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Diplomaticcorp Discussion Forum:  dc285

(Ancient Mediterranean)

Subject:< DC 285: Egyptian EoG >
Topic:< dc285 >
Category:< Active Games >
Posted:Apr 29, 2010 at 11:05 am
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"When, in the Course of Ancient human events, it becomes necessary for four peoples (one being eradicated) to dissolve the political bands which have separated them from each other..."

This has to be one of the best end-game announcements I have ever read.  Positively brilliant, Maslow.

Five short game years.  That was all.  Short game.  Should be a short EoG, right?  Uh, yeah...  Short is not my middle name.
     I will say, though, that this was a stunningly simple and straight-forward game.  When I think back on the high points and low points, there are only three decisions and one overriding theme that stand out to me.  This is in sharp contrast to other games I have played where I have forgotten the middle-game before the end-game has even resolved, on account of all the twists and turns.  Well, this one wasn't twists and turns.  If Diplomacy were pasta, then great games would be fusilli, whereas DC 285 was a flat lasagna noodle.
     For full disclosure, this was my first game of Ancient Med; indeed, that's why I signed up for it: to see how it plays.  I feel I was partly successful in my goal, but I'm sure my conceptions are doubtless in some degree misconceived.  For instance, (based more on my browsing of past games than of this game), I'd say the strongest position is Carthage, followed by Persia, Greece, Rome, and Egypt.  [After this game is entered, the DC stats for seven games will suggest it's actually: PCREG].  But the subtleties of position are not so large that player personalities won't dominate them.
     One feature of note in Ancient Med is the abundance of neutral centers in Year 1.  All of us gained three builds the first year, and it seems unprofitable for anybody to start a war in the first year.  Of course, it does matter *how* those neutrals get divvied.
     At first, I was worried about the nasty alliances.  CPR was my main fright, and GP bothered me.  But, with a clarity that I rarely get in Dip games, it became apparent early that none of these alliances were afoot, because nobody was talking to anybody else... except for me.  So, the early pre-war alliances that _I_ could discern were: CE nonaggression, ER nonaggression, EG v. P, and EP v. G.  Additionally, there was a very open CR (so, it's not true that nobody was talking to anybody).
     All in all, I was surprised by the degree of non-communication -- especially because I have always understood communication to be the *essential* element in Diplomacy.  The winner is often the player who talks the most.  But Carthage and Persia seemed not to be talking about me behind my back.  Nor did I detect evidence of significant CG, PR, GP, or GR conversations.  (To be fair, Mike was very pre-occupied with other matters early in the game, so he couldn't write as much; and Jerry wrote good press).
     I had preconceived that a three-way alliance would be necessary in this game.  It turned out that two-way was sufficient.  In fact, even though the untalkativeness of this crew was manifest, my Dip instincts kept directing me contrarily.  So, I kept assuming that *at some point* Carthage, Greece, and/or Rome were going to band together to thwart the blatant EP juggernaut.  Instead, there was just continued bickering on both the CR and GR fronts (think Neapolis and Dalmatia) -- while Mike and I gobbled up free centers.
     So... the communication dynamic tilted heavily in my favor.  I got to pick my friends and stab the others.  Plus, (and I'm guessing this is rare), all three of my neighbors treated me to a the 'contested' neutral between us (Leptis from Jerry, Crete from Sam, and Jerusalem from Mike).
     I'm sorry to harp so heavily on communication, but it's really really important in Diplomacy.  What's surprising is that all of us are experienced players and GMs, so I expected all of us to recognize the value of writing often (in fact, I was pretty excited when I saw the slate of players... I was expecting fireworks).  When there's not much communication, the game suffers for it, which is why DC 285 was, to be honest, pretty boring (don't let the length of my EoG fool you).  Okay, back to the game...
     Early indicators were that Jerry and Mike would be good allies to me.  They wrote often, discussed tactics and strategy, and showed good game intelligence. Mark was not really present (though I have played against Mark a few times and knew in advance that he is: (a) generally overcommitted and doesn't write as much as he ought to; (b) makes for a reliable ally; and (c) makes clever though not necessarily predictable orders).
     Sam befuddled me -- he barely wrote to me and seemed to write to other players even less.  I don't know why he enlisted for this game, and perhaps he decided after the fact that he didn't really have available energy for it.  He moved like an honest ally, but his short emails left much to my imagination. When I think about it, considering the relative threats to Egypt from Greece and Persia, I would've preferred to have a Greek ally.  But the communication dynamic had put a giant red target on Sam's back, and I supported Mike into Miletus without contrition.
     For a couple of years, I contemplated an unconventional CEP alliance.  It seemed almost... well... just.  I felt like three players had shown up to play.  Maybe a quick 3-way draw was the fairest result.  But three considerations turned my mind otherwise.  First: I couldn't really reconcile myself to such a dull unambitious strategy (though I might have except for the next two items).
     Second: okay... Mark... ARMY Rome in the first year?!?  I know you were signaling your friendly and unambiguous intentions to your Carthaginian ally, and it is a great strategy if it works, but you completely ceded the entire Western Med to Jerry if he so chose to take it.  Which he did.  Until Jerry stabbed, I did somewhat fear a strong CR alliance, but I also had Jerry boldly reassuring me that he was entirely committed to the CE alliance... I was relieved and not entirely surprised when he couldn't pass up the great opportunity to sweep toward victory and a solid corner position in the Western Med.  [Note: this was a curious impact of Sam's target-on-the-back status.  With EPR all gang-jumping Greece, the big remaining question mark was whether Jerry would attack Mark or myself.]
     Three: In Fall of year 2, Jerry convoyed A Thapsus-Punic-Sardinia.  This is the move that determined me to attack Jerry (well, this move, and a whole lot of egging on from Mike).  Much the way Rome had left his western flank open to Carthage, Carthage now left his eastern flank open to Egypt.  Plus, it was pretty clear that this was a one-time opportunity -- if I didn't stab Jerry now, I'd never get another chance. So, I was free to launch my units into Jerry's backside, and found resounding success thanks especially to: (1) beneficial guesses in Fall of Year 3, (2) continued CR friction, and (3) the high improbability of GP declaring a truce and attacking my backside.
     So, there you have it.  By the end of Year 3, the game was pretty much wrapped up.  The only major questions remaining were: would Mike or I stab the other?   And if not, would Rome be able to wheedle a part in a three-way draw?
     So, all that's left to discuss is Persia.  Mike was an excellent ally all game long (as was Jerry up until the moment when I decided I could take all his home centers).  Mike ceded Jerusalem (with an agreement to swap it if we ever needed to balance centers).  He didn't fret about his unprotected Cyprus.  He consistently prioritized strategic goals above tactical considerations, and we coordinated our dismantling of Greece with a minimum of friction (though I think it was in Spring of Year 4 when we butted heads about his attack on Macedonia instead of dislodging my Aegean fleet... but having worked through that, we were even stronger than before).  I thought we did a good job of respecting each other's interests.  He recognized that my extended position meant I needed a little more force.  I recognized that his corner position necessitated a free outlet for expansion around Asia Minor.  And though his early gains seemed slow relative to
mine, he was well rewarded (and was soon to be rewarded even more had the game continued) by his explosive expansion once Greece finally fell.
     In this last season, Mike and I both claimed to each other to have the inside track on the solo.  I am curious.  I figured I could bottle up his fleets along the Ionian-Sparta-Messenian-Crete-Egyptian front while slowly establishing myself in the Western Med (Sicilia, Neapolis, Sardinia, Balearas, maybe Roma).  His sudden successes in Europe (he was moving to Gaul in the Spring) meant that I would lose out in France (whereas I was kind of bottled up fleetwise in the West).  Plus, Jerusalem would probably eventually fall to him (but I might gain Cyprus?).  It would've been close and probably would've devolved to Mark's and/or Jerry's decisions.  And in the end, I am satisfied to claim an allied victory rather than go for my first club solo.
The only lingering question I have is about that misorder. Now that the game is over, I figure I can be confident of an honest answer: was F Punic Sea - Thaesus a mistake or an intentional misorder? I should note that I always operated under the assumption that the misorder was intentional on Mark's part. I disagreed then (and now) with the GM's ruling, but I will say that I became extra careful in my orders -- I copied and pasted my orders directly out of RP. It's probably a good habit to get into.

