Finished: 04 AM Fri 15 Dec 17 UTC
Private A Link to the G-Candles
1 day, 12 hours /phase
Pot: 70 D - Spring, 1910, Finished
Classic, No messaging, Anonymous players, Draw-Size Scoring
1 excused missed turn
Game drawn
13 Dec 17 UTC http://webdiplomacy.net/board.php?gameID=212668
New game, tell me if you join

Commentary to come later
13 Dec 17 UTC Joined. Nice game all
13 Dec 17 UTC This was a good clean game pretty much. Because the stronger powers grew in size at approximately the same rate from different directions, it was a smooth landing into a 4-way draw. These exact powers getting into a 4-way draw is fairly common, and I think has happened or came close to happening a few times in our league.

Kevin, as England you should not have backstabbed Germany when Russia and France were both attacking you. When Germany doesn't build any fleets, Germany is trying to be your ally and also it is pretty much impossible for Germany to backstab you without any fleet builds. France is your natural enemy, and without a strong Germany to lock down France's units, France can invade all your home centers with ease - especially when you are out of position due to attacking Germany. The only time your first target would be Germany is if France and Italy are fighting from the get-go. It was especially disadvantageous for you to attack Germany with Russia dominating in Scandanvia, since getting control of Scandanavia is the the real prize for going to war with Germany, since those gains are defensible if you get control of all the centers.

I think I have said this many times to the players in our league, but war between England and Germany should really not happen in the first few years of the game. England and Germany's home centers are actually really far away from each other, and usually France and/or Russia will respond to England and Germany fighting by just attacking them both. EVEN IF England and Germany ally, if France and Russia play well then England and Germany can STILL be beaten, so when they don't ally usually they collapse. As England or Germany, I think you should only attack the other power once you're first sure you have another ally (like if France and Italy go to war in 1901 or 1902, France might be your ally, or Russia might ally Germany)
13 Dec 17 UTC I attacked Germany out of sheer frustration for their having helped Russia into Sweden and moving into a sort of ceasefire with France. Left with no other way to gain centers, I felt that time was ticking and went for broke. Didn't go well, as is to be expected, but I just felt that a doveish Germany could never bode well for me.
13 Dec 17 UTC I'm sure you thought it was a good idea, but it wasn't. I'm offering my post-game analysis for your benefit and the benefit of the league.

Germany helped Russia into Sweden, I bet, because that's what I did in "the biggest game of all time" when neither France nor England opened to English channel. If you, as England, think Germany should so automatically be your ally that you'd make a suicide attack against Germany for failing to contest Sweden, then you should have opened to English Channel and showed your commitment to alliance with Germany. If you want to open north you have to understand that Germany can (and often should) put a barrier between the two of you by putting Russia into Sweden.

But after this, Germany did not build any fleets, which is extremely pro-England. There is nothing that more clearly signals Germany's intent to ally with England than building pure armies. Then in Spring 1903, Germany sent all 5 armies south away from you -- meanwhile Russia conquered Norway and France controlled both Irish Sea and English Channel. So you had extremely clear, present danger from your enemies France and Russia -- you were facing danger to nearly all your centers from those 2 powers -- and instead you took a potshot at the only player who wasn't attacking you and who might have pressured your 2 enemies, and also compromised your own defenses by bringing your army off the island (and were eventually formed to return in under much worse circumstances).

I strongly disagree with your analysis of the situation and I encourage you to try to learn from my advice rather than defend your mistakes.

If I were France or Russia, I would consider it a BONANZA that England backstabbed Germany during my invasion. France's A-plan is always to invade England; France would only ally England if forced to do so (e.g, Italy is attacking France). So when you attacked Germany, you made it even easier and better for France to attack you because you lowered your defenses (which were already badly compromised), negated your only chance at alliance, and encouraged Germany to ally France instead (Germany can ally France with ease and will almost always do so if antagonized by England, since France has to at least finish off England first before attacking Germany), and made an attack on you even more appetizing strategically because, with Germany compromised, France risks almost nothing by attacking England all-out and can invade Germany next (which is what happened). It's a similar situation for Russia, and indeed France and Russia ended the game with a huge number of centers.

