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Kinseth June 6th, 2018 10:05 AM

Re: Diplomacy

Originally Posted by quozl (Post 2196008)

Originally Posted by dok (Post 2195997)
The game had its moments for me, but man, did I make some boneheaded decisions. I guess that's par for the course for my first game in ~20 years.

I also think I was really hurt by being slow to respond to messages, especially in the early game. The alliances kind of set sail without me and I had to scramble to find a place. I did get a bit more of the hang of the interface later on, but man, it's kind of clunky.

Were you Russia?

I was Germany.

Congrats, Kinseth!

Dok was Russia.

kevindola June 6th, 2018 10:14 AM

Re: Diplomacy
So we will have to just disagree and call the discussion over because from my perspective they did gain results. No harm in disagreement on how outcomes are perceived.

And I agreed that I performed poorly diplomatically with England and Germany and that was a mistake. So freely admitted.

Kinseth June 6th, 2018 10:20 AM

Re: Diplomacy

Originally Posted by kevindola (Post 2196270)
So we will have to just disagree and call the discussion over because from my perspective they did gain results. No harm in disagreement on how outcomes are perceived.

And I agreed that I performed poorly diplomatically with England and Germany and that was a mistake. So freely admitted.

I am okay to agree to disagree, fun thing about EGS's is that everyone has their own perspectives and views. Nothing that I say is anything that should be taken personally. I only have the diplomacy that I had access too, there are 6 other players writing eachother. I don't have all the information, that's the cool part about EGS's is finding out what was happening that you didn't know about.

Ranior June 6th, 2018 01:06 PM

Re: Diplomacy
I have a lot of thoughts and it would be a ridiculous post if I tried to probably. So I'll just go slow and keep posting things in chunks. I'll try to keep it largely chronological and on track, but it's probably going to spiral into so many tangents and threads of conversations as to be a bit confusing. Apologies up front for that, and for the length. (I'm fairly sure my nearby neighbors had to know who I was after not too long in the game. I write a lot and feel I'm probably pretty easy to peg. But anyhow as they could tell you, I don't exactly have a great relationship with brevity).

So the start of the game. I get Turkey. I really don't like playing Turkey. It is by far my least favorite nation to play. Even though Turkey tends to have slightly better results than the worst nations statistically, I hate the diplomatic position. You have zero influence or impact on France/England/Germany for pretty much the entire game. By the time Turkey is able to work with any of them it's pretty far along any diplomatic paths. Next off working with Russia is the famed juggernaut which sure can sweep a board quickly but Russia almost always gets the better end of that deal. Working with Austria is generally foolish for the Austrians (Turkey will eventually be growing to surrond you and take you out easily) so they often aren't really friends. And working with Italy...well it can work so that's a hope at least. But Italy always has their own problems of growing too so it's like the two worst positioned nations teaming up at the start of the game hoping to make something happen.

Which is all to say I didn't like that. Then I started talking to my neighbors and I started to like it even less. Namely because it was immediately clear and obvious that both Italy and Austria were strong players--or at least fairly strong. They communicated rapidly and conveyed plenty of knowledge of the game. Now partially this is a good thing--I had picks of allies and I like that. I like working with other great players. But it's an obvious double edged sword because those players are the ones best at sliding the knife in when you're not paying enough attention and capitalizing on any mistake. Sometimes it's rather nice to work with a solid Diplomacy player who you think is a bit newer or easier to manipulate. (Fair or not, this is how I'd classify our 2nd game where Kinseth did a pretty good job of working with kevindola all game but always being in a bit better position and indeed took that straight to a solo win). Anyhow the good news is early on both Austria and Italy seemed to want to work with me and I liked that.

Russia on the other hand...I'll just agree with Dok's own analysis. He came out rusty and wasn't really that communicative or clear about what he wanted or planned for. As such I kind of saw him as the easiest target to gain centers from. To make matters worse, sometime in Spring 1901 I got a message from Russia that was meant for Germany and Italy but actually got sent to Germany and Turkey. In it Russia was talking as if Germany, Russia, and Italy had allied and were working together to take out Austria and set up for a three way joint win. This immediately got me nervous, as if Russia and Italy and Germany did quash Austria, I'd quickly be facing down a stronger Russia and Italy with no allies--meaning I was sure to be next on the chopping block. And while Turkey's largest advantage is that it's a real pain to actually eliminate, I also know full well that that's not how Turkey wins. That's just how Turkey dies slower than most other nations.

As such I was leaning towards working with Austria in the early going. Austria didn't particularly seem to share my concerns about how the Austrian-Turkish alliance was rare due to the natural imbalance of power that tends to result from that playing out so I was encouraged. And to be fair I kind of agree that it's a bit overblown--any alliance can work in the game with careful communication about concerns and plans and working things out. Austria at the time seemed open to honestly communicate and be pretty frank and open so that was where I leaned.

Italy however was still an interesting option to me and I kept it open. They potentially wanted to strike Greece but I made it clear I wasn't supporting that in 1901. I didn't need to make enemies, especially since I already planned to do so against Russia. Plus even though Italy denied it, I was still concerned about the Russian/Italy alliance.

Spring 1901 played out about how I'd expect it to. Fall 1901 was largely the same. At points Austria and I had discussed and agreed that heíd support me into Rumania. It was to be a strong and very anti-Russian opening but I was all for it. We potentially got an extra center or would at least deny a build to Russia. Not entirely surprisingly Austria instead just ensured they got Greece and did not help me out. I didnít have much issue with that, but I did have some qualms about how Austria communicated about it. He sent me messages just before the deadline trying to confirm I was going BUL-RUM even though I felt I had made it pretty clear I was doing that. He then made some excuses about how he didnít quite know when the deadline was and it snuck up on him and he asked that I forgive him for the mess up. At the time I largely did, but this was the start of my deteriorating trust in the Austrian player.

