ModEx: AAR's

14-player variant set on a modern canvas of Europe extended to include North Africa and the Middle East. Designed and GM'ed by joe92. Threeway draw between Iran (Antigonos), Poland (Big Gun), West Africa (asudevil).

Moderator: Morg

Re: ModEx: AAR's

Postby asudevil » 09 Feb 2018, 14:03

I think the fact that in both plays I have been in...West Africa and Iran making it to the final draw as MAJOR powers...is something to be aware of. Now granted it's Antigonos as Iran both times and he's also a very good player and while trying to remain humble, Im pretty good as well (I don't remember who was WestAfrica in the last game).

But Iran maybe doesn't need to start with 5 units. And perhaps WestAfrica could start with 3. Cause East Africa and I THINK Algeria only start with 3...so 4 for West may be a bit much.
Captain FANG, forum team championships WINNER
Part of the surviving nations of WW4/Haven

Unless I am in the cheater's subforum. 99% of what I say is NOT as a mod.
User avatar
asudevil
Premium Member
 
Posts: 16606
Joined: 18 Jul 2011, 02:20
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1351)
All-game rating: (1437)
Timezone: GMT-7

Re: ModEx: AAR's

Postby Antigonos » 10 Feb 2018, 08:57

asudevil wrote:I think the fact that in both plays I have been in...West Africa and Iran making it to the final draw as MAJOR powers...is something to be aware of. Now granted it's Antigonos as Iran both times and he's also a very good player and while trying to remain humble, Im pretty good as well (I don't remember who was WestAfrica in the last game).

But Iran maybe doesn't need to start with 5 units. And perhaps WestAfrica could start with 3. Cause East Africa and I THINK Algeria only start with 3...so 4 for West may be a bit much.


In the firs Mod Ex West Africa was Intellectubility. West Africa has made the draw twice but even this go around with as strong a player as asudevil (who guided Germany to a near solo last time around) and confronted with a comparative newcomer as Algeria this four supply center starting power had a hard fight in Africa and never made it to Iberia. I will have more to say on the matter of changing starting supply center counts and other rule changes but I tend to think that constant tinkering with rules and strengths to achieve some "ideal" parity is a mistaken endeavor. In this game Poland was a strong draw member who I think could have tried for a solo bid...could anyone have predicted this based on the last game. I played a fairly strong northern game as Iran last time around as Iran getting as far, if I remember correctly as St Pete and Murmansk and at the point when I went in hospital and had my NMR had at least put Iran into something close to a solo run,,,nothing like that here. Let players learn to use work on alliances (and stabs) on a map that isn't subject to change with every game.

Would Egypt's strong performance for much of the have been predictable based on geography alone. Ukraine lasted longer this time around and Russia vanished rather quickly...do we assume that Poland in the next game is fated to come out on top? Or Germany or Iran? Algeria has fought in two games to survive an attack at the hands of...West Africa, Egypt and Spain. Is there a diplomatic and strategic solution to this. I don't know but I would enjoy watching another player come up with it or even better to do it myself.

Meanwhile I admit to not making as much effort to stay in touch with all this players in this game as I have generally tried to do in the past but I did at least try, It may be that there was a great deal more talk that I simply was not part of in this game but for my part I was a bit surprised at the seeming disinterest on the part of some players in maintaining contact let along working together though this does not apply to others who were effective at communicating.

Antigonos
Classicists Platinum, Oldies & soldier in Cavalry to the rescue
Samnites 3 draw Ad Arma
Prussia draw Ambition & Empire
USSR in 3 draw Blitzkrieg[
England solo Renaissance
Germany in 6 draw World Influence
Athens 4 draw Greek City States
Zaire solo Africa
Iran 3 draw ModEX II
Antigonos
Premium Member
 
Posts: 1510
Joined: 23 Jul 2013, 02:30
Location: New York
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1483)
All-game rating: (1517)
Timezone: GMT-5

Re: ModEx: AAR's

Postby asudevil » 10 Feb 2018, 15:07

True, I dont mind the balance at all, diplomatic reasons cause most issues
Captain FANG, forum team championships WINNER
Part of the surviving nations of WW4/Haven

