PDL 2. Round 2 Game 2. AAR

After game reports for PlaDip Diplomacy League games

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PDL 2. Round 2 Game 2. AAR

Postby lb1785 » 17 May 2018, 09:17

I thought I would start the AAR for PDL 2.2.2 while my memories of the game are still fresh enough. Let's start by a reminder of the result and final position:

ENGLAND StarWatcher009
FRANCE duckling (4way DRAW)
ITALY Riles
GERMANY lb1785 (4way DRAW)
AUSTRIA champinoman (4way DRAW)
TURKEY nanooktheeskimo (4way DRAW)
RUSSIA The SHIV

Image
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Re: PDL 2. Round 2 Game 2. AAR

Postby lb1785 » 17 May 2018, 10:26

So I'll start my own AAR as Germany, aka the weakling who struggled for most of the game to finally manage to insert himself into the draw. I won't do a blow-by-blow account of the game, especially as it carried on until S13, but I will try to comment on what I felt where the different phases and defining moments of the game.

Early game: Pre-S01 I had built some rather good relationships with my two neighbors France and England, but was a bit uneasy about French requests to have Belgium before attacking England, which made me side with England against France. Talks were started with Russia to start a 3-way alliance between EGR, but we never got to the point of formulating a detailed plan. S01 was not a good turn for me, since Mun-Bur is bounced by a French double-bounce... France's opening is completed by an unusual Bre-Pic opening. At least England seems to be on my side, having opened to ENG, although I'm a bit wary that he opened Lvp-Edi instead of Lvp-Wal as promised. The rest of the board looks like an early AR against T, and I committed to being friendly with A.
Full S01 orders:
Image

In F01, the most notable events are Italy joining the EG attack on France with a move to Pie, and E moving ENG-MAO while F orders Pic-Bel. Oh, and I let R into Swe, with an idea to retake Swe asap.

The first turning point in my game was 1902. In S02 everything seems to be going along great as I manage to force Bur with help from Italy, and England taking Bel with my help. I also make a move against Russia to take Swe. Since Russia himself is sneaking into Nwy, my hopes are high that E will side with me in my upcoming war with Russia, and that will cement a very strong EG alliance: that was my biggest mistake of the game.
Full S02 orders:
Image

At this point I start feeling great about my prospects for this game, all the more so that Austria accepts to join me in an attack against Russia. We agree to attack War together. See what my only problem is here? At the beginning of F02, I can hardly defend Hol against an English stab... Of course, some of the outside observers will say that it would be foolish for England to stab me for one single center at this stage of the game, and that's what I thought too (and explained to England beforehand just in case he was considering it)... Unfortunately, come F02 order resolution:
Image
On the rest of the board, I am aware that T is trying to cut a deal with A to stop the attack on himself and get A to turn against Russia, while Italy sends a fleet to attack Turkey. At this point, I know I'll have to fight EFR, with A as my ally, and I and T undetermined. Not so great, all of a sudden...

In 1903, I am under attack from EFR, and I lose both Kiel and Denmark. Thankfully, Austria throws me a lifeline by supporting me to take War from Russia. Important F03 event: Austria starts what will prove to be a devastating stab against Italy, simply by taking the Ionian by surprise and putting himself in a position to convoy an army straight into Nap, at a time when Italy has one fleet in GoL and another one in EMS: brilliant!

At this point, I formulate a strategy to try to survive: ally with A and T against R, placate F enough and eventually turn him against E, get E to see that he should stab R to get control of Scandinavia, and then use me as his puppet against F. This actually works out well, since F04 orders put me in the following position:
Image
Here you'll notice France takes Por from England, England tries to attack Swe (since I promised BAL S Den-Swe), I retake Kiel, and take back War with Austrian help. Meanwhile Turkey starts making its way into Russia's homeland, and Austria eats Italy alive.

The rise of AT:
At the end of 1904, Austria is by far the dominant power on the board (8 SCs), followed by England at 6. But what Austria has is a well-functioning cooperation with Turkey (5 SCs), and a forced one with myself (since I'm dependent on Austria's goodwill to keep War and hopefully push further against Russia). Interesting choice by Russia to disband one of his two fleets in Scandinavia in W04 after the loss of Sev to the Turk: that means Russia wants to keep fighting on land against me (and AT). In the West, I am unsure about my newfound ally France, but his move to take Por away from England means we should be able to cooperate against our common enemy, England.

1905 is the beginning of the end for Russia who loses Mos to Austria and Swe to England, and Italy loses Ven to Austria. Austria also transfers two of his centers to Turkey, which means Austria now controls 8 SCs and Turkey 7 SCs: the AT alliance is about to control half of the whole board! Austria, while still nice in his messages, is ominously close to War and Mun at this point.

