AARs

8-player game on an expanded map of Europe set during WW2. Introduced and GMd by Pedros. Three player draw consisting of USSR (Antigonos), Germany (LBS), Spain (Alman)

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AARs

Postby Pedros » 28 Mar 2015, 20:34

Tell it how it was for you! And comments on the map, its playability, strengths, weaknesses and balance will be more than welcome for those thinking of it in the future.

Congratulations to the victors (LBS in Germany, Alman in Spain and Antigonos in USSR), and thanks to all those who have made GMing this variant enjoyable and interesting. I played it myself for the first time last year and thought it well worth the time (although my own view is that Germany is probably over-powered in the early days.)
"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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Blitzkrieg AARs

Postby Antigonos » 28 Mar 2015, 21:49

I will write additional posts regarding the history of the game and the roles played by the contestants. I find myself the only survivor of the original players so in this post I want to thank the other players with particular thanks to the players who fought to their last unit and supply center.

I will leave my thoughts on the game design and the balance of the powers to a later post. I will also provide my assessment of my play and those of the others to a later post.

For now I want to thank Pedros for his exceptional work as the Blitzkrieg GM. He made an interesting game possible and it must have been exhausting.

I also want to say that Mambam14, Ghost Echo,Nanooktheeskimo and Morg all exemplified the best traditions of Diplomacy. Alupi also fought long and hard through nearly the entire game but his on and off walkabout at the end, which I hope was not due to problems in RL, was a disappointment. Stanislaw seemed distracted even before he dropped out. JC1985 played a strong game though he always seemed to have distractions that created some tension over communications. It seems clear that RL issues forced him to leave the game. Logic Cure took over Spain briefly but never really settled in. Alman took over a Spain in crisis and steered it back to being a factor in the direction and outcome of the game and on that basis earned his place in the draw. LBS to over Germany when it was running out of momentum in the Atlantic and organized a careful and relentless campaign that broke Italy while also maintaining the German-USSR alliance and building a new relationship with Alman's Spain.

I was pleased to play all of them and to make it to the end and into the draw.

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Re: AARs

Postby VGhost » 28 Mar 2015, 22:50

I'd like to add a quick note congratulating the victors! It was a treat to watch the game play out, even though I went out early. In fact whatever Antigonos' compliments I feel I played a poor game. I didn't want France, looked at the position and wanted it less, and put minimal effort into retrieving the position once it was clear I'd gambled wrong and was in for a quick exit.

As I recall, the Spring bounce with Germany was arranged; I was annoyed but not shocked to see Italy join the attack once Germany snuck into Burgundy in the Fall. I think there was a Spanish NMR which helped me a little, but Spain never showed any interest in working together, which surprised me. I thought he'd see an Italian-German alliance as a threat. But he did survive, so I guess he had a better appreciation of the game board than I did! England picking off Dublin instead of worrying about German growth didn't help either.

Um. I'm honestly not sure what options France has on this map. There are no safe neutrals: Pie leaves Marseilles exposed and Dublin leaves Brest exposed. If Gascony covers Marseilles or Brest, Germany can force Burgundy in year one. If Gascony moves Vic/Par in the Spring to cover Burgundy, Spain has options unless France moves Nav & Bra in the Fall; but that's super-anti-Spanish and Spain can cover better than France can. If France arranges bounces, then Pie's liable to be contested by Italy in the Fall... I'm sure France has positives to offer its neighbors but I'm largely not seeing any scenario in which any of them benefit more from a French alliance than they do by picking up the pieces.

I feel kind of bad about this AAR, because it's very whiny, but despite Pedros' rave review and the fascinating alliance play at the end I just don't consider this a good map and I feel like I have to explain why. France's position is part of it, and having to play France. The German position's another part: his Russian border is years wide (meaning that literally) and his southern border extremely easy to defend. The random far-south African SCs are another thing: they're clearly there to give Spain room to expand/something to fight Italy over (otherwise Spain and Italy are more-than-natural allies). Turkey's position is another oddity: it has some of the same issues as France with regard to neutrals, without relieving any of the stuck-in-the-corner problems of the original game: in fact Balkans starting in Macedonia makes the position even less tenable.

