I've been following all of the end-of-game discussion with interest.
I find it fascinating to read about the diplomatic ebb and flow that
goes on behind the scenes and is completely hidden from people like myself
who only get to see the end results. The player comments that have been
published so far have shown me that several of my assumptions were
completely off the mark.
I'd like to take a moment to comment on a statement Wladimir makes in
his remarks below, specifically the following: "I compare the Scandinavian
powers as being akin to Austria/Italy in Standard in that they are intimately
close to one another and if they do not work together, they will be easily
I think I've watched as many A&E games as just about
anybody. Based on what I've seen, I feel comfortable in saying that the
relationship between Denmark-Norway and Sweden is not as simple as saying that
they must hang together or hang separately (an American phrase that I hope has
its counterparts in other parts of the world). There have been games where
Denmark-Norway has attacked Sweden and been successful, and there have been
games where Sweden has attacked Denmark-Norway and been successful. There
have been games where the two countries cooperated and both did well (though one
usually did much better than the other) and there have been games where
cooperation did not prevent either from getting squashed. Just about any
result is possible. This is, in my opinion, a good thing. I feel
A&E would be compromised if it required two neighbors to work together or
The primary difficulty Denmark-Norway and Sweden face is that their
initial positions are extremely fragile. I think both Powers are
forced to gamble that at least one of their immediate neighbors (Britain &
Hanover or Sweden for Denmark-Norway and Russia or Denmark-Norway for Sweden)
will not attack and act accordingly. Unfortunately, being fooled or
guessing incorrectly is generally punished severely. Because of this,
both Powers are frequently eliminated or relegated to the
In closing this note, I want to say the following:
- Robert: Thank you for putting this excellent cast
together and doing an outstanding job of GMing.
- Dirk: Congratulations on your solo. Very well
- To all the players: Thank you for participating in
this game. I hope you enjoyed playing A&E and will do so again
If anyone does get involved in another A&E game, please let me
know. I'd love to follow along.
In a message dated 10/5/2011 12:58:52 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
I am typing this up from an internet cafe in the Phillipines right now so
it will be shorter than normal EOG's.
First off, many congrats to Dirk for a very well-played and earned solo.
Despite my visceral objection to allowing solo's, I think this was the best
conclusion given the situation.
Here was the entire game for Sweden...Denmark moves to Scania in the
first season tossing away any chance that Sweden and Denmark had of being
remotely successful. Had Josiah not decided to go against his word in this
move, I like to think that I could have had more impact in this game. I
compare the Scandinavian powers as being akin to Austria/Italy in Standard in
that they are intimately close to one another and if they do not work
together, they will be easily destroyed. Denmark must have thought that going
for Swedish centers early would have made him the consolidated Scandinavian
power able to project power in all directions. Instead, we both had to slap
each other while leaving our flanks exposed.
For what it is worth, I wanted to see Sweden fight back-to-back with
Denmark which had me wiith my sights on Russia. My ideal season one would have
consisted of Sweden in the Bothnia and my first build from a convoyed army to
Courland. I would have then built an army in Abo and begin squeezing Russia.
Alas, Russia quickly gained the upperhand in this relationship when I had to
cover my bases from the anti-Swedish sentiment in Copenhagen. Dirk, I like to
think that you would have had a far more difficult go of it in the north had
Denmark played nice with me.
From that point on, I knew the game would be tough. I tried to quickly
settle the Danish situation with English help but England decided that he was
best in charge of Chr which left Sweden with its watershed of Cop, Sto and
Abo. It was at this point that Russia decided he just had to have Abo. I could
not stop him so Sweden never really got to take off with this new build
opportunity. Russia became my sponsor since England began moving to the
Scandinavian waters leaving me no choice but to sign the Sverige over to the
Czar. Pretty boring for Sweden for the rest of the game.
I also believe that the game had a ton of talent in it. I won't go into
each player since i really didn't interact with many in the southern half of
the board. Suffice it to say that I was happy Turkey/Austria/Russia were doing
well since I felt like Sweden's best chance was as the northern tip of some
Big fan of Nick, Sun, Aidan (should I say Siberia) and Dirk. Hope to get
to interact with the rest of you more too.
