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  #289  
Old October 31st, 2017, 08:20 PM
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Re: Diplomacy

Well, I wrote about being a minor power. That would be, for instance, Italy: bounded on each side by major powers, he had lots of options. The key with EF, I think everyone would agree, would be prying Austria loose from the alliance. After all, Russia was *not* making money for his partner, and was positioning himself to solo, which he did.

Unfortunately, you couldn't do that.

Once things had gotten really ugly in that department, other options you had included trying to manipulate Russia into a stab of Austria, and hopefully you, France, and a then-weakened Austria could have held him off. Probably not, and Russia likely knew he had a bird in the hand with a blindly loyal Austria, but you were otherwise stuck running out the string. In some situations you can offer to be a "Janissary" for the larger power.

As far as I can tell from these EoG statements, you guys in EF were kind of stuck, diplomatically, because AI were both willing to put themselves in dangerously submissive positions in the East. That's why I hope people will keep open minds about working with each other, if we do this again.

It's a hard game. It's very challenging to play, but also incredibly rewarding. I think I've written earlier in this thread that, in my opinion, it is the only older board game that remains atop its niche. And that's saying something, because there are lots of great games that have come out since 1959.

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  #290  
Old October 31st, 2017, 08:54 PM
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Re: Diplomacy

It is interesting that you suggest that as Russia, I wasn't making Austria any money.
  • The season before the stab - Austria 11 supply centers, Russia 13
  • 1904 - Gave Austria Con when could have kept it for myself
  • 1907 - Supported Austria into Ruh so he could get better gains into France
  • 1907 - Advised Austria to convoy into Tunis, having studied the french moves and figured France would go to TYS.
  • Kept supporting him at Munich while France/England were attacking it several seasons

I don't think it was clear cut, Russia had a complicit Austria. As I mentioned in my EGS, I was still guarded on Austria and thought a well timed build season when he took perhaps Mar/Spa coulda seen him go for the solo. I knew his timeline was farther away. But 13-11 is pretty close in Supply Centre counts.

Second, minor powers can come back to win.

I was a 2 unit Italy in a game, and fought back from death's door to grab the solo. I had only owned Apu and Tunis at that point.

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  #291  
Old October 31st, 2017, 08:58 PM
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Re: Diplomacy

I am only going by EoGs, Kinseth, and I was hoping you would respond. I'm not surprised that the game was more complicated than my reading of the EoG's.

But I hope you would agree with my larger point, the general answer to the question, that as a minor power the way to stay competitive is to make yourself useful to somebody.

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  #292  
Old November 1st, 2017, 08:56 AM
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Re: Diplomacy

I agree, minor powers are huge, they need to understand what they can do to influence the board and how to maximize their situation and get back into the game.

I think it is important to understand that the game isn't just about X and O's. Diplomacy has alot to do with how you communicate with other partners. I get the sense from the rest of the board that they felt Austria was blindly following along. Russia didn't win the game, but Austria lost it for us kind of feeling. There are just too many situations that happened that influenced the direction of this game.

English-French alliance causing Italy & Germany to face them and Russia/Austria coming to their aid. Could the EF alliance had used Germany vs Russia sooner, then stabbed later? Once France realized he was doomed, perhaps he should have tried cutting a deal with Russia and Italy?

We haven't fully heard from Austria yet either, did he have a plan to try to go for the solo, and I(Russia) just happened to execute my plan first?

I would like to think that I won the game, and wasn't "Given" the game. Let's look at everything that went into that "Death Stroke."
  • Studied English moves to know he wouldn't make a play on EDI, and he wouldn't keep me honest at EDI to protect LON. Had he attacked EDI while I attacked LON, he would have secured it back.
  • Austria has to use ION to keep Tunis safe so I could get Gre safely.
  • Setup myself to strike in Munich while keeping all my supply dots safe. I fed Austria several moves that made it appear I would be supporting myself at Hol & Kie so that he wouldn't attempt to hit me.

Anyways, grabbing 5 supply centers in one strike is a large amount, and I don't think anyone saw it coming. I think Austria thought he had time to fend me off If I went for it.

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  #293  
Old November 1st, 2017, 09:21 AM
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Re: Diplomacy

Very fun game everyone. Really enjoyed this one. It had a different dynamic than our first game, and had a lot of big 'hold your breath' moments. Working with Russia and Italy most of the game were very different experiences and both had very rewarding and very surprising instances.


