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Diplomiscellany: A Compendium of Diplomacy Related Material

Miscellaneous Miscellany
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Soloism
Diplomacy and the Way of the Warrior
Allan B. Calhamer: The Inventor
Miscellaneous Miscellany
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Coalition: Game Home Page

Some Additional Suggested Reading:

clausewitz2.jpg

On War, by Clausewitz
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Strategy, by Liddell-Hart
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Prince, by Machiavelli
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Art of War, by Sun Tzu
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Secret of High Strategy, by Yamamoto Haruyuki
 
 
 
 

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The Strategikon, by Maurice

EOG Statements:

Cat23 364 Turkish EOG Statement:

First, I must give thanks to Robert Johnson for a job well done. Second, thumbs up to all the players for 9 years played without a single NMR. Gentlemen, it was a gas! I will dispense with (most of) the arrogance for this EOG statement. Speaking of arrogance, did the theme of the game affect the playing styles of some of the players? I have my suspicions...

Opening:

Prior to the first moves, I had in depth conversations with Austria, Italy and Russia; and made friendly contact with England, France and Germany offering intelligence on a reciprocal basis. Italy was making anti-Austria noises, Austria was offering me an alliance against either Italy or Russia, and Russia stated that he was willing to allow me the Black Sea as a benefit of an alliance. My first inclination was to go with Russia if he came through, though I intended to be flexible and not make any firm decisions until 1902. In fact, he did come through, and I got into Bla.

What happened next was rather hard to understand-he moved an army to Armenia in the fall. Why did he do that, since he had already let me into the Black Sea? I would have been satisfied with a bounce in the spring if he had been worried about me. I guess I will find out from his EOG, if he files one. At that point, things got "interesting"...

First Stage Midgame:

Austria and Italy had gotten into it with each other early, and though both "scented blood" in my direction, they were slowed because of their mutual suspicions, which I eagerly encouraged. Because of that, and Russia's "preoccupation" up north, principally with Germany, but also with England, I was able to stave off all attackers, and when Austria was able to take Bulgaria from me, I was able to take Sevastopol to maintain unit count. Speaking of maintaining unit count, I did not have to disband a unit for the entire game, which I thought was somewhat unusual, considering the precarious situation I was in.

I was tempted at various points to ally with either Austria or Italy, but decided not to do so at the time for several reasons. They had both proven completely untrustworthy, and if I let my guard down at all, I was fairly certain that it would be Turkey dinner for all. I figured they would be fine to ally with only after I was fairly secure. In addition, it looked as though help would be arriving from the northwest...

Second Stage Midgame:

Unfortunately for my overall strategic picture, things in the west were basically going perfectly for England. France had been dismembered, and Germany was only just now able to push east against Russia. Both the German and Italian (he had decided to horn in on the French campaign and had grabbed a couple of centers), backs were incredibly open for an English stab, and Russia had no potential for an offensive against England either. I had retaken Bulgaria, but it looked like it would fall to the Austrians again. England and Germany were moving against Russia, since France had been eliminated after a tough (to his credit) struggle, while Austria and Italy had buried the hatchet to the extent that the Italian had finally stuck a fleet in EMS. I once more needed to maintain unit count, and Russia again provided the supply center. I worked a deal with the English and Germans to let the Russian army in Mos successfully enter StP, while I swooped in from behind to take Mos. I successfully duped the new Russian government into leaving Mos open, and was able to maintain unit count.

At this point (using orders I suggested to him) England stabbed Italy and was able to dislodge him from Spa and Mar. At basically the same time, Germany stuck an army into Austrian territory, which, while he was never able to conquer any supply center, certainly removed some of the pressure from me. I am sure England and Germany were helping me mainly for the purpose of keeping the other eastern powers busy, but I wasn't picky about their motivations. At this point, something very strange happened, which basically sealed the fate of the game...

Third Stage Midgame:

Italy put up no resistance to England, saying that he would throw the game to England, and little resistance to me (I think he was rightly chided by me and various other players for this decidedly un-arrogant policy). He reserved his considerable bile for Austria. This had the effect of making almost every English unit available for a titanic stab on Germany's (still!) wide open back, though I warned him repeatedly. It was so obvious I called it a "frontstab" at the time, and rightly so. Unfortunately, there was little I could do to help Germany, though I wanted to. England and Germany had juggled their units up north, so I had no border with England in Russia. I expect this was not an accident on England's part. I still could not trust Austria. His repeated deceptions and uneven deal proposals were not appealing, so most of my units still had to be facing him. I took back Bul, and eventually conquered Gre, but it was slow going.

My remaining forces were sent west to grab southern Italy, which was left wide open. If Italy had been playing a "normal" game, I probably would not have done so, but I was afraid he would continue to act in a bizarre fashion and let England take all his centers. I took Nap and put a fleet in Ion at the same time that England took Tun and put a fleet in GoL. I had a decision to make: fight England in the south (it was a 50/50 proposition that I could take Tun the next year, but I was unlikely to get any further than that-England could set up a stalemate line fairly easily), or agree to a buffer zone and fleet limitations with England down south, and hope that Germany could hold the line up north with help from me or Austria or both. I shook hands with the Devil (I could still count to 5 afterwards)...

Endgame:

The agreement between England and myself stood until the last turn of the game, when I violated it, though on good cause (England had stated that his 18th center would be StP, which I held. I had no intention of keeping StP, but HE didn't know that, so I took it as a voiding of our agreement). While perhaps strategically sound, since it did keep England away from the Italian centers, it turned out to be a disastrous decision in the actual play. Other than his BIG MISTAKE, Germany had made several important errors in the tactical play. He blocked up his home centers, preventing a build, he lost a center or two somewhat quicker than he should have, and he disbanded his last fleet, after I strongly suggested that he maintain it at all costs. With a fleet up north, both defense and eventual counterattack against England would be significantly easier.

As it was, the nearest fleets to England for the A/G/T proto-alliance were the Turkish fleets Ion and Rom. I am sure England was not losing too much sleep over them. I say proto-alliance, because Austria did not seem interested in sending any units north to support Germany. He and what was left of Italy were still busy with each other. Italy, as a last gasp, had managed to take Tri, and killing off Italy had most of Austria's attention. Toward the end, I figured I had to give Germany an extra unit, so, after he moved to Finland, giving me StP in exchange for Mos (he had the idea of an attack on England in Scandinavia, which had no chance of success, but I did not have anything better), I offered him StP back, with me moving to Lvn to support him. (A StP, by the way, certainly had an illustrious history, having been originally A Con, and had gotten there by taking Bul, Rum, Sev, and Mos before ending up in StP!). Since Germany owned War, this would leave a unit free in the center to help hold the line against England if Austria ever moved any units north. Austria did not, however, and there was no way England could be prevented from winning.

Final Thoughts:

While the "back to the wall" defense I put up in the first half of the game was fun in its own way, and IMAO (In My Arrogant Opinion) flawlessly executed, I found myself wishing I got half of the luck that England got. No slight meant, by the way to Mr. Richardson. He took advantage of what was offered to him in a deft manner, and his timing was good, as well. Still, given a somewhat coordinated defense, the English steamroller should have been stopped at approximately 13-15 supply centers. He could certainly still have won the game, and perhaps would have (though IMAO, I probably would have stopped him), but the last moves should have been fall 1916, not fall 1909.

Lastly, I must say that all of my opponents know what they are doing when it comes to Diplomacy. It was a pleasure playing with/against you. I nominate us all, including the GM, as an "Arrogant Ambassadors" Team for one of the upcoming tournaments. At the very least, we should win the prize for best press, and since I can guarantee a solo for my board, we should do quite well...

-[;-)

CIT 9803 German EOG

or The Rise and Fall of the German Empire


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: 'Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on those lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.'

