Russia's Notes EOG Diplomacy Game 4

Feb 10th, 2021
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  1. Here are my (Russia's) unedited notes from the EOG Game! Any anger expressed in them is not intended to be an attack on the players involved, but was merely my emotional response at the time of writing.
  3. ________________________
  6. Spring 1901:
  8. Well, crap, I drew Russia. Alright; let's make the best of it.
  10. I recently played in a gunboat game where I saw Russia do reasonably well by opening North. However, that was partly because England didn't even try for Norway, focusing on Belgium instead. I doubt that will happen here. As such, I think I'll go for the standard opening:
  12. StP to GoB
  13. War to Gal
  14. Mos to Ukr
  15. Sev to Bla
  17. I can't roll the dice on getting Rumania in the Autumn, but I do hope that after bouncing in Gal, I will ultimately be able to ally the Austrian. I don't expect an Italian attack on Austria in a mid-level game like this, but if I offer to support Austria to Bulgaria, he might accept, and then turn his attention elsewhere. Austria is always eager for an ally. I also really want to eliminate Turkey quickly, as I cannot hope to survive for long if Turkey does well, and Turkey tends to do well in gunboat if he's not quickly taken down.
  19. We'll see what happens in the North. Hopefully Germany lets me have Sweden. Other than that, I don't really have any specific hopes.
  21. *****
  23. Autumn 1901:
  25. A number of interesting developments.
  27. England is coming after me, it seems. That's very bad. It both means I am likely to be knocked out of St. Petersburg and that France will be able to grow unopposed.
  29. Except... England moved his army to Edinburgh, which suggests that he may be a more crafty player than I'm giving him credit for. He didn't make the "bad hedge" opening. Perhaps he intended to give France a false sense of security (and to ensure a build if I opened North), and he will yet go after France. If so, I have a chance of surviving in the North.
  31. If anything, Germany is more likely to let me into Sweden now, so I suppose that's a plus.
  33. Also of interest is the French move to Piedmont. Was that meant to counter the "best" Italian opening of Ven - Pie, Rom - Apu, Nap - ION? And if so, did the Italian anticipate France's anticipation and manage to hoodwink him? The former seems likely; the latter less so. So, unless the Italian is an absolute pro gamer, I place him as a medium skill player, and the French player as probably a very good one who is anticipating the sort of moves he would see in higher-level play.
  35. Now, as for the south, pretty normal moves from Austria. But TURKEY, on the other hand, seems to want to be my friend. I am more than happy to oblige, for now. The Turk's moves are ones I have made myself before--and died. If this Turkish player is similarly inexperienced to what I was when I made that opening, then he will be easy to backstab later, once my position is more secure.
  37. The biggest issue I'm having is deciding whether to take Rumania with my fleet or my army. The fleet would communicate friendliness to Turkey, but it would stall my progression. I don't think I can afford that--not as Russia. I need to commence my attack on Austria immediately next turn. And if I spook Turkey by leaving my fleet in the Black Sea, it's not like he can really do much about it.
  39. There is another, rather balls-to-the-wall option: push into Galicia with both armies AND take Rumania with the fleet. It's risky as hell... but I also don't think anyone else will go to Rumania. Serbia will support Albania to Greece. If Turkey wanted Rumania, he would not have opened the way he did. And both of them will expect me to support myself; they have no reason to think moving to Rumania will block me.
  41. Either way, my southern position is better than most gunboat Russias get. A fleet in the Black Sea is a huge asset. Do I surrender that to pull my tricky move--even if it would work?
  43. It occurs to me, there is one other possible explanation for Turkey's moves, though not a particularly likely one: he let me into the Black Sea knowing that I would move there, and he expects that I will support Ukr to Rum with Bla, which he could block by tapping Bla (something he could not do if we had originally bounced) and moving to Bul to Rum. That would be a big brain play. But, again, I don't think it's supremely likely. And even if he IS doing that, my moves would fail anyway, so it doesn't affect my deliberation all that much.
  45. Screw it; I'm going with the crazy plan. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I need to do something clever if I'm going to make it as Russia, and I do think there's a huge advantage to getting an army in Gal which I can move to Boh next turn, to outflank the Austrian. And it will also assure the Turk of my loyalty, which I am eager to do.