Here is the first part of EGS which was already written.

I opened the game deciding I didn’t want to be Austria from last game so wanted a long term alliance out of one of my 2 more powerful neighbors (Turkey + Russia). I decided this ally would be Turkey @scorpiusx for a number of reasons. Turkey was first to make contact, Turkey was quite chatty and eager to make plans, Russia was virtually silent the first season, and if I could lock in an alliance with one of them, it would prevent the Juggernaut.

Italy I figured would set up for a Lepanto and I could put off deciding how to work with them until a later date.


Spring 1901

Turkey and I have a plan set where I get Greece and Serbia and he gets Bulgaria and Romania. Turkey will then concentrate on fleets to subdue coastal Russia and head to Italy, while I will play the ground game. Russia is virtually silent to me except for us to agree to bounce in GAL. Italy plays nice and we agree to both move away from our border centers, which will allow me to take Greece.

Fall 1901
Russia is still silent with me and in fact does not respond to my repeated questions about movement this season. Turkey, however, out of the blue, seems suddenly suspicious of me. He has heard through Russia that I am plotting a joint attack against Turkey with Russia. This is concerning to me, as I now worry Russia (who isn’t talking to me) is laying it on thick to Turkey. Turkey is asking for me to let him have Greece, against our plan and I decline. I am very nervous that Turkey will actually stick to our agreed plan. But he does, I take Greece and he takes Romania and we both get to 5 builds.

Winter 1901
As per our agreement, I build 2 armies, and Turkey builds 2 fleets. As an added benefit, Italy no longer wishes to attack Turkey after the fleet builds, fleet move to CON, and biggest of all, France builds a fleet in MAR. Confirming what was suspected with the South Coast move to Spain, France will be invading Italy…..

Spring 1902
Alas, it is not to be for the Austria-Turkish alliance. Here was my issue. I received 7 messages from Turkey in the Spring……And then only 2 in the fall, 1 of which had a very aggressive tone. Then in the spring of 1902 I received Zero messages from Turkey. (I did receive one in the winter confirming 2 fleet builds). Conversely, suddenly my communication with Russia escalated dramatically. I received 9 messages from Russia in the winter01/spring02. I’m sure it matters little to those involved, but this was a harder decision for me to make than anything in my previous game. I felt that I could not comfortably progress in the game with Turkey being unreliable. I changed my orders to stab Turkey and ally with Russia literally 2 hours before the deadline after my last 3 messages to Turkey had gone unanswered. Here was the message I sent to Turkey after I violated our agreement and instead took Bulgaria and let Russia into Romania disbanding both Turkish land forces

Spoiler Alert!


Turkey does not respond, and does not again to any of my future messages to him which I send time to time.

Fall 1902

It is clear to all that England and France have allied against Germany. Russia and I agree this is the greatest threat to all on the board right now. So in discussions with Germany, I agree to send aid with my ground troops as does Russia who will also supply naval support. I would like to prop up Italy against France at least until Turkey is eliminated.
I decided to send my Greecian fleet to the Ionian Sea to try and outflank Turkey. It provides mixed results as Turkey recaptures Bulgaria at the expense of losing Ankara to the Russians. I am comfortable with the tradeoff however, as I am confident I will regain Bulgaria the following year, and it also means they lost a 2nd center to Russia.

Winter 1902
No builds for me
However a critical time in Germany’s 2 disbandment decisions. Russia, Germany, and I discuss at length during this time and decide that I will commit my troops to covering an empty Munich while Germany retains his fleets for maximum difficulty for England.

Spring 1903
A decision is made early with Russia on how to attack Turkey for both seasons and we are both happy with the moves. I do indeed reclaim Bulgaria in the spring.

Germany also agrees to support me into Munich to create a bounce which is correct. I give my input into how Germany should go about before we collectively decide to try for the North Sea which is a rousing success.

