PDL Division 1 July A game AAR

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PDL Division 1 July A game AAR

Postby Groo » 02 Oct 2020, 14:58

ENGLAND MasterGR (4way DRAW)
FRANCE Groo (4way DRAW)
ITALYDirty Harry (4way DRAW)
GERMANY deja
AUSTRIA surrendered
TURKEY mjparrett
RUSSIA V (4way DRAW)

So this game ended in fall of 1912 in another 4-way. It seems we only have solos and 4-ways in D1.
Congraz to all winners.

My AAR is coming soon, but if anyone beats me to the punch, I'll be glad.
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Re: PDL Division 1 July A game AAR

Postby Groo » 02 Oct 2020, 16:56

Opening and the early game strategy
I got France, a country I like playing the most so I was pretty happy with that. My diplomacy in the early game was fairly good as well. Right of the bat Italy sent a great message, outlining the DMZ I personally find very favorable to both F/I so I wanted to play with him in the long run. On the other side, I was discussing a possible western triple and alliances with England and Germany. Russia also reached out with a plan to get England...the early diplomacy for France was almost ideal, considering the number of options I had.

In 01 I decided that England will probably be my first target, seeing how R and I seemed willing to cooperate. On the other hand England was also a good communicator and I haven't dismissed the possibility of a long-term E/F as well yet.
I agreed to bounce Bur with Germany and moved in preparation to convoy to Portugal so I could have a F MAO in the spring 02 - which is so far my favorite French opening as it gives France flexibility to play W3, or move against E.

Much to my surprise Germany opened incredibly anti-English and he also didn't bounce me in Bur so my plan was screwed in the beginning. This opening as well as some comms I received from G and R made me rethink my position. I felt that G is Russia's puppet and I was from that moment fairly scared of Russia's influence on the map. I feared that if I went for England as we agreed that Germany would a)contest me b) move against me rather than against Russia.

This is why I went for Mun in 01 and started being a bit more secretive with Russia regarding my intentions.
I remember the plan was to translate Mun into Belgium in 02 and then decide what next. That would also allow me to build F Brest and say it's anti-German while still giving me the flexibility to be anti-English. In spring 02 I was exactly where I wanted to be and I had a trilemma - London, Wales or Belgium. Unfortunately, England read me and quite masterfully supported Belgium to hold, as well as covered Wales and left London open. I didn't anticipate that and I lost my build, my momentum and (some of?) my credibility.
fall 02 map moves - wp England!
Image

Also I had to convoy to NA as a part of negotiations with England and Germany, I did it only because my real plan was to stab England so I wanted to do it as a misdirection. I felt like I could always disband it in an unlikely event I lose a build. I remember England being kind of pushy in the early game so that ultimately lead to the decision that I should attack him rather than Italy or Germany.

One more thing to note is that Turkey moved away from BLA which just confirmed my suspicions on how strong Russia actually is. Why he did that, I don't know but I guess it had something to do with V's persuasion ability.

After my failed attempt at Belgium I decided to wait a little bit with my attempt at stabbing England. E and G pressed me really hard diplomatically to disband Picardy and so I did, leaving NA, so I decided to pretend to be a part of a western triple for a while. I told Italy pretty much the whole story and we agreed on a couple of bounces (In fall 03 I misordered to GoL which might have gotten tense, but other than that pretty much all was pre-planned). So, I moved like I'm going against Italy and persuaded England and Germany to leave Belgium to me if they want me to continue moving vs Italy. They agreed because Austria was on Germany's borders (why, oh why?) and Russia was fighting England in the Scandinavia. I also told Italy not to bounce me in Mar so that I could build in Brest rather than F Mar which was expected of me.


Early-Mid game

Winter 03 I build my 3rd fleet in Brest and I thought that I finally could go for England. I had an army in NA and a fleet in GoL which were not supposed to be there so I had take some time to prepare. Moving against Italy also wasn't an option because he got into so he was at 5, with 3 fleets in the Med. I was moving slow and kind of sneaky (failed sneak attempt) - instead of Bre-ENG I moved to Pic to cover my tracks but I guess it was too obvious what I'm planning to do - at that point I didn't care much because I saw a continuation which doesn't allow England any counter-play. Germany was surrounded, England and Russia were fighting in the north (or SO I THOUGHT!) so I saw an opportunity to walk into Lvp.
What I did NOT count on was Russia giving Denmark to England and convoying his army to Pru. That was brilliant play by V (and/or Master GR, don't know who initiated that idea) because V could continue playing a ERT 3-way which benefits him the most. I must admit I was furious when I saw that, I remember cursing my luck for having to play against 2 opponents of such caliber, who managed to surprise me twice in just 4 years. Big kudos. At that moment I knew I'll have to continue fighting an uphill battle and I did all I can to solidify my relations with Italy, because I knew I'm screwed otherwise. I also knew that Russia will have such an easy time...

