, so that's doubly true. Mexico had actually relied a bit too much on peace with the US. But he lacked support and there was no real choice. It depends on Spain too, later...

The balance question has not been proved yet indeed. The ratio of centers to powers could be the same, alright, any map developer could take that into account, but the number of powers competing for the same centers matters. There is a lot of overlapping in the Southern continent, which could actually discourage folks to bidding for a power based there. Somebody like GhostEcho was comfortable with Chile because it's a corner power and perhaps not too far terrestrially from the high density South American center cluster. This game's Chile has proved that Chile/Argentina is a key strategic area if you play your cards right. But will the US make it in every game? Not too sure.

The boiling point on this map are the centers around the Caribbean and I don't see many people bidding too high for the powers in close proximity to it. However, no reason to believe that none of them can survive to the end or even win. But I won't lose my faith in Spain as much as you have. I think Spain can possibly be devastating to the US and provide great potential for growth. This is why diplomacy in this variant is so tricky.

Pedros wrote:And, probably my last word, I wish somebody else would run a game. I want to play it!!


Second that.

Re: AARs

PostPosted: 28 May 2014, 19:46
by BigBert
It's been great to read the AARs here, let me contribute a little as the player for Britain until 1907.

I think I should start on a little personal note, to give a little perspective on why I quit, and why I played in the first place. I love bigger games, and I especially like playing a power that is "scattered" to some extent, like France & Britain in the 1900 variant. Hence, I was thrilled I was playing Britain, and I was determined to make the most of it! However, a day before the deadline of Spring 1901 - I had been quite actively talking to mostly everyone - I had to go to the hospital for what turned out to be a mild stroke. Being well aware that if I would miss the deadline I would be thrown out, I asked a roommate to send Pedros a message, which he did (thanks Tomas!).

When I came back from the hospital after a couple days I knew I had to limit my computer time, but I also knew that I wouldn't be studying at all until Christmas, so I would have plenty of time. So I decided to keep playing, which went pretty well. In January though I started studying again - part-time - and when that turned out to be medically tougher than I had thought, I knew I had to drop some other activities if I was going to manage. Unfortunately, playing diplomacy was one of those... :-( Sorry to all of those whose game I've thrown off balance and it might have been wiser to drop out in 1901 after all, but I was so eager to play Britain in this one!

So far for my personal perspective. Game wise: I haven't followed the end-game, but I must admit I was happy to see that someone pulled off a solo in a 10-player game, and even happier that it was haroonriaz. He had been a very enjoyable ally throughout. Now after reading the AARs I see that one of the reasons why haroon could solo (or at least, wasn't stalemated) is that Thorondor basically threw the game. That's very disappointing! Noone should just give up, if not because there's always something to play for, then at least because giving up spoils the fun for everyone. All the same, congratulations to haroonriaz for winning, you well deserved it!

My early game strategy had one keyword: the Caribbean. Britain starts out in three areas: some centers in Canada, two islands in the Caribbean, and a lone SC in Mal (is this the Falklands?). I knew the Caribbean Sea would be a contested area, that Spain had three supply centers there, and that he would be able to grow to six in year one. If Spain wouldn't fall quickly, it would be impossible to grow at all in that area. With Mal basically undefendable, I knew I would be stuck in Canada with USA as an always bigger neighbour. This is why I think the Caribbean is the key if Britain wants to thrive, and why I was happy to Spain go so quickly.

This is more so since this game is not build anywhere. The two British islands aren't exactly bordering; this means that if you don't dominate the Caribbean, you're going to have to take a massive risk everytime you want to open one of your SC's to build.

Other than that, my initial goal was actually to surround USA by moving a fleet around Alaska, as a preparation for a stab I would some day have to make if I would want to solo. In the end of course, USA proved quite stronger than Britain so a British stab was never going to work. In hindsight, I would have had to out-pace USA by quite a bit if I was ever going to stab him succesfully. After all, Britain will have a couple of units scattered elsewhere too. How should I have accomplished this? Maybe I should have helped Mexico a bit after all, even tacitly. Sorry I wasn't more helpful Stanislaw!

At some point (1906, 07) USA had a lot of fleets in the Caribbean which basically had nowhere to go but through me. The only alternative would be for them to move through the Panama Canal, which I remember heartily advocating to haroonriaz. Still, I knew the stab was probably coming. But as said, at this point I had other worries in real-life, and I decided to stop playing. Pity, I would have loved to see where this would have ended if I could have stuck around!

Kudos to haroonriaz for winning and being a nice ally. Thorondor, I quite enjoyed the time we played together, and you did quite well, at least for the time I was playing, but I'm sad to hear that "decided to play gunboat" at some point. GhostEcho, I enjoyed playing you too, and I love how you always try to stir up things (like sending group-messages to everyone about USA & me in 1902, eventhough we were way on the other side of the table :) ). And Pedros, thanks for running it! Should I have the time & energy on my hands to GM a game again at some point, I'll definitely consider this one.

Is this game fit for the main site? To be honest, I'm not sure if >7 player-games are a good idea for the main site. In my opinion, a good game can be off-balanced by even just one player dropping out/NMRing/not taking it seriously/etc. and this risk is naturally bigger the more players are involved. I'm not sure I would play this without a GM keeping an eye on things.

Re: AARs

PostPosted: 25 Sep 2015, 23:29
by JonS
Pedros wrote:Next, GhostEcho's point about Spain and the Caribbean. Did Spain make any serious diplomatic moves at the start? In the three games we've played I don't think I've seen a serious defence of the Caribbean from any Spain player. Maybe it isn't possible, but Venezuela and Colombia both need allies and it must surely be possible to negotiate something between them which would at least make a fight of it.

Having fun reading the old NMRs...I take this as the seed that turned into you taking Spain in this year's game, Pedros? :-) I suppose you proved the Caribbean-is-doomed theory wrong.

I think another run of the game in the coming months could be fun...reading through the NMRs again of the five previous runs (that's how all of us spend our Friday night, right????) I think the questions of balance north of the Isthmus have been solved. Curious to see another game to see if South America is balanced as well...or if there is room for improvement. I feel like our game gave me a strong understanding of the north - now I want a similar view into the south.

I assume Pedros will bid Argentina next game to save it like he did Spain. :)

Re: AARs

PostPosted: 30 Sep 2015, 18:43
by Pedros
Hey Jon - now I can't bid Argentina, else they'll say I broke the Blind rule :mrgreen: