Monday, 06 June 2016 20:22

Uprising!

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On Saturday, three of our veterans held a WDC primer for four of our newer players at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square. The event featured a Q&A about the upcoming World Diplomacy Championship at Weasel Moot X (June 24-26), followed by a game using tournament timing and the tournament rule set.

During the Q&A, the vets answered questions and shared their wisdom, but in the game that followed, it was the new guys who did the teaching. The game--which counted toward the league standings but not in the Bar Room Brawl--ended by draw vote during the Spring 1910 turn in the following center counts:

 

Austria (Brian Shelden): 0; 0.000 points.
England (John Gramila): 0; 0.000 points.
France (Bryan Pravel): 9; 24.107 points.
Germany (Matt Sundstrom): 2; 1.190 points.
Italy (Brandon Fogel): 13; 50.298 points.
Russia (Jake Trotta): 9; 24.107 points.
Turkey (Ian Trotta): 1; 0.298 points.

With the convincing board-top, Fogel opened a dramatic lead in the Season 11 standings. He now has a league-leading 3.5 board-tops. 

Check out the supply center chart here.

Read 557 times Last modified on Thursday, 16 June 2016 20:43
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+1 # Jake Trotta 2016-06-07 09:33
Since Jim wasn’t there, I’ll provide my short version of what happened, then the remainder will be the usual after action type discussion on my own game. The East ganged up on Austria and Russia in 01, with Russia swiping Vienna, Italy Trieste, and Turkey Sevastopol. In the west, England didn’t move any units in spring, while Germany and France ganged up on him. The eastern midgame was a balancing act between Italy and Turkey, with Russia and dying Austria tipping the scales between, while France and Germany worked what turned out to be a “double-secret” alliance, switching Munich and Belgium to accommodate moving units south. At the later stages of midgame, Germany turned hard on Russia while France turned south on Italy. But conflict in F/G caused France to turn around, allowing Italy to polish off Turkey and turn west. Italy’s rise forced an awkward F/R alliance that stopped Italy at 13 and brought Germany down to London and Berlin at EOG.


Very fun game, competitive the whole way through, though most of the action really happened in 01. I pulled Russia, my kid brother pulled Turkey. Unfortunately, game 300 was a story of me setting up a massive (and not very smart) stab against him as Austria while I was Turkey, so I was concerned that he was heading my way. It also set up potential for a “Trottanaut,” as Brandon dubbed it, or “Juggertrott,” which I think sounds better.

Pitched a wintergreen with Brandon, Juggertrott with Ian, and told Austria let’s just do a DMZ in Galicia. My brother told me he wasn’t going to do black and arm, when I said “I don’t believe you” he started awkwardly laughing. Spoilers: he did the sundstrom opening. I opened War-Gal, Mos-STP (with Germany invitation) and Sev-Rum. Really up the proverbial creek with Turkey in Black and Arm while I just lied to Austria and, you know, had half my forces in the north.

I lost Sev and Ian gave Austria Rum, my saving grace was England’s amazing, wonderful opening that allowed me to walk into Norway. I got bounced out of Sweden, but I also managed to swipe Vienna from Austria, landing me at a very awkward 5 centers of 3 home, Norway and Vienna. 02 I took Sweden, we did the dogpile on Austria thing, bringing him down to 1 center.

I spent the midgame trying to balance Italy and Turkey back and forth, looking for an opportunity for myself to get a couple centers out of it before I let either one gain much of an upper hand. I was looking for the move that would build a lot of tempo and force a long-term alliance (Juggertrott or Wintergreen). My goal was to have Sev, Rum, Bud, Vienna. Ended game with ¾ of them. Turkey and Italy, would love to hear what you thought about this strategy from the position I was in.

Late game Germany was in trouble and turned around on me in a late developing F-G. Bryan and I patched things up so he could stop a blooming Italy (and so we could poach some centers off Germany, taking him from 7 to 3 in one year.)

I ended on 9, with Bud, Vienna, Sev, Warsaw, Moscow, Edi, Denmark and 2 others. I should have ended with 10, but Bryan ‘forgot’ to move out of STP as we had agreed. I could have vetoed the draw and probably picked up 1-2 more centers, but it had been more than 6 hours of dip at that point and with Germany in Ukraine, I decided to play it safe.

Overall, it’s my first time surviving as Russia with more than 4 centers. So I’d give myself a B for the game. Again, would love to hear feedback on my southern midgame.

Player Feedback

Austria (Brian): Had a lot of fun playing with you. I don’t think you didn’t anything wrong outside of pulling Austria. I 100% would have switched with you had Pravel not said no.

England (John): GOAT opening. Always fun to have you on the board. Couple occasions that I wish I listened to your mad scientist advice.

