First of all, what a great tournament! It was nicely conceived and run by Orange/Bobby. That had to be a tremendous amount of work to do so and I hope he had as much fun running the tournament as I had playing it.

Gunboat suits my strengths as a diplomacy player (at least interests)--tactics and strategy. I just don’t seem to have the interest in writing enough to everyone to be that good of a player. In Standard I also like the pureness of gunboat in that you don’t know the identities of the other players, so past games and relationships do not affect the outcome of the game.

In the first round I drew Austria and I thought “well, this is going to a short tournament.” Austria is tough enough in Standard Dip but in gunboat you have to defend against both Italy and Russia in Spring 1901 without the ability to communicate and reach some kind of agreement. You just have no cause to leave Trieste and Galicia uncovered. Of course, if you cover both Galicia and Trieste you leave yourself vulnerable to Turkey.

Well, I went with a hedgehog opening--Fleet Trieste holds (I think I might have signaled to Italy that I would support Apulia-Greece) and moved to Galicia and Serbia. Fortunately, Turkey made an all-out attack on Russia. In Fall 1901 I made a boneheaded move and attempted to support Italy into Greece (he sensibly took Tunis, the sure thing). The good news was that Turkey continued his attack on Russia and did not attack Greece.

After that, I was able to exploit the war between Russia and Turkey to take some centers in the Balkans (I can’t recall which ones) but I do remember Italy taking Trieste from me! I couldn’t blame him, he was getting frozen out of any centers but that did not mean I was going to let him stay there. So I knocked him out in the Spring. When Italy failed to provide a retreat he left mainland Italy open for me to easily conquer and that was pretty much it for that game.

In the second round I drew Germany. I got up to about six or seven centers and I was hoping to go east against Russia and clobber him while France would take out England. And just as France convoyed into England I made a defensive move that France interpreted as an offensive move and he stopped his attack against England and turned to defend against me. At that point, I just defended my country and piled up the points so that I could make it to the finalround. Not much of a game on my part.

In the final round I was the second seed and got the country I wanted--Turkey. With Turkey being a very difficult country to attack without people being to coordinate their attacks very well, I just thought Turkey was the best country to play. My plan in the game was to take advantage of the fact that Austria and Italy don’t necessarily have an easy time working together in Gunboat. Russia seemed to be thinking the same way and with Italy looking more to the West we were able to conquer Austria relatively quickly.

At that point,, Russia decided that he could not disengage from his holdings in Budapest and Vienna and go after Germany--instead he took Trieste. Unfortunately, Italy was moving West and when I supported France into Tunis and Italy did not retreat his fleet, there was pretty much no way Russia could win against me. I was able to pick up a few centers.

I had to take those Russian centers with fleets, making it very tough to break out against Russia. Meanwhile, Germany was getting up to 12 centers and looked he was going to easily solo. So I tried my best to signal through impossible orders that I was willing to sit tight while everyone else worked to contain Germany.

But I didn’t think that I needed Italy to help against Germany, so I decided to attack him. While he put up a good defense, eventually I was to make some head-way. Again, I let Russia know that Venice was his for the taking.

So, finally, we get to a point in about 1911 or so where Germany is getting up to about 14 or 15 centers (looking like he has 16 in the bag) and I decided to attack France and Russia. Normally, in a non-tournament game I would have just accepted stopping Germany from soloing, but I thought since I was at only 10 centers I needed to start growing if I was to have any chance of winning the tournament. I could have continued to prop Russia and France up and then just stabbed in the end. I just felt that eventually Germany would get his 16 centers while I would have to pick five or six in a year--a tall task.

I came close to winning. In Spring 1914 if I would have attacked Marseilles with everything I would have take it and won the tournament. In Fall 1914 France could have given it to me by bouncing Germany in Gascony. On balance I think Germany deserved the win, however, and I kind of agree with France deciding not to determine the champion.

Well, that’s it. See y’all in some future games!