In 1906, and despite my efforts to try to get Austria to turn against Turkey, Austria attacks me and takes War. Thankfully, my alliance with France against England is now working very well, and France takes Lvp (after having taken Bel the year before) while I take Hol from England, which means I manage to stay at 4 SCs despite the loss of War. Meanwhile, Turkey makes his way into the Med, and England takes Nwy from Russia.
Full F06 orders:
Image

I'll post the rest of my AAR below the first comments, since some outside observers have asked about F08 orders already. To be continued... Thanks for reading! :)
Last edited by lb1785 on 18 May 2018, 10:32, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: PDL 2. Round 2 Game 2. AAR

Postby nanooktheeskimo » 17 May 2018, 13:42

Will get to this when I have time. In the meantime will respond to any questions happily. Champinoman, you were tons of fun to work with for 85-90% of the game (which is saying something, given you were attacking me the first two years! ;) ). Duckling, we had some arguments, but I feel like we ended up mostly putting that aside, and I’d be happy to share another board with you sometime. Lb, I understand why you played the way you did at points, but I genuinely dislike it. You did a fantastic job convincing France to keep you in the draw though, and I have a ton of respect for that because by all rights going by the board you shouldn’t have been able to do so. Very well played. Italy, you were enjoyable to talk to for a bit, but it never materialized in working together. Starwars, I’m not sure we really talked much, cause I was focused so much on my corner of the board for the first few years. Shiv, I thought you did a couple things early that were kind of crappy, and I’ll talk about at some point. I hope I don’t end up playing you again, because I really hate when people pressure to finalize. You signed up for a game with 2 day deadlines, and I can’t speak for anyone else, but I needed every bit of that time.
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Re: PDL 2. Round 2 Game 2. AAR

Postby Riles » 17 May 2018, 17:09

Before the game I had recently read an article making the case for a passive opening of Venice to Tuscany. The main summary is that the presence of Venice army is what makes Austria distrust an early alliance with Italy. The threat of the early stab can be too much. So to mediate it, move Venice to Tuscany. It doesn't block Rome, still has access to Pied, and isn't aggressive to anyone, which played perfectly into my early strategy. Thankfully, Austria and I hit it off early, Austria was very open to working with me, I'm sorry Turkey but you had no chance of me going anti-Austria because I was so excited to try the Tuscan opening.

This was my opening plan, be a third wheel to an alliance. Italy is the power left out of both major triangles. So I wanted to grow slowly into the mid-game and be the X-factor in someone's stab attempt. The opportunity came early to be the third wheel in both East and West, the third in an anti-France and anti-Turk alliances.

Unfortunately for me, both France and Turkey proved to have strong defenses. But what really killed me was not the Austrian stab (though that didn't help), it was England switching to work with France and stabbing Germany in fall 1902.

I was in position to grow and build off of French centers, but with Germany backing off to defend against England I didn't have the forces necessary to break French defenses. I couldn't make a critical build, which meant I was left hilariously exposed to the Austrian stab. The rest was just the downhill slide to elimination.

Congrats to Austria, thank you for letting me try the Tuscan opening, no hard feelings over the stab, you were right to do it.

Congrats to Turkey, you were facing three powers against you and you turned it around beautifully. Thank you for listening to my last ditch proposals to go against Austria even if I had nothing of substance to offer.

Congrats to France, you were also facing three powers against you and I really wish you hadn't said what you said to convince England to go against Germany.

Congrats to Germany, I'm sorry our plans of a CT didn't work out the way I hoped, but at least you made it out better than I did!

To Russia, we didn't communicate much but good luck in future games!

To England, curse you! Your German stab set off the chain of events that led to my demise! :P But seriously, good luck in future games and I hope to cause the end of one of your games like you did mine :twisted:
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Re: PDL 2. Round 2 Game 2. AAR

Postby mhsmith0 » 17 May 2018, 19:05

I feel like I'd made a post here talking about 1908 that the server ate...

Anyway, I'd be quite curious for a discussion about the fall 1908 decision to stab Austria and completely let France off the hook, when MAO was there for the taking (particularly if England could be persuaded to play spoiler and order Belgium-ENG to cut any possible support) and holding Spain could have force a destroy (also stabbing over Naples could have been done via fleets, and then the continuation of the naval westward push could have gone forward).

I guess I'm also curious why it made sense to let Austria into STP in spring 1908 in the first place if a solo run was a concern, since without early access to Scandinavia, rushing to 18 seems super difficult for Austria in that spot.
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Re: PDL 2. Round 2 Game 2. AAR

Postby mjparrett » 17 May 2018, 20:30

Thanks for kicking the AAR off. League table will be updated soon. There is a surrender fest in PDL 3 right now keeping me busy! Well played all and look forward to reading how it all went down.
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Re: PDL 2. Round 2 Game 2. AAR

Postby boldblade » 17 May 2018, 20:40

mhsmith0 wrote:I feel like I'd made a post here talking about 1908 that the server ate...

