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Finished: 10 AM Thu 13 Jul 17 UTC
I Make America Great Again
2 days, 2 hours /phase
Pot: 250 D - Autumn, 2013, Finished
Fall of the American Empire IV, Anonymous players, Draw-Size Scoring
1 excused missed turn
Game drawn
07 May 17 UTC Autumn, 2002: anyway - we are where we are so we fight or we work things out diplomatically
07 May 17 UTC Autumn, 2002: En guarde!
07 May 17 UTC Autumn, 2002: ok!
08 May 17 UTC Autumn, 2002: This public spat brought to you by:

The evil dictator of Peru and the benevolent dictator of California.

(for private copies of our transcripts - please send $19.99 to "Republic of California" - Box 123, Honolulu, Hawaii
08 May 17 UTC Autumn, 2002: (holding off on finalizing orders as waiting for a couple of responses from people ... geez people -- did the damn Peru leader tell you to ignore me? :-) :-)
23 May 17 UTC Autumn, 2004: hey, no he did not, is trying to tell me what i should do tho :P, but as long as heartland does not stop fight me there is not mutch in for me.
24 May 17 UTC Autumn, 2004: This is awful Quebec. Thankyou for sharing with all of us - all nations should be aware of how devious and manipulative the dictator from Peru is being!!
24 May 17 UTC Autumn, 2004: As to your fight with Heartland -- didnt you just take Ontario? You seem to be profiting in that conflict
24 May 17 UTC Autumn, 2004: Manipulation and deviousness in Diplomacy? Guess that's a first. ;)
24 May 17 UTC Autumn, 2004: What - there have been others!?
25 May 17 UTC Autumn, 2004: Maybe if you look through enough games, you might find some examples here and there. It's hard to tell though since you cannot see the private messages exchanged in games.
There is water in the ocean. There are trees in the forest. There is manipulation and deviousness in Diplomacy. All things requiring the same amount of fact checking leading to the same amount of trouble if just assumed.
25 May 17 UTC Autumn, 2004: So - the Peru player is probably devious in all his games then right? Geez Peru! Can't you play nice once in awhile?

And stop telling Quebec to attack me - can't you understand that he's busy with Heartland?
25 May 17 UTC Autumn, 2004: What - there have been others!?
25 May 17 UTC Autumn, 2004: Sorry lol
31 May 17 UTC Autumn, 2005: sorry all - haven't had a lot of time to chat in the past week (minimal actually) - althoug not getting many messages either so i assume everyone busy IRL
17 Jun 17 UTC Spring, 2008: Press to Heartland, Florida:

OK, I'm assuming that Peru is going to be absent at this point. I think the best now is:

Cuba:
San Antonio supports Dallas - West Texas
Coah - Durango

Florida:
New Mexico supports Arizona - Chih
Dallas - West Texas

Heartland:
Arizona - Chih

I'll take Guad, and the role of cleaning up the rest of former Mexico goes to Florida instead of me as I'll have to shift fleets east and that kills my replenishment supply of armies, so the best I can do is to hold the coast.

Does that look ok to everyone?
17 Jun 17 UTC Spring, 2008: Oh, great. Well, at least I don't have to copy and paste it around. :-/
18 Jun 17 UTC Spring, 2008: Gotta love those secret global communications - hate it when I do that
18 Jun 17 UTC Spring, 2008: Listen, do you want to know a secret, da da da.
19 Jun 17 UTC Autumn, 2008: I deserve much worse teasing than that. ;-)

My only redemption, partial and incomplete, is that circumstances caused those moves that I tipped to be far from what we did. :-)
19 Jun 17 UTC Autumn, 2008: So, like, it was deception all along. Yeah, that's the ticket.
19 Jun 17 UTC Autumn, 2008: Nice deception.
19 Jun 17 UTC Autumn, 2008: XD
29 Jun 17 UTC Autumn, 2010: How about giving me some points for hanging in there? :P
29 Jun 17 UTC Autumn, 2010: Points given.
29 Jun 17 UTC Autumn, 2010: Virtual points, anyway, not real ones.
29 Jun 17 UTC Autumn, 2010: hehe I'll take what I can get ;)
08 Jul 17 UTC Autumn, 2012: Draw anyone? ;)
08 Jul 17 UTC Autumn, 2012: Sure, just as soon as you disband that unit guarding Hawaii.
08 Jul 17 UTC Autumn, 2012: Peru, points especially for coming in on a tough takeover. Good game.
09 Jul 17 UTC Spring, 2013: thanks. From what I saw it was a good game.
10 Jul 17 UTC Thanks again for filling in, New Peru.

