Tempest (DC) AAR: I Avoided Chris Martin Entirely (phew!)

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Tempest (DC) AAR: I Avoided Chris Martin Entirely (phew!)

Postby nanooktheeskimo » 16 Oct 2017, 00:24

The short version: Played a middling game, then a poor game, then a good game. Played a lot of Avalon. Had a lot of fun. Did not sleep much.

Friday
Board call for game 1 was at 6:30pm. I left the house at 7:30am, figuring that would give me enough time to get there, get to my room, take a shower, grab something to eat, then get back downstairs for board call. This did not prove to be the case, as I ended up arriving at 6:20pm. I stashed my backpack in a corner of the diplomacy room, took a "lady of the night" shower in the bathroom (also known as a paper towel shower), downed the rest of my coffee, and got ready to play.

Round 1
Ok, so now round 1 starts. I draw Turkey--OK, not a terrible draw, better than Austria at least, I don't think I would've been able to handle playing Austria that tired. Don Woodring was in Russia--OK, I've never played with him but I've met him before, and I think I can get along with him. Pat Kelly is in Austria, a stranger to me. Mary (I forget her last name, but I want to say Reed maybe? Not sure) is in Italy, also a stranger to me. Rick something or other is in France, another stranger to me. I also don't know Germany, and I'm completely blanking his name now (I spent the first couple years of the game thinking the French player was Germany and the German player was France, to give you an idea of how out of it I was). And finally, Siobhan Nolen was in England. Finally someone I know! Of course she's on the other side of the board, so knowing her only helps me so much (re: not much at all).

So, game starts. I get along pretty easily with Don's Russia, and he agrees to open North and leave BLA a DMZ. Great! I talk to Austria and he says they're not bouncing Gal...hmm, a plan is starting to form. So I talk to Italy, and she's noncommittal but doesn't give me any indication she's going after Austria...I talk to Austria, and he agrees to open to Gal. So I say screw it, let's have some fun, I'm not expecting to do well this game anyways (because of the whole having been in the car most of the previous 11 hours). I open to BLA and Armenia. Austria opens to Gal and Ser. Russia opens Mos to StP, War to Ukr, and Sev...holds. Great! Except...Italy opens to Tyrolia and Ven. So almost a perfect opening, but not quite. I talk to Austria, try to convince him to take a shot at Warsaw with Galicia, while I tap Rum and move Arm to Sev. That would have made sure that Russia got no builds (he would've stayed even with the gain of Sweden), because he can only cover one of Rum/War/Sev, and he forfeits the other two.

Austria does not do that. Instead, he supports himself from Gal to Rum. I do my best to convince Italy to lay off of Austria for one turn--she doesn't listen either, and walks into Tri and Vienna uncontested. Fantastic. Instead of Russia with no builds an on the ropes, I have Russia with a build and pissed at me (understandably so), a crippled Austria, and an Italy with three builds (!!). At this point I am pretty much resigned to a crappy game. I build F Con, which surprises some people, but I wasn't sure if I'd have to support Bulgaria or not, and of course I wasn't gonna leave AEG completely undefended. I figured I could sell it to Italy as being defensive and aimed at protecting myself from his F Gre. Probably should've built F Smy really, but I didn't want to burn that Italian bridge if I didn't have to.

Italy built F Nap, A Rome, and....F Ven. Huh. Ok. I was expecting to see A Ven, F Rome and F Nap, to clean up Austria and pivot West towards France. As soon as I didn't see that, I was pretty sure that I wasn't going to be able to work with Italy long term.

Basically from here, my game consists of working with Austria to keep him alive, and a sort of back and forth with Italy that I think we both found frustrating. And stonewalling Russia, of course. He never made progress against me, but I didn't make progress against him either. In the West, things were quickly breaking down into an E/F vs R/G set up, which E/F were pretty clearly going to come out on top of. My game was essentially making sure that if I was going to struggle, so was everybody else in my region. It was really a slog. If Italy had been a little more flexible minded, we might've been able to work together a little better, but most of her suggestions were contingent on me getting rid of Austria (who was down to one unit in Serbia), but I had no interest in doing so. Austria was a hugely valuable ally for me, having his army there enabled me to build mostly fleets, and I think that was key in stopping France from being able to push past Italy and overrun the East. I know his army was certainly key in helping maintain the line against Russia and against Italy.

