PDL Division 1 July A game AAR

After game reports for PlaDip Diplomacy League games

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Re: PDL Division 1 July A game AAR

Postby MasterGR » 07 Oct 2020, 07:49

Here's the second part of my AAR, and there will likely also be a third one:

Early- / Mid-game
In the beginning of 04, something even worse happened: France and Italy negotiated peace and pulled their forces back. According to Groo's post above it was all pre-arranged, but nevertheless highly worrisome with France's fleet build in Brest. Nevertheless, France didn't move to the channel this time, but he also didn't move out of MAO. In between, Russia and I both moved to DMZ the northeast, and I got into position to do some damage to Germany (who still expected my support against Bel at the time). I forgot to mention that crucially, Russia stabbed Austria in F03, and made peace with Turkey.

In F04, France finally stabbed me hard, but it was coming for a while. France called it a self-fulfilling prophecy, but even now I don't buy that. France wanted to take me out from 02 in my opinion, if not even 01, I just previously managed to prevent it but he finally now found himself in a good position for it. The good news was that I got both Holland and Denmark (which Russia kindly passed to me). To answer Groo's question, Russia and I had been discussing Denmark for some time, but the move set was Russia's idea and it was indeed an excellent move set. It also allowed the destroy of Russia's second southern fleet, which set a solid foundation for the ERT. Generally, Russia's flip from AR to ERT was extremely well done and key to V's success for the rest of the game.

The next couple of years were spent with me and Russia taking Germany apart and defending from France, who even though never managed to get any of my centers, still managed to slowly make progress against me. Finally, France's finesse in F06 that allowed him to grab Edi was indeed a turning point in the game and very well played there Groo. I remember that the deadline resolved in the middle of my night, and when I woke up in the morning I saw the French fleet in Edi and I was baffled for a few seconds until I realized what happened :lol: Admittedly though it was a very hard guess for me, and most potential plans included leaving Edi vacant-basically I was at a point where France had fully circled me and any mistake could prove lethal. Like Groo, I believe that had he not succeeded there, I would had come up on top instead eventually. Sometimes a single center makes no difference at all, and sometimes it makes all the difference in the world.

In 07, Russia finally stabbed me. I kind of expected it and even gave him my "here's why you shouldn't stab me" speech, but it was not enough to dissuade him. However, I think that even though Russia overall played an excellent game, the stab was rather poor. The reason being, I had already agreed that Russia should move to Swe and Kiel, but also had asked him to move to Ruhr. Russia could had still done those two moves while cutting Ruhr so that France wouldn't get Holland, and then stab me in the Fall with France significantly delayed. I understand that Russia was under pressure to stab which is probably why he expedited it, but it came at a cost, and in my opinion even if Russia had lied to FI at this point they'd still stick with him as they had no other choice. I made my views on that very clear to Russia which was rather poor diplomacy on my part, as I think it turned him off for some time, even after France stabbed him in F07. But more on that later. V, I would be interested on your feedback on why you decided to stab me in S07 and didn't wait until F07 instead.

Here's the S07 stab, as you will notice Munich cutting Ruhr would had spared Holland while Russia could still stab me in F07:
Image

To be continued...
Last edited by MasterGR on 07 Oct 2020, 19:42, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: PDL Division 1 July A game AAR

Postby V » 07 Oct 2020, 12:58

I usually answer specific questions in AAR’s so here’s that question by MasterGR on S07.

In F06 I had decided the following, whether true or not we’ll never know;
France was now going to eventually beat England following the Edinburgh victory. Given that, France must never get Tunis, because it’s #18. Italy was at the time in significant trouble in the Balkans & could not have defended against a French stab.
That meant I would have been reliant on Turkey getting to Tunis before France, with Turkey was still in the Aegean. Austria was close to impossible to work with & I never knew what he would do next.

In this uncertainty I wanted Italy as my ally, enabling a Russian stab on Turkey & an Italian victory over Austria. A strong Italy could guarantee France never got Tunis. Italy & I had been discussing such ideas for a while & I decided now was the moment. Italy came with baggage however.
FI was an established alliance that wasn’t going to change merely because Russia wanted it to & to get Italian cooperation the price France wanted in the north was “no more help for England”.

So, seeing as the north was already perceived as one day belonging to France there was no benefit in not conceding to French demands. France could no longer be beaten so would be included in a draw. I was trying to engineer that to be an FIR 3-way from S07 onwards. There was no Russian gain in delaying agreement with France for the sake of saving Holland for England in S07.
France later sabotaged the 3-way & it became a 4-way. I was delighted by that late turn of events because I thought you played a great game & deserved inclusion.
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Re: PDL Division 1 July A game AAR

Postby MasterGR » 08 Oct 2020, 07:45

Thank you V for the clarification, and for your kind words! From what I gather, you expected France to be faithful to the FIR and aim for a quick 3-way. I expected France to be greedy (luckily I was right!), which is why at the time I thought it would had been best for you to make France's advance as slow as possible (not for England's sake really). I understand your reasoning though.
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Re: PDL Division 1 July A game AAR

Postby MasterGR » 10 Oct 2020, 07:53

Finally, the last part of my AAR!