The vast majority of my efforts this season were spent negotiating with Italy. We spent 75% of the season discussing options for protecting against France before finally deciding that I will support Italy at TYS while he moves TUS-LYO. I think we are both good with this arrangement, until I wake up the morning of the deadline and see a message from Italy saying that France has agreed to convoy him to Spain from N. Africa if he moves there as long as he moves against Trieste and he wants to sneak into WES from TYS. I frantically send message after message saying to NOT do this or at least hold TYS. But Italy has no response for me that morning and the moves process to disastrous results. France takes TYS, wasting my fleet that I could have used to bounce Turkey at AEG and Italy now progresses on Trieste.
I am irate. From my perspective, we spent almost 72 hours discussing at length different options and agreed to it. I wake up the next morning to Italy making an on-the-spot decision without consulting me. One that cost us dearly with French positioning. Things went well in Italy and for my allies in the North, but I have severe complications. And I now feel no long term loyalty for Italy…..

Fall 1903
I am upset with Italy, however I still think working with them is the best chance to stop the French fleets from entering my waters. France and I exchange several messages, but can’t agree to turn on our allies (England/Russia) so were at a relative impasse negotiation wise. This means I must continue to work with Italy and I will give him 1 more chance. He is demanding to take Trieste so he can have some growth and I grudgingly accept this. If Italy is to stand against France he must have another fleet, and taking Trieste, bouncing at Tunisia, and bouncing at Rome will accomplish that. If only Italy had held at TYS we would be in such better shape.

Regarding Munich there is much and more talk between Germany and Russia and I, before ultimately deciding for me to support myself in there in hopes of a bounce while Berlin will advance into Kiel.

I hold my breath as the moves process and things work about about near perfect. Russia made a change to our agreed upon plans due to the late notice ironically. He did not think that Turkey would be attempting an all out take of ION based on the fact Turkey was late on his orders. So he changed his movement away from SMY. He would have wiped Turkey out if he kept his orders. Elsewhere the Italian gambit succeeds netting Italy a build and stopping any French advance again. I wind up taking Munich meaning another tough decision for Germany after he fails to gain a center.

Winter 1903
A lot of good discussion and Germany agrees to keep his fleet in the North. I make a predictable army build and I was very much sweating out an Italian build at Venice, but he sticks with our plan and gets a third fleet at Rome. France contacts me in earnest now wishing to discuss options to turning on Russia. He is very persuasive , but I wish to give Russia a chance to honor his word about relinquishing CON to me. France and Italy both are telling me Russia will not give me CON and is instead poised to turn on me.

Spring 1904
I exchange a lot with France along with my normal discussions with Italy, Germany, and Russia. I am exceedingly nervous about the Italian army in Trieste and consider multiple options to turn on Italy here. Russia also comes to me and says that Turkey wants my blood and is offering support Russia into BUL.

I take that as a good sign from Russia’s trust standpoint that he would share that with me. Italy convinces me he is still on board with me and moves process. Indeed Italy retreats from Trieste and Russia allows me into CON.

There is a LOT of discussion about what Germany’s ENG fleet should do. For us in the south fighting France, we would love a move to MAO, but I think the best play is actually to LON. Russia pushed for WAL early. Germany agrees to move to LON which he takes. As for hindsight, MAO would have guaranteed POR as it turns out, and even a move to BRE would have netted a gain.

Fall 1904
This should be Turkey’s last season, but France took Tunisia in the spring, so I have lots to figure out. First and foremost is how I want to proceed longterm. Russia’s easier expansion long term in the north vs. me in the south with a single fleet is definitely an issue for me, as it likely means he can outpace me in builds and I'd like to stay even or close to. I could probably hedge one more season, but Venice is tempting to me. However, I would really like to wait until I can pump out a fleet before moving to attack Italy. France continues to implore for an alliance, but I can't imagine he will really move his fleets away as he is promising. The promises he made to Italy earlier (convoy to Portugal) seem ludicrous. He makes compelling arguments though, but I see no reason to move against Russia this season when I am already taking CON from him amicably.
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  #294  
Old November 1st, 2017, 10:47 AM
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Re: Diplomacy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dad_Scaper View Post
There were little things here and there that were, in fact, unusual. Repeated bounces in TRI were pretty rare, for instance.
I think you made this up about the occurrence frequency of bounces in TRI

and btw, if we are doing another game I'm in. And I know @vegietarian18 expressed interest in participating as a first timer as well.
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  #295  
Old November 1st, 2017, 10:52 AM
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Re: Diplomacy

I'd be up for playing again. I'd also step aside if we have enough, and also willing to "mentor" someone in a game that is new if needed.

