PDL 2020 Division 1 Mar Game B AAR

After game reports for PlaDip Diplomacy League games

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PDL 2020 Division 1 Mar Game B AAR

Postby MasterGR » 04 May 2020, 00:44

Game: 166092

ENGLAND--Tortellacci
FRANCE--MasterGR (4way DRAW)
ITALY--Squasher
GERMANY--the_discourses/mjparrett
AUSTRIA--StarkAdder (4way DRAW)
TURKEY--Groo (4way DRAW)
RUSSIA--SelhurstPark (4way DRAW)
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Re: PDL 2020 Division 1 Mar Game B AAR

Postby Custer » 04 May 2020, 00:52

As Spock would say......with his right eye brow curled up....."interesting".

LoL

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Re: PDL 2020 Division 1 Mar Game B AAR

Postby Groo » 04 May 2020, 01:47

Good game everyone! The game ended in a gentlemen's agreement (for viewers probably boring), but it was intense, with a lot of diplomatic maneuvres and all sorts of end-game plans.

in short,for me it was a real pleasure pulling off the AT (I'm proud of us SarkAdder) and fighting skilled opponents such as Italy, who kept me at bay for 3-4 turns longer than I wanted, and France who played really masterfully in all stages of the game. Also, credit to Russia who managed to survive and stay pretty healthy in the end. I was sure at some point (after Italy collapsed) this game would end in a FAT draw.

I'm interested to hear how close were F and R from the start and did your relationship really deteriorate in the end-game or was it just a ruse?
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Re: PDL 2020 Division 1 Mar Game B AAR

Postby jay65536 » 04 May 2020, 01:59

Been following this game and saw that it ended. I too am curious why Russia was not taken out of the draw. It looked like France had the drop on him a few turns back.
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Re: PDL 2020 Division 1 Mar Game B AAR

Postby MasterGR » 04 May 2020, 06:48

France here! Where to begin? This was one of the best games I've played recently. Excellent diplomacy all around, some very skilled players and generally great communication. And perhaps, the best performance I have ever given.

For simplicity, I'll use he/him for everyone below, apologies in advance if any of you is not a "he".

I also really liked the AAR format that lecrae introduced, so I'll use it here.

This post is really long, so if you're mostly interested in the end game I recommend starting at S08!

I'll start with the early game and I'll focus on my side of the board. After chatting with everyone around me, I decided that England was the one of my neighbors I liked best communication wise. However, it turned out that England was a particularly tricky fellow. He told me towards the end of Spring 01 phase that there was an agreement between EGI to all move on me, but that he liked me so much that he decided to abort his move to the Channel. At the same time, he warned me that Germany was going to move to Burgundy, and he came up with a plan: tell Germany that the plan was off because Italy spilled the beans to me (!), and warn G that I'd be moving to Burgundy. Germany sent me a message like an hour before the deadline asking me about it, and I confirmed it. So G and I bounced in Bur, which left the way open for E to grab Belgium in the Fall uncontested. An ingenious plan from England, which however created a lot of suspicion against him by everyone else. At the same time, Italy was nervous of me because I didn't want to rule out a fleet build in Mars, so I also bounced with him in Pied.

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Fall 01: Germany and I both realized that England tricked us to get Belgium, so we started talking about working together. My move to Bur at that point was agreed upon with him, with the idea being that next year he'd be helping me into Belgium. I stayed friendly with England, who kept pushing me to build two armies (suicide). I told him that I'd be building fleet Brest, as Italy was very pushy against me building F Mars. Then however, England built possibly the most aggressive combination against me, F Lon and A Edi, which certainly worried me. But, Russia also built F StP, I am guessing at Germany's behest, which now meant that England was in trouble.

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S02: I convinced England that the best way forward was actually to allow me into the Channel so that I could help him out. That of course gave me many options. At that point in S02, Germany changed his tune and even though originally he had told me he'd support me into Belgium, he asked that I support him in instead. I admit that that was disappointing, and knowing Germany's moves I got into Ruhr with England's support.

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F02: And now, it was England who was asking me to help him into Holland. All I wanted was a build! :) I also didn't think the move would work, and I also thought that Germany would had been too hard to crack, so in the end I decided to just take Belgium and move on England. Of course, all those flips didn't help me build much trustworthiness with either E or G, and at that point I thought I was doing pretty badly in the game, despite being ahead in centers.