I've entered my draw. Thanks all for a good game! I'll save post-mortem comments until after the draw actually goes through.
10 Jul 17 UTC Good game all - put in my draw as soon as I saw Peru was out.
10 Jul 17 UTC I just reviewed the game.

My hat tip goes to Florida in this game. He played a game of long alliances avoiding short-term gain stabs. That's a style I prefer as well and this was a showcase of how well that can work. Granted, I did it too, but I left more opportunities / temptations for Florida than he did with me. I think that we would have kept Peru in the final draw if the player hadn't disappeared, but this was a better way to play it anyway, frankly. I would have been mostly idle in the late game if Peru had stuck. Liking this approach to alliance a lot, I can hardly criticize Peru for using it as well, but he should have pushed for more territory early. His chances at gain were too far west and thus brittle and he lost time.

Probably the most important thing that happened (that I could see) was the reversal against California. I'm not sure that I remember that correctly, but unless I'm mistaken, I think that Florida started beating that drum and had the individual relationships with me and Heartland to swing it. Granted, once it was organized, I think I had a lot to do with that succeeding. I got fully on board immediately and then probably for about two years played in such a way that California was unaware while I built up troops on the continent. We started that when I had none or almost none there and it was a critical component, particularly with Peru still in the alliance. I'm not sure, even if he cottoned on immediately, what California could have done about it. It would have taken a drastic measure. Perhaps he could have still salvaged a relationship with Texas, but he was pretty small by then. I think in his spot, if I had known roughly what I did as Cuba (which is a BIG if), I would have offered the keys to the kingdom to Heartland. When Florida was still a skinny thread stretching west and Florida was finishing Texas, could Heartland have been convinced to take some cheap or free territory in the north in exchange for some support pushing against a fairly vulnerable Floridian initiative? Maybe. I couldn't have helped Florida yet as I could later. Cali / HL vs Cuba/Florida would have been a much more competitive endgame, and it would have made Peru a critical lynchpin instead of living by our permission. Cali and Heartland, was that attempted? If so, why did it break down?

I had no major surprises or setbacks in the whole game. Yea for me, but I think that I mostly was carried by excellent play of others and good luck.

Normally, unless the person comments first, I don't address things from people who are eliminated, but given that Texas is a top-100 Ghost Ranking player, I'm going to break that rule. The rise and fall of Texas was the most interesting thing to me. The initial buildup was scary and impressive, and it wasn't clear what alliances made that possible. Then the decline came, with all sides nibbling away at him. But unlike the same story, writ-much-larger, with California, there was no master alliance that brought that about. So I can't explain the rise or the fall of Texas. They both just sorta happened. Sure, I took shots at Texas that were probably a minor surprise, but that hardly seems the explanation. What it *looks* like is the sort of player that doesn't talk much, stumbles into being able to gain a lot through tactical play and then inevitably all sides crush in. Given the skill both of his neighbors that I observed and the skill implied by Texas's score / ranking, that seems vanishingly unlikely. I suspect there is a high drama story in there that I was just unaware of. I'm curious if anyone wants to share.

Finally, is the draw a good one? As someone who likes playing long alliances, it is important to be aware of the possibility that you just sigh your way into too many draws just as an extension of seeing the draw through the final ending. Florida seems to have played the same way, so he has to ask himself the same question.

I'd love to hear what each of you, particularly in the draw but anyone else as well, thinks of that. I'll include my thoughts here first since I'm already babbling. I don't think that I'm stretching too far to say that Florida is the vulnerable one here. (Again, hat tip to Florida for being the architect of the alliance, and then of the draw, when vulnerable.) Obviously, I could be in Str. of Florida and Bermuda Triangle now, so factor that in. I was optimizing for ease of draw and no stress rather than a potential pursuit of a solo. So even just on the last turn, it could be worse for Florida. If I chanced tipping my hand to Heartland on the last turn and he was on board, Chih also would have fallen. If I were about to do that, I would have given that to Heartland and also probably supported the Hawaii fleet, so there would have to be a disband.

So... Florida's draw is unquestionably good. Heartland has the crippling problem, trying to solo here, of not being able to bring fleets to bear. He'd have been the wrong person to try to get the game to continue. His draw is good.