The onset of 1902 was about the same for me. I still had limited and inconsequential contact with Germany, France, and England. This is why I hate playing Turkey. Youíre largely limited to only having real things to offer or discuss with half the board. Other more central nations find action with almost everyone. But alas. Russia I obviously was having little to talk with as my move BUL-RUM had clearly tipped off my aggressive plans coupled with me taking the black sea. It was a good position for me though to strike at Russia from and I planned to keep it up. Austria still seemed quite on board with striking at Russia. Italy was planning to join in taking down France so he wasnít really focusing on attacking Austria. Him and I kept a good relationship going even though neither of us were really making any moves to help each other we were just both glad to not be fighting each other. Things were looking pretty good. Right near the deadline Austria is again on sending messages. For a person who claims to not really know the deadlineís he sure was good about being on to see how orders resolved. This time around he wanted to know is I was moving Con-Bul (obviously I would, what else would I have that unit do?). He claimed he wasnít comfortable with the idea of me having two units bordering his and so ordered his unit into my territory to set up the bounce, claiming it was reasonable and he hoped Iíd be good with it. To be clear we never agreed or discussed about this and he sent me this message just hours before the deadlineóand I didnít happen to be on or able to respond to that message before orders resolved and he had bounced me and slowed my progress.

This really annoyed me, and still does. I absolutely want to have a discussion about it. I think itís absolutely insane to think thatís a rational move for someone who actually wants to work with someone and claims to trust them. The reasoning is even super transparently silly In my opinionóapparently itís not good for me to have units in BUL and RUM in the centers I control because that would be too many neighboring Austriaís. But apparently as Turkey I should be just peachy with the fact that Austria got to have units in GRE and SER that he controlled and have multiple units bordering me. Itís absolutely insane to me to think this is actually reasonable. Much later in the game when Austria and I were just discussing things as they were wrapping down, he claims the angry message I sent back to him deteriorated our relationship in his mind and that he didnít feel he could work with someone who couldnít handle a move like that.
Well then Iím here to say Kinseth, you apparently canít actually work with another strong player. Iím pretty much on Kevindolaís side here as wellóyou donít ever leave yourself open to counter attacks. This move is a clear example of how you donít. But you do apparently expect your allies to be happy to sit and be in weaker positions than your own and to just shut up and deal with the situation.

Well sorry I donít play that way. I expect that when Iím working with someone weíre more or less equally benefitting and equally respecting each other. We both have skin in the game and recognize there is risk the other could benefit stabbing but hope and trust that they realize youíre better off sticking together long term. But Iím not working with someone who makes moves at the last minute that are clearly benefitting them and hurting their opponent. That move to bounce me in BUL was obviously not good for our alliance. If one power was controlling both Austria and Turkey they would never order that. But you as Austria did which really shows you did not really want to be in an alliance with me but instead just wanted me to be a loyal dog that did your bidding and never was really an equal in the relationship. I realize Iím getting a bit emotional and overcharged here but Iím very frustrated by the messages you sent and continued to send throughout the game defending this move and claiming Iím being unreasonable for finding it upsetting. Perhaps that was all just in game though, so Iíll be curious to see what you say about it now in your EGS.

But anyhow it was around here that my relationship with Austria was several strained and I started really talking with Italy about what I wanted to do. Despite Austria constantly telling me they intended to work with me and weíd make everything right, I was very wary. I planned my F1902 moves as if Austria was going to be hostile and stab at me. And of course he did.

Worse than that though, he made it abundantly clear he didnít respect me as a player, or at least thatís how I took it. Because he was asking me to believe crazy things. Right before orders in F1902 were resolved Austria sent me a message saying he was adjusting his moves to work with me on the plan we had made. I almost believed him but stuck with my guns that I should reverse course on attacking Russia and instead rapidly move to striking down Austria, with an Italian player I felt strongly I could trust, and a Russia player who claimed he was open to working with me once he saw me reverse course. So right after the F1902 results get posted, Austria has the gall to send me a message claiming he had intended to submit orders to work with me but somehow his updates failed and he was surprised to find he had ordered attacks on me, and was equally surprised I had attacked him and then claimed he was feeling quite lucky.
This represented the third season in a row where Austria was asking me to believe he planned orders at the last minute and had issues with the interface or the timing of the deadlines, etc. Yet every time he was on pretty shortly after orders resolved. I wonít lie, at this point I was also fairly convinced it was Kinseth playing Austria, but it didnít super matter. What really mattered is this screamed strongly of a tactic I feel like Kinseth descried in an early EGSóthat if youíre forced or do make moves that you know or think may upset potential allies that you send out some consoling messages even if itís completely crap. Either way if a player is asking me to believe three straight seasons that they were messing up their orders, the deadlines, and their plans, and yet every time were finding themselves in better positions for itÖ.well I can smell the ****. It was far too much for me to think Austira would ever be a reliable or trustworthy ally in this game. I felt it was pretty clear what Austria was actually telling to meóthat he thought I was dumb enough to buy this crap.

And so that represented the first big turning point in the game for me. I essentially never planned to or wanted to work with Austria again. I was finding Italy incredibly nice to work with and wanted to explore that. Russia was a bit more communicative and I hoped would at least aid in fighting off the annoying Austrian player that was messing him up. It seemed I would be set to grow with Italy in taking Austria centers shortly and that was where my mind was at heading into 1903óAustria may be a great player but I had no interest in working with a player that was treating me like he was, Italy being a great ally to work with, and a Russia I was slowly warming to.

Iíll get to the next parts later but this seems as natural a cut off point as any for how to break these into more digestible chunks.

Kinseth June 6th, 2018 02:11 PM

Re: Diplomacy
Great read @Ranior , I will of course answer your questions in my EGS, and I am truthful in my EGS's.

