Thursday, 14 December 2017 22:53

Goat, or G.O.A.T.? Featured

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Jake "The Goat Lover" Langenfeld made it two for two on the young Season 13, topping his second board in as many chances last night at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square. While his score wasn't quite as dramatic as the one he posted at November's Red Wednesday, the top was every bit as impressive.

Langenfeld drew England in a triangle with his mentor, Ali Adib, in Germany and veteran traveler Brian Shelden in France. The Russian? Only Bull Weasel Brandon Fogel, the two-time defending Weasel of the Year.

The Goat Lover beat them all and now has twice as many tops in his past two games as he had in his first 11 with the club.

"He's enjoying his ascendance," remarked Fogel, who knows a little something about the topic. "He's become rather savvy."

Game No. 358, our second in four days, ended by time limit after the Fall 1906 turn in the following center counts:

Austria (Christian Kline): 5; 12.019 points.
England (Jake Langenfeld): 9; 38.942 points.
France (Brian Shelden): 6; 17.308 points.
Germany (Ali Adib): 1; 0.481 points.
Italy (Don Glass): 2; 1.923 points.
Russia (Brandon Fogel): 6; 17.308 points.
Turkey (Braden Lenz): 5; 12.019 points.

Braden Lenz was playing his first game ever. He works with Shelden and hopefully will return for another taste.

The supply center chart is here. Players, how about some endgame statements?

Also, please note that the World Diplomacy Database has not yet updated our scoring to reflect the new formula. While we're waiting for that fix, we'll maintain accurate standings here.

Read 233 times Last modified on Thursday, 14 December 2017 23:23


+3 # Jake Langenfeld 2017-12-15 09:02
I’ve been blessed, folks.

My play style is, admittedly, more moderate to conservative. I’m particularly risk-averse in the early-game, and I almost always step up my risk-loving behavior towards the mid-game. Because of that, I was quite lucky to have drawn England this time, especially after playing as Turkey in the November bar room brawl.

England’s disposition is (at least initially) delightfully isolationist. I like to keep my options open with England, and part of that is staying out of the Channel. My game had a strong northeast slant, and it was hampered early on by two neighbors that didn’t share my philosophy.

Ali (Germany) and Brian (France) both approached me with two risky propositions: Ali’s was for me to open to the Channel, and Brian’s was for me to play as aggressively as possible. They each gave me a zero-sum choice: either open in the fashion they’d like me to open, or suffer an FG.

Come on now. That’s just poor diplomacy.

I scoffed at Ali’s request, especially since I essentially pledged myself to him from the get-go. Yeah, I’ll ally with you, but I won’t do that. He didn’t much like that response, and Brian didn’t see the aggression in my apprehension, so both of them and I seemed to be in a bit of a quagmire.

But then something beautiful happened. Don (Italy) moved an army into Munich in Fall ‘01. This move, along with a not-too-sturdy-just-yet alliance with France spelled disaster for Germany. And sure enough, Ali never really got out of it. He did, however, get out of the game as he wasn’t feeling too well, replaced by Matt Sundstrom. The moment the formidable Matt entered the board I turned to Brian, shook his hand, and said “We got off to a rough start. My name’s Jake. Let’s be friends.” He laughed, and, taking a sip of his wine, agreed.

The alliance didn’t last long, as my risk-loving self took over and I stabbed him for Brest. I also stabbed Brandon sort of weakly in Sweden, and the two betrayals cancelled one another out.

Here’s what I think I did well as England this game:

• I think I had the right open. As I said, the more conservative approach is the better one for me, so not opening to the Channel felt right. The mix of moves in ’01 also ensured chaos for Germany, and weakened the forming FG. I capitalized on this.
• I think I had a pretty decent proportion of fleets to armies. Brian remarked that I was becoming too fleet-heavy, but I felt like had the game been three years longer he would have felt differently. As England, my biggest concern is always getting armies onto the mainland. This ensures a beachhead for a well-supported invasion of either France or Germany, and it was certainly on my mind this game. At the end of the game I had two armies already in the Low Countries, and my fleets were nicely dispersed for defense and support. I felt like it was pretty decent positioning.
• I think stabbing France was the right move. I wasn’t able to hold Brest, but I’m unsure France would’ve held out as more than a rump state had we given the game three more years. By taking Brest, it shook up the balance in the Mediterranean, and I think one (or more) powers would have taken advantage of that to my success in the north.

And here’s what I would’ve done differently:

• I would’ve built a fleet in Liverpool instead of a second army for my late-game double build. To my second point above, I’m always cognizant of building lots of armies as England. However, I made the mistake of not anticipating Brian’s moves on Brest, and it sort of lopsided my defense by having two armies in Britain. However, given the length of the game, a fleet in Liverpool wouldn’t have done much in terms of giving me Brest back. So I’ll call it a wash, but I’ll keep it in mind in the future.
• I would’ve buddied up a little closer with Italy. Two games now Don and I have mostly kept our negotiations to one or two sentences. However, he really helped turned the tide by walking into Munich in ’01, and he probably could’ve helped me continue to pester France in the mid-game.

Another fun game! I’m especially curious to read Brian and Brandon’s AARs.
+1 # Jake Trotta 2017-12-18 10:13
Quoting Jake Langenfeld:

• I would’ve buddied up a little closer with Italy. Two games now Don and I have mostly kept our negotiations to one or two sentences. However, he really helped turned the tide by walking into Munich in ’01, and he probably could’ve helped me continue to pester France in the mid-game.

Two thoughts on this.

