PDL 1. Round 2 Game 1. AAR

After game reports for PlaDip Diplomacy League games

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Re: PDL 1. Round 2 Game 1. AAR

Postby Charleroi » 04 Jun 2018, 21:12

The game began with the usual opening round pleasantries. Before the first turn, Italy proposed a central triple to both Germany and I and I jumped on it. We agreed to draw Russia in and use him against Turkey but to ensure that Russia's growth would be limited to Rumania (Germany agreed to bounce Swe). Once Germany agreed to open to Bur, Italy also agreed to move to Pie. It was a shockingly aggressive (and successful) opening move. The border powers may have recognized a Central Triple Immediately, but they were limited in their ability to respond effectively. And it's relatively easy to disguise the CT because, unlike the WT, each country's moves are thoroughly ordinary (except perhaps Italy, but I think everyone understands that Italy sometimes has to make a crazy opening move to stay relevant).

Contrary to the "Pink Mastermind" theory described above, the Central Alliance didn't really have a clear leader. I actually forgot who had proposed it (and looking back in my messages it seems to have been Italy). And once we got going it became clear that each of us was good at tactics and was happy to exchange the usual bonding messages necessary to keep a group alliance going but wasn't interested in micromanaging one another (which can be galling for good players). We ended up with side messages going, where Italy and I would plan Mediterranean moves and Germany and Italy planned anti-French (or anti-English) moves without me.

In 1901 we got very lucky and no built Russia. Germany made it into France. This was looking very good. In 1902, Italy moved on the Eastern Med, I pushed hard against Russia's front and Germany helped Italy into Piedmont. We might have been held back a bit if England had troubled Germany but instead she assisted Germany against Russia and happily whacked away at France, preventing him from mounting an effective defense.

By 1903, Russia was crippled, France was on the way out, and Turkey was surrounded with enemy armies in Bulgaria and Syria. I don't recall whether I let Russia into Rumania voluntarily in spring 1903 but I pushed him out in the fall without too much fanfare. Turkey really had no chance at that point.

Before Spring 1905
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By the beginning of 1905 (above), I had a ton of armies and essentially no navy and was starting to think about next steps. I was reluctant to swallow Russia immediately and reached out to him about working together. From my perspective, I could probably snatch his centers at any time but if I waited to do that and worked with him, it would delay having the other players form a "stop the leader" alliance. Russia agreed but then didn't follow through. Probably justifiably, he didn't trust my intentions (I had sent him a series of misleading messages over the first couple years so that was on me). I also may have been insufficiently clear about the Janissary alliance I had in mind - I wanted complete alliance with him - we would discuss each move and he would do exactly as we agreed. In exchange, I would keep him in the game through the end unless I was able to solo. Those partnerships can be very effective (always helpful to have a second set of eyes brainstorming and strategizing) but it didn't work out here.

Fall Orders 1905
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In Fall 1905 I jumped for Munich. I knew it was a linchpin center that if I could take it I would be in a very strong position for a solo. Unfortunately, I elected to stab only Germany in this move and didn't also capture Venice. The upside was that Germany had to retreat West (good for me) but as Italy captured Con (I may have agreed to this and if I did, it was dumb) I was no built and Italy had two builds. If I had captured Venice (and defended Con) Italy would have had no builds and I could have built F Tri and A Vie. With the new Anglo-German hostilities in the North, I think I would have had a good chance of running to the solo. This was probably the key turning point of this match and I blew it.

I was further distressed in winter 1905 when Italy built an army in Venice. I'm not sure what he had in mind as I didn't have a build that year and I honestly don't recall if he took Con with my consent or not. Well, what he had in mind was pretty clear in 1906 when he absolutely steamrolled my southern flank and let Germany back into Munich. This was full panic mode moment for me. In one year I had blown my chance at a solo and was looking at a possible G/I two-way or (more likely given the Atlantic fleet situation) an Italian solo.

