School of War Summer 2019

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jmo1121109
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Re: School of War Summer 2019

#61 Post by jmo1121109 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:48 am

goldfinger0303 wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:18 am
I have my own theory on the French builds, but I'll refrain from elaborating until after the spring moves. I don't want to give anything away.

Question for the professors - why didn't Germany hit Sweden in the fall? If your hypothesis is correct that Germany is the mastermind of the moves in the West (which I think is unlikely, but I digress), why would he ever want to allow Russia into Sweden? Of all of last fall's moves, that's the one that's ringing alarm bells with me.
Errr...not sure how to put this other then you're wrong. :) There's really no tactical advantage that can come from any surprise alliance that would outweigh the negative of not taking 2 builds and then making an army. Plus there's the whole France admitting it was a misorder in global press.

I'm also beyond convinced that Germany was the mastermind of the setup of England. Now what I obviously do not know is if England or Germany suggested the MAO move and the convoy to Belgium, what I do know without question from the moves is that Germany knew about it, told France, France only partially trusted it, and covered himself with the most defensive move possible, most likely in lieu of whatever Germany had suggested.

It really doesn't matter if Germany suggested the moves or took advantage of the suggestion, because either way he clearly played England like a fiddle into a 0 build turn.

Now onto your question about why let Russia into Sweden. I disagree that this is a consequential move. The question Germany was posed with was a simple one. Now that I am in a position to block Russia, do I? Now lets consider the two options. Allow Russia into Sweden and possibly gain an alliance with him, or at least his goodwill enough that he'll leave you alone for the time being. The other option, block Russia from Sweden. What happens then? Russia either continues trying for Sweden and Germany is stuck guarding against that for years on end OR an annoyed Russia moves to the Baltic Sea and then Germany is stuck guarding 3 of his centers while trying to keep Sweden free from Russian influence; which is, in a word, impossible.

Now here's the important part, neither of these options are good for Germany with a 3 center England because then Russia is going to be more inclined to build north and either take some of England's centers or help England out unless he's so busy in the south that he cannot interfere.

It's possible that Germany had spoken to Turkey and was aware that Turkey was planning an attempt on Rumania but it's more likely that at this point Germany simply realized that the 3 center England was worth the risk of having Russia at his back when (in theory) England should have fallen extremely quickly with a fleet in Brest.
peterwiggin wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:51 pm
Question: if I'm Germany, how do I feel about A Bre?
Short answer: terrified. Why? Because of my answer to Gold about Sweden. Russia is likely not a friendly entity now that England is down to 3 centers and Russia is free in the south. Russian interference is now assured with the build in StP N, and the German/French alliance has just lost all momentum due to the critical misorder. Earlier in my lectures I mentioned how players should never be entering orders at the start of a turn because they need to be discussing any unexpected moves with their mentors before deciding on a course of action. This is exactly what I was talking about. A misorder like this has game shifting impacts. It weakens Germany's position drastically, it strengthens England immensely, it places France in a terribly difficult spot of now possibly needing to reconsider their alliances to adjust to their new unit placement and it ensures that Russia's interference will now be in time and impactful enough to have serious impacts in the west. Any plan previously in place before this misorder in the west needs to be thrown in the trash and new plans adjusting to the new reality of the board need to be made.
Octavious wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 7:27 pm
Or indeed the Smyrna fleet. You get the feeling that quite a few game changing conversations have taken place recently.
This move would normally be the most consequential on the board, but was overshadowed by a misorder. This should be highly concerning to both Austria and Italy. Italy is now in a lot of danger, and Austria isn't far behind. It looks like Russia and Turkey have set their differences (if there ever were any real differences and that wasn't just a facade to disguise an alliance) aside. And with Russia hitting 6 centers with a 7th ensured this turn from the north alone, this could be the start of a massive powerhouse alliance in the east.

Before the builds F/G was the alliance to beat on the board and no other alliances really even appeared to exist. Now their combination's potency is negligible and the eastern R/T has emerged as the power on the map.

And final question that I received over pm.
What happened to the guest lecture on global press?
The lecturer's location was hit by a tornado and they just got power back. Lecture is therefore delayed.
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Re: School of War Summer 2019

#62 Post by foodcoats » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:15 pm

That's a really interesting 1901... Bold Is Law in both east and west.

I'd be interested to hear more from the profs on the Italo-Austrian war. I keep staring at that progression of moves in wonder. It seems to me that either Italy gave up their moveset to Russia who betrayed them to Austria, or - the much sexier option - there was a double psych-out where Italy pegged Austria as a conservative and Austria pegged Italy for thinking they'd be conservative and would therefore take the aggressive/non-conventional play, which they could exploit.