Unless I am in the cheater's subforum. 99% of what I say is NOT as a mod.
User avatar
asudevil
Premium Member
 
Posts: 16606
Joined: 18 Jul 2011, 02:20
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1351)
All-game rating: (1437)
Timezone: GMT-7

Re: ModEx: AAR's

Postby Big Gun » 10 Feb 2018, 22:39

Modern Extended 2: AAR from Poland (Big Gun)


A word of thanks
Dear Joe – I applaud you heartily for your work with this variation. I feel sure that designing this large map was an arduous and time-consuming process. Making improvements to the design based on the knowledge gleaned from the first run of the game shows patience and dedication. As GM you were accurate, fair and patient. You’ve done a splendid job. THANK YOU!

Preliminary remarks
I followed the first run of this game with interest and felt motivated to join the second time round. On the main site I generally play the Versailles variant. I prefer larger maps. Online standard diplomacy always feels cramped and unforgiving to me (although not so when playing Face-to-Face). The tiniest mistake can mean a swift and irreversible demise. So I prefer variants.

I’ve played only two forum games before: Heptarchy where I finished in a 3-way draw playing Wales and WorldDip – a huge variant on a beautifully flattened globe for 18 players – where I finished in a frustratingly deadlocked 9-way draw playing Argentina.

So I was excited to try out Modern Extended.

I was the only player out of the14 who voiced no preference in the blind auction. After the first run of this variant, it looked pretty clear to me that Iran, West Africa and Germany would remain the powers with the strongest potential and most likely be in at the end if handled well by competent players. Russia and Britain as “corner powers” looked more challenging to play due to the wide geographical spread of their home supply centres. All of the other powers have to be considered “central powers” with all the challenges that come through being surrounded by potential enemies.

Not bidding meant I was pretty certain to be allocated a central power and I really didn’t have a preference. I felt I wanted to prove to myself that I’m capable of handling such a challenge, knowing that I would need to invest a serious amount of time negotiating with many players to gain any kind of success.

Drawing Poland felt good. I have family roots in Latvia and Silesia on my mother’s side. I lived for 30 years in Berlin, Germany – the first five years were in the late 1980s when the city was still divided into East and West by the infamous Wall. After the collapse of communism I travelled extensively in Poland, Czechia, Lithuania, Belarus and Russia so I’m familiar with East European geography and I love that part of the world.

Initial strategic considerations and negotiations
Playing as a centrally located power on a map this size means being a potential target from all directions. So it makes sense to look at the nearest edge or corner of the board and make a conscious decision to move in that direction first and try to create a kind of “rear flank” that is safe. After initial talks with Ukraine and Turkey both seemed eager to attack Russia, probably for a similar reason. Iran agreed to support in this endeavour too, so Russia’s downfall was very much decided already in the first year.

Negotiations with Germany went well. He agreed to go west and together we convinced an initially rather hesitant Britain to join in moving against France. Italy and Spain both sided with France so I felt pleased that western Europe was destined for turmoil and the conflicts in the East and West were clearly very separate domains of interest. My path east and north felt right. I paid little attention to the rest of the board as anything going on in Africa just feels far, far away and therefore not very relevant to Poland.

After securing a stake and edge of northern Russia, my initial longer-term strategy was to try to create a conflict between Ukraine and Turkey so that I could then move on Germany with Britain’s support. Things didn’t quite work out that way, but that was my original plan.

Early mid-game
I made good gains in the east and north with excellent help from both Germany and Ukraine. Russia crumbled fast.

At the same time I had noticed some reluctance on the side of Ukraine to move against Turkey and vice-versa. They were both maddeningly cosy. Ukraine was overly stretched as far as Austria so I messaged Turkey and planted the seed of the idea that we might squeeze Ukraine together. Turkey took the bait and stabbed Ukraine in Rumania. At the same time, I did not move on Ukraine but rather continued my crusade against Russia.

