The 7 surviving powers have agreed to a 6-way draw between Egypt, France, Germany, Poland, Spain, and Turkey, and thus DC331 comes to a close! Congratulations to Michael, Salim, Brian, Scott, Warren, and Max for sharing in the victory! And thanks to all who participated in this game; here is the full roster:
Britain: Justin Card (Civil Disorder), Joe Babinsack (Replaced Fall 1997)
Egypt: Michael Walters (Draw), Sam Buck (Replaced Spring 1999)
France: Salim Furth (Draw), Blake Pynnonen (Replaced Spring 1995)
Germany: Brian Lam (Draw)
Italy: Chris Morse (Survival)
Poland: Scott Hickey (Draw)
Russia: Robin Carroll-Dolci (Eliminated)
Spain: Warren Flemming (Draw)
Turkey: Max Victory (Draw)
Ukraine: Jeffrey Clay (Civil Disorder)
As for commentary, there's quite a bit to say about this game. I have to start with the fact that this was one of the more frustrating games I've ever GM'd; the game concluded with 3 abandonments, 2 civil disorders, and 21 NMRs despite every player being awarded a grace. Needless to say that was quite a headache for me. I have no intention of pointing any fingers or tossing around blame (although I will say that some of it is probably on me), but I would like to throw out a friendly reminder that signing up for a game is making a commitment to your fellow players and your GM and when you NMR and/or abandon you make it a less enjoyable experience for everyone. Also everyone understands when things come up, but if it seems like you're not going to be able to get orders in then it is courteous to resign before a bunch of NMRs (which a couple of you did - thank you). That said, most of you were great about getting in orders most of the time, and things especially improved towards the end of the game.
Okay, enough preaching. As for the game, I have to say I'm surprised it ended when it did. I thought especially Germany and Egypt had a lot to gain from continuing, and I really would have liked to see how a resurgent Spain would have affected the game dynamic. But of course it's your guys' game, and you each had your reasons for voting 'aye.
From my perspective this was really a game of two periods. Period 1 was Polish expansion, aided by his friend the German. It seemed to me that the key factor here was the seeming lack of interest from Ukraine, as Poland was basically allowed to gain all of the spoils from an all-out attack on Russia. This gave him a corner to build off, and of course Ukraine then fell quickly once Poland's need for him expired. However, this was what caused the onset of Period 2, which was when Germany stabbed Poland. Brian did it very well, managing to not get eaten from behind by France while he did it. This is why I'm surprised he voted yes to the draw and didn't go for the solo. All the other countries played their roles for sure (Sam's Egypt being rather unassertive as well also had some especially interesting effects), and that's why I'd love to hear from all of you in some EOGs to supplement this brief recap of mine.
Lastly, I have to say that I enjoyed the full-press gunboat setup. Having to communicate publicly changes things quite a bit, and I really enjoyed some of the creative press. Chris' Mario and Luigi thing deserves some sort of award. There was less black press than I would have expected, but I guess that just shows how much people valued their opportunities to talk. I'd love some feedback on the game type, as I'm thinking about doing another.
The final map is the one from Winter 2002, and it will be on the DC site for all eternity. Thanks again to all and congrats again to our winners! I hope to see you all in another one soon.