The latter kind of situation is really really interesting and it makes me think about my own approach to the game. I think that the more I learn about Diplomacy, the more I seem to slip into conventional plays with really neat and clean positive expected value... whereas doing the 2nd and 3rd level thinking and making exploitative moves is way more awesome and can really be a reversal of fortunes. It can obviously be the difference between an acceptable turn and a great turn, as was the case for Austria here.
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Re: School of War Summer 2019

#63 Post by peterwiggin » Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:35 pm

Just a friendly reminder that students and TAs should not post in this thread. TAs are welcome to ask the professors questions via PM.
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Re: School of War Summer 2019

#64 Post by jmo1121109 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:40 pm

Review of the Spring 02 Moves

This turn is fantastic from a lecturing standpoint because it brings into play my three favorite lecture points that I've discussed in previous school of war's.
  1. Read the order logs!
    This one is critical because if you do not read the order logs you will likely miss the fact that France ordered (The army at Picardy support move to Belgium from Yorkshire. (fail)), which is an absolutely critical and game changing piece of information to be aware of. You would also miss (The fleet at Rumania support move to Bulgaria from Greece. (fail)) which is the difference in thinking Russia was neutral in the south to understanding that Russia is actually trying to ally with Austria against Turkey.
  2. Holds are evil!
    I will talk more about this in each countries move sets, but I almost never issue a hold order. I will support hold, support move, or attack with every piece every turn. The obvious exception is cases like Yorkshire this past turn, where it has literally nothing to do and a move does not make sense. But that exception aside, I am strongly against a hold being issued in Bulgaria. In a key turn where making allies is critical, a hold with a key unit signals a lack of resolve towards any potential alliances and is extremely concerning.
  3. Do not attack 2 countries at once!
    In almost all scenarios it does not make sense to make multiple enemies at once. Most scenarios for most countries in nearly every game will ensure that attacking 2 people at once means opening yourself to someone else, or ensuring that you will not have enough units on either front to ensure the outcomes that will benefit you. So who is guilty of this right now? Russia, Turkey, France, and Germany. Russia is in the process of starting a northern war while engaging Turkey. Turkey is in the process of either attacking Italy or Austria (we don't know which yet) while engaged with Russia. Now in Turkey's defense, if that bounce in Arm was arranged, he might not have been aware he was engaged with Russia. France was attacking England and then switched to attacking Italy. And Germany is attacking France and either Russia or England...with a small chance of both. Now later in the game this rule does not apply as much, but if you take a look at the board now you'll notice that all 4 of these countries are clearly disadvantaged in some way in 1 or both of their attacks. They're all in a state where they are going to be in a slugging match to try and make gains, and that's exactly what you want to avoid in this game, messy fights where you are not ensured of victory or gains. You always want to be able to do 2 things, attack someone else to gain more centers, and have enough strategically placed units that it isn't worth it for anyone else to attack you. This goes out the window the second that you start making a solo run, but I'll discuss that later in the game when applicable.
England:
A+, your press must have been downright magical this turn to get France completely removed as an enemy and to convince Germany to move into a more neutral stance. You now seem poised to get your first build and with Germany and France engaged in a war with Russia looming over Germany you are now the natural ally for Germany. Astounding turnaround based completely on press and most likely pouncing on the situation presented by the French misorder. You unfortunately had to stab France during this turn by not accepting his support, but in this scenario, where Germany now has a massive tactical advantage on France you really do not have any worries of retribution in the short term. And due to France's poor position and burning bridges with Germany and Italy this turn, he'll likely need to consider a future alliance with you if he is to survive.

France:
That could have been better. As mentioned earlier, I am strongly against proposed move sets that open you up to getting brutally stabbed, and agreeing to vacate Brest, and move 2 units to attack Italy while opening hostilities with Germany is beyond overextending your units. You do not have the units to defend yourself even if that had worked successfully with England. And now you may not get Spain as a build because you'll be forced into playing guessing games with Paris and Marseilles. And if Germany plays those games perfectly you could lose a center without taking Spain. England is not in a position to help you anymore, Italy is going to be extremely annoyed, and Germany is going to be even more engaged in attacking you after Pic's move set. This is why focusing on one area for gains is so important. This turn you should be focused on repairing burned bridges and sending messages like Balki's example to England to all of your neighbors. Press will be critical to your survival.

Germany:
France's misorder was unfortunate for your position but you made the most of it here. Attacking more then 1 person at once is never ideal, but since a misorder essentially forced you into it, you get a pass for this situation. I don't know what cued you off to France's overall intentions but the important part is you noticed, and acted accordingly to take advantage of a poor position and are now poised to possibly keep France from more builds, and maybe even to take one of his centers. What's very interesting to me is that you seem to have made peace with England, but if I'm england in this scenario, I would have asked you to move to the Baltic Sea instead of Ska. Instead you used the fact that you have the best positioning in the west to ignore that English request knowing full well that you could afford to do so without negative ramifications as a safeguard to ensure England did not team up against you with France. For me the move to Ska is really nicely done from a defensive standpoint.

You still have the option to attack England, but with Russia being now occupied in the south, you also have the very enticing option of an likely (though not ensured) build for both you and England, which would kick off an alliance that could naturally progress into a weakened France due to a series of poor French moves.

Then there's the move to Tyrolia. Which is the most interesting power move of the game so far. It isn't openly hostile to Italy or Austria and could be sheerly defensive in nature to ensure a retreat did not occur to Tyr. But it's more likely a move designed to let you strongly influence the alliances and power structure of the east. And it gives you the odd option of enticing Austria to retreat to Piedmont in exchange for your help retaking Venice. An alliance with you and Austria is actually oddly feasible right now, since you both need to be concerned about Russia, and you're in a position to help with Italy while Austria could help with France. That said, I don't find that amazingly likely, and I suspect the overall effect of that unit will be to either weaken or strengthen Austria by 1 unit. I won't comment on which option is better tactically. They both have their pro's and cons on this board, but I would spend some time discussing it with your TA because it's a critical decision that will shape the east.