Thanks to Robert for doing an excellent job keeping this game moving
along and for providing reminders. It is so easy to forget about how much work
the GM puts into these.
Hope our paths cross again!
On Wed, Oct 5, 2011 at 8:35 AM, Dirk Knemeyer <dirk(at)knemeyer.com> wrote:
Robert, thank you for being an excellent
GM for the duration of this game. Your timely adjudications and good cheer
are an appreciated service to the community.
This was my first time playing Ambition & Empire. I very much enjoy
DP variants, as well as the 1900 variant. As such this seemed like a variant
that I would really like. Thanks Robert for taking the lead on creating the
Looking over the board as Russia, independent of the other power
assignments, my desire was to work with Sweden and Turkey, and push out thru
the middle. Of course, once you begin considering the other players and the
inter-personal dynamics all of this can change, but I had played with both
Wladimir (Sweden) and Aidan (Turkey) before and know them to be very good as
well as generally reliable partners. On the other hand, Adriaan (Austria)
was new to me and Ray (Saxony) is the kind of aggressive and unpredictable
player I don't really like playing with. Nick (Prussia) is someone I like to
play with but because of an earlier game together was not sure if he might
be carrying a grudge over to this game. So the turning of the board seemed
to favour the approach I hoped to take.
Of course, there was a problem: I'm a big believer in ignoring
"entitlements" based on what country one is playing. So, for example, I'm a
proponent in Standard of a great EF being enabled by France letting Britain
take Brest with a fleet and thus being free to do a lot of safe DMZ'ing in
the region. My read of the Russo-Swedish relationship was the same. I
thought we could have an amazing partnership if he let me take Abo - to
close my back door - we DMZ BOT and otherwise leave the Baltic to him.
Unfortunately Wladimir didn't seem keen on this which led me to quickly
pivot and expect to go for Baltic domination at some point. Just not too
On the other hand, things were going swimmingly with Aidan. We had
limited friction and a clear path forward. My intention was to stay with him
all game or, at least, into the late game. Ray aggressively demanded
Lithuania reinforcing the notion I wouldn't want to work with him. Lithuania
is adjacent to various Russian dots yet only adjacent to a lone Saxon supply
center. His brazen insistence on control of it was incompatible with any
clear-minded Russia policy. Nick was friendly and working with me, so there
seemed an opportunity to partner with him in the early going. The thing I
didn't expect was my relationship with Adriaan. For me Diplomacy is as much
about a good experience as winning, and Adriaan was just the kind of chap I
like to play with: very communicative, open with information, although quite
smart and likely working to his advantage separately even as he worked in
earnest with me. Early efforts to work closely in a press capacity with
Britain, France and Spain were largely ignored by those players.
Throwing all of this into the mix, my plan was to:
- Seal off the south and coordinate with Turkey
- Use press to quagmire Denmark and Sweden, while not letting Britain
or Prussia take advantage of their struggles
- Smash Poland and reduce/eliminate him
- Once established in central/eastern Europe, decide on which direction
to focus my force (at Austria, at Prussia, at the Baltic)
From the beginning I was blessed with good fortune, and my activities
were so successful that I needed to pull back on the reins out of fear that
a target would be placed squarely on my back. The situation on the board led
to my working against Prussia first after Saxony, then heading into the
Baltic to take advantage of the chaos happening between the Scandinavian
powers. Around this time I had some very positive notes with Britain and
thought he and I would be close through the mid and end game. I'm not sure I
could have designed a better early and early-mid game than what actually
happened for Russia. Lots of good luck all around.
Then, the game changed. For personal reasons Adriaan needed to abdicate
the Austrian throne. While from a personal standpoint I was very
disappointed, from a game perspective I was pleased: my capacity to grow,
save stabbing Austria or Turkey, had pretty much come to an end. I didn't
want to stab either of those players so was settling into a position that
should end the game in a draw. While I had no problem with that, playing it
out to its inevitable conclusion, taking that tack would not give me a whole
lot to do in the game while hoping people on the other side of the map took
care of business properly. Not a great position to be in.