-Percy Bysshe Shelley

First, I want to thank our GM, Emeric Miszti, for a well run game, and also the organizers of the tournament for their hard work. Compliments also to my conquerors. Suzanne Castagne Russia) handled her forces well and did not crack under pressure. Lauren Kohn (England, 1905-1912) played a good strategic game, taking advantage of the tactical lapses of France and Italy, and conducting good diplomacy with Russia. Robby Schimmelpfening (Austria) worked through a very difficult position after an error in the opening play, and if this was not a timed game, had a possibility of winning the game after being reduced to 1 center. The three of you handed me my first elimination in many, many games, and in a timed game, no less.

Opening:
I decided, playing Germany, that I could afford to go for a couple of builds and maintain friendly relations with everyone for the first year. I therefore negotiated nonaggression pacts with France, Russia and Austria, and made friendly noises to England, Italy and Turkey. I figured someone would break their word and provide me with my target. My first inclination was to ally with England, played by Bob Dengler of the Academy team, since I figured he would be less likely to stab irrationally and ruin the game for both of us. France was somewhat irritating in his emails, and Russia was vague, which proved to be her habit throughout the game. As it turned out, England went to the Channel, and France supported himself into Burgundy. I immediately concluded an alliance with England, and encouraged Italy to move west. Italy said he would do so, but did not, which began a game-long frustration. If Italy had been played by a player with a consistent interest in the game, things probably would have turned out much more favorably for me.

Midgame Stage I:
France did not submit orders in Spring 02, which allowed me to get into Bur. This gave me a stranglehold over him after that. He allowed me into Belgium voluntarily as a goodwill gesture. I took it, but would not go away. England and I developed an excellent working relationship, one of the smoothest I have ever had with any player. I figured he would eventually try to stab me, but worked hard to push that date back. I would not open up a two front war with Russia until France was eliminated or reduced to a minimum of units. In the east, the situation was chaotic, and would remain so for several turns. In other words, my position was about as good as could reasonably be hoped for. I needed to build a second fleet, but knew this would upset England. I therefore became "absent" after fall 03 and did not communicate with him, and was "surprised" when he got angry at my build of a second fleet in Kie. I explained it was for use against Russia, but I could not build in Ber, as it would tip her off. At about this time, Russia began to get the upper hand in the east, and I figured that it was time to slow her down. The question was how to do it without provoking a full scale conflict. The answer became obvious. Take a center from her without seeming to want to. Russia had suggested a bounce of Swe and Den the previous turn, but I refused, saying that such things often led to real hostilities. Now, I asked her for a bounce: Her Swe-Bal, me Kie-Bal, Den-Swe, claiming that England had suggested it, being nervous about Nwy. Of course, England had agreed to support me into Swe. This also had the important benefit of keeping my second fleet out of the Baltic. I needed that fleet to be facing England for defensive or offensive purposes. It worked like a charm. I blamed England for the "unintentional" conquest of Sweden. Russia must have at least half believed me. I made no further moves against her (though I did not offer to give up Sweden, nor did she ask too persistently), she did not move on me, and she stepped up her efforts to turn me against England. I was also pursuing diplomatic efforts with France. France had a chance to save Por-Spa-Mar, since I had given him a foolproof set of orders to do so. I would have taken Paris and headed east, leaving England to deal with France. Since Italy had proven to be basically a nonentity (Tunis was not taken until 1904. 1904!), this would have occupied England for some time. France would have none of it, and with a pretty tactical flourish, England gave up Bre and took Spa and Por in one turn.
 
Midgame Stage II:
At this point, real life concerns forced Bob Dengler to give up his position, and England was taken over by Lauren Kohn. I was at a crossroads. France was on the way out and Russia was growing more insistent about me acting on the proposals we were floating back and forth to turn on England together. In addition, I had the opportunity to take the North Sea in the Spring, and convoy an Army into Edi or Lon in the Fall, pretty much guaranteed, which together with a move by Russia into Nwy in the Spring (which would annihilate the lone English Army) and the Norwegian Sea in the fall would produce a devastating blow, the opportunity for which might not come again. In addition, Turkey and Russia had declared peace and allied, reducing Austria to 1 unit, and Turkey had stated that if the Anglo-German alliance did not break up, he would not turn on Russia. Understandable, as the Russian tactical position was superior to his. I would certainly need to have the aid of a southern power to take on Russia later. In addition, I had negotiated for Russia to support me into Vie, thus gaining a beachhead in the east. Given that this was a timed game, I had no working history with the new English player, and the tactical situation, I reached the conclusion that I had to grasp the opportunity. All went according to plan in the Spring, but in the Fall, Russia refused to follow through, which together with France deciding to team up with England and taking Belgium (something of a surprise, given the lack of previous evidence of diplomatic and tactical ability), left me with no builds for the year, and an angry English player. I realized that without Russian help, taking England against a skilled opponent would be horribly time consuming, so I immediately agreed to evacuate and help England regain Nwy. This was done so smoothly that I would think some outside observers of a cynical nature might have thought the earlier stab was a fake, but my relationship with England was never the same. Nevertheless, we did eliminate France, and I began mounting an attack against Russia and placed armies in Pru, Sil and Gal.

Midgame Stage III:
At this point, the replacement Italy (the original having been removed for NMRing one too many times) decided to stab me for Mun in the Spring, after I warned him not to. This while England was positioning itself for an attack on him. He should have been trying everything he could think of to turn me against England and move west himself. I had arranged my pieces to be able to kick him back to Trl in the fall, and did so, at the cost of slowing my attack on Russia. To test England's trustworthiness, I gave her a perfectly reasonable set of orders, which omitted covering Bel. Of course, I turned in another perfectly reasonable set of orders which did cover Bel, and she did attempt to stab me. Italy was duly kicked back into Trl, but it was another year with no build, and I had a large, hostile, skilled power on each side of me, not something which looked good in the long term. Now crossgaming reared its ugly head. Dan Barlow, captain of the USA East Team, asked my if there was anything I could do against Team Sweden (mostly) or Team AOL, as he had a chance for a solo in his game if something could be worked out. At this time, I could see that there would be no solo on my board and since Austria was Team AOL and Italy was Team Sweden, I agreed to his request, and immediately pulled back from Russia, while proposing a triple northern alliance of the large powers (E/G/R) against the three smaller southern powers (A/I/T). This would not have been something I would have proposed independently. I would have probably continued to attack Russia in conjunction with Turkey, and tried to hold the line against England. The alliance would give each of us our own sphere of conquest, and would have used up most of the time remaining in the game, thus keeping England and Russia busy until 1912, by which point it would have been difficult to keep me from the top score. (I was projecting a 13-11-10 or 12-11-11 in my favor). Unfortunately, neither side bit at the offer, I'm sure Austria was informed, and the three began to move in coordination against me, while my sole ally Turkey seemed to lose interest in the game, with a couple of NMRs.

Endgame:
The triple alliance against me proved too much for me to handle. Austria was not too active against me, but he kept a couple of units hanging around our border, tying me down, and was probably biding his time in order to catch me napping. I was reduced to a series of tactical retreats designed to keep at least one SC German at the end of the game. I guessed right about Austria's timing and was able to preserve Mun after the Fall 11 move. I was able to talk my way through Spring 12, but the urge for last minute conquests to put someone over the top doomed me at the last turn.

Final Thoughts:
So close. Were it not for Russia's well timed non-move and Italy's badly timed move, I could have had a solo, or at least a top in the game. The crossgaming also hastened my demise. What really galled me was that after I screwed up my position, and had made the "unusual" and unsuccessful triple alliance offer, Dan contacted me and said something to the effect of: "never mind, the other guy just stabbed me". Too late for me, unfortunately! I leave you with something written a long time ago about another "triple alliance"...


Ah love, could you and I with Him conspire,
To grasp this sorry scheme of things entire,
Would we not shatter it to bits, and then
Remold it nearer to the heart's desire?
Who knew Omar Khayyam played Diplomacy?
-[;^)

592 Sengoku: Miyoshi EOG Statement
 
I dedicate to
Musashi, master Kensei,
this great victory.

