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Finished: 08 AM Sun 28 Mar 21 UTC
Private gunboat with EOG expectation 5b
1 day /phase
Pot: 105 D - Spring, 1913, Finished
Classic, No messaging, Anonymous players, Draw-Size Scoring
1 excused missed turn
Game drawn
27 Mar 21 UTC So we've come to an end! Thanks for the interesting game all! I will start with my EOG: https://pastebin.com/jsLTHKHC
27 Mar 21 UTC GG all! Here's my AAR: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nwc8BSFUrQGTJVdh1XgQnicaB9tRdZsXPmQGKRYSXao/edit?usp=sharing
27 Mar 21 UTC Scroll to the end of the document to see my thoughts on the end of the game.
27 Mar 21 UTC My thoughts on this game are incredibly simple, haha. I correctly anticipated an E/G alliance and fought like hell against it. I never managed to flip either of them, but I did hold out long enough for another player to ascend and force a draw. I feel like I did my job of defending against those players, and did it well considering that I was also getting harassed a fair amount by Italy. This was a match I feel evidences my belief that France is an incredibly strong defensive power in gunboat.

I was prepared to throw the game to Italy or at least power up Italy as much as I could in order to become essential to a stalemate line. Seems like the other players took the hint.
28 Mar 21 UTC How did you anticipate an E/G alliance? I hade the feeling I really had to pull Germany in and only when you moved to Germany he jumped in.
28 Mar 21 UTC Spring 1901: I anticipate an anti-French metagame, which is highly prevalent on webDip (partly due to the influence of my writings about Gunboat Diplomacy??).

I make the only opening that guarantees a build for France, anticipating that I will be attacked by England, Germany and/or a Italy. This turns out to be a wise move as I get attacked by England and Italy.

Germany does neutral normal moves, which is the correct guess as a move to BUR would have failed. (I wish Germany had move to BUR!)

Autumn 1901: I don’t expect Germany to attack me, as Germany can see BEL is free for the taking. England is going to convoy to Norway, and France is going to cover MAR.

Germany does neutral normal moves, correctly guessing that BEL is free for the taking. This German choice signals nothing friendly to me. Why would Germany prioritize attacking me over taking a free center?

I correctly anticipate attacks from England and Italy, which I counter.

Winter 1901: Germany does neutral normal builds. The German build choices theoretically could attack England, but in most matches German players build this way and then just attack Sweden. (Which is what happens.)

I build an army in Paris to deter Germany from joining the attack on me, because I can ensure Germany doesn’t take Burgundy by force.

I also want to show Italy and England that I am not building fleets, maybe they should prioritize another foe.

England builds a fleet in LVP, signaling “death to France.” Oh well for me!

Spring 1902: Germany goes all-in on alliance with England, attacking France and Russia with every possible piece. This is what an anticipated and tried to deter, but I was unable to persuade the German to play differently. (Ultimately Germany only ever took 1 SC from me.)

I correctly anticipate the German attack and counter it. I correctly anticipated all English moves also; I moved my fleet to MAO because I believed this to be my best play under the circumstances.

Italy continues to attack me as much as possible.

(And that’s my answer. In Spring 1902 I correctly anticipated and blocked the eventual direct German attack, proving that I anticipated the E/G. Also, Germany attacked me as soon as Germany was forced to actually choose a direction for attack; in 1901 Germany got 3 builds for free so even if Germany wanted to attack me, it was probably worse to do so than to just take free centers.)
28 Mar 21 UTC Considering that I was relentlessly attacked by my neighbors from start to finish, I am satisfied with my play this match :)
28 Mar 21 UTC Out of curiosity BB, do you think there were any places where I could have played differently to improve my solo chances?
28 Mar 21 UTC @AnimalCS since you’re asking, I think you had at least some chance at a solo doing what you did. If England or Germany misplayed, or I got spooked and tried to throw, you might have won. I think you played a good game.

But, I think maybe this is what you’re on the cusp of saying: the endgame tactics you pursued depended on the other players blowing an obvious draw. In a high level game, that might be not be right bet.

I am sure you’re familiar with my gunboat stalemate line / board spheres theory but in case anybody isn’t: https://brotherbored.com/diplomacy/gunboat-solo-win-intro/

So we can compare my theory to this board and see Italy has 17 southern centers; in my view it is tactically easy for a southern power, or at least Italy Austria or turkey, to roll up all 17 of these centers after first conquering the majority of the sphere.

This match demonstrates what I am saying, as although Warsaw and Moscow can be indeed locked up from the north, Germany and England struggled to do this and eventually failed. In gunboat diplomacy it’s much harder than press to solidify positions when you need another player to help. So, it’s really really common to see end game states like this, with the traditional 17:17 split amongst the centers that are easiest to conquer and defend from each sphere. I’m saying, Exactly these centers in the 17:17 split, not just the general idea of a 17:17 split.

