Saturday, 20 February 2010 22:01

Five for Fighting -- A/E/R Blitz to Three-Way in Game 90

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Contrary to a recent spate of long house games, Game 90, played today at Gary Przybocki's home in Montgomery, ended in Spring 1906 in a tidy three-way draw. Peter Yeargin and Jim O'Kelley, playing England and Russia, respectively, shared the board top at 12 centers. Amanda Baumgarter finished with 10 as Austria.

The final center counts were:

Austria (Amanda Baumgartner): 10; 120 points.
England (Peter Yeargin): 12; 140 points.
France (Gary Przybocki): 0; 5 points.
Germany (Michael Schoose): 0; 4 points.
Italy (Bob Kramford): 0; 4 points.
Russia (Jim O'Kelley): 12; 140 points.
Turkey (Bert Schoose): 0; 4 points.

The first stab of the day happened before the blocks were drawn when Thom Comstock managed to get lost on the way to Gary's. Fortunately Bert Schoose was standing by and agreed to be our seventh, at least until Thom arrived. When Thom finally arrived after the 1901 builds, he decided to sit out and watch and wait for other gaming later.

The second stab occurred in Fall 1901 when Amanda waltzed into an open Venice, surprising everyone but especially Bob.

And the biggest stab was in Fall 1902 when Peter, with help from me, took Denmark and Holland from Michael. I took Berlin from him the same season to knock his Germany down to two.

Austria and France worked over Italy in 1903, while England took Kiel from Germany and Brest from France. Meanwhile, Russia knocked Turkey down to two.

Germany, Italy and Turkey all were eliminated in 1904, with Russia jumping from eight to 11 and Austria going from seven to nine.

France, down to four centers, was eliminated in 1905, and after builds, Thom conducted a draw vote, which passed, much to the disappointment of the interested spectators.  Each of us can explain for ourselves why we voted for the draw in our endgame statments, which hopefully will follow.

Also, I hope Thom will post some of the chatter he heard at the table. There were lots of funny comments, the best of which may have been Gary's desperate plea to Amanda: "You think you're the middle cookie in a triple Oreo cookie, but really, there are only two cookies, and you're part of the cream."

After Diplomacy, four of Gary's friends came over, and we played three games of Werewolf, which was fun. I followed that up with two games of Ra before heading for home. It was a fun day. Thanks to Gary for hosting! Also, it was great to get Bert and Michael Schoose back to the table. They hadn't played with us since June 2008.

Check out the supply center chart.

Read 1083 times Last modified on Saturday, 06 March 2010 22:41

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+2 # Jim O'Kelley 2010-02-21 13:21
A Tsar's Survival Game, Addendum 1

For the second straight game, I drew Russia. I felt better about the draw for not only having read my Tsar's Survival Game from Game No. 88 but for having written it as well.

(I'm watching the Biathalon right now, by the way. Cool as hell.)

Flexibility is important, and for that reason, I was happy to again agree to a straight-up DMZ of Galicia. And I was again grateful to Amanda Baumgartner, the Arch Duchess, for holding up her end.

Free to play around with one of my armies, I was inclined to split my forces and send one of them north. I normally prefer to put all my eggs in the southern basket, but again, flexibility is key.

I was keen to move Mos-StP, but I couldn't get Gary Przybocki, playing France, to commit to a move to the Channel. Without an accompanying threat to London, Mos-StP is an invitation for a convoy to Norway. Peter Yeargin, playing England, made it clear he'd readily accept that invitation. So, I chose to move to Livonia instead while Warsaw moved to Ukraine.

Moscow to Sevastopol was out of the question. Bert Schoose was playing Turkey, and I knew him to be a wonderful ally from having observed some of his games at the first CODCon and Weasel Moot tournaments. He wanted to get his fleet into the Mediterranean, and he invited me into the Black Sea. But he made it clear that he'd view an army in Sev as an act of war. I didn't want to provoke a potential ally so early in the game.

And that's another reason why I wanted to split my forces. Both Austria and Turkey seemed eager to work with me. Splitting my units gave me a more plausible reason to delay a decision.

So, I moved A Mos to Livonia, and in the Fall, I convoyed it to Sweden. That move was guaranteed to succeed because Germany had opened with Kiel to Holland, a move I encouraged but that he embraced without any arm twisting by me.

So, the takeaway here is maintain flexibility for as long as possible. Bouncing in Gal and Bla may give you security, but is it worth it to have security at the expense of flexibility? I don't think so. In my past two games as Russia, I've chosen flexibility over security, and I've been rewarded both times.
+2 # Jim O'Kelley 2010-02-21 14:12
It's hard to argue with a five-year, 12-center performance, but when that results in a 12-12-10 three-way draw, I think your strategy has failed. The point, after all, is to try to win the game, not to knock out the other players, and it's a lot tougher to win with three players on the board than with six or seven, especially when the three are so equally balanced.