The game ended up with France on 14 centers, Siobhan's England on 9, me on 8 (I was at 7, but slipped in behind Austria when he would've gone up to 2 in the final phase--I thought I was going to pull even with Siobhan, but she picked up a 9th I wasn't expecting). Italy, Austria, and Germany finished with 1 apiece. This tournament used the sum of squares scoring method, so this was a very good score for France, a middling score for England, and a passable score for me. Certainly it ended up better than I came into the day expecting to do, given my exhaustion. If Italy had built differently, or if Austria hadn't stabbed me in Rumania F01, then it would've been a much better game for me I think. I'm a little annoyed that I got the actual right circumstances for the BLA/Arm opening, executed the plan to perfection the first year, and it didn't work out.

Following the game, because I am a genius, instead of going to sleep I hung around and ended up playing a game of terraforming mars with Graham, Dave Maletsky, Peter Yeargin (I took the blue counters, but they didn't help me at all), and...somebody I'm forgetting now. Siobhan hung out for awhile but she wasn't playing. I sort of want to say Maslow was the fifth, but I don't think he was. Anyways, this just shows how smart I am--I stayed up late when I was exhausted, to play a game I don't even like that much. But that's the beauty of these tournaments--you have fun even when you're playing games you don't particularly love, later than you should be awake.


Saturday
After going to sleep around 3am Friday night, I wake up about 8:30, took a quick shower, got dressed, and walked over to a breakfast place to meet Randy and Siobhan. I had a pretty solid omelette, and got the pitch from Siobhan to get out to Whipping (in the San Francisco area, I think), in April. Unfortunately my finals are probably that following week, so it doesn't seem likely to happen this year. After a decent grapefruit juice and a solid coffee, we made our way back to the hotel. We got back in time for me to run up to my room and use the bathroom, grab my notebook, and head back down to the diplomacy room for board call.

Round 2
This is the round I remember the least. Honestly, I was barely awake for most of this game. I drew Austria, Sloth was in Italy, Bryan (I think) was in Turkey, Nick DeLateur was in Russia, and I don't even remember the West. Graham Woodring was in Germany. I genuinely have no memory of who France and England were. I also almost misspelled my last name on the score sheet, just to give you an idea of how out of it I was. (I remembered! Bartalone was England, and Mark...Angland I think is how his name is spelled but I'm not really sure, was France)

The game started off well enough. Nobody seemed too keen to work with Turkey (probably because you had to spend 5 minutes quietening his paranoia and even then he wouldn't actually agree to anything), so I fell into an easy alliance with Italy and a somewhat uneasy on my end but good enough alliance with Russia. This went pretty OK for the first stage of the game. At one point, Russia was in BLA, Rum, Sev (F), and Ukr. He wanted to get into Arm, so I suggested he convoy Rum to Arm, support it with Sev, and put Ukr into Rum. That would've given him an army in Arm, which is infinitely more useful than a fleet. He agreed. I went to Italy and said "Ok, this is the year we do Russia," and he agreed. So, I moved into Gal, and tried to take Rum. He support himself in Rum and moved to Arm with F Sev. I don't know if someone tipped him or if he just got paranoid, but this is pretty much where my game went downhill.

After a lot of struggling and muddling, we ended up with Turkey, England, and France eliminated. Russia was at 13 or 14 centers, I was at 6, Italy at like 7 or 8 (he and Germany had eaten France), and Germany at 7 or 8. There was a bunch of crap with the draw votes (I rejected one to be petty, even though it was definitely in my best interest to accept it), Sloth declined one, and finally Nick declined one too. It came out that Graham was willing to throw a solo to Nick, which was extremely frustrating for me given that I'd been trying to get Graham to work against Nick for years, and me and Sloth had offered to work with him against Nick (to be fair, Sloth never did actually let up on him...of course, he never actually agreed to help against Nick either, so it kind of ends up being a wash). We finally pushed the draw through, and ended the game. I think if I were Nick in that position, I would've kept playing and seen if Graham was actually going to throw to me. He had very little to lose at that point, and possibly a lot to gain. But it had also been a long slog of a game, and I don't think anyone was really enjoying themselves much by that point.