First, a big thank you to Benjamin Hester, for designing and GMing this very entertaining variant.  I recommend it heartily to everyone out there. To my fellow players: I look forward to meeting you again.
As this is a new variant, I will go into a fair amount of detail here. Perhaps players in future games of Sengoku Diplomacy may find this useful, even though the map is somewhat different.
I had heard about this variant and had offered some thoughts to Ben on the map a long time ago.  When the notice came out for the first cat23 game, I jumped at the chance to play, since it seemed so well designed (and since I had recently published an article on the applicability of Musashi's "A Book of Five Rings" to Diplomacy in the Pouch, how could I NOT play?).
Several things struck me immediately about the variant, and I continued to keep them in mind for the duration of the game:
1. This was a "big" and long board. Due to the elongated shape of the map, and the breakup of land and sea provinces, it would take an extremely long time to go from one end of the board to the other.
2. The multiplicity of non SC land provinces would put a premium on positional maneuvering.
3. The rule allowing builds in any owned SC would make rapid expansion not only possible, but perhaps preferred, if neighbors could be kept busy elsewhere until a final push for clear cut numerical/positional superiority was set up.
4. The separation of the sea provinces by the long main island (Honshu) into "Sea of Japan" areas and "Pacific Ocean" areas made getting fleets into BOTH areas of major long term strategic importance.
5. Unlike standard Diplomacy, where most SCs are connected to each other, in Sengoku, they are divided into numerous clusters, containing anywhere from 1 to 5 SCs, which is conducive to making discrete campaigns and setting up reasonable and defensible DMZs, and to looking non-threatening to your neighbors, even when planning attacks.
It might be a good idea for readers to have the map at hand while looking at this. It is the top map at the web site, which is <http://home.earthlink.net/~bthester777> . The map, unless it has been updated, shows the next to last move. I went +4 on the last move due to an NMR from one of the players, but I would have been +2 anyway. (I ended at 20 of 35 centers. An interesting rule difference is that in Sengoku, the victory criterion is substantially ALL the SCs, not a majority, which as in Standard Diplomacy, would be 18.)

I drew the Miyoshi Clan, which was my 5th choice, but the board is fairly balanced, and it did offer opportunities for expansion, sitting as it did in the largest SC cluster on the board. I made friends with everyone, and went for my two builds. I wanted to secure Awaji, since I believed that control of Osaka Bay and the SCs around it was vital to my long term success. The other center I went for was Tango. By obtaining Tango, I could build fleets in both water areas, which would give me greater flexibility in the later play. I set up for alliances with two of the other middle powers, Oda and Mori so as to help control the end powers, and worked to set up Chosokabe as my initial target. I was successful and got two builds.
My overall strategy with Mori was to constantly be helpful and give good tactical advice, which also happened to bring him into position to be a threat which Shimazu could not ignore. I could then decide who to support between them, or remain basically neutral and go North. I encouraged Oda to help Uesugi, who had been surprised by an early Takeda attack, but he decided to help Takeda instead. I did not like this, because it would mean that things might resolve themselves up north before I had a chance to get there.
Chosokabe helped out by stabbing Mori, and in due course, I took two centers from Chosokabe.  Meanwhile, up north, the original Oda player NMRed out of the game, and I took advantage of the new player, who had set up to fight Takeda. I was now the largest player on the board, and redoubled my efforts to get Mori and Shimazu to come to blows, and did so successfully. I continued to press my advantage against Oda (a replacement for the second Oda player, who also NMRed out), who had no choice but to believe me, since if he turned to defend against me, Takeda would have crushed him. I fed Oda a move suggestion, was able to deprive Takeda of a build, which set Takeda up for my attack, since I planned to roll right on through Oda without stopping. All the while, I was asking Takeda about province divisions and DMZs, to help lead him to believe that I wanted to move in the other direction.  I did move in the other direction, but in addition to, not instead of attacking Takeda. Since I was at 14 centers, I felt that the time had come for a final push. I readied myself for a stab on Mori, and evidently he had gotten worried about me too. We stabbed each other at the same time, but my stab was more effective, and I ended up taking 2 of his centers, while he only took one of mine, for a very important gain which prevented him from getting the build he would otherwise have gotten through his conquest of a Shimazu SC. Up north, Takeda had concentrated almost exclusively on armies, due to he conquest of Uesugi, and I made sure his armies stayed stacked up ineffectually by blockading his A Shinano, while I began flanking him with fleets.
After the simultaneous stabs, the game became a tactical exercise. Shimazu was too small, too involved with Mori, and too far away from me to be a major factor. The final year had me making further gains against both Takeda and Mori. The next year I would have a clear majority of units, together with superior positioning. Someone proposed a concession, which passed, and the game ended.
For those who have not been following the game closely, I reprise the various Diplomacy Haiku I composed for the game. Some of the press really added to the "mood" and enjoyability of the variant.
 
Cherry blossoms open
Swords are unsheathed
Spring in Diplomacy
 
Spring is for position
The Sages all agree
Green fields overridden
 
Supply Centers for Fall
The sages nod approval
Red leaves in fortresses
 
Hawks may call in spring
Beak and talon are needed
When the fall winds blow
 
Submitted orders.
Fragile origami boat
Drifting on a pond.
 
In Diplomacy,
The pond is always stormy,
Spring, Fall or Winter
 
Delicate ventures
Succeed in glory, or fail,
Promise unfulfilled.
 
Am I a Fall storm?
Leaves cover one dead daimyo
but not the other.
 
Tiring samurai
wandering in Summer heat
has found a flower.
 
Not only Autumn leaves,
but feathers fall from the sky.
The cool earth awaits.
 
Shadow, seared away
by the rising Autumn sun,
will soon disappear.

David E. Cohen

The warrior's Way is the twofold Way of pen and sword.
- Miyamoto Shinmen Musashi

Arrogant Ambassadors III (600) English EOG:
 
As I did in my EOG for AA I, I will dispense with (most of) the arrogance.
 
First, a thank you to our original and replacement GMs, Bob Johnson (the originator of the AA series) and Eric Skoglund and to Peter Richardson, our Color Analyst, for adding atmosphere.  Job well done.  Second, congratulations to David Watson on a well played game.  He got some breaks but he played a very disciplined and controlled game, which was just what was called for.  A pleasure playing against you all, some again, some for the first time.
                                   
On to the specifics.  I wanted to start slowly, feeling that the best policy would probably be to try to contain Russia.  Brian Ecton, as Italy, and I immediately sniffed out the center swap Juggernaut.  No too much I could do about it, since Scott Troemel, playing France, had violated our Channel DMZ and joined in a Sealion with Steph Mabie in Germany, while inexplicably supporting me into Belgium, leaving me as the most precarious 5 center England in Winter 01 that I had ever seen.  Edi said he wanted me as an ally, but his idea of an alliance seemed to be taking Nwy and getting into the waters around my home centers, a prospect which left me lukewarm, to put it mildly.  Hoping that I could turn Steph proved a bad choice, and I was down to two centers in  Winter 02 (Steph having taken Edi, Edi Birsan as Russia having taken Nwy, and Scott having taken Bel), but I retained F NtS, which proved a wise choice.
                              
Steph had made one silly move too may, and I convinced him I would convoy him out of Edi, back onto the continent to defend himself.  I got my home centers back, and spent the next three years or so fending off Scott, who never was able to penetrate my defenses.  Brian and I were constantly screaming at the rest of the board to stop the juggernaut especially considering Edi's bizarre thought of going for a three way draw rather than a win, which if believable, would make it even more difficult to crack the alliance, but no one seemed interested, and the central powers were ground down.  I was able to bloody Russia's nose a few times as we fought back and forth in Scandinavia, but I was not able to make consistent gains, because I was outnumbered, and had to worry about France.
                                   
Edi left his back bare once to often, and David made a limited stab, which we all thought was fake at the time, but at this point I guess was real, which shifted the balance of power.  Edi was constantly after me to attack France, both before the Turkish stab, which was understandable, and after, which was not.  If Edi had stiffened against the Turk after the first stab, the game would have had an entirely different flavor.  As it was, the alliances became inflexible, and Scott and I were gradually ground down, which grinding was not helped by a couple of suspect French moves.  Edi continued to leave his back open, the inevitable stab came, and the rest is history.
                                   
