A Weekly Threat Assessment of the Diplomacy Community

The Second Media Wars Concludes
The second game of Media Wars just wrapped up. We have the lowdown with after action reports from every player, and our Champion's Corner from board topper Villageidiot. You can relive the first season before perusing the board here.

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How To Win As Russia
Legendary Tactics continues to bring the thoughts and tactics of the best players for every country. This episode features Russian juggernaut and European Champion Peter McNamara going through openings and alliances in depth.

The Champions Corner is where recent tournament winners share a specific move or strategy that they believe helped them to emerge victorious. This week, the Briefing is proud to feature two Champions.
For this issue, we welcome the Russian board top for Media Wars II, VillageIdiot.

Media Wars 2: News from Russia



I was once again fortunate enough to be asked to substitute into a Media Wars game, this time as a backfill for the great Lady Razor who had to unexpectedly drop out.  I was excited since in Media Wars 1 I had dropped into a tough position and only just managed to survive by the skin of my teeth but this time around I was injected into a much healthier position with a lot of familiar faces.  

I joined in Fall 1902 and inherited a pre-existing strong relationship with Turkey and in-process Sea Lion well on it’s way to eliminating the games first casualty of England.  To my south stood Legendary Tactics as Austria, who had caused me a fair amount of grief in Media Wars 1, and in the Germany position was GoHornsGo who I worked fairly well with last time.  Between the existing Russian momentum and comfortable relationships I was feeling pretty hopeful about this game.  

Lady Razor had left me some notes to help me catch up.  He had originally wanted Germany to be eliminated but couldn’t get the buy-in from England and France had left him hanging on an attack on Munich so he had pivoted into an offer to Sea Lion.  His original intentions were to stab Turkey and work with Italy, which sounded great to me as Oliver Lugg (Turkey) was a new face to me and I didn’t really get the opportunity to work with Amby (Italy) last time due to his early elimination so it all appealed to me to get to know these content producers better.  Finishing off with some warnings about the strong connection and skills of Ed (Germany) and Ezio (France) I was well caught up and ready to go.


My intent going in was to try to follow Lady Razor’s game plan but I was quick to discover neither Turkey nor Italy were overly communicative with me.  I had initially thought we would all just make quick work out of Austria and I could make an arrangement with at least one of them to prepare for a mid-game battle against what I assumed was likely a solid alliance of FG, but I couldn’t seem to get the right conversation going with either nation.  Italy was extremely non-commital to anything and Turkey I felt may be less experienced as I struggled to get him to catch on with tactical suggestions .  In my first round I had requested Turkey to cut Serbia with Bulgaria while supporting his Aeg fleet into Bulgaria with Const support as this would bounce against any potential attacks against Bulgaria, but I ultimately failed to adequately convey the mechanics of why this was foolproof and risk free to him.  He would resist and I would concede the pitch out of fear of coming on too strong in my first entry to the game, this would end up costing me my easy recovery of Rum and would mark the first loss of momentum for the Juggernaut.  Was not a great start and I had growing concerns about the practicality of this alliance.  Meanwhile elsewhere Italy was both attacking Austria in Trieste while simultaneously helping Austria advance against Turkey.  I wasn’t really sure what meant in terms of Italy’s intentions but given he wasn’t talking to me I could only assume Italy didn’t consider me as interchangeable in his previous relationship with Lady Razor and didn’t intend to carry on that path anymore.  I was never really able to get a good conversation with him about it, but word was he was concerned FGR were going to be an ongoing triple and he didn’t wish to help enable my growth.

I had a lot of early conversations with Austria (Legendary Tactics) and due to what seemed to be a lack of options in the south I entertained possibly doing something with him. He tends to be more diplomatically aggressive than my tastes so I was hoping if I had to team with him it would be along with Italy to help keep him honest, but in the absence of that dialog with Italy I would write off that option and try to carry on with Turkey.  


In the Spring I would try again with similar tactical suggestions with Turkey to help get back Rum in a safe manner.  He would agree to give the assist this time we successfully got the center back, but again the explanation of moves were misunderstood and this time it would be Turkey’s center in Bulgaria that would be lost.  This eventually came back to haunt me as Turkey assumed I had just been reckless in my requests of him and frustrations of lack of progress would begin to grow.  

