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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Darth Tracid

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Your enemy´s enemy - A Beta AAR

Your enemy’s enemy is still your enemy….
A Diplomacy MP Beta AAR

Players:
Turkey – Tracid
Italy – Edi Birsan
England – Josephus 1
Russia, France, Germany and Austria-Hungary – AI players.

As a Beta Tester, you’re generally expected to be good at the game. Well, in my case, I had never played the game before I got to test the PC version. And while the Single Player mode offers many challenges (in fact, I got eliminated by the AI more than once!), the ultimate test of Diplomacy of course lies in multiplayer play.

For my first real mp game, I got together with Josephus I, playing as England, and DIPLOMACY guru Edi Birsan, playing as Italy. I got Turkey, since it is supposedly the easiest nation on the board, and against Edi, you need all the advantages you can get!

The game started off without many surprises. England was moving on Belgium and Norway, but got rebuffed repeatedly by Russia on the last one, while Italy and Turkey agreed to divide
Austria together. While I got Romania, Bulgaria and eventually Greece, Italy moved in on Vienna, Budapest, Trieste and Serbia. Not quite the fair trade that I had had in mind!


8.jpg


In Spring 1903 Austria was no more, as you can see on the enclosed screenshot, and while Italy and Turkey were expanding, England was in trouble! The French AI had managed to sneak by his navy and land on the British Isles, while the Russians were still stubbornly bouncing him in Norway. Here’s what Josephus had to say about his situation:
The trouble with the AI is that they’re too illogical to figure out. And even when they’re allied with you, you just can’t trust them. In a one human vs. 6 AI players, you will win. But with other humans, the AI can stunt your growth enough to let other humans win. This is what happened.
Right off the bat, I made an agreement with France, a NAP (non-aggression pact) with the English Channel as a DMZ (demilitarized zone). My goal was to enter the continent via Germany first. Get some quick supply centres…Norway, Belgium and either Kiel or Holland. But in Spring 01, France backstabbed me by moving to the Channel. Fortunately my usual British opening moves allowed me to block his anticipated move to London next turn. Russia surprised me. I knew it would move St. Petersburg) to Sweden, but its Moscow to St. Petersburg caught me off guard. I couldn’t take Norway. Even a supported move would be blocked. Desperate for a supply centre, in the Fall I sent North Sea to Belgium; tried Norwegian Sea to Norway and sent York to London. Belgium worked. Russia sent St. Petersburg to Norway but didn’t support it from Sweden, so we bounced. This went on all game, just about. I tried an alliance with Russia but they refused a DMZ in Norway, which I planned on breaking and so I was in a stalemate war with France and Russia.


After the end of Austria, Edi and I both went into different directions. I went into expansion against Russia to gain more supply centres, while Italy advanced into France and Iberia against a French AI overwhelmed with three fronts against Italy, England and Germany.
On the diplomatic scene, I tried my best to build an anti-Italy alliance, seeing as Edi was obviously on the road to a domination victory.


0.jpg


But unfortunately, those efforts also failed, since Edi had already beaten me to it on the negotiating table. An alliance with Russia, a non-aggression pact with Germany and deals with England to aid him against the French, all destroyed my hopes of finding real allies against the Green menace. So it was up to me to find a way to defend my position and keep him from gaining any more centres, at least in the East.

Finally, in 1904, I declared war on Edi, hoping that he would be occupied enough in the West in order for me to take one or two centres back from him in the Balkans.


7.jpg


But he was already too strong, as I was soon to discover. Our first confrontations only resulted in an exchange of lands – and centres – as I took Greece and he took Romania, and I thought that I could hold him at bay for a few more turns while I once again tried to get at least England to oppose him openly in the West. In the meantime, Josephus had managed to take Norway, finally, but also lost Belgium in a combined French-German attack.

But while I was desperately trying to fend off Edi’s land attacks on the Balkans, the decision would be brought about somewhere else – on the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Without enough units to cover both the Balkans and my Southern waters, I had allowed Italian fleets to slip in unchecked, and I was about to learn that this, for Turkey, was a big mistake!


