EoG statement of Austria

Congratulations to Glenn and Karlis achieving the 2WD in this game and many thanks to all of you for this entertaining and tense game. Thanks to Chirchill for setting up and maintaining the game.

This was the first 2WD I saw in any of the games I've played and I'm somewhat surprised it ended like it did. There were ups and downs in this game in whom I judged to be the one having the best chances for a solo (Germany most of the time, France for some period, Turkey in the end) and it was interesting to see how Glenn and Karlis finally got around to manage for it (see Karlis EoG statement here, too).

When the game started, I fairly quick tried to get in contact with all the neighboring powers to get a feeling whom I could trust and whom I can't. As Austria, I needed to get at least one of IAR on my side and particular wanted to see Russia and Turkey to fight each other.

Soon after the game started I found messages from Turkey and Austria in my mailbox. Russia was not very talkative in his press, while Turkey's press was a longer one. I personally prefer to talk a lot with nations I cooperate with so that I do get a feeling whether they're honest or not. The less information I exchange with someone the more the chances I misjudge his intentions.

In addition, Turkey seemed to have a similar thinking to myself. We discussed the pros and contras of a cooperation and agreed on some basic things. After some time I felt, this was the one out of my neighbors I could ally with for some time. Because Turkey also agreed to move completely anti-russian there was no need for me to rethink my strategy and try to get a more elaborate press exchange with the Tsar.

As for Italy, I tried to convince him moving west but he always refrained from going there and insisted on moving into either Tyrolia or Venice to go against either Russia or Turkey. I wasn't sure about his intention and thus wouldn't wanted to see him entering my homeland. After a while of talking with Italy, Turkey and Germany, however, I changed my mind. It would raise suspicion on Italy's side, if I did not allow him to move eastwards in any way. Both Italy and France told me about their agreement not to move against each other and because of Italy insisting on moving eastward I was sure, there was peace in the southwest.

I still had the choice between Italy and Turkey in mid-spring 1901. Russia was not the one I wanted to cooperate with and Germany seemed to be interested in cooperating with France against England. My press exchange with both Turkey and Italy at that time was heavy (perhaps a bit more with Turkey) and I decided to play it in a way as to be able to choose after I saw the results.

After Spring 1901, all went well for Turkey. He moved completely as we agreed. Italy did so as well, but then Italy had a unit in my homeland, while Turkey hadn't. In addition, the way Turkey built up mutual agreements pleased me very much. So, my choice fell on Turkey after Spring 1901. We agreed on double-crossing Italy in 1901 and deny him of any build. I had to let Warsaw to Galicia happen for this and fear an attack from Tyrolia on Vienna but if the Sultan did not trick me, I would get two builds to defend my homeland against IR.

Everything went more or less smooth from there on until Fall 1902. Turkey and I did not make any big progress (not getting into Sevastopol), Italy and Russia still within Austria, but we had a fairly good position defending against them and slightly improving our position from turn to turn. To both Turkey's and my surprise Italy and Russia did not cooperate too well and we both wondered why. Of course, we did not complain about it ;-)

Looking into the distance, we saw GF taking out England very quickly and talked a lot about the consequences. Bot of us judged GF as a real big danger for AT and we had to advance quickly to deal with them. Then in Fall 1902 I found a german army moving to Bohemia. Because both of us feared GF a lot, this was a definite alarm sign. What were the plans of Germany with this? Well, my army from Galicia was dislodged and had to retreat to either Budapest or Silesia. To threaten Germany and to have some material to negotiate with him, I decided to let Budapest without guard and retreat to Silesia.

I don't know whether it was Germany's intention or not, but this forward retreat did our relation good. At least this was my impression. Had I retreated to Budapest, Germany offered a support into Tyrolia to me, but this could have been just a trick. With me in Silesia I figured there would have been less chance for Germany to trick me and more chance if we'd cooperate.

Both Turkey and me agreed on Germany being played by a skilled person - in tactics, strategy and diploming. I knew I had to be careful TG not working too close together (I didn't know that there already was such a close cooperation between them), because in a "line" of three powers working closely together sooner or later the powers at the end of this line will move on the one in the middle. I was quite sure, however, the time for GT would not come as long as France was doing well in the west and Turkey had to fear FG.

