PDL 2020 Division 1 Jan Game B AAR

After game reports for PlaDip Diplomacy League games

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PDL 2020 Division 1 Jan Game B AAR

Postby TTBen » 08 Mar 2020, 15:50

ENGLAND--lecrae
FRANCE--SelhurstPark
ITALY--TTBen
GERMANY--Charleroi
AUSTRIA--MeatPopsicle
TURKEY--Squasher--(SOLO WIN)
RUSSIA--ironcladsoldier
PbF GM
— African Diplomacy 5 -Finished
-- Warring States2 Finished

What next?

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Re: PDL 2020 Division 1 Jan Game B AAR

Postby lecrae » 08 Mar 2020, 20:10

Listen guys, I can explain! :lol:

As the Englishman who blew my amazing position, I'll be happy to give an AAR later in the evening (or perhaps tomorrow). I kept a journal of sorts that I updated every season that I can post here as part of it. I'll follow tradition and let the winner of the game post the first retrospective, should Squasher want to. Congratulations!
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Re: PDL 2020 Division 1 Jan Game B AAR

Postby SelhurstPark » 09 Mar 2020, 01:12

It will be an intriguing read - how did you snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!
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Re: PDL 2020 Division 1 Jan Game B AAR

Postby MasterGR » 09 Mar 2020, 08:15

I was following this game, and I just looked into it again today, to find out to my huge surprise that instead of England it was Turkey who soloed it! Amazing turn around Turkey, and I'll be really interested to read the AARs.
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Re: PDL 2020 Division 1 Jan Game B AAR

Postby lecrae » 09 Mar 2020, 22:49

Hey all! Below you'll read my in-game thoughts as events unfolded during the first round of Playdip League competition games. This AAR is written (for the most part) in real-time, so you'll get my thoughts on events as they unfold. In hindsight...geez, a lot of this is really ironic. Feel free to laugh at my expense!

Also, apologies that it's a huuuuge post. It was an ongoing journal of my thoughts, and I tend to ramble.

-----------------------------------------

PDL D1 Jan B
164075

I played England in this game.

Spring 1901

I message all the powers in the game - wow, is this a talkative cast! Full disclosure, I'm writing the first few seasons with a bit of hindsight (I'm currently in the Fall 1902 phase) and I've received almost as many messages from Turkey, Austria, and Italy as I have from my actual neighbors thus far! I really appreciate that level of enthusiasm for the game, and I think this contributed to all the crazy play at hand.

France and I exchange some messages, and he seems like a reasonable ally to have. I hear more from him than Germany at this point, so he's my preferred ally in the West. We DMZ the Channel, and all is going well on that front. I hear back from Germany, too, and he seems friendly enough - a potential ally, though I would rather align with France at this point. A Western Triple is a possibility, especially since it favors England, but that's not my first inclination.

All is chugging along well until Russia sends his first message to me. In this message, he states as a matter-of-fact that he'll be sending Moscow north to St. Petersburg. I was pretty caught off-guard that, within hours of the game before I'd imagine he even heard from everyone else, he already made up his mind to make such an aggressive northern opening that any English/German player would dislike. I explain to him how his northern Amy - which he claims is simply going to Finland to secure Sweden - is worthless if he has me as an ally, because I can just support him into Sweden myself. I try to explain that he wants me as an ally and that he shouldn't make an anti-English move so early on in the game, but after multiple messages on my end convincing him to not do this opening, he refuses to change his mind. He cites the fact that France told him about our English Channel DMZ as the reason he should send a northern army, because in his mind, a standard English opening is London->English Channel and Russia Moscow-> St. Pete. I also heard from France that Russia encouraged him to move into the Channel himself. At this point I give up on convincing the Tsar otherwise.

I'm really frustrated by Russia right now, because he decides hours into the game to make an anti-English opening and wouldn't give in to any reasonable assertions of mine. I decided I want to see Russia crumble. I message Turkey, Austria, and Germany, all of whom I have pretty good relationships with in this first phase, and tell them about my issue with Russia. Austria and Germany seem particularly receptive to an anti-Russian pact, but I didn't realize how much so until the first phase!

