In this game, I made the clever tactical and strategic decision of starting a war where everyone was, at least for a little while, attacking me. It took place a long while ago, so I’d like to say this occurred because I wasn’t as skillful at the game as I am now. I was a little bit too aggressive and stabby, along with a bit paranoid.
This game is also known by the name Socialist Group Meets in British Pub, and it can be identified by the game number 92123 if you’re on PlayDiplomacy and would like to look over the orders or the Public Press.
I played as Russia in this game, and I had a very successful beginning. I had good exchanges in 1901 with both Turkey and Austria, and at this point, I didn’t have any opponent, except in the sense of players who were about to be unexpectedly attacked by me. In the opening, England did not open North, Austria did not open to Galicia, and Turkey did not open to the Black Sea. That left convenient openings in 2 of those 3 places that I generously filled.
In Fall, my early success was tempered by the other players’ reactions to it. Although England remained focused in the West and convoyed to Belgium instead of doing anything against me, Germany bounced me in Sweden, which I was far from happy about. I picked a side in the South, and in a gesture of friendship for Turkey, I vacated the Black Sea and kept my unit in Galicia, supporting myself into Rumania. Also, Italy moved toward fighting Austria as well, pushing units toward being in position to attack Vienna and Trieste next year.
In the build phase, France got a southern fleet, Italy got a new Venice army, and Austria, Turkey, and I also got armies. I’m not sure why Turkey thought another army would be best here, except that I believe the plan was to reassure Italy and keep them on-side.
In Spring 1902, the effort to keep Italy invested in the war with Austria was successful, and although Austria NMRed, they would have lost some ground no matter what due to the strength of the Italian attack. The attack went so well that, actually I started to worry. Italy and Turkey together could, now that Austria was not defending itself, turn on me if they chose to work together. The fact that neither of them had built fleets yet meant they’d have more trouble fighting each other at this point than fighting me. Elsewhere, Germany NMRed, and France supported Germany holding in Munich, seemingly based on a concern that the German player would be attacked by the Italian player, whose units were equally well positioned to attack Austria or Munich. The interesting thing about that was that it suggested France might have been allied with Germany. I’m familiar with the French player here from other games. He will always keep to any alliance he forms until the other player is eliminated, or the other person stabs. He is a perfect carebear, so if he was allied with Germany, that would tell me that unless Germany surrendered, the French player would be loyal to him until the ship sank.
In Fall, the German player actually did surrender. I made an agreement with Italy to work together against Turkey and split the Balkans between us, and my new commitment led me to reoccupy the Black Sea. I also walked into Berlin and Sweden, since the German player was no longer around to stop me. The only unfortunate thing was that England also chose that moment to walk right into St. Petersburg, as if that was something I’d just let go of.
Having acquired Budapest, Serbia, Berlin, and Sweden, I got 3 new armies in the build phase. Per our new alliance, Italy built 2 fleets. The new Germany got an army, while France got a new fleet. I believe France and I were talking at this point, possibly in a group chat with Italy. I love forming alliances with carebears, because they don’t betray you, and that means eventually you’ll have the chance to stab them and go for the solo, if you’re patient enough and nothing else goes wrong.
In Spring 1903, I moved to attack Turkey in the South and retake St. Pete in the North. Italy and I didn’t completely coordinate this season, which is unfortunate, since I could have guaranteed Italy got into Munich that season. With a new player joining as Germany, we weren’t going to have any free shots at German centers anymore. On the bright side, at this point, the three power alliance, between France, Italy, and myself was in full effect. We each knew more or less what the others were doing, and we were all agreed to walk hand in hand toward the noble end goal of a 3 power draw, unless I could get a solo, in which case I had my fingers crossed. My thinking at this point was that I could either stab Italy pretty soon and take him out, or I could get Italy to stab France. If that happened, France would still feel bound to work with me, but I could make Italy the bad guy and cause him to be France’s target. That conflict should open up a gap for me to solo.