And now, the fun part! After that game finally, mercifully ended, I got some food and coffee, and spectated a game of terraforming mars being played by Siobhan, Randy, Bartalone, Maslow, and somebody else, I think Mitch but I'm not positive. I was just hanging around waiting for their game to end so that we could play Avalon, and having a side conversation with Siobhan in between her turns on the uselessness of nature. Their game finally ended, and we got to the good stuff, playing Avalon! I drew a loyal servant of Arthur (vanilla good, basically) something like the first 6 games in a row, and also successfully identified who Merlin was within a round or two each time. We started out with five or six people, and ended up with eight or nine by our last game. This is honestly my favorite part of these tournaments, playing Avalon or whatever other game after the dip ends. The dip is awesome, don't get me wrong, but the decompressing by playing other games is just as much fun, and is the reason people keep coming back for these things even when they don't play much dip. After Avalon we played codenames, which was kind of meh for me, but was still pretty fun with that group.

This night I went upstairs at a much more reasonable 1am or so, but ended up asleep around 3am again.


Sunday
An earlier board call means rolling out of bed, running through the shower, and a starbucks breakfast. I stashed my bag and backpack in the corner, and got ready for round 3.

Round 3
I was feeling more awake, for whatever reason (maybe the coffee was stronger), so I had a decent feeling going into the round. Then the boards were called--I was Germany, with Dave Miller as France, Robert Rousse as England, Roy (stranger to me) as Turkey, Pat Kelley (Austria from Round 1) as Russia, John (our very own GhostEcho!) as Austria, and I forget Italy's name, but I think it was also Dave (but might have been John). This was great! I'd been looking for a nice, laidback alliance all weekend, and I knew that between Robert, Good Dave (I'm gonna refer to France as Good Dave), and Pat, I'd be able to find a nice, relaxed alliance somewhere.

Robert came to with the Western Triple. Because it's Sunday and Robert is in the West, which means he wants the Western Triple. In Philly, when I was France and he was England, I was willing to consider it until Germany proved unreliable. But here, as Germany, I didn't want to do it. I don't really like the WT as Germany, because it too easily turns into an E/F. The next person I talked to was Good Dave. The first words out of my mouth were essentially "fuck the western triple," and he was nodding before the words were even all the way out. So we decided to play along a little, then stab the shit out of Robert. Dave actually opened with Bre to Channel, which I was obviously thrilled about. The funny part is, Robert didn't get mad at Good Dave--he got mad at me! So I talked him down and pointed out how ridiculous it was to be mad at Germany for a French fleet being in ECH, especially when Germany had done exactly what he said he would. In a different game I would've been more annoyed, but I was honestly too invested in just having a fun game to be annoyed. I knew I had no shot at winning the tournament without a solo, and not much of a chance at a solo with this board, so I was just playing to have some fun and see what happens.

The board ended up breaking down into two main alliances, F/G in the West, and I/T in the East. Pat's Russia got seriously screwed in the south, but I gave him Sweden in 01, and helped him to Norway in 02. I kept trying to get Turkey to stab Italy, even stabbing Russia as part of an agreement with him to stab at the same time, which he did not follow through on (and even had the gall to say after the fact that he never agreed to stab Italy in the first place!). I hated stabbing Russia, but it was the right move (and involved a Baltic C Pru to Swe move, which was kind of nifty). However, instead of finishing Russia, after Scandinavia was split between me and Good Dave (me with Swe and StP, him with Norway), I put Russia into Warsaw rather than let Turkey eliminate him (there was no way for him to hold Moscow). Pat was down to one center, but he was the front of the line and therefore extremely valuable to us. We tried to make the same offer to John's Austria periodically, to be the tip of our spear in exchange for staying alive at 1-3 centers. Instead he insisted on helping Turkey and Italy, even as Turkey and Italy were openly trying to kill him. This was kind of frustrating for me, because I felt that at some point, when one alliance is openly trying to kill you and the other is openly trying to save you and work with you, you have to stop working with the side that wants you dead. I'm sure this was easier from my perspective than his, however.

We kept playing right up until the cut off (which ended up being just after 3pm), because we had finally broken their line in the middle of the board and with more time, we would've broken through Italy as well. The game ended with me, Good Dave, and Roy's Turkey at 10 centers apiece, Italy at 3, and Pat at 1.

Apparently this was a better score than I anticipated it being, and/or the rest of the tournament was just low scoring, because I ended up placing 7th and was shocked. I thought I was high teens at best, but I also don't really pay much more than loose attention to that during play.