Image

Fall 1901

I don't mean to take credit for Germany's aggressive move against Russia...but I'll take a little - I think he discovered an opportunity to cripple Russia once I told him about Moscow's move to St. Pete, an opening neither of us wanted to see. So, he took a bold risk knowing Warsaw would not be guarded. I'd be interested to see what Germany's thought process actually was, and I apologize if I put words in his mouth! Austria also did a strange-looking move to Rumania which forced him into only one build, but I was happy to see this. Russia was on track not only to gain no builds this season, but actually to lose an SC!

While I did feel satisfied, I don't want to play emotionally. I keep up a relationship with Russia, since he probably doesn't know that I've gone behind his back already. I need him not to bounce me into Norway if I want to have two builds, and I assert that I'll be on his side in any war against Germany. Thankfully, this time he's more willing to talk to me as an ally and confirms he won't bounce me out of Norway.

At this point, Germany messages both me and France and a Western Triple is mentioned. According to Germany, we accidentally positioned ourselves perfectly for this Triple to activate with our openings. He's not wrong either, and France initially agrees with this. However, I see an opportunity for better. First, Germany doesn't want me to convoy an army to Holland to confirm a second build, something I was mildly annoyed by even if I understood his concern. Second, I saw an opportunity for me and France to essentially dominate the West without even needing Germany as an ally - we could knock down Russia and Germany to puny statuses only one year into the game! So, France and I convince Germany we're on board, and I assure France that if he sneaks into Munich this fall, I'll leave Belgium reserved for him to pick up next year.

Image

Things go exactly as well as I could've wanted! It almost feels like myself and France skipped the first few years of the game and hopped straight into 1903/1904 with the progress we managed to make against Germany/Russia - all in two phases. While we dominate in the west, the rest of the board is thankfully still in that classic 1901 chaos.

Builds almost cause tension between France and I, because he wanted to build a fleet in Brest and no fleet in Marseilles at one point. I convince him that, if he wants to go south against Italy, he needs two fleets, and I try to frame my allowance of a fleet build in Brest as goodwill on my part. It certainly was goodwill in part, and also because I think logically even with a fleet in Brest it'd be too difficult for him to attack me just yet.

Image

Spring 1902

What a map this is!

Germany builds a fleet in Kiel, which is odd. I'm sure he's talking to France about turning on me, and France confirms this. I trust France will stick with me, though, as I don't see a benefit for him to switch sides. I also tell France that Germany is messaging me too about turning on France, even though this never happened. If he can't trust that Germany even wants to work with him, he's less likely to flip.

I promise Russia support into Sweden, and I mean it. Even though I've been pretty annoyed by him, in the short-term I'd rather he get that SC than Germany, and I've kept up a good enough relationship (I thought) that I trusted he'd take me up on the offer. France promises support into Kiel, and I'm pretty confident that we'll make quick work of the West.

Meanwhile, every single power in the game (except Germany) has mentioned to me how spooky France looks. I don't know if they're saying the same about me, but it sounds like the general perception is that France is the big boogeyman, even though my position is roughly equal to his (in my opinion). I don't plan on stabbing France in the near future, but I'm glad the rest of the board has their eyes on him.

I've also been building up my relationship specifically with Turkey, and looking down the line I can see an endgame where a couple powers are eliminated and myself, France, and Turkey are the big players left in the game. At this point, I want Turkey to be on my side, and considering he'll probably come to blows with France in the Mediterranean (and not come into much contact with me), I think Turkey would prefer me as a late-game ally to France. So, my long-term goal right now is to stick with France, eat up northern SCs, and perhaps in 1905ish turn on the Republic with whoever the strongest Eastern power left is, probably Turkey.

Image

Fall 1902

I'm annoyed by Russia's mini-stab by supporting Germany into Denmark, but I can't be too mad at the move considering I never saw Russia as a long-term ally. Good on Russia and Germany for sorting things out and deciding to work together, even if it's mostly futile at this point. Looking east, Austria's not doing too well due to a questionable build by Italy that gave him three armies to attack the Archduke with. With all the chaos in the east, I'm actually worried Russia might get back on his feet right now!