I am pretty much up for anything

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  #296  
Old November 1st, 2017, 11:02 AM
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Re: Diplomacy

Did he? I think this would be *excellent* for vegie. A good challenge for him. Well, I'd be glad to run another one, and I don't really have a desire to play. Playing this game well exhausts me, and I have too many other things going on to do that.

I'll probably turn the eavesdropping feature back on, though, so I can follow along better.

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  #297  
Old November 1st, 2017, 11:59 AM
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Re: Diplomacy

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Originally Posted by Dad_Scaper View Post
Did he? I think this would be *excellent* for vegie. A good challenge for him. Well, I'd be glad to run another one, and I don't really have a desire to play. Playing this game well exhausts me, and I have too many other things going on to do that.

I'll probably turn the eavesdropping feature back on, though, so I can follow along better.
You are correct about the Exhausting part - it really took me by surprise. I would love to play again, but it would be dependent when the launch date was, as too soon might be too much.


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  #298  
Old November 1st, 2017, 12:06 PM
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Re: Diplomacy

I don't mind waiting a week or two for you to play again, Wriggz. I wouldn't want to leave you out, considering your interest in the game.

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  #299  
Old November 1st, 2017, 12:44 PM
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Re: Diplomacy

I'm up for playing again of course, ready to start whenever.

As for all the conversations I've missed, I'll just jump around with some thoughts:

--I probably should have played up a F-R a bit more as kinseth points out. I think, as I'll get to later, my biggest flaw this game was not disguising my intentions better early. I basically threw all my marbles into E/F emerging as a dominant runaway power before others could stop us, and frankly just barely did the other players band together in time to do so. The game really was on the edge for awhile and through some smart moves and good negotiation R/A rightly carried the day and I didn't/hadn't left myself open for much at that point.

--I too am surprised that Germany just handed Sweden over uncontested. I too almost never do, and certainly wouldn't guarantee it like they did--I at least like to have the option to bounce them in the Fall depending on what I see during Spring moves and what not.

--Turkey's early moves had confused me, but now his fleet builds make more sense given the allies he thought he had. While I still haven't got my end of game out proper, my reasoning for working with England over Germany was largely the same as Austria's--Germany never communicated well enough with me for me to feel I could trust him. England was much more the type of diplomacy player I'd like to work with and so that's what I did. Ultimately it worked out as England and I were able to make sure we continued to be able to trust each other through mutual self interest right up until the end when I couldn't fault England for taking a go at my centers.

--Italy, going for the spanish peninsula is a pretty big mistake. Especially if that was your plan in the opening--France has uncontested reign over that, such that they almost always capture it in 1901 and hold onto it throughout the game. France is actually one of those annoying nations where I suspect they rarely are the first to get eliminated since they have such a natural advantage for early growth.

--I so strongly agree with Dad Scaper's post where he links to the magazine article about Diplomacy. I never really "trust" anyone in a game of Diplomacy. But I do assume one thing--I assume each player has their best self interest at heart at all times and is doing their best to place as well as they can. From that assumption, there almost always are long term alliances that can be had where both parties feel they have a good shot. Frankly for England and myself this game it was going great, and we were going to try hard to put us in a position to draw or win. But I would have turned on England as soon as I thought I had a better way to advance, and would expect the same out of him. To do anything less is a disservice to the game in my opinion and cheats the experience for other players. I think I've made my stance clear already through some posts, and I don't want to be too hard on the noobs, but I'll restate it one last time: What frustrated me the most about this game is that once it was clear to me that England and I were not going to be winning, I turned to the other powers on the board seeking options. Russia has long offered to turn on England, but that plan didn't appease me much as I just felt Russia would grow into an even more likely winner than I saw him at the time. So I looked towards Italy and Austria to work things out. And what annoyed me so was that it seemed neither of you were actually playing to win. Italy's movements I could not understand towards the end--Austria had done literally nothing all game for you besides let you lease TRI for a round, and then you promptly vacated it and turned your forces against me once more....yet there was literally no way your fleets/forces could break through mine. So you were slamming your head against a brick wall that wouldn't fall over. it stunned me because I just didn't get how you thought your moves were actually doing anything to assist yourself, and instead it seemed you were an obedient lap dog for Austria for most of the game serving as a buffer for him from French aggression.

