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(Stab! (Gunboat / Reduced visibility game))

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Subject:< (DC 324) A Stab in the Dark *** GAME OVER *** 
Topic:< dc324 >
Category:< Active Games >
Posted:Aug 10, 2010 at 10:14 pm
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Whew, that was a long game.  Mentally at least - several second and third guessing myself.  Thank you Chris for GMing especially considering the hidden nature and multiple prelim order sets from a certain Turkish player.
Good game everyone.  Very close Paul, as Chris said 50/50.  For what its worth, several turns you outguessed me and in Chris's guessing game a couple turns ago I had you winning with Munich in Fall '13.  And a special thanks to the Penguin (France) for tying Paul up so long, and a waggle of the fist at Psychosis (Italy) for giving me fits throughout the middle game.
As to the variant - I think in Stab! the corners have a huge advantage - no press and no visibility means no one is coordinating against them.  England especially because F/G need to split their build between fleets and armies.
I especially like the blind nature of this variant, we'll have to see how the next one goes.  As Chris mentioned, I played very conservatively, so the non-traditional attacks were way cool to see.  Special props for the early Russian attack on Germany.
Much fun, and thanks again for the game everyone.
On Mon, Aug 9, 2010 at 10:37 PM, C Morse <camorse22(at)yahoo.com> wrote:


Congratulations to Scott Hickey, aka Lequinian, for his solo victory as Turkey in A Stab in the Dark, the inaugural Gunboat Stab! game on the DC site.

Bittersweet congratulations are also in order for our second-place finisher, Paul Russell, who played a heck of a game himself.  Paul, as England, just missed derailing the Turkish locomotive that in the early-to-mid-game seemed on track to an easy triumph.

Scott used a ton of skill throughout the game and just enough intuition in the final season to thwart England's final gambit.  It was a fifty-fifty proposition in the last Fall season.  Turkey had four units in defense against England's four units attacking.  Would it be three on Munich and one on Berlin, or two for each?  Scott guessed the latter and he guessed correctly, managing to bounce the English attacks in both supply centers and to claim his 18th dot in Munich while Berlin was left open.

Here are the orders that decided it all.  (The complete set of orders can be found at the end of this message.)

F Baltic Sea Supports A Kiel - Berlin
A Burgundy - Munich (*Bounce*)
A Kiel - Berlin (*Bounce*)

A Ruhr Supports A Burgundy - Munich

A Bohemia - Munich (*Bounce*)
A Munich - Berlin (*Bounce*)
A Silesia Supports A Munich - Berlin
A Tyrolia Supports A Bohemia - Munich

Tooth and nail to the end, I do believe that we would have had a stalemate if there had been no victory this year.  As you can see from the attached maps, Turkey had just filled into Prussia, closing the last small gap in the two players' lines.  I'm sure Paul is kicking himself for allowing Turkey to take Munich in the Spring, but hey, he took a calculated risk and it just didn't work.  No shame there.

Cast of Characters (aka The Stab! All-Stars)

Austria - Scott "Packrat" Troemel - Eliminated 1903
England - Paul "Jehannum" Russell - Survival (16 SC)

France - Stephen "Deathblade Penguin" Lytton - Eliminated 1911
Germany - Jeffrey Krauss - Eliminated 1906
Italy - Michael "Psychosis" Thompson - Eliminated 1911
Russia - Dirk Knemeyer - Eliminated 1909

Turkey - Scott "Lequinian" Hickey - Solo Victory 1914 (18 SC)

List of Attachments

DC324_F14_Moves.gif   ... so you can see how the last turn played out
DC324_F14_Game_Over.gif   ... the final position showing Turkey's victory

DC324_F14.dpy   ... the Realpolitik file.  You can watch the whole game play out in a slideshow!
DC 324 Report.odt   ... an open office word processing document that I kept for my own sake.  Don't know how many of you will be able to open it, but if you can, you'll see how I tracked all the game moves -- what was seen, what was hidden, the complete support orders, etc.

GM's EOG Statement

I was first introduced to Stab! a few years back by a gentleman GM named Stephen Worthy (henceforth SW -- Hi Stephen!) from the Cat23 Diplomacy group.  I was completely hooked after one turn.  I liked gunboat.  I really liked the semi-blind aspect, which let me try to be tricky in the dark and which really engaged my deductive powers trying to figure out where everyone's units were.  I did rather well at it, too, which no doubt contributed to my enjoyment.

So, here it is a few years later and I decide that not only is it time I gave back and GM a game, but it's also my chance to revive Stab! on a new forum and find out whether I can get a bunch of new players hooked on it, too.  Judging from the quickness with which the game filled up there was clearly strong interest.  Not only strong interest, but a very strong group of players.  I remember telling Mike Sims that I had a veritable all-star lineup.  Even our "new face," Jeff Krauss, was fast proving his worth (just check out his standing in WB10), so I was expecting a great game and I'm very happy to say I wasn't disappointed.

Of course the GM has a uniquely omniscient perspective in a game like Stab!  It was great fun to be able to watch each player tackle the problem of how to maneuver about in the dark.  Russia and England and France, to name three examples, took advantage of the dark to quickly expand and attack opponents in non-traditional ways.  Others were very conservative.  Turkey, for instance, was very cautious.  He couldn't know this, of course, but he repeatedly spent turns supporting himself in place against imaginary threats.  If he had pushed on more boldly, I think there was a good chance he could have won the game easily 4 or 5 years earlier.  Scroll through the Realpolitik file and see if you agree.