So I say, backstabbing Germany was a grave mistake.
13 Dec 17 UTC If England had not moved into the Barents sea i would not have made a hard push to Norway. I would had rather England been able to put up a fight against France. But to me that move showed you would probably be willing to make rash moves and would be hard to work with so i wanted you away from me.
13 Dec 17 UTC I didn't ever say that attacking Germany was a good idea, and was not defending my "mistake". I'm perfectly well aware that attacking one's ally when already fighting two stronger opponents is not a recipe for success. It's a bit patronizing that you assume I'm just being defensive. I was merely pointing out that, having aided Russia, which, despite being a possibly sensible thing, has not been typical of our games thus far (for the reason that it aids an enemy, Russia, against one's ally, England), Germany (Autumn 1902) stopped attacking France, which pissed me off. I wasn't backstabbing to gain an advantage; I was lashing out at what I viewed as a useless ally in a fight against strong opposition. With a strong France and strong Russia, I was not going to be able, with a doveish Germany, to fight off their collective advance. Out of sheer frustration with my ally, I took Holland. Perhaps you think I was too pessimistic about Germany's aid, but I figured that my only hope was to try and ally France against Germany and Russia. Germany's style of play was not, IMHO, worth betting on any longer. Was my move a "good one"? No. Was it more interesting than watching Germany play Neville Chamberlain? Yes.

As far as why I moved into the Barents Sea, it was to prevent precisely what ended up happening: France and Russia act like pincers. I wanted to avoid you building or using a fleet from St. Petersburg, and relied on the aid (or at least self-interested attempt to take Sweden) of Germany in the North. I thought this a safe bet as it has almost always happened in this league that Germany attempts to take Sweden with the fleet at Denmark for at least a few turns. The failure for this to happen was the beginning of my qualms with Germany.
13 Dec 17 UTC Kevin, I'm sorry to have patronized you. That's not ever how I want to make someone feel, but I unfortunately make people feel that way anyways pretty often. I've been working on it for a long time and probably will always have to be mindful.

For these diplomacy postmortems, I ask for some charity because I'm also trying to write for the other players and I don't want to assume you or anyone else already knows what I think. Too often, players I am teaching are surprised to hear things I consider obvious -- so at this point I say everything I can think of to make myself as helpful and clear as possible.

I'm not trying to antagonize you (although I have not succeeded -- I am sorry). I'm trying to be helpful.

Your message is difficult for me to interpret. You say that you already know it was a bad idea to backstab Germany, aren't defending your actions, and that I have misjudged you as feeling defensive, but the bulk of your message reads (to me) like an apologia. I welcome your explanation and encourage everyone to write their thoughts in this way, but, in this context, I am unsure how you feel or how you want to continue the conversation (if at all; I'll understand if you've said your piece).
13 Dec 17 UTC To put it another way: are you saying that you regret your decision, or that you would do the same if confronted with a similar situation?
13 Dec 17 UTC I circled back to this because I have one more thing to say: Kevin, it feels hypocritical and cruel when you blame Germany (Kaley) using patronizing or even insulting language in response to my critique. She doesn’t deserve that in this game or in general.
13 Dec 17 UTC Blake, I am sorry to have misread your tone. I need to read charitably and with your expressed intentions in mind.

I will, for your sake and that of the other players, attempt to be clear: what I did was not (and was not designed to be) the set of moves optimized for getting in the draw; I would, however, do the same thing again, because I was frustrated with Germany's conciliatory approach to Russia and decision to cease pressuring France. Having lost the North (due, in part, to Germany's helping Russia) and being pressured from the South (without pressure from Germany to come to my aid), I despaired. Harboring grudges from what I viewed as being incompetent aid, ambivalence to England's success or failure, or surreptitious antagonism, I rammed a sinking ship into the ally that facilitated my predicament.

I very intentionally don't look to see who played what power when I'm making these comments, for the reason that I have no personal animus towards the person who happens to be a given country in a given game and don't want people to assume that I do. Obviously, I have failed and am deeply sorry if Kaley, or you on her behalf, are offended. I felt the way I do towards the moves of Germany, an anonymous player in a game, not towards Kaley. I would be making things personal if I looked to see who played Germany, thought and felt what I did towards Germany towards Kaley, and then kept it in mind for future games and comments on games. For me, at least, these two entities can be (and should be) separated. I play the countries, not the players.

What, then, is the difference between our critiques that led me to take offense at one while proffering the other? The difference, I think, is that you were not taking my expressed intentions into account while making statements directly related to intentions. My critique has everything to do with how Germany's moves effected my designs on attempting to win or draw against Russia and France. I didn't take issue with your first critique, as it was along similar lines, but balked at the manner in which you handled the explanation I gave for why I made moves which both of us agree were not optimized to the goals of the game. I was not defending myself, but, rather, attempting to explain the rationale. I would have been more than happy for you to attempt to undermine the rationale behind my choices, just as I would seek to respond to Kaley's hypothetical defense of her moves by addressing the intentions, rationale, and degree of coherence between them and her course of action in the game.

