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  #649  
Old April 26th, 2020, 09:33 PM
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scorpiusx scorpiusx is offline
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End of Game Statement: Precursor

So first of all, I would like to say I had a great time, (albeit characteristically stressful), and I am really glad that @kevindola managed to convince me to try my hand at this again after getting crushed a couple of years ago in my first play, (especially since we got to share a victory together. ^_^ )


I want to give my end of game statement, but since I imagine it will take some time to type out, here are a few precursor notes to give this game some context on my end:


This was my second game of Diplomacy I have played, with my first coming a while back played with this similar group. In that game I played as Turkey, and had no idea what I was doing, to where I desperately didn't want to backstab either of my potential allies in Russia or Austria so I just stopped communicating with either one of them. Naturally the both allied against me and crushed me, (as I deserved. Definitely not bitter about it, I was just not prepared for the exact type of politicking required for this kind of game.)


I had no preconceptions that I was going to win this game at the start, (or share a draw like I did here), but I at least wanted to experience the joy of actually allying with someone in Diplomacy and feeling that I was part of a team, albeit a mistrusting one. I wanted to survive long enough to not be the first one out, and actually get into a spot where I was PLAYING the game before I was turned on and crushed.


The next note, is that I was able to figure out who @kevindola was pretty early on. Obviously we kept our identities anonymous throughout the game, but we have played so much CoN together and have had so many private communications that we were able to figure out one another's text styles within a couple of press messages. This isn't some intended breach of the code of anonymity, it's just that we are so familiar with one another that the only way we weren't going to identify each other was if we never sent any press at all honestly. Plus, I have this Masquerade Sleuth title for a reason, and I am honestly surprised I only guessed 2/6 nations correctly, (also figuring out Austria was @Knight of Scape . )


I also want to make it clear that knowing it was kevindola I don't think made it more likely for me to ally with him. I knew that he was skilled at this game obviously, but that was a double edged sword. I knew from CoN that he was a convincing liar and great analytical thinker, and very charismatic, plus he did crush me in my first game of Diplomacy. Knowing my vindictiveness and paranoia, this honestly should have made me more likely to try and join up with Germany and snuff him out of the gate. I also have played lots and lots of CoN and consider myself buddies with @All Your Pie , @MegaSilver , and @Knight of Scape , so getting to ally with any of them would have been just as fun in my eyes. I say this just to dispel any possible notion of "well he knew who his neighbor was, and he only allied with him because they were buddies outside of the game" sort of bs. My alliance with France rose organically through the game itself, even if the veil of anonymity was more like a silky see through bit of lingerie.

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  #650  
Old April 26th, 2020, 10:56 PM
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EOG Statement Part 1

Alright, so here we go I guess. Again, will probably do these in parts.



-----------


1901



I draw England. Yay, another corner power. I was kind of hoping for something a little different than my first draw, but ultimately I am okay with this draw. The extra naval flexibility seems like it will be fun to play with, and defensively it is more likely to survive to the endgame I so coveted.


What to do for my first bits of press? Well, taking a note from years of CoN, I decide to do a bit of role playing. I play as a time travelling woman sent back from the future where a great war has taken over the world, and it is up to her to stop it. She is also highly promiscuous and plans to literally sleep with all of the Diplomats. I think she ultimately succeeded, except for dear Jean from France, (so called Jean because I did not know if France was a man or a woman, so Jean would fit either gender, naturally.) Jean was still devoted to his wife, even though he had to send her on a vacation due to her conspiring against him.


....Oh yes, back to the actual game at hand. I figured if I could make people laugh, it might be a bit more likely for them to keep me around if all else was equal.


Ultimately, I had one major goal in 1901: Acquire Belgium and Norway and get myself to five centers going into 1902. This was a simple, neutral goal that would not directly conflict either one of my immediate neighbors. Whichever one was more receptive to giving me this territory would be my partner going forward.


I send out letters to everyone, but France and Germany get the bulk of my press, with Russia following behind. Obviously I had less to do on a global stage than the central powers, and therefore needed less communication.


Which, while we're on this point of discussion, you'll notice this was a central conceit of my play: I messaged far less than I had to. At first I sent out more letters and tried to feed other nations bits of truth in hopes of getting back the same.


But here is the important part: So much of Diplomacy is TOTAL BULL****. It is an impossible, tangled mess of half truths, lies, schmoozing, etc. Trust me, I have done my fair share of lying from over a decade's worth of playing CoN, but Diplomacy is obviously a much different kind of political sphere. So my philosophy was to strip away a lot of that, and try to be as open as possible as much as I could. I would often directly quote messages I sent back and forth to my would be allies, and I would inform them of what bits of info I was feeding the other nations to develop trust. Since my diplomatic relations with Germany only really lasted through 1901, the only two nations I really had consistent "allied" contact with were France and Russia, and I guess to a lesser extent Austria in the late game, but Austria knew full and well I was at best a begrudging ally because I made no bones about it.