Even though I'm initially annoyed, once more I tell myself not to play emotionally and tell Russia that, while I won't be supporting him into Sweden, I won't bounce him out of the place and will instead bounce St. Pete to make sure no shenanigans are going on there. He has an understanding tone and obliges - I think he's for real this time because he's probably starving for an SC, and Sweden can be just that. As I'm writing this, I haven't decided if I'm actually going to let him into Sweden or bounce him out - right now I'm leaning towards bouncing him out. Yes, it ruins my relationship with the Tzar, but right now he's a bigger threat to me than Germany, who will be down to 3 SCs, is. Still undecided though.

France kept his word with his fleets and is going to "help" Italy "defend" himself against Turkey in the Mediterranean. Translation: Italy's about to get gobbled up. I hope France's progress isn't too fast, but I see us staying relatively on par growth-wise. He wants me to support him into Berlin, and I'm cool with that. When the eastern powers inevitably sort their stuff out and go after the EF alliance, France will be a much easier target with his SCs on the frontline in Munich/Berlin and Iberia, while I can hide behind his strong body in Scandinavia/Russia/the Lowlands. I'm still playing up the "I'm scared of France, he's the boogeyman!" card to the other powers.

But for now, I should get at least a build in Kiel/Denmark, and perhaps both.

Image

I decide to let Russia into Sweden and just bounce him to make sure he can't vacate St. Pete for a build. I figure Germany losing Sweden makes him more likely to disband his last fleet, which is good for me. Now that I see Russia also got a build in Rumania, though, I'm a bit terrified that he may be coming back to life. I don't plan to let that happen if I can.

Otherwise, wow - was not expecting to get both Kiel and Denmark! I'm terrified now that the "boogeyman" will shift from France over to myself now that I've become the SC leader on the board, so I need to work overtime in my diplomacy. I want to keep the east in turmoil as long as possible so they can't organize against the EF, and if I can create an opportunity to stab France from there for the solo, I'd do it.

Italy confides in me that I'm the only one who he feels listens to him. I can use this - currently it looks like Russia and Turkey have teamed up in the south against himself and Austria. Maybe if I can play off that fear and try to unite the two against this weakened juggernaut, all with the promises of myself barreling down on Russia in the north, that'll be able to distract the board enough from uniting against myself and France. This could be the break I've been waiting for. I'm going to create a group chat with Italy/Austria and see where that goes.

Spring/Fall 1903

I know all the other powers are looking at myself and France as the alliance to beat, and so I need to keep them believing that I'll stab the Frenchman eventually - which I think I should do, so I'm not really lying there. At the same time, now's not the time to stab him. I considered working with the Russian, who suggested a friendly stalemate in the north, but I just don't think my position suggests working with Russia over France. I can get Sweden and St. Pete in the next two years, while progress against France would be unclear and open myself to a two-front war.

Turkey understands this thankfully, and seems patient enough to wait me out until I have a good enough position to stab France. I'm very conscious of the fact that I'm going to turn into the biggest threat if I haven't already - France tells me other powers are also trying to turn him against me, so it's probably already started.

France suggests supporting me into Berlin, which I was surprised by. Looks like I can get both Sweden and Berlin this year and go up to 9 SCs. France won't be too far behind as he should have 8 SCs after gaining Tunis/Belgium.

The board after the fall orders phase:
Image

Wow, this is quite a board. A 9 SC England after only three years?! The big surprise is, however, that France doesn't keep Tunis - he forfeits it this year in order to gain the Ionian! Why he did this when he could've easily slipped in with the Gulf of Lyons, I don't understand in the slightest. Maybe he's secretly working with Italy? Maybe he's confident he'll get Tunis next year and doesn't want to deny it? Maybe he wants me to look like the big bad wolf now that I'm the leader by two SCs! I'll have to figure that one out.

This next year really needs to be about downplaying my threat level. I can't be the early leader that everyone unites against and gets demolished down to nothing. I need to be smarter than that. I'll probably waive a build since I don't see an immediate need for an extra unit, even if I do stab France this year. Maybe that'll help. Good news is, Turkey's still very much willing to talk, so hopefully I have a back-up ally there.