Ranior June 7th, 2018 02:10 PM

Re: Diplomacy
On to the start of 1903, or more accurately Winter 1902 which I basically consider the start of the next years moves. I immediately went to work of aligning myself with Italy. We had long had a good communication as I’ve noted and it was just hard for me to decide if I should work with them or Austria more so long term. Austria had made that decision easy for me. I turned back towards Russia for aid and I think they were glad to have help—nobody was really working with them thus far after all. So even though they were wary as I had been attacking them, I think they at least realized the situation had dramatically changed diplomatically due to Austria’s moves.
Spring 1903 went very well. Everything worked about as well as I had hoped. Russia got Gal, I convoyed over to Rum. Italy got ION. We were set to take out something from Austria. Progress was made on getting Austria contained and backpedaling. The fall looked a bit tough, but Italy and I had some plans. Unfortunately Russia wasn’t quite on the same page as us. Italy will likely detail this more but we had hoped for a GAL-VIE move along with UKR-WAR and SEV-RUM. Instead the supported attack on RUM failed as expected and Austria maintained control, while VIE was left open as we figured. This is one of the missed opportunities I really regret as small things like this completely change the way the game plays out--h— that move to VIE been made Russia suddenly gains a much needed build. Austria loses a unit. Likely Austria would be taken out still and everything about this changes so much. I find Diplomacy is rather “butterfly” effect like that though—it didn’t happen and as we saw Austria goes on to solo the game. Their ultimate defeat versus their ultimate win may have rested upon how Russia decided to play their moves in Fall 1903.
Either way, 1903 wasn’t a complete failure. Italy managed another build so could get more fleet support. Positional wise we were much better off with units now in AEG, ION to really make attacks work out better going forward. Russia was starting to feel the pressure a bit but he still had three units helping out it looked like, I had 4, and Italy had 4. That was 11 units against Austria’s 6. It should still be pretty easy to make gains.
Spring 1904 I had come up with a plan I liked quite a bit. And after results for that season I was both quite happy and quite annoyed. The good part? My plan to convoy into ALB worked as expected. Austria wasn’t going to cover that and it set us up in a much better position to really strike at him. It gave us many options for how to target his centers and make attacks which should make it extra hard for him to predict what to do. However, my enthusiasm was significantly dampened when Russia made moves that I cannot really understand. Russia essentially abandoned the fight against Austria. Sure he left SEV (which literally couldn’t move further north being a fleet) while sending his armies northward. I get that he was getting attacked up there. But was what UKR-MOS in particular ever going to do? England could easily support any unit he forced into St Pete. Even worse than that, why move SWE-BAL? SWE-NWY is way better—either prevents England from getting into StP or it takes NWY from them depending on their moves. If you wanted to annoy England that’s how you do it. Moving to MOS is a complete and utter and horrible misplay in my opinion. If instead you use UKR to support SEV-RUM as I think he should have, RUM would be in Russian possession for F1904. I’m not sure that would have completely mattered given how much Austria was moving in on that position by taking GAL, but I still don’t like any of Russia’s moves in S1904 much. Italy also decided they needed more fleet support out West which I understood. The F NAP couldn’t do much for us right now anyhow so I let it go. But this meant we essentially only had 8 units attacking Austria’s 6, plus Austria had found aid in Germany. So things were looking worse.

Still F1904 we had multiple ways to strike at Austria. We could have attempted some supported attacks on TRI and some attacks on GRE. We could go for SER and GRE. We could try some stuff with RUM even. We discussed them all and settled on striking TRI and GRE and figured the rest of things should bounce. There was one set of countermoves that would really annoy me, but I figured that Austria wouldn’t do it…and of course I was wrong. This is where I do have to agree that over these games Kinseth does seem very good at “reading” his opponents and predicting what they’re going to do and then reacting to it. I felt I had just done the same in F1903 and S1904—it’s just Russia didn’t fully cooperate but even then the position was getting better. But this F1904 season we picked wrong. We had discussed another plan and almost set on it, so on some level I also think it’s a bit of luck here too though. We could have settled on that other plan and picked up multiple Austria centers. But whatever level you want to chalk up to good play and good luck, Austria annoyingly persisted. And I still had never got a 5th supply center which I knew wasn’t good. And Russia again made confusing moves in my opinion. Attacking STP was basically pointless—you had to know England wasn’t going to let that fail. So LVN at least should have been supporting WAR or moving to PRU. And BAL-SWE is similarly silly unless you really thought Germany was going to move somewhere else which seems unlikely. Attacking DEN or BER seems like the better move to annoy them. (I guess maybe it makes sense if you really were sure Germany would move SWE-DEN to bounce your presumed move there….). Still Russian moves were annoying me during this time given the fixation on fighting for STP which was lost territory—they needed to have accepted that sooner and been using their units on fights they could win. (Like taking RUM which once again turned out to be open if only I had supported him). The entire F1904 picture is so much harder for Austria to handle with a A UKR and F RUM in the picture. But again, we know how it did actually play out, and the cards just kept coming up Austria.
At least in the east that is. I have to give major credit to Italy for their F1904 planning in the west that saw them hold off an England and Germany attack through very clever calls. Whatever magic Kinseth has in “reading” players and making moves, Italy used out west for this turn. Bravo for keeping them in check.

But I doubted he could keep pulling up magic defense like that for long. My read on the board as of the resolution of F1904 was that England and Germany were at 6 and 7 centers with builds to come. They were looking to make major progress against Russia shortly—they had the units to start taking WAR and MOS. PAR would fall shortly. From there POR, SPA, and MAR likely would too. If Italy and I had continued attacking Austria, I believe we could have taken him down. We still had him pretty well contained so he wasn’t looking at real chances of growth and we could eventually snag a center with some good movements and plans. But I think it would have taken a few more seasons, at least through 1906. By that point England and Germany would have nearly all those centers. Italy and I would be doomed to die and take 3rd/4th to an England/German dual win. (Or one of them would solo). Either way that thought led me to start talking to Austria again during the Winter 1904 to see where things could go.