Also at this point, despite lots of pressure from G, I ended up building an army, which was my first build related mistake, but not the last one. The truth is, as I told G in the game, that my army build was accidental. I had put an army in because E was telling me that unless I built an army he'd give everything to G, and at the same time I was nervous that without an army Germany could stab me hard. So I put the order in for an army as a placeholder, and then actually forgot to change it before the deadline because I was busy at work. This definitely didn't help G trust me and caused problems down the road.

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S03: At this point, it appeared that my relationship with Germany was going pretty well, and since I got Belgium I promised to help him into London. I was also happy that Germany had a fleet in Holland, and that he also agreed to even leave it empty.

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F03: I supported Germany into London as promised. However, in F03 Germany got into Holland again with an army, and was clear in his messages that he wanted to maintain 3 armies at our border at all times. That was very discouraging, as in my mind it's no way to build an alliance.

I'll take a break here from the north and mention that at the same time in the south, after a few flips and flops it was clear that there was an AT going on. Given this development, I thought it was crucial that Russia didn't get under pressure in the west. If Russia was to collapse, then AT would steamroll the board. So I put a lot of effort in the whole of the early game to make sure that I and R were working together to stop the AT, and also a lot of my decisions in the west were driven by making sure that Russia could defend against the AT. To answer a question by Groo above, I kept Russia close all game long, as ideally I wanted to take out both E and G, and that would be much easier with Russia's help.

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Spring 04: At this point I was finding that the original Germany (the_discourses) was a very tough fellow to get along with. He was supposed to make sure that he'd help me get a build that year, but from his messages it was clear that his priorities were different. I was also nervous that he would attack me or Russia next. So I wrote back to England and told him I'd let him take London back. I knew exactly how Germany was going to move, so I made sure his London fleet was destroyed and I got into the North Sea. At the same point, as I expected Germany made a move towards getting a Russian center in the Fall (which was better than him moving to Hel, my other fear). I also convinced Russia to move to Norwegian to hit England together.

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F04: Given Germany's move to Ska, it was now easy to convince Russia that G was moving after him. So I was able to solicit his support into Denmark, which guaranteed a build for me and a solid presence in the North Sea. I think also that was the final blow for Germany, who had already started getting pretty desperate after the destruction of his London fleet, and I presume that it pushed him over the edge and led to his surrender. This delayed the game by about a week, which was pretty unfortunate especially for me (I'll explain later why).

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S05: At this point, I was pretty much King in the North. G and E were fractured, and even though they had more units collectively than I did, the positioning was such that I had the upper hand, plus Russia's support. Interestingly, Russia himself was afraid that I would stab him now. I told R to move to Ska to guarantee Denmark for himself (which we had agreed), but he was afraid that if he did I'd take Norway. I found that fairly paranoid given that I already had fronts with E and G, however R didn't want to take the risk. In addition, G didn't want R into Denmark for obvious reasons. This worked great for me, as it led to the hilarious situation where R were G bouncing in Denmark, effectively protecting my center while I could focus on England :D

This turn was also the first one for new Germany, mjparrett (as everyone knows it's possible to figure out replacements in anon countries games by looking at the player list after a new player joins). I have played previously with mjparrett a couple of times, and last time I actually played with him he auto-surrendered and then quit the site it sounds like, so I was glad to see that he was back.

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F05: Now new G actually changed the tune from the previous one, and started asking me to support him into Denmark. I ended up not doing so, because I didn't see much profit for me, and I wanted to take an English center instead. Unfortunately for me at that time England guessed correctly and I failed. But luckily, Turkey with whom I had a gentleman's agreement regarding the Med was also stuck against Italy. This was a very boring turn, as almost nothing moved on the board.

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S06: Russia was finally convinced that in order to take Den he'd have to move to Ska. This also meant that I needed to make gains on England, otherwise I'd have to destroy a unit. Germany whispered to England that I would convoy to Yorkshire, but to be honest even before that I had decided that I was going to convoy to Edi this turn as I thought that England would expect me to repeat the same move as last Fall. The gambit worked! At the same time, it appeared that in the south IR finally convinced A to join them. I admit I was a bit of nervous of that development as I liked the stalemate in the Balkans, but also a bit skeptical.