Elsewhere on the board efforts of RGF against England were going extremely efficiently and “what next” conversations started to materialize from both Germany and France.  With the Juggernaut seeming to be stalled out and less intimidating I started to become a more viable mid-game ally option for both Germany and France who I started seemed to have an aura of competitiveness towards each other.

Turkey surprisingly managed to get back into Bulgaria come Fall, but this would soon appear to be an arrangement with the southern nations as Turkey would use the build to put a fleet into Ankara which was clearly anti-Russia.


Turkey’s turn on me would be followed by ultimatums from Austria and Turkey for me to attack Germany for them under threat of further southern aggression.  I felt this a flawed threat as their aggressive positioning against me made it almost impossible to comfortably move anywhere and this began the start of a tedious north vs south war.  Italy had also launched an attack on France signalling the cohesiveness of the TAI alliance which caused all northern mid-game alliance negotiations to get put on hold forcing FGR to carry on their alliance in a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.  This year England would lose its last center and be eliminated.


The next couple years between 1905-1907 would show slow yet gradual growth for GRF as we grinded away at the south’s front line and scored small but important victories getting into northern Austria and the italian peninsula.  It became fairly evident that the northern players were more tactically savvy and the southern players were significantly more conservative.  My personal growth path was limited due to the heavy presence along my southern border so I would need to rely on the charity of Germany to gift centers to me to invest in shoring up of vulnerable spots along my defence line and in return I would play an assist role in getting Germany into Austrian centers.  There was a moment in 1905 where France seemed to steal a center from Germany, but by all appearances it was forgiven and forgotten quickly.  This turned out not to truly be the case however as Germany was simply waiting for an opportune moment to enact revenge which would come at the end of 1907 as Germany would stab France for two centers and begin his march into France’s homeland.

Around this same time, with Germany on a fast track to board top and Turkey having been once again stalled out for the past few years I received an offer to reform the Juggernaut with the proposal for both of us to stab our respective allies giving him the opportunity to finally get some growth at the expense of Italy and Austria and me off of a growing and dangerous Germany.  I would insincerely agree to this, but by this time Germany had afforded me so much goodwill by not attacking me when I was vulnerable and generously gifting my centers that I really had no desire to repay that kindness with heartless ambition alongside my previous betrayer.  Turkey would proceed with his attack on Italy and Austria and help me into Austrian owned Budapest, but I remained steadfast in my solid alliance with Germany.  


In the aftermath Turkey made swift amends with Italy and Austria and returned all stolen centers, but the damage was done.   This next stage would see a very dominant Russia/Germany alliance propelled by an extremely tight sense of trust which afforded us the ability to use all of our resources at full strength without hesitation or uneasiness over exposed shared borders or opportunism.  I’d made a point to comfort Germany that as a ‘non-content producer’ I didn't feel the pressure to compete for bragging rights in this game which I believe gave him some comfort.  By 1909 the two of us would occupy more territories then the other four players combined with no signs of cracks or slowing down.  France would be pressed down into Iberia with three remaining units, Italy was down to three centers attempting to keep Germany out of the boot, Austria was down to his last two units, and Turkey was doing his best to defend Black Sea with his remaining four units.  


It would appear the last remaining hope for the remaining players would be a breakdown between myself and Germany in the last five years of the game.  Neither of us were making moves in that direction, but Germany was starting to feel the pressure as he was fairly exposed in his homeland and I was occupying the North Sea.  This led to Germany abruptly proposing a six-way draw with a shared board top between the two of us at 10 each.  I felt there was still game left and would have been fine taking this to a final showdown, but around this same time I had earned my way into the Nexus Season 6 Finals and the idea of having the time freed up to focus appealed to me so when everybody else agreed they had enough content I was perfectly happy to oblige.  

Could I have actually won this?  Hard to say really, once me and Germany would come to blows there would have been losses on both sides as the remaining nations would rush for suddenly vulnerable centers so it would have been a sprint to try to take each other's centers at a faster pace then we were losing elsewhere as the clock ticked down.  After a personal long stretch of some intense and exhausting tournaments I was quite happy to end this game on a friendly note and share the win with a respected ally.

July August September



This issue was brought to you by Michael DeMichillie, thank you for your support.
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