Side note: Russia accepted my "stab" very well, which makes me respect him more as a player. If it makes sense for us to work together in the future, I have much less worry that he'll be unreasonable.

Russia destroys in Rumania, which is annoying since it'll be harder to take St. Pete, but oh well. I don't think now is the time to stab France when I haven't quite secured my northern front yet, so we'll see.

Turkey is suggesting we just go for a three-way with France ultimately, and while that's certainly a safe option, I don't like to do "safe". That's boring! I'm always going to aim for a solo, or if I can squeeze a two-way, that as well. Turkey makes the point that a soloist becomes a threat in future games (assuming people can figure out identities), and while he's right...I don't really care. I'm here for a good time, not a long time. :P

1904

(Writing this in the fall)

Well, I waived the second build and am on track to gain St. Petersburg this fall. Austria's still kicking in the south, which I'm deciding is good for me because I want chaos there. France is making strange moves in the south and he'll only gain Tunis this year, keeping him two SCs behind myself. I need to start considering my different options.

3-way Draw: This would most likely be with Turkey/France. Turkey is pushing this to me, and it is the easy option. Like I said, I don't like easy. If I need to fall back on this, I will.

2-way Draw: I could try this with France, but realistically, it would be with Turkey. I liked this idea earlier on, but now that Turkey's still stuck on 6 SCs with his growth potential looking slow, it's going to be hard to wait for him.

Solo: It dawned on me this year that...you know what, maybe I should go for this! Which sounds silly, because of course I should when I had such in insane start like I had this game. So if I want to go down this path, I need to cross the stalemate line into Moscow/Warsaw territory. I convince France/Turkey that I'm aiming for a three-way draw with them, then I stab them at the opportune time because I'm going to beat both of them in the race for SCs. So now my gameplan has moved from "Stab France pretty soon" to "String him along", because the alliance is doing more for me than it is for him!

Here's the game after the builds.

Image

1905

Both Russia and Austria have suggested a draw proposal between myself/France/Turkey in the Public Press, which is definitely what they should be doing so they can get some SC points in the competition, but obviously I have no motivation to accept it. Even if I wasn't secretly looking for a solo, I'd still want to take as many SCs as possible before accepting a draw. I can use that excuse to Turkey/France as to why I'm not accepting such a proposal.

France is thankfully struggling with Italy to latch onto his last SCs, and he's about to run into problems facing the Turkish navy in the south! The problem is, Turkey seems more than happy with a 3-way draw, so he may not want to go to war with France. My gut says, if I force the game to play out and call Turkey to go to a two-way with me, he will attack France because he has nothing else to do with those fleets and he's not going to be in a great position to attack me.

I'm likely going to get Warsaw this year, and France won't get a build. Next year is looking like a potential time to execute the stab, because he won't have a build to defend himself. Let's see how this plays out.

Image

Spring 1906

I messed up. I meant to build an army in London, but for some reason I chose Edinburgh. It changes the nature of my plans a little, because I think this is finally the perfect time to stab France and go for the solo/2-way with Turkey. The reason I say it may be a two-way is because Turkey is likely to expand to 10 SCs after this year, so if this bolt to a solo I make backfires, I can still probably scrap together a 17-17 split with Turkey if I play my cards right.

But, the goal is still a solo. I think I have the upper hand in my alliance with France, because his slow progress in the south means he's had to commit his entire navy that way, which means I can ride into his seas unopposed. I've also positioned myself to easily snag Belgium this year. Austria, I believe, is working with me in helping this happen, and that's why he kept Bohemia as a unit instead of disbanding it. I'm actually thinking of supporting Bohemia into Munich this phase, if I can trick France not to support a hold in Munich with Burgundy. I'll let Turkey know about the stab after it happens in case Turkey wants to tip France off. It's a big moment in the game if I do it, and this'll be my first big Diplomacy stab in quite a few real-life years if I go through with it. I think that thrill is what I've been missing. :twisted:

The Stab

Image

I find that, in these play dip games, people have a lot of opinions about other people's moves, and even in this game I've heard criticism - "you spent too long working with France", "it's too late to make a move". On the contrary, I think this was the perfect time to execute the stab.