This style of play obviously endeared me less to the other nations that I wasn't communicating with, as after 1901 we weren't exchanging Ravens with whispers or any other such nonsense. I just barely messaged them at all. This would obviously make it more difficult for me to recruit their support later on, and make it easier for them to attack me without remorse, BUT it allowed me to concentrate on being a great teammate to my true allies I was actually working with. I think both France and Russia, (well until I stabbed him), would say I was a tremendously faithful, reasonable, and transparent ally, and in this game trust begets trust. It was more important to me to have a concrete, bedrock ally than it was to have my hands in every bowl on the map, though I guess the latter would have given me a better chance of soloing.


-----



So anyway, which to choose between France and Germany, as I hadn't even considered the idea of a Western Triple at the time, and was more concerned with getting one concrete ally between the two to help divide up the other. Honestly it was a struggle, and I was swayed back and forth between each. To be honest, I thought Germany was played by a newer player, and in that regard I kind of didn't want to crush a new player like I had been crushed my first go round so early out of the gate, plus a new player is less likely to stab a (slightly) more experienced ally. That, plus knowing Kevindola's strength at this game, made me question having him lingering around long term.


So why side with France? My little grapevine of information helped me decide that in part, where the bits of Germany I was getting back made him seem more...aggressive than the image of him I had in my head. This was echoed in his wanting me to advance into the English Channel against France. France just seemed more trust-able and intent on an equally beneficial alliance than Germany.

@Kinseth , here is a small critique for early game friend making. Your asking of me to go into the channel against France was to me 100% more of a move to benefit you than it was me. Sure, if you join me in an alliance against France, then it is probably equally beneficial to both of us. But England antagonizing France ALWAYS benefits Germany, and gives Germany the luxury of backing whichever horse he chooses between the two. Trying to convince me into making an aggressive move so early felt like you were trying to manipulate me, and was ultimately a factor on why I decided to ally with France against you. I don't think I ever suggested positions to my allies in Russia or France that were solely more advantageous to me than it was for either of them, and this is what made me a more trustworthy ally.


Once Fall hit and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief that France upheld his end of the English Channel DMZ pact, I was leaning far more to siding with France than with Germany, although I was still in a luxurious position to where I could reasonably join either one. Most interesting of all was the fact that Austria and Turkey had joined together in a very aggressive move against Russia, apparently in part based on some small kernel of information I had fed one of them in springtime, which I was delighted to see.


Small backtrack, apparently I did in fact plan the Russian invasion of Denmark in 1902 all the way back in Spring of 1901, prefacing it with "in the event that Germany shows antagonism toward me." With Russia distrustful of Germany, I felt this was a likely outcome even BEFORE he was being hammered in the south. Now with two nations at war with his southern border, Russia was in desperate need of allies elsewhere, leaving either myself or Germany. And Russia would need land and supply centers to offset the ones he would inevitably lose to Austria and Turkey, and my supply centers were a whole ocean away. An alliance with Germany on Russia's part would have been fruitless for Russia, and he and Germany would not be able to muster up a Naval force to break into my island home. So naturally, I conspired to offer up Germany's land to Russia if he helped me out, generously letting him take up the first supply centers that he would desperately need.


Meanwhile, France and I talked over various matters. I clued him in on my long term plan to attain Russia's assistance in cracking open Germany from the sea, and he pitched an idea about the prospect of going to war with Italy in 1902 that we ultimately scrapped. More importantly, we agreed that I would solo into Belgium without needing support, and he would go into Munich. I told him I was very much okay with the idea of him potentially getting 6 centers at the end of 1901 (and taking one of Germany's in the process) while I only held 4, if it meant a stronger long term alliance. Reasonable, seemingly selfless negotiations like this and my willingness to give Denmark over to Russia I think really paved my way into being seen as a trustworthy "team player" that ultimately helped set the course of the rest of my game.


When Winter Came, each of the three western powers were at 5 centers apiece, France had attacked Germany, and I felt I was in a good position. I initially had planned to build two fleets in LON and EDI, but this did NOT sit well with France at all. He felt like those two ships would make me too strong out of the gate and would most likely be used against him. I honestly was intending to use them to overpower Germany (and probably barge into Russian territory later), but I conceded to his paranoia and reassured him that I would build one fleet and one army. That army sat in England for a long time twiddling its thumbs, but it made my French ally feel more secure and kept him from turning on me, so it ended up being the right choice.


I also, after taking some time to think about it, said that I would be fine with France building a fleet in Brest. I knew that it could easily be used against me, but I was willing to afford him some trust that he would use it instead against the Italians. To some it may look mad that I agreed to this, but at this period in time, France had already attacked Germany and I was a neutral power. With Germany so strong going into 1902, I reasoned that France attacking me with that fleet would be suicide, as I would then just ally with Germany and attack France. Building a fleet in Brest and having it go around the Iberian peninsula would be the first of many fun moves where we got to fake out the board into thinking one of us was stabbing the other, when really we were taking everyone else by surprise in devastating fashion.


A reckless, stupid, insane, trusting alliance that ended up being as strong as you could probably get in a game of Diplomacy, that allowed us to inevitably take over the entire world.

