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The Real Pac-Man

Dee Yun Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2011-06-25 20:02:11

Diplomacy VI - Spring of 1996

The Adjudicator, as previously established, is a moron. But in addition, he is currently a tired moron. I had an exhaustingly interesting weekend of dealing with law enforcement, politicians, business owners, and a newspaper. It felt like IRL Diplomacy. I fear today's commentary is an exercise in the obvious due to my weariness, and I need to go collapse in preparation for a court appearance tomorrow in which I hope I don't lose my savings. Life certainly presents interestingly unexpected twists and turns. And so does Diplomacy:

Britain rolled the dice with unsupported moves against France and guessed correctly. His Royal Air Force snuck a Wing into French airspace, as his navy pressed into a complete interdiction of France's northern coast. Coupled with Spanish cooperation, this offensive shows every sign of impending success. Meanwhile, Steve G.'s other foes to his east declined to test the strength of his defenses. British progress is projected to be slow, but as positive as any optimist could have expected.

Egypt must have been disappointed by Turkey's betrayal, just as he revealed his master plan: an ingenious 2x convoy using "enemy" ships onto Italian soil. We're talking Hannibal with African elephants over the Alps into Italy kind of shit here.

The maneuver required Steve W. to "play poorly", and allow his treacherous partner to gain critical sectors of the Mediterranean. The temptation proved too strong for Turkey, and Egypt has had to scramble to erect his defenses. A combination of successful negotiation reversing hostilities with Italy and sound tactical choices allowed him to seize the all-important Ionian Sea, and shift eastward to face the oncoming threat. Unfortunately, he can do nothing to save Israel, and the corresponding logistical hit to his military. Egypt will need to repeatedly recreate his cleverness to thwart his Turkish foe, but a player capable of engineering that convoy scheme and being the first to acquire the vital asset of being forgiven is certainly capable of doing just so.

France now finds himself on the wrong end of a double (triple?) team. Paul still commands a sizable military, but his defensive lines have been thrown into disarray by that rogue British air Wing. Italy has joined Spain in a naval blockade of his southern coast, and joint maneuvers between those two powers would be calamitous indeed. With his one ally involved in his own multi-front war, France needs to forge and implement a completely new strategy predicated on a diplomatic understanding of his neighbors needs and desires.

Germany rode his pact with France to a commanding presence, but his ally is quickly transforming from a military asset into a political liability. Mike needs to exploit this rapidly closing window to secure the strength and security necessary for the next phase of his game.

Playing Germany has got to be the most exciting experience in this Diplomacy game right now. He's smashing Poland, while Ukraine races to intercede. He needs to link up with Russia before the Bear falls. A clearly hostile British armada wages a Cold War on his shores, and an Italian army is loose on his south. Germany must prioritize his strategic goals and sue for favorable agreements, even as his war machine spills blood. He's powerful, but not nearly powerful enough to stand unilaterally against the political fallout of his alliance with France.

As I previously suggested, Italy has found sudden opportunities. As plots unfurl and ambitions strike, EVERYONE needs Kodi. Spain needs her against France, Egypt needs her against Turkey, Ukraine needs her against Germany, and her actions or non-actions at least tangentially affect all the others. Grudges tend to linger in memory, and she is now repaying past transgressions.

Poland had a miserable turn tactically. Unsupported maneuvers resulted in the loss of key territories, and leaves Vargas on the verge of elimination. Ironically, his misstep in Sweden allowed him to retreat to Finland, a position that should result in the sacking of Moscow.

Russia continued the brilliantly stubborn defense of his homeland. Charles successfully bounced the key Ukrainian flanking maneuver with his eastern Wing, causing a logjam in the Ukrainian war train. With that single unit, Russia neutralized three of his enemy's. But with the impending fall of Rostov (and presumably Moscow if Poland and Ukraine can properly coordinate), Russia is running out of hats to pull rabbits from.

Spain thrust back the shallow handhold France had previously gained. Kang is making France pay for that fleet that was built in Marseilles. Denied military progress by French aggression, Spain has instead poured his energies into diplomatic thrusts. There have been numerous actions around the board these past several turns that reek of his meddling.

Turkey failed to maintain his presence in the Ionian Sea, as Italy elected to side against him. Nevertheless, Gorbash possesses a commanding presence in the Mediterranean and can inexorably push on Egypt as long as he is not tactically bested.

Ukraine is finally on the verge of hamstringing Russia. And now he has opened a second front against Germany. This to me is one of the most fascinating wars we've seen in any of the six Diplomacy games we've held: Poland and Ukraine on the inside position attempting to squash Russia on the east, as Germany presses from the west.

David Vargas David Vargas: (dave-deleteme[at]-deleteme-squishycomics [dot] com) 2011-06-27 12:24:18

What's Really Happening

If you think about it, this is what is actually happening when you have Pac-Man eat a ghost.

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