I worked with Austria in the east last year to get into Bohemia, and we agreed to keep that unit. I supported him into Munich, but the only way I could make that work was if France didn't support Munich with Burgundy. Hence, I suggested a bounce in Belgium between Burgundy/North Sea. Of course, instead of bouncing there, I just took the darn SC, and now my fleets are positioned to surround him in the Mid-Atlantic/English Channel this fall. The stab didn't immediately cripple France's SC count, but I think positionally my fleets will slowly constrict him.

It's really fun working with Austria - and now Italy by extension, as those two are coordinating - because they seem to enjoy the chaos of it all more than anything. It sounds like, since I've kept up a light-hearted relationship with them, they'd rather I solo than watch a "boring" three-way draw occur, so in a way I'm their entertainment.

What I didn't expect was, now Russia's getting in on it! He just sent a message saying he's willing to help me in my solo attempt if I can keep him alive with some SCs for the score count. Thank God I kept a good relationship with him, because if I let my early-game annoyance with him skew my judgment I may not have that offer right now. I'm not quite sure how useful Russia is to me, but I only need one of Warsaw/Moscow to get 18 SCs as far as stalemate lines are concerned. If I can keep Turkey out of Sevastopol by supporting Russia, that'll slow down Turkey's growth and in turn help me beat him in the race to the stalemate line.

Speaking of Turkey, he's a bit upset I didn't tell him last phase about my stab, and now he's in Galicia. He may nor may not support Russia to hold onto Warsaw this year, which on the surface seems bad for me. However, I'm actually super happy with how things played out. Because he didn't know that I was going to stab France, he acted more defensively and supported Russia's position instead of snatching the easy build in Sevastopol. That slows down Turkey's growth, and I like that.

Of course, I'm still going to keep up relations with Turkey, because the last deception I need to execute in this game is the one that I truly want a 17-17 split with him. The longer he feels like he can get to the stalemate line on time and split the points with me, the better. As soon as he feels like he needs to gather up the rest of the field against me, my job will be tougher. Hopefully my relationships with these minor powers Austria/Italy/Russia will help me there! This will all be for naught if Turkey actually can get to the stalemate line on time. Well, maybe not all for naught. A two-way draw is still a win in my book, but alas.

Here's the game after the Fall 1906 build.

Image

Spring 1907

Well, I think this is the phase my alliance with Turkey officially ends. I don't think I need him, though. I believe I've got Austria and Russia on my side.

Austria I'm very confident on. He's pretty resigned to the fact that he's not winning the game, so his primary motivation doesn't even seem to be staying alive, but instead king making me since I've helped him on this wild ride to Munich. I'll admit I'm a bit of a spontaneous/emotional player, so I kinda want to see Austria stick around with at least 1 SC, so if I can solo and still do that, that's my dream. Even if it's a bit inconvenient.

Russia's more complex. Turkey's assured Russia that he's not going after the guy this year, which is true because he's focusing on Austria. However, I am going to convince Russia that he needs to stab Turkey sooner rather than later if he wants to stay alive. Even if Turkey's leaving Russia alone this year, there's no way he's doing that next year. I can easily squash Russia if I want, and I think he realizes that, so I hope he decides he wants me as an ally rather than an enemy. I'm proposing he works with Austria to get one of them into Rumania, and I'll suggest that I support Warsaw into Galicia this Spring phase to give him a better position against Turkey. If Russia takes my suggestion and moves to Galicia this Spring, I'll support him. If not, I'll take Warsaw and won't feel bad about pushing the guy down to one SC. I think he'll take this ultimatum, but we'll see. Obviously if I do support him into Galicia, then Turkey knows I'm not truly working towards the two-way. So it's a risk!

At the end of the day, I think it makes sense for both Austria and Russia to support an English solo because they're way more likely to keep some SCs alive than otherwise. Neither of them realistically have much of a shot at ending in a draw, and even if my solo attempt fails I'll happily work with France and Turkey to eliminate the two.

Fall 1907

Image

Well, Russia's cancelled.