  47. If I fail, well, my odds of victory were never fantastic anyway.
  49. *****
  51. Autumn, 1901: Autumn 1901 (Builds Phase):
  53. My balls-to-the-wall plan worked! And Turkey made exactly the moves I had hoped he would; he is committed to being my ally for now--and he will likely remain so, given the fact that Italy seems to be gearing up for a Lepanto.
  55. I am less happy, however, with what happened in the North. I don't know why Germany chose to block me, or why both he and England are simping so hard for France. Based on France's move, I have a feeling Germany is quickly going to regret not attacking while he had the chance--and England may have a false sense of security, but France will turn on him as well after Germany falls.
  57. The thing is, that could actually be quite good for me (at least in the short term). If England dies, I can play ball in Scandinavia. As it stands right now, I seem very likely to be eliminated.
  59. So... where to build? The question is essentially whether to turtle by protecting St. Petersburg or to give up St. Petersburg and focus on attacking Austria or Germany.
  61. I could make a good attack against Germany next turn by moving to the Baltic, building in Warsaw (which would go to Prussia), and moving Galicia to Silesia. And with him focused on defending against France, I would stand a good chance of taking Berlin.
  63. However, that would not GAIN me a center, as I would lose St. Petersburg--and to an army, no less, which would threaten unprotected Moscow. So, no, I don't think I'll take that option.
  65. Attacking Austria does not seem supremely promising either. By building in Warsaw, I can hold my current position against him indefinitely, but I don't know how I could actually press the attack--not with Italy about to strike Turkey and prevent Turkey from making his own assault on Greece.
  67. By building in the North, I would be able to hold St. Petersburg indefinitely, but I would risk the Austrian breaking my line. However, I think I can hold. If I reposition, I can get my fleet back into the Black Sea and Ukraine down to Rumania. I would risk losing Galicia, but the point of moving there was to buy time, not to hold it forever (unless things had gone better in the north--oh well).
  69. Another thought occurs. I can build in St. Petersburg to send England a message (and hopefully get him to fr*ck off), but then move that army down to Moscow in Spring 1902 (while still covering St. Pete with my fleet) and use it to protect Warsaw, should I lose Galicia. I think that's my best bet; if England turns away, then I can focus on defending against Austria. If he doesn't, well, I'm probably screwed anyway.
  71. *****
  73. Spring 1902:
  75. Damn it, England, what are you doing? Do you want France to eat you?
  77. Apparently, France is more interested in getting some takeout pizza than fish and chips right now, so maybe your gambit will pay off. But I doubt you can leave your flank undefended and get away with it indefinitely.
  79. Whatever. It will take a little while for your new fleet to meander its way up here anyway; that build doesn't really change my situation, apart from making England's intentions crystal-clear.
  81. Germany, at least, seems to finally realize the threat posed to him by France and England. But unfortunately it's too late for me to be much help to him; I need to pull back and defend; I can't keep going for Sweden. I wish him luck, but for now he's on his own.
  83. Turkey did what I was hoping with his build. Now that he can protect himself indefinitely against a Lepanto, maybe Italy will decide to do something else. It probably won't be "going after Austria," though; he'll probably be too busy defending himself against France.
  85. So: me and Turkey vs. Austria for the moment. And unfortunately, I don't love our odds. Austria's 4 armies are equal to ours, and mine are not in as good a position as I had hoped for (with a second build, I could have gone on the offensive far more easily, but alas).
  87. For now, I will take a gamble and protect Galicia. I think it far more likely that Austria goes for Galicia than Rumania this turn, given the threat the Turk poses to Greece. And even if he does knock me out of Rumania, I can recover that loss so long as I still have Galicia. In the North, I will pull St. Petersburg south and move the Gulf to cover St. Petersburg.
  89. My odds of holding St. Petersburg indefinitely at this point are incredibly slim, but if I play things right I might be able to hold it long enough for France to begin his attack on England. If so, I may survive in the North yet. Regardless, I don't intend to make things easy for England. If he wants a fight with me, I will give him one.
  90. 10 Jan 2021 Autumn, 1902: Autumn 1902:
  92. What even is this game?
  94. Okay, so France has decided to triple down on the original Piedmont move, presumably with an eye towards outflanking Germany? Clearly he isn't going after Italy. So was the Marseilles fleet build just to trick England? If so, well played I guess.
