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PostPosted: 19 Oct 2015, 08:41
by Morg
This is a place for you to write your impressions of the game, your story about how you played, your impressions of other players, etc. Basically for you to have a good time chatting about the game that was just played.

Congratulations to Imago Dei who led the Chu to a solo victory.

Re: AARs

PostPosted: 19 Oct 2015, 08:47
by Gavrilo Princip
Well, Morg, now that the game is over, I think we should know the full story of the "fealty" scandal I set off on turn 1. What do you say?

Re: AARs

PostPosted: 19 Oct 2015, 17:04
by zurn
Gavrilo Princip wrote:Well, Morg, now that the game is over, I think we should know the full story of the "fealty" scandal I set off on turn 1. What do you say?

Do tell? I remember you offering your fealty to me, but wasn't aware of a controversy being spurred at the time.

Congratulations to Imago Dei, solid play throughout. And thanks to all for playtesting the variant, and to Morg for running it. I'll post an AAR soon, but in the meantime, I encourage anyone who has thoughts on the variant to include them in your AAR. In particular I've been thinking of adding a few provinces in the central area to loosen things up a bit; I'm wondering if the central powers felt too hemmed in, or if it felt ok. I'm also tempted to make some changes in the area between Qi and Yan; the dynamic there might be a bit off, with Qi maybe having too little reason to go north while Yan is actually pulled south. Although overall I'm quite pleased with the potential this playtest showed.

Samy / zurn

Re: AARs

PostPosted: 19 Oct 2015, 20:14
by zurn
Another question to put to you all is whether 18 centres feels like the right victory condition. There are 39 centres, but I thought requiring 20 would be too tough when taking the Yellow River defenses into account, so I lowered it to 18.

EDIT: Here's an Imgur album of the game progress:

Re: AARs

PostPosted: 20 Oct 2015, 03:04
by Imago Dei
A few comments.

Firstly, I greatly enjoyed this variant. I thought the added rivers and walls added some zest without being a gimmick. It added a new element but didn't undermine the game in any way.

Second, the central three powers seemed inordinately weak. I know Wei did very well, and I'll touch on that in a bit. But overall, it seemed like they had to deal with with surrounding enemies and no game border to back against, without a sufficient payoff in access to additional centers. Zhao in particular does not have the compensation of a series of river home centers.

In regards to the actual game, there were three turning points that stood out.

One, Zhao's weakness right off the block. My first choice was Zhao, because I thought his potential claim to Jiuyuan or Shang would allow him to carve a niche in the Northwest without surrendering a central build site. The player's failure to capitalize on that on the get-go led to Zhao's weakness and a power boost for Chin, which later convinced me to attack Chin.

Second, Wei's phenomenal maneuver against Qi, eliminating a powerful player with good natural defenses early on, creating an Eastern power vacuum exploited by myself and Yan.

Lastly, Han's decision to facilitate my solo. Clearly, he did not act in his "best" interest. And I certainly had no expectation but to be in a draw. I, of course, appreciate his gesture, but it was still an unexpected turning point.

I think that's all my thoughts on this game. It was a great time!

Chu/Imago Dei

Re: AARs

PostPosted: 20 Oct 2015, 08:11
by Morg
Gavrilo Princip wrote:Well, Morg, now that the game is over, I think we should know the full story of the "fealty" scandal I set off on turn 1. What do you say?

Sure, sounds good. Let me know if there are any details you'd like me to add.

Re: AARs

PostPosted: 21 Oct 2015, 00:58
by zurn

My early game was shaped by Zhao hostility; Zhao stubbornly attacked Ye, despite my attempts to assure him Ye would be my furthest reach north given the wall around Handan. Most disappointing about this was that it made Chin powerful. I tried to organize something with Yan to take Zhao apart quickly, but he approached that front too slowly to help me (intentionally, no doubt).

Meanwhile Han offered his fealty to me, saying he would stay small and do what I say, and wasn't ambitious. I didn't really like this kind of style, kind of unsportsmanlike, or lazy, or alternatively it was a trick. Nevertheless with an aggressive Zhao that I couldn't out-maneuver, and a rising Chin, I of course had to ally with Han for safety. He didn't really come through with the "do as I say" part, and made several moves early on that made it clear he was trying to get on Chin's good side as well (despite my warnings) so he could deal with Chu. Chin simply took advantage of him, which meant Chin became even more of a threat to me.

In the meantime Qi started to attack Chu. This had the unfortunate side effect of distracting Chu from attacking Chin, which I really needed him to do. What was most confusing was Qi thought this was a good thing for me. I didn't have the time or leverage to explain otherwise and convince him to turn his forces around, and Chin was approaching from the west, so, while still dealing with a stubborn but ineffective Zhao, I opened up two more fronts, believing it was my best option for survival. Convincing Qi to move out of the way, I sailed into Linzi with a Rapid River move, walked into Lu, and booted Chin out of Shang before he could claim it, netting an important 3 builds that would give me more options. More importantly, it knocked Qi nearly out, relieving pressure on Chu; I opened a dialogue with him to concentrate on Chin, which went well.

At this point I think the second Zhao took over, and was nearly as uncommunicative as the first, and just as stubborn. Chin was still pushing me back, which I offset with gains from Qi. I was still working with Han to try to minimize Chin expansion, while eventually Han and Chu made peace to fight the Chin threat as well. Although I could never commit enough troops to gain ground against Zhao, our 3 nation effort against Chin went well and pushed him back. I actually reached out to him a bit before this to see if he would simply cede his northern centres to me in return for peace, but he was at his peak when I asked, and unwilling to negotiate.

Unfortunately my talks with Yan, which had been somewhat fruitful before, tailed off and he took Linzi from me. A third Zhao took over at some point and finally agreed to actually cooperate against Yan, but did so in a suicidal fashion that simply hastened Yan's conquest (although he took one Chin centre first). I asked Chu to swing a unit around out east to help deal with Yan, but it was going to be slow going.

However Chin suddenly collapsed, to Han's benefit. At this point my path was unclear; I wondered what Han would do. He seemed to play nervously, fearing a stab from me, rather than positioning for an attack on Chu. With Yan bearing down on me, I reached out to Chu on what to do with Han, and he indicated he would be attacking him. I knew Chu would be a long term concern, as he was expanding fast and I wouldn't be able to secure more of Han than he did, so I figured I'd help against Han, letting Chu get strong enough that Yan would realize he couldn't keep attacking me as Chu would simply solo. A 3-way draw was my best hope, as my position was too hemmed in between Yan and Chu to make a solo run.

And the plan worked quite well. While cooperating with Chu against Han I aimed to prevent him from forming fleets as much as possible so I could have a chance of making some gains. Although I had hoped Yan would stop attacking sooner, eventually it became obvious he could really no longer afford to do so. Han fell faster than I'd expected though, as part of his throwing the game to Chu. I didn't realize this at the time, I figured it was a smart play to get into a 4-way-draw, his best possible result at this point. I reached out to him once it was clear we had run out of time and needed Han to keep Luoyang out of Chu's hands. If Chu cracked Luoyang, the whole line would inevitably fall, so that was the key; keep Luoyang, and Chu could not win. The line was already formed. But Han threw the game to Chu anyways.

I had a lot of fun with this game, despite some low to no communication from some players. The precarious dynamic from the centre was interesting; Wei was the least popular power in the picks, but I'm happy to have made a go of it. In the first playtest with a slightly different map Zhao and Yan split the map between them; these games go some way to easing my concerns about the central powers having a chance, although more playtests are needed, and I'll certainly be making some tweaks.