AAR

Diplomacy plus all the messy family business of Royalty. The relationship status: "it's complicated." Created by John Pitre. GM'ed by EpicDim. Solo Winner: Italy (Marsman57)

AAR

Postby EpicDim » 23 Jun 2015, 03:03

Please post your AARs here. Thank you all for playing.

117 phases over 14 months. I had a lot of fun GMing this and I appreciate everyone that stuck it out to the end of their power. I'm sorry for all my mistakes (there were too many) but hopefully they were not too distracting from the fun of the variant.

I'm working on Royale II rules that will put back in some of the original intent that was missed because of ambiguous rules and fixing some of the logistical issues that we ran into running it. If you are interested in playing when it's ready, let me know.
Gauls (Ad Arma) 3-way, Russia (Othello) 4-way, Austria (Crowded Othello) Solo, England (Devious GM 2) Solo, Egypt (Time Travel) 3-way, (Exploration: Great Expeditions) Solo
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Re: AAR

Postby marsman57 » 23 Jun 2015, 03:49

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

I'm so excited!!!

Seriously. Winning a game where you have to enter into forced agreements is hard. It took a lot of twisting and turning to get here and as often as not, I exploited loopholes I didn't even know I was creating.

First off, thank you to EpicDim. This game has literally been epic over the course of the last 145 years (15 game years in standard terms). Thank you to the players as well. I believe everyone in this game was dedicated to the extent possible. I know steephie22 had to bow out for personal reasons, but he gave a lot of time and let someone else fill his shoes, and pjkon only left under heavy duress (his computer literally exploding), and I think LBS for stepping into some very big shoes there. I really lucked out there as far as a solo goes. pjkon had me in some extremely tight writ terms that would have almost certainly forced a 3-way draw once Turkey whittled down to a slim dynasty. Thankfully LBS was more moderate and I had some latitude to act independently and maneuver enough for the win.

From the beginning, I wanted to approach this game from a dynastic perspective. I realized quickly that a big family would give the most options and that is why I bid out Italy. I felt it had the best dynasty. I utilized that combined with a more in-depth reading of the rules than most other players on the board to trip Austria into a bad deal wherein their crown was going to pass to me pretty fast (grandchild of the original regent). There was some additional maneuvering where I almost had the opportunity to gain the Russian crown as well, but it had to pass through Austria to get to me. Unfortunately, the death order just didn't quite work out and I was left out of the running for that.

Meanwhile, I had a very complicated on-again off-again relationship with pjkon (England) and steephie22 (France). Really from the beginning there was a plan for an Italy/England alliance against France but I kept getting attractive enough writs to stave off my involvement for quite some time. Meanwhile, Turkey was friendly but unfortunately had some strong armies that ate way into my Austrian gains before the crown finally fell to me.

Somewhere around this Germany disintegrated completely. I didn't talk to him that much, just used him for some quick writs. I do believe there was a very hilarious moment when I had a writ with him that would make it where I could take SCs from him and then force me to support me keeping them. I liked that.

I was abusing writ wordings bad at this point as well to do things like bar moves into spaces but allow retreats. Any edge I could get basically. People started to catch on though.

My last big plot of the early game was my plan to get the English crown. This was actually a scheme of pjkon for us to exchange titles and get "out of area" builds with him gaining Tunisia or Greece and I gaining Norway, Denmark, or Sweden. Through bad luck (his marriage to my noble dissolved after one phase with no births) and naughtiness on my part (utilizing a skip), I pushed the crown into the father of children I control. We hit a rules dispute then though. One rule said that the lowest serial number was always next in line while the other said that the child of the regent was first in line. But with an older brother skipped, his children would be first in line over my children.

I wheeled and dealed with whoever was Pope at the time (I think Turkey but maybe France by proxy [I know I controlled his Pope by proxy for a season or two], I was able to annul the older brother's marriage before he had kids. I put a ton of diplomatic effort into it after that, but somehow I was unable to catch it in time before he got a new marriage approved. It may have even been a marriage to one of my nobles. I was... doing some weird stuff then, playing sides against one another. Oh yes, I remember now. I married Zahn and forced a provision into the marriage that he had to kill the Russian heir he held at the time. I then told Russia about it in order to blackmail him into annulling the marriage. He wasn't online or something equally terrible and didn't get the order in time though and the result was our Red Wedding.