Anyway, I'd be quite curious for a discussion about the fall 1908 decision to stab Austria and completely let France off the hook, when MAO was there for the taking (particularly if England could be persuaded to play spoiler and order Belgium-ENG to cut any possible support) and holding Spain could have force a destroy (also stabbing over Naples could have been done via fleets, and then the continuation of the naval westward push could have gone forward).

I guess I'm also curious why it made sense to let Austria into STP in spring 1908 in the first place if a solo run was a concern, since without early access to Scandinavia, rushing to 18 seems super difficult for Austria in that spot.


No you put it in the wrong thread....
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Re: PDL 2. Round 2 Game 2. AAR

Postby mhsmith0 » 17 May 2018, 21:57

oh lol i suck :lol:

moving it here...

I remain incredibly curious about the story that changed
Image into Image

That Austrian stab could have happened far later, and at no point actually required either the abandonment of a powerful MAO attack (fall 1908 WMED-MAO supported by NAF succeeds most of the time particularly if you get England to play spoiler with his Belgium navy), and if that happens there's decent odds you force a French destroy and that plus the loss of MAO outright collapses the western half of the board most of the time I think.
Heck, if you're determined to stab Austria, you can always just do it with TYS-NAP supported by ION and you get the same trading of STP for Naples but you still probably get to build via the Spain conquest.

Eyeballing the board as it stood at 1908 builds...
Image
What's Austria's primary/easy path to 18? Austria has STP/MOS/WAR (3 Russian), MUN/BER and can probably seize KEIL/HOL (4 German), has his 3 home centers+Serbia (4), has 2 Italian centers but would struggle to hold them against an assault (2)
3+4+4+2 = 13
So to go from there to 18, he'd need to do some combo of
Rolling up Scandinavia (+3 if you include Denmark)
Taking your centers (which seems difficult)
Progressing into France (Belgium might be doable but Mar/Par/etc seem quite a bit harder)

idk I feel like given the board position in 1908 Turkey was in a stronger position to eventually stab Austria for the solo than vice versa (and a carebear 2-way draw for two powers who'd worked very effectively together seems pretty inherently doable as well). I'd say that was the big missed opportunity for Turkey in this game, as I was very surprised to see those moves when I was following the game and think that directly led to France not getting eliminated, and then France had the option to do whatever he wanted wrt Germany.
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Re: PDL 2. Round 2 Game 2. AAR

Postby mhsmith0 » 17 May 2018, 22:07

Actually a bit more on that... looking at the start of 1908...

Turkey has 7 centers in the southeast (Sev/rum/bul/gre/con/ank/smy), plus tunis = 8 current holding, and presume turkey keeps that (they're all easier to defend than attack imo)

Austria inherently has a VERY hard time getting into Spa/Por/Bre/Lon/Lvp/Edi = 6 that Turkey should have in A/T endgame

That means that Turkey needs only three additional centers to hit 17 and a block (and obviously 4+ = solo win), among...

Marseilles - it's holdable for Austria but with the right moves Turkey can potentially seize it
Naples - pretty undefendable for Austria long-term, a center that Turkey can probably take at almost any time unless Austria overcommits resources to defend it
Rome - a bit more defendable than Naples, but it's takeable
Norway/Sweden/STP/Denmark - it's hard to take Scandinavia using armies only, so Turkey ought to have a pretty decent shot of grabbing stuff here
Paris - Austria probably ends up with this one, but it's probably not super hard to force him to work for it

idk I feel like at the time of Turkey's stab, Turkey was actually closer to a solo run than Austria, even if Turkey's path involved pushing through France, who actually had bodies to resist him. Obviously I could be wrong though, but that's my quick read of that board state.
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Re: PDL 2. Round 2 Game 2. AAR

Postby champinoman » 18 May 2018, 08:07

I think the one thing that you are over looking here is the ability for France and Germany to throw a solo the other direction. Based on what I heard in game, which should always be taken with a grain of salt, I believe that Turkey was being threatened with the others throwing the solo to me.

I agree that I thought Turkey was in a stronger position than I was at the time of the ‘stab’. The move into Naples wasn’t really a stab because we had arranged that anyway. It was the move into ADR that annoyed me a little and slowed us down a little.

And let’s be honest, it was only ever going to be a 2-way if we worked very hard for it. One of us would have stabbed and we both knew this based off our conversations. The early plan was to get France (and possibly Germany) to agree to the 2-way before either of us got into close range of 18 SC in order to save tie breaker points.

But all this went out the window with the retreat in ’08 because France was able to close the door permanently after this missed opportunity.
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