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kevindola March 30th, 2021 03:58 PM

Re: Diplomacy
I know he is deeply frustrated, but I am very curious about the exchanges that @quozl had with both Austria and Russia in 1903.

The spring of 1903 was one of the 3 most critical points in the game from my (Italy's) perspective.

I was in negotiations with France about his fleet build in Marseilles and I was discussing how I had planned to all out attack Austria and what I wanted France to do so I could continue that plan. He replied with 'After speaking with Austria and Russia, I have decided to attack you. Best of luck' I was stunned at the bluntness of his reply and thought that I really was about to be beset by multiple enemies.

I feel like that if France had continued a mask of diplomacy that season that the extra time it would have bought him would have given him the edge in movement speed against me. I was wondering what Austria and Russia had promised you to be so confident with that approach.

Ranior March 31st, 2021 10:59 AM

Re: Diplomacy
Just getting down my usual rambling post game thoughts here.


I mucked up and wasn't paying attention to the site when the game started, as I'm not active on HSers anymore. That led to the game starting but me not knowing about it until some days later. This lead to the start getting further delayed, and meant we were kind of playing the early game during Thanksgiving period which I don't think was good for anyone, so apologies to all on that.

Being a bit behind, I knew it might be tricky to get the diplomatic relations I was hoping for early on. Fortunately most players here seemed amenable still and not too locked in. I did early on offer to Germany that I'd play a very aggressive northern game with MOS-STP and STP-NWY in the fall then to slow down England if they would give me SWE, but they did not bite on that. I also told my neighbors I would go for GAL and BLA and be happy to bounce.

Personally I love playing Russia, but I always am a bit wary of it, especially with newer players Many see this nation that looks to be covering half the board and has 4 centers, surely it's very strong. But I think Russia is actually one of the nations most likely to get killed rapidly if you aren't careful as you have 2 fronts to fight in the north and south and can't really ensure any builds without risking losing other significant territory. So much like how I would play Austria early, I think strong defense is more important in the south and I do like my opening moves.

After the spring, I was actually feeling really good. Like that was nearly ideal for me. Italy had hit Austria hard which is perfect--Italy/Russia alliances work well, Austria going down rapidly often means a strong Russia, and there still are options for a Russia/Turkey alliance. With Austria already having issues with Italy, their main option likely would be to work with me, for making an enemy of Russia and Italy would seem like suicide.

Things also seemed good in the north. Germany had clear and obvious pressure early from France and England, so it would seem natural he would want an ally in the north and I could provide him that. I promised if he gave me SWE I'd build a fleet in the north wherever he dictated, and I would have followed through.

Then disaster. Somehow everyone was lying to me early. Well everyone being Turkey, Austria, and Germany. All three claimed they wanted to work with me and that everything was fine. Germany had promised me SWE, agreeing to the threat from England and France. Austria had said he'd want to work with me to make sure Italy didn't just destroy him. Italy and Turkey had made it sound like they would focus on blocking Austria in GRE or SER, and Turkey sounded like he may want to work with me, and we were debating how to deal with the BLA sea. Instead Germany blocks me in SWE, and Austria makes an enemy of me, and Turkey ruins any trust he had with me or Italy with his move. Baffling to me, both of those moves seemed wrong, but it was a huge blow to me.


Having no builds, and suddenly Turkey, Austria, and Germany are against me, I am pretty worried this is morphing to a quick Russian exit. All I can do is try to work with Italy. We both communicated well and in ways I think each other appreciated, and we both had trust in the other to follow through on what we were saying and to actually tell the blunt truth to each other. It was very refreshing since it was the only player all game that managed that feat with me--yet I actually think that's a bit atypical, as the best Diplomacy players are the ones that can manage to build that rapport and leverage it all game. Alas!

I at least get Germany to aid me this season and do make some gains. Turkey is in for a quick exit here as Italy doesn't trust him anymore, he made it clear he would only have war with me, so I'm not quite sure what he was thinking. Really curious actually how he figured he'd win the game with no allies, but in my opinion he got exactly what he deserved for his poor diplomatic play this game with a rapid exit.


