Thread: Diplomacy
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Old June 7th, 2018, 02:10 PM
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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.

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