The play (once the weaker powers were wiped out) was, as I've said, quite a pleasure to keep tabs on as it progressed, but the game is not one I'd play again without significant changes.
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The Prophet Pedros-A Christmas AAR Story

Postby Alman » 29 Mar 2015, 00:18

Pedros wrote:AlmanMEin has agreed to play Spain. I think that gives us a fair chance of seeing Spain around for the foreseeable future!

I entered this game as Spain the third in Summer of 1945. Spain was still viable but in trouble. I immediately tried to make some friends, all of whom were tired of the revolving door on the Spanish Castle.
I received a warm welcome and a strong candidate for the irony award for the game.
Germany wrote:Hello Spain the 3rd,
Maybe stop with the coups, eh? ;)
Germany would have a new leader by the end of 1945.....

The Balkans were fighting a loosing battle, so while they were eager for my friendship, nanook offered nothing militarily except their surplus rations that their own troops didn't need (being destroyed and all). UK similarly was simply meeting me at the door as I came in and he headed out. Two down and I feared I was the next to be without a chair when the music stopped.
Italy had been allied with Spain and told me he would continue the friendship and we would fight the terrible German threat. Apparently Italy's idea of working with me was to help manage my SC's by taking them over.
Eager to make friends with the new German Chancellor, I scurried to Berlin and offered compliment, promises, and my firstborn. He took pity on me and although I was near death, we began to work together to push back against Italy. It was touch a go a couple of times, but we worked well together and good communication kept the relationship strong. It was fun to devise ways to break a strong Italian presence and slowly we began to get the upper hand. It was my favorite part of Diplomacy, to work with a good ally to strategize a way out of a desperate situation. I constantly assumed that at the crucial moment that Germany would step in and snuff me out, but he was true to his word and we marched until circumstances ended Italy's fight.
I want to thank LBS for a REALLY fun alliance, and all the rest of the players and Pedros for welcoming me into the game and making it fun. I hope Alupi is ok with whatever has called him away from the site. He was a formidable opponent and I only barely escaped his clutches.

I'm afraid, having come in so late that I don't have a good feel for balance. Pushing back in Africa was no easy task, but it was doable. I'll leave it to those who played the early game to speak to such matters. I am humbled and honored to share a Draw and use it to remind quieter players that at least as important as tactical skill is the ability to TALK and NEGOTIATE. It is what saved this game for me.
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Re: AARs

Postby LBS » 29 Mar 2015, 05:29

When I took over Germany it was into a good, if not dominant position on the board already. The main thing I had to fear was a USSR-Italy alliance, as I was not sure I could hold the Berlin-Munich line against USSR when Venice would also pitch in.

To mitigate this risk, I needed two things:
- To keep Antigonos/USSR happy with the way things were and keep him from launching a full on assault into my heartland.
- To move into the Mediterranean as soon as possible to become a factor there and not just rely on my land strength.
How things were going I was fighting what was left of Spain's strenght while Italy picked up the easy centers one by one. Not really in my interest, since I realized an Italy that controlled the Iberian could very well be able to solo (or at least kick me out over the USSR).

After a bit of fighting Alman/Spain replied to my message, missed a destroy order but did comply with me to make possible the - to me at least - nicest set of moves:
First Pedros opens with these ominous words:
Odd turn. Apart from the German pincers closing in on Spain, it looks very much like peace is breaking out. But is it a false hope :?:

Germany:
F Mao convoy A Den -> Tan : Resolved
F LMa convoy A Den -> Tan : Resolved
F NtH convoy A Den -> Tan : Resolved
A Den -> Tan (join the navy and see the world?) : Resolved 2-1
Spain:
F SAO Convoy A Den-Tan : Resolved
A Gra S A Den-Tan : Resolved

It would have been nice to know Alupi's response to that. :roll:

Well after that I worked on breaking Italy's resolve with my new Spanish mandate territory friend and meanwhile keep USSR content.
So why (like someone asked in last orders post) keep Spain? It was because I liked the way he was willing to work with me before, as well as the uncertainty about me being able to do it alone when Italy was still in place (and maybe me just being too nice for this game? :P) and because it kept Russia certain I wouldn't want to go for a solo. Thus that led me to conclude I wanted a three-way draw.