Throughout this game England has been at least talking to me, but I see no path to working together. At the start of this season he once again asks if we can work together, but I'm not seeing it. England is in no position to turn on France or attack them, and both him and France are asking me to help them attack Germany. I think this is a bit of poor diplomacy on both of their parts--it seems like their alliance was not that rock solid, but neither put themselves in position to attack the other, so how could I possibly justify aiding them? As long as they looked like and moved like they were allied, I can't help them bust up Germany rapidly, or else they'd have punched through the board too fast and gotten past the stalemate lines and just bashed us all.

It was this early (actually late 1902) where I already was bringing up the threat England/France posed given that Austria was too weak to back up Germany, my slow start meant I wasn't in the best position to harry England, and the south was not resolving that rapidly (it's tough to crack Turkey quickly). I was pretty concerned that if I didn't hold in the north and Italy didn't turn to the southern seas, and if Austria didn't establish the army line in the center of the board that England and France would bust through the stalemate lines and we'd all be doomed.

Understandably, as the game progressed, it became clear that Austria probably wasn't quite as experienced, or else just not as worried about the stalemate line I could see coming. Predictably they just turned on me, for I left myself a tad open. I play to win, and the only winning line I saw was for Austria/Italy/Russia to rush to the stalemate line and push past ourselves first. I think with my northern fleets and prescence and if Italy had been free to rush the southern seas, I think we stood a shot at making sure this game wasn't a stalemate. If Austria turned on me, I was pretty sure we'd either be handing things to England/France, or it'd be a massive draw, and so I took the path I thought might have a good result for me.

Instead Austrria attacked, Italy was pragmatic as always and knew he had to go with it to maintain an ally and any shot at holding the stalemate lines intact. Eventually he was able to coax Austria around in to realizing we had to rush the stalemate lines so we could hold them, and that they probably needed my help to do that.

Rest of the Game

I never had any love for France. They in my opinion were pretty bad diplomatically as they rarely talked to me and never really shared what their goals were or any real vision for why I should help him. He just reached out only when he thought I could maybe help him, and otherwise gave me nothing. I certainly had no reason to help him win.

England was a bit better, but also largely had reached out just asking for my help, never actually aided me anywhere, and never really sold a realistic plan for how we'd work together. I can't imaging Kinseth in my shoes would have ever allied with England given the position or the movements that transpired, so I always felt a bit miffed when England seemed a bit confused why I wasn't more amenable to anything. I just saw all of it as non-viable when it seemed clear I'd just be hastening the demise of Germany to lead to my own demise. I guess I could have worked with him and somehow hoped he'd turn on France, but I think that line only makes some sense if England shows some commitment to it first, otherwise it's far too risky.

While I wasn't happy with Austria choosing to block me in Fall of 1901, nor with him being a tad shortsighted and going for my centers and then later realizing I was right about the threat on the stalemate line front, I still found him more amenable to talking to and working things out than England or France.

But the real diplomacy MVP of this round was Italy. He had never betrayed me in my eyes and had great reads on looking over the board and communicating. I was quite happy to get involved again in the later seasons as I had kind of got cut out of everything around 1904 when it was clear I wasn't long for the game. England and France again never really offered me anything or gave me a reason to get involved, so it was fun to talk through everything with Austria and Italy in detail.

It seems that kind of paid off towards the end, as my insights in the stalemate lines and what combination of moves we could all make made Italy and Austria interested in keeping me around, even though they could have maneuvered to remove me.

Which leads to my final thoughts, which I will actually put in another post as I think the issue of why we didn't all draw earlier and the end game communication deserve to be highlighted a bit more in their own topic.

Ranior March 31st, 2021 11:17 AM

Those Final Years
I have two parts I want to address here, although they kind of link together. But it is the lack of a draw at the end of the game and the lack of communication at the end of the game.

I'm starting with the lack of communication. It was pretty annoying to just get ignored by France and England for the last many years. This is a long game we all commit to playing, and just being treated like I wasn't playing it was pretty annoying.

The last message I got from France was spring 1906, or else his broadcast at the end of 1906.

The last message I got from England was spring of 1907.

I get we didn't have a ton to talk about directly, but I was still sending out broadcasts the next few seasons making it clear what my stance was for where the game should end, and I was just completely ignored. It felt like we were all playing a game for no clear reason as the stalemate lines were clearly set, Italy, Austria, and myself sent broadcasts a few times clarifying our position, and at least for myself I had absolutely zero clue what France or England wanted or why the game was still ongoing. I could only guess what they were playing for.