Austria also annoyed me. They did not share my belief that Russia was in a dominant position to win, nor did they seem to believe Russia was the sort of fellow who might betray him for a win. But what confused me the most of all that is in all of his talks it was pretty clear Austria was never envisioning an actual win for himself--he was absolutely playing for a draw with Russia. That's incredibly annoying to hear, especially when it seems pretty obvious to me that Russia is unlikely to share that attitude. So from my perspective Austria never had a real path to 18 centers. He absolutely did not and would not get the naval power to pass my fleets in the south for many many turns. In the meantime Russia was poised with his fleets to win the battles in the northern seas and scoop up tons of centers. Finally Russia was the one in position to actually snatch a few Austrian centers and open up war on Austria's backside while Austria certainly couldn't do the same. So I was flummoxed....how am I supposed to negotiate with a player who doesn't seem to be seeking a win for himself and instead is playing for a Russia/Austria joint win? If that's the case, then I just have to wait for that draw to occur or Russia to win, but apparently Austira won't be betraying his current ally.

So hopefully it's clear why I basically quit towards the end. I felt Italy was just Austria's lap dog waiting to be betrayed by Austria, and I felt Austria was essentially doing the same thing with Russia. Russia never really had any incentive to turn his back on such a fine arrangement and so it left me with zero options which majorly sucked and was annoying.


--Back to Kinseths' rest of EoG now, I agree that Austria technically was in position to turn on you at almost any point and could have made an interesting game of it. But from continued conversations with him, it sure didn't seem he ever was seriously going to turn on you--which was partially your good diplomacy constantly buttering him up about plans for future mutual growth and a joint draw. But really especially towards the end Austria did blunder because he wasn't accepting that you were a threat to stab him or push for a solo and he left you stupidly open to take several of his centers. Even if your gamble with England doesn't pay off you get numerous builds, Austria doesn't, and he doesn't have the time to move enough his units to protect his centers before your new army in the East ravages his territories for a win (at least I don't think so, tough to know without actually playing it out)

--In response to Wriggz now, I can't say for sure what I would have done if you had joined England and I....but just know that I do turn on allies. Like I said before I'm not really a person to just blindly stab for the thrill of it. You can trust me as long as I think I'll do better with you than against you. But the moment that line is crossed, you can be pretty confident I'll be switching against you. So just make sure that when working with me that you're forcing enough concessions out of me that both of us are more or less equally positioned and both are gaining from being allied. All of which is to say that there are sequences of moves and negotiations where I ally with you and we turn against England.

--I agree that you don't always play for the solo....you always play to finish as best you can though. That means if you have a good shot to solo, you go for it. If that means that you wind up in a 4 way draw because nobody can afford to turn on each other or else be eliminated, so be it. In higher level play it obviously is relatively rare for someone to solo and the prevalence of draws increases. There isn't anything wrong with all that. There is an issue though that if you're allied with someone you won't turn on them and you will just play for a draw with them--that essentially ruins the game for everyone else. (And now that I read Dad Scaper's next post, he puts it very well--the problem is when someone essentially declines to win because they'd rather not betray an alliance).

--Kevindola, if Italy had actually requested some concessions from me he would have gotten them. I was desperate--so desperate we legitimately had discussed trades where I convoyed him into the Iberian peninsula which he would have gotten to keep while I got Tunis so that I could sail my fleets into the southern seas to harass Austria/Russia. It was practically crazy talk but I would have done it as I knew something had to change if the game was going to go anywhere for me. But even though I offered these things and we had plans to do it, he sided with you in taking TRI and then just giving it back up. I would gladly have made pro Italy moves, but really never was given an opportunity to do so. And the only other requests I got were to start moving my fleets back to the north which really isn't acceptable--as soon as I do that Italy does have the option to gain the upper hand in that fight and so they needn't work with me any longer once they controlled something like WES.

--Ultimately I agree that a E/I/A alliance would have worked very well. Frankly I was worried for much of the game that that was going to happen. This is where I probably should have reached out to Russia sooner and maybe tried to find ways to work with him, but I just felt he was in such a dominant position I wasn't sure how I could really aid him without just handing him a solo.