And that is once again the most natural and reasonable cut off point for this commentary. I think the next part will be the last as I cover Turkey’s downfall and how I saw the conclusion of the game.

Kinseth June 7th, 2018 02:15 PM

Re: Diplomacy
Where do begin for this game? This was one rollercoster of a ride. At many points in the game I thought I was doomed. Somehow, in the end, I was able to pull off the win. A very satisfying win, considering all the adversity that was faced.

1901 - Initial thoughts.

Turkey - Open messages from him were rather interesting. He agrees that an Austrian/Turkish alliance is not a common one, one that Turkey routinely has the advantage in and has better opportunity to stab as the game progresses.

Spoiler Alert!

I try to point out that I agree, there is a natural imbalance, but alliances are built on trust and not tactics. We can work this out and make it happen! I will definitally have to keep an eye on him though...(What I was thinking at the time.) It wasn't a deal breaker though.

Italy - Opening communications express his desire to attack Turkey from the get go, basically, there can only be one southern fleet power, and it will be Italy! I agree to this in principle, I mean it is Spring 01, not much can really be done from my standpoint vs Turkey until builds have come and we are in 02. I can tell that the Italian player has a grasp for the game and tactics.

We agree to DMZ Venice/Trieste. This is always the biggest hurdle for I/A relations, and as Austria I am super nervous about surviving the first couple of seasons. Italy also wanted to put some pressure on France by going to Piedmont. He even suggested a feint where I go Tri - Ven so that France thinks that he will have to go Pie - Ven again to take it back. The Ruse is interesting, but it gains for Italy to have 2 builds, and forgos my chance at Greece. I decline the option, but it is encouraging my Italian neighbor is interested in such tactics. I almost, ALMOST suggest a Key Lepanto. It requires immense amount of trust, but when pulled off, it can be an awesome play. Italy moves to Venice in the spring and Austria leaves it open. It appears to the board that Italy has stabbed Austria. But Austria lets italy's army move to Serbia in the fall while Austria takes Greece with is fleet and tries to take Rumania w/Force. If done successfully, italy and austria both build 2. But, I don't muster the strength to try it out. I cannot decide between Turkey or Italy as of this moment, best to let the dust settle...

Germany - I was really frustrated with him. Austria really needs Germany to put pressure on Russia about Sweden, it is in Germany's best interest to keep Austria alive so he can handle his triangle, and keep the Russian bear off his back. Germany eventually tells me he intends to let Russia have Sweden... *GRUMBLE* I cannot persuade him otherwise. I do send him France's 3 way message to myself and Italy about jointly attacking Germany from the start. I *Thought* France was a veteren of the game with his writing style and grand plans he was sending out. But very odd opening for Italy and Austria to jointly attack Germany w/France. I sent this plan over to Germany. Based on how strong of a writer Germany was, vs England and France, and the fact that Germany wasn't recongnizing they importance over Swe w/Russia. I thought this would help Germany from being bum rushed by E/F. I was sorely mistaken there...

France - Oh man, did this guy have some plans. He wrote well, and had cool ideas. I didn't know how to peg him completely, but was worried about a E/F alliance forming. I thought France was going to be a real player in the game.

England - Niceties , you wash my back with info, ill wash yours kind of intel agreement.

Russia - Okay , the most important discussion with Russia/Austria is what happens at Galicia. Russia wouldn't answer my questions about a bounce or DMZ of Galicia. This was maddening! Just answer the question! Too bad Russia wouldn't and this put us at odds from the get go. I also tried to get him to move his army north from Moscow to STP, as the threat of Germany English alliance is deadly to Russia if it forms. Oh well...

kevindola June 7th, 2018 04:15 PM

Re: Diplomacy
3rd game of diplomacy and I drew Italy for the 2nd time. It worked out reasonably last time ( a draw with Turkey) so weíll see if it can go again.


Planning for Italyís 5th center was an early goal. I have read that Italy doesnít make it past #4 more often than not in diplomacy so it was a large concern on figuring out how to do that. I really like Greece as that option, but MAR, MUN, and TRI, and SMY are the other reasonable possibilities to me.

I had pretty detailed discussions with almost everybody this first year. Turkey clearly refused to let me into Greece. I appreciated his directness on that front as it laid down a foundation for me to take him at his word in later seasons. Russia sent out some generic platitudes, but nothing substantial when I pressed him for a more concrete plan, such as a move against Austria. I had really been tempted by an early attack on Austria, but Turkeyís reluctance to commit early (understandable) and Russiaís silence on the matter quashed that plan. Since I could not find an ally who would play aggressive early I agreed to depart Venice to make a nice foundation with Austria.
But while inroads on the Eastern front were stalling out for me, I also got quite a lot of action in the west. France wanted me to move to TYR promising me Munich in the fall. However, Germany and England and I became quite cordial and everyone seemed on board for a quick attack on France. Now I donít delude myself into thinking this reaps much reward for Italy in general, but in 1901 the only ask was that I plant my army in Piedmont from which I can see if E/G are really all-in on this triple attack. That combined with Russia and Turkeyís actions led me to forgo an early attack against Austria and let things play out for the year.

1902 West:
Poor France. 0 builds. Something that was alluded to during the game is that if France had found a way to earn a build in 1901 then likely he would not have been facing 3 adversaries in the same manner he found himself in. I can say that committing resources against a 4 or 5 unit France would not have been something I would have pursued as Italy. However, when France turned up still having only 3 builds, England, Germany, and I began speaking in earnest. We quickly agreed upon a split of BRE/POR for England, MAR/SPA for Italy, and BEL/PAR for Germany. I was quite content with this arrangement and everything appeared to be peachy.

A funny thing happened in the fall though, and that was that France approached me saying he would willingly cede MAR and then Spain to me as he was only interested in damaging England and Germany for the remainder of the game. Especially England. I recognized this could be very valuable if England or Germany went back on the arrangement and so agreed and began working with France very closely. We exchanged lots of plans and ideas about what to do. I normally wouldnít have committed a second fleet out that way, but with the opportunities that were being presented I pulled the trigger and indeed I found my 5th center this year by way of Marseilles (achievement unlocked!)