Overall it was a really crummy experience at the end, and just having them at least send something occasionally would have certainly improved things--and maybe even would have helped us all avoid the frustration and anger and the last few weeks it sounds like we all experienced.

I'll admit I was surprised to find out Kinseth was England after all this given I know he said this after the last game:


Originally Posted by Kinseth (Post 2374686)
Also, on a personal level, ghosting someone in a game of diplomacy is a real jerk move. I am not happy with you over that. Very disrespectful, tis a game we are playing after all.

Anyhow, as for the other part. Why did we keep playing that long? I've reviewed things, and myself, Austria, and Italy all sent press in 1906 as broadcasts making it clear our trio was playing for a 5 way draw and that unless France or England could take me out, that is how this game would end. (To be clear there was no way France or England could possibly remove me with the clear stalemate lines we were already at).

From my perspective, I heard nothing about England or Frances end game stances, and they never shared anything press with me about what they were looking for. It sounds, from the second hand accounts I have, that Italy and Austria initially made it clear they were playing for a 5 way draw, then got annoyed that France/England weren't ending the game, and so then Austria started jerking France around with talks of how to eliminate me with no intention of doing so. I don't think is a great plan, but if France ignored clear statements before that he needed to accept a 5 way draw and hence Austria already felt like France was jerking him around forcing him to keep submitting moves knowing full well the board would continue to be a stalemate, not sure I blame Austria/Italy/whomever for jerking France around too much. Again poor communication all around at the end (and again I can't help but feel if I was actually involved in the conversations at all I could have helped mediate things a bit and made the positions very clear about what was going down, but again I was for some reason completely cut out....)

Ultimately it sounds like that end left a sour taste in many's mouths though, and understandably so. Not fun to waste a month on a position that's a clear draw, although again from reviewing the public broadcasts of 1906 I'm not sure why the 5 way draw wasn't accepted then.

Just to be clear, here are the messages I'm referring to:

Spoiler Alert!

Kinseth March 31st, 2021 11:27 AM

Re: Diplomacy
@Ranior You went seasons without responding to my messages in critical parts of the game. I pretty much felt like I didnt owe you anything by late game.

I went radio silence as a tactic to reduce the draw, austria and italy wanted me to stab France. I told them id say nothing till Russia is removed and then we can talk. I didnt respond to your broadcast messages as a result of this tactic. Austria didnt want to entertain that apparently.

kevindola March 31st, 2021 11:42 AM

Re: Diplomacy

Originally Posted by Kinseth (Post 2457026)
I went radio silence as a tactic to reduce the draw, austria and italy wanted me to stab France. I told them id say nothing till Russia is removed and then we can talk. Austria didn't want to entertain that apparently.

Would you seriously have considered it? I got the impression by this round of discussions you probably wouldn't have thought Austria was in a position to contain me if I tried for a solo had you stabbed France.

When we initially discussed a 3 way draw you thought that Italy was in no position to stop Austria from a solo and I needed to take steps to weaken him in order for you to consider a 3 way draw.

I will say that the radio silence had the opposite effect on the draw feeling with Austria and I. It was a major contributor to the decision to keep Russia around. In our opinion it showed you weren't serious about a 3 way draw if you weren't willing to discuss who gets the Russian territories and how we would jointly attack France together.

kevindola March 31st, 2021 11:58 AM

Re: Diplomacy
Regarding the end game draw stuff.

For me, I thought France would not agree to a 5 way draw.

I thought it was very clear (from those post's Ranior quoted) that Austria would not accept a 4 way draw.

England never made it clear one way or the other (He had agreed we were at a stalemate line and he would be good for a draw, but I wasn't clear on his status regarding 4 way or 5 way)

I was more amenable to a 4 way draw (sorry Russia), but Austria repeatedly stated he was not.

France and I (because England had decided to go silent), discussed possible moves that would be the only way I would accept a 4 way draw. However Austria never agreed to this. I ultimately wanted to be loyal to my partner's wishes on this and I repeatedly asked him if he was sure he wouldn't accept a 4 way, and he wouldn't budge, so we got to where we finished.