Some interesting parallels between my situation here and in AAI (which I pointed out to Peter Richardson some time ago):  playing a corner power, (Turkey in AAI) I was attacked early by my three neighbors.  Through some fantastically creative (in my arrogant opinion) defense I survived, and prevented gains by my enemies to the extent that the power in the other corner obtained the victory.  The moral of this story:  Be my ally, but if you choose to be my enemy, don't be my neighbor.  If you are my neighbor and my enemy, you lose!
                                   
Til we meet again, gentlemen.
 

Worldmasters 2000 R2-13 English EOG
 
First, a big thank you to Allen, for a game well run, and a general pat on the back to all the players for their dedication to the game.  Good luck to those of you advancing into the next round.
 
To specific players:
Peter:  You were fun to talk to, and I think we could have worked well together, if we had the chance.
Yarden:  Very good tactical and diplomatic work against me.  By the time I figured you out, it was too late.
Norman: Your attitude toward the game (Diplomacy as a whole, not this particular game) is antithetical to mine.  Still I always enjoyed talking to you, even after we were enemies.
Graham:  We never could work things out together, you had a good grasp of the game, and fought through to the end.
David: I had my most enjoyable conversations with you, and you deftly maneuvered so that I was channeled into working with you.  Excellent diplomatic and tactical work throughout the game.  If the deadline had been 1912, I'm sure you would have soloed.
Frederic: I couldn't figure out what you were up to (which is a compliment, by the way, since you did well in the game).  I would be interested in seeing you in action.

The game:
 
As I previously mentioned, my play in this game was uncharacteristic of me.  For that, I place the blame on the Tournament scoring structure.  I was originally not planned to play at all, but rather just be a member of the Tournament Management Committee and act as a non-playing captain for a group of (hopefully) dedicated and enthusiastic newbies (hence, the team name).  As it turns out, for various reasons, I ended up taking over for two of the players, in rather troubled positions.  In one, I was eliminated in the last year, and in the other, I made it to the end (after enormous struggle), with 1 SC.  To my complete amazement, I was informed that this entitled me to advance to the second round.  Since I hadn't been thinking of actually playing, I hadn't given much consideration to advancement, but a quick perusal of the scoring system led me to the conclusion that I had to solo, not just top, to have even the slightest chance of advancement.
 
With that in mind, I decided to play rather more aggressively than I normally do.  I decided that the first order of business was to get across at least one stalemate line, both quickly and in force.  The diplomatic situation seemed to be resolving into an E/G v. F/R (which is an alliance structure I like as England), and France was demanding I commit early, which I didn't like, but I figured I could keep my options open with France for a while, while I blitzed Russia (so, David, you were right to worry about me!).  I wanted to get an army into Moscow (at least), then work on France, and follow through on Italy and Germany for the solo.  Despite my best efforts, Russia did not leave himself too open, and worst of all, Germany failed to bounce Russia in Swe, as he said he would.  Now I was left with too strong a Russia, and a Germany who could not be trusted, which forced me into the arms of France, and left me with Germany as a first victim (definitely not my usual first choice, especially with obviously able players in France and Russia).
 
I went for Hel in 02, but Germany must have sensed something was up and bounced my follow up fleet move to NtS, so I was unable to make any real progress.  I knew I was in trouble.  France, meanwhile, continued to make requests which would leave me wide open to him.  I did not comply, and held on in the hope that the diplomatic situation would change before the hammer dropped.  A possible general alliance against Russia was thwarted the ill-advised inclusion of Turkey (a Russian ally at the time!) in the discussions, when Turkey should have just been fed some disinformation. At this point, if I was France, I would have gone for England, and indeed, France did.  Once the stab was made, I no longer had any realistic chance at a solo, and I determined to make France pay for every SC, and hopefully steer the tactical situation, after I was routed from England, to a point that France would never be able to withdraw any units from English soil and thereby gain advantage elsewhere (in this at least, my efforts were successful).  I had some hopes of survival on the continent with a wandering unit, but they did not work out.

May we meet again, gentlemen, upon the field.

SCD 17 Austrian EOG
 
 
Dusk at a Roadside Inn

His well-used sword is sheathed,
and hung above the hearth.
The distant trumpet calls
are no longer sounding.

His feet propped up to warm,
a good drink in his hand,
in an old rocking chair,
the soldier remembers.

Pondering long and hard
about what might have been,
he shares with passers-by
his tales of battles fought.

Though all is quiet now,
the soldier is certain
he will yet hear trumpets,
and draw his sword once more.


Madame GM, and gentlemen, thank you very much for this game.  I felt against this level of competition that I really would need to elevate my game to do well.  It looks like I didn't elevate quite far enough to beat this set of able and tenacious opponents.  I pulled every sweet tactical maneuver known to man, and each time I thought I saw a way to victory, I was blocked. Well done.  I enjoyed playing against each and every one of you.  I must also say that it is nice to have played a game to 1919 (is that an SCD record?), with the 3 eliminated players going out in 1909, 1910 and 1912, without a single replacement, and I think (if memory serves) no NMRs.  Bravo for the SCD.  I look forward to receiving EOGs from everyone who has not yet sent one.

I am going to go into some detail below, and will be using nation names instead of personal names, to make it a little easier for more casual readers to follow. The cast of characters:

Austria: David Cohen
England: Jim Rossiter
France: Rudi van Hal
Germany: Gregory Alexopoulos  
Italy: Frank Cialone      
Russia: Dov Kass      
Turkey: Mikko Saari 

My main goals were not to be immediately attacked, to get Ser and Gre, and to have at least 2 "reliable" allies (preferably Germany and Italy, though Germany wanted to bring France on board instead).  I wanted go get rolling fast in 1902, since, as I had mentioned at one point to Suzanne, I had seen too many Austrias skulking around in the Balkans, basically asking to be attacked, and then being duly eliminated in 1904. If I was going to go out that early, I would go in style.  My first thought was to go after Turkey, but I was open to switching, if someone else decided to attack me. 

For Spring 1901, I arranged a bounce in Gal with Russia, and hoped for the best from Italy, since I moved Vie down, and bounced in Gal with Bud.  It all worked.  In the Fall, Turkey and Russia bounced in Rum, Russia unsuccessfully attacked Nwy, and he also moved to Gal.  My new first target was Russia, but a thought occurred to me that with Italy and Germany free to head east (France was in the Channel (and England and Turkey mad at Russia, I could go after both Russia AND Turkey simultaneously (an Unjuggernaut?), especially if (I was able to camouflage things a bit, initially. 

Things worked out perfectly in 1902.  I annihilated the Turkish A Bul in the Spring, and forced Russia out of Gal, at the same time the Russians moved into Arm, so the would be no Russo-Turkish cooperation.  Germany and England started slugging it out with Russia up north.  That fall, I sprung it on Russia, by taking Rum, and slipping into Ukr, gaining a great positional advantage.  I played most of the game sitting near other people's home dots, giving me freedom to move, while pinning them down.

1903 and 1904 were problematic.  England stabbed Germany, giving Russia, who was ready to crumble, a new lease on life, and in 1904, Italy supported a Turkish fleet into Tri in the Spring.  I managed to convince Italy to support me back into Tri in the fall, but I could no longer trust him, and without German help, I was at even strength against the combined RT.  Though I had the positional advantage, gains were going to be slow, and that was when I first thought that I would not be quick enough to cross a stalemate line, and the game might end in a draw.  I did manage to trade Bul for War, but Russia got the short end of it.  By taking War, I froze Germany out of Central Russia, and I got Russia to take Bul with a Fleet, which was offensively ineffective and also blocked up the Turkish units.  I endeavored (successfully) to keep that fleet there a long time.