These moves, specifically the move to Ska and Tyr continue to show your level of control over the board is astounding. Really quite impressive.

Russia:
When I glanced at the board I wasn't too put off by your moves, but then I want to the order log and saw you'd engaged in a war you cannot win against Turkey right now, attempting to gain an ally in Austria who simply cannot afford an attack on Bulgaria this turn because their units were all desperately needed against Italy. Things aren't going so well in the north either, as what should have been an ensured pickup of Norway has now turned into the possible loss of Sweden. This is why every turn needs to have strong press to follow up strong positions. Tactically understanding the board and making sure nobody else on the map is offering better alternatives to what you think is going to occur. I also think you got amazingly lucky against Turkey and I'll explain why and how Turkey missed an opportunity to take Sevastopol from you that a player like myself would have taken.

For this turn I would focus on working with your TA to fully understand the tactical options available to you with Norway and Sweden and why that situation requires considerable thought. As well as discuss how to make an eastern ally given the shifting dynamics in the east. Nobody knows if Turkey's fleet is going to attack Italy or Austria and nobody knows if Germany's army in Tyrolia is going to attack or help Austria. You *NEED* to be discussing the pros and cons of both and then trying to influence those decisions in a way that will most benefit you nonstop this turn.

Austria:
I liked your turns, and I cannot offer much commentary on your current position because I have no idea if you asked for or were surprised by Germany taking Tyrolia, same with Turkey moving to Aegean. Now the support offered from Russia was a nice thing to see for you, but might have the effect of angering Turkey even if you didn't ask for it. Your press this turn in influencing Aegean and Tyr is going to decide if you survive to the end game. And in an odd twist, the choice to retreat to Apu vs Piedmont isn't as easy as it should be. You have 3 critical decisions to make, be sure to talk them all through in depth with your TA and do not decide before understanding the pros/cons of each.

Turkey:
As mentioned above, this was a critical turn for alliances, and Bulgaria, which could have been a key unit for helping or hurting Italy and Austria sat still. I somewhat suspect that the bounce in Armenia was arranged, because if it wasn't then choosing to anger Russia while moving your fleet to attack either Italy or Austria is concerning. So what I would have loved to see, but didn't expect too because it's one of the more advanced setup's to try and pull off would have been you arranging a Russian bounce in Armenia and then convoying into Sev from Const and moving the 2nd fleet in Const to cover your other 2 centers. You knew that Russia had to use Ukraine to support hold Rum so you knew that Sev would be open. Having an army in Sev, Bulg, and a fleet in the Black Sea would have ensured that you could take Rumania next turn, likely with Austria's help with a strong chance of defending your own centers. Keep tricks like that in mind for future games. Especially if you'd managed to catch wind of the fact that Germany and England had made up and were considering anti Russian northern moves. And that's something you ideally should have known. Germany and England should have considered sharing it with you because you were in a position to strongly benefit from that information and you should have been trying to work them into that scenario to avoid an even stronger Russian powerhouse.

You're now in the weird situation of needing to use that fleet in Aegean to attack someone since you're ensured to not make any gains against Russia. The good news is Serbia is free right now to help with Rumania, the bad news is, there's no guarantee that it won't be used to attack you. You need to carefully weigh what the use of that fleet will do to your odds of ever making it to 5 centers.

Italy:
So oddly enough, there's nothing unexpectedly terrible here for you. France moved to attack you but now does not have the leeway to continue that due to Germany. Austria attacked but is now going to be hesitant due to the army in Tyrolia, and Turkey seems undecided with fleet Aegean and his alliances in the game. My advice to you, send press, then send more press, and follow that up with some press. Where Austria retreats too, what the army in Tyr does, and what that fleet in Aegean does are all critical for you to have influence in.

*Thank you PW for a number of nitpicky corrections that I've made to the post. :eyeroll:
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Re: School of War Summer 2019

#65 Post by jmo1121109 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:57 pm

Oh, and one final note for this turn. For the love of god, Italy take down that damn draw vote.
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Re: School of War Summer 2019

#66 Post by Squigs44 » Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:20 am

jmo1121109 wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:57 pm
Oh, and one final note for this turn. For the love of god, Italy take down that damn draw vote.
I usually play with hidden draw votes, I think that makes the game more pure. When playing with non hidden draw votes, how does that change the game? How do you use draw votes as a diplomatic tool, or does that not work?
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Re: School of War Summer 2019

#67 Post by jmo1121109 » Sun Jul 07, 2019 1:24 am

Squigs44 wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:20 am
jmo1121109 wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:57 pm
Oh, and one final note for this turn. For the love of god, Italy take down that damn draw vote.
I usually play with hidden draw votes, I think that makes the game more pure. When playing with non hidden draw votes, how does that change the game? How do you use draw votes as a diplomatic tool, or does that not work?
Sure, we've also been asked to address why this game is not hidden draw. So lets start there. This game is designed to teach students how to play in the way most common online. Webdip and Playdip both for sure use a default of non-hidden draw votes. As do vdip and I suspect many of the others. The reason for why is really simple. When hidden draw was added to the site, from the first few games and to this day, we get members contacting the mod team with "hey, everyone says they've voted draw, is there a bug?". Default features that confused people are non ideal. Which is the same reason why Per Rulebook is not the default press option, because it confuses people who think there's been a bug when they cannot message each other. Online and f2f intrinsically have to be different. F2F for example has metagaming problems in tournaments which we prevent online because it's feasible and more fair. So our goal here is to teach and tailor our lessons to help new players prepare for the most common game type we present.