I thought I’d been rather clever, but these tactics backfired terribly. Turkey was upset that he had jeopardized good relations with Ukraine but without my promised support. Turkey was so mad at me that he actually forwarded to Ukraine some of the messages I’d written, which in turn upset the relationship between Ukraine and me severely. So I did what any sensible diplomacy player would do when caught in the act of treachery and admitted my sins to Ukraine. He then had to choose whom to side with and it took me a lot of energy to convince Ukraine that I would support him quasi from behind against Turkey. Iran had tentatively also agreed to move against Turkey, so once again, my southern flank was safe.

Mid game
With Russia conquered and Turkey depleted, I now had to choose between stabbing Ukraine or Germany. This was a tough choice. Both players had been excellent, trustworthy, loyal allies. Both directions promised substantial growth potential with the wealth of supply centres to the south in the Balkans and also to the north and west in Scandinavia and Germany. In the end, Ukraine was in a much weaker position than Germany. Ukraine was the easier target.

I was then faced with another unusual situation in an online game. I am personally acquainted with GPD – the Ukraine player. We met last year at the WDC in Oxford. Now around the time when I was considering stabbing him, we were about to meet again for a weekend of playing diplomacy at Midcon – a games convention in Derby, here in the UK in November. Knowing that if I stabbed him just before this weekend, I would hear nothing but moaning from him, I actually deliberately postponed my stab by a season, to avoid the stress of a personal confrontation!

After my stab against Ukraine, it was pretty straightforward to eat up his supply centres and move into the Balkans, now sharing gains and communication on a more regular basis with Iran.

Late mid game
With Ukraine gone and the Balkans as good as conquered, I was once again faced with the decision of who to stab next. It could really only be Iran or Germany. There was no other direction for me to go. Until now, both Iran and Germany had enjoyed a similar amount of growth as I had. But Iran’s position looked rather impenetrable and the bulk of his centres were just very far away. He also had the benefit of fleets in the Caspian and Black Seas – so in areas where I could never hope to send fleets from my far distant Baltic Sea homeland ports.

Germany was much closer and his home supply centres all bordered my sphere of influence. He had a strong navy, but I had built up a wall of armies that were now eager for fresh combat. In fact at the time of the stab I had 12 armies but only 2 fleets. Building any kind of navy is tricky for Poland as both home centre ports – Lithuania and Gdansk – are located on the Baltic Sea restricting initial naval movement considerably.

So I stabbed Germany, together with the help of a wounded Italy who seemed happy to support me. The German campaign was nevertheless rather slow and chewy. He put up an excellent defence with some unusually clever orders. Nevertheless, thanks to Italy’s pesky rogue fleet that sailed into the German river system, I managed to make some good gains in Germany.

At this stage of the game I started to become concerned that Iran could manoeuvre his units into positions that might enable him to stab me and then try for the solo. I knew I had to keep at least the same tempo of growth in order to have enough forces to deter this. It seemed like I was always “behind” in the race to gain supply centres and it wasn’t until the last two game years that I managed to draw even and nudge slightly ahead:

Here are Poland’s centre counts vs. Iran’s centres over the 10 game years:
Poland: 3 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 10 – 13 – 14 – 16 – 19 – 23 – 26
Iran: 5 – 8 – 9 – 10 – 11 – 14 – 16 – 18 – 21 – 23 – 25

So once again I had to use all my negotiation skills to get Germany to believe that I was frightened of Iran trying to solo the game. I needed Germany’s support even just for a season or two. I promised Germany peace and we agreed to finally take out Italy. As soon as that was done, I stabbed Germany again and continued my campaign westwards. Both stabs against Germany were rather subtle and I know took him by surprise. Despite more excellent German defending including a rather wild attempt to convoy an army all the way from the Netherlands to the Urals, I had some lucky guesses and was able to take all of Germany’s home centres and move fleets into the North Sea arena.

End game
During the mid game, most of the map became dominated by 5 powers: Germany and Poland in the north and West Africa, Egypt and Iran in the south. The Mediterranean Sea appeared to form a natural divide between the two major conflict arenas. Despite valiant efforts, Egypt was soon to lose traction and get squeezed. He supported me in Italy against Germany in the last couple of gamer years and I was grateful for this last minute help. There were now calls from West Africa for a 5-way and then a 4-way draw. Both felt premature.