  96. Italy has taken action to defend himself in response to the perceived French attack. Now that that's not happening, who knows what he will do. I hope he hits Austria, but I think France is probably his more likely target.
  98. Sadly, I think a French attack on England is probably less likely now that Gemany has relieved him of Belgium. But Germany and England are also getting into it, so maybe if I lay low I can hold St. Petersburg. At the very least, I won't lose it until next year.
  100. (Incidentally, I decided late last turn to cover Finland instead of St. Pete, because I thought it possible that England would push his army into Finland to get three on St. Petersburg, and less likely that he would simply go for St. Petersburg unsupported).
  102. I think my path is pretty clear, regardless: I need to attack Austria now, while things are still confused. The problem is that an Austrian attack on Rumania is very possible. But I think I have a plan to counter that: I will tap Budapest with Galicia while repositioning Rumania to the Black Sea and Ukraine to Rumania. Worse comes to worst, everything bounces and I can support myself in without issue next turn--or I trade him Rumania for Budapest, which I would be completely fine with. At best, I make my reposition and only lose Galicia, which will be no problem with armies in Rumania and Ukraine.
  104. The worst way things could go would be an Austrian attack on Galicia with both units and Serbia tapping Rumania. That's possible, but unlikely. And if my move to Rumania works, I will be able to hold it with Ukraine and Black Sea pretty much forever, and eventually to actually make progress against Austria as well.
  106. Autumn, 1902: Slight change: I'm moving to Sevastopol instead of Black Sea. I don't want to spook my Turkish ally, and I don't gain much immediate benefit from being in Black Sea instead of Sevastopol.
  108. *****
  110. Autumn 1902 (builds phase):
  112. I'm confused.
  114. Okay, so, some of these developments I can understand. Austria moved to Rumania to tap any support I gave to Bulgaria. However, he also support-held my unit in Galicia, a clear sign he wants an alliance. And, honestly, I may give him one. Turkey is an A-class nation, while Austria is stuck in "C" with me. If he and I put aside our differences, we could compensate somewhat for the others' weaknesses.
  116. Also of note is the Italian attack(?) on Austria. The confusing part is the support-hold of Greece. Maybe Italy actually intends to help in Austria's defense, while simultaneously setting up for a crippling backstab later?
  118. Regardless, I can probably use the Austrian PERCEPTION of being attacked to my advantage. I think next turn, I'll reposition for my stab of Turkey and hope that Austria still wants to be my friend. And if Italy actually IS attacking Austria, going after Turkey is still very likely my best move, as it will force Austria to be my ally while I go grab some centers.
  120. Turkey's support-hold of Italy is potentially concerning, but he is in much worse position to backstab me than I am to backstab him.
  122. I still have no idea what France is doing, but at least he's finally going after England! And England seems to have at least temporarily abandoned coming after St. Petersburg, which is all I really wanted.
  124. All-in-all, this next turn is going to be a dicey one. If Austria decides to renege on his alliance offer, I could be shooting myself in the foot. But I don't think he will; not with Italy and Turkey knocking on his door. Let's hope I'm right.
  125. 11 Jan 2021 Spring, 1903: Spring 1903:
  127. No major surprises here. I am little upset England built another army, but my one fleet can postpone the invasion of St. Petersburg by another year if it moves to Finland this turn (and the army might not be coming my way anyway).
  129. Otherwise, things are pretty much as they were. Sorry Turkey, I mean you no ill, but you're much more long-term dangerous to me than Austria, and I think I stand to gain a lot more by attacking you than him. Here goes nothing.
  131. *****
  133. Autumn 1903:
  135. And my gambit pays off! Austria didn't attack Galicia, so I have free reign to attack Turkey.
  137. The question is where. Obviously I'll move to Armenia, but I have a chance at snatching a center this turn. I could hit Bulgaria with both units, lunge for Ankara, or lunge for Constantinople.
  139. Bulgaria seems my worst option. Austria's gunning for it too, and Turkey is sure to defend it. I think I'll offer Austria a support there; hopefully he goes for it with Serbia, like last time. With a little luck, he gets in.