Now onto how it changes the game. This is a hotly contested topic, and some our of top players argue it makes solo'ing much harder. Some like myself disagree and think that anyone with a hint of tactical skill can determine who has a solo chance and work against that regardless of if there's hidden draw votes. And some other top players think there is probably a slight impact to how hard it is to solo in a game.

I strongly feel that if you cannot manage it without draw votes being hidden then you aren't really in a position to solo anyway, but the other professors might feel differently and this can probably be branched off into an entirely different thread. But I can say as someone who's sitting at an overall win percentage of 37% and only 4 hidden draw games, that this hasn't been a problem for me.

Now for how you use draw votes as diplomatic tools, I've been told some people use them to force people into drawing by threatening to gang up on the only person without a draw vote. But anyone doing that is probably not too bright of a player, because I can easily fake doing that to get people around me out of position to give myself an opening and take down my own draw vote before the holdout does, throwing the board into a state of chaos.

Overall, I strongly recommend against trying to use them to manipulate the game or agreeing to someones proposal to do so because it can easily be a lie just like everything else in the game.
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Re: School of War Summer 2019

#68 Post by ItsHosuke » Sun Jul 07, 2019 2:24 am

I would just like to say that the alliances are shifting as quickly as those in School of War Fall 2017 :razz: :razz:
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Re: School of War Summer 2019

#69 Post by Octavious » Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:14 am

jmo1121109 wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 1:24 am
But anyone doing that is probably not too bright of a player, because I can easily fake doing that to get people around me out of position to give myself an opening and take down my own draw vote before the holdout does
Out of curiosity, how does one easily do that? I've dabbled a little in this kind of thing and as often as not you log on in the morning to discover the die hard holdout wasn't nearly as die hard as he claimed and you've just earned yourself a five way.
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Re: School of War Summer 2019

#70 Post by captainmeme » Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:27 am

Two things to say here:

Public Draw Votes is huge. It's not just because you can gang up on the holdout - if you know who is holding out, and are in a game with two particularly large players, you can also threaten to throw the game to whichever one of them has their draw vote in - Chris Martin has a good strategy video on this which actually examines one of my old games and how a draw happened even though a player was in a likely soloing position (I'm on phone right now, I'll find it and edit the link in after).

Secondly, strong disagree with Jmo on ganging up on the draw hold out being ineffective. I'd say in 90% of cases when it's done against someone not in a soloing position, it results in a draw almost immediately. If you're planning to use something like this to gain an advantage like Jmo suggested, you have to be very, very careful - you are going to bring the wrath of the entire board on you by going back on your word, so you A) have to make sure players can't retaliate by attacking you and B) have to make sure players can't retaliate by throwing - all while hoping the player being ganged up on will hold out their draw vote while being attacked from all sides with no sign of support in sight, because your draw vote has to go down before theirs goes up. Even if you're intending to go for the stab, there's a huge chance you draw because the other player gives in too early, or you have to stab early in fear of this and you gain nothing out of it.

My advice would be never try to gang up on draw vote holdouts unless you truly believe that the current draw is the best result you're likely to get, and never put in your draw vote unless you're actually willing to draw for the same reason. I've seen way too many games with tons of play left in them end in 6 or 5 way draws (occasionally even 7-way) because people started putting draw votes in and nobody was brave enough to be the one to hold out.
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Re: School of War Summer 2019

#71 Post by captainmeme » Mon Jul 08, 2019 12:49 pm

Apparently I can't edit the link in, so here it is:

Diplomacy Academy 4: Negotiating from a position of weakness

I highly recommend this entire series to any player who hasn't seen it yet, Chris Martin is a former World Champion in the Face to Face side of the game and his advice shows that throughout.
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Re: School of War Summer 2019

#72 Post by dargorygel » Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:40 pm

While our professors are building biceps, gargling salt-water for tonal quality, arranging 3x5 cards for lecture clarity, and getting enough sleep for mental acuity, be assured that the SoW is still very much on fire! Mentors and mentees are having coffee while discussing other's press, movement options, prof's lectures, and the meaning of life (42!!!) Owls, telegraphs, pony-express-riders, and hand-written letters, affixed with inexpensive stamps may all be out of vogue, but press goes on with PMs. You would enjoy reading them... further up and further in!
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Re: School of War Summer 2019

#73 Post by Balki Bartokomous » Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:37 am

* An audible silence fills the lecture hall as the seconds tick by. Tick, tick, tick. It is a silence that has a weight to it; a presence in the room. The kind of silence in which the mere biting into a potato chip would cause a wave of flinches all the way to the back row.
* Nobody is eating a potato chip.
* As the minute hand reaches 45 minutes past the hour, a cowed teacher's assistant wheels in a small cathode-ray tube television with a piercing, rhythmic screech.
* The room swells collectively in anticipation as the ancient screen stares back blankly. Tick, tick, tick.
* 10 more minutes pass.
* The television turns on. A fuzzy picture emerges.
* Professor Balki is crouched in a lotus position on a wicker mat next to a high-backed wooden Windsor chair. His wears light linen, over bronze skin, framing an amused expression hinting at respect.
* To the worldly observer, it’s quite clear that Balki’s toes are partially submerged in the shallows of the Mekong river.