Once it became obvious that I could probably finish off Germany, I took a long hard look at the map and tried to figure out if there was any way I could solo this game. What a glorious result that would be for little Poland!

I counted the centres in France and Britain and even if I could have held on to the Italian centres, it just still wasn’t enough to reach the magical 40. In the meantime, West Africa would have conquered Spain and I’d have hit a wall there. There was no way I could have taken any centres from Iran. He had built up strong defences and become very insistent about moving right up to the edge of our common lines, including a fleet in WBS that might easily have slipped into the Danube and caused all sorts of trouble.

So with this in mind, a 3-way draw appeared to me to be the best result I could achieve with Poland in this game. I played some high-risk seasons to get where I was and put a lot of time and energy into this game. So I’m happy with the result.

The Players


Wobbly (Britain)
We had good communications in the first few years. Wobbly told me he had had previous bad experiences allying with nanooktheeskimo who had stabbed him for short-term gains. So it didn’t take much, to convince him to side with Germany and attack France. We both considered a more mid-term strategy of stabbing Germany together, but that never happened. Germany was too successful in France and Wobbly never really made sufficient gains to put himself in the position of aggressor. He spent too much time squabbling with Spain, instead of simply conceding Gibraltar and moving full force into France. Initially one of my goals was to keep Britain out of Scandinavia, in order to make sure my gains in northern Russia were never in danger from a possible attack from Britain. I lost contact with Wobbly as his position deteriorated, but I really enjoyed our initial banter and planning.

nanoontheeskimo (France)
We’d been at each other’s throats in WorldDip, including some pretty nasty verbal exchanges. But that was a couple of years ago and here we both agreed to let bygones be bygones. We had some initial polite communications, which petered out to nothing. In the early game, my alliance with Germany was rock solid so France and I really had little to talk about. At least I’m glad we’ve found peace. He seems like a really nice chap and is apparently well loved in the Face-to-Face community in the USA. In this game, I think he got a little over exited about the river system rules and lost ground against Germany by not building enough armies.

gnaah (Germany)
He is one of the nicest chaps on the site and a very reliable ally, but also rather gullible. We’ve played in several Versailles games together and he knows how ambitious I can be. He might have been more cautious in this game, playing side by side with me. I was grateful for the solid alliance as long as it lasted. In real life gnaah became a father for the first time during this game. It’s great that he continued playing and never gave up, although communications dropped severely after that life-changing event, understandably so.

GPD (Ukraine)
We became friends in real life last year at the WDC in Oxford. He’s a solid player, but rather easily led. I think he’s probably a stronger Face-to-Face player. He can drink a lot more beer than I can.

stalin813 (Russia)
Our communications were limited. He lied to me. I lied to him.

Don Juan of Austria (Italy)
We had some fun communications during the mid game. He switched allegiances a couple of times. For me that kind of flexibility is always a sign of a good player.

BigBert (Turkey)
A good communicator but nevertheless he still comes across as untrustworthy. I’m not sure why that is but I wasn’t the only player who felt this. He called me a troublemaker. Correct.

nopunin10did (Egypt)
We had nothing to talk about for most of the game, but in the latter stages he helped me in Italy and was completely reliable. I also liked his attitude of accepting his fate, but without giving in. I think in another game we could be strong allies.

I had no contact at all during this game with UpQuark (Spain), RedSun (Algeria), or JonS (East Africa). Our battles were just too far away from each other to require any communication.

asudevil (West Africa)
We had virtually no communications until the very end, when I approached him about a 3-way draw. During the game I thought he played quite conservatively without taking any major risks. His position on the board is probably the safest and I don’t think he had to work very hard to be in the last 3. In fact he only really had any major conflict with neighbouring Algeria and later Egypt. He obviously lost interest in the game and would have settled for an earlier draw shared with more players. My attitude is different. Diplomacy is a game that requires a lot of patience. I always try to maximize the result, even if it means many more weeks of playing out the game. A 5-way draw on a map with 14 powers would only feel satisfying if the position was completely deadlocked. That was never the case. This was an easy “win” for asudevil and I wonder that it makes him feel as good as he says. His performance in the first game as Germany was pretty spectacular. But here as West Africa he seemed rather lethargic, even complacent. There was no real fire behind the devil this time.