fall 04
Image

I didn't anticipate England getting 2 builds. That slowed me down drastically but I immediately developed a mini tactical treat for England in order to take Edi. I'm kind of proud of this because it was planned 2-3 moves in advance from spring 05 to fall 06 and I knew it was my last chance at beating England before he gets too powerful and spoonfed by Russia. (in the meantime-the 2 started dismantling Germany and there was nothing I could do to help G)

spring 05 https://www.playdiplomacy.com/games/1/1 ... 70-9-O.png
fall 05: https://www.playdiplomacy.com/games/1/1 ... 70-9-B.png
spring 06 https://www.playdiplomacy.com/games/1/1 ... 0-11-O.png

finally, fall 06
Image

The alliances that formed were F/I and R/T/E so the next thing that preoccupied me was pushing Italy. I wanted him to have good relations with Russia and we talked about getting Russia to stab E and T. That lasted for quite some time...We were discussing the idea of F/R/I end game and in the end managed to persuade R to go for it. I knew that we had much more chance now that I managed to get Edi. More about that in the End-game part, where I managed to screw up somehow and end up in another unfavorable 4-way :D :D
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Re: PDL Division 1 July A game AAR

Postby 0wl » 03 Oct 2020, 17:39

I think this game shows that Russia and England can be great allies for each other. If Russia can help England get some quick builds from Germany that could save England from a French attack.
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Re: PDL Division 1 July A game AAR

Postby MasterGR » 03 Oct 2020, 18:27

0wl wrote:I think this game shows that Russia and England can be great allies for each other. If Russia can help England get some quick builds from Germany that could save England from a French attack.


Totally true! But it also puts England at a vulnerable position. Wait until you see the next part of Groo’s AAR :P
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Re: PDL Division 1 July A game AAR

Postby another » 04 Oct 2020, 11:50

0wl wrote:I think this game shows that Russia and England can be great allies for each other. If Russia can help England get some quick builds from Germany that could save England from a French attack.

Russia and England is an excellent alliance! You just need to keep an open mind about which centres "belong" to who. But that's true for any alliance I guess.
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Re: PDL Division 1 July A game AAR

Postby Groo » 04 Oct 2020, 15:22

LATE MID and END-GAME

After a successful take of Edi in 06 Russia was much more willing to stab his allies in R and E. R/I/F chat formed and I agreed to a 14-11-10 split with Russia and Italy. At that point I would have said anything to get Russia on board because I knew later I'd get priority in the north because R had no fleets. If I remember correctly I told Italy I wasn't going to allow Russia in Munich long term and also started talking about a 2-way.

Russia agreed to it and he agreed to help Italy as well. In my eyes it was a diplomatic win for F/I.
In spring 07 Russia went for Turkey, while I positioned myself to take Edi
Image

After spring I started making amends with England and we agreed on Lvp-Edi swap + we agreed E will leave Belgium and disband Belgium. I never intended to give Russia what he wanted. Partly because I was afraid of his solo potential, partly because George and I communicated really well and I believed England will help me (or at least I didn't believe Russia will manage to set up a functional stalemate) and partly because Italy was starting to warm up to the 2-way idea.

So in fall 07 I stabbed Russia and went for 2 builds.
Image

V was furious, obviously, and started cursing and acting as a child, which was really something I didn't expect. I thought the top player would be a bit more dignified (he did calm down in a year or so). So I started doing the same, playing psyhology game, trying to tilt him even more - which was bad play by me in retrospect, but I tried to do so only because Italy wasn't convinced that 2wd is the way to go. He was scared R could throw to me so I thought if Italy saw that V and I can't stand each other that he would be be willing to go for it. I tried to hand it to a silver platter to him, seriously, and he almost went for it but in the end he didn't do it...

In 08 England got whole Scandinavia like we agreed but he started asking for me to move vs Italy and for me to leave Lon to him...little stuff that convinced me he isn't going to kingmake me in the end. I needed him to get Berlin though so I tried to play as nicely as possible with him at that time. At the same time
fall 08: https://www.playdiplomacy.com/games/1/1 ... 0-15-R.png

In 09, I was quite sure England won't kingmake for me and I hoped to take all him fast so I again said a 3wd is fine by me now that R doesn't have a solo potential anymore and I helped R back into Scandinavia but I also really was adamant that R leaves Munich to Italy. My idea was if he does so, the I/F would easily stomp him over later and take a 2wd.