Hello class. Forgive my casual attire. It’s hot you see.

* The crowded lecture hall forgives him completely, without a word.

I like this map! This map reflects a lot of hard work, and some real talent and creativity. I find that alliance shifts are commonly a function of high-level play. Conditions shift every turn, and every unexpected condition creates points of leverage, and compelling arguments why people who are moving their units towards you should begin moving their units away from you.

Sometimes newer players are paralyzed by inertia, or by an intransigent distrust based on a limited sample of interactions with their fellow players. This game seems generally free of that affliction.

I’m going to state a couple of general principles about the game to which I ascribe:

(1) If you’re engaged in an open war, along a large border, using most of your units against another power who is also using most of her units, you should do everything you can to cause both players to turn around and move in a different direction. Large, honest wars that tie up all of the units of both players are almost always bad, unless you’re stopping a solo.
(2) All good players have the capacity to lie and the capacity to tell the truth. Don’t form fixed views of your fellow players based on the handful of turns that you’ve witnessed in a single game. All that does is limit your options unnecessarily. Just because Italy lied to you in 1901, that doesn’t mean he is always a liar. Just because Russia told the truth in 1901, that doesn’t make him pure as snow in 1903.

Okay, with these thoughts in mind, I’m going to go through the seven powers on the map, and share a few thoughts about their current position that I might have if the position was my own. You won’t hear scolding or absolutes from me. I haven’t read your press. And press is everything.

Austria

I don’t like this war with Italy. It’s a bad look. Yeah, I made the crafty play to thwart the ’01 attack, but we are just becoming so entangled, to the benefit of our other neighbors only. I have two solutions. First, find some way to disentangle with Italy. That actually may be good for Italy too, so there is room for discussion, but we are so co-mingled that any proposal I offer may give Italy a dominant strategy to say “yes” with his fingers crossed behind his back.

So my second potential solution is to bring in reinforcements from Italy’s rear. And, look at that! Germany enters Tyrolia and France moves to Western Mediterranean! I likely had something to do with that, if I’m any good. If I didn’t, I obviously have a lot to say to France and Germany now. If Germany will help me retake Venice while keeping my current holdings, I’m going to be a contender.

The second thing I’m thinking about is the war going on to my east. Up until now, neutrality has suited me. I’ve had a defense to mount, after all. But now Turkey is in Aegean, and my eastern flank may very well be vulnerable this season. I need to make both Russia and Turkey feel like I’m on their side, while doing my utmost to avoid breaking a promise to either. I think I can sell to them just how desperate my situation is against Italy, and I’ll likely leave out this awesome agreement I have with Germany to turn the tide.

England

It’s a huge recovery to have a French fleet in Western Med, a Germany army in Burgundy, and all of my borders clear. This is what I mean when I say the trick is in getting other powers to move their units away from you, and get them to commit to conflicts with your neighbors. These strategic goals are much more important than centers. Accomplish those strategic goals and you waltz into the supply centers. So…I did as dear Professor Balki suggested, what supply centers will accost me like a pack of long-haired chihuahuasin heat? Well, Germany and I have a pretty easy and fair arrangement for Norway/Sweden. That’s pretty clean and mutually beneficial. Wow. Professor Balki is a freaking Grand Master.

If this deal with Germany works out, he gets two builds. Therein lies my next key. Armies! But, based on timing, I don’t think I want to insist upon that now. I have no leverage to insist upon a double army build now, and with Germany in position to choose between me and Russia in the north, I might as well wait to make that double army demand until after he has committed against Russia. I don’t stand to gain anything by making that demand/polite request now as opposed to after Germany is committed.

France

Argh. I’m not sure how I expected that turn to go, but this isn’t great. The deal with England is acceptable, but Germany’s moves really make the picture bleaker. First, the move to Burgundy hamstrings me severely. I do have a move to ensure I get a build (Gas – Mar, Pic – Par), but that puts my pieces in all the wrong places. Second, Germany’s apparent intervention in the Austria/Italy conflict suggests that Italy is going to be a quick out. That’s not really what I want. I like him weak, but I’m hardly in position to wind up with the lion’s share.

I think a better way to ensure I get a build is likely Spain – Marseilles, WMed – Spain, Gas – Paris. That way I can sell it to Italy as a retreat, even if a bounce in Marseilles keeps my fleet in Western Med. And, well…with the Germany attack, I’m okay with leaving Italy alone for now anyway. I’d rather see him put up a bit of a fight and perhaps link up with Turkey to stall what appears to be a dominant A/G.