Mid- and Late-Game
So I left this at S07, but one thing I neglected to note in my last post is that while I got stabbed, I finally caught a break defending against France and got into the Channel. However, it was a little too late. With Russia having stabbed me, I knew my only chance at survival was Russia and France fighting, so my game from this point on focused on making sure that happens. I arranged with France the Edi/Lvp exchange, and given that Russia's Fall moves were easy to guess I convinced France to grab Kiel. In the beginning he was hesitant, but I promised that I'd get out of Bel, which I did. Needless to say, I was itching to destroy Wales, and I would had done it had I not struck that deal with France, but there wasn't much of a point to it as France slowing down would only strengthen Russia in the East.

After France stabbed Russia, Russia was of course livid, and he suggested that I get into Kiel with his support. While this had a chance of working out, Kiel was not a sustainable position for me and I needed to stay on France's good side for the time being. In S08 I set myself up fairly well, and in F08 I told Russia I was going to grab Norway. I was hoping that France would not stab me again and I think I had almost convinced him to stick with me, but in the end of course he stabbed me again and grabbed London-but this time there wasn't much I could had done. Groo actually told me at the time that he had initially ordered as we had agreed, but after Austria NMRed he decided to change his orders and stab me (damn you Austria :lol:). At the same time, Russia got three (3!) Turkish centers in the South thanks to Turkey's poor defense (I suspect he gave up Smyrna to be done with it), so losing Nor wasn't much of a hit to Russia. Austria also got eliminated in F08, and from this point on tension started building in the South.

In S09, I became friends with Russia again and suggested a northern stalemate to him. He seemed up for it, but then he stabbed me once again in F09 (the Nth time I got stabbed by FR)! I understand that once again this was at the behest of FI, who were pushing for a 3-way. Russia also supported France to Denmark in S10, but I convinced France to stab Russia so that I could get into Sweden (evident by the tap on Norway). I didn't follow through this time because I wasn't certain that France was actually going to support me, but the move definitely caught Russia's attention. With two fleets and occupying no centers, I was almost certainly done for.

But, in F10 when I thought I was as good as dead, came my perhaps greatest and certainly most hilarious moment in this game. Russia was once again annoyed at France for betraying him the Nth time, and France wanted me to grab Scandinavia so that he could stab Italy and go for the solo. So Denmark was going to give me support to Sweden, and North Sea/Norwegian to Norway. At the same time, Russia promised me support into Denmark. After getting exhausted by being tossed around between Russia and France, I decided to mess with both of them and take one support from each, mostly for shits and giggles... but also because if I took both of France's supports then Russia would think I wanted to king make France. To my surprise and great amusement it worked out, and from holding 0 centers I went back to 2:

F10:
Image

Russia was really cool about it, and I think finally decided that he could not trust France anymore. I also pushed V to destroy Livonia at this point so that he wouldn't be in a position to stab me anymore, and even though in the beginning he rejected the idea, in the end he went for it - V, curious as to what made change you your mind there? With Livonia gone, I was pretty certain that Russia finally had decided to stick with me for the end-game.
Then V suggested the unbreakable defense we did in S11 (like 10 minutes after F10 resolved!), and luckily France retreated to Ska instead of Hel, from where he could had guaranteed Denmark. At around this time Italy also started putting some pressure on France in the Med. I should note that from 1908 onward I started also working on Italy, pushing him to put pressure for the game to end in a 4-way. I think at times Italy wanted to go after Russia, at times after France, and at other times after both, but I was doing what I could to make sure he wouldn't go after either very hard, because that would had also meant the end of me. But, I did push him to put some pressure on France, and obviously so did Russia.

So anyway, in F11 France made some somewhat weird moves actually that allowed Russia to get into Norwegian and now we had 3 on a vacant North Sea. The final year, 1912 was spent with France trying to get Denmark and Italy getting fed up and increasing pressure on France to end the game. I came up with the final move set in the north, which left Groo a 1/3 chance to get Denmark in F12 (not sure if you wrote 50/50 out of habit?). Groo told us that he'd give up afterwards either way, but as I predicted when talking to Russia, he actually opened Mars for a build in case he managed to grab Denmark :lol: With the attempt on Denmark foiled and Russia in the North Sea, Groo decided it was finally time to end it!

The final map, F12:
Image

Conclusion
This was a very hard game for me, with tons of ups and downs. It can rarely go well when you play a game where you're sandwiched between two top 20s, and both V and Groo played extremely well. Italy, good game to you too, at times I thought you wouldn't survive this, especially when Russia sided with Turkey in the mid game, but you came out on top. If I were to guess, I got stabbed in this game as many times as I have stabbed others in my 2-3 previous games (it was payback time!) and at around 1910 I was certain I'd finally be out. But I made it, and even though a 4-way generally is nothing to be particularly proud about, I am definitely proud of this one! Despite the stress I quite enjoyed the game and had a few entertaining moments as well. I also had a great time playing with V and Groo again and I'm happy I got to know both of you a little better. Looking forward to meeting you all again in the battlefield, and hopefully next time I'll be the one tossing you around :lol:
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Re: PDL Division 1 July A game AAR

Postby Groo » 10 Oct 2020, 11:15

Great stuff Master GR

So, the Den move was V's idea. Well played indeed, I didn't count on it. I guess you were trying to slow me down from the start like I thought(?) so I don't think you should be surprised I didn't really want a 3-way with you :)

I also pushed V to destroy Livonia at this point so that he wouldn't be in a position to stab me anymore

This effectively prevented Italy from moving East, or so he said.