  141. For my part, I need to choose whether to go for Ankara or Con with my Black Sea fleet. It's a 50/50 guess. I'm leaning towards Ankara, because I think it's possible (though unlikely) that Turkey throws down a double support for Bulgaria, or that he fails to properly interpret my actions as an attack. If he does decide to be clever and pull back Con, I would still bounce him, leaving me free to capture Ankara next turn.
  143. However, if I were Turkey, I would pull back Con and leave defending Bulgaria to the Aegean. Or possibly, I would just pull back from Bulgaria entirely. In the former case, I would stand to gain a quick center by hitting Con. In the latter, bouncing in Ankara would be a far better outcome; I don't want an opening in Con that Turkey's fleets can use to return home.
  145. So that settles it; I'll go for Ankara. The one question is whether to send Ukraine to Sevastopol. I think doing so would be too risky, despite the possible reward. Doing so would rob Warsaw of any defense if Austria (or, less likely, Germany) decided to come after me. Instead, I will have Ukraine support-hold Rumania, which will leave me far from vulnerable against an Austrian attack; that should deter any backstabbery from him.
  147. In the North, I'll try to cultivate an alliance with Germany by offering to support his Baltic Sea fleet into Sweden. I doubt he'll go for it on this turn, but hopefully the offer will keep him friendly to me. Eventually, I plan to get back into play in the North, but I need to secure my position in the south first.
  149. *****
  151. Autumn 1903 (retreats):
  153. I'm kicking myself for not thinking through the situation up North more clearly. If I had put myself into Germany's perspective, I would have immediately seen that him moving to Sweden was not going to happen. However, he might very well have attacked Denmark, in which case I would have helped him far more by moving to Sweden.
  155. As it turns out, I gave up an opportunity for a free capture. Shame. My support move was intended to signal friendliness to Germany, so he wouldn't come after me while I was army-weak. But in retrospect, that was never a serious possibility. While besieged from both France and England, he was not going to turn and come after me. I should have taken that into account.
  157. Oh well. That's the point of these journals: to learn from our mistakes.
  159. In the south, things went well. Austria seems to be reciprocating my offer of friendship. However, that could still change; he will build in Budapest, of course, and he could rush my home centers. If that happens, I'll have to hope for Italy's help. But maybe Austria will stay my friend and go after Italy instead. I hope so.
  161. *****
  163. Spring 1904:
  165. This turn is the dicey one. If Austria attacks me, I'll lose Rumania for sure. But I can probably protect Warsaw.
  167. The problem is that Austria doesn't really have anywhere else to go. That darn French unit in Bohemia is blocking him.
  169. Since I can't defend Rumania if Austria attacks it anyway, I'm going to vacate Rumania to Galicia with support from Ukraine. That way, if Austria DOES come after me, I'll be in a strong(ish) position to defend my core. If he doesn't, I can always move back next turn for defense.
  171. As for the North, I'm going to keep supporting Germany. I don't want to get pulled too far away from St. Petersburg, and I'd like to see Germany make a bit of a comeback so that England is looking the other way when my time to strike finally comes.
  172. 14 Jan 2021 Spring, 1904: Second thought: Turkey will probably move Con to Smyrna and Aegean to Con again, which will force Black Sea to support-hold Armenia next turn, rather than helping to protect/reclaim Rumania. I can't have that, so I'll move Black Sea to Con instead of having it support Ankara.
  173. 15 Jan 2021 Autumn, 1904: Autumn, 1904:
  175. So, Austria decided to be nice to me AND Italy. Not as bad as I feared; not as good as I hoped. Oh well; I hope you don't interpret what I'm about to do next as a betrayal, my Austrian friend.
  177. I'm going to cover Rumania with all three of my units. I can't afford to lose it to Austria if he decides he doesn't want to be friends anymore--and I am dubious of that possibility, given the fact that I am probably a more tempting target than Italy. I'll get my one build and see what happens.
  179. As for the North, darn, Germany and I just can't get it together. However, I feel relatively confident that THIS turn, he will accept my support into Sweden. He probably can't hold Kiel, but by tapping Denmark with Kiel and accepting my support, he would take Sweden.