The new Austrian player (Sun) is also someone I like working with in
Dip games. So, at first, the shift didn't seem to portend any change in
status. This all shifted when Sun took advantage of Adriaan's very strong
position and made an early solo bid by smashing to the west. It was
audacious and even well-executed, but he simply faced too much opposition,
given the mature nature of the players of this game, leading to balance of
power reactions to such moves. However, Sun's big move and subsequently
putting a target square on his forehead gave me a chance to break out, too.
The big question was, to move against Austria or Turkey?
I chose Turkey. While I very much valued my relationship with Aidan,
Sun's growth and the condition of the board led me to think that, if I could
prosecute a successful campaign, almost all of the gains would be mine and,
in the process, I could seal an entire front and better focus my force
elsewhere. Like so many things in this game for me, I had good luck and
things pretty much fell as planned, albeit taking quite some time to fully
expunge Turkey from their traditional homelands.
As my relationship with Austria blossomed and success against Turkey
became clear, I decided I would not be satisfied with anything less that a
3-way draw in this game. My position was very, very strong, particularly so
after Sweden and I pushed Britain out of the Baltic completely. So my intent
was to fervently pursue 3-way draw opportunities - Austria, myself and a
third (which later shifted to include Britain) - while taking a solo only if
I was *guaranteed* to get it. My feeling was that, if I went for one and
fell short, I would face a grand alliance and a likely 5-way draw. That
would have been the worst possible case, save France soloing.
One year before the actual end of the game, it turned out that I could
have soloed if I had tried. Like most Dip players I have an overly
conservative view as to how much other players trust me and/or will do as I
expect them to, and it was with some shock I realized I could have won on
that very turn if only I had faith in the relationships I had and the moves
those people would make. Seeing that, I knew it was time to scour the board
for the solo. However, back from the grave, Ray chirped up to point out that
I could likely solo. His bringing that to everyone's attention would only
serve to spoil the opportunity as people shifted to defend against it, so I
was forced to send out a scathing, lying rebuke to the whole list to keep
his siren's call from undermining me.
At that point it was a matter of figuring out whether I could guarantee
a solo. I could, but only by eliminating my long-term Swedish ally. I was
not willing to do that. I could guarantee taking Mecklenberg and Breslau but
the third would be tricky. Constantinople was the best chance, but it was
really dicey. Turkey had two fleets adjacent to it, either of which
providing a support would have blocked me. While neither had supported
Constantinople since it became Austrian, doing so would seem a pro forma
order if he didn't have grander plans for either unit. Still, it felt like
one of those moments where, if I didn't go for it then, the opportunity
would pass. Austria was coming into a build or two, and would certainly be
looking for me to back off sometime soon. My hope was that, with my advanced
position and all of the builds, even if it failed I would be able to break
thru *somewhere* and get the 15th subsequently. Thus, I tried and - anxious
until the adjudication arrived - was pleased to see it had worked. Huzzah
This was an excellent table of players:
Richard Aldous (Spain) didn't respond to a single email I sent him. Not
that I could have helped him avoid an early demise necessarily but, well,
Josiah Henderson (Denmark) was friendly but not consistently timely or
reliable with press. To my detriment I get anxious when people aren't
pressing regularly and thus was not too chagrined to contribute to getting
him into a Scandinavian quagmire with his neighbours. Would love to play a
FTF game with him.
Warren Fleming (France) played one of the best games at the table. He
and I had very little communication of substance - some talk of allying in
the mid and late games that never came to fruition - but at various points
he had spectacular turns of bravery and creativity that shot him into hugely
advantageous positions. I look forward to his EOG to try and better
understand why he didn't take advantage of some moments when he may have
truly been able to break out and win this thing.
Nick Powell (Prussia) is someone I like to play with, and the rare
player that I genuinely fear. He thinks many moves ahead, has an excellent
strategic sense, and presses very well. I wish I was as good a player as
Nick is. We had some good early press but, given my uncertainty about his
meta game motivations and the natural need for growth of Russia, was
generally pleased he had a hard time of it in this one.
