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Blitzkrieg Game 2 AARs

PostPosted: 13 May 2016, 07:16
by Nanook
Please leave your AARs here. Thoughts about how the variant can be improved are especially welcome, as it's still a work in progress trying to balance it. I have a few thoughts of my own to add in the coming weeks, and will post those as I find the time to, as well as open a development thread for anyone interested.

Congratulations to Alman (Germany), Imago Dei (Spain), and Stanislaw (Turkey, and our board topper) for the draw, and thank you to everyone else for playing it through, especially our stalwart France Pedros and KingSolomon9, our replacement England.

Re: Blitzkrieg Game 2 AARs

PostPosted: 13 May 2016, 08:23
by Antigonos
Congratulations to the draw winners and also to the fourth surviving power as well as to everyone who played.

It is my personal practice never to accept a draw that does not include me and I apologize (a bit) if that extended the game to an irritating degree. I think I had a particularly poor game, one that makes me question if I am still up to this.

I had a good enough game as USSR in my first Blitzkrieg game last year but this time, once again as USSR, got off to an awful start. I did not take Cau in the first year and went after it in 1941 when it was too late. This put me in conflict with Turkey who I think might have been content with the status quo in the Black Sea Rim. Instead I was in a fight I couldn't win. Meanwhile my relationship with Balkans followed what seems to be my pattern with him (player and to a degree country). Friendly enough talking but no real cooperation (this was different than with the early game with the previous Balkans) and then insufficient response to my messages and (if I remember correctly) at least one NMR. As with Blitzkrieg 1 I allied with Germany and took Norway and followed the lure of securing part of Britain. I rejected Frances overtures which in retrospect I see as a mistake. So Germany strung me along by allowing me meaningless gains in Britain that did nothing for my strategic position and once I had lost the war with Turkey I essentially dithered until finally I moved on Balkans just as Germany turned on me. I did see it coming and made move which worked to a degree thanks to a German NMR but it was not enough as Turkey carefully moved on my supply centers just enough to prevent any growth from Balkan conquests. Later Turkey began his northward march on my home centers while Germany ground me down from the west. That is about it.

Turkey played a great game as did Spain. I didn't like the German game but he was in the draw. France was as well played as it could have been. Britain went down yet again which I ascribe to the position and to a degree how it was played. Italy did not do as well as in the first Blitzkrieg game. Perhaps if I had taken on Turkey in Year One Italy might have joined me and maybe Balkans as well. As it was Italy never really seemed to register in the game. Balkans did take part in the move on Italy but I thought his game was anything but strong and though he may have communicated with others he seemed uninterested in doing so with me.

As to the map: Germany does still seem very, very strong. France is seems almost certain to go down - perhaps if the game was extended to include Algeria instead of Spain (ahistorical but...) there would be more balance. Britain also seems intrinsically weak. Maybe first rate diplomacy would make something of the position but I think the opposite end of the map British set up is almost certain to fail however cute it looks. USSR - with good play is not badly placed though Turkey is tricky to handle and strong. I think Turkey is fine if USSR does not pounce at the start and if Balkans is passive. In other words a position one has to make work but at least can make work. Balkans is Austria with a stronger Italy at hand. Italy is stronger than in standard.

I guess that's it though I may add more.

Re: Blitzkrieg Game 2 AARs

PostPosted: 13 May 2016, 11:39
by Pedros
Well done to the winners.

Two final, final things from me. Firstly I was wrong, nanook, before the game when I argued that France here would be playable with the slightly weakened Germany. Even now, Germany is way too strong - not so much because of the remaining extra starting unit but because it has no serious enemies at the outset. If Britain here had been a stronger player then he and I might have had a play given my early deal with Spain, but even then a map which gives a country only one useful way to go, always, is a very poor Dip map.

Also, the very existence of Spain makes France's position untenable (Blitzkrieg isn't alone in that - adding somebody in Iberia and/or Scandinavia is always the first expansion of the classic map.) The only reasons France is in such a strong position in classic is that it has 1: a deensive barrier in Switzerland; and 2: Those two sure, quick gains in Spain and Portugal. Even then France isn't a dominant power, just another one with good chances.

And finally, I can leave seven years in PlayDip's PbFGs with a record of only ever being eliminated twice (and one of them was when I asked BigBert to wipe me out because of disenchantment with the GM in a game of Deviant Dip; and the other playing Germany in Water Water! where Germany can't even move his units around sensibly! A few more solos would have been nice, but even so I'm pretty please with that!

And thanks to all the GMs who've given me a mountain of pleasure; and to nanook especially for your work on this game, before the start as well as during it.

Re: Blitzkrieg Game 2 AARs

PostPosted: 13 May 2016, 13:01
by Alman
Proper AAR to follow, but right now I just want to reiterate my appreciation to Pedros for EVERYTHING. and again state the hope that he might visit for a game in the future. Its been a pleasure Pedros. Thank You!

Blitzkrieg Game German AAR

PostPosted: 13 May 2016, 14:08
by Alman
This was a very fun and challenging game where I think real life intruded into the game for many of us.

My opening concept as the first round of diplomacy took shape was as follows. France had to be watched and needed to be taken out early for Germany to have any chance. England's king was a new player and a wild-card, so that needed to be dealt with early as well since I was very afraid that Pedros, with his very strong play would easily mold England into his personal pawn and destroy me. I knew also that France was warning the entire board that my fair Germany was a huge threat.