Soon after this Russia collapsed completely and we were left with a weak France and a strong England/Italy/Turkey. Then the mid-game hit and drug on forever (not in a bad way, I just mean it lasted a long time in game as well as real life [lots of extensions during this time as players got busy with real life stuff]). France was slowly forced into elimination and E/I/T pretended it was 1984 (We've always been allied with Turkey England Turkey).

Unfortunately for Turkey he had two things going against him:
1. He grew the most militarily due to AMAZING stat rolls during this game. Seriously, I almost asked EpicDim to review his random number generator. Thus he was the biggest military threat.
2. pjkon (sorry to speak for him, but he's not here anymore...) seemed to think he received all his gains through a strong (lucky I think he said) board position and the strong leaders mentioned above rather than some higher level of diplomacy and intrigue that he gave me credit for.

So, we hatched our "end the game" plan. Force Turkey into a 3-way draw by starving his dynasty to nothing. We both knew that his crown would fall to England (he was too savvy to give that up to me, and I never was able to set up a proper marriage with control from Turkey to give me a higher position in the succession -- though I got very close a few times), so we had a provision that England had to propose a draw every phase (in retrospect, I didn't know EpicDim's house rule that proposer doesn't auto-accept so maybe England could have won by not accepting his own draw?). This way, the plan was that Turkey would capitulate no matter his size once he realized his dynasty would pass away. We planned to speed this up through a ton of marriages in hopes of triggering a plague (what was the plague number btw EpicDim?)

But then pjkon left and LBS joined. I made tons of marriages with no writ terms at all with him just to milk some children and put some space to make completely new writs later, ones that were simpler and allowed me some options. I stupidly proposed that we add back the "no marrying Turkey" provision, but luckily LBS didn't include it in his proposal which saved me later.

The game started to change fast. I tricked LBS into marrying his queen to my line by including it deep within an auto-accepted appendix of a huge proposal of about 6 marriages. I only got one daughter out of it though, so it was a fragile line. I tried to catch the second English in line but she was so old that he kept putting it off for younger suitors. I thought I'd win the game when England went out to me, but I was dumb and let some of my titles pass over and didn't have the momentum I needed. Also, Turkey was decimated around the same time. I had to act fast to save him from having his crown go to England (his holdings plus England's leftovers would've been somewhere in the 19 range).

I got very lucky with how some things fell out though. I could peel an SC off of what England had left by staying still (nothing prohibited staying in a space!), and I had already peeled two spaces off Turkey in the Spring. This I thought put me at 17 total if I retained everything I had from the succession, and then I was screwed (not really, I'll get to that in a minute) by a provision that would not allow me to make gains once at 17. I then counted everything up again and realized I had 15 going into this phase (14 units but 15 SCs) and I was already sitting in everything I needed for 18. I just couldn't take any losses.

My writs allowed Turkey movement into STP and VIE, but nothing prohibited me from bouncing that movement or asking for support from England to keep it. Turkey could take back Munich if he wanted to by the writ, but if he realized it, he didn't want to jeopardize our alliance by doing it. This left Holland which was English occupied by owned by Italy. I could easily enter that by writ because it was protecting a gain, not making a new one. Thus, I had tricked myself into victory when defeat seemed the only thing available.

Now, as to why I was not screwed necessarily even if this failed. Well, I had NAPs forced by writ with both England and Turkey. I had potentially years before either of them could attack me even if they wanted to. In that time, they could not marry anyone else but me either through another writ provision. As a result, Turkey had one marriage he controlled, and one I controlled. My hope was that I could make amends with England (You know I *had* to try for the solo, I'm sorry, let's make new writs that make sure I can't win and we'll share a draw) and go back to dynastic starvation of Turkey. Once the few kids of the first marriage died, I would now be higher up on the Turkish throne and would win the game by virtue of attaining the Turk crown. I would have in the mean time gotten as many titles in place as possible to prevent Sansa's death from giving me heavy losses.

I'm sure there is a lot more to say, but that describes my general strategy throughout the game. It all worked out in the end too.
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Re: AAR

Postby I Love Italy » 23 Jun 2015, 07:58

Good game to everyone. I wish I could've done more in the game, but I have no one but myself to blame for that. I didn't really understand the dynasty rules, or try that hard too. I just went into this playing it like normal Diplomacy, with the ability to give units buffs if I had a good successor at the time. Regardless to say, that didn't work out well for me. I honestly don't remember too much about this game, except that it was a lot of fun, and that everyone who survived past me (I think that's just everyone else period) outplayed me. Accidentally taking over Russia (only to lose it immediately through I believe Papal interference) was a great way to go out. Congrats to marsman, and thanks to EpicDim for GMing, and everyone else for playing.
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Re: AAR

Postby marsman57 » 23 Jun 2015, 13:54

I felt bad to skip you out of the game dude when you took Russia but I was worried you'd be mad Aust me for taking the rest of your kingdom while the real Russia might be my ally.
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Re: AAR

Postby KingSolomon9 » 23 Jun 2015, 15:02

I'm going to try and add more detail to this later, but here is a quick version form the Turkish perspective...