France (Bryan): Good game for you. Think you jumped a year too early on your solo vision quest. Excited to read your recap and your thinking. Also, little bummed you didn’t give me STP back-you have some convenient misorders from time to time. A Bryan Pravel deal is one where you make a deal that works out great for both parties, but Bryan accidentally misorders so he comes out a little bit better off.

Germany (Matt): Don’t have much to say other than I learned a lot from how you handled your midgame.

Italy (Brandon): After CodCon you said I’d pulled a little bit ahead of you, I think that trend has reversed. Still really enjoy working with you, even when it doesn’t go my way (which is more often than not.) Very patient and mistake-free play, well-earned 18th boardtop of the season.

Turkey (Ian): Great job in 01 with the metagame revenge on me that I deserved. You did a good job hanging in there, glad we’re getting you more reps before worlds.
# Jim O'Kelley 2016-06-07 19:48
Who put Sundstrom in charge of sending in the results? I got a message from him earlier today that the game actually went 10 years, not seven. He sent a revised chart. I'll post it as soon as I can.
# Matt Sundstrom 2016-06-07 20:47
As easy as it would be to see me botching the results, that was one of the first things I did Monday morning in the office and I clearly saw and typed results through 1909. Not sure what went wrong. Sorry Jim.

Thanks to Jake for he EOG. Some adds from Berlin...England was an easy target once his units did not movie spring 1901. John was a good sport about it and did what he could to get help. FG was indeed solid with that target. Then the plan was to go east. Just before we could make that happen, I had a classic disconnect of thoughts. England told me very early on his last turn he would support me into Lvp. I didn't want to take it and knock Bryan down. Fast forward five minutes and I forgot John had even offered it. I was wondering what to do with Edi and figured a move to Lvp would keep France honest. Of course I got in with the English support. Quite embarrassed and wanted to make it up to Bryan. So I went totally east. The inevitable FI attacks followed. I deserved it and crumbled. I was actually in good position had I decided to press it after taking Lvp. But not how I wanted that alliance to end in that game.

I'm not sure what Jake learned from the mid-game but there were several lessons good and bad. Thanks all for playing. Nice variation on bar game and good prep using WDC timing.
# Bryan Pravel 2016-06-13 17:50
EoG WCW301

Early Game

Game WCW301 had an interesting mix of tournament veterans and 2016 club regulars (3rd generation? 4th?). We spent a few minutes before the game discussing tournament strategies and realistic expectations (you heard it here first, someone from this game will be on the top board at Worlds :p). We also gossiped about the other players (Hi Jim), had a few drinks and complained that others were running late. In other words, it was a typical weekend game.

I drew France. This was my 3rd time playing France with the club and before this game I had an elimination and a board top. My goal was a result closer to the latter than the former.

Looking around the board I had two vets as neighbors. John Gramila was England and Matt Sundstrom was Germany. Rounding out my immediate neighbors and representing the club regulars, WCW league leader Brandon Fogel was Italy. The eastern half of the board featured club regular Jake Trotta as Russia, his brother Ian Trotta as Turkey, and Veteran Brian Sheldon as Austria.

France is one of the few (only?) powers on the board that doesn't hate a Juggernaut. Knowing that in the last game Jake stabbed his brother Ian, I gambled that it would be easy to talk them into a "Trottanaught" alliance (Jake continues to ask for "Juggertrott" but you I don't think get to pick these things). That meant I needed to get Russia moving north and Italy moving west, so I pitched a Sealion to Jake and Matt. Matt was particularly amiable, saying he was willing to swap Belgium and Munich to help me get French armies into Italy. That was an offer I couldn't pass up so we agreed to the early F/G. Jake was interested in piling on against England and Brandon seemed quite pleased to head East so I felt confident in opening to ENG, PIC, and GAS, which also happens to be my favorite French opening.

John (England) misordered and dictated the rest of the early phase of the game. There was no early Trottanaught (Family payback is the best) so Russia was in no position to help in the North. This combined with an Englishman who was completely out of position meant the perfect setup for an F/G. The trick was trying to avoid uniting the rest of the board against us. Matt suggested a little acting with the Belgium / Munich swap so I sighed in the correct places when I was "stabbed" in Belgium, acted vengeful when I "stabbed" back for Munich, and then we surprised (wishful thinking?) the rest of the board by making up and I swung hard into the Med against Brandon in Italy. We had tempo, we had trust, we had position. Everything was perfect except that Matt (Germany) "misordered" just as I was extending into Italy. I felt Matt's mistake was genuine but also had to made a risk/reward assessment. If I was wrong about Matt and trusted him and he continued to stab, my game was all but over. I decided to attack back. Matt tried to pacify me by pulling back which just made my position against him stronger, and this dictated the structure of the mid game.

