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Diplomaticcorp Discussion Forum:  dc345


Post:< 20389 >
Subject:< DC 345: GM's closing thoughts and very bad early-game analysis >
Topic:< dc345 >
Category:< Active Games >
Posted:Apr 19, 2011 at 4:18 pm
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I love it.... "truly hopeless". I'd like to hear his/her reasoning on that one.


This message is in reply to post 20387:

Well, well... I am long overdue for my end-of-game thoughts. Still, I want to share them. Mostly about the variant and the draft.
If there has ever been proof that Diplomacy is more about the negotiations than about the tactics and position, this game is that proof. As you will read below, all of the wrong players won, because they played well as an alliance. (Actually, I'm not sure the game itself was all that dramatic; there were few stabs -- but mainly just a thoroughly effective alliance).
Also, if there has ever been proof that intimidating colors can win a game, then Warren's slime green was a coup d' gras.
Myself, I was pleased with the draft. It seemed a fair and also engaging way to assign centers. Without my realizing it in advance, the choosing of colors and national names/identities became an entertaining and engaging exercise, too. Definitely something I'll do again.
I think that, for a competition game, I would add a rule that no two players will be assigned adjacent SCs to start the game. And I would leave more neutrals. It seems that most of you liked the idea of having a little elbow room. Those are the main nuggets of wisdom I would draw from this game.
For a less competitive game... I am dying to try pre-game preference lists, wherein players potentially wind up with a soup of centers. It would be a hoot, but some players might quickly lose interest.
As for the draft itself... almost everybody got their first pick almost every time. Of 32 picks, only five were second choices. None were third or worse. This surprised me.
Also surprising to me were the picks themselves. Your picks often entirely surprised me -- and I'm not just talking about Maslow in Tunis. Time and again, you were more aggressive (or less aggressive) than I would've been by far. Rarely the same.
Unknown to the players, I chatted about the draft with some friends while it happened. I'm going to include quotations from some analysis below (mostly my own). I think you'll enjoy it.
In case you're wondering... my pre-game preference list would've been:
Ber, Sev, Smy, Edi, Spa, Swe, Vie, Rom
In fact, after the first round, I was surprised to: (a) find England vacant, and (b) see that nobody seemed to like Germany (my favorite as a player). My logic -- not that it governed any of you -- was that a player should aim for a consolidated position with lots of growth opportunities and preferrably close to the main stalemate line. So, excellent starting positions like Turkey, England, and especially a consolidated Italy were not early favorites with your GM.
But the overriding draft goal? "Even more than individual centers, I suppose the real jackpot will be the one who cobbles together the best 3-4 starting centers." I hold this as self-evident. Which is why Philip, Nathan, and John were destined to rock this game, whilst far-flung Mike and Maslow were sure to be crushed.
After Round 1, I wrote the following analysis. As you will quickly observe, almost all of the analysis proved to be dead wrong, especially pertaining to Maslow and Hoffman. Enjoy. [Note: Nathan's first pick was Spain, but he had to take Marseilles, since Mike got Spain instead.]

Province Picked (score on pick/score on future prospects)
[Penner] Bel (8/9): I'm high on Belgium. Maybe not the best first round pick, but intriguing and very flexible. I foresee two strategies: South North Sea power or Ruhr Power. I think my prefs would be: Kie, Lon, Hol, Mun. Norway is a little bit of a concern, as is Brest.
[Maslow] Bre (2/3): Ugh. I suppose the strategy behind Brest is that you can either go north into England or south into Iberia... but don't you figure that other players are going to choose those spots? That Por-Spa-Mar configuration looks very isolated/secure (it's not). And England is one of the witches. So, in fact, Brest is a lousy spot. At first, I thought: go for Paris... but the idea behind Brest is naval, so now I target England and rank 'em: Lon, Por, Par, Lvp
[Hoffman] Spa (7/2): The strategy is sound: start with Spain. Collect Mar, Por, and Bre/Par/Tun. Play it like France in Standard. I think the position is overrated, but I see the appeal. But now with Marseilles... My picks become: Nap, Rom, Tun. Pull up the stakes and move!
[Nathan] Mar (5/4): At first, I thought, "What a dreadful pick!" Why list MAR second to SPA?!? I mean, if you lose it, you end up next door to SPA. But I was naive. Nathan will win any tie-breaker if he picks Portugal. And with Portugal in hand, he can seize Spain in the game's first year. I still don't fancy his position, but it's not so dreadful. Picks: Por, Par, Mun, Ven.
[Loki] Nwy (7/Cool: A flexible, marvelous spot. Too bad it's next to StP, but Nwy will be okay (though he may have to worry about StP trying to sneak Sweden). Den, Edi, Swe, Kie, Ber.
[John] StP (7/2): The Spain of the northeast. The idea is similar to Norway's... I'm guessing he wanted to end up with Nwy, Swe, StP, Mos. Now, he's in deep trouble. He has a choice. Start a new home elsewhere. Or make do. Assuming the latter, I choose: Mos or Bust (with bust maybe starting in Vienna or Warsaw).
[Warren] Sev (8/7): I think Sev is a great first choice. It's right next to all those juicy Balkan centers without being *in* them. If you can kind of muscle competition out of Russia, you're good... except for the Turk. While neat ideas abound here, I'd actually play conservatively and go for Rumania so that I'd have consolidated Black Sea power: Rum , Mos, War, Ank.
[Philip] Con (8/10): Looking very pretty. It's obvious from here. Bulgaria in Round 2. ANK in Round 3. GRE/SER in Round 4. Prefs: Bul, Ank, Gre.
Missed opportunities: Austria, obviously. Naples would've been nice, too, except that it's Italy."

By the end of Round 3, the situation had shifted in key ways but was still more than crystal clear. Only a blind man could have misread the tea leaves... one of my friends ranked the position from best to worst (apologies, but he skipped Norway):
"1. Marseilles [Nathan]. "the best tactical position by miles".
2. Constantinople [Philip].
3. St. Petersburg [John].
4. Belgium [Penner].
5. Spain [Hoffman]. "He's my pick for first out."
6. Brest [Maslow]. "He'd better be able to make magic with his tongue or he's toast. What a terrible position."
7. Sevastopol [Warren]. Hopeless. Truly hopeless."
I added the following my own ranking:
"Very promising - HOL (Penner), MAR (Nathan), STP (John)
Who knows - SEV (Warren), CON (Philip)
Good luck, you'll need it - BRE (Maslow), NWY (Loki), SPA (Hoffman)"

In closing, I'd like to say that this was a fun GM experience from start to finish. Thank you for making it so.

There are 4 Messages in this Thread:

DC 345: GM's closing thoughts and very bad early-game analysis (AceRimmer) Apr 19, 04:09 pm

DC 345: GM's closing thoughts and very bad early-game analysis (alwayshunted) Apr 19, 04:18 pm

DC 345: GM's closing thoughts and very bad early-game analysis (offdisc) Apr 19, 04:21 pm

DC 345: GM's closing thoughts and very bad early-game analysis (Blueraider0) Apr 20, 03:27 am

There are 72 Threads in dc345:

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