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  #651  
Old April 26th, 2020, 11:14 PM
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Re: EOG Statement Part 1

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Originally Posted by scorpiusx View Post
I initially had planned to build two fleets in LON and EDI, but this did NOT sit well with France at all. He felt like those two ships would make me too strong out of the gate and would most likely be used against him. I honestly was intending to use them to overpower Germany (and probably barge into Russian territory later), but I conceded to his paranoia and reassured him that I would build one fleet and one army. That army sat in England for a long time twiddling its thumbs, but it made my French ally feel more secure and kept him from turning on me, so it ended up being the right choice.

I haven't decided what I'll do as far as an EOG, but I'm happy to comment and answer questions.

The above situation may seem trivial now, but I decided I would go to war with England (and not Italy), while trying to pacify Germany, if 2 fleets were built this winter. Germany had stalemated (and would for more seasons) progress by land, so I would be at the mercy of Russia and England making progress before I could do the same. So if I continued to pressure Germany, I would have to start heading towards Italy to make any progress. But if England had 3 fleets, I would never have risked being so exposed along my Northern coast.

So I would either have had to have full stagnation by keeping a defensive fleet in POR or SPA, or recklessly leave myself open for easy centers taken by England if I continued on the Italy.
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  #652  
Old April 27th, 2020, 12:11 AM
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EOG Statement Part 2

1902


I want to foremost make one point very clear: While France and I shared victory in the game equally, @kevindola was doubtlessly the team MVP of this war. After I backstabbed Russia, I did very minimal Diplomacy, instead simply positioning my troops in careful DMZ lines and anticipating the occasional enemy moves. France had to conduct extensive talks with Italy and Austria that helped him sweep through the southern part of the continent and keep the game from becoming everyone vs England/France. He also proved to be a masterful tactician with a nose for predicting enemy movements time and again, and was able to help me turn ideas of how I wanted certain parts of the war to go into concrete orders. Hell, there were even some rules I was fuzzy on that he patiently corrected. ^_^


That said, I really think the events that occurred in 1902 were my personal Diplomatic highlight of this game, and I am proud of a lot of the ideas I brainstormed that would go on to shape the rest of the war.


By this point, it was very very clear to Germany that I was not interested in being friends, and I was trying to come up with the best possible 3 way alliance possible with Russia/France/England to dismantle him. I was not interested in getting any of my own centers this year, only in forcing Germany to lose centers while building trusting relationships with my allies.


Germany has a cluster of five units, and I was at a big risk of losing Belgium even with the French there to support me. However, I sussed out that Germany was most likely to attack Belgium from Ruhr with Holland support. Telling this to France, he trusted my anticipation and suggested a complimentary moveset that would not only stop the Ruhr attack, but push him out of Ruhr and cripple his position.


Meanwhile, I had promised Denmark to the Russians, and I made good on that promise, first by taking Ska for myself with his support, (entrusting him not to take Norway in the process), and then supporting him from Sweden into Denmark from SKA.


France made good on his earlier promise to sail his BRE born fleet around Spain and engage the Italians, launching a surprise war in the Mediterranean. Seeing the map and heavily suspecting that Germany would try to take over Ruhr again from France, I suggested to France that this would be an optimal time for a deliberate self destruction of that army, so that it could be reborn as a fleet in Marseilles. He liked this idea, and so we deliberately trapped the Ruhr army so that Germany could obliterate it. Ultimately instead of a fleet, he built an army to combat the Italians, but the point still stands that he now had a large southern military force that could ambush the Italians.



Going into Winter, I had set out exactly what I planned to do. I couldn't care less about getting a supply center this year, but I had developed my position, I had taken away a supply center from my one enemy, and had helped benefit both of my allies in ways where they had no room to be aggressive toward me. France now suddenly had a massive force on Italy's doorstep, and Russia had stabbed Germany while being in no position to take over my own territory. I had the exact diplomatic, defensive breathing room I so craved.



1903



The big surprise for me is that Russia offers to vacate Denmark so that I can possess it, while he makes a stab for Berlin. I was prepared for a slower invasion where I held him in Denmark and used him to say support me into HEL or some other variant, but I was not about to turn down his sincere suggestion. Things go by in pretty standard fashion here, though there are a wide variety of moves available to Germany that I must try to predict.


France and I continue to communicate heavily, though most of his work is spent going to war with the Italians, while also wrapping around Switzerland to help threaten Munich. Ultimately my personal moves this turn are as simple as accepting Russia's generosity of Denmark while plotting out a war against Germany with France and Russia from all sides, while trying to convince Russia that I am in fact going to war with France once Germany is in the ground.


Which brings us to maybe the most bonkers play of the game: France coming up to me and suggesting that I build a fleet in London and move it into the Channel, leaving Brest completely exposed, so that I can bluff out Russia and stab him in one devastating stroke, while continuing to torch Germany.


Between this and Russia's offering up of Denmark to me, I had been approached with ridiculously trusting pro-English deals from two different nations, which obviously made me feel like things were smooth sailing. I would assume this spoke to my trust-ability and devotion as the best supporting ally I could be in the first two years, which was now paying off in spades.