Ray Bruce (Saxony) is as black-and-white as it gets: he's tough,
ruthless, smart and relentless. When he tried to play bully with me at the
outset it was all the motivation I needed to make him public enemy #1. I
love watching Ray play Diplomacy - just not in games that I am also a part
Wladimir Mysonski (Sweden) had a tough position to play and was never
really able to get started with it. As he pointed out again and again,
Denmark and Sweden need to cooperate early if either is going to have a
chance to really have an impact in this variant. It just didn't happen in
this one. I was glad to have him as a janissary because he's an excellent
player and was unflinchingly loyal to the end, including giving me
invaluable tactical suggestions along the way.
Michael Thompson (Britain) and I have now played together probably half
a dozen times. We always get along well, even though invariably one or the
other of us is thrown to the muck each time (I don't think we've ever shared
a draw, despite often working together). This game we never really got on
track together, and it became perplexing when he offered to help me solo in
the early-mid game and then kept consistently working against me! That's a
page in his play book that I will need to dog ear.
Aidan Slattery (Turkey) is one of the best players one can possibly
ally. He is loyal, contributes lots of smart tactical suggestions, friendly,
and a committed balance of power/grand alliance type. I regretted that the
turns of the game resulted in his being my mid-game target, as I had always
planned to take our relationship thru to the end. I really enjoy working
Adriaan Tichler (Austria I) was a great discovery in this game. He
might have been the best player at the table, and really helmed Austria
well. I can't wait to play with him again and pick up some pointers.
Sun Chung (Austria II) is yet another player in this game I have a good
history of working together with. Sun is a very good defensive player, which
made his audacious run for a solo all the more entertaining to watch. He is
so adept at slamming the door on possible stabs that it was really to my
terrific fortune that the turns and twists of the game led him to be
defending himself so completely in the west/southwest. Otherwise, if not for
that very extreme and unusual deployment, Sun never would have given me half
a chance at this thing.
I look forward to reading all of your EOG's and seeing things from a
different perspective. Thanks for the game, all!
On Oct 4, 2011, at 9:22 PM, Robert Stein wrote:
The three end game proposals all fail, but it
makes no difference as Dirk claims the three centers needed to give Russia
a solo victory. Congratulations to Dirk for a well deserved solo victory,
and thank you all for playing. I enjoyed GMing this game, and I hope you
enjoyed playing it. I'd very much appreciate end of game statements from
each of, at your convenience.
There were possible retreats from
Britain and Austria, but as they would not change the result of a Russian
solo, I took the liberty of auto-retreating the units so that all three
remained on the board. If for some reason either Michael or Sun would
prefer to retreat off the board, let me know and I'll amend the final map.
But if you do so, please be aware there will still be no winter builds, so
you will not be able to rebuild that unit.
DC386 FALL 1773
Austria-Hapsburg: Arandia / Adriaan
Tichler / arandia.t(at)gmail.com
(resigned Summer 1766)
from Fall 1766: sunchung/ Sun Chung /
psychosis1973 / Michael Thompson / psychosis(at)sky.com
Denmark-Norway: Josiah / Josiah
Henderson / josiah.henderson(at)gmail.com (abandoned Spring
France: alwayshunted / Warren Fleming / alwayshunted(at)hotmail.com
Ottoman Empire: Lane /
Aidan Slattery / aislattery(at)aol.com
Poland-Saxony: raybrucea / Bruce
Ray / raybrucea(at)aol.com (eliminated Fall
Prussia: DrSwordopolis / Nick Powell / nick.s.powell(at)gmail.com (eliminated Fall
Russian Empire: dknemeyer / Dirk Knemeyer / dirk(at)knemeyer.com (solo victory, Winter 1773)
Brstd46 / Richard Aldous / aldous(at)xtra.co.nz
(eliminated Winter 1767)
Sweden: Wladimir7 / Wladimir Mysonski / wmysonski(at)gmail.com
Breslau, Constantinople and Mecklenburg. Achieves
Austria: A Baden-Wuerttemberg
Supports A Austrian Netherlands -
Austria: A Budapest - Vienna (*Bounce*).
A Constantinople Hold (*Dislodged*).
Austria: A Dresden Supports A
Austrian Netherlands - Hesse-Westphalia.
Austria: A Milan Supports A
Republic of Venice.
Austria: A Switzerland Supports A
Austria: A Tyrol - Vienna (*Bounce*).
Austria: A Republic of
Venice Supports A Milan (*Cut*).