If I do that second defense, I have Picardy free to do something else. I suppose I’ll offer it to England to see if he will join in an attack on Germany. I have a good rapport with England, and I did exactly what I told him I would do last turn. I wonder if he’ll see greater long-term rewards in joining me to fight Germany now, and keep Germany from getting very big, which it seems like he is primed to do.

I can also try to sell Germany on taking the North Sea and using Burgundy to cover Belgium (Bel would have to cover Holland). That’s not a bad way to make great progress against England while getting Germany out of my hair. I’ll float it and try to read his response.

To basically anyone who will listen (except for Austria who is clearly in Germany’s pocket), I am stoking the fires of Germaphobia. “That Germany…wow…he sure has a nice position… Looks like he may get up to 7 this turn!”

Germany

Well that was exhausting. I have England and France both doing my bidding, and what appears to be two great options in the North. I can grab North Sea and put England on the ropes with a supported attack there coupled with Bel – Hol, Bur – Bel. Or, I can take Sweden, force a Russian disband, and solidify an alliance with a smaller England.

In the South, I have ensured Austrian success, which will keep both Russia and Turkey contained, and gives me a great long-term partner for the mid- to late-game.

I am a bit overextended, and I’ve got serious enemies in France, Russia, and Italy, but they can’t really harm me so long as I can keep England [or possibly Russia] and Austria on board . I’ll probably lead France and Russia along into thinking I’m moving on England, but my heart won’t be in it.

This game is shaping up well if I can keep England on my side. Time to make quite a lot of promises to England, tell him jokes, and build that bond. We’re in this together.

Italy

Damn Germany! I thought I had things under control. But that Germany move changes everything. Argh.

If I’m fighting Germany and Austria here, this move is very likely to go poorly. A/G can force Venice, and guard Budapest and Vienna. I might get cute and enter Galicia support Vienna to Budapest, as I’m anticipating a self-standoff in Budapest. Or I could use Professor Balki’s suggestion of Galicia support Veinna to Budapest to do something else entirely, or to encourage Turkey to try for Bulgaria to Serbia.

I am probably prioritizing ensuring that I have at least Rome/Naples/Tunis by the end of the year, while trying to pull in help from the rest of the board against A/G. Most of my time this turn will be spent talking to Russia and Turkey. They are fighting an open war along a large border that is committing most of their units on each side, and Professor Balki says that’s bad. I should tell them he’s right. I should also tell them that A/G are in a truly amazing position right now, and, if they gobble me up fast, they are quite likely to turn on Russia and Turkey next, especially considering that Germany seems to have England in tow. If I can get R/T to hammer Austria from the east, I can get right back in this game. That is my focus, and I’m selling something there that I sincerely believe they should be buying.

Russia

Okay, Germany is telling me that he’s about to double-cross England for the North Sea, but does that really make sense? Look at the move to Tyrolia. Seems like Germany is helping Austria, and Germany committed hard against France. I like that Germany has found a direction to send his armies, but I fear that his commitment against France ensures that Germany needs England more than he needs me. I need to prepare to lose Sweden and Norway.

I need to go back to all of my neighbors with a reset of communications in mind. I don’t like where this is headed. My biggest problems right now are that I am fighting a large, open war with Turkey while Austria and Germany have freedom to grow and flourish. I am shooting myself in the foot.

If I can reconcile with Turkey, and really trust that he’s on board, I want to do that. I’m wary of him saying “yes” with his fingers crossed behind his back, but I genuinely believe a truce is in his interest too, so I have to work hard to sell it, and do my best to read his response.

I should also talk to both England and Germany and work hard to break up that potential alliance before it gets started. To England I say that Germany is a puppet master, and of course he would love to use England as a little brother. After this turn, if England helps Germany, Germany winds up with 7-8 centers, with England at 4. Does England really expect that Germany is the kind of ally who will ensure parity? Germany has lots of kind words, but in terms of his actions on the board, he has quite purposefully kept England small. If England commits to work with me and France against Germany, England stands to gain a lot more centers. What can England gain by fighting me? Just Norway and STP? Anything further is pretty unlikely, especially with Germany so large and already with two fleets.

To Germany I say that the time is right to eliminate England and solidify Germany as the single northern fleet power. My interest is in the south, not the north. And in the south I have consistently moved favorably to Austria and against Turkey because I see A/G/R as the dominant alliance in the game.

I say all that to England and Germany, but my focus this turn is ending this conflict with Turkey and putting my units towards something more productive, provided I feel like I can trust Turkey to do as he says.

Turkey

Generally, I like to see Italy under fire, but this is something different. I’m not in a great position to pick up the pieces here, as I’m mired in a quagmire with Russia, and Austria is going to sweep right over Italy if he has Germany help (and it appears that he does).

I am going to make two major pitches this turn. To Russia, I will say that I’ve had enough of this fight, and we both need to target A/G now, or else we’ll both be run over by a pink, red, and brown snowball soon enough. I’d like to see Russia put an army in Rumania and set up an attack on Austria (Rum – Sev, Ukr – Rum, Sev – Ukr would be a fine start). In exchange, I’ll make a play for Greece. If Russia gets super greedy, it’s possible I agree to vacat Black Sea and allow Rumania to Black Sea with Sev moving to Rumania, but I’m not going to lead with that, and I’m only going to agree to it if I feel like it’s the only way to get the deal done. It does seem like Russia has a ton of pressure from elsewhere now, and so he is likely to take any deal that involves peace with me.