By the end of Winter, Denmark was mine, Russia had sailed into Berlin, France was so wide open that he couldn't possibly stab me, and I built a fleet in London. Just like my French ally planned.


-scorp

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in THE ENEMY'S LAST RETREAT

Last edited by scorpiusx; April 27th, 2020 at 01:30 AM.
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  #653  
Old April 27th, 2020, 02:56 AM
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EOG Statement Part 3

1904

The stab heard round the world. Or stabs, as it seemed to everyone else.

I forgot to mention in my 1903 write-up, that France and I had grown increasingly concerned that Russia and Turkey had formed a sly juggernaut alliance, which is notoriously difficult to stop. We reasoned that to counter this, it was going to be important to hit Russia as hard and fast as possible.

We really did all we could to sell this fake-out to Russia, with me convincing Russia that I promised an EDI build in Winter instead of the LON build, and saying that I did so to help lull France into a false sense of security in building a fleet in Marseilles. We also forged some messages that we had at our disposal to share, (an old CoN trick), and overall had a lot of fun with it.

We also talked a lot about the best way to stab Russia here, with France offering up a few different theories, but ultimately falling back to my initial moveset where I anticipate no hostility from either the Russians or the Germans in the intended battle zones, (which proves to be correct, so another rare moment where I feel my mind for tactics was vindicated.) My idea was to hit Russia in a way that he would lose two centers, even if it meant damaging Germany less or there was a lessened chance of success, because obliterating Russian momentum was more important than wiping Germany off the map immediately.



Looking back on old messages, I almost forgot just how hard I was working Russia into a false sense of security here, sending long messages concerning our long term conquest of Europe, all essentially so that he would have no reason to move into Norway and mess up my stab without me even having to bring up the subject. France continues to communicate with Germany, using this sudden "betrayal" by me as an opportunity to get a peak into Germany's moveset I imagine.

And then in Fall, the stab happens.

Definitely the most upsetting part of the game for me, as @MegaSilver was a great ally who I had a lot of fun working with, and in an ordinary game would be the best ally on the map. While I always planned to back France and stab Russia here, I can easily imagine a separate timeline where I really do take advantage of France's trust and strike at Brest, going on to wreck havoc with Russia across Europe.

Ultimately, it was a reading of the map as much as anything. Not only were my forces in more of a comprehensive position for a stab against Russia, but I also felt like Russia might be operating a juggernaut with Turkey, in which case I would inevitably crumble against its power. I also felt it was more feasible at that time for France and I to do a left to right steamroller, as opposed to a weird top - down steamroller with Russia.

But yeah, this was the one truly painful backstab I had to make this game, losing a quality ally in deference to another. Felt like Thanos. "The hardest decisions require the strongest wills."


Anyway, once fall comes and I have broken Russia's heart, France and I agree that a slow and steady move into Russia through Finland and then St. Petersburg is best. Germany also interestingly comes to me and offers to help me in a solo as revenge against Russia and France. @Kinseth I have no idea if this was genuine on your part, and I was obviously pretty skeptical since you were not the happiest with me earlier in the game for good reason. If so, I might have very well missed a good opportunity for a solo. And I in fact did obviously consider actually stabbing France, (how could one not be at least a bit tempted with such a golden opportunity?)



I think a more aggressive player does maybe go for it here, but at that point I didn't feel confident stabbing BOTH of my former allies while also finishing off my first enemy, and thought the short term gains I had attained would only go so far once literally the rest of the northern part of the map started to push against me. I would have become by far the biggest threat on the map and I don't think anyone would have directly supported me, unless if Germany really was good on his word at intending to help me solo.


In any case, I made my decision to stick by my super trusting ally, and together finished off Germany, and I continued to push into Russia while he used my "betrayal" to help himself push further into an Italy who likely would have suspected him to send ships in the opposite direction. By the end of 1904, France and I controlled half the world, and I thought for sure the rest of the game was going to be the two of us against the rest of the map.


Or so I believed at the time.



1905

Around this time is when diplomatic negotiations begin between Austria and France for the possibility of a three way draw. France brings this idea up to me, and I respond with....grumbles. Him and I had just flexed with style on the the entire western half of the map and had taken control as the two major superpowers in Europe. I was bemoaning the idea at a three way tie with anyone, and if I had to make a tie, I would have preferred sharing it with my former ally Russia. I tell France straight up that no, I have no intention of making a 3 way draw with Austria, and he agrees with me (but obviously does not share his own intentions with Austria.)


From here on out, it is mostly the @kevindola show for plotting and scheming. I defer to him quite a bit, as he has to deal with most of the negotiation with other parties down in the south, whereas I only had two neighbors: One that I am strongly allied with, and my former ally that I am rolling over. Our politicking now mainly comprises how best to split up the German territories. With my superior naval power, it is agreed that I take most of the coast, while he takes Munich, and I end up giving him Belgium, which was an agreed upon promise from all the way back in 1901 or 1902 that I kept my word on, (as I always did with him.)


Turkey contacts me around this time saying that France is a big threat to solo and wants to help me take Kiel from him. I pretend to be interested in what he is saying, but ultimately he probably knows I am not turning on France now when I didn't previously when there was an even more golden opportunity.