Thanks all for the game!
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Re: AARs

Postby LBS » 29 Mar 2015, 07:28

As for balance: I only played the late game, so I am not really much help here. I do however, when looking at the map, understand GhostEcho's opinion on France. You'd need a trustworthy ally to make anything out of it right from the start.
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Re: AARs

Postby Pedros » 29 Mar 2015, 12:37

Just a quick reply to one of GhostEcho's comments:-

Turkey's position is another oddity: it has some of the same issues as France with regard to neutrals, without relieving any of the stuck-in-the-corner problems of the original game: in fact Balkans starting in Macedonia makes the position even less tenable.


In the game I played earlier I was Turkey. But for some extremely stout resistance by USSR I would have soloed; as it was I shared a 3-way. In Turkey's case certainly opening negotiations are critical.
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Re: AARs

Postby Pedros » 29 Mar 2015, 12:45

The only other thing at this stage is - I'm waiting for Anigonos' story of the game itself. For me he could have soloed easily at the end. Maybe he's another one who's just too nice!

(Sometime in prehistory I decided I was too nice. So I started signing up for the Solos Only thread. That cured me! Though I should also give another credit to kininvie (another excellent player long gone but still missed) who, the first time I played with him (my Austria to his Turkey) wrote after 3/4 seasons words to the effect that "I know that sooner or later one of us will stab the other. But for now I'm better off with you as an ally." Those sentiments are still my motto - perhaps they should be in my signature.
"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 LBS » 30 Mar 2015, 02:28

Pedros wrote:The only other thing at this stage is - I'm waiting for Anigonos' story of the game itself. For me he could have soloed easily at the end. Maybe he's another one who's just too nice!


Could he have solo-ed?

I am not sure either of us could. At the moment I would have stabbed Antigonos, he might have swayed Alman to his side. But the moment he would have attacked me and I would have had to fight him, the reverse might have happened. My supply route to the Mediterranean (especially for fleet) was long, but the Spanish one is arguably even better than the USSR one. Meanwhile, he would not have been able to hold his Scandinavian position for long I think when I turned my fleet around (and used that build I had been saving for another ship in Kiel). Also, Alupi seemed to still be trying to convince Antigonos to work against me by giving me an easier time against him. He well knowing shifted his defense from the Western Med towards East.

All those factors combined, it is doubtful to me he could have gone for a quick and clean solo. Sure, I had the Berlin-Munich line to worry about, but I think I might have been able to stall that long enough to bring in reinforcements.

As for me not going for a solo, maybe its about being too nice, maybe its also about a style of play. When I have achieved something in a team, I don't like it myself to then proceed to stabbing. Kind off takes of the flair of it all. Sure I might have done it if it was the final for some tournament. But here, it seemed to me like a job well done. Fighting on for the sake of fighting for me reduces diplomacy to something less enjoyable.
Maybe that's also because I (used to) play face to face. Then it certainly is a good thing to have the name you might very well be willing to keep your word. Of course I do not say I never stab. But if you get the name you always inevitably stab, people stop working with you altogether and you start being the first one out in a lot of instances.
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Re: AARs

Postby Alman » 30 Mar 2015, 06:02

LBS wrote:...Alman/Spain replied to my message, missed a destroy order...
I remember it well! :oops: I sent the destroy order to LBS, but then forgot that I had not also sent it to Pedros. Embarrassing and slowed things for a moment. :roll:
LBS wrote:At the moment I would have stabbed Antigonos, he might have swayed Alman to his side.
While Antigonos and I were not in regular touch, we did have the lines of communication open and had discussed this possibility. I would have be very swayable. :) At the time of the draw, I was starting to reinforce Spain a bit so that I would have some leverage at home.
LBS wrote:When I have achieved something in a team, I don't like it myself to then proceed to stabbing. Kind off takes of the flair of it all. Sure I might have done it if it was the final for some tournament. But here, it seemed to me like a job well done. Fighting on for the sake of fighting for me reduces diplomacy to something less enjoyable.
I am glad I"m not the only one who feels this way. Probably why my draw percentage is so high on the main site. I like solo's, but I also like the idea of good teamwork. If I get to where I am because I worked well with someone in partnership, I feel rather cheap then trying to take all the spoils for myself. I can hear the solo only camp writhing, but that's just me. :)
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