Antigonos (Iran)
We were allies for most of the game. We communicated well together and with reliable regularity. He is obviously a player with enormous experience and plays with solid tactical skills. He understands how important it is to have a long-term strategy. Before each of our enemies collapsed, we were both already considering and discussing who to attack next. He is irritatingly honest, persistent, sometimes awkward, good at protesting and he dislikes making compromises. Especially in the last few seasons of the game, he started to dictate more rather than negotiate and would not back down on advancing his troops right to the edge of mine. Rightly so. He has all of the attributes I like and dislike in an ally, because he is solidly reliable but it’s virtually impossible to double-cross him.

Generally I think he played a fairly low risk game and, like asudevil, enjoyed his corner position and the limited resistance that go with that. Nevertheless he had to deal with many more conflicts than asudevil, fighting against Russia, East Africa, Turkey, Ukraine and then Egypt. He handled each battle with finesse. But by taking a few more risks, I feel he might have grown even more rapidly than I did and could have positioned himself favourably as a potential soloist. That said, his position was strung out over vast distances. At the end of the game, I think he was still hoping I would try to solo and spread my rear flank position too thinly. I was sorely tempted. I think he guessed as much, although I never admitted it openly. The end result felt honourable to our long-term alliance. Nevertheless I wonder who would have got the upper hand if I had turned against Iran and not Germany?

I enjoyed working with Antigonos throughout the game on a personal level too. We discovered we have a lot more in common beyond diplomacy and it’s always good to find some companionship this way. Playing online diplomacy can be a lonely hobby and finding someone like Antigonos who shares other passions such as theatre, travelling, good wine and exchanging our old age ailments was refreshing.

Final remarks
I have already shared some of my thoughts on the map and rules with Joe in some private correspondence during the game. I have a little more feedback on this, but must save it for another day as writing up this AAR has already been rather more time-consuming than I had expected or intended.

For those of you who have taken the time to read all of this, thank you for your interest and patience. If you were one of the players I stabbed, please know it’s never personal. Just part of the game.

I’m the first to admit that some of my views are provocative and might come across as arrogant. If any of you feel that way, please accept this message, penned by one of England’s great heroes, W.S. with some minor tweaks:


If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended—
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend.
If you pardon, we will mend.
And, as I am an honest Gun,
Please remember all is fun
Now to ’scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long.
Else Big Gun a liar call.
So good night unto you all.
Give me your hands if we be friends,
Big Gun shall restore amends.


And finally it’s worth repeating: Thanks Joe for making Modern Extended such a rewarding gaming experience.


Big Gun (Poland)
User avatar
Big Gun
Premium Member
 
Posts: 275
Joined: 21 Mar 2015, 17:48
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: 1468
All-game rating: 2298
Timezone: GMT

Re: ModEx: AAR's

Postby asudevil » 11 Feb 2018, 09:27

BigGun wrote:His performance in the first game as Germany was pretty spectacular. But here as West Africa he seemed rather lethargic, even complacent. There was no real fire behind the devil this time.


That Germany game is one of the games Im proudest of. I have gotten to a final like 5 or 7 in a 34 person world map...but that 4 or 5 player draw in the first Modern was one of my proudest games. The other would be my run in Colonial.

Cause in both of them I got stabbed early and had to work my ASS off to get to the end....and both ModEx and Colonial they had to get an ALA to stop me from a solo. That drives the fire.

This was an easy spot and then I got bottlenecked on MAO for so long. I eventually broke though and would be able to attack Spain...but it took FOREVER

And NoPun in Egypt isn't going to give anything away.

But yeah, it was a much more boring game.

In general I find the early game more intriguing in most games. By the middle / end...unless I realistically see a shot at a solo (which I didn't here)...draws are draws...I really don't care. And part of it is I know Anti and I weren't going to be "unable" to stop you from a solo. We could have bolstered Spain and Egypt if we needed too keep them around to stop you if we had too.

