After game reports for PlaDip Diplomacy League games

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Postby IvarGizteb » 10 May 2021, 04:05

This was a great game, no surprise that many of the top players on the site were involved. My Diplomacy game is a bit rusty and I showed here, I had a very strong position early in the game that I never really did anything with. Here are my full thoughts on the game.

(I can't figure out how to include screenshots of the board, when I try to upload the screenshots I took it says the file cannot be bigger than 512 KB. Any ideas?)


England and Germany both were clearly capable players, as you'd expect on a board of this caliber. I rarely lie in Spring 1901 but made an exception here to support myself to Bur for two reasons. First, Germany was pretty pushy about asking me to move to ENG even when I thought I had made it clear I was not interested, which turned me off. Second, Russia had committed to England and I that he would play to Silesia, with the plan being for Bur S Sil-Mun in the fall. I figured a weak Germany and Russia having Munich with no plan to hold it would be good for me.

The Russian move to Silesia didn't materialize for reasons that still somewhat evade me, and I never seriously considered working with him for the rest of the game. Promising something so specific in spring '01 and then lying about it when I felt there was no good reason to lie to me sketched me out. I got lucky and gained Belgium, and suddenly found myself on 6 centers.

One of my crucial decisions of the game occurred in the build phase. I planned on playing E/F and was going to build two armies, but I had initially planned on holding the third build. Germany and Italy talked me into building F Bre, after which England never trusted me. I honestly was not sure whether to use the fleet to move on England or Italy, but events in 1902 made me move on England. In hindsight perhaps I should have held the build, I never built again the rest of the game.


I wanted to be non-committal about moving on England or Italy, the plan was to play Bre-MAO and pounce on whoever I wanted in the fall. 12 hours before the deadline, England asked me to support him to Holland, my plan was to just pretend I didn't see the message because I wanted to bide my time for a turn. Then Russia NMR'd and the phase got extended and I realistically couldn't ignore England any longer. I wasn't willing to turn on my newfound German ally that phase so I decided to just move on England.

The next two and a half years were uneventful for me. I made a bunch of wrong guesses and tactical mistakes trying to break into the English centers. I had good positioning in IRI/ENG and never made anything of it, eventually I got put on the back foot when England took back ENG. I played extremely passively during this time and just maintained good relationships with Germany and Italy. My mantra was that if I had a solid defensive position I could guarantee a place in the result, realistically maybe I could've tried making up with England and attacking one of my other neighbors.


While I was busy tussling with England, I/T/R were dismantling Austria. I didn't view this as a bad thing, as I figured R/T were no threat to me and Italy would surely move on one of his eastern neighbors before moving on me, especially because he had forgone building fleets when he very well could have.

Italy and I staged a fake fight in spring '05, the goal of this was to give me optionality in deciding as to whether to continue the English campaign or move on Germany. Fall '05 was probably the biggest phase of the game. I decided to put my trust in Italy- he was the only player on the board who hadn't lied to me all game, and I legitimately thought he was better off fighting a one-fleet Turkey than trying to cross the stalemate line and take Marseilles/Iberia.

Thus, I decided to move on Germany in fall '05. Germany clearly saw it coming as he spent all of '05 trying to pitch me on a Western Triple I had no interest in given that I wanted his centers. I played this pretty badly and could've made it much more believable that I was interested in the WT.

Cue my surprise when the Italian fleets come sailing west in fall '05. I was caught with my pants down in Ruhr, when I clearly could no longer attack Germany. Germany, much to his credit, brushed off the stab as he knew I couldn't go through with it and we went straight back to working together. I also think it's extremely important I left IRI of my own choice here, it proved to England I no longer wanted to fight one turn before I really needed him.

Here was the board at the end of 1905:

Now the leverage in the west was in England's hands. On one hand, no one in the east would come to bat for me or Germany, he could've thrown us to the wolves and probably made it into the final result. On the other hand, he could keep I/R/T from crossing the stalemate line if he worked with us.