  181. Regardless, at this point, I feel it's best to be consistent. Germany should know by now that my support is there if he wants it. If I change plans, it will inevitably be the same turn he finally decides to accept my help.
  183. Finally, I'll have Ankara offer a support to Italy. If Austria won't go after him yet, it would benefit me to power him up a bit to make him seem more threatening.
  185. *****
  187. Autumn 1904 (Builds):
  189. Austria continues to be my friend. Can I count on that to continue? He literally has nowhere else to go after Turkey is gone--and Turkey is pretty much gone.
  191. I think I need to assume that war between us is inevitable. The only thing that could change that would be if he went after Italy, but I see no evidence of that happening. I need to strike now, and hope Italy joins in. I can't beat Austria on my own.
  193. As for England, Germany is struggling, but France seems to be doing well. I'll keep helping where I can with my Finnish fleet, but for the moment I need to focus on my own defense against the second-largest power on the board.
  195. I'll build in Sev. That won't immediately communicate hostile intent towards Austria. If I can keep the ruse of friendship going through the Spring, I can probably grab Constantinople come Fall.
  196. 17 Jan 2021 Spring, 1905: Spring 1905:
  198. Pretty simple this turn. Keep supporting Germany to Sweden (and hope he accepts in the Fall). Support-hold Rumania with Baltic and Ukraine. Move Sev to Armenia with support from Ankara. Support-hold Bulgaria with Rum as a sign of solidarity.
  200. Pray that Austria doesn't turn on me just yet.
  202. *****
  204. Autumn 1905:
  206. Well, crap.
  208. Italy is going to lose Tunis to France. That means that he will be preoccupied and unable to help me, should I attack Austria.
  210. Furthermore, Italy did what Austria wanted him to do, seemingly opening the way to an attack against Germany for Austria. So Austria is not going to go after Italy.
  212. I can't fight Austria alone. Neither Italy nor Germany will be any help to me. I have only one option: continue being his ally, despite the fact that he could attack me at any moment.
  214. The thing is, I'm genuinely starting to believe that he WON'T attack me. He has made absolutely no aggressive moves towards me whatsoever since I originally accepted his alliance. Perhaps Austria is a player who doesn't backstab unless he is backstabbed first. If that is the case, attacking him now would be the worst possible thing I could do.
  217. So, with that in mind, I am going to turn towards a new target: Germany. England is being friendly with me, and I'm going to capitalize on that. If I can nab Berlin before England gets and of the French centers, I can proceed to go after Scandinavia.
  219. Honestly, it's a long shot. I don't love my odds of survival. I need to bank on the fact that Austria won't attack. But if he doesn't, then we stand a decent chance of going the whole way together. The one obstacle is England, who I need to defeat in the North if I want to survive long-term.
  221. With that in mind, I have only one important decision to make this turn: do I support Italy into Smyrna, or contest him for it. The former option would strengthen Italy, giving me a bulwark against Austria while simultaneously demonstrating fealty to a possible I/A/R alliance that Austria seems to be in favor of. The latter would empower France, who I need in order to ultimately defeat England.
  223. I think I'm going to go with Italy. If Italy feels friendship to me (and Austria is aware of that fact), then Austria is much less likely to attack me, and Italy is much more likely to help me if he does.
  225. Sorry, France, but you really screwed up my plans by going for Tunis. I hope you can hold England off for a little while even with Italy coming after you.
  227. Second thoughts: It seems plausible that Germany might accept my support this turn. England cannot defend both Kiel and Sweden, so Germany might change tactics. And if Germany were to get Sweden, it would weaken England without shifting the balance of power to Germany, as he would still be stuck without a home center to build in. So I will continue to offer my support, and will move in such a way that I can go after either Germany OR England (or both) depending on what makes the most sense when the opportunity arises.
  229. Third thoughts: Italy might not even try to get into Smyrna, or he might not try with both units. If I were him, I would want my fleets heading home for defense. If so, I would be foolish not to take Smyrna while I have the chance.
  231. Yeah, let's go for Smyrna. I have to trust Austria either way, but another build would give me a little more flexibility, which would be really helpful. If Austria doesn't attack, and I get Smyrna, I will be in much better shape than I currently feel.