1) Having played with Don, yeah maybe don't. He's a total wildcard, and if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

2) Italy walking into Munich (without German invitation) seems to always work out EXTREMELY well for someone... it's just never Italy.
+3 # Brandon Fogel 2017-12-16 13:43
WCW 358

This was a classic bar game. A new player in Turkey with old hands in Austria and Russia battling for his affection (and both getting it at various times), a mess in the west, and a late break out resulting in a sub-10 center board top.

The Early Game

The early game in the east found an inefficient RT butting heads with a solid AI. Braden (Turkey) was an unusual beginner; he’d played some in high school years ago and had a decent grasp of the rules, but was otherwise a newbie. On the ride over, Shelden had discussed various strategic options with him, and he was a quick study. He opened our S01 negotiations by suggesting we move my southern fleet through Con. Could there be sweeter music to a Russian ear?

I have not reflected much on how to run an RT that does this. Since it exposes the RT in the S01 moves, and boards *love* to freak out over an RT, it’s generally not a good strategic option (which is not to say the freak out is justified; I have never seen an RT roll a board the way the “Juggernaut” is supposed to). Given the board composition, I thought we could get away with it here. A Western Triple seemed extremely unlikely, and I didn’t think Don (Italy) and Christian (Austria) would cooperate effectively or quickly enough. Turns out I was right on the former but only half-right on the latter.

The plan we settled on in 01 had my fleet end up in Con while Braden took Rum with an army and Bul sc with a fleet. We thought this was a clever way to deploy our units and get my fleet to the Med as quickly as possible. However, this turned out to be an inefficient use of units. A fleet in Bul limits the S02 strategic options while Turkey’s army is stuck on the back lines doing nothing. It would have been far more efficient for me to take Rum, give Turkey Sev, and get his fleet into AEG. That creates a wicked stab opportunity for Turkey, of course (bounce in Rum, bounce in Con, still get Sev), so no sane Russia should go for it.

A crucial moment for the AI was Don poaching Mun in F01. He moved to Sil in S02, which slowed my assault on Austria at just the right moment. I had moved to Boh from Gal and filled in Gal from War rather than go to Sil, figuring Don wouldn’t be so self-sacrificing. Maybe I’d have sniffed this out if I’d talked to him, but there hadn’t been time. To be clear, this was entirely self-sacrificing: he was giving up on Mun without using the extra unit to secure another dot, so the unit was sure to come off the board right away. Christian owes Don a big thank you for this; he would have been dead in the water without it.

In any case, I got into ION in F02 and then got supported by Shelden (France) into Tun in 03. I should repeat that for emphasis: Tunis was Russian by the end of 03.

The Midgame

I jumped to 7 in 03, while Turkey dropped to 3 after losing Bul to Christian and Rum to me (I was supposed to have taken it in 02 but Christian had cleverly bounced me out). Two important diplomatic moves happened at this moment, and both went against me.

First, Christian got Braden to flip. This was a marvelous achievement, given that he had just taken a dot off of him without agreement. Rather than use his fleet in ION to help retake Bul (which was guaranteed), Braden accepted support into Tun and pulled his AEG fleet back to Con. Christian, of course, moved his F Gre into AEG to continue his assault.

Second, Goat Jake (England) came to me and told me that the west was freaking out that I had jumped to 7 and were uniting in a late-forming Western Triple. This seemed entirely plausible to me, so rather than use my newly-built A War against Christian, I sent it west to head off a German sneak attack, which didn’t materialize. The end-result was that I was then set up to take German dots that were hard to defend rather than consolidate my position in the south, while simultaneously making Jake’s life easier. Well done, Jake.

As a corollary, I thought Christian might find the wide-open Italian centers more attractive rather than a heavily defended Rum, and with a possible WT on my mind, I agreed to a DMZ in Galicia. Christian, in his own inimitable way, managed to take Gal in S04 as well as poach Venice, with Don’s permission. So to be clear, in 1904, Christian violated agreements with both Braden and me while further weakening the one ally he wanted to keep. He got to 7 in 04, but that was his high-water mark.

The Endgame

I succeeded in getting Braden back onside in F04, and he successfully defended against Christian’s “sneak attack” convoy to Smyrna. I helped Braden retake Bul in 05 and Ser in 06. He also took Gre in 06, but rather than cover Bul from Con, he was convinced by the rest of the board to cover Ank from me (I did not attempt to take it). Christian slipped into Bul and they both finished at 5.

The real intrigue was in the west. After convoying to Norway as part of the supposed Western Triple in S04, Jake redirected and stabbed France. Rather than take a wide-open Stp from me, Jake convoyed to Hol, and swiped Bre from ENG. Hol was already his, so that part wasn’t a stab, but it set him up for further gains in 1905, taking Bel from France and getting leverage over more German dots.

It might have seemed an odd choice, since I was topping the board at the moment with 7 and Jake was only at 6, but it was unquestionably the right one. Christian was poised to take advantage if I had to protect my northern flank, and Jake would have had to waste units defending Stp. He would not have topped the board had he taken Stp in F04.

Jake’s 1904 was emblematic of his development as a player. His board reading skills have improved dramatically (successful balance of power play), and he’s now actively manipulating the board to his advantage (tricking me into committing to the German theater). His board top here was well-deserved, as is his place atop the league standings. The bleating of the goat should strike fear in hearts across the club.

My play here left quite a bit to be desired. I let myself get spread out and dropped my guard at important moments. But it was an entertaining and fluid game. Christian is always a worthy adversary, and Braden was an impressive newcomer.
+1 # Jake Trotta 2017-12-18 10:18
Consecutive board tops? League lead? Needs only one mediocre score to probably make Royale?

# Bryan Pravel 2017-12-20 18:21
Tunis was Russian by the end of 03.

This is so impressive I had to repost. :D

Great write ups all. Sounds like a really fun game. Wish I had been able to make it. Congrats Goat Jake on another win!

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