There was a point somewhere in the mid game that I could have stabbed France, but I wouldn't have gotten very far at all--Belgium and Paris, but then he would've been able to stop me cold. There was also a time when he could've stabbed me, by not letting me into Edi (he had taken London and Liverpool already), but he wouldn't have gotten that far. This was about as well run an alliance as you can hope for, really. Neither of us ever had much incentive to stab the other--we always had more to gain from working together than working against each other. It was definitely my favorite alliance of the tournament, because of how easy it was and how well it worked out (although working with Pat is also a ton of fun, even with him at 1 center for most of our time allied across two games). After the awards were given out and the top 7 announced, I said my goodbyes and got back on the road. I had somewhere to be later that day and no room for the night, or I would have stuck around and played some more games, but such is life.


All in all, this was a very, very fun tournament. It was smoothly run by Peter Yeargin and co., and I cannot recommend enough that anyone with the chance to gets out next year for the WDC. It's a great group of people, and the non-dip stuff is as much or more fun even than the actual diplomacy games.

I think I might try to do a running thing at Carnage, in November. That's a lot of work though, so maybe you'll be stuck with my shoddy memory again instead ;)

Next up is North American DipCon at Carnage, in Killington, Vermont, November 3rd and 4th!
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Re: Tempest (DC) AAR: I Avoided Chris Martin Entirely (phew!

Postby asudevil » 16 Oct 2017, 02:20

Seriously...come out west people...
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Re: Tempest (DC) AAR: I Avoided Chris Martin Entirely (phew!

Postby nanooktheeskimo » 16 Oct 2017, 02:29

asudevil wrote:Seriously...come out west people...

Whipping is in the San Francisco area, but I don't think that helps you much. The West Coast tournaments are starting to come back from what I understand, so maybe one more convenient to your location will pop up!
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Re: Tempest (DC) AAR: I Avoided Chris Martin Entirely (phew!

Postby asudevil » 16 Oct 2017, 14:04

nanooktheeskimo wrote:
asudevil wrote:Seriously...come out west people...

Whipping is in the San Francisco area, but I don't think that helps you much. The West Coast tournaments are starting to come back from what I understand, so maybe one more convenient to your location will pop up!


San Fran is at least KINDA doable...but that's a really small tournament I thought.
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Re: Tempest (DC) AAR: I Avoided Chris Martin Entirely (phew!

Postby nanooktheeskimo » 16 Oct 2017, 14:12

asudevil wrote:
nanooktheeskimo wrote:
asudevil wrote:Seriously...come out west people...

Whipping is in the San Francisco area, but I don't think that helps you much. The West Coast tournaments are starting to come back from what I understand, so maybe one more convenient to your location will pop up!


San Fran is at least KINDA doable...but that's a really small tournament I thought.

I think they had 3 boards a round last year, but I'm not positive. I know they're trying to grow it, with an expectation of having 3-4 boards per round this upcoming year if I'm not mistaken. That's a pretty decent size (Dixie was 4 the first day and 3 the others, Philly was 3 each day, and this one, Tempest, was 4-4-3, for reference).
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Re: Tempest (DC) AAR: I Avoided Chris Martin Entirely (phew!

Postby asudevil » 16 Oct 2017, 14:15

nanooktheeskimo wrote:I think they had 3 boards a round last year, but I'm not positive. I know they're trying to grow it, with an expectation of having 3-4 boards per round this upcoming year if I'm not mistaken. That's a pretty decent size (Dixie was 4 the first day and 3 the others, Philly was 3 each day, and this one, Tempest, was 4-4-3, for reference).


Oh, I thought tournaments had like 7 boards...I mean 28 people...isn't a lot of people for a tournament
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Re: Tempest (DC) AAR: I Avoided Chris Martin Entirely (phew!

Postby nanooktheeskimo » 16 Oct 2017, 15:03

asudevil wrote:
nanooktheeskimo wrote:I think they had 3 boards a round last year, but I'm not positive. I know they're trying to grow it, with an expectation of having 3-4 boards per round this upcoming year if I'm not mistaken. That's a pretty decent size (Dixie was 4 the first day and 3 the others, Philly was 3 each day, and this one, Tempest, was 4-4-3, for reference).


Oh, I thought tournaments had like 7 boards...I mean 28 people...isn't a lot of people for a tournament

Usually it's not exactly boards x7--Dixie for example was 4-3-3 for boards, but had about 30 people play over the weekend.

3 boards is not monstrous, but it's a fair size tournament.
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Re: Tempest (DC) AAR: I Avoided Chris Martin Entirely (phew!

Postby DQ » 17 Oct 2017, 16:37

asudevil wrote: Oh, I thought tournaments had like 7 boards...I mean 28 people...isn't a lot of people for a tournament


I wish this was the case - It would be great if the average tournament had 63 people at it, but the hobby has never been that large. We do regularly draw that 60-90 for the yearly "big" event - WDC or DipCon - but until more folks get away from the keyboard and get on a plane, I expect 30 people is about what you can expect at North American tournaments.

For my AAR, I played the first two rounds and sat the third to make numbers work - solid play, but mostly ended up coming in second to Randy Lawrence-Hurt. With a decent score in round three I might have kicked Nanook off the top board, but that's what you get when you are an organizer - you sit out if that's what is needed!

Call out another thing - the hanging out and having a good time part! Yes, we come for the diplomacy - but we come back for the friends and the fun. Because sometimes Dip ain't fun - you can be stuck playing a smaller power in a grind, and that can be a drag - but the people you meet at these events kick ass.

See you in Vermont!
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Re: Tempest (DC) AAR: I Avoided Chris Martin Entirely (phew!

Postby VGhost » 17 Oct 2017, 22:58

I did not avoid Chris Martin, but I doubt it affected my overall performance. I don't have the memory (nor do I trust my memory of motivations) to match nanook's, but a brief overview:

Round 1: Drew France between Chris Martin's England and Italy. Germany wanted a Sealion. I didn't want to commit, suggested a slower attack. Didn't manage to sell England on anything. Never really got anything going, but did keep on Germany's good side, mostly. Got jumped by Italy. Kicked him out with EG help, since it looked like he was solidly on the (leading) Austrian's side. Didn't believe Italy, which turned out to be a mistake, when he tried to patch things up. Held on for a draw.

Round 2: Drew Italy. Austria (eventual tournament winner Siobhan) and Russia wanted to kill Turkey, so we did. Hung around the board for a bit. Lost a few centers I'd left unprotected to Austria at the end. On the whole I thought this was my best game: stuck to a plan, didn't try too much, survived.

Round 3: Drew Austria. (Nanook as Germany.) Got a better vibe from Turkey than Russia. Got stabbed (repeatedly) by Italy, but I didn't want to abandon Turkey, and I was trusting to the stalemate line to survive. Chickened out on a couple moves/set of moves that could have shaken things up - hashed it out after the game, comes down to I wanted to play it safe and misread what "safe" was. Didn't survive because Turkey helped Italy finish me even though it lost them the stalemate line. Probably would have been fine for Turkey regardless: idiot move for Italy except the clock ran out.

Summary: Got told a lot that I needed to be more helpful, needed to make more of a point of explaining how the other guy benefits. Confused everybody by not having any revenge instinct. (Even in game 1, I went after Italy when he attacked mainly to secure the Atlantic/Med line, not because I was mad at Italy.) Was utterly baffled at the relative unimportance of tactical considerations. Had a lot of fun. 10/10 would attend another event.
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Re: Tempest (DC) AAR: I Avoided Chris Martin Entirely (phew!

Postby DQ » 20 Oct 2017, 22:19

GhostEcho wrote:Summary: Got told a lot that I needed to be more helpful, needed to make more of a point of explaining how the other guy benefits. Confused everybody by not having any revenge instinct. (Even in game 1, I went after Italy when he attacked mainly to secure the Atlantic/Med line, not because I was mad at Italy.) Was utterly baffled at the relative unimportance of tactical considerations. Had a lot of fun. 10/10 would attend another event.


Personally, I love someone with no revenge instinct - it absolutely gets in the way of what needs to be done. Sometimes you have the luxury to punish bad behavior - and sometimes it just needs to be done - but more often than not you want to evaluate the position in terms of what's good for me now, not go out looking for payback.

I'm curious about the "relative unimportance of tactical considerations" - I _think_ you mean that people didn't pay enough attention to things like stalemate lines? Could you expand on that a little bit?
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