Perhaps you disagree with my assessment of Germany. Perhaps you think my pessimism unfounded. Perhaps you find my spitefulness towards a disliked ally unhelpful to the general tenor of these games. Take up these issues, but don't mistake all of my moves, regardless of expressed intentions, for an attempt to win or draw. The chance of France allying me against Germany was negligible, true, but it was far more enticing than limping along with a half-hearted (at best) ally in Germany.
14 Dec 17 UTC Alright. I appreciate your effort at reconciliation Kevin. That was a very thoughtful response.

I basically disagree with you in each way you listed. I strongly encourage you to try harder to survive longer and not despair in 1903 — especially when playing a defensive power like England. Your explanation of your actions is so extensive yet inconsistent with the conventional wisdom of how to play well that I think you need to deeply rethink your approach to the game if you want to meet with success.

My take away from this exchange is that you are not really interested in improving, or at least not by following my advice, and that you are offended that I thought this was so. This is what I think you communicated to me, and I am telling you my understanding so that you have an opportunity to make me think differently if this is not what you want me to think.

I still offer my criticism to everyone else in any case, that England should not have backstabbed his ally Germany under these circumstances — learn from Kevin’s mistake if you can.
14 Dec 17 UTC I also think that Kaley’s moves were reasonable under the circumstances and would and should have been accepted by other English players as consistent with alliance. Even if Germany was merely neutral (no fleet builds) that is a good development for England. France with fleets in Irish Sea and English Channel is enemy #1 and a Germany full of armies is at least holding back France or Russia from all-out attacking you as England.
14 Dec 17 UTC Thank you for the opportunity to clarify; the following things are true:

1. I agreed to play this game in order to spend time and stay better connected with my extended family, as there are fewer opportunities to do so these days.
2. I have listened carefully and thoughtfully to every bit of advice you have given, either to me or to a group of which I am a part.
3. In all things in life, I seek to get better, rather than worse, over time.

Less straightforwardly, perhaps, are personal preferences/tendencies:

1. I take a win or lose approach to games, largely because the real risk is low and the excitement of high-risk/high-reward is fun.
2. At a minimum, I want to enjoy myself.
3. The rules are the limits of licit behavior in this pursuit.
4. Sometimes, in order to enjoy myself, I don't pursue winning as the goal of my actions in the game, especially when I believe victory to be unlikely.

What I would like you to take away from my comments is not that I don't want to improve, don't want to follow your advice, or that I am offended by your attempts to better me through advice. What I want you to take away from my comments is that not every moment of my playing a game will be maximum striving for marginal gains in excellence. I don't think it's a zero-sum game. I am capable of striving diligently and often to improve, without every action I take in a game being explicable in those terms.

I am offended when you analyze intentional effort to do something other than win as the ham-fisted idiocies of an obtuse incompetent. I don't expect you to agree with or like my assessments of, or actions in, various game situations, I don't even expect you to spend time addressing them, but I do expect that you either take my rationale at face value (and move on to explaining how you would have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, how you would have responded to Germany's play in order to ally that approach in a successful way, etc.) or suggest that I am lying in order to cover for my woeful inability.

Instead, you are explaining how to speak proper English to a man play-acting a silly accent, implying that he is making his best attempt at ordinary diction in everything he says, in jest or in earnest. It is all the more baffling to me that you do this after he explains to you that it was a bit of levity.

Ultimately, Blake, I think the issue is that your vision for this league (uniform, diligent effort to get better at the goal of competence in the game) is different than my vision for participation in it (largely diligent effort to get better at the game, interspersed with moments of willful enjoyment that don't serve a didactic purpose). That's my fault, not yours. You graciously invited me and have kindly exhorted and encouraged in your instruction. You have been crystal clear in your intentions.

I can only say that I am sorry for having inconvenienced you in the pursuit of this goal. I cannot commit myself to sticking out every situation, without exception, with the same zeal as when fighting for a solo win or as an equal-sized draw contestant. I should have known myself better and seen the writing on the wall after the first incident of my failing to persevere in the face of perceived defeat. I hope y'all enjoy yourselves and wish you all the best, but think that I should forego joining new games. I apologize for having frustrated and vexed y'all, and hope you can forgive me for it. I will commit to seeing every game in which I am currently participating out to the end with maximum effort.
14 Dec 17 UTC Alright Kevin. That’s all very fair.
14 Dec 17 UTC Hey Blake I have some questions. So, I was discussing this game with Madison as it was happening. And I did not like what Italy was doing right from the get go, and I wanted to stop him, but, Madison said it wasn't necessarily my job to fight Italy in the beginning.

