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Dad_Scaper October 30th, 2017 08:05 PM

Re: Diplomacy
I can tell you I would have been disappointed with a second carebear draw. This was much more satisfying.

I look forward to a discussion about the role of minor powers when there is a runaway leader, or runaway leaders.

quozl October 30th, 2017 08:20 PM

Re: Diplomacy

Originally Posted by Kinseth (Post 2166913)
Interested in seeing who all the players were.

I was Russia in this one.

I still have a EGS to finish for the other game, and now one for this game. Hope everyone enjoyed it.


Ranior October 31st, 2017 09:17 AM

Re: Diplomacy
Great game Kinseth, very well played.

I was France in this one. I'll have a lot more thoughts to share later, but here are my main ones:

--Thanks England for being a great ally to work with. It was a fun time, and had Russia/Austria taken even one more season to advance through Turkey, I believe the game would have flipped with us being the dominant powers gobbling them up at the end. Instead they got the slight upper hand and Russia forced the win.

--Russia played extremely well throughout the game. You were in control for most of it, and I personally thought it was extremely clear even at the midpoint of the game. I'm very glad you went for the solo win as I too would have been extremely disappointed if you carried Austria to a draw when they were leaving the solo open to you so easily.

--Austria you played pretty well, but I'm glad you lost. I tried pointing out numerous times that this was the likely outcome and that you were not safe or defending your home centers against a Russian stab, and you were in no position to stab Russia yourself. Essentially I think you played the alliance and early part of the game extremely well, but you needed to make a pivot to working with England and myself to go for a win I believe. To be fair though, I stopped pressing this hard and kind of gave up on the game, which may have led to you not really feeling like you could rely on me. I'll be curious to hear your thoughts on how close you actually were to taking up England and I on our offers during 1904-1905 when we really had the chances to flip the game.

--Italy....I'm going to probably lay into you a little bit. I honestly don't understand what you were doing this game. In the very early game, 1901, you were doing your best not to anger anyone, but had no hope for advancement. When it became clear that Austria/Russia and France/England were the powers eating up Germany/Turkey instead of trying to actually get in with one of those groups you did....nothing. Then when I spent a lot of talks with you trying to set up an alliance, and England and I made every concession we could with you, and we really did need your help and couldn't afford to just stab you as we'd still lose in the long run.....you made moves that made no sense to me. You actually were in great position as you had taken one of Ausria's home centers--even better the only center that Austria can build more fleets out of. If you build an army to help defend there and actually worked with me, I could boslter naval power in the south to take over, we could have worked together to take over MUN and more Austrian centers and a real alliance could have been forged. Admittedly working with me was going to be tough as you were going to have to extend trust....but your other option was nothing in my eyes. Yet you took that other option--work with Austria who made zero concessions to you. You couldn't possibly break through my fleets. So instead you just went back to defending your four centers simply biding your time until Austria wanted to take your centers which he obviously eventually did. I just did not get those decisions since there was really zero chance of you growing by making those moves--your only hope for gaining ground in the game was rolling the dice and working with England and France to slow down the Russia/Austria alliance. But I guess this gets into the discussion Dad Scaper wanted to have about the role of minor powers against dominant ones. And I look forward to having it.

Like I say I'll lay out a lot more of my thoughts, including a discussion of why I made my opening moves and what I tried so hard to do during the midgame. Finally just a quick apology for essentially giving up these last few seasons and being slow on moves. It was hard to stay motivated after Italy turned on me and Austria season after season acted like they were considering working with me but continually just seemed to be stringing me along.

kevindola October 31st, 2017 12:32 PM

Re: Diplomacy
Congratulations to Russia on total victory. Well played on both diplomatic and maneuvering fronts!

I was Austria. I have about 3/4 of an EGS written (written as I went), but will take at least few days away in order to let everything soak in before I can finish it off and post it.

In the interim I will be active in any direct discussion or questions relevant to me. So in that spirit


Originally Posted by France
--....I tried pointing out numerous times that this was the likely outcome and that you were not safe or defending your home centers against a Russian stab, and you were in no position to stab Russia yourself.I stopped pressing this hard and kind of gave up on the game, which may have led to you not really feeling like you could rely on me. I'll be curious to hear your thoughts on how close you actually were to taking up England and I on our offers during 1904-1905 when we really had the chances to flip the game.