England asked for Belgium and I gave it to him, I didn't feel great about it but I was in no position to say no. The tactics ended up being such that it made sense for me to take Munich which at least kept me on 6. E/F/G quickly put together a standard 17 center line that saw me holding my home centers, Iberia and Munich.


A draw proposal or two had gone through without success, which was frustrating. Italy sent me a long message in spring '08 detailing how England had approached him looking for an E/G/I/T or E/G/I/R draw. Out of precaution I moved a spare unit to Brest.

In the fall, I ratted out Italy's message to England. England clearly knew I was telling the truth (I could've moved to Brest any previous season, but had waited until spring '08 to do it). I told England that if he wanted to eliminate me from the draw, fine, but I was going to put Italy into MAO and break the stalemate line in return. I think England was the holdout in agreeing to the draw, and either this message or other negotiations I wasn't privy to pushed him over the line to accepting the draw.

I have no clue what Italy's plan was telling me there was a proposal to cut me out in spring '08. I really don't see what good could've come from telling me that, I think it's possibly (but unlikely) that me ratting him out to England sowed enough distrust between them to stop me from getting cut out of the draw.

Final thoughts on each player:

Austria: We barely interacted all game although in hindsight your downfall should've been a bigger warning sign as to the power of the I/R/T.

England: You played beautiful tactics when I was attacking you in the midgame. I could tell you were a strong player and was really scared to let you get a diplomatic foothold in the game which is why I was so hellbent on attacking you. Eventually you did get into a strong position, to be honest I don't think I would've accepted the draw from your position.

Germany: You were a good ally and were very forgiving after my two stabs, first in Spring '01 and second in Fall '05. I appreciate when someone is willing to overlook a stab that both parties can tell made sense at the time and no longer does.

Italy: A well-deserved board top. Other than draw negotiations in 1908, there's really nothing I can point to in your game that I think went poorly. I would've continued to work with me in your shoes and think we could've built towards something like an F/I/R draw, but you were just much closer with R/T than I ever realized.

Russia: I was confused with how everything went down in Spring '01 regarding the move to Silesia and we never got on the same wavelength after that. I think we missed an opportunity to go after England together in the midgame, that is my fault for not being more aggressive in pushing for that.

Turkey: We didn't interact much, and I admire how loyal you were to Italy and Russia. I certainly would've stabbed Russia on at least one, if not two occasions that you passed up, but that's more a difference between our playstyles than anything else.

All in all, a fun game, and I look forward to my next league game in September.
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Re: PDL D1 Mar G2 AAR

Postby mjparrett » 11 May 2021, 10:45

Thanks for kicking this off. I'll add a few thoughts below.

First up an apology to my fellow board mates. I really didn't have my head in the game for a number of reasons throughout the war, and I was an erratic ally and communicator. I even NMRd one turn before quickly recovering it. I forgot I had a G2 PDL game and had started another match and was spread a little thin, and on top of that had a few bad weeks mentally in the midst of this match (culminating in one of my worst Diplomacy moments ever when Germany first stabbed me and Austria (who I was expecting to and started moving against) didn't. I then followed up with a message calling Germany a liar which I actually sent to Austria who was no doubt very puzzled by the whole thing!). There were some days I didn't log in at all and I lost a bit of interest at various moments. So sorry all and thanks for putting up with me.

Maybe unrelated, but it also didn't help I hate playing as Russia and had a shocker of a 1901. As France mentions above I was looking to play an opening where EFR blitz G out the blocks. For me the genius move is in F01 where DEN-SWE from Germany DOESN'T bounce as my fleet sails into the Baltic, and England successfully convoys an army to Denmark leaving Germany massively out of position. I put a lot of effort into trying to get this working (I was probably the chief instigator) then I turned round and ordered differently without letting E or F know. It was an awful move and a even worse decision which I'll briefly attempt to justify here. But man I wished I played it better.