How about mine? I think I have an edge over Florida positionally, and Heartland is years and years away from being able to help Florida if they unify against me. I think my draw is weakest of the three, but ultimately, still the right choice. I think that with existing position it would have been very close to a stalemate, with an ability on the part of Heartland and Florida to play games and switch units around until enough fleets are generated for an Atlantic breakthrough and then I lose. I think to solo I have to get Heartland to work with me and believe that this leads to a 2wd for him and me, and I doubt that was possible. I have a lot of respect for his play and that he'd have seen what I said above as clearly as I did. So I'd either get the same result or maybe even lose. So ultimately, I like my decision to draw as well, even if it is the most questionable of the three.

A really well-played game overall, imo. It is too bad that we lost so many players. That probable had effects that were subtle from my point of view but that made critical differences in other places.
10 Jul 17 UTC *when -Cuba- was finishing Texas,...
10 Jul 17 UTC Honestly, I think that you could have solo'd if you wanted to. You have enough armies to hold or possibly advance in Texas and Mexico, and your naval superiority would have allowed you to seize the critical first centers to start a snowball to victory. Honestly,the only way I could see you not win is if either Heartland or Florida just capitulates to the other and throws the game to avoid your victory.
10 Jul 17 UTC Three way draws aren't very effective if one of the members forms a buffer between the other two, they really only work when all members are able to threaten an attack on each other to punish defection.
10 Jul 17 UTC Notably, shuffling aroung to build armies wouldn alomsot certainly not have worked, as Florida's home centers are too vulnerable and, given a well-timed stab, would have either gallen or been occupied by a unit. Heartland's fleets would have been too bottled up for too long to matter.
10 Jul 17 UTC Thanks, Acgv. You might be right. The land issue is dead. I can't make progress there. True, I can get fleets on the coast, but Heartland drops down to Baja and things jam up. The two fleets Florida has are enough to slow and probably stop a naval rush north given the coverage on the coast.

It probably comes down to whether I can rush home centers of Florida. These guys are smart enough to make sure that Florida gets builds next year. So can I do it fast enough? Maybe. :-/
10 Jul 17 UTC Great analysis yoak - fun playing with you. I actually enjoyed the "babble" thoroughly. I'll throw in my own detailed thoughts in a bit when I have more time this evening. I'd be very interested to here from The Lord Duke as the other player in the draw and a veteran player, along with dagabs0 as a veteran, albeit one who has been out of this game for quite a while.

For a quick thoughts, if HL and Cuba teamed up against Florida, I would definitely be toast, but also in position to throw the game to one player or the other - it would be very hard to get a two-way draw with me giving the game to one player and fighting the other, making such an effort risky. HL is not in position to solo without fleets - just too hard to do. I'm in bad position to solo sandwiched between HL and Cuba - I gave up on those opportunities years back when I could have aggressively tried to have Greenland and all of Quebec's old territory, but I passed on that in favor of a long-game alliance. Cuba has the best shot, but I have enough defense to hold him off, and if HL is working with me I could have had him displace some armies (Oklahoma, New Mexico are good options), which I would disband instead of retreating, and then rebuild those as fleets in Florida SCs to make a formidable naval defense. I'd quickly go from four fleets to five or six there. More later.
11 Jul 17 UTC slypups, that's exactly what I was trying to say, better stated, in response to Mexico.

I also saw all of that years before the end and didn't try to set up to solo. So... perhaps the answer is as simple as it plays out differently if one or both of us make that decision a couple years before the end, but we're both likely to see if the other person is doing that. We were both studious about not crowding the borders for that very reason, I think assuming the other would be aware of the implications.