I don't really understand why he would support Turkey over myself, but he said he'd work with Austria to get into Rumania and instead bounced him out. He made up a story about a miscommunication, but nah. England's boutta colonize Warsaw.

Austria on the other hand, should get into Paris this turn. I've messaged France with the pitch that he should help me solo rather than get wiped out in a E/T two-way, and the first thing he's said back is "Can you at least get rid of Austria?" Which is no fun! I'd love to see the pink fellow stay in Paris the rest of the game, and now it's even more delicious because it's in spite of all the other powers wanting me to kill him.

The fall phase has just occurred, and I've asked Austria to keep his army in Tyrolia instead of an army in Paris. If he is able to sneak into Piedmont next turn, he can cancel any land support of Marseilles and I can snatch that SC up. Once I get Marseilles, Spain will fall, and I can nab the solo!

1908

I'm proposing to France that he has an incentive to help me solo, because he'll end the game with 16 points he works with me. If Turkey/Russia/France manage to stop my solo, France will not be included in any draws and will be squeezed to death because Turkey and I will almost certainly collaborate to get a 17/17 split two-way. He's probably not going to bite, but hey. Worth a shot.

Image

The spring phase puts me in an interesting predicament, because I have a huge decision to make. By my calculations, if Turkey plays his cards exactly right, he can get a 50/50 shot at taking Warsaw in the fall of 1909. That should suggest that I try for the solo this year. And I have a 50/50 shot at getting the solo this year! France/Turkey have enough units to protect one of Spain/Marseilles, but not both. If I can guess which one they'll leave under protected, I can snatch it, claim Paris, and win.

..but if I guess wrong, then maybe I should move out of Paris?

I feel it in my bones that this will be the defining phase of the game. If I decide to move out of Paris, I risk Turkey seeing his path to Warsaw and losing the solo that way. On the other hand, if I take Paris there's a 25% chance I miss the 50/50 both this fall and next Spring. I think I'm going to have to stay in Paris, as sad as that makes me. Austria's a great player and brought a light-hearted energy to the game, so I hate to take his last gasp like this. But at the end of the day, I have a clear 75% chance at a solo here. My mother told me never to gamble, but I'm going to ignore her advice and take those odds.

Note: In retrospect (now that the game is over), I made a clear mistake here. If I moved out of Paris and let Austria stay on 1 SC, he'd have a unit in Piedmont. That would've guaranteed me Marseilles and Spain, and even if Turkey did see the way to potentially take Warsaw (which he did not go for in the real game), I could still take Paris after that and end on 18 SCs. My odds of the solo went down from 100% to 75% here.

Spring 1909

Well, the fall phase did not go my way. I lost the 50/50 this time, and Austria's gone now. :(. Turkey didn't even go for Warsaw!

I have one more shot at the solo this phase. It's another 50/50. If I get it right, I win. If I get it wrong, then Turkey moves his army to Piedmont and can stabilize by supporting both Marseilles/Spain adequately.

Fall 1909

Well, I lost the stalemate. That sucks.

--Skips forward a couple years--

Spring 1911

Well, ever since I lost that 75% chance at the solo, I've been communicating with Turkey towards working on that two-way. I'm nervous that he has some connection with Russia, because Turkey's playing up the "I'm all about loyalty" card. I hope that loyalty doesn't blind him! Russia is insisting that I accept a four-way...but I am far too egotistical to accept the same fate as a man with 1 SC! Regardless, as the past two years have gone on, I've coordinated with Turkey that he'd push back my lines through ~tactical maneuvering~ and ~outguessing~ me, all of which is a facade. As I warned France back in my solo-hunting days, if I didn't get the solo, I was going to give Turkey Warsaw/Moscow. He could wipe support me into Spain/Marseilles, and then we'd get a 17/17 two-way draw. At this point, that's looking like a satisfying result to the game.

I've already worked with Turkey to take Warsaw last year, and this year, he's looking to get both Moscow and Sevastopol. Then, in 1912, he should be on track to take Rome/Tunis, and I can take Marseilles/Spain without much worry of Turkey stealing them instead. If Turkey at any point acts fishy, I can just accept a three-way draw with France, so I think we have a clear cut path to the two-way as long as I'm cautious.