So my goal was to be sweetness, light, and non-threatening. To that end, I, in turn, tried (successfully) to scare Spain about France. I also decided that I wanted to try to be Russia's best friend. I knew that Antigonos was an enemy to fear and an ally to trust, so I decided that I wanted to be on his good side as much as possible.
I soon had a good alliance with Russia, a sense of strong cooperation with Balkans, a plan with Spain to kill France in a little while, and a nice friendship with France based on a plan to take out England.

I hope my dealing with France did not hasten Pedros' exit from the site, but I had one clear objective with him and I am afraid that I achieved it much to his frustration. I wanted to keep him off balance. I was also trying to learn and emulate some of his diplomatic style since I view him as a superior player and one to learn from. So, as he constantly talked about the threat from Russia, I played that up while at the same time bringing cards, flowers, and SC's to Russia in agreements for Scandinavia and Britain SC's. Pedros was frustrated with me again and again as we seemed to be having trouble being clear in our communication and once or twice we had to "clear the air." I felt bad but it was working in that it kept him off balance strategically as he sought to help me take England while I also was busy allowing Russia into England with the promise that he would help me oppose France.
And Spain, I believed, was bidding his time and preparing to strike.
Imago and I only had one time when our alliance wavered after I made a move he wasn't expecting, but we quickly patched that up and, when we suddenly had a new England who was easier to work with than the old one, the time came to spring the trap on France.

And France disappeared quickly as a mainland power, ironically living on in exile on the Emerald Isle for the rest of the game.

Then things got dicey.
The plan that I'd formed at the outset dictated that I now take out Spain on my way to a solo. But JonS in the Balkans had entered a period in real life that was impacting his comms and his country was falling apart as a result. This was shifting power dangerously in the east. Spain was needed to keep Turkey in check and Russia was getting too big too fast. As much as I had hoped to stay friends with Russia, it was clear that I had to go that way next. War with Spain would never come and our border, settled while France was still smoking, never again had any war.

Then disaster struck!
I NMR'ed. My own real life had gotten particularly hectic and I was having trouble with keeping up. I missed the deadline and was NMRed. I thought this cost me the game as it resulted in Russia sitting in two of my centers and my eastern front in tatters. I believe two things saved me. Spain was not in a position and not diplomatically disposed to take advantage of my weakness, and I had managed, with an earlier setback, to retreat a unit to Ukraine where it could fight with the Turkish army.
This unit behind Russian lines was central to not falling before Antigonos' troops. By the next year I had mostly reversed the losses of my NMR and after that, it became a mop up operation. At this point in the game, the biggest thing keeping Germany in the game was that I was the pin keeping the grenade from exploding. Turkey was a solo threat that Spain needed me to help hold back. If I fell, Spain could have become a solo threat. So even though Germany was the weakest country, the two big boys needed me to keep the peace. We had several years earlier reached an accord for a three-way and they kept it.

And that was the game.

I loved playing with each and every one of these guys and really enjoyed this game. Good diplomacy and strong playing. I didn't think I was going to make it at different points.

As for Germany's strength, I would personally have to play some more games where the powers all had relatively strong players. I don't feel that I was particularly dominant from a raw strength point of view, but perhaps I played a weak game. If France had succeeded in turning the board against me, I don't think Germany would have had a chance. I do agree that France is much more in a position like Austria the original game with strong countries around it. If I can find some time, I would like to go back and study some of the earlier runs.

Re: Blitzkrieg Game 2 AARs

PostPosted: 25 Jun 2016, 13:01
by Nanook
A bit belatedly, but I have a few thoughts I'd like to share. Anyone that sees this and has input to offer is welcome to share it.

First, I think this map is mostly great, with just tweaks needed rather than an overhaul. It's one of my favorite variant maps, and I'd like to see it continue to be played and continue to work towards becoming more and more balanced.

That said, there are a few things that need to be adjusted. The first, in my opinion, is England. England needs to have their forces connected. It strikes me as borderline absurd to have them as far spread apart as they are, with no means of connection. The only variant map I can think of that is successful and has anything close to that is WitA, and even there it only works because they have other built in advantages a skilled diplomat can put to good use. England in this game, pretty much starts at a disadvantage, with no way to make quick early progress, and two arenas to split their attention between. The solution I would offer, is to include a mechanism emulating or similar to the Suez Canal rule in 1900. That makes England's forces more cohesive, and gives them a better fighting chance.

Second issue, is that France is too weak. I would put forward that either making the fleet in Marseilles an army to start, OR condensing Gasc and Vic into one territory, would go a long way towards helping give France some options. I would hesitate to make the Marseilles fleet an army to start, because it risks putting Italy at too great an advantage with no possible contest for Sardinia. Condensing Vic and Gasc gives France power over Burgundy (in my opinion, one of their strong points in Classic and a large part of their success on that map), as well as one less vulnerability against Spain.

I think between these two changes, France and England will become viable countries in the right hands, and Germany's built in advantages will be lessened to the point where the game is balanced again. I will re-open a development thread in the near future with a map demonstrating these changes, but I wanted to post it here first to get any feedback that people might have (if anyone even sees this, after all this time!). Development post has been opened. Please direct all comments there, if you have any. viewtopic.php?f=413&t=53128