In Fall 1903, I tried supporting Italy into Munich, but it just canceled out the simultaneous German effort to retake Berlin. I succeeded in retaking St. Pete, which was nice, but we didn’t make any progress against Turkey in the South, except for a convoy into Syria. Since Syria is not a center, that was not a great victory in the short term. Turkey played very conservatively, which worked out well for him. France continued to grow in the West, and I was not particularly happy that France was growing a little faster than me.
France got 2 builds, I got 1, and no one else did anything.
Spring 1904, England stopped issuing orders, and I simultaneously repositioned to attack him. Italy, France, and I continued going after Munich, and on the bright side, Germany didn’t defend it anymore. Also, this time, Italy and I completely out-fought Turkey. Italy and I played more conservatively this time, and Turkey had fewer units than us. Turkey still made decent choices to counter the moves we made. In the West, with England NMRing, France took London and moved to take Edinburgh. My odds of solo seemed to drop precipitously, with France growing more quickly than me and Italy growing at roughly the same speed.
Fall 1904, Italy NMRed, but it didn’t matter, because Turkey was very weak now, and I got to sneak into Constantinople thanks to him countering the (expected, logical) Italian moves that Italy had failed to make. Here, I made a mistake, stabbing Italy based on distrusting the player for not communicating during the season. I supported Germany back into Munich, which wouldn’t normally be that bad of a mistake. However, this shook the trust we had been delicately attempting to establish, and I think, in retrospect, this maneuver fatally undermined my plan for the win.
In the build phase, I got 2 new fleets and an army.
Spring 1905, it was at this point that everyone began to be at war with me. Italy and I were attacking each other in the South, Germany retook Berlin, I continued to try to fight Turkey, and France began advancing against me at sea in the North.
Fall 1905, at this point I was frantically negotiating, because the game had gone completely sideways. I badly misjudged what I needed to do diplomatically, leaving me on the verge of getting pushed out of the Balkans and probably Scandinavia at the rate things were proceeding. Unfortunately, I was still fighting a losing world war, with me versus the world being a rather unfair matchup (though I might sometimes joke that it’s unfair for the world, in this case it was definitely bad for me!).
In the build phase, it almost felt as if I was the only one not building. Technically, France didn’t either, but you could see France would probably get some dots pretty soon, whereas I had no realistic prospect of gain unless I managed to change something diplomatically.
Spring 1906, I lost control over all of Scandinavia, because Germany and France each launched independent attacks against me. France simultaneously moved into Edinburgh, which France would not do if Germany was an ally. So there was some potential hope evident. The lack of coordination would also make it difficult to impossible for them to advance against me beyond the centers they’d grabbed. At the same time, I made up with Italy, so we both regained ground in the South relative to Turkey.
Fall 1906, unfortunately, Italy decided to be vindictive, and even after we’d made up, and I was committed to the alliance again, he dared to betray me and occupy more of the Balkans. I appealed to France, trying to use the carebear’s nature to gain sympathy by pointing out that I thought we had reunited.
In the build phase, I destroyed the units on the front line with Germany, so I could devote everything I still had to defense. Italy and France grabbed a couple of new armies each, which was pretty ominous for me.
Spring 1907, Italy and I were still not really made up, and the wrestling back and forth continued in the South and center.
On the bright side, by the Fall, it was clear that France and I were sort of on good terms again. Given that the 2 of them (France and Italy) were clearly tighter than I was with either of them, though, I proposed a draw at this point. The draw was accepted, even by Germany (who was not included in it), after how badly that last season went for him. It’s funny, toward the end, there was some dialogue in the Public Press from France, speculating that I wouldn’t accept a draw. From my perspective, though, I was doing rather poorly by the endgame, which I think was entirely because I made the mistake of putting myself in the position of fighting a multiple-front war and being paranoid. The lesson here was that I should have been more patient, and less aggressive. Many other players need to learn the reverse lesson, of course. There’s a balance that needs to be maintained. Since this game (back in 2014), I think I’ve probably evolved a great deal in the patient direction.