I'll preface by saying that, for good or bad, I utilized my experience in my first ever diplomacy game (a 2WD as Italy with Turkey (Kinseth)) to dictate my decision making processes for my 2nd ever diplomacy game.

-Firstly, while you did warn me several times about a Russian stab, you didn't really elaborate with specific potential moves. I made one message that countered Russia's alleged dominant position with my potential countermeasures that you also did not address, I assume either due to checking out or because my view of the board was so off it wasn't worth explaining.

-Next, referencing my preface statement, I knew France was Ranior. In the first game I thought Ranior was quick to cry fire when there was none (in regards to a Juggernaut, and in regards to a western Triple). He also warned me repeatedly that Turkey was going to run over me as Italy. Again, which never happened. So I took his warning as mostly a self serving declaration to get me to change sides. After all, France was telling me as early as spring of 1904 that Russia was in a dominant global position and was poised for an easy solo without major actions. I just didn't see it that way. I am very possibly just too shorted sighted for this game, but I needed more details than just that to make that kind of call so early as to dictate a panic maneuver by me.

-In regards to in game context of joining with France + England, I never bought the French fleet retreat lukewarm promises France made me. I just didn't, because I didn't believe France would pull back any fleets and would have naval dominance in the Med and as soon as Russia was damaged, he would rejoin with England and their 2 way alliance would start anew. I could extrapolate on that if pressed. In reality, I was actually much closer to an Italy/England alliance. But not really that close even (except for a few hours in the Fall of 1905)

-Finally, due to my familiarity with some people's writing sytle, the fact scorpiusx spilled his country so early, and my observations of playstyle, I reasonably early pegged Kinseth as Russia. This would dictate a significant portion of my communication and moves based on solely our interactions in the first game. There were a half dozen or more plays that Russia made that I was very upset with. A couple of them egregiously so. However, the player of Russia did some of the same types of things in my first game with them, but never acted out on the one-sided moves, so I was willing to let it go in this game as kind of a paranoia induced, but ultimately harmless mindset. I do apologize if this kind of playstyle reduces the nature of the game for people, but it is the way I operate.

I think that answers your question about how close I actually was to joining in a France/England alliance. The answer is not very due to previous game experience, my assessment of the boards state, and my concerns of actually making something with France work out with my high concerns of the alliance's endgame.

Ranior October 31st, 2017 01:06 PM

Re: Diplomacy

Originally Posted by kevindola (Post 2167002)

I think that answers your question about how close I actually was to joining in a France/England alliance. The answer is not very due to previous game experience, my assessment of the boards state, and my concerns of actually making something with France work out with my high concerns of the alliance's endgame.

Yeah, that is mostly what I figured. I agree that I knew you were Austria as well--it's unfortunate, but given that many of us know each other's writing styles quite well from CoN, there really is no hiding. (Not to mention masquerade guessing games have specifically trained me to get pretty good at identifying tells in writing styles).

In some small way I'm kind of glad to hear that though--it at least validates my hunch that I was screwed by around 1905 when Italy flat out admitted we were doomed to war in a press with me and you continued to show zero signs of actually making any effort beyond talk to work with me. Really was a very very dull end game for me to play through given these situations since I could see the outcome, knew what was coming, and yet couldn't find anyone besides loyal England with which to work with.

I'll admit your concerns about making something with France and England work are also a real concern at least, but that is what tough diplomatic negotiations are all about. Plus you're playing with great players who hopefully won't be too vengeful. Work with England and I to solidify your position, then switch back to working with Russia. I dunno. Somehow I'm sure there is a path that could have worked.

Instead from my perspective you clearly were just playing along helping Russia get a win without any hope for winning yourself. I just could not see a logical path to you getting 17 or 18 centers, while Russia constantly had the upper hand to force the win.