1902 East:
Things were not settling out to the point I wanted to commit one way or the other early in the Austria/Turkey boat. Turkey had continued to be very open and receptive to my requests (such as army build this year) I was fairly convinced that Russia was not going to be an ally of any dependable type based on their communication. I had communicated to both A/T that I was planning on taking spoils in France so neither of them would still get my aid.

I made my decision after spring of 1902. Austria was abusing Russia and Turkey. With no western pressure Austria was gaining rock solid position and gaining centers. Russia seemed to only half heartedly be playing any defense and not cooperating while Austria just gained position. In discussions with Austria there was something about how the discussions were trending that I didnít like. For the most part, any plans made were ones that only benefitted me peripherally (such as outstretching fleets to support Austria into Turkish centers) and they were gains that would be solely under Austrian influence. Therefore I decided that Austria was very close to getting into a very overpowered position, so he needed some checks from the West and I moved to the Adriatic and Venice in an effort to to pressure Trieste and halt his march across the Balkans and Russia

1903 East:
In what would not be the last time in this game, Germany promised support against Austria that did not materialize. (b/c of Austriaís move to BOH) The hope had been that Russia would protect RUM, but in one of a series of puzzling moves this game, he did not. That allowed Austria another build, but made me very glad I had moved as I had done. In the fall, I made a very detailed plea with Russia to move to VIE from GAL and cover WAR with UKR and move SEV-RUM (with Turkish support) This would guarantee Russia a center of either RUM or VIE. And still protect WAR. I sent 4 presses over the course of 4 days to Russia explaining these moves would guarantee Austria -1 build and unless Austria did something wacky with Trieste would guarantee Russia +1 build. I donít know if Russia read these and felt they needed no reply or whether Russia was busy ice skating in the Gulag. But Russia never responded to me until the following year. It was very frustrating at the time and very frustrating still. I would love to know from Russia if he never read my press or didnít agree with my move assessments. In either case, some communication here would have been nice. Frustrated I was, but not panicked yet as things in the West were going well.

1903 West:
Germany, England, and I are all still in agreement about how to proceed. Germanyís angst with Austria also plays into what I see as the our continued working together. I really start to work on England at this point understanding that he cannot remain peaceful with both Italy and Germany. I really believe we are positioned to do very well together, but he must turn his fleets on the Germans which is poised perfectly to do, while I could then send my fleets back to the East. He is very willing to discuss things, but not very committal. I plan on giving him Portugal, but his responses are not very reassuring to me. In the end this season goes as expected with me taking Spain for my 6th build and France on the run.

1904 East
The spring was crazy for me here. I was again talking quite a bit with Austria. This was about as uncertain as I was all game deciding again between Turkey and Austria as Austria was putting a very compelling case together to work with him again. In the end I decided to go with Turkey. It had a lot to do with how Germany was acting actually that put some fear into me. I also figured I still had some time as things were going so well with EnglandÖÖ. (famous last words). In the fall, I argued for a while to and put Turkey into Trieste. Eventually Turkey talked me out of it and we made the moves that have already been talked about. A lot of time can be spent on what might have been, and Iím as guilty as anyone there, so I wonít spend too much time. The collective moves by Austria beat the collective moves of Turkey, Russia, and Italy for the 5th season in a row.

1904 West
BETRAYAL! Calamity strikes as England and Germany instigate a deathly stab in the spring of 1904. I asked for a bounce in West Med from England before allowing him into Portugal in the fall. From the way the game played out I do not believe England every seriously considered an alternative to working with Germany, but I spent a lot of time planning out the remainder of the game with him before this point. My plan at this point in the game was to give England Portugal in the fall and once our placements for that season were correct as we agreed, I could start sending my other fleets East to turn the tide against Austria.

Alas, England did not choose this course, and I donít particularly blame him for it. What I will say I didnít like is the gloating tone I received from him over the next couple of days, which soured some of the long term diplomatic relationships for us.

But let this be a warning that hubris breeds opportunity for your enemy. The fall of 1904 was quite possibly my most proud Diplomacy moment: The crushing of the English fleet in Spain. (not to be confused with the 2nd crushing of the English fleet in Spain in 1907 ;) ) France and I got a lot of praise for the maneuver but truth be told, it wasnít completely pulled out my head. During the aftermath of Englandís move into Spring, he sent me a contract that he and Germany had drawn up early in the game for a long term alliance. I used the terms of that contract to dictate my moves. Had that been a false contract, or they had decided to ignore those terms, or even if England never sent me the contract I would have done a different move.

The contract was short but specific and within its terms was the rule that no nation would have more than 1 center over the other. I used that rule to decide Germany, who was already +1 on England, would not take Paris that season but instead make a play to get England a center (Marseilles, since Spain could not be held). It took a long time to convince France to commit to this, but I was able to do so and the English fleet burned that season. I believe that if that doesnít work and Paris is taken instead, England and Germany roll.

Ranior June 8th, 2018 10:58 AM

Re: Diplomacy
Time for the third and final installment of my thoughts on this game. As I started to get into above, obviously my thinking began to shift between 1904 to the events after that. Basically I really started to study the situation and play things out in my head. If Italy and I continued to attack Austria we were looking at my 4 units along with probably 3 of his fighting Austriaís 6. Now our positioning of units in ALB and GRE afforded us reasonable plays and I believe we could have continued to make some ground and eventually start shifting the numbers down for Austria. But if we did that I thought a few other things were also clear:
England and Germany would take PAR. Thatís a given and was super easy to achieve.

They likely would be able to push into SPA/POR within a few seasons. England didnít have enough fleets to stop England from probably getting into NAF and MAO and making pushes from there. Plus with units in BUR and GAS they should put pressure on MAR even too. Basically they had too many units for Italyís three and Franceís 2 to hold out for too long on their own.