I do look forward to reading other EoGs. Especially from Mike, Jerry, Mark, and Sam. Those should be the good ones.



There is 1 Message in this Thread:

DC 285: Egyptian EoG (AceRimmer) Apr 29, 11:05 am

There are 51 Threads in dc285:

dc285: Persian EOG (offdisc)

dc285: The preparation and serving of Carthage (offdisc)

DC 285: Egyptian EoG (AceRimmer)

DC 285 Draw Results (Blueraider0)

DC 285: Draw Proposal & deadline warning (Blueraider0)

DC 285 Winter 295 results (Blueraider0) [3 Replies]

DC 285: Fall 296 BC results (MDemagogue)

DC 285: Deadline approaching (Blueraider0)

DC 285: Summer 296 retreat (blueraider0 at

DC 285: Spring 296 results (blueraider0 at

DC 285: Deadline alert (blueraider0 at

DC 285 Winter 297 results: map (blueraider0 at

DC 285: Winter 297 results (blueraider0 at

DC 285: Winter 297 deadline (blueraider0 at

DC 285: Fall 297 Results (blueraider0 at [3 Replies]

DC 285: Update (blueraider0 at

DC 285: Reminder (blueraider0 at

DC 285: Game on!! (blueraider0 at

DC 285: 10 day festivities! (blueraider0 at

DC 285: Error announcement: Map update (blueraider0 at

1 - 20 of 51 shown [More]

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