With all that being said, I agree that it isn't always easy to see these things and you're pretty new. Dozens of games, including many dominant Russian victories made me pretty certain of the outcome on this one, but alas. I don't blame you for going with what worked so well for you last time which was sticking with a solid ally enjoying mutual growth. I'll be more upset though if you don't learn from this game.

By the way though, I do want another game. My inactivity towards the end should not in any way be read as a sign I didn't really enjoy most of this game and still love playing Diplomacy. I just want a chance now to stop Kinseth/Kevindola :P

Kinseth October 31st, 2017 01:26 PM

Re: Diplomacy
Mittens, this game was very different than the first game on the site. I know there was alot of flak in the first game for the Carebear approach, this wasn't in anyway a response to that game. Results in Diplomacy are much like views on Art. Playing to win at all costs, often ends the game in a ~4 way draw. Solo's are not the usual outcome. I think I have more of a distaste for LARGE draws than I do for a solid 2way draw. As I have mentioned before, playing until a 2 way draw is achieved, can be just as satisfying as the solo.

The Beginning

As Russia, I REALLY like a northern opening. I dislike being forced to play in the southern corner. But as diplomacy was going on, It soon became clear I was going to really need to focus my attention to the south.

Turkey was showing positive ovatures to Austria and Italy was being very non-commital. It was playing up nicely for Austria to be in the driver seat. When that happens, Russia really needs to focus on the south. I think had Italy or Turkey shown to be the stronger players, dictating action, I could have gone with a northern opening.

As Russia, you always want to try to secure Swe, and play on the troubles in the south. Germany was willing to allow me Swe. When I play Germany, I never give Russia Swe. I don't care if I feel like I am playing against an EF alliance, nothing good ever comes from Russia getting Swe when you are germany.

I thought early on that England was on the fence, but France did very little to play the F-R up.(Surprising since it was Rainor.) One of my favorite alliances in Diplomacy is a FR alliance. This lead me to believe there was a EF from the get go.

I worked Italy pretty hard to keep Venice where it was incase Austria Turkey were indeed in an allinace. Instead he moves Venice to Tus??? Putting no pressure on Austria for Russia. Russia-Italy need to be working together incase of an AT alliance.

Realizing I wasn't on great terms with Austria, he had Italy in his back pocket it seemed, and Turkey played a friggin Bottleneck opening(Where Smy goes to Con and Con to Bul. ) This is very restrictive for Turkey and what he can do.

I put out a huge olive branch to Turkey, offering him RUM so he could build 2 fleets , one at Con and one at SMY and combat the AI Alliance I thought had formed.

Well it looks like Austria has Turkey on his side too, as Austria supports Bul - Rum while I forgo taking it and give it to Turkey. As Negan would say, got your crapping pants on? Because you are going to be crapping your pants really soon.

Oh and I supported myself to Gal breaking our Bounce agreement.

So I do some back peddling with Austria, and draw up a game plan to attack Turkey together. I get Rum and he gets Bul. I can see that Turkey will just keep stringing me along and never fully commit to the alliance. Austria agrees to the plan and we inflict a crushing blow to Turkey, and the R-A alliance is born.

I later find out from Turkey, that he wanted to stay loyal to his word about an alliance with Austria that was formed before S01 even happened. I was late to the game since I had something going on that week and because Turkey and Austria talked before I could send comm's to Turkey, he was going to be Austria's ally until the end... WOW, okay. Ever heard the term, Actions speak louder than words? I forgone a build at Rum and gave it to Turkey to show him how serious I was about a R-T alliance. Anyways...

While the southern stuff was happening, I was working both the German and English lines, trying to help both before I had to choose one or the other. It became clear that EF was going to run through the board(Rainor was right, it was really close to doing so.), So I had to prop up Germany. I fed him English moves to block the move to Hel in s02. But germany didn't listen to me. England offered me Denmark, but I saw through the deception and made a play for NWY in A02, it was a bounce.

Germany was in very much of a debt to me and wasn't going to let EF have the game. At this point I got a northern fleet build to put pressure on England and convince Germany(With Austria's help) that we needed to disband armies in germany over fleets. This kept the fleets in the north to England 4 and Germany 2 and Russia 2. Allowing us to put pressure on England. This would be HUGE going forward. Austria and myself moved our armies in to prop up Germany and prevent him from falling.