The situation with Russia looked even worse to me. England had taken STP and with the Russian disbandmentís it was fairly apparent to me what should be done. England should order NWY-STP and move his fleet STP-BAR. The move to STP likely fails, maybe Russia even gets in. But Germany can go SWE-BOT and then in the F1905 England gets to move NWY-STP with support from F BAR and F BOT. Germany can make a supported attack on WAR as well. They are going to make some gains. Then in 1906 with A STP (which was key to breaking Russia) England and Germany would take both MOS and WAR. There was no way Italy or I could stop things by that point. Weíd be very lucky to have Austria mostly destroyed by the end of 1906 and that wasnít even that likely. But with good play England and Germany could essentially ensure MOS and WAR, along with PAR. They likely also would have one more of SPA/POR/MAR and be pushing for the others in 1907.

If that happens, and it surely does with good play, England and Germany go on to win this game. Theyíd be right at the stalemate lines but Italy/Turkey would not have the units to be fighting them off and holding them. Theyíd push right across them by flooding armies into places like TYR, BOH, GAL, UKR, and from there it would be a slog as they push into originally Austrian territories and go on to win the game.
Now with the benefit of hindsight we see that England and Germany werenít making all the right moves. The game gets complex and for someone in their 2nd game, itís not shocking that the resulting positions in 1905 and beyond were tough to analyze and make the right moves. But up through 1904, I think England and Germany had more or less presented themselves as two good players. There are almost no errors Iíd point out in their tactics or movements. (Really the main one was not taking PAR in 1904 when they could have.) So I didnít have the knowledge or couldnít know that theyíd start to slip up and maybe my analysis that theyíd go on to win was flawed.

So I was looking at a losing position if I just stayed the course with Italy to attack Austria. This was further solidified when Russia disbanded F SEV, completely giving up on even fighting Austria. (This is another thing that annoyed meóI donít think Russia had many chances at this point anyhow, but the only people talking and trying to work with him were asking for assistance in fighting Austria and trying to work with him. Keeping units to instead focus on defending the northÖ.well sure you might annoy England and Germany for a long time but youíre never going to be gaining centers that way. Youíre just going to prolong losing. On the other hand you might gain RUM back if you help out a bit and there may be a small chance to grow with allies). Anyhow that wasnít to be. So I reached back out to Austria which wasnít something I ever wanted to do, but I felt I had no choice. My read on the board was that I was going to lose if I stayed the course so I had to try something.

England and Germany had been showing zero signs of switching on each other. I knew this from Italy mostly who had always been communicating with them. But I also knew this from Germany who had occasionally offered to help take out Austria but such aid never ever materialized. He clearly was not going to flip on England to work with me or Italy. Russia had essentially abandoned the fight, or even if they did want to work with me, that wasnít going to be enough. So I had to turn to the only player left that could maybe take my losing position and turn it to something else. Italy and I reached out and began laying out how we all would lose if we kept fighting each other. (Something I believe we all did accept as truthówe were all good enough players to largely see how continuing to fight it out while England/Germany grew was nearly certain doom). As such the only offer I could make and the only path I thought that could workówe needed to enter a triple alliance. Itíd be tough to make work to be sure. Turkey basically would have to grow by sending armies north via SEV. Austria would need to turn their units north to fight off a growing Germany, meaning theyíd have to trust Italy and I to also deescalate the region, despite our legion of troops surrounding TRI. Italy would need to pull most of their units out and send them to the west to hold off Englandís advancing fleet.

I knew it would be a tough sell and Austria was almost impossible to work with. Some of the concessions they demanded were so crazy Italy and I agreed weíd rather just take our chances at continuing to attack Austria than go down that path. Eventually we came to somewhat of an agreement we could all get behind. I didnít love it at all as I felt I was taking on the biggest risk, but I was also the most convinced of anyone that weíd all lose if we didnít do something. (I suspect being at six centers made both of the others naturally a bit happier and more content compared to my four). I knew full well there was a great risk Austria was just going to take this chance to stab me and continue the attack. But I reasoned a few things. One, if he did, well Iím just losing faster than I would have otherwise, but itís still losing. I was fairly confident I was making the only play that might lead to a win for me. Two, I was fairly convinced that if Austria did turn on me I could make his life a pain for the next several seasons and Germany would be growing and messing with Austriaís northern border before he could solidify it. Essentially I figured Austria needed my aid here too or would lose.

Turns out I was wrong on the 2nd part. But again I think thatís mostly because Germany and England started to really mess everything up in the north. Had they not done so, I suspect Austria would have lost. But in S1905 England makes a big blunder by ordering the impossible NWY-STP STP-NWY. Had he just ordered STP-BAR as he should have, everything else looks great. They would have kept up their growth and been set to take MOS/WAR out in 1906 and presumably are able to pressure Austria and defeat him.

Anyhow Austria does turn on me in S1905 which as I stated wasnít really a shock, but it did basically signal to me I was for sure toast. I planned from here to annoy Austria as much as possible. My one time and still kinda ally Italy I understood had no more options but to turn to Austria. England and Germany surely werenít turning on each other. I no longer offered Italy any reasonable path to growth or a win. So he ďturnedĒ on me, but again I totally understood that and would have done the same. Him and I continued talking for most of the game in a pretty cordial way even though I knew he probably would attack me here and there.

1906 sees England and Germany starting to struggle a bit. Austria is able to lend a bit of assistance to anti Germany efforts and Italyís able to make progress with his growing forces in the west. It is sometimes a bit crazy how this game can play outówhile Iím not doing well here at all it is my movements and plan that shifted that status quo up from 1904 to after and itís really ruining England and Germanyís chances. Itís times like these where I go back and wonder through all these what-ifs like if Germany had offered just a bit more help would Italy and I have been content to stay attacking Austria, and would that have bought EG the time they needed to secure enough centers to push to the end? Hard to say. Either way I hold out fairly admirably in 1906 by only losing a single center again despite Italy and Austria just swarming me with units. I take the small wins, proud that Iím annoying the heck out of Austria and still half convinced that these delayís Iím managing are going to give Germany and England the time they need to bust through the Russians and get those critical centers to fuel their growth.