I would have loved to organize a Sea Lion against Peter's England. Michael Schoose, playing Germany, was so concerned about his neighbors that he had decided to open with Kie-Hol, but he also ordered Mun-Sil. Gary Przybocki, playing France, first flat-out lied to me about an agreed bounce in the Channel. I pressed him on that point, and he admitted that there wouldn't be a bounce.

Instead he opened with Bre-Mid, Par-Gas and Mar H. In the Fall, I encouraged him to convoy Gas-Por. I explained that the convoy would give him maximum flexibility. He could build F Bre and go right after England in 1902, or he could build F Mar and take on Italy. He liked the move but instead ordered Mid-Por, Gas-Spa and Mar-Pie. He built F Mar. Germany built two armies.

France and Germany clearly were interested in a Western Triple. So, in Fall 1902, I made a deal with the British devil to carve up Germany. (Better him than me.) I supported England into Denmark while he also took Holland. Meanwhile, I convoyed an army into Berlin with support. Germany lost three, and England had virtually locked up his ticket to the endgame.

So, I don't think I could have done much to change the Western dynamic to my favor.

In the East, as I mentioned in my previous comment, both Austria and Turkey wanted to work with me. Preferring a 3 vs. 1 to a 2 vs. 2, I consulted with Italy, who was adamant that he preferred to go after Turkey first.

I knew Turkey was moving his fleet out and that he'd likely build F Smy, so I figured his two fleets would ultimately deter Italy's Lepanto, leading to a blitz of Austria instead. But Amanda shook everything up in Fall 1901 by walking to Venice.

Bob Kramford, the Italian, had opened with Ven-Tyo. I was in Livonia and the Germans had opened to Silesia. I had decided to convoy to Sweden rather than defend Warsaw, guessing correctly that Germany would retreat Silesia to cover Munich. However, I wanted to ensure that Germany would be punished if he took Warsaw instead, so I asked Bob to move Tyo-Mun, which he did.

Meanwhile, the agreed DMZ in Gal allowed Amanda to open with Vie-Tri. She was concerned about Italy's A Tyo. I told her that he was hell-bent on hitting Turkey, corroborating what he was telling her. Nevertheless, she was worried about an Italian potshot at one of her centers. So, I suggested that she ask Bob to bounce in Venice. She pointed out that he could do that from Apulia and still take Vienna.

She had a pickle on her hands, and for reasons that only she can explain, she decided to move to Venice, which succeeded. That move sealed Italy's fate.

But I'm getting far afield. In Fall 1902, I finally had to make a decision in the East. I chose to take Bulgaria with Austria's support rather than Serbia with Turkey's. The former move looked like a sure thing. It turns out either move would have worked.

In 1903, I flanked Turkey, and I think that's where my strategy started to fail. If I had flipped on Austria and worked with the neutered Turkey, I might have set up a more favorable endgame.

One of the reasons I didn't hit Austria is that I wanted her to take the Italian dots from France once Gary turned around to defend against Peter's stab. I reasoned that a weak France would encourage England to press his attack, which would keep Peter off my back. This choice ultimately resulted in the 12-12-10 final split, which may look nice but is really, I think, a bad result.

I wonder if I would have been better served to hit Austria in 1903 with the neutered Turkey. Instead of grabbing Tunis and Rome from France, Austria probably has to rush units home to defend against my stab. That maybe allows Gary to put up a better fight against Peter, which gives me more time to win the war with Austria and dominate the East.

Instead, I was blinded by all those Turkish dots. I gobbled them all for myself to go from eight to 11 in 1904, but with the board cleared of all the little powers, my solo prospects weren't good.

The result was a nice 12-center three-way, but I might have lost an opportunity for a much better result.

My only chance at a solo would have been to continue the game with A/R pressing against England. Amanda, though, was happy with the three-way. I worried that voting down the draw would drive her into the British camp, so I voted for it. Stabbing Amanda at this point was no longer a viable option as I needed her two fleets to help keep Peter from winning the game in the Mediterranean.
+1 # Thom Comstock 2010-02-22 11:20
Thanks to Bert! (Double Posting from elsewhere).

I was ill Wed, Thursday, and Friday . . .saw the doctor Friday. Lots of meds plus accurate Mapquest leads to a wrong turn . . .


I was NOT privy to negotiations. But from what I can tell, Jim hasn't spun above. But that doesn't mean he hasn't in the past. ;-)


I showed up about an hour late --though texted such to start without me if they could. And I am glad they did.

Bert was there, and it only seemed right to let him finish even though he was eagerly handing me his order pad and it was still 1901.