Austria joked that it is better to be the alliance coming to the aide of a power than the one attacking sometimes. And it really was in this instance.

Growth in the south continued at Turkey's expense, and he was now hellbent on doing as much damage to Austria as he could before he was snuffed out. He unpredictably attacked Bul while giving me Ank. This helped me continue to get builds in the north as I soon took Con.

Part 2 to come--- I really mean it!

Dad_Scaper October 31st, 2017 01:31 PM

Re: Diplomacy
Interesting. It looks kind of like Kevindola's metagaming - seeking out Kinseth; rejecting Ranior, based on past experience with the players - proved costly, and ultimately limited the playing of the game, in that he turned a deaf ear to France based on who the player was. Which was unfortunate, for France and England, who were both doing what they could to stop a growing Russia, but the player in the best position to work with them was refusing to engage in diplomacy for reasons beyond their control.

That must have been frustrating, and helps explain Ranior getting irritated.

Also, reading Ranior's post, I wonder what the IR press was like. Because it looks like Italy had a powerful position, diplomatically, with an opportunity to split Austrian centers with Russia, and get a piece of Turkey, too, and then could, maybe, have had a nice opportunity to carve up up France, given a willing England. I'm curious to hear from our Italy about his perspective, and also Kinseth's sense of his relationship with Italy and what Italy was trying to do.

wriggz October 31st, 2017 02:09 PM

Re: Diplomacy
I was Italy.
So this is my first time playing diplomacy and I think it showed a bit. There were a few things that surprised me: 

1. I’m not use to zero sum games. I didn’t realize that Austria’s expansion was so bad for me, until late in the game. I should have pressured them for more gains when they took Turkey, and risked the alliance with France if they would not offer them.  

2. How much the mind state changes when you see no way of “winning”. Once the door to Turkey was closed and France moved into the Mediterranean my game was over. From then on I felt I was competing for survival.  

3. I was way too tempted by the Spanish peninsula. It looked so inviting and open. Looking back it would have been too hard to realistically capture it without additional help. Diplomacy is a slow game and it is tough to really surprise someone or force moves without considerable planning.  

4. This game took up a lot of brain matter. It was a lot more mentally demanding than I thought it would be. It is a great example of the prisoner’s dilemma and game theory, but trying to guess what others think you will do will drive you crazy.  

The Story: 
Austria and I got on really well at first, and Turkey/Russia seemed like a legit threat. Making a move on Turkey seemed to make the most sense, but in the end stalled me completely when Austria sided with turkey rather than Russia. At the time Russia seemed very aggressive, so it made sense how Austria was playing. In hind sight I should have taken Russia's offer and go against Austria early, but thought I could trust Austria for the long haul. This allowed Turkey to close the door in against me, so I would have to turn West for expansion. At this point Russia was spread thin, and working with Austria still seemed to make sense.  

Then England and France made an excellent play against Germany. France also moved into the Mediterranean, which was highly aggressive to me, making it clear that I would be their next target. From then on it would become next to impossible to trust France. Austria offered support while France made promises I feared they would not keep. The way I looked at it any in roads France would make against me would strengthen their positon without leaving them open to counter attack. This is when I was in negotiations with both France and Austria, trying to feel out which would be better for me in the long run. I was messing around with Movements and checking if they would work when I got called to a meeting at work, this lead to my folly which caused me to lose all initiative and even got a comment from Russia asking if I was throwing the game.  

I just couldn’t find a way to help France get past me, leaving myself open, since they would not leave themselves equally exposed. I don’t think France realized that as soon as Austria noticed I was working actively against them, they could move against me, and my game would have been quickly over. As said my largest mistake is not holding on to TRI and demanding that Austria let me hold it until France was destroyed, but by then I had made my folly move and I don’t think my heart was totally in it.