So my question is, what is the best response to a country that seems agressive and threatening, but not necessarily to you? Like it felt like if I let italy anywhere near me I would be in trouble, so my main goal was to get Greece. But in doing that I kinda killed Austria and I think that kinda stalemated the south.

So I am also wondering if preventing Italy from getting Trieste by leaving serbia to Austria would have been a move that created less of a stalemate? Or as turkey should I always aim to get rid of Austria?
14 Dec 17 UTC No problem Michelle:

As Turkey, you pretty much want Austria to be destroyed so long as you are able to get some benefit out of it. Specifically, you really really really want Italy to attack Austria in 1901 (which is what happened here), and then hope that Austria puts up a spirited defense against Italy such that you come out ahead instead of Italy (I made bad guesses and got clobbered, but at least you ended up equal to Italy).

In this game, you did very well in implementing this strategy - you got ahold of Greece and Serbia early on, and Italy was only able to get Vienna and Trieste. This left you both equally strong. Even when you attacked Russia to get Rumania, Italy only got ahead of Budapest and did not turn out stronger than you.

The key center to get when you are Turkey and Italy is attacking Austria is SERBIA. If you control Greece and Serbia, it is extremely difficult or impossible for Italy to invade you alone. (Actually, if you can get control of Rumania and Sevastopol in addition to those and have the right unit composition and positions, I think you can actually form an impregnable stalemate position and guarantee that you make it into a draw as long as someone in the west doesn't get a solo somehow).

In order for Italy to destroy Austria and then continue on to invade Turkey and get a solo win, usually Italy has to get control of Serbia, and typically Italy has to do this quickly or Turkey will lock it down. So here in this game, because you (Turkey) get to Serbia quickly and put up a good defense, Italy's ability to successfully invade you after fighting Austria was pretty slim.

If France or maybe Russia had made some attacks on Italy, you might have eventually had a chance to break through and start turning the tide against Italy, but that just wasn't in the cards this game. You and Italy just had to ensure that nobody in the north (here, France and Russia) could get a solo win and get your draw. It was extremely unlikely for either of you to advance much further than you did without triggering France or Russia to attempt a solo win.

It might have been possible to play this game for 3-5 more years and eliminate Russia, but that probably would have been nerve-wracking and required you and Italy to trust each other and to get Warsaw and Moscow faster than France. That's not a gamble most players would communicate to each other or agree to take so a 4-way draw is appropriate.

For what it's worth, and I know you weren't asking about Italian play, but if Italy really wants to get a solo win, Italy probably has to first eliminate Turkey and/or France BEFORE attacking Austria (Austria can be invaded later on once Italy has more builds, but France and Turkey are extremely difficult to invade in lategame), OR attack Austria from the south in 1902 or 1903 by convoying an army into Albania or Greece (because that makes it possible to get Serbia before Turkey and thus be able to invade Turkey later down the road). When Italy attacks Austria in 1901, Italy will likely end up in a draw with Turkey or destroyed by Turkey late in the game (if Austria defends well and Turkey seizes Ionian Sea somehow).

I recently reached 16 centers as Turkey before ending in a 3-way draw with France and Germany in a gunboat game where Austria AND Russia attacked me early on and it was looking pretty grim, but Italy attacked Austria and I turned it around, eventually invading ALL Austrian, Russian and Italian home centers and getting to 16 points without any ally:
http://webdiplomacy.net/board.php?gameID=210905
If you want to learn Turkey bettter, then review this game -- I've been showing it to my apprentices.

Start Backward Open large map Forward End

France
BarnabyWilde (100 D)
Drawn. Bet: 10 D, won: 18 D
11 supply-centers, 11 units
Russia
CogZilla (218 D)
Drawn. Bet: 10 D, won: 18 D
9 supply-centers, 9 units
Italy
Drawn. Bet: 10 D, won: 18 D
7 supply-centers, 7 units
Turkey
teeccino (100 D)
Drawn. Bet: 10 D, won: 18 D
7 supply-centers, 7 units
England
kbchitown (100 D)
Defeated. Bet: 10 D
Germany
tennis (114 D)
Defeated. Bet: 10 D
Austria
swordsman3003 (13081 D (G))
Defeated. Bet: 10 D
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