EOG for Germany: (I wrote this without reading any other EOG's. I've now read them and will add some more comments in another dispatch.)

This was a most enjoyable game for me. I especially want to thank my fellow players for staying with their country to the end. It was great to have a game with no dropouts.

I enjoyed alliances with several players in this game, and it was with regret that I stabbed Russia, France, and Austria. However, each of these stabs was necessary for German success and that is what the game is about.

I always try to find a lesson in each of my games, and in this one the lesson was the value of a distant ally. I discovered from the opening dispatches that the ruler of Turkey was a player whose temperament and style were similar to mine. We agreed to keep each other posted regarding our diplomatic situation and to try to arrange an alliance structure that was mutually beneficial. Meanwhile, I managed to forge an alliance with France with the purpose of sending England to an early defeat. The English player never made any serious attempt to form an alliance with either France or Germany, so it was easy for the two of us to choose the other. Very poor tactical play by England brought us quick success.

In the opening years, neither Turkey or I made a major move without consulting the other. We conducted a lot of correspondence, often 6 or more messages per turn, and we discussed in some detail our changing relationships with all of our neighbors. The Sultan always kept my messages in confidence and showed great flexibility whenever I had to deviate from a prior plan. Meanwhile, I became distrustful of France because of his repeated efforts to get me to agree to more and more French armies on my border. I never really believed his sincerity until he finally stabbed Italy; by then the die was cast. By 1902, I was already beginning to think that this was a rare opportunity for a 2-way draw. I had never found a player I could work with as much as the Sultan, and our positions on opposite sides of the major stalemate lines made the choice a natural. By the beginning of 1903 I had decided that I wanted to play for the 2-way with Turkey. I'd won 2 games before, but I'd never had a 2-way and didn't want to miss what was probably the best chance I would ever have.

One reason that long-distance alliances are not discussed much in the dip literature is that it is not obvious how to accomplish anything with them. Turkey and I solved this problem by discussing long-term strategy and basing our short-term choices on the long-term consequences. The key stage was the 1902 build. We had agreed on 2 possible plans. If France had built an army or northern fleet, which I expected him to do, our plan was to work with Austria against Italy and Russia against France. If France built a fleet in Marseilles, as he did, the plan was to blitz Russia and then turn against France and Italy. In either case, we both wanted Austria as an ally, so the impression we conveyed was that we each had Austria as our prime ally and were on the same side only coincidentally. The fact was that we were each other's principal ally and Austria was a temporary ally because of the circumstances. For my part, I found both Austria and Russia to be great allies; were it not for my friendship with the Sultan, I could easily have stayed allied with either Austria or Russia for the whole game.

The stab of Russia in spring 1903 was devastating. I had been helping Russia, so he confided his move orders to me. Austria, Turkey, and I played precisely the best moves to counter Russia. In the fall, we hit on a plan to defend our gains and recover our one loss by cutting all possible Russian supports. This clever tactical trick knocked Russia out. It also left Austria holding many centers defended only by alliance and not by units.

Austria was ripe for the stab, and again we took advantage of our victim's confidence with just the right moves. Meanwhile, I guessed right and snuck an army into position to take Liverpool. After that, it was only a matter of time and careful negotiation. Austria and Italy were weak and unable to cooperate, and this gave Turkey a clear victory. France had a large position, but was terribly divided into 4 disconnected areas. He also made the mistake (twice!) of pressing a key army forward into a position from which it could be eliminated.

The Sultan was always afraid I would go for the win, but my last real chance to do that passed when Austria collapsed. I never really considered it. I readily agreed to almost all of Turkey's requests, even when they slowed my progress, such as agreeing not to occupy the Mid Atlantic until Turkey could occupy the Tyrrhenian. Ironically, it was Turkey who had the best chance at a solo. After 1907, I suddenly realized that some seemingly minor errors had put Turkey in a position to finish his half of the board and take StP with French help. This gave me quite a scare, although I don't really think he seriously considered it. Eventually I hit on the right defense, based on the move to Prussia. Had Turkey accepted French support into StP in the spring of 1908, I would have taken Warsaw in the fall. The only way for Turkey to win was for he and France to play to get Turkey into StP in the fall after a spring move that kept me out of Livonia and prevented me from positioning to cut French support. Anticipating F Bar-Nwy, I played to Norwegian instead. After that, it was all over.

After the stab of Austria, it amazed me that the rest of the world didn't seem to get the picture that we were playing for a GT draw. No serious effort was made to stop us, as the weaker survivors fought over Italy instead. I would really like to know when everyone finally figured out that Turkey and I were working together.

Thanks again for a great game. Russia, Austria, and France, I hope to meet you in another game sometime. Maybe you'll be able to get even with me. Sultan, I hope you and I are never in a game together again, as we know each other too well now.

Glenn Ledder
aka, the Black Baron

By the way, my name came from the "Red Baron" of WWI Germany--but German units in Dip are black.

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