Map in fall 09
Image
As you can see, Italy didn't move on Russia even though I committed fully. I was really disappointed about that. Still don't know why he didn't go for it. If he did move to Aeg and Eas that would have been it for Russia.

in 10 I made a huge strategic mistake in not eliminating England. I should have done it but I got greedy and Master GG played it perfectly convincing me that he will help me solo. I was considering it as I was a bit angry Italy didn't follow through for free 2wd that I felt like I basically set up for him. I also didn't anticipate that R/E could really form a stalemate + Italy told me that he won't move vs Russia before Russia disbands another unit in the south. He told me he's not experienced enough to see that Turkish centers are basically his for free so I went for yet another stab on Russia.
spring 10 I poked Norway so Den can take Swe, but England tricked me there and didn't go for it.
https://www.playdiplomacy.com/games/1/1 ... 0-18-R.png

In fall 10 I made a mistake in supporting England to Norway regardless, I still was too blind to see that he could act as basically Russian fleets and help him defend. Besides, I was focused on getting that one last disband from Russia that would help Italy finally make his move. Italy, however wanted to stay neutral even though he was, at least I think so, almost convinced to move against Russia.
Fall 010 and my last tactical/strategic mistake, in retrospect I definitively should have supported Denmark to hold and it was a big blunder by me:
Image

Unfortunately, I never thought Russia would disband in the north. I thought he trusts Italy to be on his camp, as Italy was supposed to be a 3wd policeman if I, a big bad Groo do something funny again. And I did, but only to make Italy's chances of moving against R higher. I did everything I could to persuade Italy to move vs R, on the other hand V was scaring him that my solo % is high and that I'll stab him as well. I wasn't really planning to do so, as I explained to Italy, I picked him as my ally for this game and I wanted to end the game in a 2-way. I even offered Mar and/or Spa in case Italy loses a build vs Russia (it seemed unlikely to me but I wanted him to feel safe to play a 2-wd).
However, Italy said he needs Mar or Spa before he moves vs Russia and I started feeling like he's pulling my leg. If he does so then Russia really had a solo chance again. So, Italy didn't go for a 2-wd and rather went for my centers right away. I couldn't afford that because I couldn't push through north anymore and I seriously started doubting Italy's competence and intentions.

in year 11 I was still hopeful Italy would change his mind. I showed him that I can't push through the north (at first I thought it was a 50-50 but I found the best moveset for E/R and it seemed they found it too).
Image
Italy then seemed convinced to FINALLY move against Russia, but AGAIN he did not do so which pissed me off. He played both sides of the map which I really didn't understand.
I even offered both Mar and Spa in exchange for passage of my units through the middle of the map (something like Mun-Ber + Bur-Mun) but he never agreed to it and rather wanted to take my dots first. Now I really thought he's pulling my leg and he also mentioned in all-chat that he's was thinking about attacking both me and R at the same time so I basically decided to end the game in an unfavorable 4-way rather than having a dark horse in Italy. My last try way to take Denmark in y 12 but that 50-50 didn't happen so I accepted a 4-way after the fall moves resolved.

Image

final thoughts: overall it was a good and clutch game. If I hadn't pulled of that Edi finesse I'd probably be eliminated. Very well played by V and Master GR in particular (that year 2 support of Belgium while leaving Lon open was a very risky play which paid off and slowed me down immensely, hadn't he done that I believe I would have solo potential. Later in the game I went for an unusual approach of really angering V in order to win over Dirty Harry which backfired hard (sorry, V, you played your part really well, especially in the end game and I understand why you're angry at me) In retrospect that wasn't my worst mistake - I've made one crucial mistake too much in 1910 which basically allowed England to survive.
I'm really interested in Italy's point of view because if I had an ally like myself in France while playing Italy I'd take that 2-way every time of the year. I offered him full disclosure of my moves and easy split on the StP-Tun stalemate line so I don't really see the risk in doing so. If anything went wrong we could have had a fat 3-way with Russia on a few dots, but that objectively should have been the most Russia can get in this game after 09...
Last edited by Groo on 04 Oct 2020, 21:22, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: PDL Division 1 July A game AAR

Postby V » 04 Oct 2020, 16:05

All very interesting, hearing from the other side of the garden fence :D I haven’t participated significantly in an AAR for years, so please excuse my lack of response/contribution.
The games provide sufficient communication for me, with AAR’s often being a disappointing dessert following an excellent main course. I thought the draw was very well played by all & would like to make an added mention for Turkey, who also played a good game & it could have been so different.
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Re: PDL Division 1 July A game AAR

Postby Groo » 04 Oct 2020, 21:36

This game could have gone so many other ways, for instance I could have simply go for England with you and Germany in the early game as you initially offered. I wonder what if :D

Also, I just saw that in fall of 1910 Norway moved to NS so there was no tactical blunder on my part then, but rather well-played by E/R coordination. The big blunder was actually supporting SKA to Nor, had I not done that, England would have stayed at 1 and probably wouldn't survive. Also if I went for Munich that year, it would have been such an interesting finish.