Britain: F English Channel -
Britain: F Helgoland Bight - United
Britain: A Hesse-Westphalia Supports F English Channel -
Britain: A Mecklenburg Hold (*Dislodged*).
North Atlantic Ocean - Irish Sea.
Britain: F North Sea Supports F
Helgoland Bight - United Provinces.
France: A Austrian Netherlands
France: A Brest - Ireland.
France: F Gascony -
France: F Gulf of Lyon Supports A Savoy.
France: A Languedoc
France: F Mid-Atlantic Ocean Convoys A Brest -
France: A Paris Supports A Languedoc - Burgundy.
Savoy Supports A Tuscany.
France: A Tuscany Supports A
France: A United Provinces Supports A Austrian Netherlands -
Russia: F Ankara Supports A Wallachia -
Russia: F Baltic Sea Supports A Holstein -
Russia: A Berlin Supports F Helgoland Bight -
Russia: F Christiania - Norwegian
Russia: A Holstein - Mecklenburg.
Russia: A Lapland -
Russia: A Lithuania - Galicia.
Russia: A Lusatia -
Russia: A Scania - Copenhagen.
Russia: A Syria
Russia: A Wallachia - Constantinople.
Sweden: A Stockholm
Turkey: F Adriatic Sea Supports A Budapest - Republic of
Turkey: F Ionian Sea Hold.
Turkey: F Morocco
Supports F Mid-Atlantic Ocean.
Turkey: A Papal States - Republic of
Turkey: F Tyrrhenian Sea - Western
THE FOLLOWING UNITS WERE DISLODGED:
Constantinople can retreat to Bosnia.
Hesse-Westphalia can retreat to Lusatia or Hanover.
A Mecklenburg can retreat to Hanover.
Austria: A Constantinople - Bosnia.
Hesse-Westphalia - Lusatia.
Britain: A Mecklenburg -
Baden-Wuerttemberg, A Bosnia, A Budapest, A Dresden, A Milan, A
Switzerland, A Tyrol, A Republic of Venice.
Austrian Netherlands, A Hanover, F Irish Sea, A Lusatia, F North
France: F Brest, A Burgundy, F Gulf
of Lyon, A Hesse-Westphalia, A Ireland,
Mid-Atlantic Ocean, A Paris, A Savoy, A
Russia: F Ankara, F Baltic Sea, A Berlin, A
Breslau, A Christiania, A
Constantinople, A Copenhagen, A Galicia, A Mecklenburg, F Norwegian
Turkey: F Adriatic Sea, F Ionian Sea, F
Morocco, A Papal States, F Western
OWNERSHIP OF SUPPLY CENTERS:
: Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, /-Breslau/, Budapest,
Milan, Switzerland, Republic of Venice, Vienna.
(6-1+1=6): Edinburgh, Hanover, Liverpool, London,
/-Mecklenburg/, United Provinces. +Austrian Netherlands
(10-1=9): /-Austrian Netherlands/, Barcelona, Brest,
Marseilles, Paris, Portugal, Savoy, Tuscany.
(12+3=15): Abo, Ankara, Berlin, Christiania, Copenhagen,
Koenigsburg, Moscow, St Petersburg, Warsaw. +Breslau, +Constantinople,
Sweden (1+0=1): Stockholm.
(5+0=5): Algiers, Morocco, Papal States, Tunis, Two
Austria: 8 Supply centers, 8
Units: Builds 0 units.
Supply centers, 6 Units: Builds 0
Denmark: 0 Supply centers, 0
Units: Builds 0
France: 9 Supply centers, 9
Units: Builds 0 units.
Supply centers, 0 Units: Builds 0
Russia: 15 Supply centers, 11 Units:
Builds 4 units.
Saxony: 0 Supply centers, 0
Units: Builds 0
Spain: 0 Supply centers, 0
Units: Builds 0
Sweden: 1 Supply center, 1
Unit: Builds 0
Turkey: 5 Supply centers, 5
Units: Builds 0 units.
Budapest, Milan, Vienna
Britain: Edinburgh, Hanover, Liverpool,
France: Brest, Marseilles, Paris
Russia: Crimea, Kiev,
Moscow, St. Petersburg
Sweden: Abo, Stockholm