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F06: It took me some time to figure out the best move here, as it wasn't obvious at first look. But supporting both of my units into Lon and York I was guaranteed a build! In addition, if England guessed wrongly there, I could even gain two builds. Luckily, England did guess wrongly which led to him losing all 3 of his centers in a single year and getting eliminated! At the same time, G was really pushing me to help him into Norway, or to get myself in there. Turkey was suggesting the same: take out Russia and then stab Germany. But, if I wanted to have a chance at a solo I needed Munich asap. Plus, I wasn't convinced that the ARI would last, and Russia and Italy were the only two powers with which I had consistently been honest and I didn't want to break these relationships at this point. So I decided that my next target had to be Germany instead of Russia, which led to me lying to G and ruining my relationship with him. Which wasn't a huge deal anymore thanks to England's elimination.

At the same time in the south, AT pulled the greatest ruse of the game. I was certainly surprised to see it, but also felt well about by decision not to stab Russia.

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At the build of this phase I made a pretty grand mistake. Instead of building an army in Marseilles, which would had allowed me direct access to Piedmont, both to help Italy until I could get in position in the Med, and also to have easy access to Tyrolia/Munich, I built two fleets. The other side effect of this was that it distracted Turkey from taking Italy out, which diplomatically was not ideal as I had been in contact with Turkey for some time hoping to work things out with him in the long term. This F Mars build may have ironically been my biggest tactical mistake in the game.

S07: This turn went pretty well for me, as it led to Holland's distraction. At the same time, AT started making progress in the south. Turkey and I started agreeing bounces at this point.

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F07: Another good turn in the north, I think that G didn't see this attack coming but there wasn't much he could had done about it anyway. What was disappointing was that Turkey got into NAf. I knew that in order to solo I needed Tunis, but it turns out Turkey knew it too :)

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S08: The double bounce in WMS was agreed upon with Turkey. Turkey didn't know this, but I was planning to stab R in the Fall, and I needed my fleet to stay in North Sea, however Russia was asking me to move it out.

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F08: At this point, I suggested to AT to go for a 3-way. I expected that Berlin would be supported into Munich, and I knew I couldn't hold it, so it made sense to move to Kiel and to Norway. Unfortunately, AT didn't believe me (can't blame them). The stab went well nevertheless. However, this was the second time that T got an accidental center from Italy (the first one being Tunis). A fairly unfortunate development for me!

At the end of this turn I convinced G to destroy Munich instead of Tyrolia. In retrospect, this backfired as it led to A moving more of his units away from Russia.

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S09: I lied to Russia again and continued with the northern advance. I was however expecting a bounce in StP, which sadly didn't happen. That meant that I couldn't guarantee both Sweden and Denmark anymore.

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F09: I really debated on how to proceed. One very important point to make here, is that I had a personal deadline of May 8th for this game to end, due to a family commitment I have at that time. After that date, it would had been very hard for me to keep playing. I could see that Turkey kept pushing on me and I understood from various comms that there was an ARTG forming. I was hoping that AT would take the opportunity to finish off Russia with me and get to a 3-way, but they didn't. I understand why they decided to court Russia instead, but I think they overestimated their diplomatic capital with Russia, which was negative as they had lied to R much more over the course of the game than I had, plus they didn't have as strong of a relationship with him as I did. Turkey's exit from the Black Sea also worried me because it meant that he didn't want to stab A but instead was hoping to get some of my centers (something that he told straight out in comms). That was very puzzling to me, as it was pretty obvious that T didn't have the potential to get any of my centers. But, it was also alarming as I couldn't hold ARTG by myself. The moves I had planned against R were:
- Ska to Sweden
- North Sea support Kiel to Denmark
- Ruhr support Holland to Kiel

In hindisight, the above moves would had gotten me the two builds needed to hold Turkey off while finishing off Russia in the north fairly quickly, likely before May 8th. But I couldn't had known that, and so in the end I decided to move away.

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S10: Very intense comms with Russia at this point, who I still thought could come after me with ATG (so no, it wasn't a ruse). But, as I previously mentioned, AT had zero creditworthiness with Russia, while I still had some. So I managed to convinced Russia to help me into Munich while I would be moving further away. It was a risk, but R luckily stuck to his word!