4.jpg


“Courtesy of the inventor of the Lepanto!”

That was the in-game chat comment that accompanied this move, the double convoy from Naples to Syria, behind the flanks of my forces.
I was painfully reminded at that moment that Edi himself is the inventor of the Lepanto, and that he had been victorious in many battles with this move, against players much more experienced than me!

Here are Edi's comments on the whole war:

For the next few years Turkey was given a lesson on several things:
1. The Balloon Approach: choked in the South, the Turks were allowed to go rampaging North while the Italians just tightened the noose on the Balkans.
This put the Russians and later the German pieces at the disposal of the Pope since he kept taking their centers and over expanding North and the Pope kept proposing to support them against Turkish pieces. Lesson: when you have a major power you have declared war on, do not tick off the little guys around you.
2. The Lepanto convoy of Naples to Syria, not just once but twice so he could remember the technique. With the first Army going to Armenia and then Turkey surrounded on all sides it was not pretty.
3. The “Don't attack the supporter of an attack on yourself” lesson.
4. The “Do not defend Turkey with one fleet in the South” lesson.
While the education was taken place in the East, in the West, the Papal forces were easily welcomed in the Catholic territories of Spain, Portugal, Marseilles in a rather quick campaign, while the English kept the French occupied and fully focused by attacking them in Belgium and the Channel.
Finally with every proposal for a nice social draw being refused by the Jihadist, the Final Crusade was launched in the East called Operation HOLY MOLLY: Sevastapol, Constantinople, Smyna, and Rumania all fell, while in the West the Normans in Brest clearly wanted good Catholic Schools as opposed to British Fish and Chips stores and the British garrison at Denmark was bribed to support the Italians from Munich to Kiel.
So 1907 and time for a Benediction and all that other ritual stuff... as the Master Class Pope/Mentor leaves the scene.*

*referring to the Master class article series on www.diplomacy-pcgame.com


6.jpg


The screenshot of the beginning of the end, as Edi had already flooded into Sevastopol behind my back and his armies and navies surrounded me to deliver the final death blow only two turns later.
In the end, it was a valuable lesson for me by the very master of DIPLOMACY himself, and I will surely not make the same mistakes again playing Turkey!

I learnt that even through the best of diplomatic deals, you should never forget the slogan of the DIPLOMACY game: “Your enemy’s enemy is still your enemy!”
 
Last edited:

Josephus I

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;) A quick point. Something I learned after this game.

There is an exploit here, that Edi used to his advantage. Not that he needs it to win, he was only testing his theory at that stage; and showing us a few tricks.

But the exploit is this. On "easy level" the AI will do what it's told to do by a human, as long as they are allied.

If you read my notes in Tracid's post, I mentioned that I, as England, did not expect to see Russia move from Moscow to St.Petes. AI Russia normally moves Moscow towards the Austrian border. The Russian army in St.Petes can be seen as an aggressive move by the British, because he now prevents England from taking Norway.

While the AI is aggressive to a fault, towards supply centres, it is not passive-aggressive; as the Mos-St.P move is.

This was not an AI move.

After turn one, Edi crypticaly said in the chat screen, "Notice Russia's moves, I'll explain later."

Of course at the end of the game, we got bumped out, so he never got a chance to explain it.

But I figured it out. Tracid and myself weren't playing against Edi and four AIs. For the most part, Tracid and I were playing against Edi and Edi and Edi and Edi. Because Edi was skilfully manipulating the AI moves.

In the next MP game I played I asked Edi about that strange Russian opening and he admitted it. "I told it to do that."

In that second game, I tried it myself. I allied with an AI nation, and was able to tell it when to hold, when to support, when to move.

So, now when I play with Edi, I refuse to play on "easy".

The rest of you...try it out. It can be fun against unsuspecting opponents.
 

unmerged(34884)

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That must have been a suprise indeed, how sweet if u got ur enemy on voice com then :rofl:

But i think that exploit will be pretty well-known soon so u gotta hurry up if u wanna try it out he.
 