After that I spend the whole time trying to get back to my pre-folly position to try to force my way. Russia’s dominance was becoming apparent and I felt that England and Austria could be convinced to work together to end France and take on Russia. Of course at this point Austria turned on me, and the game was over. At this point it seemed like Austria was going for a “Care bear” win, which never occurred to me as a viable option. I was very surprised that Austria went this route, even after Russia warned me they would. Then my game was over. I really think that if Austria had not attacked me, I might have stayed around long enough to see some spoils form France, and they flip on Austria when moving my fleet against Turkish soil. I really believed that the smaller nations could work together against the common foe. Oddly the move against me seemed to be Austria’s undoing in the end. 

Conclusion: I was far too timid against Austria, and made one big technical error. I really wanted to work with France at one point, but I kept working myself up, fearing that they would back stab me at their earliest convenience, and I would lose my only ally at that time. I should have rolled the dice and sided with France, but I thought I could stay around a bit longer and pick up some pieces of a late game alliance. Frances fleets and unwillingness to either leave themselves equally open or slow down made them very hard to trust. Additionally if I did side with France I would have France on all sides and no way to protect myself, while they would only have England on their boarders, meaning I would trade one master for another. I really thought the Russia threat would bond us together and would allow me to grow later, I was mistaken. Italy is tough to make gains with once you are surrounded, and all too easy to play the wait and see game. I fully admit I was working for Austria for the bulk of the game, I kept looking for a good way out, but the other options simple looked worse. I learned lots, and lots I would have done different if given the chance.

quozl October 31st, 2017 02:28 PM

Re: Diplomacy
There's a saying in the game of Go. In order to learn to play, you need to lose your first 100 games. I think that applies to Diplomacy as well (but maybe only 10 games). If the game intrigues you at all, keep playing. You will get better.

wriggz October 31st, 2017 02:36 PM

Re: Diplomacy

Originally Posted by quozl (Post 2167021)
There's a saying in the game of Go. In order to learn to play, you need to lose your first 100 games. I think that applies to Diplomacy as well (but maybe only 10 games). If the game intrigues you at all, keep playing. You will get better.

Thanks, this game really fairly unique and the human interaction is considerable. I enjoyed myself, and would likely play again. I'm disappointed in a few my actions, but between Austria and Russia Cutting up Turkey and France's fleets showing up on my door step and basically forcing me to protect my home centers, I felt like any movement was dangerous. as noted I think not demanding more concessions from Austria ("with the blood of my people we defend against France") was my greatest error.

Dad_Scaper October 31st, 2017 02:44 PM

Re: Diplomacy
It is a demanding game, Wriggz. You are right about that. The best way to play is to assume that each power will act in its own best interest, which means sometimes two or more powers will make common cause and work together, because that is in the best interest of each. The challenge is to find a way to persuade the other powers that what's in your best interest is also in theirs. Whatever your personality, there are ways to make it work.

As for a "carebear victory," there is no such thing. There is winning, and there is not-winning. You do not get credit for a victory when you did not have one. You can have a "carebear draw," which is the saddest kind of draw, because it means that (for instance) Russia, Italy, and Turkey did not really get the chance to compete fairly in the game, because while they wiped out Austria, England and Germany wiped out France and would not ever turn on each other, no matter what. If EG are a team and neither is playing for a solo then that dramatically limits options for everyone playing, and that's sad.

[edit: For instance, in this imaginary situation. Russia cannot realistically turn against his southern partners, because he needs their help in the middle in order to keep from getting steamrolled by England in the North. If the EG alliance is unbreakable, then there is nothing to be gained from trying to negotiate with England to get a little space in which he can get Italy to turn with him against Turkey. To do so would be his own doom, because fighting with Turkey would mean a two-front war which would be too costly. So, because EG have elected not to play for solos, Russia's hands are tied in the East.]

Here is an article about the experience of playing. I read it when it first came out - over three years ago - and I still remember this line, shouted at the journalist when his carebear alliance was dooming the whole board: "'Are you going to be paid for writing this story?' a Scottish player asked me. 'Because I am losing three days’ wages to be here so that I can get screwed by you.'" That was a guy yelling at France, because he was playing carebear-style, thinking that England was with him until the end. As he found out - and as Austria found out, in Mittens - his own carebear style was not shared by his partner, which led to him getting yelled at by most at the table and then getting shamefully discarded by his one-time ally. The worst of all worlds.