But anyway...solid game up there.
Captain FANG, forum team championships WINNER
Part of the surviving nations of WW4/Haven

Unless I am in the cheater's subforum. 99% of what I say is NOT as a mod.
User avatar
asudevil
Premium Member
 
Posts: 16606
Joined: 18 Jul 2011, 02:20
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1351)
All-game rating: (1437)
Timezone: GMT-7

Re: ModEx: AAR's

Postby Nanook » 11 Feb 2018, 09:38

BG wrote:We had some initial polite communications, which petered out to nothing. In the early game, my alliance with Germany was rock solid so France and I really had little to talk about.

I had a feeling that I was working against a brick wall, but it's good to see it confirmed. I kept prodding to try and create a chink between you and Germany, but you didn't really give me anything to work with so I stopped trying after Britain stabbed.

If Britain had stayed the course, this game could've gone a lot differently. I feel fairly confident that if Britain had worked me like I thought he was going to, that we would've been able to blitz through Germany, then he could've taken on Russia (or whomever ended up running though Russia), while me and Ukraine put the squeeze on you. That was my general idea at least, with the possibility that I'd pivot south instead of continuing on East, but Britain decided to go a different route.

BG wrote:Wobbly told me he had had previous bad experiences allying with nanooktheeskimo who had stabbed him for short-term gains. So it didn’t take much, to convince him to side with Germany and attack France.

I have zero memory of this, but it explains a lot. I think I played with him in a fog 1900 game a couple years ago, with Charlie, Jon, and maybe Alman...if that's the game he's thinking of, while I can't recall specifically stabbing him, if I did so it was because I had a broader alliance in play that he wasn't part of. If that wasn't the game though, then I have absolutely no idea what he's talking about--not saying it didn't happen, just that I don't remember it. Feels kind of unfair to hold one game years ago so strongly against me, honestly. Kind of a dick thing to do, to ally against me cause I stabbed him once. Ah well, this isn't a main site game so whatever. I at least get to say I told you so, that stabbing me wouldn't turn out better for him than it did for me!
Platinum Classicist
(h/t lordelindel)

Admin
User avatar
Nanook
 
Posts: 11029
Joined: 19 Jun 2014, 19:52
Location: Florida
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1209)
All-game rating: (1413)
Timezone: GMT-5

Re: ModEx: AAR's

Postby Strategus » 11 Feb 2018, 10:39

Just to correct Big Gun, He said that he was the only one who chose no preference. I did that too. I wanted a challenge, and certainly got that. I kind of agree that the diplomacy can cause or resolve any imbalance in most variants. And I suspect any perceived advantage that certain countries appear to have will probably be challenged in future games. This variant has only been played a few times, and will be played a lot more in the future. By the time a handful of games are done, people will become wary of the nations with a natural advantage, and possibly target them early on.
The Devil makes work for idle forces

Better to have fought and lost, than never to have fought at all
Actual Platinum Classicist
I did WDC 2017

UK f2f Champion 2019
Just say "NO!" To carebears and kittens
User avatar
Strategus
Premium Member
 
Posts: 3325
Joined: 30 May 2015, 14:30
Location: England
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: 1619
All-game rating: 1660
Timezone: GMT

Re: ModEx: AAR's

Postby Big Gun » 11 Feb 2018, 11:09

GPD - according to the auction table results you bid 50 on Algeria, 50 on East Africa and 50 on Iran. Easy to forget, it's a long time ago. Anyway, you did what you could with Ukraine under very challenging circumstances. I sense that Ukraine and France are the trickiest countries to play on this map, at least in the northern segment. You can still drink more beer than me though, so there's always glory to be found elsewhere.
User avatar
Big Gun
Premium Member
 
Posts: 275
Joined: 21 Mar 2015, 17:48
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: 1468
All-game rating: 2298
Timezone: GMT

Re: ModEx: AAR's

Postby Strategus » 11 Feb 2018, 11:35

Big Gun wrote:GPD - according to the auction table results you bid 50 on Algeria, 50 on East Africa and 50 on Iran. Easy to forget, it's a long time ago. Anyway, you did what you could with Ukraine under very challenging circumstances. I sense that Ukraine and France are the trickiest countries to play on this map, at least in the northern segment. You can still drink more beer than me though, so there's always glory to be found elsewhere.