My second major push is to Austria. I want him to think of me as a partner and not a target. I will use the leverage of a potential Russian reconciliation to see what Austria might go for on his eastern flank. Does he want to support me to Rumania? Does he want to support my fleet to Ionian? I want to establish a working relationship there so that either (a) I can set him up with a move set that I can exploit right now for a build (looking at you Greece), or (b) so that I can actually work as Austria’s primary partner against Russia and Italy. If I feel like Austria will actually work with me moving forward and let me grow, that is a pretty fantastic outcome for me. If Austria is my partner, he’ll need to send his units away from me. And if I grow while Austria sends his units away from me, I am going to crush this game.

* Screen turns to black.
* The weighted silence returns. But where an anticipatory silence once perched, now sits a pensive and awed silence. Tick, tick, tick.
13

dargorygel
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Re: School of War Summer 2019

#74 Post by dargorygel » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:45 pm

Don't forget... if you are observing, and NOT directly involved in this game... you are welcome to ask questions of the profs, particularly regarding their lectures.

Examples of appropriate questions:
You, oh high-professormajesty, have presented some particular alliance options, movement plans, and/or choices for dinner. Are these the ONLY reasonable decisions? What about this OTHER suggestion I am wondering about, in light of the present/past board, and your enlightening lectures?

Do you think that France (for example) might be doing THIS secret plan, that follows a comment made in the lecture?

Whose arm would win in an arm-wrestling contest: a robot? Popeye? Or a Rum Spokesman?

Examples of INappropriate questions:
Here is a new secret plan that I have come up with... what do you think of it?

Here is an example of a game I once played that I did this thing I like that no prof has mentioned anything about in a lecture... what do you think of it?

I like a Particular Sport, a particular Political Party in a Particular Country, and a Particular View of the Origin of the Force... what do you think about it?

Further, I urge all Mentees and Mentors to be discussing these lectures. This is not merely a game. It is a pointed teaching opportunity. Even if (maybe especially if?) you disagree with a concept or specific, WRITE to each other. Mentor and Mentee have been given great fodder in these lectures. Wait... NOT fodder, but Gold, Uranium238, Latinum, and other good stuff.
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Re: School of War Summer 2019

#75 Post by Octavious » Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:27 pm

Scratch.... Scratch.... Scratch.... A final flourish.... Success!

Many SoWs ago a student with a wandering mind had etched a doodle of... himself? her lover? a sprite of the imagination?... into the desk with the innocent inscription "add to my afro if your bored". In the ages since countless others have overcome their revulsion at the poor grammar to take up the task, with the resultant afro now covering over 23% of available desk space. It has been calculated that at present rates of expansion the afro will cover the surface of the Earth by the year 2442, although keen scholars of the art have noticed that more recent additions have been exponentially harder to complete in secret and...

An irritated cough from the lectern! In a panicked attempt to give the impression that rapt attention has been paid, the student cum artist blurts out a question.


One for the professors on behalf of the students. It can be alarming to see your secret plans explained in detail by an outside observer, but perhaps even more so to have a carefully nurtured and entirely genuine alliance weakened by others discussing the likelihood of a stab. At first glance this seems alien to all but SoW games, but you get similar situations occur with spectators at the business end of tournaments, or indeed when a player is eliminated early and hangs around like a bad smell telling everyone what an arse you are.

My question is how best to deal with this? Does one pretend it's not happening and gallently carry on with your own game regardless of what is said? Should one vigorously counter the pesky voice(s), making a robust attack of every argument that paints you in a bad light?
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Balki Bartokomous
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Re: School of War Summer 2019

#76 Post by Balki Bartokomous » Wed Jul 10, 2019 6:24 pm

Octavious wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:27 pm
My question is how best to deal with this? Does one pretend it's not happening and gallently carry on with your own game regardless of what is said? Should one vigorously counter the pesky voice(s), making a robust attack of every argument that paints you in a bad light?
This is a good question. It is a question somewhat unique to SoW games, and I have only been involved in such games for a handful of days. But here are a few thoughts on the subject from me:

❃ I don't have a frog in this frogfight. I have no interest in who wins. I can't emphasize enough how completely insignificant you all are to me, and the outcome of your little fling.

❃ I have tried to offer caveats and disclaimers, and I'll do that again. I have no idea what press y'all are writing. I can only guess what's really going on. And this is a significant handicap. It's hard to look at a board and understand what is happening without reading the press. So you know better than I do what is going on, and I'm sure it's jarring if my lack of exposure to the press itself, or my own shortcomings, cause my analysis to be inaccurate.

❃ My task here is to share my secrets, and provide a perspective on how I play Diplomacy, and I am simply using your little frogfight as a springboard to do that.

❃ If I were participating in the frogfight, I would not for a second "pretend" that Professor Balki is not in fact looking into my soul and accurately sketching its contents for public consumption before my eyes. I would not ignore anything. I would acknowledge what the professors are writing, and shape my arguments to other players based on this common knowledge.