  233. I still need to protect Warsaw, though. France seems greedy enough to go for it.
  235. *****
  237. Spring 1906:
  239. For the first time, I feel genuinely good about my chances of surviving into the draw. Austria has chosen me as his ally, and is going after Italy. I made the right choice not to antagonize him.
  241. Italy's decision to sacrifice Piedmont was foolish. Does he really want a protracted fight with my over Smyrna while being invaded from both Austria and Turkey? Well, this turn I'm going to accept Austria's offer of a support into Smyrna from Ankara, so he will gain nothing from it.
  243. France got greedy, but nothing came of it. He really needs to get off my back though; I would still prefer to go after England in the North, but I can't do that with France harassing me. Hopefully he realizes this quickly, because England is looking at a possible solo win here.
  245. I finally feel safe drawing some forces off my border with Austria, so it's time to head North once I have Smyrna. Hopefully England doesn't come after my just yet. It might behoove me to make it look like I'm interested in working with him by offering a support to Sweden, or moving to Bothinia.
  247. I think the latter. I'd like to snag a center off the dying Germany if possible. And hopefully that will make England lower his guard against me.
  249. *****
  251. Spring, 1906: I'm still on shaky ground, as I could get eliminated from the North very easily, and Austria could crush me if he came after me. But I genuinely don't think Austria is going to do that; he has been nothing but friendly to me, and he has his own enemy in Italy.
  254. *****
  256. Autumn 1906:
  258. Okay, so I still need to trust that Austria will be my friend. But as long as he stays my friend, I'll be in good shape after I get my next build.
  260. To KEEP him as my friend, I'm going to need to defend myself. If I make myself too easy to backstab, he'll probably go for a solo. That means keeping my armies as close to home as possible.
  262. I also need to deal with England. He could also easily solo if he defeated France, given how weak Austria's navy is (Austria couldn't protect Tunis). So I need to damage him enough to prevent a solo, even if I don't outright eliminate him. But France is very much a danger as well, and everything I said about England also applies to France.
  264. That said, my best bet one way or another is to get strong enough in the North that I can protect Scandinavia. At the moment, England is the one in possession of Scandinavia, so he's the one I will fight.
  266. I hope that Austria will see the same dangers I see in the West, and work with me to prevent them rather than going for it himself.
  267. Sat 23 Jan Autumn, 1906: Autumn 1906 (Builds):
  269. Okay, so far so good. Next turn is the critical one. I'm in really good shape for grabbing a Scandinavian center after my build, but it's also the turn that Austria might turn on me. If he doesn't, he probably never will--and his moves seem to suggest a focus on Germany, which I am happy to see.
  271. I just really hope Austria builds a fleet.
  274. *****
  276. Spring 1907:
  278. Okay, here we go. Either Austria goes for his victory here, or he remains my ally and we work to block the Western powers together.
  280. I'm going to offer him a "trade" which will benefit me if he turns on me, and keep things pretty much the same otherwise: I will move into Ankara with Armenia while withdrawing Rumania to Sevastopol. The point of this is that I can't protect Rumania anyway if he decides to come after me, but I can anchor two of his units by moving to Ankara. If he attacks, then I'm in better position to defend myself. If he does not, then hopefully we exchange the centers peacefully and our alliance is strengthened.
  282. In the North, I will move St. Petersburg to Finland with support from Bothnia, and Livonia to St. Petersburg. In the Fall, I will have two units on both Sweden and Norway.
  284. The only other unit to account for is Warsaw. I briefly considered moving it to Ukraine, but I don't think that would be a good idea; it might look too much like an attack to Austria. I'll just have it hold for now.
  285. Tue 26 Jan Autumn, 1907: Autumn 1907:
  287. I thought a good deal this turn about whether I need to attack Austria before it's too late. I have a dubious chance at one center this turn; he's likely going to get two.
  289. However, I realized that the most important thing I can do to prevent an Austrian solo is to wipe England off the map ASAP. With England gone, France can turn his attention south to help me. But if England still exists, he will keep France tied down, and leave me to fend for myself against Austria.