But yeah, it's really a pretty straightforward game from here on out for me. At this point, I am simply gobbling up lots of German territory that France knows I will require to be happy, while also pressing further into Russia and taking St. Petersburg. Just being a slow, methodical engine of destruction. Meanwhile, with some great fortune and foresight, France and Austria manage to take Italy down from 4 centers to 0 and knock @Zetsubo out of the game, much to my complete shock. I knew Italy was close to crumbling due to France's overwhelming numerical strength and positioning advantage, but it was still shocking.


Most shocking of all to me was that, instead of throwing up a united front, all four of the Eastern powers seemed to be in disarray, unable to get over their own petty wars. I understood Austria felt he was playing for a 3 way draw still under France's convincing, but I was sure that it was going to be France and I against everyone else. Instead, we were marching right through Europe almost too easily, and I began to grow a bit concerned that France's growth potential exceeded my own with his grand armada and eastern lands ripe with space and disarray.



-scorp

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  #654  
Old April 27th, 2020, 03:50 AM
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EOG Statement Part 4

1906


On the surface, not a particularly interesting year, but behind the scenes there was a surprising amount going on. It was the formal beginning of the Austria/France/England "alliance", and also perhaps unbeknownst to France, is maybe the period in time I most heavily considered stabbing him in the back, not so much for lack of wanting a draw, but by thinking he was in too good of a position to solo.


Russia had (generously for me) disbanded his northern two ships, leaving his territory for easy access for me. I contact Russia for essentially the first time since the major stab, telling him that I apologized for how things went down, and that Austria was striving for a 3 way alliance, and if I had to go for a 3 way it would be with him instead of Austria. But Russia had (understandably) thrown in the towel at this point, and given up submitting orders.


France and then eventually Austria continue to badger me about the proposed 3 way. I am obviously still not interested, but France lets me know just how hard of a nut Turkey will be to crack without Austrian support. Seeing the great yellow tortoise on the southeastern part of the map, I begin to see why France is a better diplomat than I am.


I never try to schmooze Austria about our alliance though. I felt that just going into a 3 way alliance with a huge smile was going to generate mistrust as much as anything. So I tell Austria 90% of the truth: That I originally had no interest in this alliance when it was initially proposed, and that I wanted either a 2 way draw, a solo win, or nothing. But looking at the map, I saw how good France's positioning was to take a solo, and that I understood keeping Austria around as a buffer might have been a begrudging necessity. Austria seemed to accept both my frustration and my seeming willingness to keep an open mind, and with no other choice to come out with something resembling a win, Austria began to work closely with France to disassemble Turkey while I continued to pound down on Russia.


In the Spring, France suggested a way for us to arrange our troops in northern Germany to where we would not be tempted to threaten one another, and I agreed with his sound logic. I clustered my fleets up north in a way that they would not threaten Munich, (plus they would be effectively useless against Russia going forward anyway), while I established a convoy line through Denmark.


My one bit of true cleverness in 1906 was predicting Turkey's support hold on Russia in Moscow. Seeing as how Russia failed to submit orders in the Spring, I suspected Turkey would support the Moscow Russian army to keep a buffer between us while I stalled my supported strike from STP against him. Foreseeing this maneuver, I instead marched my armies forward to surround Moscow and enter Warsaw with French support.


So where did the potential stab idea come from? During Fall 1906, I thought France might have the opportunity to collect more centers than I did in the south, and pull out ahead by gobbling up territory faster than I could. Plus, of course, if you see an opportunity for a solo then you gotta take it, amirite? The plan would have been mostly the same, except that I would have supported myself into Belgium from Holland with NTH Fleet support, taking an extra supply center for myself while stealing one from France. France also was in no position to gain any builds that year, while I would have gained a couple that I could have used to build fleets in LON and LVP and threaten western supply centers left vacant by France.


The problem, well one among many, is that Austria had made it clear that if one of France or myself betrayed the other, it would result in one of us soloing, and he would use what leverage he had to support the victim against the backstabber. This bit of politicking was to keep us on an even keel and maintain the proposed 3 way draw. If I betrayed France, I reasoned I would be facing both him and Austria, which I likely could have held up against okay enough, but I would have had difficulty gaining any ground against. France would have sent his Mediterranean ships in the opposite direction to keep from grabbing Spain, Portugal, etc, and the end result would have been Turkey regaining ground while I went to a near stalemated war with Austria and France.


Ultimately my best move was to trust my long term ally, so everything west of Munich stayed war free for the rest of the game.




1907




Precious little communication this year honestly, which was fine by me honestly. I was okay with not having to stress about every little move. Most of my units were not under threat, so it was mainly about taking over Moscow and pressuring Turkey for me while Austria and France coordinated together to pick away at Turkey and the last Russian unit in Austria.


Germany actually comes to me around this time telling me that France is in position to solo and that I should be wary. Hilariously I inform France of this concern, while also sharing such concerns myself. I make it clear I am still very much wanting a 2 way draw with him and want to make sure that we keep it feasible. He insures me that he is backed off enough from Austria's borders that he actually isn't positioned as well as I thought, which upon re-evaluating the map, he was correct on, which kept me reassured.