Image

Fall 1911

This is the big phase! Turkey's finally going to take Sevastopol, and in addition he'll be taking Moscow. He's been trying to convince me to fake NMR the last few seasons, and honestly, he's worn me down. A fake NMR is the most convincing way to convince France that Turkey taking Moscow was accidental - at this level, a misorder would seem suspicious. I don't really see why we need to fool France for much longer, but Turkey's been wishy washy on the two-way draw, and if a deception is what he needs, then a deception is what I'll give. I find it odd he wants to trick France/Russia so bad since he was all about loyalty earlier in the game, but Turkey's a smart guy and the two-way is so close. The big risk from fake NMRing that I see is that Turkey runs back to France, tells him that I'm going to fake NMR, and the two of them break out into the Mid Atlantic. I trust Turkey won't do that, though, because then France and I will just work together to ensure that Turkey doesn't solo. Alas, though, I must ghost both Russia and France.

It may be crazy, but I don't see why Turkey would betray me this phase logically, so I'm willing to fake NMR. My hold orders are supported, and I'm waiting for the big reveal. I'll be interested to see Russia/France's reaction when they discover what's really going on.
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Re: PDL 2020 Division 1 Jan Game B AAR

Postby lecrae » 09 Mar 2020, 22:58

Now that I've dumped that mega post on everyone, here's some shorter post-game thoughts:
-Obviously, the big thing I missed in this fake NMR plan was that Turkey could support himself into Munich for that 18th SC. For all the in-depth analysis I did on the board during the game, I can't believe I missed something so obvious! Alas, it made for an exciting finish to the game, and the last thing I'd want a diplomacy game to be is boring. ;)
-I sound pretty emotionless at points in my journal, but that was because I needed to keep myself thinking as logically as possible. In reality, this was the most fun I had playing diplomacy in a long time! Even if I'll be remembered this game by my catastrophic last phase, I'm proud of the game I played. Other than the Fall of 1908 and 1911, the two big mistakes I could see in my game, I thought I did alright for myself.
- I also really respect the hell out of everyone in D1 - everyone was a joy to play with from beginning to end. No one's emotions got too much to handle, and everyone really felt like they were actively playing to win. If this is what the rest of the D1 games are going to feel like, I'm excited for the future. I was a bit hard in my journal on Russia specifically, but in hindsight he did just what he needed to do to get the most points. Yes, he could've played safe and got 8 points if he helped me solo, but in a different world, he may have actually succeeded in squeezing himself into the four-way draw. I appreciate players who go for the biggest win they can manage, so in retrospect I want to make it clear I respect Russia's gameplay! France was a joy to work with, Turkey conned me brilliantly, Austria/Italy were refreshing to check in with whenever I could, and Germany was someone that I could definitely have seen myself working with had the cards played a little differently.

Anywho, that's enough from me. Cheers on a crazy start to the tournament.

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Re: PDL 2020 Division 1 Jan Game B AAR

Postby ironcladsoldier » 10 Mar 2020, 00:09

Thanks for the recap, lecrae!

From my Russian point of view, I had waived any points as soon as I saw Germany continue the Barbarossa in the fall of 1901. I was almost wrong! I do count surviving until the last turn as a major accomplishment, though this game was decided for one of the corner powers by the end of 1902.

We don't need to rehash our conversations from 1901 here but I've always played the Russian opening north. I do think it's funny that your notes and feelings were that I was being aggressive in the north, but then of course you ended up attacking that way instead of France anyways. It's a fairly standard opening known as the "Octopus"—Richard Sharp's phrase I believe—meant to set up bounces in Galicia and the Black Sea to discourage immediate assaults and to secure a spot in Scandinavia. Usually it soothes England, because it means there is no fleet built in StP in the fall and England does not normally have good chances at two 1901 builds (and certainly not Holland of all places).