  291. So, the north presses onward. I think an English support-hold of Sweden is almost certain. A support-hold of Norway is less likely, but possible. I think my best bet is St. Petersburg to Norway with support from Finland, and have Gulf tap Sweden. The only other way that makes sense would be to do Finland to Norway with support from St. Petersburg. The advantage of that move would be that it would counter the possible (but HIGHLY unlikely) English Sweden-to-Finland move, which could singlehandedly block all three of my units if I go with the other moveset, and that it would leave St. Petersburg closer to home if Austria gets grabby. But if I get a build, it's going in Moscow, so either I succeed and get a defender in better position, or I fail and St. Petersburg stay where it is anyway.
  293. As for the South, the Austrian move out of Budapest is fortuitous. Now he cannot simultaneously take Rumania and hold Constantinople. I will attack Constantinople with both of my units and have Sevastopol support-move Austria to Rumania. Hopefully he will interpret it as a trade offer rather than an attack, but either way I need to do it--my ultimate defense against Austria will require me to keep two of his units anchored by my units in Turkey.
  295. *****
  297. Autumm 1907 (Builds):
  299. Okay, so, Austria getting only one build is a good thing. France abandoning the fight with England is not.
  301. We're probably looking at a four-way draw here between me, Austria, France, and England. The problem is that France and I combined are weaker than England and Austria combined, which means we could both be whittled out of the draw much more easily than they could. If I want to avoid that, I need to make myself indispensable in stopping an Austrian solo.
  303. And the solo attempt is likely on its way. I suspect that Austria will build a fleet this turn, but he might build an army and attack me. If he does, I need to be able to defend myself.
  305. That said, if I can keep the alliance with him going for one more turn, I can secure Sweden, which will give me a far better chance of surviving into the eventual draw. So, I will build an ARMY in St. Petersburg, which can press the attack if Austria leaves me alone, but which can head south for defense if he does not.
  308. *****
  310. Spring 1908:
  312. Okay, Austria and I are still friends for now. Good.
  314. The thought has occurred to me that I COULD attempt a backstab this turn by attacking Con and moving Rumania to block Austria's move to Rumania, thus forcing a disband. But... nah. Too risky, and I don't want to start my war with Austria until after I've secured Scandinavia. Heck, we might even be able to go the full way without going to war at this point.
  316. For now, I will take Sweden, and see how things play out between England and France and Germany. England is probably going to move to attack me, but I think I can hold him, unless he completely abandons the war with France. And if so, hopefully France is smart enough to seize the opportunity.
  317. Wed 27 Jan Spring, 1908: The problem I face is that England is still very strong, so I can't commit entirely to my war with Austria if I do actually go after him. I need to weaken England substantially before I focus south, or I'll get taken apart from both sides. If keeping Austria as my ally is what I need to do in the meantime, I'm happy to do it. Plus, I think a strong Austria will actually make people less likely to come after me in the endgame, as doing so could cause Austria to win. So I'll let Austria grow. But I won't help him any; even though I could support Bohemia to Silesia, for instance, I don't want Austria to get a center off FRANCE, whose help I need against England.
  320. *****
  322. Autumn 1908:
  324. Interesting developments all around. France is going to be able to protect Tunis, and Austria is not going to get another build. England made a good play to protect Scandinavia. It's four-on-four, but in a way that means I have only a 50-50 percent chance of defending correctly. He could hit Norway with two units or Sweden with three, and I need to guess correctly to defend.
  326. I originally hoped that England was going to try to eliminate Germany, but his draw vote suggests otherwise. Which means I desperately need to guess correctly this turn--if England regains the initiative against me, he will probably keep attacking. And if I get pushed out of the North, I could be eliminated by Austria.
  327. Fri 29 Jan Autumn, 1908: I've made a drastic decision. I'm going to let England have his Sweden back. Even if I guess right, England can just disband the English Channel, and continue to attack me. He would probably break through eventually, once moving other fleets into position, and France is in no position to exploit his undefended flank.
  329. Instead, I'm going to peace out with England and focus on eliminating Germany from the game. After that, I'll vote to draw. I think the other players will probably do the same. As long as I don't give Austria a reason to attack me, I don't see him turning on me. And I think England might see what I'm doing and (hopefully) leave me alone. He could even go for Kiel.
  331. I hope this works. If it doesn't, I could be in trouble, but I think the strength of Austria will deter England from coming after me too much. And I think my friendship with Austria will protect me from a backstab, at least until I submit my draw vote. I think my odds of survival are around 80%. I'm pretty big and powerful, and the other big powers have compelling reasons not to eliminate me. Hopefully I'm right.