Frankly, I even worried a bit about the shove of more units into the Pacific than were likely to be called for. My aim was to discourage a change in policy more than just to defeat Peru. I suspected (correctly, it appears) that it wouldn't be enough to spook you, but enough to make the draw continue to look attractive.
11 Jul 17 UTC Hi all, a good game that I thoroughly enjoyed. My thanks & appreciation go to slypups.
I have never encountered an ally that was so knowledgeable, generous & trusting as he was throughout this game.
He really deserved his share in this draw, he orchestrated the bulk of it, keeping both yoak & myself on board, when we both could have decimated him as piggy in the middle & gone for gold at the end.
At one point in the game, he & Skirmisher001 in alliance could have removed me from the game. However, the dominance of Frank9 was the greater threat to all in this game, so thankfully Florida threw in with me instead.
Hence the game turned.
Cuba was always strong & well positioned to try for an outright win. I was amazed when he did not ask me to stab Florida with him, especially as it was a draw size scoring game.
yoak had written to me on several occasions, stating his preference for strong alliances & his distaste for stabs, so I did not pursue that option with him.
slypups was a strong alliance man & of that opinion also. So having two players of the same opinion, It was never an option for me to go for a win, even if I had forced the issue. Firstly I had no fleets, secondly slypups made it clear to us both, that whom ever attacked him first, he would throw the game to the other.
The draw was the only option & the preferred one for me.
The game has changed dramatically from its origins over the years. It was always dog eat dog, alliances were short term & for mutual convenience at that time, they were never for the length of a game. We all played to win & we never trusted anyone ever.
I must say it was weird & unnerving having to trust the goodwill of fellow players who had the advantage over me, but a very satisfying outcome having done so.
Thanks to all for the game & hope to play with you all again sometime.
11 Jul 17 UTC Unlike Classic, I find the maps with more players really benefit long-term alliance play. A solid lengthy alliance or two almost always gets you to the end game on this map (or Modern or World). The exception is when there is another long-term alliance in opposition. Those that make short term deals for a year or two and try an early stab may prevail if that is the approach of others on the map, but such a strategy can result in a poor position if facing a double or triple alliance later in the game. California's start exemplified this. He came on strong and was easily the largest player, but lacked the allies to maintain his strength. Texas also failed to find an ally early, instead trying to play short-term allies with many, but loyal to none - I think that hurt him. I'll admit I even talked friendly with Cali for quite a while and could have firmed up an alliance with him if the circumstances led to it, but we never really were in great position to work together. I had some nice early joint work with HL where Texas was frustrated repeatedly from gaining Missouri through a variety of maneuvers - I think that helped strengthen the trust between me and HL.

Peru wasn't in the best of positions, and was vulnerable to getting knocked out of the final draw, especially once I put some fleets in the Pacific. I was concerned a Peru/Cali alliance could have sealed off the Pacific and made it difficult to knock them out. I'm not sure if they ever did ally, but it was too late by then.

I do appreciate the end-draw as I know I was vulnerable. yoak and The Lord Duke were excellent players and partners. I was hoping the repeated goodwill I sent HL's way and to a lesser extent Cuba's way (fewer opportunities) would assist in reaching an end draw. And carrot and stick press along with empathy building press may have helped too. Maybe it's a little tougher to stab an ally who really has gone out of his way to help you out? I also tried to keep fleets in the Apalachee Bay and East Coast whenever I could, which would be close enough to defend and deter a stab, but distant enough not to be too threatening to Cuba. I even could have made a nasty attack on Cuba in one of the years where I had two builds and Cuba had just one - the end of 2006, if I had done a deal with Cali, it would have been rough on Cuba. But I played the strong alliance approach with him from the start, talked it up strong, and stuck to it.

I don't always play for a draw, but it is very satisfying to have good long-term alliances. I think I actually feel better about the draw-finale than a solo in many games - like I was part of a team instead of just a cutthroat strategist. Of course, that does bite me from time-to-time, so I hope I can be in position to at least throw the game to someone else when I get betrayed by an ally - hopefully that is a sufficient deterrent.
11 Jul 17 UTC It was indeed a sufficient deterrent & as you said, "Maybe it is harder to stab an ally who has gone out of his way to help you out".
12 Jul 17 UTC I really like the point that newer variant maps with more players encourage the strong alliance strategy. I don't ever see progressions as with this game in Classic, and I think that they're misguided when attempted. (Everyone fear initial juggernaut, but how many have you ever seen work?) One thing that I've been thinking a lot about recently is Lepanto openings. I need to make a broader study than the few articles that I've read and my own games before I put together a theory, but at first blush, they seem very bad if either player takes a quick shot at the other in the first year and lack value if the shot comes in the second year. But it nearly always seems right to do so in the third or fourth year. I think the pool of powers might be one of the factors that makes that so. One bit that makes it likely that many powers is important and not just Classic vs. Others is that Ancient Med shares the characteristic with Classic.
12 Jul 17 UTC Does Italy or Austria attacking each other ever work in the first couple of years? It just looks like a recipe to give Russia or Turkey a big advantage. I guess it might work if Russia and Turkey are battling at the same time, but every time I see it, by years 4-5 Austria and Italy are both smaller players on the map. Any stab between those two seems better executed in years 4 or later, maybe year 3 if things have gone just right.
12 Jul 17 UTC Here's a recent Italy by me:

http://webdiplomacy.net/board.php?gameID=196006

It happens in '03 in that one. It seems that we're agreeing with each other for the most part, as I also was saying that '01 and '02 don't really work, but Lepanto more or less ensures it in '03 or '04. Or are you trying to say that '03 is still too early?