By 1905, Italy had France on the ropes, and I could see that the handwriting was on the wall for another stab by Italy, so (with great reluctance, since I would now be facing a combined IRT which would outnumber me 11-9) I preemptively attacked Italy, and took Ven and Tun (Tun was by a planned offensive retreat).  1906 went well, with me getting kicked out of Tun, but getting TyS in exchange, and hoodwinking Russia out of Mos, Sev and Bul, while only losing Rum (again, to the offensively useless Russian fleet), thus removing Russia as a major threat.  Italy attempted to go suicidal on me, but France was eating him up from the west, and I knew all I had to do was hold the line.  Turkey was going to be a difficult nut to crack, though.  Russia had managed to get a unit into Germany, which along with England, kept Germany occupied.  All I needed to do was be a good neighbor and help out against Russia, and Germany was more or less happy with me, though he kept asking for Warsaw.

1907 continued to go well.  I had slipped an army into Armenia, then took Ankara, and managed to get units into Apu and Nap.  My stalemate worries continued, as I was unable to stop England from taking StP.  I had so wanted to take it.  The situation was such that I probably could have marched armies throughout Scandinavia, an appealing prospect for anyone playing Austria.  1908 had me in full stalemate conflict with England, but I did manage to confine Turkey and Russia to the Turkish home Centers, and Italy was left with Tun, and had to rely on me to save him from France.  I made the determination to build up my navy and work toward Gibraltar, in hopes of forcing through there, so I built my third fleet that year.

1909 and 1910 were interesting, if frustrating years.  In 1909 I was able to take Smy, and took Mun.  Unfortunately, I did not want Mun, I wanted Bur.  I would have gotten it too, since my taking Mun was a prearranged intended passthrough, and cracked the stalemate line, if Germany had supported me in with two units, but unfortunately, he only supported with one, and I got Mun as a consolation prize.  There went one of my best shots at the win.  It was about this time that the first of many (mostly silly) draws got proposed.   In 1910 I got a second unit into Asia Minor, reducing Turkey to Bul and Smy.  Russia was eliminated, and I was sort of sorry to see the first power go.  I find that the more powers on the board, the more complex the negotiations, the more movements there are at cross purposes, and therefore the more chances for a solo. 

Italy suicided in favor of France, giving him Tun, but in 1911 I was able to reduce Turkey to a single dot (Sev, occupied by a fleet). England was getting the upper hand on Germany, and there was not much I could do about it.  I had been having ongoing conversations with Germany about him suiciding in my favor, but I could never convince him.  1912 was frustrating, since I had made in depth  tactical discussions coupled with generous propositions to Germany, which would have gotten him War and Mos that year, and Sev the next,  in order to give him the necessary units for him to be a true threat to England and France, but he did not follow through and take Mos in the fall.

I figured that 1913 was the time to make a big push, though I was not optimistic about my chances.  I took Warsaw back, and began the process of forcing the Western Med, using my naval superiority against France to take Tun.  In 1914, I fell just short, capturing Tun and Mun in the spring, but I could not hold onto Mun, despite my very strenuous efforts at disinformation.

After that, I ran all my units up to the edge of the stalemate line, and then began offering large amounts of dots to England and France, in the hopes of breaking the western alliance.  I pulled my units back over the next several seasons, in an almost comical formation.  After a couple of years of sitting around doing nothing, England and France finally began to move after me, and Germany became angry at not getting a slice of the pie.  I had given up a lot less than I thought I might have to (Tun, Mos and Sev).  I had been prepared to give up a total of 10 dots (Mos, Sev, the Turkish dots, Tun, the Italian dots and Gre).  I once more got into Mun (and Ruh as well) with German permission.  If Germany stayed friendly, I would have taken Bur, after which I certainly would have won, since France would have crumbled, and I would have retaken the east (already partly accomplished).  Everyone got their act together, though, and I was kicked out of Germany.  I had previously rejected over a dozen draw proposals, but I figured there was not a good shot at breaking their alliance again, so I finally proposed a draw myself, which was accepted, and the game ended after Fall 1919.

948-Mandate of Heaven GM's EOG Statement:
 
I waited a while before writing this, so as to give some of the players a chance to submit their own.

First, a thank you to all the players, for participating in the initial playtest.  I was generally impressed by the level of play.  I would perhaps have liked to have seen more aggression, and perhaps more use made of the mobile neutral units, but obviously, on a strange map, with an unusual new rule, I could not expect that much. 
If the variant is played again, (and I have gotten a commitment from someone, who shall remain nameless for the moment, to run a game), I will put my money where my mouth is and play myself.

I think the map proved itself pretty fair.  The one area where there may need to be changes is in the area the Hsiung-Nu.  Stronger, weaker, or just different.  I am not sure.  I would like to see a few more games run before I tinker.

Now, for some specific-game related comments:

First, the "flavor" of each particular game will be influenced by where the Hsiung-Nu make there builds.  In this case, Bob Olivere chose to concentrate the Hsiung-Nu builds to face Alain Desgagne's Ch'in. Another option might be to build three units in widely separated locations, or two units in one spot and one far away.  I'd be interested in seeing such a strategy employed.

I was also interested in the fact that some other players, not just the Hsiung-Nu, went after their neighbors right away, instead of going after neutrals.  Since the neutrals are no longer easy pickings, and each power is touching two or three others right at the beginning of the game, I expect intense early combat to be much more common than in Standard Diplomacy.

Even though there were no convoys or use of rivers in this particular game, it was nice to see a power, Gregory Alexopoulos' Ch'i, following a fairly naval strategy on a truly land based board, and, for a time have some success with it.

Academy 156 Italian EOG
 
Before I get into the game itself...

My compliments first off to our GM, Len Tennant, for an exceedingly well run game.   Thanks for putting up with me.

To the players, in alphabetical order of country:

Steve Emmert (Austria):   It was a true pleasure crossing swords with you, as much when we were fighting as when we were allied.  We must do this again, some time.

Chris Martin (England):  Some very creative play came out of that corner of the board.  If I can ever find the time, I would indeed like to play on the same board with you FTF.

Andy Bartalone (France):  You were one tough nut to crack. If I ever get to play with Chris FTF, I am hoping you will be around too!

Suzanne Castagne (Germany):  Two times we crossed swords, two times you shredded me.  How depressing.  :^)))  I can never quite figure you out, which, given the results, can only mean something very deep is going on in there.

Bret Cousins (Russia):  You were in this game, right, Bret?  ;^)  Since I had so much fun playing against you twice before, I was disappointed personally (game considerations aside), that you were not around longer.

Steph Mabie (Turkey):  Tenacious as ever.  Crossing you was not a decision I made lightly, and I was right, as you made my life quite difficult for a while.


And now, the game (in which I will refer to the players as their country, for ease of those outsiders who didn't follow things too closely):

Things started off pretty much noncommittal with most of us.  I wanted an alliance with Austria to contain and reduce Turkey, and an alliance either with France, in which case I would head east, or Germany in which case I would head east and west simultaneously.  Spring 1901 went uneventfully for me, but England opened to ECh, and France moved the fleet south and supported Par-Bur.  In the east, Turkey was in Bla and Russia in Arm.  Then I got a little brainstorm.  A Central Triple, but not the usual non-aggression pact sort of thing.  This would be a proactive, offensive Central Triple.  With the corner powers fighting each other, we could, with a little diplomatic and tactical subtlety, camouflage the alliance until it was too late for the corner powers to do anything about it.  As Italy I would eliminate Turkey, and break out into the Atlantic.  I looked to an endgame where I could hold off Austria and Germany on land, and out muscle them with fleets for the solo.  After some convincing, Germany and Austria agreed.  Things set up well in the Fall.  The corner powers were all tied up with each other. Austria and I feigned a little hostility.  I maintained good relations with everyone, with the possible exception of Turkey.  1902 continued well, with the exception of the fact that Russia looked like it would fall quickly, which was not to my taste, as it would mean that my teutonic allies would grow much faster than me.  I also got a little leery of Austria, and arranged for a bounce in Pie, without Austria's knowledge.  If I was wrong, it would be fine because it would set up France better for me, as he would commit more of his forces against the English and Germans.  In the fall, to further the phony war aspect of the Central Triple, Austria agreed that I could take Greece and eliminate his fleet, while we bounced in Tri.  More security for me, and a build which I would send west against France.  Turkey and France were, I think, successfully hoodwinked, or at least made unsure of the real situation.  My biggest worries were that England had weakened Russia by taking StP, and had expressed an interest in Iberia.