I also pulled off the rare sneaky move that I DIDN'T inform France about, (as usually I would give him a full breakdown of my orders, and generally vice-versa, to keep things transparent.) In the fall, I moved A PRU-SIL, which I did not tell France about for fear he might dislike the notion and bounce me from Munich. I needed to press my armies forward however, and France never seemed terribly displeased with what I did so I guess he didn't mind the advancement into semi-neutral territory.


France and I also agree to mostly halt unit production for now, to which I suggest we each build an army in London and Brest respectively to prevent fleet build stabs through the English channel. He agrees with the idea, so we proceed with those builds.




1908


Once again, not a whole lot of discussion on my end as I just do a brute smash downward through Russian territory. Blue steamroll all the way to the Black Sea. France contact me asking me what I want to do about Galicia and Rumania, wherein I tell him it is best that I acquire Galicia by the end of the year to do a full downward steamroll against Austria when the stabbing time comes, while Rumania I was in no immediate rush to acquire. I felt we could let Austria feel special by holding on to it for a little while until Turkey was an afterthought, at which point I would definitely end up stealing it for myself.


I get a little bit frazzled when France moves his BREST unit downward that we agreed to keep stationary, but France moves it back in a "just a prank bro" kind of gesture, and that is really the most drama we had that year on my end. Again, it is mainly France and Austria doing the planning at this point while I just offer a few of my opinions to France when asked, few of which I am passionate about. This might sound boring to many of you, and in a way it is, but I was once again fine with not having to deal with so much stress. I was biding my time waiting for Turkey to fall apart so that France and I could coordinate the final stab against Austria, and I was fine being patiently on standby until that happened.

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Old April 27th, 2020, 04:07 AM
Knight of Scape Knight of Scape is offline
 
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Re: Diplomacy

I am really curious what the communications between Turkey and Russia actually looked like in 1903 and 1904.

One of the big reasons I ended up helping France was he convinced me at the start of 1904 that there was a very plausible chance that Turkey and Russia were working together in a juggernaut, and I ended up believing him, in part because in 1903 Turkey had persuaded me to switch from a set of moves that, in retrospect, would have completely countered Russia's moves to a set of moves that lost badly to Russia's.

At this point, I was feeling like I didn't have a lot left to offer to Turkey, and so even if he hadn't been planning to work with Russia, he had to be considering now whether they'd be a more useful ally against the obvious England/France pair-up in the west.

I never actually found out, though, whether Turkey and Russia were actually planning anything of the sort, or whether they were just forced into working together after I turned on Turkey by helping Italy take Greece.

My inclination now is that they weren't actually forming a juggernaut here, in which case, I apologize to @All Your Pie for stabbing a faithful ally. My perception at the time was also clouded by the fact that I think that at this point, France, England and I were all assuming that Turkey was Kinseth, who is known for being a particularly devious player.
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Old April 27th, 2020, 04:05 PM
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EOG Statement Part 5

1909


The Spring begins boringly enough, with me having little to do but occupy the Armenian army in Turkey while Austria and France move in from the west. Apparently France sold Austria some BS about a mix-up where I forcibly took Galicia from France, (which was obviously arranged between France and I), as Austria wanted a DMZ between our borders. We really begin planning how we are going to stab Austria around this time. Austria continues to try and clue me in on plans, to which I don't really care to respond too much to as most of my moves are already pretty well set, so I tell him I will let him and France make those decisions down south between them.


Austria desperately wants me to move out of Galicia, and wants me to give my word that I will do so. In trying to decide how to respond to this demand, I simply never get around to sending him a message back. France suggests that we need to surround Austria in Bohemia and Tyrolia for the upcoming stab, and posits the idea of me pushing him out of Bohemia and knocking him into Tyrolia by force. I don't think I ever stress my concerns to France about this, but I prefer for France to move to Tyrolia on his own rather than making me look like an aggressor, as Austria might see this as me stabbing for a solo and then back France against me to give France the win.


If we were going to split victory, I would prefer it look like a simultaneous, mutual stab against Austria.


And then the Fall comes. This is around Easter, and I found myself preoccupied with a lot of life events, so while France and I agreed that now was the time to stab Austria, the exact moves were his idea, while I said "sure" in response. I also told him I would need to sail another army out eastward to help reinforce my battle lines, to which he agreed to on the condition I back off my NTH fleet afterwards. Had I planned better, I probably would have requested two armies be shepherded over first, but without proper foresight I agreed to back NTH into HEL once it had performed its convoy. Otherwise, we simply both stab at Austria by my taking of Rumania and France's taking of Trieste.


And then Winter comes, and discussions get really really saucy.


Being a player who can't resist the occasional smack talking, I send this letter to France and Austria, (after Austria had been wrecked by France and I):


Spoiler Alert!



Needless to say I was a bit of an asshole, though I didn't suspect Austria would take it as hard as he did.