  333. *****
  335. Spring 1909:
  337. Well, should have stuck to my guns. Oh well. Plan stays the same: eliminate Germany, then draw.
  339. I'm going to stop trying to trade Rumania as well, just to keep my options open if I need to defend myself. With my fleet back in Rumania, I can take Con next turn by tapping its support in Bul.
  341. I'm also going to push to Sweden and surrender Norway, because Sweden will be much easier to defend. Hopefully England doesn't hold a grudge, and will still be willing to draw once Germany's been eliminated.
  343. *****
  345. Autumn 1909:
  347. Okay, good, I won't lose both of my Scandinavian centers in one turn. Otherwise, the plan remains the same. Hopefully England doesn't interfere in my attack on Berlin.
  349. *****
  351. Autumn, 1909: I could also betray Austria this turn, for one center. But I don't think that's a good idea. There's no guarantee that France would capitalize on such an attack, and England would definitely exploit my attention being directed against Austria. Austria is not in a position to attack me right now, and he'll have to telegraph any attack several turns in advance; I think I'm safe.
  353. *****
  355. Spring 1910:
  357. What the heck, England? Don't you want to draw?
  359. Oh well. You can't stop me this turn.
  361. HOWEVER, he could push to Barents, and then nab St. Petersburg next turn. To block that, I'm going to convoy my Swedish army to Livonia for defense, then grab Berlin in the Autumn. After that, I'll draw.
  362. Tue 2 Feb Autumn, 1910: Autumn 1910:
  364. Okay, France is on the same page as me. Good. Next turn, I vote draw.
  366. The one thing to decide is whether to betray Austria for his extra center. I originally thought I would, but, nah. My best chance at avoiding elimination is to not give Austria a reason. Even if England pushed on towards St. Petersburg, I can block him from getting any further. I feel pretty confident that the game will end next turn anyway.
  368. *****
  370. Autumn 1910 (builds phase):
  372. Draw vote in.
  374. Little concerning Austria took Tunis. Hopefully now England will see that I’m fine with ending the game here and stop attacking me, so I can defend myself against Austria if need be.
  376. *****
  378. Spring 1911:
  380. Game still not over. Austria wants to drag things out.
  382. Thankfully, he has not targeted me, for now. The question is what England will do next. That London build looks a little bit like he wants to whittle France. But surely he knows that doing that would give Austria the win.
  384. Anyway; I know what I need to do. I need to throw my weight behind the cause of stopping Austria. Maybe when England sees what I'm doing, he'll refrain from attacking St. Petersburg, which I won't be able to defend after he's in the Baltic. And Austria can't strike back against me immediately, so hopefully this doesn't backfire spectacularly.
  386. Actually, screw it, let's go all in. I'll move Silesia to Galicia this turn. Assuming Austria does nothing unexpected, I'll get two builds off of him. Maybe that can induce him to draw. No guarantees, but I think England will be smart enough not to try to whittle me while I'm stopping a solo attempt.
  388. I'll throw down support orders on his units in Finland and Kiel to accentuate the point.
  390. *****
  392. Autumn, 1911:
  394. I have made a severe error. Somehow, I missed that England already had a surefire setup to invade St. Petersburg.
  396. And because of my blunder, I will also lose Berlin. I can't afford to lose any more than that.
  398. I'll let England have Berlin. I'll disband and rebuild in Warsaw to protect Livonia. I can't afford to let him get any further south.
  400. The good news is that Austria is not going to get a build this turn. And withdrawing from the border with France will expose his flank. Hopefully he sees it's hopeless and draws soon.
  402. I still think I have a decent shot of making it into a draw. France seems far more likely to get whittled than me. But a 2-way draw between England and Austria is also possible. I need to fight like mad to secure my place
  404. *****
  406. Autumn 1911 (Builds):
  408. I'm in bad shape. With both England and Austria coming after me, I could get whittled.
  410. My best chance is to focus everything on Austria and let England take Moscow. If Austria sees that England is over the stalemate line, maybe he'll vote draw and end this thing.
  412. Hopefully before England withdraws his own draw vote.
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