But, in F10 when I thought I was as good as dead, came my perhaps greatest and certainly most hilarious moment in this game. Russia was once again annoyed at France for betraying him the Nth time, and France wanted me to grab Scandinavia so that he could stab Italy and go for the solo. So Denmark was going to give me support to Sweden, and North Sea/Norwegian to Norway. At the same time, Russia promised me support into Denmark. After getting exhausted by being tossed around between Russia and France, I decided to mess with both of them and take one support from each, mostly for shits and giggles... but also because if I took both of France's supports then Russia would think I wanted to king make France. To my surprise and great amusement it worked out, and from holding 0 centers I went back to 2:


Hahahahahahah. I was sure this was premaditated by the two of you because you saw it is the only way to effectively make the E-R stop F in the north without the fear of R stabbing E later. (just like you did). I saw it too late and supported you in -hadn't I done so You wouldn't be able to stay alive on 1 and I would eventually push R from te north. So, I thought you guys waaaay outclassed me, when in fact it was the out of spite move by Eng. Funny how some of these decisions play out. :D
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Re: PDL Division 1 July A game AAR

Postby Groo » 10 Oct 2020, 11:44

I don't think I could have guaranteed Den if I retreated to Hel. I thought about it too.
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Re: PDL Division 1 July A game AAR

Postby V » 10 Oct 2020, 13:46

One question again. The Livonia disband in F10.

First sight was Livonia being superfluous & England said he wanted rid of it, so it was ordered.
Then second thought was if we get the EIR vs F scenario I was campaigning for, then the only area of advance would be through Kiel/Ruhr etc. For Russia to compete with anticipated Italian growth in Iberia, Livonia could become useful, so maybe Armenia was expendable.
However with no one having appetite for the long grind it would take to attempt an elimination of France, Livonia was clearly the superfluous one & Armenia added some security. Had Italy moved aggressively towards France sooner, I would have probably kept Livonia.
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Re: PDL Division 1 July A game AAR

Postby MasterGR » 14 Oct 2020, 07:47

Groo wrote:Great stuff Master GR

So, the Den move was V's idea. Well played indeed, I didn't count on it. I guess you were trying to slow me down from the start like I thought(?) so I don't think you should be surprised I didn't really want a 3-way with you :)


I wasn't really trying to slow you down at the beginning. I actually really wanted a stable ally in either you or Germany. But Germany was unreliable and incompetent, while you were competent but stab-happy, so at around that time I decided I couldn't rely on either you or G. Thus I decided to ally with Russia, even before the year where V gave me Denmark.

Groo wrote:
MasterGR wrote:I also pushed V to destroy Livonia at this point so that he wouldn't be in a position to stab me anymore

This effectively prevented Italy from moving East, or so he said
.

This worked in my favor then, as had Italy moved East I'd be as good as dead!

Groo wrote:
MasterGR wrote:But, in F10 when I thought I was as good as dead, came my perhaps greatest and certainly most hilarious moment in this game. Russia was once again annoyed at France for betraying him the Nth time, and France wanted me to grab Scandinavia so that he could stab Italy and go for the solo. So Denmark was going to give me support to Sweden, and North Sea/Norwegian to Norway. At the same time, Russia promised me support into Denmark. After getting exhausted by being tossed around between Russia and France, I decided to mess with both of them and take one support from each, mostly for shits and giggles... but also because if I took both of France's supports then Russia would think I wanted to king make France. To my surprise and great amusement it worked out, and from holding 0 centers I went back to 2:


Hahahahahahah. I was sure this was premaditated by the two of you because you saw it is the only way to effectively make the E-R stop F in the north without the fear of R stabbing E later. (just like you did). I saw it too late and supported you in -hadn't I done so You wouldn't be able to stay alive on 1 and I would eventually push R from te north. So, I thought you guys waaaay outclassed me, when in fact it was the out of spite move by Eng. Funny how some of these decisions play out. :D


Not premediated by both of us, it was all my doing and I didn't tell Russia about it in advance because I didn't think he'd like the idea of me getting Sweden from him. Another way to look at it is that I outclassed you out of spite :D But yes, I hadn't thought of what the board would look like afterwards - not really possible to have predicted that anyway as if I'm not mistaken you also moved some of your units west to NAO at the time, which nobody could had predicted. I did know though that as long as I had two units on the board I was still alive, and I didn't think that taking both of your supports would help me survive in the long term as it'd make Russia mad at me and I needed him. Plus, Denmark was a better location for survival than Sweden.

Curious to hear Italy's side of things if he'd be willing to share it!
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