❃ A few examples:

➊ Let's say Balki says that, from my power's perspective, I'm likely to stab England. I'd go to England and say something like: "Whoa...look at what that kookie professor with the chiseled forearms said. Isn't that funny? This is great! Let's use this. Now France will think that our alliance is going to break up, and that just makes us stronger! Since France is likely to use this information and move to Belgium, let's move here instead."

➋ Let's say Balki says that, from my power's perspective, I'm going to move to Galicia. I'd think hard about whether Russia, after reading Professor Balki's witticisms, would try to counter the Galicia move, and I might use that as a head fake.

➌ Let's say Balki says that, from my power's perspective, I'm in complete control of the board, and other people should unite against me. I might pick one of those other parties (or all of them), and say something like: "So, I don't agree with what that dreamy professor said, he hasn't seen the incredible rapport and chemistry that we have. But wow, this really puts a target on my back. Man, I think I'm about to get smacked around by France and England, if there is any help you can provide, that would be great."

➍ Or, depending on the situation, I might say: "Listen, Professor Balki is right that you're getting the short end of the stick here. And I can just imagine you sitting in your French chalet thinking "Yeah, that's true! Italy totally should have given me Tunis (for example). The absolute last think I want is for you to feel mistreated or for you to think I might stab you here. So I'm going to go the extra mile here. This is what I'm going to do."

➎ Or, I might say: "That Balki nitwit is a complete schmuck. He is just wrong about the reason I moved to Tyrolia. And he likely keeps referring to his forearms cause he doesn't want anyone to notice his thunder thighs."

These are just examples. Bottom line, I don't ignore any external forces that I think might influence the play of others. I will try my best to use them and I'll make my arguments and move choices based on how I think the rest of the board will experience them.
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Re: School of War Summer 2019

#77 Post by jmo1121109 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:09 pm

If the person missing orders does not get them in by the end of the day we will have to replace them from the game. Please be aware that I intend to process the game as soon as everyone has orders ready so ensure the ones you have are the ones you want.

A lot of people are devoting a lot of time to this game. If you cannot make the same commitment then let darg know asap and we'll work on replacing you.
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dargorygel
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Re: School of War Summer 2019

#78 Post by dargorygel » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:23 pm

The turn is a go... Let's not have this happen again, please. Thanks
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goldfinger0303
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Re: School of War Summer 2019

#79 Post by goldfinger0303 » Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:14 am

Well, that was some year. Enough time has lapsed that I'll elaborate a little on my comments from last year.

I thought for sure that the French build in Brest was on purpose and the global press a ruse. If I'm France and see a Germany cozy with Russia and no England to oppose Russia in the north, I'm going to bypass Germany as an ally and help Russia get big, which....in this case would be by stabbing his only serious neighbor - Germany.

But Burgundy is vulnerable to invasion. How to do this then? Claim a misorder, build in Brest, and have England convoy Brest into Belgium with a support from North Sea and a second from Picardy. It's safe, stab-proof, and England should be willing to do just about whatever I ask after this horrible year. Plus, I know Germany will be building a fleet and I won't. England likes allies with fewer fleets.

Even if it was a genuine misorder, it should have been naturally expected for France to try and form an EF and for Germany to take Burgundy. Which is....precisely what happened. Especially after a Russian fleet build, England should've been on board.

I will concede, however, that jmo was right and Germany is showing skill significantly above his counterparts in the region. The knowledge that Tyrolia would be open. The skill in convincing England that they're still on their side despite the move to Ska and a double fleet Russia (seriously though, why Ska and not Baltic? Nothing Russia could've done about Baltic. Ska theoretically could've been blocked). And the attempted move to deny France a build. All high skill plays.

So I have three questions for the professors.

1) Why do you think Russia disbanded Norway? How does the impending English move to StP affect Russia's neighbors and their gameplans?

2) What are the benefits from Turkey's stab of Austria here over taking Rumania? Italy and Austria are/were still embroiled in a fight. Why not let them squabble and grow elsewhere?

3) How does Germany keep England on his side? France is in whole fortress France mode now, and with 5 SCs can keep a combined German/English force at bay for years - even with Germany in Piedmont and Burgundy. England surely won't have forgotten that it was Germany who put him in a bind and France who has now twice offered support.
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Re: School of War Summer 2019

#80 Post by pyxxy » Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:30 am

Not to pile on more questions after Goldfinger's three but...
Balki Bartokomous wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:37 am
Germany

In the South, I have ensured Austrian success, which will keep both Russia and Turkey contained, and gives me a great long-term partner for the mid- to late-game.

I am a bit overextended, and I’ve got serious enemies in France, Russia, and Italy, but they can’t really harm me so long as I can keep England [or possibly Russia] and Austria on board .
I just caught up reading the lectures for A01 and S02, and I saw lots of excitement and praise for Germany's move to Tyrolia. In particular, Balki's points about being able to influence the South and strengthening Austria were eye-opening thoughts for me.

Which leads me to ask, in light of everyone's moves in A02, with Germany skipping on by and heading to Piedmont, do you think Germany missed a key opportunity by not meddling in southern affairs? Or made a good decision in avoiding that mess?
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