H.O.L.Y. C.R.A.P.

It's over? Is it really over? Wonderfully done marsman57. This game was epic. I think from the start Marsman57 and I were on pretty good terms...and even though we spent the entire end game fighting one another I think we always stayed there. In the beginning, I definitely had the smallest dynasty, but man did they pack a punch. There were a few dynamic moves that allowed me to break out of the SE corner and, in conjunction with some crucial dynastic skips, allowed me to go where all good Turks go to die - the Balkans.

Once we got to this point of the game I remember there being essentially three players - Italy, England, and Turkey. Germany and France were still around, but were shells of their former selves. I was able to grab a quick marriage with Germany to shore up that front, and my marriage ties with Italy were starting to die off, so I made a quick push northward which inadvertently led to what I consider my greatest accomplishment - a Turk being able to submit Build F Livonia.

Shortly hereafter, I was at war with every nation as all my marriages with Italy had ended and he had devised pacts with every other nation to not allow any marriage with me (I had around 12 SCs at this point). It was here I thought my game was over. I was able to draw a stalemate in the Mediterranean, the Balkans were always changing hands, and I put my main focus on forcing an entrance into the North. My enemies were well coordinate and while I think I inflated my SC count to about 15, I never got any further.

I'm not quite sure what happened to the strong England/Italy alliance at the end, but I was able to wrangle a few marriages out of them with the use of annulments from my second greatest accomplishment - a Turkish Pope. Then we went through a few years where nothing changed. Then EVERYTHING changed. When Italy took over the English throne, this game ended. Marsman57 had played the game masterfully, and his Opus Magnum was playing me like a fiddle. He knew that I was desperate for a marriage that would yield children and got me to sign a writ sealing his victory. Well deserved marsman57!

TL;DR Always count the SCs before you make a deal :(
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Re: AAR

Postby anaupr » 23 Jun 2015, 15:11

I know non-players arent supposed in the AAR, but I don't care. I can't believe this game is over. It's been going since before I joined the site. It will be sorely missed on the Active page.
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Re: AAR

Postby I Love Italy » 23 Jun 2015, 17:45

marsman57 wrote:I felt bad to skip you out of the game dude when you took Russia but I was worried you'd be mad Aust me for taking the rest of your kingdom while the real Russia might be my ally.


It's alright dude. You played really well! Russia was probably a better fit for the game than I was, for the reasons stated above. Like I said, it was a good way to go.
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Re: AAR

Postby I Love Italy » 23 Jun 2015, 17:46

anaupr wrote:I know non-players arent supposed in the AAR, but I don't care. I can't believe this game is over. It's been going since before I joined the site. It will be sorely missed on the Active page.

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: AAR

Postby marsman57 » 23 Jun 2015, 18:40

I knew I had memories of checking this game from my phone last Summer. Looking deeper in my PM history showed that we got going around April. 15 months isn't a site record (WWIV was about 18 months), but it was getting close! I'm definitely proud of my accomplishment and I am glad I was bold. I almost held back and didn't stab LBS (by taking Kiel) just to ensure I'd be left with one ally if anything went wrong, but I figured with my non-aggression pacts in place, why not go for it?

It's been a great run everyone.

As to the game itself, pjkon if he were here would make a comment about not liking the "power up" rules for nobles. He felt that it encouraged offense too much that the bonus only applied for movement while discouraging/dismantling defense.

I felt it needed to be said, but I'm not sure I agree with him. Well, I agree that it encourages offense, but I am not sure that is a bad thing. You can protect yourself by writ as well as military, and it makes a lot of the plays more interesting to have units that are 2 power when moving but only 1 power when holding. Lastly, it does a number on stalemate lines that is appreciated. Otherwise, we'd probably have locked into a stalemated draw ages ago.
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Re: AAR

Postby KingSolomon9 » 23 Jun 2015, 18:43

Otherwise, we'd probably have locked into a stalemated draw ages ago.


I think I could have locked a stalemate on the initial E/I v T match up. The +1 made all the difference. Everyone had to be incredibly aggressive to make anything happen.
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