1903 went well for me.  I successfully slipped into Mar for a build. Often enough in Diplomacy, it isn't what resources you have, but rather what you do with them.  The problems for me were that Russia was wiped out, I faced a fleet laden Turkey lurking in the corner, and England was still hanging around Iberia.  I was now stretched out east and west, and I was desperately looking for a build, since I figured Austria would drop the hammer if the chance presented itself.  1904 saw the Central Triple come out in the open once and for all (with Germany attacking England), but there really wasn't too much the three remaining corner powers could do about it, as we had much better coordination and positioning.  They had to hope we broke it up ourselves.  1905 went well, as well.  I took Spa and Con, bringing me up to 8 dots, the same as Germany and Austria.  France was almost gone, and the Turkish defenses had been cracked.  Germany was making some positional headway against England, so the pressure was lessened there.  I wanted one more year of positioning and growth before I went in big time for home defense.  My big strategic mistake of the game.

In 1906 Austria stabbed me, going for Ven, and kicking me out of Turkey. I was able to slip into Por, and Germany let me have Par, so my material losses losses were not big, but my defenses were shredded, and it looked like big trouble as far as my prospects for a solo were concerned.  If I threw everything I had against Austria, I thought I might be able to barely hold the line, and that is what I did. In 1907, though Austria managed to get two more units into the boot, he could not take another dot from me.  I planned to hold him and soak up his units until his bare back proved too tough for Germany to resist.  I had originally invited England into the Med, when he had a few more units, but now with England clearly at Germany's mercy, he kept ONLY his Mediterranean units.  England was playing a strange game at this point, I guess looking to survive by being useful to Germany, and  ostensibly backing me against Austria.  Germany and England began circling like vultures around my barely covered western SCs, but there was nothing to be done about it.   In 1908, Austria finally saw the light, that Germany would be getting out of control soon, and we arranged to swap Smy (occupied by me temporarily, which would eliminate Turkey) for Ven.  We went through with it, and I was back in control of my own dots.  Now my problem was in the west.  I had to swing all my units that way, or be swamped by Germany, who would likely solo.

1909 saw some interesting goings on.  Germany broke through and took Spain, but Austria managed to get a unit into Mun in the spring, and took Kie with it in the fall, so Germany became somewhat "preoccupied ". The two English units were still in my back yard.  1910 was even more "interesting".  I figured England, now that Austria seemed to be gaining against Germany, might go after me, and turned in a set of orders that offered the possibility, depending on other moves, for him to retreat into German-owned Spa and to take Tun.  It worked out that way, and even though Germany took Lon, England now had a build behind German lines. The downside of these tactical somersaults was that it brought me down to 4 dots, and left the Austrian A Pie as the only unit on the boot. After some deep thinking, and indications from Suzanne that she would back off, I decided to retake Spa and Tun from Chris.  I needed to bulk up if I were to improve my dim chances for a solo.  Yes, I was still thinking about a solo at the point.  As I said, I think to Chris Martin (England) slightly before this point in the game, "I may BE small, but I always try not to THINK small.".  I took back Spa and Tun in the fall of 1911.

It was now 1912.  England became very angry, and began to consistently support Germany against me with his remaining unit in MAO  Germany had taken Por, but I had my home dots, Spa, Mar and Tun.  Austria had F WMS, but was otherwise out of my hair.  Things began to look very drawish, and around this time, I made a demand of three dots, in advance, for me to attack the other side.  Unfortunately, no takers. If someone had taken me up on it, my plan would have been to go on the attack against both Austria and Germany simultaneously.  Now THAT would have been a lot of fun!  -[:^)  Things were basically static for the next 3 years. Finally, in 1915, I guess Austria could no longer take the boredom, :^) and decided to go after me.  I suppose Austria convinced Germany to go after me jointly to break the impasse, and perhaps get a two way draw, although I would have to think that both were somewhat hopeful of squeezing out a win in the chaos.  Germany took England's last home dot, but because Austria did not support me, England took Spa.  Austria got into position to swamp me next year.  Once again, I had to swing everything east.   I saw that Tun was the crucial dot, for everyone, and put all my diplomatic and tactical efforts into preserving Tun, and into convincing everyone else that Tun was not in fact my main concern.

1916 was one of the most interesting and hair raising game years of Diplomacy as I have ever played.  I vacated Mar (the English fleet took it, with German support), so as to preserve all five of my units for use in the fall, while Austria convoyed an army to Nap.  Tunis would be a complete guessing game.  I figured, correctly, that Austria would attack from WMS, with the uncuttable support of Ion, and so submitted preliminary orders for an attack of WMS from Tun, supported by GoL. Later, Germany offered support to WMS, which I took her up on, since if she did not follow through, Tun would fall to Austria.  This let me move my other Fleet to TyS, where it could be of use in operations on the boot and for Tun.  I did not want to use it in support of Tun, since I wanted, if my idea was correct, to remain in Tun, rather than take WMS. I also protected Rom and put 2 units on Ven, which would be enough to stop all but the most determined Austrian attack.  It all worked out as best as could possibly be hoped for.  I stayed in Tun,  got TyS and kept Ven, leaving me at 3 (Ven, Rom, Tun), when I figured I would likely be down to 1 or 2 units.  Germany had taken Mar, dislodging (and thereby eliminating) England and now had 17 SCs and 3 fleets fronting and/or in the Med, while Austria landed another unit in Apu, but also had only 3 fleets.  I figured that if I kept both my fleets and one of my 3 armies, rather than disbanding any fleets, I would be able to either force a draw, or throw the game.  Germany and Austria saw the writing on the wall, and that winter, a three way (A/G/I) draw proposal was made, and passed.


What a wild ride.  I love this game.  -[:^)

 

Paradox Diplomacy Forum, Demonstration Game 6: Gondwanan End-of-Game Statement (Maharajah's Diplomacy Variant)

 

Before I get into the meat of my EOG, I want to compliment Martin Gilbey, the GM, for a game very well run. GMing is one of those thankless tasks, and when it is a variant, the task is more difficult. He ran the game smoothly and was solicitous of the needs of the players.

As to the players, my compliments to you, as well. Though I did not always agree with or, in some cases, even understand your decisions, you all played with spirit and dedication to the game.

I will put the roster here, and hereafter just use the names of the Powers:

Bahmana: Concordant Nexus
Delhi: Capitan
Gondwana: David E. Cohen
Mughalistan: King Of Men
Persia: Soreleg
Rajputana: Czar1111
Vijayanagar: Josephus I

I suggested a game of Maharajah's Diplomacy, a variant of my design, so that people who were not all that familiar with Diplomacy could see some of the breadth of variety the game has to offer. The variant has the same scale and general feel as Standard Diplomacy, but the historical subject matter, and the map, are completely different. Of course, I realized that it being my variant, I might well have a bull's eye painted on my back, and to some extent, perhaps, that proved to be the case...

I gave no preference as to Powers, to the GM, and was assigned Gondwana, one of the central Powers of the game. My general preference, when playing a centrally located Power, is to ally with other Central Powers, and push outward, to reduce the advantage of the edge and corner Powers. Primarily, that meant working with Bahmana and Rajputana. As Bahmana and Rajputana had ample opportunities to pick up neutral dots elsewhere, and I did not, I put forward to them that I should get Bidar and Malwa, two centrally located neutrals adjacent to us. Unfortunately they had other ideas, and this caused a fateful shift in my plans. I negotiated friendly neutrality with Delhi, and an active alliance with Vijayanagar.