So my advice is, if you don’t want to depend on your opponents just blowing it to get your win: grab one or more defensible centers on the other side of the board prior to openly going for a solo. Ideally, much earlier. Your chances of rolling up the rest of one sphere will probably be about the same, but you will be REWARDED with a win once you pull this off (instead of 17:17 split).

I think England and Germany were perfectly aware of this which is why they started defending me, so in this particular match I’m not sure if there’s some specific thing on a given turn you could have done that would have likely changed the outcome. You would have had to play differently much earlier in the match, in some strategic way. But, that would have made the whole match play out differently.
28 Mar 21 UTC I'm very curious about the German report. France, what on earth was the purpose of your convoy Bre-Swe autumn 1903?
28 Mar 21 UTC Hey all, here's my report:


I stopped writing extensively once it was clear I was screwed. I shouldn't have just abandoned Rumania in Fall 1903; that was probably my biggest error. I thought I was going to lose it anyway, but in retrospect pulling it back didn't really gain me anything. Oh well; gg all and congrats to the winners!
28 Mar 21 UTC The purpose of my failed convoy of BRE to SWE in autumn 1903 as to signal England to attack Germany or cause Germany to fear that England would receive the message and do something preemptive.
29 Mar 21 UTC GG all. I'll get to full EOG tomorrow. I did open neutrally to suss out the western side of things and allowed Russia to take Swe in hopes of E-R conflct. I then tried to get established over the line in Russia while doing enough against France to keep E+F from growing. E's build in Lvp and R's of an army in StP were the things that led me to this choice. Italy's '03 attack on Austria freed Russia up, but, if I'd only ordered Liv to Mos in Fall '03...It took a bit to get EG working well or we might have made better progress against F's strong defense. By '05 it was time to watch for I's solo. At the end I wondered if I would back off enough to allow for F's demise. More later
29 Mar 21 UTC I've posted my EOG in the forum, thanks to all for the interesting game!
29 Mar 21 UTC Hindsight is 20/20 as they say, and it was interesting to see how my perception of the board differed from others' perceptions. I correctly pinpointed that my biggest blunder was in Spring 1907 right after the fact, but I would have much preferred not making the blunder in the first place.
30 Mar 21 UTC GG everyone! It was nice to read your perspectives. A few of my thoughts:

I seriously considered opening to Armenia to change things up, but decided to hedge against the likely A/I and hope something more interesting could develop later. Maybe one of these days it will be me who actually does the exciting and different thing...

I was glad to see France opening defensively because I hoped it would mean Italy would have a slow start and be more likely to impatiently stab Austria. In 1902/1903 I tried to signal friendliness towards Italy by moving an army to Greece and not trying to pressure Ionian, hoping to encourage the stab of Austria. I was really bummed I missed out on Serbia in Fall of '02, as I think that'd have changed the game and Russia and I would have both done a lot better.

The Spring '03 moves were great to see, I was thrilled Italy was moving on Austria and I was totally fine with Russia in Black. Since they'd also supported me to Serbia again, I figured they were ensuring they could retreat to Sev instead of disbanding, since they were defending War instead of Rum, and would just take Rum back in the fall. So I was *really* annoyed about Ank, because if they'd taken back Rum without getting my center, they could have just disbanded the fleet and we could have kept working together. But they didn't even try for Rum, so I was pretty mad, honestly.

Spring '04, Italy makes it clear they're going after Serbia. I'm not sure why that dot is Italian in an I/T? I wanted to use it to go after Rumania, and I certainly needed the center more than Italy did, unless Italy was planning to stab me... So I saw it coming but was more annoyed with Russia than anything. And Russia continuing to attack me while Italy became an obvious threat just made me decide to throw what I could to Italy - although they never took my support, and I don't know if it would have changed anything if they had.
30 Mar 21 UTC @Turkey, here's my conception of an IT:

Turkey is typically stronger defensively than Italy, so Italy should end up with a larger share of the Balkans than Turkey does, especially because Italy takes on a larger amount of risk in attacking Austria. So of the 7 centers in the Balkans, Turkey should get 3 and Italy should get 4. Serbia is a really important center in the Balkans because it borders 5 of the 6 other supply centers there, and specifically helps to defend Trieste and Budapest. Therefore, I think Turkey should typically get Gre, Bul, and Rum, and push north to Sev and Mos, while Italy gets all the Austrian centers and Serbia. If Turkey keeps Serbia for a while, they can easily roll back Italian gains, while the reverse is not necessarily the case if Turkey keeps a few fleets in the Med.

After this initial split of the Balkans, Italy could choose to attack Turkey or move westward. The prospect of getting supply centers across the stalemate line is much more enticing than the Turkish centers, which gives Turkey time to capture Warsaw and set up a stab on Italy. Overall, both players can have incentives to maintain the alliance or to stab at different points in time, while with Turkey in Serbia the balance shifts significantly in favor of Turkey.
30 Mar 21 UTC Hi - just read through all the EOGs.

Some reactions:

England - I’m curious about why you supported Russia in Swe when your EOG implies you wanted to work with me. That concerned me about an ER.