Sorry, I must have been confusing it with another game. Probably too much beer.
The Devil makes work for idle forces

Better to have fought and lost, than never to have fought at all
Actual Platinum Classicist
I did WDC 2017

UK f2f Champion 2019
Just say "NO!" To carebears and kittens
User avatar
Strategus
Premium Member
 
Posts: 3325
Joined: 30 May 2015, 14:30
Location: England
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: 1619
All-game rating: 1660
Timezone: GMT

Re: ModEx: AAR's

Postby Big Gun » 13 Feb 2018, 11:27

Some thoughts on the map and rules


I like the map very much. It’s beautifully constructed, clear to read and the colours of the powers are well chosen and attractive. The interconnectivity between provinces is fluent and during this second time round the game was not inhibited by any stalemate lines.

I like the addition of canals and the way they shorten routes for fleets and enable movement through land provinces from one sea territory to another. The land bridges also make sense.

I’m not keen on the addition of rivers in central Europe. Although France tried valiantly to take advantage of them, this ultimately led to his demise. It felt confusing to have a French fleet land in Switzerland. The map feels cramped enough in central Europe anyway. Austria, for example, is surrounded by no less than nine provinces and was a continual point of contention between Ukraine, Poland, Italy and Germany. Additional fleets on rivers flowing through these cramped areas of the map make life confusing.

Otherwise the rivers were only used by an Italian rogue fleet, which enjoyed far too much power. On entering the Upper Danube that fleet had the power to attack any one of 6 of my Polish occupied supply centres and there was nothing any of my armies surrounding it could have done to dislodge the fleet or push it away. My Baltic Sea fleets were much too far away to get down into the Danube in any realistic time, so the only possible way to get rid of the fleet was to eliminate Italy altogether, which thankfully at that stage of the game proved possible. But if Italy had still been in a stronger position with more supply centres, my position would have become very frustrating.

The sea spaces are well designed and I like the distribution in the Mediterranean and the way the Black Sea is divided and connects to the Caspian Sea. West Africa was blocked from moving north into the Mid Atlantic Ocean for a long while and I wonder if the addition of 2 or 3 more sea spaces to the West might alleviate that.

I don’t particularly like any ruling that includes units moving with “half power” or “double power” and I get the feeling it deters players from moving around the cape of Africa. It’s just easier to make peace with the player on the other side and not to bother wasting resources that would be difficult to reinforce. I’d prefer to see the inclusion of South Africa as a power and have a regular set of sea spaces around the cape. But this would almost certainly create even more distance between the African and European powers, whose interplay is already rather limited, so I’m not sure it would improve the game.

Generally I agree with the sentiment raised by Antigonos and seconded by GPD that tinkering with the map or the distribution of supply centres after every round is not necessarily going to improve the game. Although West Africa and Iran enjoyed success twice over, good diplomacy and solid alliances from the neighbouring nations could certainly create a different dynamic to the game and give Iran or West Africa a much harder time. This is still diplomacy and none of the powers here are unplayable.

Recently I’ve created hard copies of boards for two of my favourite variants: Versailles (A1-sized) and Heptarchy (A2-sized). It was great to play Versailles in two Face-to-Face games in November last year and I hope I can find players to give Heptarchy a go sometime this year. Finding 7 players is hard enough in real life. Nevertheless I’m tempted to create a playable board for Modern Extended one day too. Getting 14 players together for what would have to be a very long day of diplomacy would be fantastic but is probably unrealistic. But even if it might never be played, the sheer aesthetics of this wonderful map make the prospect of drawing it up and adding it to my collection exciting. But maybe I’ll wait until Joe makes a 3rd and more final version.

If and when a 3rd run of the game gets going here, I’d love to play one of the nations that could give Iran or West Africa a hard time and prove their positions are not impenetrable.

Thanks again Joe. I hope some of the other players might still write up AARs with their perspectives on this game. Cheers. Big Gun
User avatar
Big Gun
Premium Member
 
Posts: 275
Joined: 21 Mar 2015, 17:48
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: 1468
All-game rating: 2298
Timezone: GMT

PreviousNext

Return to ModEx II

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest