AAR 149532. Kiljoy (Russian Solo)

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AAR 149532. Kiljoy (Russian Solo)

Postby Brumark » 30 Dec 2018, 23:37

Overview
Snapshot: Russian Solo in 1910 following a final stab on Turkey who had been part of a Juggernaught from the start. A Western Triple alliance (with a slightly erratic Italy) formed and gained supremacy over the Juggernaught before a French gamble on the stab for a solo fracture the alliance and allowed the Juggernaught to reassert dominance.

England – bratsffl (replaced miliggy Fall 1902)
France – Phlegmatic (replaced andymandestroyeroflands in 1902 Build)
Italy – DeMize+Mauler
Germany – Tortellacci
Austria – kuoji1
Turkey – Wally the Wombat
Russia (winner) – Brumark

For me this game had three distinct “acts”:

    1. Early expansion: Spring 1901 – Fall 1903
    2. Breaking the alliance: Spring 1904 – Fall 1906
    3. Recovery: Spring 1907 – Fall 1910
I am going to spend most of my time and effort focusing what for me was the most interesting bit of this game, especially for those not directly involved and that is around breaking up an alliance, some of the things I have learned and the thought process. It will be extremely helpful to hear from my fellow players the extent to which any of this was successful.

The other noteworthy bit of this game was that it felt pretty much like it entered the “endgame” starting really in spring 1903 (and certainly by spring 1904 when Austria was eliminated in Fall 03 and Italy moved with the WT in Spring 1904 ). And by that I really mean playstyle being a tactical battle between two power groups:

    A. The Juggernaught
    B. Western Triple (well quadruple if you include Italy)
The 1. early expansion and 3. recovery are not especially interesting as games go as were fairly standard but I will give a few thoughts on them.

1. Early Expansion
1.1 Aims
So what did I want to achieve:

    1. An ally in the Eastern Triple
    2. Sweden
    3. Germany and England on separate sides so that I can press a claim for scandi in later years.
So as Russia I need either Turkey or Austria as an early ally, ideally with Italy on board. But first Germany…
I really wanted Sweden, I find this makes things so much easier as Russia – it takes the pressure off of Rumania (albeit I still want that) for a start and gives some freedom for Mos – Stp although I didn’t actually play it here. So I felt my conversation with Germany was the most important and I would allow it to dictate who I allied with.

Jackpot! Germany informed me he believed it was generally in Germanys interest to allow Russia Sweden and he seemed genuine on this (and would so prove). We talked about trying to set up a Sea Lion but we couldn’t get France to engage properly and I think Germany’s fear of E/F combining meant he was even more amenable to giving me Sweden. Crucially he did not ask me to DMZ Galicia in exchange so I was free to deal with the eastern triangle as I saw fit.

Italy: didn’t get anything sensible or timely here so largely discounted, Austria and Turkey are more important for Russia anyhow

Turkey: we had a decent conversation, agreed to mutual working (but then who doesn’t in Spring 1901?) and we got on well, bonding on a nash equilibrium around the black sea – agreeing we both needed to go there but we might as well do it amicably. So decent rapport, but what about Austria…

Austria: said he would ally but suggested an attack on Germany whereby he went to Bohemia and I went to Silesia. This was extremely interesting proposition, not because I wanted to do it but because of the position it would put Austria in. I strongly encouraged this with zero intention to follow through (and I was at least a decent amount suspicious he was just trying to get me to leave Galicia open.

France: I noticed an extraordinarily high surrender rate (above 80%) so I was pretty sure he was going to drop out at some point and this really coloured my thinking, I wanted to be involved in the West so E/G couldn’t just take all the centres immediately.

1.2 Spring 1901
So all set. Good set of prospects. I think I have Germany on board for Sweden, I think Austria will do some inadvisable moves I can exploit, I think Turkey is on my side and Rum will be ok (this was a risk with the rest of my moves). I think E/F are probably lining up against Germany which is fine (so would F/G just as long as its not E/G) and no idea about Italy. So I go with:
    St p sc – Gob (hardly ground shaking)
    Sev – Bla (again earth shattering)
    War – Gal
    Mos – Ukr (I actually really like Mos – Stp, which I think is hugely unperplayed but in this case I wanted to have the units in place to follow up on Austrian exposure)
This is what happened
Image
So pretty much perfect for me. Turkey misordered which probably helped me long run but certainly slowed us.

1.3 Fall 1901
I decide to gamble on Budapest not Vienna and trusting Turkey/Austria not to bounce me in Rum. I did reach out to Austria and claim it was all a big misunderstanding, “I thought it was a ploy to keep me out of Galicia, how can I make it up to you, Turkey is the real threat, look we bounced in Bla etc” anything to try and sway him away from covering everything.

Image

Success! Budapest, Sweden and Rum and Austria with no builds.

1.4 1902
Having Built Stp Nc(F), War(A) and Mos(A) I promise Germany Vienna in the fall if he helps me take Norway by cutting North sea. At this point was probably going to honour that having picked up Trieste in the Spring (with Turkish help, he was picking up Bulgaria). But France hasn’t built in 1901 and isn’t answering, he doesn’t move in Spring 1902 and in Spring 1902 retreat England NMR and destroys, plus he missed his build in 1901 but did move in Spring 1902.

So I am in a situation where I am pretty sure France is about to be booted (especially given his surrender rate) and England may well be too. I have decided at this point through our conversations that Germany is a formidable player – the prospect of a seven centre Germany with France and England out the game just seemed too risky.

So no Vienna, I would stab him and take it myself (albeit I have to give up Trieste). Try and make peace after, it wasn’t really in his sphere of influence and we could both get fat on French and English centres.

Another twist as England surrenders manually and not through NMR relatively soon before the deadline and is replaced (thanks bratsffl). He wants Norway back – no sale. However by this point I have mentally committed to stabbing Germany and still with France open I don’t like my prospects so I agree with England I will help him to Denmark taking a centre off Germany.
Image
Works out well, France did not move and is booted.

1.5 1903
A new France (Phlegmatic enter stage left) joins and has taken his 1901 builds. We get on well (and would from here on out despite never being on the same side) but is furiously trying to build an alliance against me.

I want to keep working with England but I ask to build fleet stp nc and set out my reasons of faster deployment against Germany which was genuine but he refuse to even engage on the tactical debate which annoys me.

Germany is however talking about still working with me if we both focus on England. This is the first but not the last time Germany jupes me and England and Germany team with France (Western Triple – WT) to stop the perceived solo attempt – fair cop. England and Germany team up to take Sweden in the spring. France and Germany have deescalated their borders. Not great.

Luckily I have the troops to regain Sweden in the fall, plus Turkey and I finish off Austria for a net gain each. However the Western triple has now well and Truly formed and France has moved in force to the med. With Ankara and Sev bouncing until now we don’t have the fleets to push ahead immediately.

I do however fall for Germany’s silver tongue again, we agree not to move against each other and importantly I agree to stay out of Silesia, big mistake. I didn’t think he was genuine but I did properly account for how impactful letting him move to Silesia and Prussia would be. So when I was doing my 30% he is genuine and this is the benefit… vs 70% lying and here is the cost I miscalculated and made a very bad call. I will show the map at the start of the next section as that brings act 1 to a close. I have expanded to 10 centres with my ally turkey on 6. But the alliance against us in now in full swing.

2.Breaking the alliance: Spring 1904 – Fall 1906
2.1 Why
So I think this is the most interesting bit albeit I have been a lot more verbose than I was expecting on Act 1.
This is what the map looked like going into Spring 1904
Image
At first glance it might look good for me/Turkey. But my take was that it wasn’t good, it wasn’t good at all. Especially when you consider Italy joined the WT in the Spring 1904 moves and I was suspicious at this point.

Losing Prussia and Silesia was huge, I was also effectively outnumbered in the Baltic with Germany having two fleets against one (with Sweden likely to be cut as support), there was a gap in my lines in Livonia. Turkey had the armies I needed but they were too far away and could only come to help through my centres, England had three fleets against stp nc and norway. Basically I was out of position on land and slightly outnumbered at sea.

My conclusion at this point was that if the alliances remained as they were and given enough time England and Germany would/should defeat me. Potentially Turkey could make headway against Italy and ultimately France if they weren’t working together (the spring moves blew that idea up – although Italy I don’t think was every a full brought in member) but that was not hugely likely and might not be enough to save me.

I am going to do a bit of a name drop here in acknowledgement to Mr Aedron who I played a game with recently when he was on the outside of a three way alliance which was clearly going to chew up the rest of the board (AAR 148291. Ambassadors only Versailles – if anyone is super interested) – as I learnt a huge amount from him and his approach and how you go about it systematically. He was partially successful as he did break apart the alliance but this did end in a solo.

So the twin objectives:

    A. Break apart the alliance
    B. Be in a position to recover

The second can’t happen without the first but is equally important and by recover I can mean into a draw or solo. By breaking apart the alliance I mean making one or more of the parties turn and attack one or more of the others.

Broadly I think there are five things that make an effective alliance, and I would need to attack as many of these “pillars” as possible:

    1. The alliance is mutually beneficial/ incentives are aligned. (Strategic)
    2. Broadly balanced in terms of strength (Tactical)
    3. Limited opportunities to stab (Tactical)
    4. Good and sufficient communication (Diplomatic)
    5. Good relationship/trust (Diplomatic)

I will go through a bit about who I picked as the target and some of the approaches and rationale.

2.2 Who
This was going to be driven by pillar 3 and 4 – i.e. the tactical areas as the rest kind of apply equally and who I thought I could recover best from.
So after a lot of thought I decided that it was most likely I would be able to get either France or England to turn on Germany. I will unpack the pillars in a bit more detail.

2.3 How
Strategic – mutually beneficial
Alliances really exist either to A.defend/attack a common threat which could not be dealt with alone or b1: to take centres that couldn’t otherwise be taken or b2: to take them more efficiently. I realise this is quite similar but I think it subtly different. The “Bs” are early game alliances and the “A” is more of an endgame.

But anyway the real point is that the alliance would likely hold until I (and to a lesser extent Turkey) ceased being an immediate and pressing danger to wiping them out. So the reality was I was going to have to lose ground, I couldn’t stop them nor would they stop themselves till this had gone far enough. And this links hugely to the second macro objective of recovering – they need to stop a little bit too early – that’s what breaking the alliance is all about. This “pillar” is not that amendable to direct manipulation for breaking the alliance but I did try and slow the taking of centres and manage it as best I could so I could recover.

Diplomatic: Communication and Relationship
So I cant stop them communicating but I can drag things out, making the choices tough to put stress on the comms. And I could and did attempt to put relational stress in. I would love to hear from my fellow players as to the effectiveness. This will be familiar to a lot of players but I tried:

    Offering players to be part of a draw with Turkey and I – which was fairly genuine as I was worried I might not be in a draw at all.
    Pointing out duplicity – especially with regards to Germany
    Pointing out the chances to stab
    Pointing out the risks of being stabbed
    Spreading misinformation such as tensions between Turkey and I
    Threatening to target individual players – pointing out what I was doing in the tactical areas – see next
    Pleading
This didn’t seem to be hugely effective, there was a vow of silence against me which Germany and England stuck to well (France never did) – that did mean when they tried to mislead me it was a tad transparent though.

Tactical: Balance and opportunities
This for me is the bit I could most directly influence. I wanted to create imbalance in the strength of the opposing alliance so that some members would become more worried about their “friends” than me. I also needed to create opportunities for the stab and make these impactful and available as often as possible. Temptation in the end normally gets the better of most players.

The game had three theatres and in the main two protagonists in each:

    1. The med (Turkey vs France)
    2.Central Europe (Russia vs Germany)
    3.Scandinavia (Russia vs England)
I could do little in the med, so France couldn’t be influenced directly. I realised this would likely come to degree of stalemate relatively quickly with no side taking a big advantage quickly. So I could ignore that.

So what I wanted to do was only lose ground in one of Central Europe or Scandi – I could probably hold one area. This would broadly give centres to only one of England or Germany creating an imbalance, I wanted to either over extend whoever was taking centres to allow a stab or to give them the chance to stab whilst in the ascendancy. Losing centres only in one area would also leave me a base to recover from.

Having looked at the board I felt that it would be better to allow Germany to advance in central Europe for three reasons. Firstly this was easier to keep a clean distinction in who was getting centres, in scandi it would have been easier for E/G to split more equally, Second – Germany would get strung out and would never have the reasons to fortify his rear and so would always be open to a French or English stab. Three – I felt it would be more easily recovered, Turkey could come and help and once England gets Scandi its basically impossible to recover.

I of course tried to defend as much as possible but all my resources went first to ensuring Scandi was held and that England damn well knew he wasn’t getting anything (both from unit positions/builds and from my messages) and actually a counter attack from me was possible even whilst the alliance held.

2.4 When
Germany eventually broke through my lines in 1905 taking Moscow after slipping to Livonia in the Spring. However – Italy lost two centres with France taking Tunis and presumably stabbing Italy.
Image
side note: I really think E/F should have stabbed Germany in the fall here – there was a fantastic opportunity which I did of course point out. They could together have wiped him out and taken over his centres before I could have done anything. It wouldn’t have delivered a victory but probably a four way draw (no one had wanted a five way).

Germany was set to take a second centre in mother Russia in fall 1906 and he would have reached seven centres (+2 under the alliance), however the rest of the strategy had been successful, England was till on 4 (as he had been since 1901) with zero prospects of taking more without Germany consent or a stab. Nor was France going to gain, Italy had all but been eliminated but the entirety of the peninsula was falling to the Juggernaught and eventually Turkey would have been able to manoeuvre his fleets to break the French defensive line.

It was now or never for France and England, my defence was broken, Germany was growing quickly and would get all the spoils. England did not break but France did stabbing both Germany and England…

Image

So as I said would love to hear from the other players as to how much of mine and Turkeys strategy actually caused this to happen, was any of the diplomacy effective? Did our tactical choices create the right environment for the stab?

3.Recovery: Spring 1907 – Fall 1910
Honestly not going to spend too much time on this. Turkey and I had our centres of power, I still had fleets aplenty to launch the counter from their Scandinavian dry docks. It was quickly apparent that the Juggernaught would be unstoppable.

All that was left was for the right moment to stab Turkey. Which made me quite sad as he had been a fantastic ally, however I personally believe that the game is set up with solo as the ultimate goal and you show respect to your fellow players by going for this, even if they have been loyal. I realise some players prefer to draw and that’s totally fine – but I hope he can understand why I stabbed.

Basically I have mostly run out of steam if anyone wants to ask about specific moves in this period happy to discuss but really they aren’t that interesting.

4. Reflections and thoughts
Defensive alliances: Turkey played an exemplary game here, he let me have his centres when needed to ensure we had enough forces in the North, when on the racks nationalism needs to be set aside and without his mature play here I think we would have collapsed. It wasn’t this that led to the stab or facilitated it. He probably should have argued for parity earlier in the recovery.

Board position vs centres: I think E&G made some mistakes here and were too keen to hunt centres rather than the board position, in “end game” situations board position becomes much more valuable than early game when centres are more important. Eg fall 1904 going for Norway and warsaw not Liv and skagg (it was getting to liv that broke my line)

Pack of silence: not sure how people expect it to be policed but actually was pretty effective with G & E sticking to it

Stabbing Italy: I think this was a mistake although I don’t have your perspective on whether he was amenable to effective alliance working this allowed Turkey to take centres

stabbing G&E: I was surprised at this, would like to hear the thinking over just G and getting E on board retro or prospectively.

Russian natural break: more so than other powers Russia seems to have the potential for an early push to grind to a halt, I think this is because taking scandi is often possible but then moving on is extremely tough. I was in a great position centre wise but then hit the breaks as it was impossible to convert to onwards motion, to slow to deploy fleets from the single build slot in st p and they are quite a way from front line.

5. Endings
So hopefully this is helpful. I got a bit knackered at the end. This was a great game, one in which I was hugely stressed in the middle trying to defend a front line from tyrolia to Barents with outnumbered and out of position units.

Thanks for playing (and reading) everyone.
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Re: AAR 149532. Kiljoy (Russian Solo)

Postby Tortellacci » 31 Dec 2018, 14:21

Hey all, Germany here. I really, really enjoyed this game, actually!

I agree with your three acts pretty much completely. I'll go through my thoughts on the game as you did, although your recovery was my downfall ;):

1. Early Expansion
1.1 Aims

At the beginning, I was looking to achieve, chiefly:

    1. Friendly relations with Russia and Austria.
    2. A strong alliance with either E or F.

I think friendly relations with Austria as Germany goes without saying - it is mutually beneficial for both to ensure the survival of the other, whether that be through diplomacy or direct intervention, yada yada. As for Russia, I know many Germanys succeed by looking at Russia for an early target, but I believed after many communications that Russia was a formidable player that I thought I could keep peace with. I also was confident enough that I would be able to wrap up the situation in the Western Triangle before Russia would take out Turkey, or Russia and Turkey would take out Austria - in which case I would have to team up with Italy. The key here is I believed Russia would prosper and so long as I slowed him down through diplomatic means. In retrospect, I should have asked Russia to forgo a move into Galicia but frankly I forgot. Whoops. :?

Now as for the alliance with either England or France, I believed that the Sealion that Russia suggested was an opening I could get behind. If a Juggernaut were to occur, France would benefit by attacking me the moment England was wrapped up. However, France is is frankly a tough nut to crack tactically and given my opening strategy, an E/F was the worst possible thing I could be faced with, and in my experience shotgun openings, although risky, provide an intrinsic trust that is gained from revealing critical plans so early.

1.2 Spring 1901
Image

Now my first reaction to seeing this was "is Austria insane?" Not only did he stab Italy with no follow-up, but he also moved into Bohemia?! I chastised him for this, albeit lightly, and was confident he would not move into Munich given how much hot water he had just put himself in. I was correct but Austria was certainly on her downfall from here.

You'll also notice that England, France, and I opened with fairly inoffensive moves to each other. Although I was not looking for a Western Triple at this stage, it was nice to see that I had significant say over the fate of the Low Countries. However, no Sealion, gah. In the end, I decided to keep pushing for an alliance with France, but both he and England were incredibly unresponsive, which honestly scared me that I was going to face an E/F.

1.2 Fall 1901
Image

I supported myself into Holland rather than supporting either England or France into Belgium as I strongly suspected an E/F was in the works. My assumption was proved wrong however when England and France bounced in Belgium. In fact, the unresponsiveness of both players, I believe, was caused by lack of time put into the game.

I had France's word that he would build F Brest and I would build F Kiel. He didn't follow through with this arrangement, but not by refusing to build a fleet in Brest. Rather, he NMRed and didn't build anything. I decided to not shift focus and attack France to gain diplomatic favor from him when he hopefully did come back, but no dice.

At this point, Russia has three builds.

1.3 Spring 1902
Image

I decide to move into Bohemia in an agreement with Russia that he would support me into Vienna. Austria was dying, I saw the writing on the wall. I thought perhaps Italy would come to his senses and go attack Turkey, which he does, but as you'll see later, he also provokes France with a move to Piedmont for no good reason. I also move into Belgium as I have not heard anything from France. At this point, it was a blunder to keep "working" with the NMR France, but I held on to the hope that I would have more to gain from England than I did France - as in, if France NMRs again, someone will take his place and defend his territory. But he must have entered a single hold order or something, as he holds everything but does not auto-surrender. The reason this was a blunder though is that France of course benefits from a Juggernaut, one that appears to be forming. With Italy and Austria gone, I should have gone for an alliance with England.

1.4 Fall 1902
Image

Near the beginning of this turn, England voluntarily surrenders. He is replaced by a new England, one convinced I am a "Russian stooge" and one demanding Belgium. I argue that while I agree Russia needs to be stopped, we should be going after a fleet in the Baltic Sea rather than up north and that I should get Belgium and I can move into Skag to support him back into Norway, as he can afford the removal. He never wrote back and accepted Russian support into Denmark - telling me "his only regret was not destroying my fleet". So he calls me the Russian stooge? Anyway, I need to work with him so I offer rapprochement during the builds.

Russia does not support me into Vienna, which somewhat surprised me. I had no delusions that he would work with me for long, but I miscalculated how long exactly that would be.

During the builds, a new France joins and I finally get to cash out that diplomatic favor I gained from not attacking him. Gradually, him, England, and I agree to a Western Triple to counter the Juggernaut. While I believed France would benefit from a Juggernaut, I pointed out the very real threat of a Russian solo and the fact that Turkey seemed incredibly committed to Russia.

2. Western Triple vs. Juggernaut

I am not going to go play-by-play for this next section, but I do want to point out a few key communications and movements.

First, while all three of the Western Triple members agreed to "let Russia eat static", especially England, who pushed hard for it, I did communicate with Russia, as France did apparently. However, it was only to deceive him to not move into Prussia or Silesia, and to build in the North Coast of St. P, respectively, not to genuinely discuss an agreement. Which is a shame, because I feel like under other circumstances I would readily work with Russia, he was a very pleasant and downright effective player, but the situation made it effectively impossible for either of us to do so. In this stage, I actually forged a forgery; I played on the shared feeling that Russia was trying to break up the WT as hard as he possibly could by forging a letter from Russia forging a forwarded letter from France. The reason I decided to do this was, ironically, to strengthen the Western Triple. It was certainly entertaining though.

France also desired strongly to take out Italy as he was being admittedly ridiculous in his lack of & poor communication and demands. I convinced him to work with him, which I thought and still do think was the right play to make, but Italy proved to be beyond useless. I don't mean to trash-talk, but there were three separate moments where I thought to myself "we should be set if Italy just moves into Tyrolia", and then was immediately disappointed by the fact that he either misordered, miscommunicated, or NMRed.

As the game continued in this very slow-moving, two-alliance fashion, the Western Triple steadily made progress. Critically, I slipped through Russian lines twice, capturing Moscow and Galicia, and performing a sort-of Sherman's March to the Black Sea. But unfortunately, soon after that happened, France stabbed both me and England. My first reaction here was: "France has just doomed us all." I in no way suspected that France would stab either me or England this early, let alone both at once. What made this worse is that both England and I had threatened MAD (mutually assured destruction) on whoever broke the alliance, but at least for me, that was effectively directed towards England. I didn't follow through on this threat as I believed given my gains in the Balkans, maybe France and I had a chance without England. But England not only followed through with his threat by attacking France, but he also refused to talk to me and moved into my centers. What did I ever do to him?

By the end, when hope looked lost, England did actually respond to one of my messages pleading to reform the Western Triple in hopes of a quasi-stalemate line. It would result in me with one center in Holland, England with three, and France with exactly more than that, but I thought that maybe, just maybe, Russia would stab Turkey in overconfidence given the immense time it would take to break through our lines, if it even was possible to break through. What England responded with was a demand to France to vacate the Channel and London. Vacating both was a completely unreasonable demand given that if England truly did want to stop Russia, we would need at least one of those fleets by that point to hold my fleet's position in the North Sea. I tried my hardest to negotiate with him, and France and I decided to try what we all sort-of agreed upon, but England was merely using our communications as an opportunity to further cement the Russian solo. Once that happened, the game was effectively over.

All in all though, despite my early-game blunder, France's blunder in ending the Western Triple (which I do believe was a blunder, sorry France), and England's insistence on handing the game to Russia, the game was incredibly fun and intense. Phlegmatic (France) and Brumark (Russia) in particular, I respect you all very much as players.

Good game!
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Re: AAR 149532. Kiljoy (Russian Solo)

Postby Phlegmatic » 01 Jan 2019, 21:19

Two excellent summaries Brumark and Tortellacci, thank you both!

I won't go over old ground - the tactical side has been excellently represented, so I will add what I feel are pertinent points and corrections from the French perspective.

I joined the game as a replacement for a reasonable French position, and the fact that Germany hadn't taken advantage of my predecessor's NMR made it an extremely easy decision to trust him from the start. It was less clear that England would be a good ally, but negotiations went well and really there was no choice - it was obviously WT or Russian solo so I just had to hope that England would be as amenable as Germany, and to be fair he absolutely was. However, I was pretty relaxed about whatever result came along because I had my Rating Shield active. A draw would be nice, but a loss would not be a big deal. This had consequences for later...

It was also clear that the juggernaut was rolling fast, and if Turkey couldn't be stopped in the Med we were all doomed. Here my heart sank right from the start. I had played with the Italian player before and found him unresponsive and unreliable, so I made it VERY clear to E&G that I would work with him with the utmost reluctance. My huge preference was to hammer Italy as fast as I could and hopefully build a bulwark in the Med whilst my WT allies sorted out the Russian menace in the north, but I was pushed hard to try and work with Italy instead.
With a heavy heart I agreed, but in hindsight I really ought to have forced the issue (if I could) and attacked Italy mercilessly. I don't know for sure that it would have changed things in the end, but Italy was a liability and I personally believe he cost us the draw.

That said, I was also worried that I wasn't going to make any progress whatever I did. Germany and England both had scope to grow in the north, but between Italy and Turkey I was extremely limited in any SCs I could capture. This frustrated me and I saw that if Russia was pegged back, then it was very plausible that England might stab me to grab Brest and Paris while I was tied up in the Med.

So...there I was sitting patiently, ranting about Italy to anyone who would listen, growing frustrated with my lack of options, watching Russia's extremely ominous naval builds looming over the WT, when suddenly a miracle! Germany breaks through and rampages behind Russian lines!

And this is where two things provoked my stab on London and Munich.

It was obvious Turkey was competent enough to defeat Italy and leave me with no offensive options in the Med.
England had also just convoyed from Denmark to Belgium. This was unexpected and troubling.

But London and Munich were wide open, Russia seemed to be in a bit of trouble, and I thought "to hell with it, my Rating Shield is active, I have literally nothing to lose, let's have a little fun and get ambitious!"

Was it a blunder by me? I'm actually not so sure. The logic of my situation felt like I was trapped at 8 and going nowhere. If E&G prevailed over Russia, I had nothing in reserve to defend myself and it seemed logical that they would see me as a quick and easy conquest - how on earth could I defend myself if that English tank decided it fancied a little trip to Paris or Brest?

If they did not prevail over Russia we were all doomed anyway - Russia's 5 northern fleets terrified me. If he managed to even threaten to move Norwegian to NAO to MAO then my whole defence against Turkey had to collapse to defend Brest and Iberia and it was game over.

So I saw no route to a result. By getting up to 10 I hoped to defend myself against both the Russian naval threat AND the scary English tank in Belgium. I hoped to capitalise with further captures from England, but that was definitely a blunder - England didn't play ball, and rightly so!

(Although it handed Russia the game I do respect a threat that is followed through - dear reader be warned, bratsffl is not a bluffer and his threats carry weight, take him seriously!)

Once it became clear that Russia was going to handle Germany's breakthrough and continue to grow at the expense of G&E, I was left with only one viable strategy.
I deliberately fell back before Russia whilst taking every opportunity to frustrate Turkey and allow him no builds. I communicated very clearly to Turkey what I was doing and the intended consequence - that he be left with only two choices:

1 - stab Russia
2 - allow a Russian solo.

Turkey replied only rarely, but he made it clear that a Russian solo was not something he was going to allow. He did not elaborate, but as the northern situation became ever more critical I kept pushing and he went completely silent. It was blindingly obvious (to me!) that my logic was sound and that Turkey held the fate of the game in his hands, but he trusted Russia to the last and sadly got the reward I expected for his misplaced loyalty. Hopefully a learning experience for him, and I must congratulate Brumark on managing to maintain trust with Turkey right up to the last turn, a rare skill. Well played sir!

Also a big thank you to Germany/Tortellacci for his pragmatism and persistence in trying to make the best of a bad situation and his generosity in helping me as best he could even after I had stabbed him at the worst possible time.

All in all an excellent game and a huge learning experience. Thank you everyone who was involved :D

PS On the subject of "eat static", I am too talkative and too keen to learn from good players for me to strictly adhere to this, but I am pretty sure I kept it social and didn't give away any tactical info. Brumark - do you agree, or was I leaking like an old bathtub without my realising?
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Re: AAR 149532. Kiljoy (Russian Solo)

Postby Mr Aedron » 01 Jan 2019, 22:53

Brumark,

It was a pleasure playing you (and your stats are insane btw) and I appreciate the shout out.

However, you are going to be very bad for business if you write such manuals about how to break up alliances :D

Jokes apart, outstanding job on the board and outside
I still want a rematch with big gun and you!
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Re: AAR 149532. Kiljoy (Russian Solo)

Postby bratsffl » 04 Jan 2019, 02:58

England's quick two cents.

I never trusted Germany from the get go. He had taken advantage of my predecessor, and I was not going to let that happen.
Russia had also taken advantage of the poor sot, so I was equally displeased with him.

To my recollection, Russia did make the first conciliatory move and I was able to talk for a short bit. But I think something told me Russia was the greater of two evils so I started pushing hard for a WT to stop him.

I knew Russia was wordy and did push for a "media blackout" mostly to drive him batshit crazy! On this, I do think I was mildly successful; even though all 3 of us did actually talk to him once in a while. I also think my race to build the wall that Russia could not pass was working quite well.

The WT could and would have held the Jugger in check if France had not made the stab. One of the sore points I have about this game, is he did it only because his ratings shield was active due to the takeover. This game could have lasted much longer if he would have been patient.

Additionally at the end, once France made the stab and MAD was evident; Turkey should have realized and abandoned Russia.
Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?
Never surrender

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Re: AAR 149532. Kiljoy (Russian Solo)

Postby Brumark » 05 Jan 2019, 11:41

Thanks all for contributing, some really helpful perspectives. I thought I would note some comments back:

@Tortellaci - Vienna: yes I had originally intended to support you there. Two things made me not, the single biggest was as I mentioned that Britain and France dropping out made me pretty scared you would have too easy a ride so I needed to halt you then which was earlier than planned. Unfortunately for me France and England did join and you all began to take advantage of my over extension, I knew this would occur but I gambled on a replacement France not ensuing in a timely manner - a gamble I lost. Secondly I was a bit grumpy about allowing you Vienna so any excuse such as above re-enforced my desire not to hand it over. I was grumpy as I felt you were asking for some of the rewards of Austria falling without essentially doing much of the work - this was probably an unfair and unfounded view as 1) you let me into Sweden and 2) me encouraging Austria to caused you a load of stress I am sure so perhaps you did deserve some of the rewards. So yeh not logical but sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants. But as said with a France in the game I wouldn't have stabbed and would have let you have Vienna.

@all - eating static: yes this was quite effective in frustrating me and drive me crazy. What I think you lost from it was the ability to really convince me anything you were saying was not orchestrated. Tortellaci refers to getting me to build in Stp NC but I wanted to do that anyway. Probably the best example was when I England could not defend NWG and NTH, both Germany and England contacted me for the first time in a while and then tried to encourage me one way or another not to take NTH. This moved my confidence levels that this was the exposed territory much higher than they would have been and indeed that was the case. However in the end I decided I wanted to secure Sweden and try and organise my defensive line as a higher priority, that might have been a mistake but I thought the risk not quite worth it. England also tried to trick me into a retreat somewhere, I forget where but because of the lack of contact I was much more suspicious

@Phlegmatic - breaking the vow of silence: actually chatting to you helped alleviate the frustration of radio silence elsewhere as indeed due to time zone differences chatting to Turkey was difficult. So you kept my morale up, this probably didnt change the outcome as I would have still pressed on. The only bit of information you game me was that you were likely to make a play for a solo at some point and didnt think a WT was really a stable three way draw group.

We discussed that none of us would accept a five way draw, which seemed very possible at the time due to the inherent instability of a a WT would mean that it would break apart before the end. I proposed that obviously this means that at least one player has to be out the equation, Turkey and I would not betray each other, certainly not first as this might just give the WT the morale and glut of centres needed to make it work. So that would assume that we would make up two of the four/three - Phelg/France you would want to be one of the other spots so either/both of Germany and England needed to go. In this conversation you made it clear you werent really up for that so a solo attempt was in the offing.

@ all - Italy: It is hard to say if taking him out was a blunder. Purely tactically I think the answer was yes - when he joined your side I cursed, when you attacked him I jumped for joy. But there is also the relational side, clearly he wasn't playing ball properly with you all, I agree with Tortellacci - moves to Tyrolia would have been devastating and I understand he wasn't particularly responsive so sometimes you just have to go for it. I cant remember if there was a real opportunity to do it earlier. In Italys defence, as is often the case in a French/Turkish war his issue would be that he is the front line and as soon as there is an emerging victor he gets eaten either way.
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Re: AAR 149532. Kiljoy (Russian Solo)

Postby Mr Aedron » 06 Jan 2019, 01:41

Brumark, if I may chip in, would you say you nudged Phlegmatic into succumbing to his epic solo demons? :mrgreen:

Or did it just happen?
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Re: AAR 149532. Kiljoy (Russian Solo)

Postby Brumark » 06 Jan 2019, 11:21

Well I certainly tried...

A lot of words went into pointing out opportunities, that if he wanted to go for it then "now is the only chance, germany will get too strong, window is fast shutting... etc"

Also as set out my strategy was to stop english and french growth and allow german (as had to allow someone) and to try and extend them so they were vulnerable.

So I like to think I contributed but its hard to say if it had any impact.
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Re: AAR 149532. Kiljoy (Russian Solo)

Postby Phlegmatic » 07 Jan 2019, 14:26

Hi Mr Aedron, good to cross paths with you again - this game and the one we shared are both in my top 3, so I'm glad to hear your input!

I'd like to make clear that a French solo was never on the cards and while Brumark's attempts to push me that way were admirable, I like to think I'm not THAT daft :D

That eeeeenormous Russian navy was never going to be beaten by anything I could do so a draw was the best hope, but with the prospect of G & E pushing Russia back I was worried even that might slip away when I was so eminently stabb-able in the north! So I got my retaliation in before they struck.

Bratsffl - yeah, you're 100% right about the Rating Shield thing. I would definitely have been more patient without it although I do believe Brumark would have won in the end. We needed a more engaged Italy.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, that Russian navy was a one-nation steamroller. I've always been a strong believer that Russia should go fleety in the north, and this did nothing to disabuse me of the notion!
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