All the Leaves Are Brown

It may not have been a winter’s day, but the 450th game in club history had one Weasel California dreamin’.  Chris Brown took advantage of the last game of the club’s 18th season to vault all the way from 15th place to 3rd and secure his spot in the next Weasel Royale.

Everyone on the board was in contention for a spot in the Royale, but no one had more work to do than Chris.  He played a cagey game, getting the jump on Isaac Juckes’s England while the board’s focus was eastward, where Ethan Stocking-Anderson’s Russia jumped up to 7 centers after 1902.  Chris waited for league leader Timothy Crosby to commit his forces to the East and then he pounced, withstanding a late Grand Alliance to finish with an 11-center board top.  The result meant a dramatic rise in the standings and a spot in the Royale.

Elsewhere, Timothy Crosby clinched his second straight Weasel of the Year title by finishing atop the regular season standings.  Congrats Tim!

Check out all the moves here.

Any insight from the players is welcome in the comments below. 

Game #450, played on Wednesday, December 13, 2023, at Online in Interwebs, ended in a five-way draw in 1906. This game is part of WCW League 18 (2023).
Austria(Tony Riedel)6 centers47.000 points
England(Isaac Juckes)0 centers0.000 points
France(Chris Brown)11 centers110.000 points
Germany(Timothy Crosby)5 centers43.000 points
Italy(Brandon Fogel)6 centers47.000 points
Russia(Ethan Stocking-Anderson)6 centers47.000 points
Turkey(Cody Greene)0 centers0.000 points
1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Tony Riedel

    Notes before Analysis
    Online brings the pace up a ton, my goal for this game was to spend more time in between turns really looking at the board and trying to understand what everyone’s moves meant, but since the game was virtual there was no extra time to do this
    I just had some gunboat games where I played Austria and got crushed very early, so that may have tainted my perception of the first couple of years. I was in survival mode.

    1901
    This is my first time playing Austria in a press game. I had played a few gunboat games as Austria and came in a bit nervous about getting crushed in the beginning of the game. I talked to Italy first, and he asked about Tri. Because I was concerned about getting an ally asap, I offered it, but in retrospect this was not the correct approach. I talked to Russia and it seemed like we were on the same page and Turkey was the odd one out, so there was no reason to provide Italy with Tri. I even went back with just over a minute left and said that I did not want him to go because I didn’t feel the threat from Russia, but by then it was too late. Next time I will say that anything is possible, but I want to talk to Russia and Turkey first.
    I didn’t feel any real threat from Turkey, they opened Smy-Arm, and since I felt I had developed an Alliance with Russia Already, this ended meaning they had no real chance from the start. From my point of view there was no chance of this working and Turkey remained on the back foot for the rest of the game.
    England getting bounced out of Bel in the fall is a big deal, this means there is a huge opportunity for France to take advantage and become very strong very quick. This was a big sign of the G/F that was going to form later.
    Overall I felt pretty good about year one, the only mistake I really made was letting Italy into Tri. I felt that Russia and I had a good alliance, I didn’t feel a threat from Italy since I had appease him with Tri, and Turkey seemed like they were in a bad spot because of their opening.