Director

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Sometimes you have to pay for lessons. :eek:

So on 'easy' the AI does what it's told, eh? That IS a nice tip to know.

A good lesson in the power of the central position!
 

Sir Humphrey

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A veritable barrage of excellent stuff. :)
 

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Quite a powerful lesson. (A patch might want to fix that someday. Owie.) I liked the two Lepantos - yes, they can be absolutely devastating.

The one point I might argue is I don't consider Turkey the easiest country on the map. It actually didn't happen this game, but it's very easy for Turkey to get bottled up down there. A RT juggernaut is abnormally powerful, but even that takes time to set up.

A great game though, and it looks like it was fun!
 

coz1

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Interesting to see a hands on MP game of Dippy. I'm still trying to figure out how it's played in general, much less as a PC game. This is very valuable!
 

unmerged(34319)

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About the 'exploit'

It should be made clear the name of the game is Diplomacy.
If you talk to the AI in an open game it is not an exploit it is what you are suppose to do.

Like with most people the technique with the AI is simple: get an agreement on anything first. Then once you have agreed with something then try to get them to agree to something else, then something else and then something else.


With multiplayers and some AI countries the AI can begin to play better because it is usually in someone... usually the distant power... to have the AI play well becuase it will slow down the other side.

For example:
left on its own, the AI Germany has a horrible attraction for Silesia which helps both the French and the English growth. With some coaxing it can go to play a more traditional opening of
Munich to Ruhr, Berlin to Kiel and Fleet Kiel to either Denmark or Holland.

Russia is the hardest to redirect as its attraction for Fleet Sevas to Rumania is almost obsessive compulsive but it has been known to go to the Black Sea and to be convinced to play 'Two North' meaning Army Moscow goes to St.Petersburg to give England a hard time over Norway.

Again, talking to the AI is not an Exploit of a loop hole. It is what you are suppose to do. :rolleyes:
 

VILenin

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Very nice to see a Dippy mp game. Hope you can find time to post reports on any other games you might have played, Tracid. :) MP is going to be what tempts into buying this game, so I love to see AARs about it. Oh, I can hear the siren call now. :D
 

Rey

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Ouch, Tracid was beaten. I don't have the game but it's looks to be hard. There's no honour, backstab everybody you can ...
err ... that is meant to be done right? :rolleyes:
 

Lord E

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Nice game there Tracid, a little cool to see you be beaten ;) I guess this was at least a nice lesson to know for later games…
 

General di tuti

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nice game
 

joebthegreat

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Rey said:
Ouch, Tracid was beaten. I don't have the game but it's looks to be hard. There's no honour, backstab everybody you can ...
err ... that is meant to be done right? :rolleyes:

the problem with backstabbing everybody you can is that now everybody near you is an enemy and willing to split you up between them. So you need to actually honour some of your treaties until a later date when it would be much more benificial to backstab.

Edi... you masterful person you... using a double transport like that...

If AI will actually listen on easy does this mean the AI on easy mode is actually much smarter than the AI on hard that refuses the most benificiary things?
 

unmerged(24320)

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Tracid: ...Players:
Turkey – Tracid
Italy – Edi Birsan
England – Josephus I
Russia, France, Germany and Austria-Hungary – AIs. /Tracid

please let me start with a question. how was the opening positions picked?

Tracid: In the end, it was a valuable lesson for me by the very master of DIPLOMACY himself, and I will surely not make the same mistakes again playing Turkey!

i would agree that Turkey is an easy position - but you need more human players in the game! ! :D

Tracid: ...“Your enemy’s enemy is still your enemy!”

so very true! ! even your ally can be your enemy! ! ;)

all that said, excellent AAR. excellent info on how to play! ! :cool:
 

unmerged(24320)

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GhostWriter said:
please let me start with a question. how was the opening positions picked?
no takers?
 

joebthegreat

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random?

I would have picked Germany if there were that many AI players...