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With G finally gone, I had one final opportunity to stab R again and even go for the 2-way, which I was seriously considering. I messaged T and suggested that I could support him into Ven while he'd be grabbing Rum, and I would also destroy or convoy his A NAf. In addition, knowing Russia's moves I knew I could grab Kiel back (betting that A wouldn't attack Munich with 3, which indeed he didn't), and this guarantee R wouldn't build. Turkey was actually up for it, but his communication on the final day was extremely spotty. Time zone difference didn't help, as I got his final confirmation when I woke up 20 min before the deadline would expire. That made me think that T wasn't serious about it and wasn't going to follow through. In addition, going for a 2-way at this point would extend the game by another couple weeks and I didn't have that time due to my family commitment. So in the end, I decided to pass the opportunity and agree to a 4-way. Note that Turkey indeed moved Rome to Ven that final turn, so he was actually honest after all!

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As I wrote above, this was perhaps the best performance I've ever given, and I've had quite a few good games in the past. So I'm pretty disappointed about the end game result, as I truly believe that a 4-way doesn't reflect my game. However, real life takes precedence, and I am still really happy that I was able to pull off the game that I did, despite the final result, as it means that after 25 years since my first diplomacy game, I'm still improving! Plus, I think R is a really nice guy (perhaps too nice for PDL!) so I'm happy that at the end he was included in the draw. Kudos to Turkey for prioritizing Tunis and making sure I couldn't solo, and an amazingly good defense from Italy. Plus, Austria really managed to come back from the dead, despite the fact that even T stabbed him and grabbed Sev (some great diplomacy from Turkey there). The AT ruse in the mid game was also very impressive. England also played well and was a skilled communicator, the original Germany a great tactician, and mjparrett made the best out of a very weak position. And finally, thank you to Russia for sticking with me till the end of the game, despite the fact that I stabbed him fairly hard in 08!

Well, this took a little too long and and ended up being a little too long, so thank you for reading it if you got to the end!

To the admins, I hope it's okay that I took the liberty to start the AAR. I wanted to write my thoughts on this game now, as soon I will have no time for it.
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Re: PDL 2020 Division 1 Mar Game B AAR

Postby StarkAdder » 04 May 2020, 11:09

Wow, and epic game and an even more epic AAR by France. I'm still blown away by both.

France shared some insights about his interactions with I, R, G and T that I did not know before and both (A) make me realize how narrow my escape to a 4WD in this game was and (B) made me wish I engaged with France as much as they did. We did, fairly often, because MasterGR is a great communicator. But I never grew to fully trust him and he grew tired of my rejections of his offers of 2WDs, 3WDs and 4WDs.

As the Vienna sausage in the middle of a lot of hungry diners, my strategy this entire game was survival. Initially, I communicated a lot with Italy and a bit with Russia (his messages tended to brief and come late in the turn, close to deadline, a problem since I -- ironically -- am on Moscow time and he is not). But despite a good relationship with Italy, I had misgivings about Russia and noticed he did not want to negotiate over Rumania and Galicia, so I reached out to the Power that was originally to be our IRA target..Turkey.

To my surprise, since he had been quiet early on, Turkey proved to be a very reliable ally, so reliable that I stuck with him the whole game. We debated our own moves and the implications of others' moves. We sometimes disagreed, but never stabbed one another (OK, once; more on that soon). France, Italy and Russia begged me to attack him; Britain wrote often to suggest a BAT alliance; Germany warned me regularly to not trust Italy; England and Germany later BOTH warned me to never trust France. A typical game, in other words.

So I was getting stuck in a stalemate. Russian and Turkish pressure left some of my home centers occupied (no way I could abandon Turkey then). The Balkans were in good shape for me but Russia was securing its southern border and Turkey's naval progress against Italy and Turkey was SLOW. I tried to persuade Germany to help me open another front against Russia; England by then was toast. Germany made a few moves, just enough to get Russia talking with me again (at Italy's prompting and I decided to feign agreement, at last, to stab Turkey). I made one carefully-choreographed move with Italy and Russia, regaining Sev and (critical for me) taking pressure off Trieste. Was the tide turning?

Well, the tide flows both ways, so I did a double switch again. Turkey was very about my support for Russia into Sev, and told me he held no grudges, and then proved it with his moves. So the following season I flipped back into the AT alliance, for the rest of the game, and from the new position I was able to regain all of my homeland plus Ukraine and Venice.