In 1501, the first year, Delhi moved North, and in the south, it was Vijayanagar and I against Bahmana and Rajputana. Unfortunately, Persia and Mughalistan were hostile to each other, so Bahmana and Rajputana had little pressure against them. Though I got a build, and Vijayanagar got Bidar, he did not follow some advice I gave him, and he lost a home dot to Bahmana. Given the greater resources available to Bahmana and Rajputana, if things continued as they were, I was in trouble. I therefore labored intensively in 1502 to get the alliance structures on the board reshuffled, but was unsuccessful. Vijayanagar attempted the phony war gambit, with me faking a stab. Nice when you do the stabbing, since you always have the option of making the stab real. I also gained a unit against Rajputana, but I was more worried about Bahmana, since he had a build as well.

1503 was a pretty good year, making a gain against Bahmana, but he again offset that with new dots taken elsewhere, and Rajputana was still firmly on his side, though since Persia had moved against him he was now preoccupied. In 1504, while things more or less stagnated for me, Bahmana made gains again, and more worrisome, Delhi, stretched out to my east, gained against both Vijayanagar and Mughalistan, and was threatening to become a dominant Power.

In 1505, things began to look really dicey. Rajputana, while under assault from multiple sides, had decided that rather than defend himself against his former ally Bahmana, among others, he would slip into one of my home dots. Both Delhi and Bahmana made significant gains, and it looked as though I might slip into second tier status. The worries became even greater in 1506, with me having to replace Rajputanan ownership of my home dot with Delhian, because I could not remove him myself. I also lost a dot to Bidar, while Persia and Delhi gained from the elimination of Mughalistan.

Things all turned around in 1507. My negotiations with Bahmana finally bore fruit, but I intended to seize the moment rather than align with him. Together with coordinated moves by Persia and Rajputana against Delhi, the other board leader, I thought I had a shot at 3 builds and a modicum of security. If it did not work, I would have angered Delhi for nothing, and my position against Bahmana would have been very bad. It was, however, probably my last shot at a solo. As it turned out, it worked, and I did get three builds, with both Bahmana and Delhi taking significant hits. Unfortunately, one of the dots was the last of my ill-used ally Vijayanagar (I had stabbed him earlier, in an unsuccessful effeort to work with Bahmana, who had instead continued to attack me), but he was quite understanding. We had maintained a good relationship throughout the game, and were the situations reversed, I would have given up my last dot to him without complaint. My tactical position was improved, but still not secure, and I anticipated some I would have to pull out some very intricate tactics in 1508 to improve things. I tired to convince Delhi (truthfully, I might add) that my main concern was with Bahmana, and if he ceded me his two remaining eastern and southern dots, I would leave him alone to fight Persia, and he could always seek revenge against me later. He would have none of it, and threw himself against both Persia and I simultaneously, which really prevented him from mounting a good defense against either of us, though fortunately, I was able to take more advantage of this. In 1508, while Bahmana and I traded dots, I took three from Delhi, including one of his original home Supply Centers, and I had prospects to gain more. If I could keep my opponents disorganized and at each others throats, I now had a very real shot at a win.

In 1509 Persia and I finished off Delhi, and I had a decision to make, as to whether to move against Persia immediately, or to just build up forces there, but concentrate offensively against Bahmana, against whom I definitely now had the upper hand tactically. Judging that I did not have enough force available to me, I held off against Persia. The next three years had me making slow gains against Bahmana, and hostilities begin between Persia and Rajputana on one side, and me on the other (they decided to move on me first), on a more or less even footing. I kept looking for a break, since things began to look drawish. I kept asking Persia to turn on Rajputana, and he and I could race for the solo, but he did not even acknowledge my repeated messages. I knew I could not win against a truly united Persia/Rajputana alliance, so I proposed a draw. I knew the two small Powers, Bahmana (down to 3 dots) and Rajputana (around a half dozen, but tactically at the mercy of Rajputana) would vote for it, but if Persia had any thought of winning, which would of necessity involve attacking Rajputana, he would vote against. If he voted in favor, I had no shot anyway. I guess he was unwilling to take the chance, so the draw proposal passed, and play ended in 1512, with me 3 dots short of a win.

Interestingly enough, out of the twelve games (that I know of, anyway) played so far of this variant, this is the first that has ended in a draw.

SCD39 Italian EOG

 
They out-talk'd thee, hiss'd thee, tore thee?
Better men fared thus before thee;
Fired their ringing shot and pass'd,
Hotly charged-and sank at last.

Charge once more, then, and be dumb!
Let the victors, when they come,
When the forts of folly fall,
Find thy body by the wall!

Sorry for the delay in publishing this EOG, but since no one else has done
one, I don't feel too bad!  As I will shortly be out of town, with very
limited internet access for the next week and a half or so, please forgive
me if I do not respond to comments on this EOG.

What a glorious and frustrating game, as Dip at the highest level usually
is. First of all, a heartfelt thank-you to Mike Tombu, for a well GMed game.
To the players, it was a pleasure going up against each and every one of
you, some for the first time, and some yet again.  For those who weren't
following closely, the players were as follows:

Jim Rossiter:  Austria
Ted Fines: England
Mike Ashland: France
Roy Rink: Germany
Me: Italy
Suzanne Castagne: Russia
Grant Steel:  Turkey

From now on, I will refer to the Powers, not the players, to simplify
things.  On to the opening.  Relations with Austria, always my first order
of business as Italy, seemed to have gotten off to a good start.  I am not
usually a big fan of early attacks on Tri or moving to Tyo, though I would
love to do so if I could get Germany to lend me Mun!  Germany and England
both wanted me to jump on France, but would not commit to doing anything
there themselves, so I decided to cultivate good relations with France as
well, and arranged a bounce in Pie.  I attempted to gently steer Russia
south and Turkey north.  I don't know if it was me, but they bounced in Bla,
which was to my liking.  Fall '01 looked pretty good, too.  Things were nice
and confused, with plenty of hostility and bad feelings in both the east and
west, with France in the Channel, and Austria going anti-Russian with a
support for Turkey, which wasn't acted upon.   I took Tun with a fleet, so
as to be ready to go in either direction, and set up defensively in Ven and
Apu.  Of the rest of the Powers, Germany looked very good, with friendly
relations with both England and Russia.  My problem was that both of my easy
targets, Austria and France, were under pressure from a pair of Powers each,
and I did not want to attack and get scraps. So, I looked forward to a
balance-of-power type of game, and tried to steer the game to a more
leisurely pace, where I could pick a spot to pounce.

1902 was an interesting year.  Many more pleas from various people to attack
someone, or move in "the other direction".  I took Ion from Nap, with
support, just to make sure I got there.  I figured on moving east, though
against who I wasn't sure, but I wanted my fleet to stay in Tun, to keep my
options open.  Austria took Bul, but moved F Gre to Alb, giving Turkey a
place to retreat.  I really didn't know what to make of that.  Further,
Germany moved to Tyrolia, which thrilled me not at all, since he could
either be helping Austria against me, or trying to flank France, which would
cut me out of any possible spoils.  I suspected the former, until I saw a
very long exchange of emails between Germany and Austria.  Control of
Tyrolia would become a long-time sticking point between the three of us. I
discussed things with France, and since neither one of us wanted a German
army in Pie, I moved there with French permission.  I had guessed right, and
we bounced.

I decided to commit to propping up France, since Germany looked like the
player to stop, and to working with Austria, both to get Germany out of
Tyrolia and to see if I could get some material gains in the east, since
Turkey appeared to be destined to be carved up.  I was hoping to get a dot
or two there, and then decide whether to continue things with Austria, or
work with Russia.  In 1903, I did manage to get into Piedmont, and Austria
got into Tyo and Boh, but Germany managed to take Swe from Russia (who
stayed even by taken Nwy from England).  1904 saw the pressure maintained on
Germany, but I began to get the feeling that Austria was not too keen on
actually moving on the other Kaiser.  Germany got a big positional boost,
landing in Livonia and Burgundy.  I finally got a build out of Turkey, but
Austria got two, one from Turkey and one from Russia.  The personal
relationship between England and France got fairly ugly around this time, if
not before, and really poisoned the flexibility of the game, making
Germany's road much smoother.