I was actually typing up a message to England to ask if he would support me into Moscow himself to see if he would actually respond, but France resigned while I was typing it up.

Dad_Scaper March 31st, 2021 12:38 PM

Re: Diplomacy
Some players prefer "draw-whittling," and some do not. Generally, as I recall, in games played by veterans you would see Russia eliminated in games such as this one, but not always. People could have long, unproductive conversations about that point, because (as I see it) it's basically a highly-subjective issue of game aesthetics.

In a way, it's not surprising that this game hit the Skids of Bitterness the way it did, because we had a couple of players who were both (1) quite skilled, but also (2) new at the game, so these familiar issues of endgame aesthetics were both relevant and new to them. So there was, for instance, some delaying of the game with (probably) pointless/aimless late-game deception, as some players explored this unfamiliar terrain. Veteran players, more familiar with the question of whether Russia would be or wouldn't be eliminated, would have been content with a matter-of-fact yes or no, but it may not have been that simple for new players.

It was a good game, I think, notwithstanding the strong language at the end. I would thank the players in the future to try a little harder to bite back gunboat violations, even when things are hot.

I'd be happy to run another, if and when we have the interest in sufficient numbers.

Kinseth March 31st, 2021 12:48 PM

Re: Diplomacy
Id say there was only about a 10% chance I was gonna stab france after russia was gone. I felt like Austria was not in much position to stop you, but if he built a fleet or two at the end that woulda could have changed.

Were you gonna stop at a 3 way had I agreed to cut France out?

Dad_Scaper March 31st, 2021 12:52 PM

Re: Diplomacy
As Kinseth's post points out, the slight change in the dynamic after (or during) the elimination of a minor power can lead to action. And that's fun! It's all part of the game.

Ranior March 31st, 2021 01:09 PM

Re: Diplomacy

Originally Posted by Kinseth (Post 2457026)
@Ranior You went seasons without responding to my messages in critical parts of the game. I pretty much felt like I didnt owe you anything by late game.

I went radio silence as a tactic to reduce the draw, austria and italy wanted me to stab France. I told them id say nothing till Russia is removed and then we can talk. I didnt respond to your broadcast messages as a result of this tactic. Austria didnt want to entertain that apparently.

I have like no clue what you're talking about. I just reviewed the correspondence log and we were chatting basically every season with multiple messages all throughout the game. The one spot that didn't go well was Spring of 1902, you sent several messages right near the deadline and we didn't coordinate like you wanted, but that's the issue with last minute planning. Fall of 1902 we didn't converse as we both had other things to worry about I guess, and I was busy with some other stuff. Then in 1903 and onward we continued to talk quite a bit, and then you were the one that just went full radio silence.

Which apparently was some sort of tactic, but I don't think it helped and it did lead to a good level of frustration on my end. I was the one that kept sending broadcasts at the start of seasons clarifying it was an obvious draw and I wasn't sure what others stances were. Even just getting an actual message back from you or France that you were playing for a 4 way draw, or had plans you were working, or just anything, really would have gone a long way. As is it seemed I was just getting jerked around by the pair of you while I had felt my side made it clear we were playing for a 5 way draw while I had zero clue what the other side wanted.

@kevindola , I have no problem with you planning to oust me, I told you as much. I'd likely have done the same in everyone else's position, removing Russia was pretty easy at the end of the game and had I got clear messaging from others that a 4 way draw would be accepted once that happened I'd have done it. Honestly if France and England had just made it clear they were playing or a 4 way draw I may well have just helped y'all remove me--personally the difference between a 4 way draw or 5 way draw is meaningless to me, there's no glory in any of that.

Ranior March 31st, 2021 01:11 PM

Re: Diplomacy

Originally Posted by Dad_Scaper (Post 2457036)

I'd be happy to run another, if and when we have the interest in sufficient numbers.

I'd likely play another. I don't have any other games ongoing, and I am itching for a game where things actually go well for me early. I'm on a rough slump.

Kinseth March 31st, 2021 01:38 PM

Re: Diplomacy
I remember a season where we were talking and then maybe 24 hrs before deadline you went silent on me with some open ended decisions , then another season i heard nothing. Going off memory.

Hey not all my choices work out, but I still try things.

Im not available to play until August at the earliest. I have two different work certs im studying for and the second test is in july and then family vacation the week after.

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