The reason I didn't tell you I changed my moves because it was last minute, and a decision I agonised over for some time. As I say, I regret it now but had to play it out as best I could.

1. For this to work Russia needs good alliances in the south. When I saw Russia I immediately wanted to play a juggernaut. Turkey said yes but his heart wasn't in it and I didn't trust him. Turns out Turkey WAS up for it it's just he had a more laidback style than me and I never felt we were on the same wavelength. Austria too I struggled with and was possibly the least communicative player on the board (no criticism given my opening paragraph). I was too unsure of who my southern ally was to have the confidence to move WAR-SIL.
2. This anti German plan also usually sees Italy struggle; Turkey usually does ok with no Russian aggression and Italy suffers as a result. So the two powers on the end of this - massively Germany and then Italy - were the two players I got on best with. Great chats and comms and I just wanted to work with them and not against. I played the personality rather than the tactics I'd agreed with E?F
3. England seemed hesitant on the second part of the plan with the fall convoy to DEN. It felt like I was taking more a risk as my moves would be nothing but all out war on Germany. England was looking to do nothing and choose sides later (or so it felt) and that made me back away.

So France those are my reasons - I wish I had told you. You were good with your move to BUR and who knows how it all would have turned out. I apologise but those reasons above made me flip last minute.

So I broke the BLA DMZ with Turkey and looked to attack him. Foolishly built south and north though and looked to go after England. That was my second mistake and we're only S02! Austria had a great start and I was totally open in the middle. Convinced Austria would stab me (and egged on by Germany) I stopped attacking Turkey to move defensively against an Austrian stab that wasn't coming. If I was Austria I definitely would have stabbed Russia that turn, that was my reasoning. I was just too open. Then Germany AND Turkey DID stab me, and I was in trouble.

I never really recovered after that, and my heart wasn't in it. There were a few twists, but after that the game very quickly settled into the pattern that would see it through to the end. Turkey and I made up, realising that fighting each other was only going to give Germany a win. We still never spoke loads, but from that point on Turkey was a fantastic ally. As France mentions there were a few times you could have wiped me out and chose not to, so thanks. We realised we had to get armies to the stalemate line before Germany pushed too far over. So we joined with Italy to remove Austria and push all out armies to the centre. From then on it quickly got stalemate 3v3, both sides unable or unwilling to break.

Italy especially was a great player, communicator and tactician, and in some ways I think played the best game out of all of us. I really was up for trying to get another 2 way draw, and our Wintergreen project was genuinely something I wanted to achieve. We only could have stabbed Turkey if we'd manage to break over the stalemate line though and when the west realised we were all together they had no choice but to do the same.

I think if we're being honest both Germany and myself could have probably been removed from the board by the respective corners without breaking the stalemate too much, but I guess the fear of us throwing it to the other side stopped the attacks.

A good game and a great bunch of players, but I come away with the feeling it could have been so much more...

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Re: PDL D1 Mar G2 AAR

Postby Czar99 » 14 May 2021, 20:46

Good thoughts on the game and appreciate the insights. I can't say that this was an enjoyable game for me and instead ready to move onto the next one but perhaps the following helps explain my perspective.

As England in this game, my early moves were definitely motivated by Russia's opening lies regarding Stp and Silesia but quickly shifted to defending against France when he moved into Iri & Eng. This lengthy standoff was a frustrating period of the game especially due to France's unwillingness to negotiate or discuss working against Germany despite Germany's growth until attacked in 1905 by the East. Making the right guesses to maintain my position against France was satisfying but it really limited both of our chances in the game.

Moving to the end-game, there were several things that motivated my acceptance of the draw:
1. Inability to trust Italy - I respectfully disagree with the comments regarding Italy's play and it's worth noting that the board top only gave him 4-8 pts over the other draw participants which is basically meaningless under this scoring system. The faked fleet bounce with France in 1905, the fake stab of Russia in S1908, leaking my proposal to France about moving to a 4-way draw, etc. were ample evidence that Italy was only interested in his own growth instead of reducing the draw size. For me, this is the single largest thing that prevented a 4-way draw which would have more greatly benefitted Italy's score.