Italy - I chose to attack Russia over France because I thought, correctly I believe, that E and F would basically stalemate. I hoped to get established over the line in War, then either finish off F with E or stab E for Mos and Scandinavia. Why do you think I should have resolved the west first? You wondered about my move to Liv instead of getting a build. I wanted the positional advantage, I assumed the build would still be there and didn’t want to grow too fast and induce an English stab. I was alert to your growing power in ‘05. I judged that you needed to complete the stab on A in ‘06 and had plenty of armies to defend. I got out of position when my tap of Gal unexpectedly (my bad) moved there. I wasn’t worried as EG was functioning then and I knew I could retake Mun. Finally, I admit to missing the supports to Mar. Lesson learned - always expand the map! If I’d seen them, with only one army available I would have waited to take Mar until E was in Spa and Por though.

France - I’m curious what signals I missed.

Austria - I opened to keep all options for allies and targets open. I let Russia to Swe to potentially counter E in the north and hoped for F StP nc. I also assumed I could take it in ‘02. Did you assume it was EG from the get go and is that why you thought it odd?

Russia - you built A StP in ‘01, which seems defensive to me. Did you consider a fleet and/or working with me? I let you have Swe to get a fleet build.
30 Mar 21 UTC I'm enjoying the EOG almost as much as the game!
30 Mar 21 UTC @Germany, remember that you would have been kicked out of Warsaw in Spring 1907 if Russia hadn't made a mistake that turn. With England capturing Bre and you losing a dot, the board could have looked pretty different. I think a strength Germany has is that they can try capturing Warsaw later in the game because of the location of Munich and Berlin. The problem with capturing it early is that I see no way you could then stab England later on, which you would need to accomplish for a solo. And if you aren't playing for a solo, then no need to capture centers over the stalemate line anyways.
30 Mar 21 UTC Thanks for the explanation.
31 Mar 21 UTC Yeah in my opinion, capturing Russian centers is far easier for Germany than capturing deep French centers like Spain—and therefore the destruction of France is a higher priority (as here, where the capture of those center became quite difficult).

I’m not sure that you missed any critical signals from me, as you didn’t desire to work with me anyways? (Not that I think you should have)
31 Mar 21 UTC I asked due to your comment "but I was unable to persuade the German to play differently". If Russia had collapsed I would have had to choose between working with you, which I would have done if I thought I could make progress in Russia/Austria, or England. With Italy getting the upper hand early, I committed to EGI and thought we'd be able to whittle you. Thanks for the reply.
31 Mar 21 UTC Yeah I think you played a good game, I maybe could give more context to my statement. I tried as hard as I could to convey that you wouldn’t make progress against me, to draw England out of position to be attack me—things like that—in hopes you’d decide not to fight me any more. That’s what I meant by “persuade.”
31 Mar 21 UTC @Germany, I supported Russia in Sweden because I was afraid you would turn on me and then I would benefit from a friendly Russia. I needed to get you with me against France and not farther into Russia.
Can you explain why you didn't rush to defend StP in the end?
31 Mar 21 UTC My starting assumption was we wouldn't be able to hold Mos and War, so there was a little time. I worried that if I sent F Bel to Nth it would be threatening so I convoyed to Swe in F09 so you could see my move to Fin in the spring and not worry about a grab for Nor. With your convoy to Nor S10 I thought you were setting up to defend StP when Mos retreated there so I pulled back to Swe to convoy back to Pru. When you disbanded Nor it was back to Fin in case Italy was able to blow up Liv.
31 Mar 21 UTC Hm ok. I just can't figure out why you did A Pru-Swe in stead of A Pru-Liv and be able to support Mos and keeping it from Italy.
01 Apr 21 UTC I wasn't confident we could get it done and was sure we could hold StP.
02 Apr 21 UTC Germany and England, did you have a plan to solo around 1904 (before I became a major threat), and if so when and how did you expect to be able to set up a stab your alliance partner?
02 Apr 21 UTC I never expected to solo nor did I consider a stab. Maybe if my conquest against France would have been successful. My EOG reflects most of my thoughts during the game; I aimed to be survivor in a 4-way draw.
02 Apr 21 UTC My rough plan was to take War and then probably stab E in Scandinavia and Nth if F was under control.

Start Backward Open large map Forward End

AnimalsCS (181 D)
Drawn. Bet: 15 D, won: 26 D
17 supply-centers, 17 units
ColoBoy (120 D)
Drawn. Bet: 15 D, won: 26 D
8 supply-centers, 8 units
Hithlum (214 D)
Drawn. Bet: 15 D, won: 26 D
6 supply-centers, 6 units
swordsman3003 (14689 D (G))
Drawn. Bet: 15 D, won: 26 D
3 supply-centers, 3 units
Pinecone333 (217 D)
Defeated. Bet: 15 D
kgray (647 D Mod)
Defeated. Bet: 15 D
Defeated. Bet: 15 D
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