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SR: Diplomacy Mini-Monster (VERY LONG)

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  • Campbell MacInnes
    Ah well, a fine day of meddling, squabbling, chicanery and incompetence! We also played Diplomacy. Attendees: Constantine von Napoleon, Tsar Matt II, Sultan
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 3, 2001
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      Ah well, a fine day of meddling, squabbling, chicanery and
      incompetence! We also played Diplomacy.

      Attendees: Constantine von Napoleon, Tsar Matt II, Sultan Abdul Hamid
      MacInnes, Field Marshall Karl Hague, and Prince Klemens "Adam"
      Metternich.

      Location, location, location: Casa De Von Hoffman, in Sunny Brighton.

      A grande ole time was had, as we scrambled to assume our roles in the
      masterful game of Diplomacy and hunker down for the long haul. After
      a quick rules explanation (which apparently did not take for some of
      us, as you will see), we dived right in.

      By random lot we drew countries as follows: Karl drew Britain,
      Constantine drew France, Adam drew Austria-Hungary, Matt drew Russia
      and I drew the Sick Man of Europe, the Ottoman Empire. As we had
      five, the rules dictated that we play in europe of 1801 instead of
      1901, so Germany and Italy were virtual non-entities, with pieces on
      the board but no minds behind them (sounds like some of the players!).

      From the very get-go, it seemed as though Sultan Hamid had taken
      control of my body, forcing me into a variety of bad and plainly
      illegal moves, which led to the Turk being indeed the low man on the
      pole, while the others jumped out and snatched up territory left and
      right. After the first year, I believe Russia had 6, the Ottomans had
      4, France and Britain had 7 and Austria-Hungary had a frightening 8
      (well its frightening when they're on YOUR border and looking your
      way, anyway!)

      A further series of self-inflicted Turkish mishaps left them
      struggling to hold onto 3 or 4 supply depots for most of the rest of
      the game (which their leader handled quite well, once he was talked
      off the roof and the tears were dried). Meanwhile Austria continued
      to inch south-eastward into Ottoman territory, Russia pushed ever
      deeper straight into Germany, Britain took huge bites out of
      Scandinavia and eyed the low countries and France consolidated her
      hold on Iberia and looked eastwards.

      At this point, the lines began to be drawn, as it became obvious that
      Russia had badly over-extended herself with the British on her
      northern flank, sharpening their knives, Turkey was staggering around
      drunkenly with the Austrian vulture circling overhead and France was
      riding towards us on a white steed with an olive branch in one hand
      and a cask of wine in the other.

      I knew that if I had to choose either Austria or Russian as an ally,
      since they had also been beating on each other and had already broken
      promises back and forth (love that bad blood). I also knew that if I
      sided with Austria and attacked Russia, I would not only give Austria
      the game, I would also be her next victim. So the eastern powers
      formed common cause and tentatively entered into negotiations with
      the Little Emperor. Britain was more or less not an option as our
      third partner, as she could not assist the Sick Man at all and was
      already burping after a feast of finest borscht.

      This, of course, forced a defacto alliance between Austria-Hungary
      and Britain, which appeared to work fairly well for them throughout
      the game.

      The next few turns saw the Ottomans prop themselves up a bit,
      rotating holdings like bad tires from 3 to 5 (generally hanging onto
      4) while Adam Metternich used the Concert of Europe to pipe his way
      into the Russian Heartland, with British assistance in the north.
      Somehow, he was also able to keep me busy, and take back any gains I
      occasionally made with a vengeance (with some help by further
      buffooneries on my part). The bulk of Russian forces were now
      stranded outside the Russian border, and the only supply center in
      the motherland still under Russian control was the virtually useless
      Sevastapol.

      However, around this time, the French War machine was finally making
      good her promise, and had steamrolled her way into Italy and the
      central mediterrean, threatening the Austrian heartland with
      assistance from the Russian Expatriate Forces. It was at this point
      that Austria approached me one final time with a veritable pact from
      satan himself: Attack Sevastapol and he would support my further
      assaults into Russia, while he would take Smyrna (the southern third
      of my Anatolian homeland) and we would otherwise leave each other
      alone. I must say I was tempted, since I knew he could take Smyrna
      anyway, but my Turkish stubborness would not allow me to voluntarily
      cede an inch of Anatolian land to the infidel. And besides, I had
      some hope that the French push would force him to retreat with a
      little more patience on my part. I of course made a token acquiesance
      (that I doubt anyone would have bought) and then went back to the
      table and planned my best plans to harry the Hapsburg forces (not
      much, I wager).