But they arenít able to. They canít get A STP like they need to worked out at all quickly enough. Germany also manages to lose MUN even though they probably should have ordered A SIL to help support in F1906 rather than wasting their time trying to take WAR. (I think they may have been hoping for my aid from A UKR but I was hoping to mess up Austria more directly). Still that French army was a real issue for him and I think itís pretty easy to make an argument that he could guarantee himself MUN back by using A SIL for support there while attacking WAR was not a certain thing. As such these small to large errors continued to compound for England and Germany, allowing time for Austria and Italy to dismantle me and then turn their attention to England and Germany.

1907 I manage to make some moves and get EG aid into MOS. I live one more season but I know I am just on borrowed time. Unfortunately it is around here that I can tell Austria is in a much better position than I had ever wanted him to get to, mostly because England and Germany had been so slow in growing. (Also as long as I am nitpicking, Germanyís earlier decision for F KIE really messed him up long term as for most of the game especially during these times he would have really benefitted from A KiE). I know Italy is trying to get England and Germany to see they arenít in control anymore and that Austria was a growing menaceóhe was going to sweep most of the northern centers via his massive army and could really pressure Germany. I thought Italy would have a good chance at getting Germany on board with attacking Austria, and maybe England too since he could make gains in MOS and beyond perhaps.

I finally was removed in 1908 as I fully expected. Italy did make their move on Austria even though it was slow, I donít see what other choice they hadócontinuing to work with Austria wasnít going to be to Italyís long term benefit. Austria would just solo pretty easily it would seem. Italy would take ages to actually get to Englandís home centers and beyond while Austria could continue taking Germany home centers quickly. Plus, Austria the entire game kept stabbing his apparent ally Turkey, so I was sure Italy was wary of trusting him. Finally Austria never once seemed to actually make any concessions when in an alliance. I had noticed this too from my earlier attempts to work with AustriaóAustria too moves for his benefit, there was almost never moves taken for the benefit of the alliance or his ally over him. I knew it would take awhile to really start making gains on Austria, but I thought Italy was doing the right things and thought he had a good chance to win. I actually was predicting an Italy/England alliance to top the board at this point. They both had a lot to gain by working together and probably could win. Germany was in shambles with too many units all around him. If England just decided to turn on him heíd make huge gains and could start to funnel armies to the mainland to fight Austira while Italy moved their fleet to the south once again.

But in the final critical moments of the game. England and Germany proved unable to turn on one another, and sealed their own doom. It was quite confusing to me. Attacking Italy just ensured Austria was going to keep growing and gain a dominant position. It wasnít that hard to seeóor so I thought. But I recognize lots of being able to ďreadĒ the board and forecast the future comes from lots of experience and it was increasingly apparent that England and Germany might not be quite as experienced as I thought they were based on their well played 1901-1904. Italy was backpedaling but the game was going to be Austriaís. And indeed a very short while later it was conceded to him when there really wasnít any way left to stop him.

And so Kinseth wins again, which as I state annoys me a bit but also is quite impressive. There are so many what-ifís in this game that small things go a bit differently and I donít think thereís any way Austria wins. But alas, he did. I strongly suspect there are many great lessons here for many players though between outright tactics and movements that need to made to more long term strategies and the need to be flexible in alliances. I think England in particular missed several chances this game by refusing to give up on Germany and ally with Italy. Those two could have won the game had they started to join up anytime around 1906 onward.

It was a very interesting round though at least and thatís all one can ask. Playing Turkey was a wild ride and did nothing to dissuade me from the general idea that I really just do not like playing Turkey, but alas. I had some ups where I thought things were going well for a Turkey/Austria alliance 1901-1902, then things were looking good for Turkey/Italy 1903-1904, and then everything fell apart. So many agonizing what ifs lay on the path, but that is often true. Overall Iím pretty content with how I played and Iím not really sure Iíd do much differently even put into the same situation. In particular I think the decision most were baffled by during the game was the 1905 movements, but Iím still convinced that I had to try something differently as my current path would lead to a loss. It turns out my decision also led to a loss, but Iím not sure I see any other winning moves from that point.

kevindola June 8th, 2018 12:02 PM

Re: Diplomacy
1905 East
With the abundantly clear vision that England is not currently interested in turning on Germany I have to make what is actually an easy decision. I canít adequately defend the west while continuing to keep pressure on Austria. So while Germany and England both seemed very surprised that I left the fight against Austria I thought there was no choice. Now I donít think it will surprise Turkey greatly here, but I was complicit in the 1905 stab by Austria. While the 3 way alliance proposals discussed certainly would have worked also, I didnít think they were necessary and turning on Turkey would be Austriaís major problem to deal with. In return I would (and did) receive Greece in the fall. Again this likely outcome (gaining Greece) seemed more valuable from the Italian perspective than the juggling required to keep Turkey in the fight, and especially after the happenings in France in the spring, I could afford to do so.

1905 West
England here had some choices to make and kept going on the Germany alliance track. I wouldnít say that was the wrong move in this year. Certainly is was the safe and conservative path. I outlined some plans that could have gotten England really nice defensive positioning and in a position to gain 2-4 more centers by 1907, but they would have been at Germanyís expense (+ French Portugal) and he would have had to either pivot to an alliance with Austria (I didnít suggest that one ;) ) or would have had to be trustful of Italy. Neither option appealed to England so he kept on the path.

France and I continued our great communication. He came up with the plan to do a fake out with E/G which led to the destruction of the German army at Gascony which was another big win for stalling out E/G.