Winter 1905
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[To be continued]
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Re: PDL 1. Round 2 Game 1. AAR

Postby Charleroi » 05 Jun 2018, 20:00

In 1907 I patched things up with Italy--he reached out to me and we had a very amicable exchange. I think what brought him around was the obviously friendly orders between Germany and I. If Germany and I worked together, it would have been difficult for Italy to get the solo. And if he kept attacking me, there was no guarantee that he would get most of the gains - Germany could snatch through Tyrolia and take the Russian centers and he would be in real trouble. I asked for Bul and Con back and Italy, while not immediately agreeing, at least was open to it. Basically, because I had captured the Russian centers, I was still in the match. If I hadn't taken them, the destroys would have devastated me and let Italy steamroll my positions.

Fall 1908
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At this point the game was very messy. Germany had just hit Italy and taken Marseilles but was also encroaching against my front in Russia. I was rearming and had clashed with Italy in Anatolia. England was clawing her way back in. In 1908 it seemed like the Central Triple was back on. Germany left Silesia and Italy and I were pretty friendly. I took the opportunity to retake the lands I had lost to the Italian stab. I think this attack was premature. I was convinced I was never going to get a chance as golden (and that may be true) but the fact was that I had no shot of taking the solo if I couldn't crack Germany and I couldn't do that unless England attacked Germany and England ... well England is not the most bold so I needed to wait for her to finally get around to attacking before I hit Italy and I didn't do that. Error.

From here on the game devolved into nasty trench warfare. I kept trying to get England to attack Italy or Germany. Without any success. At this point Germany was really really angry with me. He began pushing for a draw and, instead of replying to my messages, he would just copy and paste them into the public press. It occurred to me that this could lead to some interesting Diplomacy - could I make the other players think one thing based on what I wrote to Germany knowing it would be publicly posted? But I didn't come up with anything clever to be helpful there. But Germany's approach did show (a) that I wasn't likely to patch things up with him any time soon and (b) that Germany would make it his mission to prevent me from soloing.

Beginning of 1910
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Given that (b) was pretty obvious, I'm still not sure why England wouldn't attack Germany. Germany had a legitimate honest to goodness stalemate line set up (see above). No combination of Austrian moves would break through into St pete or into Munich/Berlin. In fact, Germany hated me so much that I'm pretty confident he would have let England take his backfield and just slowly replace his units with English ones. But England wasn't going for it. I drew down from St Pete and did everything possible to make it safe for her to get us down to two and she just wouldn't go for it. It's nearly impossible to keep a game dynamic and keep the possibility of a solo going once you're down to three or four players and that really was the case here. The game just strangled itself.

Around this time I made tactical mistakes in the peninsula too. I prioritized the Ionian (to get the Nap/Rom/ven/ION/EAS stalemate line) and I should have gone for Naples first and then backfilled into ION. That let England into the central Med. Around this time it became apparent that England was not being honest. She was talking about working toward and draw and instead was moving around the Italian peninsula instead of into the peninsula. So I settled down to defend my territory. After a couple more years of useless scuffles in ION/EAS and once I had successfully blocked the late game convoy into either Albania or Syria, Italy got bored and finally agreed to throw in the towel. The final result was predictable but a bit sad. We crushed Italy the day after the poor guy got married and called it a three-way draw. Sorry Italy - you really didn't deserve to go that way.

Final Position - Fall 1915
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Charleroi
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Re: PDL 1. Round 2 Game 1. AAR

Postby Charleroi » 05 Jun 2018, 20:40

So this was previously a long post about some comms that I was disappointed by during the game. As that post seems to have killed off the chat here (and I am still interested in hearing other folks' views on the AAR) I've decided to remove it.

Hopefully those who haven't weighed in yet on the game will do so and those who have will post some responses.
Last edited by Charleroi on 08 Jun 2018, 19:25, edited 1 time in total.
Charleroi
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Re: PDL 1. Round 2 Game 1. AAR

Postby boldblade » 05 Jun 2018, 23:10

Interesting did it change the actual result of the game? I am guessing it did but just was wondering if you could clarify.
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Re: PDL 1. Round 2 Game 1. AAR

Postby Charleroi » 05 Jun 2018, 23:12

It did not change the outcome of the game. It was the attempt, not the outcome, which troubled me.
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