    1902
    I spent most of the time this year talking to Russia and Italy. I was a bit nervous about Tri, which made the rest of the game between us bad because I went back and forth on what I was doing. It seemed like Russia was the better ally as they were the ones actually helping get Bul. I wasnt able to read this during the game, but the threat from France was already very high at this point with England.
    One thing that I can learn from this game about England is that in and of itself getting to ENG doesn’t really mean that much unless you have some tactical and diplomatic capital to back it up. England was basically already dead at this point, especially since the G/F became more and more obvious
    I had a hard time in an overall sense this year really figuring out where my next dot would be.
    Both Russia and Italy were going towards Turkey, which made me feel like the odd one out, there was a ton of talk between I/A/R so I never felt a specific threat but I could tell I got a bit claustrophobic.
    ** One major thing that I did not recognize during the game was the message that builds send. Two fleets for Italy is not a real threat to Austria, so my nervousness feels unfounded. **
    Fall
    I could have organized better with Italy about swapping Gre for Tri or something, but this felt like a tough position.
    I don’t remember if the bounce Ser was arranged or not but I was still able to get the builds out of this season.
    1903
    Turkey had said they wanted to just give us their dots, but it ended up with Italy supporting con to Bul. Overall this was the point where my poor alliance play probably ended up helping France win the game.
    There is an interesting point here about the difference between tactics and Diplomacy. If I had been able to communicate better with Italy and we could have arranged the swaps of Gre and Tri there may have been a better chance of Italy not having to worry about my BS and defending against France
    This was a tough spot that I struggled with getting a good read on in the moment. Spring Russia supported into Galacia and Italy moved into Adr and supported Turkey into Bul
    This created an interesting situation in the fall
    Russia agreed to support Rum into Bul, but I switched it and Sent Serbia in instead
    They were trying to get me to move away from Sev and Ukr in retrospect.
    The Fleet Alb should have been disbanded, this was the first time where this was the case, and because I am a noob I didn’t know better.
    1904
    France was very strong at this point, and because I had gone back and forth with I they were in position to take both the North and the South.
    My main mistake here was not committing psychologically to the attack on Russia. I can sometimes struggle to see the opportunities that present themselves especially in this case where Russia and I had been strong allies and had been working together throughout the first 3 years.
    Spring Vie should have supported Bud-Gal Italy was not going to attack me with France bearing down in the Med.
    I missed seeing the moves that Germany was making towards the east as well. During the fall I started talking to Germany but I was not able to negotiate in time Lvn to support Mos. I could have also avoided this if I was to have gotten my Army to Galicia to support into War
    This would have also given me a better negotiating position with Germany. They messaged me right at the last second that they were willing to support to MOS but there wasn’t enough time for me to consider it
    Online really forces a whole different pace of play
    1905-7
    This was the point that the Grand Alliance was formed against a runaway France, and everything after this was just preventing France from getting the solo. There were a couple of attempts by France to make me turn on Russia, but at this point the only goal was to prevent the solo, and the only way that would happen is if I made a stupid play against the grand alliance.

    What I did well
    Establish Good Relations With Russia and Italy at the beginning of the game, preventing me from getting crushed in the first few years
    It is not to be understated that I was able to stay alive as Austria during the first few years and get good builds. After that I struggled to expand but I put myself in a position to succeed in the first few years without pissing everyone off.
    What I could have done better
    I really didn’t know the strategies and opening ideas for Austria. This game was a good introduction to certain concepts I will learn about more and more with more experience, but there is some limit to what I can understand as a new player. I have to come in with more specific goals and attempts to understand certain aspects of the game.
    My relationship with Italy was bad this game, I was nervous about Italy the whole game which made my actions bipolar. There was a bit of the intimidation factor as well, but it would have worked out better for the both of us if I was able to hold my confidence. I did not understand the message being sent with 2 fleets.
    I struggled to see the whole board. Part of this is the online format. In person means you get a couple of minutes to write your orders and then get to see everyone else’s moves, online is instant and there is almost no downtime.
    Controlling my emotions and staying focused
    Diplomacy is a game about relationships and relating to other people, and when my own emotional is freaked out it is hard to really see what is happening
    Diplomacy is an intense game that requires long stretches of mental focus, and I feel that after 03-04 I lose that ability to stay sharp. This is partially due to the fact that playing these games late is hard (I usually go to sleep around 9pm) and also due to the fact I have to get used to focusing that hard for that long

    Reflections in Relation to the Game

    One thing that I have been reflecting on is how I should be approaching the games that I play. I have yet to have a decisive moment in a game, because often times I will kind of go against someone and then shrink back. Part of this is the pressure and the time limit, but part of this is the fear of risking a move and not knowing what will happen. The best example of that this game was not working with Germany to Stab Russia in 1904. Taking a look at the board having had a few days away, it is obvious that I should have moved aggressively against Russia. But since in the game we had been allied for the first 3 years and had worked well together, I felt “bad” about doing it. (I think if I had 5 more minutes I would have made the move though) I also asked Tim (Germany) and Ethan (Russia) after the game how they perceived me during the game, and they made some important insights in relation to this point. They mentioned that I seem to spend a lot of time perceiving the game and trying to figure out what is going on, but not really any time figuring out what makes sense to do. They both also said that I was playing not to lose instead of to win, which I also agree with. A lot of this ability will come with time, as I practice more and more games, especially gunboat. It reminds me of something I was told about one of the best salesman my dad had ever met. The salesman said the most important thing to be a good salesman is to know every single detail of the product and be able to explain and understand them to the client. Relating this to my play, right now I do not have the experience to understand all of the details (Austria Strategy, what 2 fleets from Italy means, where Austria gets their centers).

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