But the language that you're using is more broad, about relationships between Italy and Austria generally. I'm more looking at just the Lepanto openings. The (Key) Lepanto above shows just how devastating that stab is. Watching it, it seems inevitable, but I assure you that it didn't feel that way at the time. The hard part in that game was managing England and Germany. (For the Lepanto to work, France and Russia had to be managed as well, but France was no problem for me and Austria had no trouble with Russia.) My decision to stab in '03 was made in '03, changing directions from intending to carry through with the alliance. The question that is interesting to me is - will that always happen in Lepanto? And if so, it is worth figuring out which side of that benefits from that inevitable event and how to position it. (I strongly suspect that Lepanto favors Italy over Austria.)
12 Jul 17 UTC And also... while I think I agree with you "disaster for both" conclusion about early Austrio-Italian conflicts, most players refuse Key Lepanto as Austria because most Italian players find themselves comfortable in Trieste in the Spring of '01 and stay there (and perhaps Serbia too). It's a stupid play in my opinion, and that I think that is the consensus, but novices do it, and that makes Key Lepanto impossible to play as Austria unless you have reason to have faith that the person is a bit more sophisticated.

Would it stretch to the definition of meta-gaming to propose playing Key Lepanto in a new game with someone, say, who was in this final draw? By definition, it isn't a decision that the other players in the game could know about and it is pre-arranging to play together and ally together. I haven't been comfortable with that. I'd be happy to play the Austria side of it as my primary question is whether Austria can with Italy while discouraging the stab. But it still doesn't feel right for the other players in the game. Worse yet, as soon as spring '01 may make the Lepanto off depending on other powers, and if that happened, you'd just have arranged to play with a friend and ally together before the start without even the excuse of the experiment. That's obviously just not ok.

I think what we can do, if anyone here has the surplus of time and interest that it would require :-), is to look at that game, and tell me what you'd have done with Austria assuming that you agreed to the Lepanto and tried to profit by it. How do you change my behavior? I suspect the answer, if it exists, is more diplomatic that tactical. I've done this several times, and kinda doubt that the answer is some better home defense. The thing can die on the vine as quickly from failure to grow / suppress the eventual teaming of Russia / Turkey as from being naked to the stab. When that happens, Italy realizes that the growth path is gone and stabs for that reason, knowing that Russia and Turkey will occupy AH sufficiently that gains are easy. I suspect that if a viable path exists, it comes from subtle negotiation with less-involved players, perhaps Germany. What if Austria opens the kimono a little bit and gets some kind of agreement of mutual defense with Germany. The eventual Tyrolia move by Germany in that game, if it has happened earlier, might have stopped that stab. In the actual game, I had pretty good control of Germany and was only mildly panicked at it, and got him headed profitably east, but that could have kept me in check. Or maybe something with France?

But the general approach that I see is putting all effort into keeping the west otherwise occupied and Russia and Turkey at each other as long as possible. That worked perfectly in the linked game. And if that is "perfect," how does AH not get stabbed?

Anyway... babbling again. :-) I don't have answers on this question yet.
12 Jul 17 UTC Looking at that game, maybe in Spring 1903, Austria just supports Trieste to Serbia, fearing the stab he just gives you Trieste and takes Serbia in exchange. He'll lose Rumania back to Russia that way, so Russia gets a bit stronger, but only a fleet in Rumania which is less threatening to Austria short term. It could have put Austria in better position to bargain the IA back into an alliance.
13 Jul 17 UTC slypups, that would have been better. ;-)

Start Backward Open large map Forward End

Cuba
yoak (1348 D)
Drawn. Bet: 25 D, won: 83 D
20 supply-centers, 20 units
Florida
slypups (1889 D)
Drawn. Bet: 25 D, won: 83 D
19 supply-centers, 18 units
Heartland
The Lord Duke (4012 D)
Drawn. Bet: 25 D, won: 83 D
19 supply-centers, 19 units
British-Columbia
Fr3shskemo17 (100 D)
Defeated. Bet: 25 D
California
Frank9 (489 D)
Defeated. Bet: 0 D
Mexico
Acgv (183 D)
Defeated. Bet: 0 D
New-York
BENchpress (113 D)
Defeated. Bet: 25 D
Peru
Huín (403 D)
Defeated. Bet: 0 D
Quebec
Skirmisher001 (100 D)
Defeated. Bet: 0 D
Texas
dagabs0 (22212 D)
Defeated. Bet: 25 D
Civil Disorders
Bladerunners (1361 D)California (Autumn, 2007) with 11 centres.
HenriIV (100 D)Mexico (Spring, 2004) with 1 centres.
irelandball (134 D)Peru (Spring, 2008) with 7 centres.
SeattleSlew (100 D)Quebec (Autumn, 2001) with 4 centres.
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