Italy stuck around for a while, still chatty regularly with me, and I actually tried to keep him alive, as I tried for Germany, for when you are a goldfish in a pond of barracudas, you like to have some minnows still in there too. Turkey and I tried several times to advance in Russia, then tried hard to court the Tsar to our alliance of Four Musketeers. As it turned out, we only had 2 1/2 Musketeers (I was Porthos, France, not D'Artagnan; you were Cardinal Richelieu). Aramis (Germany) was fatally stabbed by a French sword with a Russian hilt, and the game ended up where it did. Had France not had a personal commitment on May 8 and thereby accepted my draw offer, I imagine we would have played on, and from France's new position and a continued alliance with Russia, I imagine we would have ended in late May with either a French solo or a FRT 3WD. Either way, I consider myself lucky to have survived to the end, because I'm just a poor boy, I get no sympathy...

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Re: PDL 2020 Division 1 Mar Game B AAR

Postby StarkAdder » 04 May 2020, 11:15

Wow, an epic game and an even more epic AAR by France. I'm still blown away by both.

France shared some insights about his interactions with I, R, G and T that I did not know before and (A) make me realize how narrow my escape to a 4WD in this game was, and (B) made me wish I engaged with France as much as they had. I did, fairly often, because MasterGR is a great communicator. But I never grew to fully trust him and he grew tired of my rejections of his offers of 2WDs, 3WDs and 4WDs.

As the Vienna sausage in the middle of a lot of hungry diners, my strategy this entire game was survival. Initially, I communicated a lot with Italy and a bit with Russia (his messages tended to be brief and come late in the turn, close to deadline, a problem since I -- ironically -- am on Moscow time and he is not). But despite a good relationship with Italy, I had some misgivings about Russia and noticed he did not want to negotiate over Rumania and Galicia, so I reached out to the Power that was originally to be our IRA target..Turkey.

To my surprise, since he had been quiet early on, Turkey proved to be a very reliable ally, so reliable that I stuck with him the whole game. We debated our own moves and the implications of others' moves. We sometimes disagreed, but never stabbed one another (OK, once; more on that soon). France, Italy and Russia begged me to attack him; Britain wrote to suggest a BAT alliance; Germany warned me regularly to not trust Italy; England and Germany later BOTH warned me to never trust France. A typical game, in other words.

So I was getting stuck in a stalemate. Russian and Turkish pressure left some of my home centers occupied (no way I could abandon Turkey then). The Balkans were in good shape for me, but Russia was still securing its southern border and Turkey's naval progress against Italy and Turkey was SLOW. I tried to persuade Germany to help me open another front against Russia; England by then was toast. Germany made a few moves, just enough to get Russia talking with me again (at Italy's prompting) and I decided to feign my agreement, at last, to stab Turkey. I made one carefully-choreographed move with Italy and Russia, helping Russia regain Sev and (critical for me) taking Italian pressure off Trieste. Was the tide turning?

Well, the tide flows both ways, so I did a double switch again. Turkey was very calm about my support for Russia into Sev, and told me he held no grudges, and then proved it with his moves. So the following season I flipped back into the AT alliance, for the rest of the game, and from the new position I was able to regain all of my homeland, plus Ukraine and Venice.

Italy stuck around for a while, still being chatty with me regularly, and I actually tried to keep him alive, as I tried for Germany, for when you are a goldfish in a pond of barracudas, you like to have some minnows still in there too.

Turkey and I tried several times to advance in Russia, then tried hard to court the Tsar into our alliance of Four Musketeers. As it turned out, we only had 2 1/2 Musketeers (I was Porthos, France, not D'Artagnan; you were Cardinal Richelieu). Aramis (Germany) was fatally stabbed by a French sword with a Russian hilt, and the game ended up where it did.

Had France not had a personal commitment on May 8 and thereby accepted my draw offer, I imagine we would have played on, and from France's new position and a continued alliance with Russia, I imagine we would have ended in late May with either a French solo or a FRT 3WD. Either way, I consider myself lucky to have survived to the end, because I'm just a poor boy, I get no sympathy...

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Re: PDL 2020 Division 1 Mar Game B AAR

Postby Groo » 04 May 2020, 15:19

Hey, a top-quality game, everyone! Congraz!

Playing Turkey in a high quality game is always a grueling task for me personally. The reason being Turkey has 2 choices: either to stab two of my close neighbors in the early game to accumulate momentum and go for the win or wait passively and hope you stay alive or that someone misplays and gives you a chance. I don't like having 2 enemies on the top of the bat, but I don't like waiting and praying for a mistake that's unlikely to come either!