So, I was still very convinced about AT making up for a good counter-alliance to FG. RIE would be out of game in a few years and discussion about how to progress then began in 1903/4.

Then in 1905 I faced the turning point. I had an uneasy feeling with this third army I allowed Turkey to build in 1904. Perhaps I should have insisted more on a fleet, but then the arguments Turkey brought were reasonable and I gave in. Would you have built that army, had I strongly objected to it, Karlis?

I must admit, I was completely surprised by that stab (ie the convoy Smy-Bul and the bounce over Rumania). It was very effective and precisely timed - you can be proud of it. In my eyes a masterpiece.

So, what chance did I have? I figured I wouldn't survive very long and my only chance was to get into some position on the board where I could force myself into a 3WD (GAT). There were three such spots on the board: First, Moscow and Warsaw, second Vienna, and third Rome (perhaps together with Venice). I would have preferred them in that order. For Moscow/Warsaw, I needed german support into Moscow first, but Germany refrained from giving that support, no matter how much I asked for it. Vienna would have been possible, if Germany staid present in Tyrolia and/or Bohemia. But he had to order Tyrolia to Piedmont to support his war against France, which left only Rome for me (hoping that Germany would move to Tuscany as soon as possible).

Well, as we all saw, it was not possible for me and the main fault was on my side for two reasons: I didn't make clear to Germany I'd like to see him moving to Tuscany as soon as possible (as I know now, this probably wouldn't have worked) and I foolishly convoyed my army from Venice to Albania (I gave this order too early and then simply forgot to change it).

What's left as conclusion?

Well, in an AT as Austria always insist on Turkey never to build a third army. Despite (or perhaps just because of) it's unlikelyness, I judge AT to have a really great potential and to being a very strong alliance. I think, that Karlis and me could have achieved for a similar 2WD as well, but given the choice between Austria and Germany, I would have choosen Germany as well.

Second, I'm still to credulous. I need to be more wary and scrupulous not relying to much on my allies. But then, this is not my kind of attitude and it's hard to get away with it (even if it's only a game). This makes me a good ally for other players, because I'm really committed to any alliance I'm in. This goes hand in hand with what Karlis wrote. As he, I had to improve my diplomatic skills when negotiating with other powers. Glenn is unreached here in my eyes and gave a very good example of how to diplome.

Third, this game proofed again, that you by all means have to exchange press with your neighbors. Russia mainly did not become my ally, because his press didn't satisfy my needs. It was way too short sentenced, while both Italy and Turkey replied often and in detail. I think, the same applies to England, although I do not know (I had only few contacts with him between 1901 and 1903).

Finally, I'd like to answer some of the questions that came up in other EoG statements:

Mike wrote:
Greetings one and all. Good job Germany and Turkey. Well played. It's been so long since we started this and I'm in a few other games. I hope I don't get my beginnings mixed up.
To the contrary I was surprised for this game to go through that quickly. It took us about 2-3 monts only which I found surprisingly fast (I am in games that are running for over a year now, which is extremely slow). BTW: thanks for noone dropping the game. I like it very much, when people show their dedication to the game by not resigning once things turn against them.
If I remember correctly, my plan was to try to go after Austria right away. I have never played Italy to victory, my best being a 8-center 3-way. In that case I went after France to start the game. So I thought I'd try something different.
I'm surprised. You hid this intention very well in the beginning, although I was slightly suspicious when you insisted that strongly on moving to either Tyrolia or Trieste.
... I broke two of my cardinal rules. Never play the game to some preestablished plans, play the game as it unfolds. And never place your game's fortunes all on one risky move. I did both and suffered the consequences.
I can't do more than just agree to this. Nothing could be more true.

Karlis wrote:
... It went all wrong, with me basically lying over and over again, for no reason and no advantage. And those usless lies damaged my relations with France, I suspect. Those diplomatic missteps were the low point in my game, I think. I'm still working on being able to communicate effectively with enemies. It's tough because I would like to be able to offer something when I'm engaging with someone, but in this case, I had nothing I was willing to offer, so perhaps I should have kept to small talk instead of hurting my reputation needlessly.
In this game, I think Glenn was a master on this. I hopefully learned a lot from his kind of communicating with other powers. After you stabbed me, I just took it as an exercise trying to keep in contact with you. I would have worked against you, had I been backed up by Germany, and still have exchanged messages with you. In earlier games I played I used not to communicate with allies stabbing me, but this doesn't help in any way.