Honestly, I am surprised that Turkey took so long to stab me and take Sevastopol, but I suspect it's because they didn't want France to panic. I also thought England's strategy was to hold out a stalemate and not take a draw, waiting for Turkey to try for a solo and miss (oops). I was dumb when I supported Turkey into Warsaw though—this game would have qualified for deadlock before the stab at that point, and had a decent chance at that point to be resolved as a 4-way (I was planning on submitting it).

Hopefully Germany has learned their lesson and will read accounts of Operation Barbarossa or 1812! It goes without saying this would have been a very different game if not for that. I don't feel like I ever had a chance in this game, so I'm looking forward to the next one where hopefully I will not be suicidally kneecapped in the second turn. I don't know what France and Germany's communications were like at the end of 1901 but good job to France for convincing Germany that Munich was safe.
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Re: PDL 2020 Division 1 Jan Game B AAR

Postby TTBen » 10 Mar 2020, 02:20

So while I was not as directly impacted as Russia I also felt like the German move to capture Warsaw in 1901 threw off most of the rest of the game. There had been an early 3 way conversation between Germany, Austria and I that seemed to be going really well until the point that the news about Russia opening north came out. To my memory it was Austria who first suggested that Germany attack Warsaw if Russia was looking the other way. I did reply that I did not think it was a good idea but in retrospect I should have pushed that harder. After the disastrous 1901 opening I had a hard time trusting Austria and Germany again and especially in Austria's case that was foolish as he proved himself my most loyal ally in this game even giving up his own units.

Looking back I feel sure Turkey always saw this opening as his golden opportunity to be part of a 3 way ending but I mistakenly saw him as my only hope of standing up to rapidly growing France and England. I made the less than well thought out comment that I didn't care if he got all of the Balkans as long as I could get the Austrian homeland in my attempt to get him to ally with me. He agreed but I soon found out that in his mind that meant I could never even temporarily own a Balkan center as a means of access to Austria. We argued at least two full years over Serbia continually bouncing each other and allowing France to get all over me because I refused to give in to Turkey over Serbia, he tried to tell me differently after I was out but I have zero doubt that I was next on his chopping block had I just allowed him to take Serbia. I had the chance for a turn or so there to actually win the battle for Serbia but couldn't fully convince Russia to turn.

As to France, we were friendly enough early on, I could have worked with you easily had the situation been different but I can't blame you much for taking me out given what was handed to you but I really don't understand the bypassing Tunis and giving me temporary life only to never really give me a chance to do anything with it.

I can probably answer more questions should anyone have them but those are my main thoughts and memories of the game.
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Re: PDL 2020 Division 1 Jan Game B AAR

Postby Charleroi » 10 Mar 2020, 22:28

Germany here - my participation in this was pretty brief. To be short, I wanted to try something a little more adventurous than the boring Mun->Ruh, Kie->Den, Ber->Kie that opens every match. And I wanted to see if Germany could make an eastern attack work. Unfortunately, I didn't do enough to get France and England attacking one another. I thought I had persuaded France that it wasn't in his interest to take Munich in 1901. And I thought (and still think) that England is better served not occupying Holland in 1901. He needs to get past the stalemate line quickly. And putting armies into St Pete and Moscow should be of more value to him than just picking up a center in the Low Countries. It was short term thinking on England's part, in my view. Now he managed to thrive despite this because France supported him all the way up to the end, but I thought England undervalued location and overvalued "I must collect centers" in the early years.
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Re: PDL 2020 Division 1 Jan Game B AAR

Postby lecrae » 11 Mar 2020, 01:10

I get what you're saying, @Charleroi. My play style tends to be more explosive/aggressive, which is good for powers like Germany/Austria, but not-so-good for powers like England/Turkey. In this instance, while the extra SC in Holland was certainly nice and contributed to my success, the reason I decided to turn against you was because I didn't see any advantage a Western Triple gave me that an EF did not. France talked to me very early on in the game, I remember, so I felt comfortable putting my eggs in that basket to start the game. Every season since 1901, I made a mental check of whether or not France had a logical reason to stab me, and thankfully I never needed to shift the dynamics because he didn't really have a good opportunity to do so. From my perspective, it felt like things just didn't line up for us to work together, but I enjoyed my communications with you and hope a chance to work together comes up in the future!
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