First year plans
I joined a bit later than everyone else because - work :roll:
When I first joined the game I already had 6 messages (or more?) pending. I assessed the board from my comms and I realized immediately, that everyone here is a high-level player and a good communicator, except ironically, Austria who never contacted me. I thought it was odd and after a brief discussion with Russia I was determined to make him my first target and plan for a juggernaut. I decided to get in touch with Austria, just to be diligent. Looking back at it now I'm so glad I did :D

I started planning this game like any other: how to achieve a solo :twisted:
I quickly befriended England and Germany (I connected especially with Britain whom I thought to be most capable) and Russia, my partners in crime (in achieving a solo). My strategy was a bit complex, but nothing crazy: The idea was to influence Germany in creating a fake central triple. I would use this as an excuse for a jugger with Russia. Germany would influence Italy to move against France. Also, I encouraged Germany and Britain to work together against France so that Italy thinks it's more lucrative for him to move vs France as well. That would open me to the possibility of taking down Italy first, then moving vs Austria and then, with Germany help I'd take Russia down. In the end it would either be a GET in my favor or my solo. Well, that didn't happen :D
Firstly, Russia came to a crazy idea to bounce our fleets in Arm instead of Bla. I was thinking long and hard about it. My relationship with Russia was excellent at this point and I was tempted to do a jugger. On the other hand, I'm always extra cautious of Russia when playing Turkey so I made a conscious decision to take the "gift" of a superior tactical position over Russia in exchange for some credibility (I knew Russia will be angry at me but I hoped I can salvage the relationship somehow) I bounced R in Arm with my army and enter BLA, which is typically a great start for Turkey, but it came at a cost.

Secondly, I soon realized Italy isn't moving west and that I can't count much on Germany to influence him. I tried to do it myself and sweet talk Italy. The only thing he wanted to hear or talk about was going vs Austria. He played it really well, though. He pretended to be the "oddball" of the group, he was humble in early comms, we had good discussions, he assured me he is moving vs Fra after he takes some builds vs Austria. I mean he did everything correctly. Thinking back, I realized it takes a bulshitter to know a bullshitter. Italy wanted also to get rid of Austria first, indeed. But then he and Russia would jump on me. I digged for some third-hand info and realized Italy was really close to both France and Russia. The fact that I did a soft stab on Russia also didn't help my situation at all.

The New Deal
I had to quickly rethink my whole approach. If we kill off Austria, yay, I'd get 2-3 dots and die in the mid game!...so In early 02 or even in fall of 01 I started to work on my relationship with Austria really hard and I soon realized he isn't at all a bad communicator. I explained to Austria that Italy and Russia are close and that they both want me to attack him, maybe even exaggerated a little bit with the imminent threat, but I wanted to make sure Austria understands it's not in my interest to ever stab him. I still don't know a 100% what the outcome of this game would be if we went for Austria, but I'm almost certain it wouldn't include me in the final draw. (would like to hear feedback from Italy or Russia if I was right about any of that)
Austria responded well to my comms and we stayed really close. We agreed I would support him to Rum in the spring of 02 and Sev in 03, and in return, he will give me Greece in fall 02. I was making a leap of faith with Austria!
Supporing A to Rumania was a hard stab on Russia and I knew it's pretty much over with our relationship at that point. I wouldn't forgive me, why would he? To my pleasant surprise, Austria really did vacate Greece for me in the fall and he moved in hard against Russia. What he didn't do is deteriorate his relationship with Italy even though I was hoping for him to take both of them at the same time. Italy also played masterfully, patiently waiting to see how the situation will develop. I knew I'm dealing with a top-class player after his waiting moves in fall 01 and spring 02. As a matter of fact, I believe Italy was diplomatically the most influential player on the board at the time which was bad news for me because our long term strategies clash completely.

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The worst news for me in 02 was France and Germany working against England. That took me by surprise because I thought England will handle the situation. It seems I overestimated him and underestimated France. (ps. Fra, you asked me why didn't I start communicate more with you early. It was my big mistake in judgement. I thought England and Germany will surely get you first. I warned England repeatedly that he must move against you and that you will do exactly as you did as soon as you built F Bre, but he obviously bought your lies regardless, so good job there :D)
My new strategy from this point was - to ally with Austria and try to rush through Italy to south France. Basically, it was a race between me and France. First item on that checklist was Tunis. To get that I used the capturing of Greece which was agreed with Austria as an incentive for Italy to attack Austria now. He finally stopped waiting defensively in 03 thinking I moved in it against Austria's will -> just in time so I can move freely into ION with support from Albania. It was a first of many small A/T ploys. However, Austria didn't play Bud s Ser-Tri like I suggested him, probably because he didn't believe me completely yet. If he did, Italy would have never taken a dot from him imo.