2. Inability to trust Russia - the desire to unnecessarily lie before the S1901 moves was never forgotten so I had no motivation to ever help Russia in attacking Germany. Russia, I appreciate the discussion but still can't understand the desire to lie about this before the game even started and then to keep focusing on the North. For me it really was that simple about who deserved support in the endgame.

3. Being able to accept a lower G2 score due to my first game score putting me in decent position within the standings. Russia (Mike) still benefited the most from this decision due to his excellent G1 result but I felt that Italy would only work to keep Russia in any final 4-way draw so that didn't matter. I had no love for France due to his focus on attacking me most of the game but my lack of trust for Italy and Russia is what drove my final decision. Moving forward with the ITR desire for me to attack both Germany and France while they stuck together and kept growing would have been poor play on my part.

In closing, my view is that trust is the most important thing when considering breaking the stalemate lines or forming alliances. This includes trust built within a game and also previous experiences with players. My primary way of playing games is with face-to-face or lately virtual face-to-face play where this trust especially over time is a key quality that I don't believe is truly appreciated in these press games. Even in an anonymous player format, identities based on press styles or willingness to share means that people start to develop views on who they can truly trust.

My advice for anyone reading this AAR is to consider the consequences of betraying trust especially in a longer tournament format like the PDL. There is a balance between trying to trick people to maximize your score in a single game and the long-term consequences of being branded as an untrustworthy player. However, I recognize that I may be the only one that sees things this way!
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Re: PDL D1 Mar G2 AAR

Postby mjparrett » 15 May 2021, 01:23

Thanks for the thoughts. I actually agree with your point regarding trust (although it shouldn't affect future games) but remember this is diplomacy. I never lied to Italy, and in another life we could have broken through the stalemate line, stabbed Turkey and split a 2WD. I wouldn't have stabbed him. And we would walk away thinking how trustworthy that made us look. SOMEONE has to be lied to in 1901 it's almost impossible not to. Yes you can avoid being as blatant as "I'm moving WAR-SIL" and then not, or just sit on the fence and not say anything and claim you never actually lied, but there will always be deceit and trying to trick people into moving a certain way. That's just what the game is. And then later on it would have made sense for us to work together against Germany but you wouldn't put that behind you and just never wanted to work with me. Which I think is a shame.

Never the less well played, and I look forward to seeing you in another game sometime with hopefully different outcomes

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Re: PDL D1 Mar G2 AAR

Postby another » 16 May 2021, 14:53

192207. PDL D1 Mar G2
ENGLAND Czar99 (6way DRAW)
FRANCE IvarGizteb (6way DRAW)
ITALY another (6way DRAW)
GERMANY Bravo Papa Alpha (6way DRAW)
AUSTRIA gunboat433
TURKEY Iamnobody (6way DRAW)
RUSSIA mjparrett (6way DRAW)


I don't think a 6-way draw is a game to write much home about, as ultimately all players failed (or at least cancelled each other our). So just a few thoughts about this game from the Italian perspective:

* The opening of the game was rather frustrating, since I spent a lot of energy to create a working relationship with Austria, but I failed and my game improved only once I gave up on that (having wasted several seasons). Whilst I like to be open to any alliance structure, I still feel like Italy and Austria should find some way to work together at least in the very opening stages of the game, which is what I tried to achieve. But very early on it became obvious that Austria was just way too paranoid to be able to work with him (and I acted on that way too late). I assured Austria that Rome was going to Apulia so I wouldn't be attacking me, but he still didn't feel he could trust me and insisted on bouncing in Tyrolia (after I had said I'd like to send my other army there). One could argue that there was no reason for Austria to trust me until the Spring moves, but if I were to attack him, that bounce actually would be the worst possible defence (I should have agreed to that bounce and then ordered Venice to Trieste and Rome to Venice). So you know - if you don't trust me, that is fine, but if you trust me, and still act paranoid, then you are not a person I can work with. And even after the Spring moves Austria stayed as paranoid as before.

