PDL 2020 Division 1 Jan Game B AAR

After game reports for PlaDip Diplomacy League games

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Re: PDL 2020 Division 1 Jan Game B AAR

Postby Squasher » 11 Mar 2020, 01:24

AAR from Turkey -

First - thanks to all players - a VERY high level game, much excellent (some not) tactical and strategic play, and some brilliant diplomacy. To which all players contributed. Also thanks for the AARs - always interesting to read, but particularly England's report - one of, if not the best AAR I've ever had the good fortune to read - honest, interesting, and at times humorous.

I felt more than a little lucky in the end. But more about that towards the end of this report.

Early Years to 1905 - Serbia saga

My early strategy was not to offend anyone. As Turkey, I could afford to be patient. I tried to explore an alliance with Austria - a T/A alliance I saw many years ago - work very successfully, with Turkey building fleets and Austria armies. I was impressed with Austria's communication, so decided to give it a try. Communication was good with ALL players, with perhaps the exception of France early on (communication with all was frequent with all, except France, would be more accurate). But for some reason, which I forget, it didn't work with Austria.

Wow - the openings - weird with Germany making such a strong move on Russia - and then paying the price. I thought at the time it was either bold or ver risky. I wasn't aware of why, until reading the AARs. Makes more sense now, and in high level games like this, unusual moves and strategies become the norm. BUT still high risk by Germany and he paid the price. Russia was obviously in trouble, and I could see by the moves Italy and Austria meant tensions between them. Italy and I agreed a strategy - as he so rightly stated, that I would take the Balkans, and Italy the Austrian home centres. Then, for some reason, that I couldn't understand made sense at the time, Italy INSISTED on taking Serbia. The France / England steam roller was moving quickly - demolishing Germany in super quick time. France heading rapidly towards Italy, made Italy's insistence of having 2 builds at one stage, seem strange. I thought (maybe wrongly so) that one build was enough against France, whilst I held England up by supporting Russia. Italy and I agreed to take out Austria, but then the 'Serbia' saga started. I knew if I didn't get Serbia as we agreed, then France would sooner or later take centres off of Italy, and my corner defences would be complete - and a 3 way draw would be on the cards. I eventually got Serbia in F1903. Phew.

Austria, Italy and I had some tentative agreements to 'halt the solo', and Russia and I were getting along well. I completely agreed with Italy, and Austria, when the 3 way TEF draw proposal came out, that they rejected it. I would have done the same. Why accept a draw, and accept defeat? against the spirit of the game we all love to play.

England, at this time, kept on asking for a 2 way draw. I kept on stating I'd accept a 3 way draw. And in the early years this was the plan. BUT England kept on saying he would stab France, but to me, it was always in the future, it never seemed to come. THEN BANG . . .

1906 to 1908 - Positioning

The stab from England happened. France thought it was too early. I thought it was a season too late - but boy was it brilliantly executed, and timed. I was gobsmacked at Austria's support of England - but why not? Great moves. Sadly Austria was taken out (great game Austria). I started talking more with France at this time. We had a season where we couldn't agree over Ionian. We were plotting to simplify the game and head for a 3 way draw (but at this stage, I planned on keeping Russia in - he had done nothing wrong - the league wasn't a priority for me at this stage - to change later though), taking Italy out. I wanted to take Italy out in the fall, France wanted to do it that spring. France forced Ionian off of me, which I couldn't understand, as he was possbily facing a massive England attack. Ionian saga, and the English stab came at the same time.

Then it was all about positioning for me, to stop the English Solo. Germany, Austria, and Italy out. Russia I needed to help keep Sev, Mos, and War, but we were fighting a losing battle. And then for me, 3 pieces of (rare) poor play. 1. France destroying his army in Piedmont. The fleet in Venice, to me was the obvious choice - but I guess the French / Turkish spat over the Ionian was something to do with this? This I thought was handing the solo to England. And as it proved Austria got into Piedmont. 2. France moving back into Tunis, when England was the threat. I couldn't understand this. England was the attacker, not me. France, in my eyes didn't trust me, and this proved the point. At this time now, I was wanting a 3 way R, E, T draw, but realistically, I couldn't see a way to achieve this. So, it was more realistic to go for a 4 way draw, or a 3 way F, T, E draw. 3. England taking Paris, when Austria was in Piedmont (F1908). A certain solo as I'm sure Austria would have helped England at this stage, to solo.