      Meanwhile, a fierce and ongoing landwar of give and take was going on
      in the low countries and western Germany, mainly between Britain and
      France, with early assistance from Russia. When the Russian
      Expatriates began their Long March back to the motherland, the
      Hapsburgs swooped north to fill the void and France, who had been
      more than holding her own, began to struggle just to hold the line.
      However, since she had, by this time, conquered most of Italy, this
      was not overly stressing.

      The game proceeded, with Smyrna rapidly falling to the Austrian
      Horde, and Greece, Bulgaria, Constantinople and Rumania (and
      occasionally Serbia) doing some strange Balkan dance from partner to
      partner, as they changed hands numerous times. Russian finally
      regained her foothold in her own borders, just as the Ottomans began
      their final collapse, allowing Hapsburg fleets into their lake (the
      Black Sea), Rumania and Constantinople, with Greece teetering on the
      edge (held up only by French assistance, which was the story for the
      Ottomans the whole game). Sevastapol fell soon after as further
      Turkish lands did as well, leaving Russia and the Ottomans at two
      supply centers apiece, with France at somewhere around 13 or 14 and
      the Austrians and British splitting the rest (Britain was slightly
      ahead, I believe).

      The one consolation at this point was that virtually all of the
      original Austrian lands were now under French control, as the Turks
      (with Russian assistance) had managed to keep Austria so busy that
      she had virtually emptied out her own lands. Austria actually had
      enough centers to drop 1 or 2 more units, I believe, but no where to
      place them!

      With the eastern powers teetering on the brink, this left Britain and
      the Austrians almost ready (in another turn or two) to turn back and
      gang up on the French Colossus. Unfortunately, it was getting sort of
      late and one of the participants had to go, so we called the game,
      with France the winner, but not, in my mind, decisively.

      I admit I had begun to severely dislike the game in the beginning,
      due mainly to the fact that its structure makes it severely
      unforgiving of even the minorest mental errors (and hey, I'm 90%
      mental error). This is also one of the main reasons I dislike PoF, an
      otherwise unrelated game (except that they are both set in europe
      somewhere). However, as the game progressed, and I got a better
      handle of the mechanics, and more of my problems were caused by
      external rather than internal events, I came to enjoy it more. I
      think I would like to try it again, to confirm this, and I believe I
      will indeed like it more.


      Of course, as we were preparing to head out, ancient spirits from the
      Indian Burial Ground that Constantine's house is built upon rose-up,
      slamming all the doors and windows closed. An eery voice from beyond
      gave us the ultimatum to play Settlers of Catan or be trapped for all
      eternity. We pondered, but finally acquiesced.

      It was a four player game, and a quick one at that, with the
      Russians, I mean, Matt and I jumping out a bit, Matt tossing me up
      and the Red Herring of "so winning" (despite my painful lack of
      several key resources) and then stomping over us all to a speedy
      victory. Constantine came in second, while Adam and I tied for third
      at a respectable 5 apiece.

      Overall, an enjoyable day. Well spent and I look forward to the next
      such mini-monster, whether it be Diplomacy, Advanced Civ, History of
      the World or what have you (Britannia?).

      Game on.

      --Campbell
    • AndAgainMA@aol.com
      Nice report, Campbell! ... Shouldn t that be Schloss Von Hoff? or Chateau Hoffman, given the allocation of countries? ... due mainly to the fact that its
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 3, 2001
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        Nice report, Campbell!

        >location: Casa De Von Hoffman<

        Shouldn't that be Schloss Von Hoff? or Chateau Hoffman, given the allocation
        of countries?

        >I admit I had begun to severely dislike the game in the beginning,
        due mainly to the fact that its structure makes it severely
        unforgiving of even the minorest mental errors<

        That reminds me of the first game of Diplomacy I played. It was a world map
        variant played by email, and I was the Emporer of China. I occupied a supply
        center in the spring of the first year, moved out in the fall, and was most
        upset not to get the build for it.

        As for Campbell's PoF comparison, I think that Princes is massively more
        unforgiving of a single error than is Diplomacy. Make an error in Diplomacy,
        and you can often use it to convince a potential ally that you're not a
        threat to them.* Make a mistake in PoF and you're pretty much out of it,
        given the level of Florentian experience that abounds at UG sessions these
        days.

        Having said that, I rarely make a single error in a game of Princes...

        Andrew.

        * On the other hand, yes, I do admit that there are *some* fatal single
        errors in Diplomacy.


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