For some reason, Austria seems absolutely convinced that the stab against him was all my idea, and that if I told him it was France's idea he simply wouldn't believe me as France seemed committed to the 3 way draw. And that if I didn't back off from his borders he would throw the game to a France solo win, as he liked France better at that point because France was willing to work and communicate with him up to that point. Honestly was the best move he could do in a desperate position there; @Knight of Scape played his heart out to the end.


Perhaps in an act of madness, I share this exchange with France, and then send a press directed at Austria where both he and France can see it, giving off a long-ass Bond Villain speech about how I anticipated that he would back his buddy France if he wanted vengeance, and nothing I could do would change that fact, but that he needed to recognize that the only reason France was so chipper with him was because he needed to use Austria as a tool to break down Turkey and Italy. I was always honest with Austria about what I wanted, and never schmoozed him, while France gave him hope of a 3 way draw simply so that he could be used as a pawn in this game of life. That he might have had a chance of a draw if he sided with the other eastern nations to stifle France and I after 1904, but instead got seduced into being used by an opposing superpower that never had any interest in sharing a victory with him. It was about as "real talk" of a speech as you'll probably ever find in a game of Diplomacy.



Knowing that Austria's (understandable) hatred toward me would block off any chance of a solo win, I really play up the (not entirely untrue) narrative that I had been playing for a team win with France for a long time now, and never suspected I would even make it this far, but I would rather risk getting stabbed by a soloing France than settle for a 3 way draw.



Austria sent me one more long message trying to convince me that there was no viable means of a stalemate between France and I, while France did what France does by diplomatically saying that he had definitely considered a 3 way draw as an option after I atom bombed Austria's soul into the shadow realm.




1910




After the firestorm of letters that was Winter 1909, I had to focus on how France and I were going to split up Austria, as I had no plans of backing down. So for the first time in a long while, I was in the thick of tactical battle plans.


I knew that the best move for an antagonistic Austria here was to launch a double supported march into Rumania, so I planned accordingly.


France and I agreed that it was best for him to support an attack of mine into Vienna, but had some other discussions on what other units should do. He originally proposed an idea to help him "temporarily" take Budapest, which I was DEFINITELY not a fan of. I was in a precarious position where I desperately needed to organize the 2 way draw, while giving France as little opportunity as possible to stab me for a solo win. I felt that if France got into Budapest, he would be too well positioned to stab for the win, (especially if Austria did in fact decide to help him.)


I proposed a sort of stalemate line where I would acquire Vienna, Budapest, and Austria, while he took over Turkey and the Balkan coast with primarily fleets in a way where his forces outnumbered my own, but they would not threaten my inland supply centers, (much like we had organized in northern Germany.)ha


Instead of offering to support him into Budapest, I suggested that he march into Serbia from Trieste, which would make it easier to organize said DMZ in the event that Austria took over Rumania and allowed France in, (this did not end up occurring, as the Austrian attack came from Budapest instead and therefore failed from Serbian support being cut.)


France was still able to gain a supply center in Smyrna though, and the Austrian army in Vienna was thankfully destroyed.


Fall comes, and there is a bit less discussion. I suggest a moveset wherein France takes over Bulgaria, but he decides instead to go for Greece while I take over Budapest. Sometime during this mess France must have convinced Austria that he would cooperate with Austria to stab me for the solo, as Austria's moves do seem to indicate that he was about to let France crash through my defenses, but France's actual moves nullify the Austrian support and allow us to bring Austria down to two centers this year.


One might assume that this was a missed golden opportunity for France to take a solo here, but any indication of betrayal or going for a solo win by France would have immediately led to my trying to preserve Austria's existence and fighting back against France long enough to orchestrate the beloved 3 way draw, in a "lol just a prank bro" sort of fashion. I believe Austria pragmatic enough to have accepted this sort of deal, and therefore any attempt at a French solo here would have just resulted in an even lesser draw on his part.


I also bring up the issue of a weak point I had near the Black Sea, making it aware to France that I needed additional troops to cover there, and stating that I would need to convoy some more armies over into Ukraine and Moscow to complete a stalemate. I also suggested he build armies to fortify his own stalemate lines to make sure there was no weak point for me to potentially break through.




1911




The final, and most paranoid year for both France and myself I imagine.


Knowing that the end was near, I spent a huge amount of time and energy stressing out over the map, seeing any place where France could potentially stab me, and any openings I might have to stab him first. I , needed to attain Serbia as my 17th center, and fortify my line at Bohemia and Silesia to assure a proper stalemate. I also needed time to convoy armies over to fully defend the region around thee Black Sea; time I was not sure if I would have against France.


Meanwhile, France was super concerned about my quick expansion, and was afraid of me taking Bohemia in a way that would colossally threaten him. He asks that I wait until the Fall to move into Serbia, and instead support his Greek ship into Rumania.


Lots of back and forth messages here, as 1911 was our own personal Cuban Missile Crisis so to speak. Ultimately we agreed on a mutual bounce in Bohemia, for me to take Silesia, him to go down the west coast of Italy to set up his stalemate line there, and for me to hold off on trying to force myself into Serbia and instead try to cut off support there with a single unit so that he could take Bulgaria.