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Unfortunately for me and my race against France, Italy guessed correct and took Trieste, which meant he didn't disband and only Russia ended up losing one (Sev). After that, Italy guessed my moves 3 times in a row slowing me down tremendously, while France played it like a pro, and manipulated both Germany and England. To make matters worse, R and I managed to persuade Austria to move against me in S06

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I put every atom of energy in explaining Austria why this was a bad idea that could actually benefit us in the long-term, and he flipped back in the same year, which resulted in the Italian disband (FINALLY!)

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The thing is we were already so far behind (4 moves) that my strategy transformed from how to get a solo into full damage control: how to stop France from getting a solo.

The rest of the game was fairly straightforward (with some twists on the road). Italy went down still giving me the hardest time (I realized it's because he's probably Squasher who already has a lot of league points and wants to minimize the points of other people). France demolished England, then Germany and eventually formed a stalemate with me in the Med. There were some 2wd talks and France said we agreed on bouncing, but in fact from my perspective he played the most anti-turkish moves and told me about them, so I agreed on bouncing them, of course. He cleverly used that fact to try to create distrust between me and Austria. The only way I would go for a 2-wd was if he gave me Spa or Mar so that we get more room for arranging a safe 2-wd on which he thought I'm bs-ing him and that I want a solo (I wasn't, just to be frank). When I saw he's not up for that, my goal for the game was to force it and eventually end in a FAT triple (I didn't want to see a FRT, because I screwed Russia up so many times in this game that I was afraid of the possibility he throws deliberately to France if we try a 2wd or that France would influence him and trick him into a solo. Also, I really wanted to end allied to Austria this whole game.

In F08 France decided to stab Russia (my 2-wd talks finally cam to fruition, or so I thought). This prompted a stop the leader alliance aka the 4 musketeers lead by our Porthos, Austria. He's too kind of a soul and really wanted to keep both Germany and Russia alive. I was hopeful for a brief moment that the Musketeers would help me bring France down, but that moment didn't last long.
The game ended in a 4-way draw because Russia exploited Austria's Musketeer zeal and stabbed us hard. It was a good move by Russia to shorten the game and ensure his survival, I admit. France and I didn't trust each other, Russia and I didn't trust each other at all. A 4 way with 9 centers was realistically the best I could achieve after Russia made it clear he won't be moving decisively towards France. I probably could have been greedier, but I feared it would backfire into a French solo so I accepted the draw.

I think F easily could have gone to at least 17 in this game so I was surprised he did accept the draw, but with real-life intervening, I understand the decision.

Again, congraz everyone on a well-fought game!

Cheers,
Groo
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Re: PDL 2020 Division 1 Mar Game B AAR

Postby SelhurstPark » 04 May 2020, 23:16

By comparison just a few words from me as Russia. I acknowledge that I was perhaps fortunate to be a part of the final result although I don't think that it can be denied that I worked long and hard even to survive so the in that sense I feel I was successful. At the end, I realised and shared that T was surely never going to order against A as that would invite A to retreat to gift F a solo and once that became clear I think we all recognised that the game was complete.
France kindly has suggested, "I think R is a really nice guy (perhaps too nice for PDL!) so I'm happy that at the end he was included in the draw." and I will admit to a sense that this is certainly a demanding and unforgiving format and quite different to the more normal day-to-day stuff. However, I am here and never quit - so hopefully next time I might even find a way to have fun as well as surviving: success, however, seems unlikely!
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Re: PDL 2020 Division 1 Mar Game B AAR

Postby MasterGR » 05 May 2020, 05:58

Some excellent AARs, it's always enlightening to hear other players' thought process!

SelhurstPark wrote:I acknowledge that I was perhaps fortunate to be a part of the final result although I don't think that it can be denied that I worked long and hard even to survive so the in that sense I feel I was successful.


Russia, you indeed worked very hard, at least on me (and I on you), and it certainly paid off. I think some players are more cutthroat than others, but the personal relationships developed during a game do matter even to the cutthroat ones, as in Turkey's example who told me that he didn't want a big draw with Austria (but would go for a 2-way) :P The same is true for me.