So. There is no such thing as a "team win," or a "carebear win." There is a solo, there is a draw, and there is getting eliminated. Getting eliminated while playing to win is, IMHO, far, far more respectable than surviving to a draw when you were never trying to win.

Wriggz, I'm glad you dipped your toe in the water. I hope you enjoyed it, and based on your EoG I suspect you did. I will make a deal with you: If you will participate, I will run another one.

If I do so, I want you all to remember what I've written. I was never a guy to stab early and often, but I was always playing to win. Some guys stabbed early and often, and *they* were always playing to win. Even in the games where I knew who the other players were, and even if I knew I could not trust them long term, I knew they would act in their own self interest and therefore I could work with them toward mutual goals. I just had to watch my back and protect myself, and sometimes take the first strike. If you're a minor power, figure out how to make yourself valuable to somebody and play on; maybe not the guy you were helping before but somebody else. Maybe if the other minor powers are trying to eliminate you, make good on a threat to help the leader. That might force the other minor powers to reconsider. Sometimes the worm turns and you will grow back into a major power. It can happen.

So. I'll do this again, if you guys would like. But I hope you will go in with open minds, open to working with others while protecting yourselves, even if you've figured out who is whom. I also hope you will go in with the understanding that it's a big game. As Kinseth has shown in both of his EoG statements, a successful player will pay attention to detail. Both diplomatic and tactical detail.

Wriggz, there are some good resources out there on how to play, and even one or two articles will be enough to help you understand deeper. Here is one collection of articles and here is a piece that I always found interesting. You don't have to read all of these or any of these, but these links will help you get an idea of the size of the game, if you catch my meaning.

So. I'll happily run another one. I'm not asking for you all to commit to anything to me, other than to play so I don't have to find a sub, but I hope you've read and thought about my discussion of the game.

Ranior October 31st, 2017 02:49 PM

Re: Diplomacy

Originally Posted by wriggz (Post 2167022)

Originally Posted by quozl (Post 2167021)
There's a saying in the game of Go. In order to learn to play, you need to lose your first 100 games. I think that applies to Diplomacy as well (but maybe only 10 games). If the game intrigues you at all, keep playing. You will get better.

Thanks, this game really fairly unique and the human interaction is considerable. I enjoyed myself, and would likely play again.

Thanks for the detailed thoughts and explanations. As I said above, I was pretty forthright in my thoughts above about how Italy's play didn't make sense to me, but it makes a lot more sense now. It was a combination of factors, partially being a new player, partially trusting Austria more, and me not doing a good enough job of making concessions or finding our what you really wanted.

Now knowing that Italy and Austria were largely inexperienced players, I probably should have changed up my negotiation tactics a bit more if I really wanted them to work with me against Russia. Given that I didn't get either of them to side with me, the result is not shocking.

I'm still working on typing up my thoughts including why I sided with England and rebuffed Russia's offers throughout the game but it's taking awhile. It'll be up within the next few days.

And finally wriggz, you are correct that you wouldn't have been in a great position if you worked with me in terms of your ability to stab me vs my chance to stab you. We could have tried to work that out though. As is, you chose to stick with Austria, but what had Austria ever given you? One turn in TRI, on a turn where they didn't even have the forces to defend TRI anyhow. In return you effectively shielded them from my attacks. And you just spent the game stalled since there was zero way your forces could get past my southern fleets. That is what confused me so....while I agree that working with me would have been hard and put you at risk, you were defending a losing position--your only chance at growth was to ally with me and try to make an attack against Austria work. For what it is worth I genuinely would have expended a lot of effort into working with you and actually seeing you grow in power. I would've attempted to move 1-2 fleets past your southern shores towards Turkey and then just left one fleet sitting in WES or MAO for my own defense. Trusting me to get to that point would admittedly be hard for any diplomacy player, but I'd like to think there was some hope for growth by working with me that might have led you to yet further opportunities (including turning on me by working with England!)

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