I don't want to step on the toes of the players' EOGS so I'm not going to speculate too much more on individual play.  In general terms, though, it was signficant, I think, that it was our two witches who thrived best.  In a somewhat chaotic world, is it a coincidence that it was the two countries considered highest in defensive strength that dominated in this game?

Think about that for a minute, and then check out these statistics.  Combining this result with the outcomes from the four games SW has run, these are our outcomes:

CAT23 926: Russian win (year ??)

CAT23 1004: Turkey, England, France draw (year ??)

CAT23 1232: Turkish win (1912, 18 SC)
CAT23 1233: Turkish win (1907, 20 SC)DC 324: Turkish win (1914, 18 SC)

That's three Turkish solos out of five games.  I know, I know.  It's not a large sample size, but still, it makes you want to look a little closer.

In 1233, Turkey was aided greatly by his neighbors Russia and Austria.  The former opened by sending 3 of his 4 units towards Scandinavia, while the latter opened against Italy and Russia, ignoring Serbia and Greece altogether in 1901.  Turkey roared out of the gate and was never checked as he rolled to a quick and decisive victory.

The other two Turkish victories were not that kind of win.  Both were more typical examples of blind gunboat games, where play is understandably less efficient than in sighted games.  However, it still seems fair to me to wonder whether or not that type of game environment might just offer inherent advantages to some countries.  I'm sure we could have a wonderful debate on that very topic.  (I know because I have.)  My current feeling, though, is that rather than debate the topic, I'd like to see more data.  I'd like to see more games completed AND ... I'd like to see more games played where the results given above are known ahead of time because, as we all know, we do adjust our games to compensate for the strengths and weaknesses of the various countries according to our knowledge of their past performance.  My guess is that if I were to host another game of Stab! on DC within the next few months that Turkey would start the game with a giant bullseye on his back.  And you know what?  That's okay.  If we play enough of these games we'll eventually build up a new set of expectations and strategies to deal with the situation that not all countries are created equal in Stab! land.  Heck, they're not equal in standard Dip, so we've no right to complain if Stab! skews the balance in different ways than we're used to.  Right?

Players EOG Statements

You can post your EOG statements directly to the game forum, or just email to all the people on this list and copy the dc324 forum as I've done on this message.  If you choose to just reply to this message, please do us all the favor of deleting this original message text from your entry.

I know that Germany has already written his EOGS and I hope that more of you will follow suit.  I'd love to hear about how you stabbed in the dark and tried to keep from getting stabbed.  Comments on the game management (my part) and the game rules are welcome, too.  As mentioned some time ago, I intend to expand quite a bit on Stab! entry the DipWiki.  I'll need some time to collect all my notes, but when I do I will send them to all of you for your review and comments.


I suppose as Diplomacy games go this one played out pretty quickly.  Fourteen years in fifteen weeks is certainly no record, but I have to say it felt like longer.  I can put out a typically gunboat adjudication in about 30 minutes.  The BEST I ever did in Stab! was an hour, and typically it was 1.5 to 2 hours by the time I'd finished.

Rest assured that it was all a labor of love and I'd do it again.  Not right away, but again.  Thanks to all the players who did a wonderful job of keeping to -- and ahead of, in most cases -- the deadlines.  One NMR in 14 years is pretty darn good, in my book.  I hope you all enjoyed yourselves as much as I did hosting.


Orders as resolved for Fall 1914.
F Baltic Sea Supports A Kiel - Berlin
F Barents Sea Supports F St Petersburg(sc)
A Belgium - Norway

A Burgundy - Munich (*Bounce*)
F English Channel Hold
F Gulf of Lyon Supports A Marseilles - Piedmont
A Holland - Kiel (*Fails*)
A Kiel - Berlin (*Bounce*)
A Marseilles - Piedmont (*Fails*)
F Mid-Atlantic Ocean Hold

F North Africa Supports F Tunis
F North Sea Convoys A Belgium - Norway
A Ruhr Supports A Burgundy - Munich
F St Petersburg(sc) Hold
F Tunis Supports F Western Mediterranean - Tyrrhenian Sea (*Cut*)
F Western Mediterranean - Tyrrhenian Sea (*Fails*)

F Adriatic Sea - Ionian Sea (*Fails*)
A Armenia - STE (*Invalid*)
A Bohemia - Munich (*Bounce*)
A Bulgaria - Rumania
A Galicia - Warsaw
F Ionian Sea - Tunis (*Fails*)
A Livonia Supports A Moscow - St Petersburg

A Moscow - St Petersburg (*Fails*)
A Munich - Berlin (*Bounce*)
F Naples Supports F Tyrrhenian Sea
A Piedmont Supports A Tuscany (*Cut*)
F Rome Supports F Tyrrhenian Sea
A Silesia Supports A Munich - Berlin

A Tuscany Supports A Piedmont
A Tyrolia Supports A Bohemia - Munich
F Tyrrhenian Sea Supports F Ionian Sea - Tunis (*Cut*)
A Warsaw - Prussia


There are 2 Messages in this Thread:

(DC 324) A Stab in the Dark *** GAME OVER *** (Lequinian) Aug 10, 10:14 pm

(DC 324) A Stab in the Dark *** GAME OVER *** (Lequinian) Aug 10, 10:15 pm

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