1905 was more of the same, but I was frustrated because Austria kept going
after Russia, instead of letting Russia alone to go after Germany, whose
position was beginning to be dominant.  So, in 1906, I took Tri in the
Spring, but I really didn't want to cripple Austria, and in the fall, I
made no effort to keep it, and instead took Gre.  Regarding Smy, I had an
agreement with Turkey that he could take it back, but that he would not, for
now.  I was hoping to keep postponing the date, and eventually not have it
happen at all.  In 1907, built some more on cooperation with Austria,
including my first hostile adjacent convoy in quite a while, but I could not
get him to move on Germany, who with English help, had finally begun to
break through against France, and was likely to move forward in the east as
well.



1908 saw the first French dot fall to Germany, and Germany consolidated in
the east, as well.  The main problem was the Anglo-French relationship, or
rather the lack of one.  England would not turn against Germany without
France being crushed, but if he was, the Germany would win.  Having an
English puppet effectively gave Germany the naval punch he lacked, and made
him much more dangerous.  In 1909, I gave a shot to feigning alliance with
Germany, to gain Mar, and maybe turn England against him, but Germany say a
solo coming, so he double crossed me and grabbed Mar for himself.



Since my last real shot at a solo was gone, I now put my attempted
organizing of a defensive alliance to stop Germany into high gear.  Not
easy, given the bad blood between many of the members of the A/F/I/R/T.
Still, despite some recriminations, a bunch of voted down draws, and some
occasionally bizarre antics, we held things together, especially with, on a
couple of occasions, some neat tactical maneuvering at Gibraltar, barely
denying Germany the Solo (since he took all the English dots), and a DIAS
draw among the six survivors was finally approved by unanimous vote.


Thank you all.

 

Cat23 1245 West Frankish EOG Statement

Thank you all for playing in the game, and a special thank you to Martin for doing a great job GMing a large and unfamiliar variant.  It was a pleasure to cross swords with each of you, even if the result was not a good one for me.  I will recite the cast of characters, and from then on refer to the Powers by short name only.

Byzantine Empire (Byzantium) Suzanne Castagne
Kingdom Of Denmark (Denmark) Rolf Andreassen
Tulunid Emirate (Egypt) Dominik Kesik
West Frankish Kingdom (France) Me
East Frankish Kingdom (Germany) Luis Aldamiz
Kingdom of Italy (Italy) Mike Morris
Kaganate of Khazaria Trent Woodruff
Abbasid Caliphate (Persia) Stefan Krekeler
Principality of Kiev (Russia) Stephen Mawson
Umayyad Emirate (Spain) Kurt Sharp

I began this game, as I often do, looking to secure my borders, gain some strength, and have good starting relationships with my neighbors (Denmark,
Germany, Spain, and Italy), which would give me possibilities for expansion in several different areas, and in fact I got all I wanted, especially by trusting Spain, who was a very good communicator.

Things worked out rather well.  I got friendly neutrality with both Spain and Italy, which was great because I had hoped that they would knock heads while I dealt with the north.  I had worked out a deal with Germany, wherein he would get Scandinavia, and I would get the British Isles, for a nice 3-3 split, after which, we could go our separate ways.  Things went well in 902, and we were in Wessex and Jelling.  In another two or three years, Denmark would be history.

At this point, something occurred that would completely change my plans and the whole course of the game.  Spain went silent.  Completely and absolutely silent (this situation was due, I found out later, after I sent over two dozen messages before I was eliminated, to some serious RL issues on Spain's end, but it didn't  make things any easier at the time).  A complete about face from his earlier behavior.  I had a decision to make.  Continue my friendly neutrality, and concentrate on the north, or launch an attack on a valuable potential ally.  I decided better safe than sorry, and attacked Spain, reasoning that if he proved friendly, and the silence was not indicative of anything, I could always pull back in the fall.

As it turns out, I was right, and Spain attacked, but my attack (no accident, as I had negotiated and positioned for this eventuality) was more effective.  Up north, Germany had been acting funny, exercising his well developed (even for a Dipper) paranoia muscles, and making noises about my on-and-off occupation of Autun, which bordered no less than *four* of my dots (to one of his), but as I was already engaged with two other Powers, I could neither pound on him, which would have been ideal, or even stick a few units in there for defense, so I just hoped he would lay off for a bit and give me the opportunity to bulk up defensively.

He did not.  Now I was fighting Denmark, Germany and Spain simultaneously. Since Spain was apparently not really communicating with anyone, not just me, and was turning in rather uninspired orders, I was chewing his dots up, taking significantly more than Italy on the other side, while basically holding up defensively against Germany and Denmark.  I knew that my bigger problem would come once Spain was gone.  If I could not get Italy turned east, or get Byzantium to hit Italy, Italy would do exactly what I would do in his shoes, which would be attack me while I was involved with Germany and Denmark.

I tried everything I could to get the D/G/I to break, and everything I could to get the Powers to the east to hit them from behind.  Russia did, but could not make much headway by himself, and Byzantium would not turn against Italy at all.  It gradually became apparent that the best I could do was die well, and stick it to at least some of my enemies.  Denmark was more of a victim than anything else, and I sort of felt sorry for him, since he told me that he was settling for a draw when he had a position with a lot of potential for a win.  Italy really had only done exactly what I would have done.  Germany, on the other hand, had angered me the most (it seems that is one of his special talents--LOL--but I still like you, Luis!, Dip is as funny game that way).  So I was looking for the solution which would be most likely to get him eliminated.

That solution would involve dot throwing, to either Denmark or Italy or both.  The problem with throwing to Denmark was the positioning.  I really couldn't get him a lot of dots.  No problem with that for Italy, though.  So I stacked up hard against Germany, and unfortunately Denmark, as well, since he was acting fairly puppetlike toward Germany, and began throwing dots to Italy, faster than he wanted, since in one case he actually waived a build. I suppose, to a smaller extent, I was blowing a kiss to Byzantium in Byzantium, as well, since even though she was making good gains each year, she could not keep up with Italy, and by doing this I was reducing her solo chances, as well.  I succeeded in giving almost every single one of my dots to Italy, which stymied Germany's growth, and eventually caused his demise, since the Russian attack, while unsuccessful, had pulled German forces eastward.  This left Italy an opening he took full advantage of.

I think this variant is a good one, and stands well on its own, even though it is really a component of the even larger Known World 901 variant about to enter playtesting.  I hope more people will take it up.  I leave you with an appropriately atmospheric poem, inspired by two poems by James Elroy Flecker, War Song of the Saracens
http://poetry.poetryx.com/poems/11416/ , and Pillage http://poetry.poetryx.com/poems/11397/ .  Flecker is an astounding poet, but few people have ever heard of him.  Interestingly, he was a good friend of T.E. Lawrence.  Here is my shamelessly derivative effort.


The Barbarian's Answer

We are they who have answered the call, not for us is the fate of the thrall,
We have smashed down your gates and your wall, Flee! We have come for your throne.

No slumber in beds of damask, though the coward may shy from the task,
In victorious battle we bask, and shatter your towers of stone.

We put on our good boots and we stride, once we've taken your horses, we'll ride,
And our ships will scud in with the tide, plucking cities like flowers new-blown.

The lessons of Saints we've ignored, for our school is the axe and the sword,
And a seat in Valhalla reward, enough for the teachings we've learned.

Though at peace in your town and your stead, bells ringing wake you from your bed,
Then men cry the words that you dread, that the masters of War have returned.

The arrows came down in a hail, but our shield-wall held hard as a nail,
And our foes at the end gave a wail, and cursed at the triumph we earned.

For the mercy of Heaven you pray, but from Jesus, Allah or Yahweh,
No succor shall be yours this day, but only the sleep of the grave.

And no rest shall you get from this doom, for the bones we shall dump from your tomb,
And your gold we shall take from the gloom, as we roll through your towns like a wave.

From Rome to Baghdad and Stamboul, cross the breadth of the World we shall rule,
From the cunning on down to the fool, and the highborn on down to the knave.