Mid Game

The mid game was where things stopped going so well for me. My first mistake was that I grew too aggressive. During our pre-game chat the vets encouraged us to go for the solo when we saw the opportunity. I was in a powerful position, felt I had a shot, and decided to go for it. I don't regret the decision but the timing was all off. I was way too early (I hate it when that happens). I ignored the other lesson the vets told us which was that you need two out of the following three centers to be in reasonable position for a solo: StP, MUN, or TUN. I had MUN and felt I had a shot at TUN. Brandon (Italy) offered to help me against Germany but I rejected working with him because I wanted TUN and told him I was trying for a solo. Brandon just laughed. He was able to work things out rapidly with the Eastern powers, I had to pull back to focus on Germany, and ended up with a huge void of power in the Med (which Brandon was happy to fill). Even Matt just shook his head and let me know it's foolish for France to try and solo without a shot at StP.

Knowing my next best shot at a solo was StP I switched tactics. Matt mentioned he was still willing to work with me and I knew he could position fleets in BAL and GOB easier than I could so I decided to use him as a wildcard. We made up and started working against Jake (Russia). It went better for him than me (as I am sure he predicted) and went from almost being eliminated to a reasonably sized power. To make matters worse, Italy was starting to run away with the game. I realized that if I didn't react soon Italy would be the one in position to control TUN and MUN and if I kept pushing against Russia he was in better position for SEV or even MOS than I was if it came down to a race. So I pivoted again which took us to the end game.

End Game

The End Game basically consisted of Russia and I making up, stabbing Germany hard (again!) and working together to force a draw. Something I love about working with Jake (Russia) is that he is almost always willing to listen and pitches creative ideas. A Jake Trotta deal is one that benefits both parties but somehow manages to benefit him just a little bit more. I knew this going into the agreement though and this time I think it worked out well for us both. Partially because as Jake pointed out in his statement, I had my own convenient misorder that resulted in me keeping a center that I had agreed to give to Jake. Yes, this was a legitimate misorder. For once the sweater unraveled in a way that worked to my advantage.

After this excitement the game settled down. Jake (Russia) and I took our positions to bottle up Brandon (Italy) and force the draw.

Closing Thoughts

I am very grateful to Matt and the other vets who were willing to put this together. This was my first experience with tournament style drop dead deadlines with a running clock. That same nervousness from my first games with the weasels returned, complete with a high volume of misorders. Besides the one that helped me, there was another turn I forgot to finish writing orders and only moved three out of around eight units. I spent the time discussing tactics with another player and let the clock get away from me. It was only after orders were being read that I remembered I had forgotten my orders. I learned I need to set some limits. I am not as fast tactically as others and need to take time to write my orders. Speed and accuracy under stress are not strong points of my game and an area I need to develop.

I also was far too premature on my decision to solo. I loved Brian Sheldon's advice about needing at least control of (or the ability to force) some combination of StP, MUN, and TUN. Having played Italy a ton I would also argue perhaps POR, MUN, or MOS would work for the south as well. There is no chance of a solo if you don't control those so I learned I need to be more patient.

I loved the early game, felt I "dithered" in the mid game, and it cost me in the late game. I think I gave up dots this game and was lucky to get the score that I did. I probably my could have gotten a better score if I had stuck with Matt (particularly because I really did believe it was a mistake), but I am still not sure the reward was worth the risk. I would be curious to hear the opinion of others.

Player Feedback:

Brian S. (Austria): We didn't have a ton of interaction. You were dog piled on early and even though the west resolved quickly it just wasn't quick enough. Rough game.

John G. (England): You made a couple of pitches I considered but that was sort of a dream position for France to be in. I hope we get to play another game together. I am still impressed by that Turkish game you had earlier in the year.

Matt S. (Germany): I really like how you negotiate. You are quick, to the point, and cut out the BS. I think we both could have done even better if we didn't end up fighting. I am curious how you would have responded in my position.

Brandon F. (Italy): That was one of the strongest games as Italy I have seen in this club. Great job as always. Once again you showed the power of patient reliable play. I am also curious how you would have responded in my situation when Matt made the mistaken stab and I decided to pull back.

Jake T. (Russia): I left most of my player feedback in the EoG itself. Way to hang in there. I loved the "nipping" strategy in your position. I thought you had a solid mid game despite a rough start.

Ian T. (Turkey): I wish we had coordinated better. If we had both times out attacks together against either Italy or Russia I think we would have both been stronger. I think we ended up going for the opposite targets which in retrospect probably wasn't ideal. Glad you got revenge. Isn't family payback the best?

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