Groo wrote:The worst news for me in 02 was France and Germany working against England. That took me by surprise because I thought England will handle the situation. It seems I overestimated him and underestimated France. (ps. Fra, you asked me why didn't I start communicate more with you early. It was my big mistake in judgement. I thought England and Germany will surely get you first. I warned England repeatedly that he must move against you and that you will do exactly as you did as soon as you built F Bre, but he obviously bought your lies regardless, so good job there :D)


Turkey (Groo), I think in the same way you underestimated me early on I also underestimated you. I only received very short messages from you, most of them suggesting I move on Italy (which I was certain to pass on to Italy :P), and so I thought that you were not one of the top players in the game. That changed when at some point Italy forwarded me a message from you that indeed proved that you really knew what you were doing. That underestimation on both sides was unfortunate for both of us, as we never managed to develop a trusting relationship -- the fact of course that we both knew it was a race between us at around mid-game didn't help. I have to say also that when I moved to the Channel, my plan was not necessarily to stab England. I was truly debating between helping him against Germany, or stabbing him. I've had this memory of a game I played a couple of years ago where I was playing Russia in a committed jugg that against all odds steamrolled the board (and ended with my solo :P), and I was hoping that I could have a similar experience with England. Which is also why I initially made the move to Ruhr. But, I decided that after all taking out G would be too hard, whereas taking out E should be easy, plus an FE would had hurt Russia who was already under pressure in the south, and so I went with G in the end. The flip flop there didn't help me in the short term, as after my move to Ruhr G would be forever suspicious of me, but I managed to solve that problem eventually with R's help.

StarkAdder wrote:Germany made a few moves, just enough to get Russia talking with me again (at Italy's prompting) and I decided to feign my agreement, at last, to stab Turkey. I made one carefully-choreographed move with Italy and Russia, helping Russia regain Sev and (critical for me) taking Italian pressure off Trieste. Was the tide turning?

Well, the tide flows both ways, so I did a double switch again. Turkey was very calm about my support for Russia into Sev, and told me he held no grudges, and then proved it with his moves. So the following season I flipped back into the AT alliance, for the rest of the game, and from the new position I was able to regain all of my homeland, plus Ukraine and Venice.


Interesting also to learn that when A supported R into Sev it was actually not a ruse, especially because for some reason Austria sold it to me as a ruse when I asked him about it!

StarkAdder wrote:Turkey and I tried several times to advance in Russia, then tried hard to court the Tsar into our alliance of Four Musketeers. As it turned out, we only had 2 1/2 Musketeers (I was Porthos, France, not D'Artagnan; you were Cardinal Richelieu). Aramis (Germany) was fatally stabbed by a French sword with a Russian hilt, and the game ended up where it did.

Had France not had a personal commitment on May 8 and thereby accepted my draw offer, I imagine we would have played on, and from France's new position and a continued alliance with Russia, I imagine we would have ended in late May with either a French solo or a FRT 3WD. Either way, I consider myself lucky to have survived to the end, because I'm just a poor boy, I get no sympathy...


Personal opinion that the whole Musketeers thing was a mistake, as AT had an opportunity to take out R quickly and get to the 3-way with me, but I think at that point both of you got greedy and thought you could gain more than you could realistically :roll: It was certainly entertaining though. And StarkAdder, as always I really enjoyed your poetic writing style, even though I have to say that towards the end game your comms were somewhat disappointing in contrast to the early/mid game. Your Bohemian army rhapsody was a great hit though, even though you twice didn't take my support into Munich! I think an FRT was unlikely though, most likely outcome due to positioning was either a FAT or FT or F solo. Realistically, I would have no centers to gain out of an FRT!

To conclude, I think my first post didn't do justice to the great relationship Italy and I had. After a rocky beginning, we both communicated very frequently since we had a common agenda (which was reducing Turkey's influence), and we lobbied around the board to achieve it. Italy also helped me get Germany on board. Alas, this relationship never materialized to meaningful cooperation on the board, as I made it into the Med a tad too late, but it still helped me quite a bit diplomatically, and I think it helped Italy survive longer too as I lobbied Russia to coordinate with Italy quite a bit.

Overall, amazing game, very deep diplomacy with lots of intricacies and secret plots, and some great tactics from time to time. And very little drama despite the occasional hard stabs. So I'm looking forward to playing with you all again in a few months!

Cheers,
MasterGR
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