Still I couln'dt have known that because England was really good at persuaying me that he is angry at Russia and that he will help me if I leave him in Nor and StP.
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Re: PDL Division 1 July A game AAR

Postby MasterGR » 05 Oct 2020, 07:52

Damn, writing AARs is time consuming! Thanks Groo for writing your side of things, you have left me no option but to write mine :) Here's part 1:

Early Game
As Groo mentioned, Germany opened extremely anti-English. He had in fact told me that he'd start out the game by opening as usual, and then bouncing Sweden-he was even asking my opinion about it. And then he opened to Holland. Apparently, according to France, he had agreed a bounce in Burgundy, which made his opening even more surprising. I encouraged France to go for Munich while I'd bounce Denmark, and it worked. On the downside, France got 3 builds and built F Brest (which he did tell me about in advance). Naturally I was worried, but France agreed that in S02 he'd move F Brest to Pic to then grab Belgium. Instead, he decided to surprise me by moving to the English Channel, and then trying to justify it by saying it was "the optimal move" (Pic would had worked as well). In addition, he moved to MAO even though he had agreed to move MAO to the south. Of course, I had just played France in PDL very successfully and I had very fresh in my mind the dangers of French fleets in both the channel and MAO. From this point on, it was obvious to me that France was looking to come after me.

At the same time, Russia outguessed me in the East and bounced Denmark (I was originally considering Norway to Sweden but at the end changed my mind). I believe that this lost opportunity cost me in the early game as I really needed a build. I also got into StP, but my purpose there was to force Russia to use two units to kick me out, I had no expectation that I was going to keep it. Nevertheless, that also cost me credibility with Russia.

S02:
Image

After realizing that France was going to come my way, I made peace with Germany and supported Belgium to hold, because the last thing I needed was France retaining his 6 units. I also moved to Wales because I expected France might convoy to there. To my surprise, France actually convoyed to NAf as he told me. In addition, crazily enough at this time Austria and Italy were trying to grab Munich (in 02!) so that Italy could get a build. I encouraged Germany to protect Munich, as he actually thought that Italy/Austria were on his side! Of course, all of this commotion with France came at a price in the East: Russia managed to grab both Sweden and Denmark with a single northern fleet, and now I had two really strong neighbors in place to squeeze me.

At this point, I'll quote Groo here from above:

Groo wrote:I must admit I was furious when I saw that, I remember cursing my luck for having to play against 2 opponents of such caliber, who managed to surprise me twice in just 4 years. Big kudos.


That was also my feeling at around this point in the game, and certainly I kept feeling that way until the end. Did I have to be the guy sandwiched between two obviously top players? I guess that's the nature of PDL :D I could go on a tangent here though and start talking about how much who your neighbor is matters in a game where you have 2-3 top players and 1-2 beginners, but that's a different topic, probably more for the PDL feedback page.

F02:
Image

At this point, Germany and I pushed France diplomatically to destroy Pic and form a Western Triple. Germany also built F Berlin with that in mind. In S03, France indeed pulled back and started moving towards the Med. Germany was supposed to hold in Berlin so that I could walk into Denmark (he even suggested it!), but instead he bounced Russia in the Baltic, and then told me it was due to a "mix up". At the same time, once again Russia outguessed me and he got into Norway. At this point I was furious at Germany, as I had just saved his butt and that was strike 2 (strike 1 was the Holland opening). So I thought "to hell with Germany", which was probably a mistake since in F02 he followed through and supported me into Denmark finally, a support that I didn't take. I told France I would support him to Belgium (something that I came to regret), and I messaged Russia to see if we could some to some sort of peace. To my surprise, Russia actually thought there was a central triple going on at the time (apparently he had been copied accidentally to a message from that triple, I think from Italy), and expected Austria to stab him. So he was happy to strike peace with me (and with Turkey as it turns out), and suggested a FERT that would squeeze the central powers. I took Norway back from Barents in agreement with Russia, who instead moved his units to the south, and at the time nobody suspected that Russia and I had come to an understanding. Which was a good thing, because in the build phase France built an unannounced F Brest. Strike 2? or 3? It didn't matter, I had already concluded from earlier on that France's goal was to take over both Germany and England.

To be continued...
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Re: PDL Division 1 July A game AAR

Postby DirtyHarry » 06 Oct 2020, 14:12

Groo - thanks for starting this, I will contribute soon.

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