--AYP, you do have a bit of predictability in your movements, which Kinseth hit on. You don't keep people honest. When you could force someone to have to commit everything to defending a place, you don't bother if you can't get it. So if you could sent strength three at something, but know the opponent could defend with strength three, you don't try it. That allows your opponents to not actually defend that spot, which is the "trick" Kinseth used to win the game. If you occasionally do send everything you have, there will be times where your opponent doesn't defend with everything because they have other things they want to do, and you'll gain centers. Of course finding the right balance is tricky.

--Kinseth, I don't dispute that Austria and you for most of the game were in more or less equal positions. It really came down to the later season though. You two were both close in supply centers, but the situation heavily was tilted in your favor--you had centers galore to take in the north including England's 3 home centers followed by BEL/HOL. That's before you even get to starting to mess with BRE/PAR. Austria after taking out Italy was looking at what for growth? PAR? Then maybe MAR? But the timeline is all out of favor for Austria. To break through my southern fleets was going to take him several seasons--you on the other hand were going to be making gains quicker than that. And again as I said before, you were better set to stab at Austria's centers. Austria had fewer units hanging back defending home centers. I guess the point is that if you were in Austria's shoes during 1906-1908, how do you feel about your solo chances compared to Russia's shoes? I have to think almost every diplomacy player would have preferred Russia's position. (Although again I suppose that depend on how you think Austria could benefit from working with England/France if they wanted to.) Either way I don't feel that towards the end Austria was getting the same benefit out of staying in the alliance that they would have gotten compared to breaking it off.

--With all that being said, you won the game, you weren't given it or anything. I don't want it to come off like that. You successfully manipulated players, called bluffs, made smart moves, and overall managed the game brilliantly. Your win is well deserved and there are lots of little things that can be pointed out as really skillful stuff.

Ranior is DJ Khosumet the current and hopefully future Dark Lord...
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Old November 1st, 2017, 01:14 PM
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Re: Diplomacy

There is a lot of interesting discussion about the nature of motives within the context of game outcomes relative to this game.

I will more clearly explain my thinking.

I did not go into this game thinking draw. I went into the game thinking win. But I do personally rank the game outcomes as Win-Draw-Not Win/Draw. I have seen some comments to Win or Not Win as the only options.

I WOULD rather Draw than Not Win/Draw.

I dig into this a more in Part 2 of my EGS which is far from me being comfortable posting it. But there were 3 things that slowly altered my perception that a solo was not a realistic outcome for me.

1) Fall of 1902 - Turkey goes all in and allows Russia to capture a 2nd center at the expense of my retention of Bulgaria

2) Fall of 1904 - Munich's support is not cut as I anticipated allowed Russia to take Kiel

3) Fall of 1905 - Holland is vacated allowed NTH to claim it

These 3 events were completely unanticipated by me (well at least the last 2 were) and all of them kept Russia farther ahead of me in center gains than I would have liked. Kudos to Russia, but in the last 2 instances he used very persuasive arguments on me that these were very likely not to occur and he used that to convince me that giving up any more of Turkey was not necessary.

Once season after season passed of me not being able to make ground on Russia in center total like I had planned on, I made the decision that the best realistic outcome I could play for was a draw with Russia. I did not see a realistic play I was comfortable with that would allow me to get into a position to improve. And frankly, I was in the position because I played 'poorly' or incorrectly because I based certain decisions not to press for more things against Russia because of incorrectly predicting how the fall would turn on in the above instances.

It's risk vs. reward to me. As we entered into 1906 I thought I had a 75% of draw with Russia. I thought I had a 15% chance of solo if I take France's offer and an 85% chance of loss. You can argue my number calculations all day long (and I just gave them a rough estimate now), but that IS what I thought.

These rough value assessments of my outcomes combined with my personal opinion of how different game outcomes satisfy me dictated my actions.

Absolutely, I stated it and will state it again, my experiences with certain players in the last game impacted my decisions and assessments of the above %s for this game. That does not mean I started the game looking only for a draw, but it does mean I reached a point in the game where I decided a draw is the best realistic outcome I can achieve and so played it that way.

I will be happy to hear criticism about how off base I was about that conclusion of victory chances, but as I said in an earlier post. I sent my opinions to France about why I didn't think I was in such dire straights through the course of the game, and I did not receive a rebuttal.
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