I was lucky in persuading France to give up Naples, as I needed an extra army in the east to force a stalemate line. At this stage, I was genuine about the 3, or 4 way draw, and really did think an extra army in the east, was needed more than a fleet in the west, when we already had enough fleets to counter England.

England was continually asking for a 2 way draw, BUT was honest, and said he was obviously going for the solo, and if it didn't come off, he would work for a 2 way draw with me. I was still sceptical, but went along with it - as much just to humour England. I didn't even know the scoring system, until Russia told me what it was. The 252 divided by the number of players plays a HUGE difference to the outcome (should normal ranking games also use a similar method for ranking purposes? - makes for a much better, interesting game). Russia wanted to hang on to the 4 way draw, Italy and Austria, if they were to be out, might as well choose who they would help most. England pushed for the solo. France wanted a 3 way draw. I went from a 4 way, to a 3 way to a 2 way, to taking the solo.

1909 to S1911
Boy were we lucky. France twice outguessed England to save the solo. I was, at this time, accepting a 3 way draw, but went along with England for a 2 way draw. But for me to get a few more points, was using the '2 way draw' idea to take War, and Mos off of England. England so much wanted maximum points (don't we all?) I was able to get War, and a better position, after England disbanding a crucial army - this was at France's request. The issue now was HOW to take Moscow, without alerting Russia. I needed units in Ukr, Black Sea, and Rum to take Sev out in the fall. and narrow towards the 3 way draw. England wanted me to take out Sev much earlier, but I was insisting that Mos and War had to fall first. My thinking was, that if Sev fell, how on earth would France NOT take a 3 way draw, and if France thought a 2 way draw was on the cards, he may well have handed a solo to England. So, I kept on proposing the 'false NMR' move. Looking like an NMR without it actually being an NMR. This game me the fall to take Sev and then the following spring to take Tunis and Rome off of France. It wasn't until 1910, that I could see a 2 way draw was on, and was now going along with it for real. I was asking England NOT to tell me about WHEN he was going for his NMR move. But, and I can't remember why, we agreed it would be in . . . .

Fall 1911 - the end, a risk that paid off.
England told me he was going for the NMR. We planned our moves carefully and fully. England was sending me his moves for the past few seasons, for me to 'accidentally take advantage of'. I planned to take Sev and Moscow in the same move. I even contemplated forcing Bohemia off the board instead of taking Moscow, and keeping the 3 way draw. But - what the heck, go for the 2 way, and pick up more points.
I thought about 3 issues
1. Whether to take out Sev and Mos at the same time. If England was still trying for a solo, and I always had this in the back of my mind, and used Mos to support Sev, then I could have been in trouble. Btu by fall 1911, there was no risk - By me attacking Mos, it meant any support of Sev was cut. So, I would at least have Sev.
2. Should I take Bohemia, and force it to be destroyed, and so, England having one less army to fight me with, so it would have been easier to hit a strong stalemate line.
3. Should I take Rome and Tunis at the same time.

I don't think I've ever studied a board for so long. It all went round and round. Approx 6 hours before the deadline, I was convinced England was gong to play the 'false NMR' move. AND then it dawned on me, I COULD possible take Munich as well. 18, not 17. I kept on changing my mind about what to do. The easiest, and also most difficult decision was to take Sev, and take Russia out of the game. Hated it, as we'd worked so well together, but it was necessary. I decided, that IF I got Munich, it was worth the risk. IF England was to betray me, and force Warsaw off of me, and not NMR, and got the solo, then fair play. He had by far played the best up to this stage, and deserved the solo more than anyone. I took the risk. It paid off.

I stayed up late, and watched the finale. And when the result came in, I didn't like it. I felt a fraud. I didn't deserve this result. I felt bad for Russia and England. I really didn't want to upset them. England very quickly sent me a message to congratulate me - and very warm and genuine it was too.