* Elsewhere I tried to see if there could be a way to work with Turkey, and he assured me he wouldn't contend the Mediterranean only to move Ankara to Constantinople in S01. After that, though, Turkey proved to be (I'm guessing in large thanks to Russia stabbing him by breaking the BLA DMZ and Austria siding with Russia) a reliable ally and even built an army as he had promised (I wasn't expecting it, but noted it down as a very strong sign). Russia on the other hand straight away turned out to be a really pleasant communicator and one I thought I could easily work with. He had agreed a DMZ in Galicia AND in Black Sea, and was leaning towards breaking the former, but I made it clear (which was a mistake of mine... but see previous point) that it would be very hard for me to work with Russia if he sided with Turkey rather than Austria.

* Elsewhere, it soon became obvious that a strong EF was imminent in the West and they had got Russia on-side to move to Silesia and take Munich with (promised) French help. This would be a devastating opening for Germany who wouldn't be able to defend an attack from 3 sides, but something just didn't make sense. Yes, Russia would gain Munich, but that is not a centre he can hold. Also, England was to take both Denmark (love that move! check out my last game) and Norway, which made absolutely no sense. This basically would ensure that England and France quickly divide Germany, and all Russia could show for it would be an isolated army in Munich totally at the mercy of the Western powers (plus English forces right on his doorsteps). So I worked really hard to explain to Russia how bad this would be to all the Eastern powers (apart from Turkey) and he shouldn't follow through with it.

Thankfully, Russia decided to not go for Silesia, but didn't tell EF about it - one can of course debate the merits for "destroying trust" so early on, but I would say that not "trusting" someone else's intelligence is just as bad and doesn't deserve any better.

* The next big moment was the build phase. Germany had decided to side with France for some reason, so had given them Belgium, and instead of waving the build, France built F Bre and 2 armies. This ensured that nothing could happen in the West, since Germany rather went East looking for his own growth (and to get over the line) and left E and F to fight it out 1-on-1, and with France only having 2 fleets, that was destined to be a futile war with no winner. Essentially, there was no alliance in the West, only a non-aggression pact between F and G.

* In the East, despite Russia and Turkey having had a questionable history (BLA and Sev...), we managed to unite and eliminate Austria (with some lovely moves that helped build trust between us) and then move towards the line. Unfortunately, this all fizzled out when the West united straight away. Turkey had captured Munich, but wouldn't be able to hold it if the West united, so had agreed to order it to Burgundy in S06, which would have given me some guesses on Marseilles / Spain / MAO. For some reason (I think Bur and Ber being similar?) Turkey allowed France to get an army in Bur, and combined with the fact that England decided to stick with F and G there was no other solution to this game than a 6-way draw.

* I proposed a 6-way draw, but England rejected it. He then proposed whittling the draw down to 4 power, but nothing in his proposal made me consider it seriously. It was a few turns too late and sounded pretty half-baked. The way I saw it, I was happy for the game to end in a 6-way, so he needed to convince me to change my mind and attack one of my neighbours with whom I had worked so well for several turns in a row, but nothing in his proposal made me want to do it. So I decided to give one last push and see if we could get the ITR over the line and somehow split the West. Looking at it now, I shouldn't have told France about the plan straight away, but could have done it a bit later, but I had hoped to get a dialogue going with France again (we had had a great relationship with France up till the point when I had stabbed him, which I still feel bad about - as it turned out it was a mistake on my part). Unfortunately, France acted on my message (covering Brest), but didn't really engage with me, so this also turned out to be a mistake.

* So yes, a few tense bits, a great alliance with Turkey and Russia and lots of mistakes on my part in this game. And in many ways, if the Eeast/West 17/17 was a given - a 6-way draw was definitely my preferred outcome to this game, as it would have had to be very special circumstances for me to attack one of Turkey or Russia.
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