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Diplomaticcorp Discussion Forum:  dc319

(1936 Playtest)

Subject:< dc319: EOG Italy/Nationalist Spain >
Topic:< dc319 >
Category:< Active Games >
Posted:Sep 13, 2010 at 2:39 pm
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First, thanks to Charles for creating the variant and GMing the game. In both of these contributions you are giving to us players and the community, and I certainly appreciate it. Following Joao's lead I'm going to talk about both the game as well as my thoughts on the variant, which I have also shared with Charles:
As I've written elsewhere I am not a very good strategic player. My other skills get me by a lot of times, but in this game my strategy was limited to the players and relationships, largely ignoring the map and SCs. Three of the players in this game were known quantities to me - Britain, France and Soviet Union - while the other three were not. I decided to base my strategy around the outcomes I wanted with the people I was familiar with.
Of those three, I had played and cooperated well with Britain before. France I knew only from observing his first round Winter Blitz game this year and being impressed with/concerned by how strong he seemed to be in every facet of the game. The Soviets I knew both as an opponent and as one of the top few rated players at DC; he and I had a mixed record in playing together. Using this as a starting point I set out to befriend Britain and find a good win-win approach to the game, as I felt he would be reliable. I figured we would see the end to a draw or one of us with a solo. Then, I would try and play against both France and the Soviets. In the former case, by agreeing to a deal that would leave him exposed to Britain and I right off the bat to take advantage of; in the latter case to try and manipulate control of Spain to my advantage. The other players, at least in the early game, were to be ancillary and simply managed while I worked to capture Spain and neuter France.
From that pre-game there were basically five phases of the game for me:
I. When the pre-game plans went almost perfectly to form. This was the first year, where Britain and I coordinated well and dropped the hammer on France, while I was able to manage all my other relationships well enough to be not otherwise threatened. Feeling very bullish.
II. When, for Spring 1937, France convinced Britain to stab me and it appeared this game would be an absolutely disastrous result. Clearly the low water mark.
III. After intense, strenuous, and carefully crafted press I managed to bring Britain back onto my side and in Fall 1937 we devastated France with a truly surprise attack. Not only did this put me back in a strong position, but it made France despise Britain and identify positively with me.
IV. After Wesaq's bid for a solo was thwarted - the solo chance being enabled when the Soviets had a fit for losing Spain and literally handed all of their centers to Poland and Turkey - a period of jockeying for positions and relationships ensued. The heart attack of Spring 1937 notwithstanding this was the worst part of the game for me: GP were melded together into one single power so, when Germany and I had continued communication and personality conflicts, it kept me on the wrong end of their very powerful position. While I was a good, strong power my position was flawed - even fatally, if GPT has perfectly cooperated - and my poor British ally was in an even worse position.
V. The players realized that the game would almost certainly be a solo or a 4-way draw - thanks to the low 15 SC victory threshold - and we went through a rather trying period of sorting that out. I tried to make a case for a 3-way draw - using the .5 value Spanish SC - but GP stayed rock steady and ended up flipping France on me to force the issue on the 4-way. I had the good sense to realize I was playing a bad hand at that point and negotiated myself into the 4-way instead of France, at the expense of my game-long ally Britain - now played by a replacement player whom I was also really enjoying working with. Sorry David!
While I found the first few years of this game thrilling the last three or four were not much fun. I'm not sure if that is the product of my generally liking early games in Dip better than mid or late, or if the 15 SC victory threshold just sucked the thrill out of a variety of possible results out of things too early, or if my position was so strategically flawed that I was always playing off my back foot. It will, for me, be memorable for managing to flip Britain back in Fall 1937. That is easily the high water mark of the diplomatic side of my Dip playing in my short time in the game.
In retrospect I think we had a talented group of Dippers around the board. While perhaps not a "great" table it was a "good" one with very capable players at each position. Despite being well-played I think each of us made what I consider glaring mistakes: I was strategically rudderless from the beginning; Poland and Turkey both played much too conservative in the mid-to-late games - I even think the former could have soloed with a more forward policy; France and Germany both rubbed others the wrong way with their press in ways that at least I for one was able to capitalize on; Britain's flip-flop-flip made France his undying enemy too early in the game and crippled his chances to break out; the Soviets just flat quit. I suppose if any of us had played a better game and avoided our flaw(s) we would be talking about a dramatic solo victory right now as opposed to a milquetoast 4-way.
I really enjoyed playing with all of the players in this game and felt like I was playing with Dippers of similar skill and ability. That's always fun.

As to the variant, there is a lot to like about it. The Spanish Civil War mechanic is brilliant, especially in the early game. DP variants are a lot of fun so that was another plus. There was a lot of thought put into the map and various historical choices which I really appreciate. This is a hallmark of Charles' designs.
On the other hand, I have pretty serious balance concerns. Albeit in a very small sample size, it seems to be terribly imbalanced. PT have participated in a draw each time this has been run (including 1926, the earlier variant this built into), the Soviets have always been first out, and the French are beaten into obscurity early on. Now, it has only been a few games played so that certainly is a factor. I've shared my thoughts and suggestions with Charles and he was wholly unimpressed, so I won't revisit the particulars once again here. But I do think that the variant would benefit from some nerfing to Poland and Turkey, and removing one of Britain's two wayward fleets and replacing it with the boring ol' A LVP. Taken together these changes would make the Soviet position far more viable and give France more options.
I also wonder about the realism of the mid-game Spanish Civil War position and beyond. My ability to build Spain into perhaps my primary power felt really gamey. I suppose having a Turkey get 13 SC by 1940 also isn't realistic and perhaps my issue is more with this mechanic in Dip than anything specific to the variant.
Thanks again Charles and all of my worthy antagonists.

There is 1 Message in this Thread:

dc319: EOG Italy/Nationalist Spain (dknemeyer) Sep 13, 02:39 pm

There are 46 Threads in dc319:

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DC319: Summer 1942 Retreat (charlesf)

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