Thanks to ALL for such a tough game. A game with so many good communicators, and tacticians. My early patience paid off. I would play another game with ALL players. I'd have liked to have got to know Germany better, as his communications made sense, and to switch to working with Russia, after a very early and successful stab on him, I thought was all in the spirit of the game. I was also VERY impressed with England and Austria. Boy, some great moves, and diplomacy of the very highest level. and thank you Russia, for doing your best under very difficult circumstances from the start. And - last thanks again for all the AAR's. So interesting to see all the ideas, and how they all formed together from different perspectives.
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Re: PDL 2020 Division 1 Jan Game B AAR

Postby Charleroi » 11 Mar 2020, 01:29

England - your approach was understandable, to be sure. I disagreed with your Holland choice, but I wouldn't say it was an error. The choice between tempo and centers is a philosophical one more than a right / wrong. I also agree that you never had cause to turn on France (until you did). Quite the reverse - it seemed you stood more to gain from the partnership than he did and that, if any stab was to be made, it should have been him against you. That's why I found the Munich move more disappointing than your own, and why I was more hopeful (although ultimately wrong) that I could persuade him to turn on you in 1902 than than I could get you to attack him.
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Re: PDL 2020 Division 1 Jan Game B AAR

Postby Shyvve » 12 Mar 2020, 00:52

Squasher and lecrae - Thanks for the extensive AAR's on this one. Good to hear from all those who've added their takes on this one. What a fascinating game! Some games definitely deserve an AAR.
I'm just glad to hear that the English NMR wasn't due to unavoidable circumstances. Although that's probably not much solace to England.

I think I'm going to remember this one as the Turkish Delight game.

If we decide to do some Honors Awards at the end of PDL2020 (best stab, best game, etc.) this one would likely merit strong consideration.
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Re: PDL 2020 Division 1 Jan Game B AAR

Postby jay65536 » 12 Mar 2020, 20:16

Not gonna hit the Quote button, but this is in response to lecrae's AAR.

In general, I notice that when you lay out your thinking, you're only talking about negotiation and strategy. The tactical side is ignored. I remember 3 different spots where I thought you could have played sharper tactics to achieve the same strategic goals you already had. One was obvious and hugely costly (Fall 1911); one was not obvious but not a big deal (Spring 1907, not even gonna talk about it anymore); and one was not obvious but very costly (Spring 1908).

Obviously you know that you should not have "fake NMRed" in Fall 1911, but let me just point out one aspect that you seem to have missed. You said that the plan for the 2way was for Turkey to take Moscow off you and then for you to take Spain and Marseilles. But that already doesn't make sense. You didn't need to give up Moscow! When you lost Warsaw, you were on 16 and Turkey was on 13. If Turkey takes Sev, Rom, and Tun, that puts him on 16 as well. At that point, you can take Spain while Turkey takes Marseilles and you get to 17/17 that way. There are stalemate positions that have these two centers separated.

The other big one was Spring 1908. This was the turn when you played Pic-Par and double-convoyed London to Gascony. Both of these moves I thought were mistakes. I know you already admitted that you should have kept Austria alive; that's why Pic-Par was a strategic error. But I think it was also a tactical error. Even supposing that you wanted to eliminate Austria, why not wait until Fall to walk in? That potentially allows you to do something else with Picardy in the Spring, instead of just walking in in Spring and holding in Fall.

But what else could Picardy have done? That question is linked to the double convoy you played. You wanted to play into Gascony while still occupying Burgundy, right? But if Picardy weren't going to Paris, you could have played Bur-Gas, supported by Brest, while Picardy drops to Burgundy (maybe supported by Munich) and then London moves to Picardy. That way, the Channel is convoying but MAO isn't. With MAO thus freed up, you could have used MAO and Portugal to keep up the pressure on Spain. And even though you couldn't have known how well it would have worked, you would have taken Spain--and soloed--if you had done this. France made a big mistake that turn but you didn't set yourself up to exploit it.
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