Alright, so I just finished playing a game (Game 12056017) and I thought it would be nice to share what I learned. In a flat rate game on a large map, troop count is not as important as timing and leverage of the particular situation. The map was also fog to add to the bluffing element. I will admit, that the map and settings were complicated (freestyle, standard, flat rate, fog, and victory objective).
So here is the background for those interested.
The situation was I had the largest amount of troops on the board with 6 players remaining (aka, 3 ex-conquerors, 2 field marshals, and moi) in 3rd crusade map.
Teal owned france and england-95
Blue had italy, vatican, and venice-75
Red had antioch-65
Yellow had egypt, triplo, and africa-100
pink had germany, spain, granada, and jerusalem-120 troops, crusade bonuses
I (green) had all the balkans, byzantine, seljuk, edessa, tarsus, and some damascus regions-230 troops
The game is won by holding jerusalem, antioch, a starting point (a capital city of the large bonus), and either granada/vatican at the start of the turn. Due to the freestyle nature, if one holds it at the end of the round, they pretty much win the game.
I was able to gain that much troops through attempting to play pink off against everyone else since pink was going for the objective so the other players had to tolerate me expanding and getting large amount of troops in order to watch pink from stealing the game.
So, red set off the chain reaction by deciding to abandon antioch since red had no intention of dying if pink wanted to take antioch leaving antioch undefended with the idea that I would protect it. However, I attempted a blackmail move in leaving the victory objectives open to pink to take in an attempt to appease pink after breaking his germany bonus to scout out france and italy. Since I knew the other players were watching, it would force them to attack pink if pink went after the objective. Teal called my bluff and was lucky in that pink missed his turn or else pink could;ve won in the last 5 seconds by seizing antioch. Seeing the effectiveness of the tactic since it almost got teal to spend 30 troops on pink, I attempted the blackmail again. However, my critical mistake was ending my turn leaving the other 5 players remaining to go. THAT is where I lost my leverage.
I had the most troops on the board. Teal, blue, and yellow decided they had enough and tried to convince pink to join them in killing me. I counter-offered to wipe blue off and give pink another chance at the victory grab. Though my offer was much better for pink because pink and I were the strongest, I have lost the timing by using my turn. This lost of timing is what overall convinced pink to join teal, blue, and yellow. The result was I was wiped out that turn after a coordinated attack. The alliance agreed to kill my armies as distributed, 50-blue, 80 pink, 80 teal, and 80 yellow, of course, I over bluffed the size of my army with them thinking in the 250-280 range. So blue and pink went first contributing their agreed killings leaving red, yellow, and teal to yet to take their turns.
Eventually teal and yellow took their turns and killed me finding out I had 80 less troops than they thought.
So, the lesson I wanted to share was, that using diplomacy, blackmails, and threats, the strongest player got taken down by 4 others because the strongest player lost his leverage and timing by taking his turn. Troop count means very little in a large player game unless you have more troops than all the other players combined. So this was the lesson I wanted to share. If you want to hit the first page on the scoreboard, you need to understand the usage of leverage and timing, not the raw power of troop count. By taking my turn, i lost my leverage due the timing since pink couldn't side with my offer because I have already taken my turn while teal, yellow, and blue had not resulted in my death. So important lesson is know how to use leverage.
A good example of leverage and timing used was by red after my death. Red was in an interesting position because red was the weakest player with 1 region, but a large army of 64. Red chose not to join in the attack, but utilized the leverage of his troop since he knew everyone else was weak from attacking me and left a huge vaccum to provinces open. So red had an agreement with everyone else not to interfere with my demise and in exchange took seljuk, edessa, tarsus, antioch, triplo, and all of damascus without contributing a SINGLE troop. Of course, red got a little greedy later and decided to kill blue leading to his death by yellow.
So in summary, I want you to understand how to read board states and maximize the usage of your armies, not just through sheer raw numbers, but through leveraging them and taking advantage of good timing. Without understanding this concept, it's hard to make it to the first page of the scoreboard.