How crazy things turn out. France rebuffed E/G in the spring and then decided to go with them in the fall, but E/G didnít go along with it. Had they been on the same page either of those seasons then disaster for me. I canít blame France here either, my plan to get him more centers was very long. The fall plan France made with E/G would see him regain MAR and SPA. It didnít wind up being too damaging for me as it turned out though.

1906 East
Nothing really impacted any decision making for me in the East. Austria seems willing to forgive and forget and I am pleased with the way he has been discussing and progressing our alliance. I am starting to turn around that possibly Austria-Italy can get to a draw in this spot, but it needs to be worked carefully. I personally felt at this point with Austria that he had appreciated my concerns for my earlier moves and was willing to discuss growth plans mutually and respectfully. Something I didnít think he was willing to do earlier in the game.

1906 West
Standard bouncing in the west from my units, but England and Germany really seem to feel panic for the first time in the game when France takes Munich. This leads to diplomacy really opening up for maybe the first time with them. I donít feel the panic though and work out an agreement I donít plan on following through on. England and Germany made several feints that they were working against each other this game, and sold them that way, but never really were. This was reiterated in multiple ways this year. They involved fake outrage over England taking Sweden as well as faux attacks aginst the English fleet in Gascony. I, however, was feeling very good about Austriaís apparent change in attitude and the possibilities that were opening back up with France in Munich. I would take Portugal and do some great positioning with armies and fleets to further pressure all enemies in France.

Kinseth June 8th, 2018 12:13 PM

Re: Diplomacy

A so-so opening for Austria. The bright spot is, that Italy and I were successful in vacating Ven/Tri. I was in good position to nab Greece. Turkey opened Bottleneck, which I think limits Turkey's build potential, but it is one of the more popular openings. Russia and I bounce in Galicia, figured that was going to happen when he wouldn't respond to me about Galicia. Germany, ugh, he really did give Russia Swe. Had Russia opened Mos to STP, he would have been in really great position to take Nwy the following season.

I start chatting with Italy and Turkey mostly this season. Very little with Russia. Italy more or less is going to take his build at Tunis and wait and see approach, perhaps get another build by taking Mar. The quality of writing from Turkey and Italy has me concerned that they might actually be allied, and Turkey likely is allied with Russia. If Russia isn't talking to me, he has to be allied with Turkey, RIGHT???

So I lean towards supporting myself in at Greece, but reach out to Turkey about supporting him to Rum. Only issue is, and this is truthful, I have the wrong time for the deadline. In my mind it was Thursday, not wednesday, based on the 00:00 hours. Which was actually like 8pm my time. I played 2 games on the site, and never saw that little time clock ticking down in the GUI that says time till deadline. How I missed it??? WOWZA. Anyways, Russia gains Rum and has an army on my doorsteps. I feel bad and apologies to Turkey about the time mix up. With France and England messing up the first year, I feel like Russia is in the drivers seat.

Italy seems content with trying to snag some builds from France, this is going to allow myself and Turkey time to attack Russia. I build 2 armies with that in mind. I don't think any real damage has been done with my relationship with Turkey. He builds an army at SMY, which makes me feel a little better that Turkey and Italy are not going to team up on me.

Ranior June 8th, 2018 12:27 PM

Re: Diplomacy

Originally Posted by kevindola (Post 2196500)
1905 East
With the abundantly clear vision that England is not currently interested in turning on Germany I have to make what is actually an easy decision. I canít adequately defend the west while continuing to keep pressure on Austria. So while Germany and England both seemed very surprised that I left the fight against Austria I thought there was no choice. Now I donít think it will surprise Turkey greatly here, but I was complicit in the 1905 stab by Austria. While the 3 way alliance proposals discussed certainly would have worked also, I didnít think they were necessary and turning on Turkey would be Austriaís major problem to deal with.

I agree it was an easy decision for you. As largely laid out above by me, I was pretty confident the status quo wasn't going to work for any of us going forward. There was just no way you and I could continue attacking Austria and any of the three of us seeing anything come from it.

And I wasn't totally sure, but I long suspected you knew what was going on and were fine with it. But again that doesn't really upset me--it wasn't really your decision. It was pretty much entirely Austria's. If he wanted to work with me and try to grow as a three way alliance he could make that choice and I presume you'd have gone with it. If Austria however wanted to attack me...well what choice do you have? You go along with it as that path may also work for you.

I can't really blame Austria for taking me out anyhow either. I knew it was a big risk. I still maintain removing me is a bit of a risk as it means your growth is slower to getting towards WAR/MOS and England/Germany might progress too far in the meantime if you delay. But given those two weren't able to progress fast enough, it gave Austria the time it needed to make attacking Turkey pay off.

Overall though I'll admit in hindsight it's an incredibly annoying position for me to be in then at the start of 1905. England and Germany are not willing to seriously engage in any diplomacy so they're stuck together. Russia has ignored several seasons worth of discussions about how to fight off Austria so they're no option. Italy will not work with Turkey anymore to attack Austria. About the only thing i didn't try was to see if Austria wanted to work with me to attack Russia/Italy...but let's be real that just wasn't going to work given the position. So my only play from there was to offer up the triple alliance I did and hope it went through.

I guess the answer then is I should have made different plays to avoid that situation, but as we already laid out there were so many good paths that could have worked out in 1903 and 1904. If we choose slightly different combinations of moves against Austria or vice versa, Turkey and Italy are thriving. Heck if Russia got a bit more involved there's some Turkey/Russia/Italy power brewing in that region.

Which is why I guess the most frustrating thing about this entire round to me--I'm genuinely not sure what I was supposed to have done differently. Usually after a game I can point to a few direct things I should have done. This game....I'm basically decrying the poor luck/brilliant play of Austria to counter all the moves. I suppose I could have worked better diplomatically with Russia...but as Kevindola stated I'm not really convinced how much Russia was paying attention or answering press during these years for that to be a real option.

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