I enjoyed sitting in the wings and kibitzing (and I did stop at the end of the game when Peter asked twice in a row) . . . though the kibitzing was falling on determined deaf ears (Gary).

It was fun, and funny. Gary had quite a few "quips" perhaps he will add them here.

But, as a reminder to all who would play Diplomacy . . . you aren't out of the game until your last piece is gone . . . and part of the game --sometimes-- is making it as hard for the other powers even if they are working together to figure out how to knock your last piece out if that is what they want.

Had Gary (France) wanted to I think he could have changed the outcome of the game. Perhaps even being in a draw (Dias).

Never surrender, but die freely.


As a sidenote: Actually the most interesting thing about this day was that universally everyone (also in Werewolf) sees Jim for the backstabber that he is . . . but it always gets laughed off and he pulls himself free of the taint. He played an excellent game of Werewolf (Bert and Jim were the wolves).

And, beware Bert, teach him a new game and by game two he will win by a landslide.
+2 # Amanda Baumgartner 2010-02-22 14:42
This game was my second time as Austria, ever. The first time was a few weeks ago and it didn't go so well. So with that in mind, I only had two goals for this game: have fun and don't get eliminated.

With Russia once again agreeing to a vacant Galicia and Germany wanting to remain neutral with me, I decided to focus my forces south. Turkey was very adamant that he wanted Bulgaria and Greece by fall, but I wanted Greece for myself. So I found the decision to ally with Russia against Turkey to be an easy one.

Italy was a complete wild card to me. He told me that he was going to open with a move to Tyrolia, but wasn't very clear about his plans for the fall. I had never played with Bob before, so I didn't know whether to take this as an act of aggression or not. I could have easily bounced him, but that didn't mesh with my strategy in the south, so I let him move there.

In the fall negotiation phase, Bob continued to be very vague about his plans for the Tyrolian army, which really started to worry me. Two of my units were capturing and holding Serbia and Greece, leaving only one to defend against Bob. I was sure he was going to move to either Vienna or Trieste, and I didn't want to guess which one. I had heard that he was going to use his other two units to convoy to Tunis. So given what I knew, I figured I would take Venice from him in the fall, and use my new units to reclaim whatever territory he decided to occupy. As luck would have it, Bob ended up trying to take Munich, I got Venice and built three new units.

I played a less aggressive game in 1902, thinking if I continued to grow so fast that everyone would turn on me. I worked with France to set up the destruction of Italy, and I supported Russia into Bulgaria.

Italy lost its remaining home centers in 1903, and I set myself up to take over the rest of Italy from France. I continued growing, but with England and Russia being larger, I was never stabbed by anyone.

I was not as committed to the three-way draw vote at the end of 1905 as everyone seems to think I was. I figured that if I voted no, Jim would think Peter voted it down and vice-versa, they would attack each other, and I might be able to grab a few more centers. But in the end, I decided I had accomplished my goals, and so I agreed to the draw. It was a good game. Gary was a great host, so kudos go out to him as well.
+1 # Jim O'Kelley 2010-02-22 15:27
Quote:
I figured that if I voted no, Jim would think Peter voted it down and vice-versa, they would attack each other, and I might be able to grab a few more centers.
That would have been awesome. Neither one of us would have suspected you of casting the dissenting vote.
+1 # Bert Schoose 2010-02-23 12:29
Like my participation in this match, my comments will be short. First of all and most important, despite the outcome, it was a fun game. Unfortunately, I could not get anything going in this game as Turkey. Amanda (Austria) pretty much lied to me with every comment that she made which was signaled right from the first turn as she insisted she would be attacking Jim and then left Galacia neutral. Bob (Italy) listened to my advice but did not follow any of it the first year and he ended up losing Trieste. His attack on Munich made no sense to me since he was not in a position to follow-up on that dot unless he had a solid alliance with Austria. That was not the case. I decided to try and ally with Jim (Russia) as my last resort but those negotiations went nowhere as he decided that Amanda was his better choice. I figured that I would try to hang on but with no neighbors willing to even keep me as a puppet- and England refusing to attack Jim in the north, my game ended early. I did get Amanda to attack Jim on one turn but the attack failed, Jim shrugged it off, and Amanda quickly lied that it was "a miss-order". Even this move failed to gain me any traction. I suppose that if I had actually supported Amanda on her attack, I might have been able to create some dissension in the ranks.

After the quick game, I very much enjoyed the kibitzing and playing Werewolf (I won twice in two tries!) and Ra (thanks for teaching me to play that game.)

Gary was a great host- thanks! I look forward to more gaming in the future and was happy to find some other folks that will play other games besides Diplomacy but I do plan to squeeze more Dip games into the calendar.

Cheers! Bert

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