Hilariously, I had no idea Austria would end up moving Serbia - Greece, which allowed for me to take over Serbia without needing support and giving me my 17th center.


After a very tense spring, our 1911 is a bit less stressful. With both of our moves obvious with no routes for immediate backstabbing, France takes the final two centers that he needs while I complete my stalemate line in Bohemia. He and I both maneuver some armies around in our home country in case the other decides to go for the solo, but ultimately we both decide that it is not worth the risk to go after one another's throat. With me potentially losing Rumania or Sevastapol if I get unlucky with bounces, and France potentially losing one of many scarcely defended western centers to my planned armadas, we decide that the most fitting way to end this war is to share the victory and bring forth a new age of prosperity to the European continent.

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  #657  
Old April 27th, 2020, 04:39 PM
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Re: Diplomacy

Reviewing the map, but pretty sure SEV is too weak and that France(Had he made a couple of different moves with the idea of going for the solo in this final move), should have been able to solo.

Even if that army in Den gets over to protect Sev, it becomes a guessing game at holding Rum or Sev eventually.

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Old April 27th, 2020, 04:39 PM
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Conclusion

CLOSING THOUGHTS




With this being only my second game of Diplomacy, (and the first game where I actually got to do much of anything, lol), I can't claim to be an expert on how most games evolve and how alliances shift and stabs occur. However, I hope that my breakdown of the game was entertaining and enlightening enough to showcase my own philosophy for how I played this round.


Diplomacy is known for being a game of duplicity, subtle political whispers, seizing opportunities, and manipulating your allies into giving you all they can offer. While all of that is true, I believe it is the antithesis of these things is what allowed France and I to come out as the last surviving nations in Europe. Not once in this game did France and I lie about our movements to one another. We convened at every opportunity to make sure our alliance was equally beneficial, never really manipulating the other player into trying to do something that was selfish. We didn't always agree on an exact route to go about things, but always found a way to compromise, and put our own nations at short term risk at different points, trusting the other player to use that opportunity not to stab at the immediate opportunity, but instead to further our joint cause of European domination.


Some people might have thought that one of us should have gone for the solo at different points of the game, but the key is that we were incredibly meticulous in planning our troops out in a way where we would have no great opportunities to stab the other. Creating stalemate lines, voicing concerns about our existing weak points and how to patch them up, etc. To me, it seems like a solo win should be incredibly difficult in games full of strong players, where people aren't easily manipulated. While I have a lack of experience in this game, I don't think I am necessarily an easy player to manipulate, and even though I would often defer to France's plans of attack, I kept a watchful eye to make sure I wasn't getting taken advantage of and stood up for myself when needed to, and France did the same when I asked a bit too much of him.


In a way, I essentially played for a 2 way draw first and solo second. This isn't to say that I was not about to take a solo win if a golden opportunity fell into my lap, because I absolutely would have, but my plan was to play where a 2 way draw was my worst possible outcome, instead of subscribing to a "solo or nothing" mentality. I figured if I could make a long term alliance that would leave me as one of the last two or three powers in the game, that stalling would give me enough time and territory to potentially find an opening to take the game for myself, instead of recklessly starting petty fires wherever I could.



But again, the alliance between France and I was too strong and too honest to even allow for such opportunities to arise. Honestly, without playing much Diplomacy prior, it wouldn't surprise me if this relationship was an outlier in its level of mutual trust and security. And I am absolutely pleased with the outcome. While a solo win would have been truly awesome, and something I would like to experience someday, getting to share victory with my game-long super ally in only my second game of Diplomacy ever was incredibly rewarding and satisfying.


Great game to everyone involved, and I am very much interested in playing again!



-scorp

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  #659  
Old April 27th, 2020, 04:46 PM
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Re: Diplomacy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kinseth View Post
Reviewing the map, but pretty sure SEV is too weak and that France(Had he made a couple of different moves with the idea of going for the solo in this final move), should have been able to solo.

Even if that army in Den gets over to protect Sev, it becomes a guessing game at holding Rum or Sev eventually.

I suppose I could go back each season and try and think of different things to do that would have put me in better solo position, but at the time it got to 17-17 at the board state, I didn't see a path to a solo, as I outlined already. (in fact I was fearful of a loss from English fleets) Although then you have to make lots of assumptions about how the powers still on the board react to those moves, so it's really not too helpful.

Sounds like I made some mistakes in the last few years, and in fact I kicked myself several times over the course of the game especially with German moves. But I'll just have to study what I could have done better
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Old April 27th, 2020, 04:50 PM
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Re: Diplomacy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kinseth View Post
Reviewing the map, but pretty sure SEV is too weak and that France(Had he made a couple of different moves with the idea of going for the solo in this final move), should have been able to solo.

Even if that army in Den gets over to protect Sev, it becomes a guessing game at holding Rum or Sev eventually.

Thing is, even in a slightly better iteration France isn't able to get fleets into Black Sea, Armenia, and east Bulgaria to take one of SEV or RUM until 1913. By that time, I have fleets swarming all over the western waters, including a guaranteed fleet in MAO threatening any number of supply centers depending on where France chooses to station defenses.


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