Karlis wrote:
... My first impression of Germany was that he was a "slick" player. To me that means a player who will not lie, but will engage in all sorts of funny business behind your back. I did not really trust him for the long term, but he was a very reliable source of information and diplomatic support. In hindsight my wariness was probably due to my contrasting Austria with Germany. Austria seemed completely trustworthy and friendly, much more so than Germany.
I had the same impression vice versa. We both agreed on Germany being to be handled with care. My feeling of you was just the same than yours of me.
... least France believed that he and Germany would sweep the board (Austria can verify my many paranoid presses "There's an FG I'm tellin' you!" :-)
Indeed. But I was as paranoid as you were, although we placed another power at the top (IIRC you said Germany was the leading player, while I voted for France).
... In fact, the unlikeliness of the AT was what Austria and I were counting on to foil our foes. We were hopeful that the others would assume that at any moment one of us would stab the other, and AT would be over.
They were finally correct in their assumption, weren't they? ;-)
France and Italy always wanted me to attack Austria (understandably for Italy, but from France this was puzzling.) France claimed to want to stab Germany, but his insistence that he needed Italy to do this was 100% unconvincing. If he wanted to stab Germany, why wouldn't he try to convince Austria? But my sense was that Austria and France rarely talked.
Yes, this was probably due to me only. I should have exchanged more press at some time, but I simply hadn't got the time to do it. We exchanged some press in the beginning of the game and around 1903 or 1904 IIRC, but that's all.
... It was around now that I started on the long road of thorough negotiation with Germany, and my many "conditions". At that time, Germany seemed to want me to attack Austria. He went so far as to move unannounced to Tyrolia, which sparked a minor controversy (our only controversy, as it turned out).
Well, I for my part was completely easy with the lot of conditions we both had from the beginning. For me, these all made sense and were to a great deal why I choosed you as an ally over Italy.
... So at that point the GAT alliance was going strong. I still considered Austria my primary ally. Somewhere in here Germany stabbed France, but since France was still annoyed with me, he kept his fleets defending Italy.
This was also something I didn't understand. When Germany moved a step against France I expected France to shift forces, but he didn't do. I'm keen to get an impression, why?
... So, with a heavy heart but firm conviction in the wisdom of my decision, I stabbed my main ally, Austria (he was up til then my main ally). Austria and I had become fast friends in this game, and it was a tough decision to make. I had fresh in my mind the memory of a similar situation in which I stabbed a loyal ally who I was very friendly with, and he took it very personally and refused to talk to me ever again, and I felt guilty. I didn't think Austria would react that way, but you never know. Happily, he took it quite well (it is a game, afterall), but obviously he shifted strategies, and attempted to get Germany on his side, presumably to get Germany within striking distrance of a draw, therefore scaring me into stopping my attack on Austria and forming a draw line with him....
Exactly. Unfortunately it did not work.
I'm positive he knows this, but to Austria I must say that it was only the dictates of geography (and my desire for an ending better than a 3-way ;), which prevented me from making decent progress in the Med, which made me stab. I have no doubt that we could have successfully pursued a 2-way if the conditions had been more favorable.
I would have liked to see a 2WD between the two of us as well. I would have been a much harder work, of course, than a 2WD with Germany. I was indeed somewhat pissed off when I read the results of fall 1904, but I recognized it would not make any sense to take it personally (which I would have done, had this happened in some earlier games of mine).
... Austria must never have exchanged more than two or three press. Is this true?
Yes. I just thought, it would make no sense. France already had shown his support to Italy for a long time. While I was able to get into contact with Italy again, I figured that France wouldn't support me against Italy. Working for a large draw was not something I deemed this game to deserve and my goal was to settle down firmly in Rome. This would have been impossible with France and Italy.

aka Archduke Ferdinand

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