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Subject: Why Conquer Austria? Rule 14.3 rss

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John Griffey
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Rule 14.3 allows Austria, or any other Power, as a Subject Neutral to draw its Maximum Hand, plus a Card to replace its Reserve Card. The average Card is worth 4 CP. So as a Subject Neutral, Austria gets an average of five Cards or 20 CP per turn,

If France merely Flags Venice, Salzburg, Prague, and Zagreb, without even trying to Flag Vienna or to Conquer Austria, Austria is reduced to its Minimum Hand of 2 Cards, which, including the Austrian Reserve Card, would on the average yield Austria 14 CP per turn. France, on the other hand, can meet its Maximum Hand requirement by taking the above four Austrian Key Duchies.

On the other hand, if France Conquers Austria, it will probably end up with Control of fewer Key Duchies (one, two, or three) than if it remains at war with Austria.

So Austria is better off by 6 CP = 1.5 Cards per turn if it is Conquered or Submits. France gains only one Resource, once, from Conquering Austria, and fewer Keys than when at war with Austria. Austria also has the advantage that it cannot be attacked for one Turn. True, France can attack Austria when the Grace Period expires, but Austria is a big place, and the Austrian Units can be maneuvered to a Duchy where it is inconvenient or impossible to attack them.

Also, if Austria is still at war, its 8 CP Reinforcements must come in at Vienna if it is available, and there they can be destroyed quickly if Vienna is surrounded and it is impossible to Deploy them to safety. In contrast, if Austria is a Subject Neutral, it can build its Reinforcements in Vienna and then usually can Deploy them to wherever the Austrian player chooses.

So why should France Conquer Austria? Isn't France better off in the long run just whittling down Austria to its Minimum Hand? (Russia, presumably, will take its Units out of Austria before the end of the Turn to avoid having its Units sent to the Regroup Box by French Conquest of Austria,)

I suppose the same logic applies to Prussia and Britain too. Why Conquer when the economics and strategic situation are better without Conquest?

The dynamics of the Peace Die Roll don't give an incentive for Conquest. Austria, whether it's at a Minimum Hand and at war, or at Maximum Hand and Subject Neutral, can't influence the Peace Die Roll against France either way.

What am I missing?

Here are some variants which provide extra inducements to Conquer rather than to occupy without Conquering:

VARIANT to Rule 15.2, After Conquering a Power, the conqueror picks the number and type of Duchies he is annexing. His picks determine a modifier of the Peace Die Roll in the subsequent Peace Phase:

DUCHIES TAKEN BY CONQUEROR: PEACE DIE ROLL MODIFIER
No Duchies taken: +2
2 Non-Key Duchies taken: +1
1 Key Duchy: 2 non-Key Duchies taken: +0
2 Key Duchies, 2 non-Key Duchies taken: -1
3 Key Duchies, 2 non-Key Duchies taken: -2.

VARIANT: Eliminate Reinforcements for Subject Neutrals.

VARIANT: All Units built by a Subject Neutral go to the Regroup Box, If a friendly Nation plays "Patriotic Fervor" or "Nationalist Uprising," then an alternative text for the Events on those cards allows one Friendly Nation to deploy for free all its Units in the Regroup Box.

The above Variant would cut a Subject Neutral's build-up rate by 33% (3 CP, not 2 CP, to deploy a Unit). That makes a national revival more difficult. But, the uprisings of Prussia and Austria did catch the French by surprise, an effect which play of "Patriotic Fervor" or "Nationalist Uprising" as described above would capture nicely. A Subject Neutral has another advantage in sending new-built Units to the Regroup Box: Units can't be attacked while they're in the Regroup Box.

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Jason Cawley
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Again, you are pointlessly messing with a game you simply don't understand.

The VP consequences are similar if and only if France can hold every one of the keys, but in practice it simply won't. Conquest gives 2-4 VPs, one of them the permanent resource not subject to recapture. Occupation does not.

The main issue, though, is simply that France doesn't want to face and counter the Austrian army and hand, on the map, for the following game turn. That is the benefit of conquering Austria. France doesn't want to keep giant armies stacked around Vienna wasted, to hold keys it already took. It doesn't want to use cards countering key grabs there. It wants to use its army, cards, and CPs on Prussia or Russia, or against England in Spain etc.

Also, France might well try to win over to its side an Austria that it does not render prostrate, though that depends on Austria's choices and other options.

As for Russian withdrawing, fat chance. Regroup isn't a big deal, you play one card and plop down an army wherever you want it. In fact I outright prefer to have some forces in regroup, it makes a good reserve.
 
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John Griffey
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Nothing you write persuades me. Why would the French ever want to give the Austrian army a chance to recover? Once France has gotten on top of them, just keep smashing them down. I see no reason France couldn't hold 5 Austrian Keys, including also Budapest, and leave a garrison on unflagged Vienna to smash down any Units built there. With 5 Keys held in Austria France has its Maximum Hand even if it loses Rome and one other Key randomly invaded by the Brits. And, France's forces are nicely concentrated to deal with any Austrian/Russian threats.

Regrouping Russian Units is a big deal. It would cost Kutusov's army 9 CP to get out of the Regroup Box but only 3 CP to march from Moravia back to Grodno. If there are even more Russians in Austria, it will cost them even more CP.

"Winning over" Austria? How's that? There's only one Player Power that can win this game. There is no ribbon for second place. So Austria will always be in reality an enemy, regardless of its Camp status, and will do nothing to help France win.

Attack Prussia? Not a good idea. The only sensible policy there is to keep it neutral. With France's Maximum Hand & Austria's Hand at minimum, that should be doable. Unfortunately, the game neglected to create a Queen Louise of Prussia Card to get Neutral non-Player Power Prussia into the war against France. (If it's a rare five-player game with Prussia a Player-Power then I will grant you that my strategy is less practical, and all players, including the French, will most need political guile to win, There's almost no way The Empire, starting with 8 Hand Cards and 3 Reserves, can win by beating all the other Powers, which will start with 14 Hand Cards and 5 Reserves.)

Finally, Russia could be best dealt with the same way. Instead of trying to Conquer it, reduce it to a Minimum Hand of two Cards by taking Grodno and Riga. Taking Grodno alone takes away the "Mother Russia" Reserve. Then, just keep building French Armies and run out the clock or win on the Peace Die Roll. France will have the Cards, the Preemptions, the interior lines, the better Units and the better leaders to do this.



 
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Steffan O'Sullivan
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As France, I won't conquer Austria any more. It's not worth it. I once lost a game because of it, in fact - lost all but one key in Austria due to the post-conquest die roll, and the game ended then with me behind in VP even after seriously kicking butt that whole turn. I even posted a thread on it here, hoping someone would find a rule I missed, but it just wasn't so - we played it right and I lost.

Once burned, twice shy - I'm now of the mindset that you just take everything you can in Austria except Vienna and grind on into Russia.
 
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John Griffey
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Re: Rule 15.2 CEDED DUCHIES DIE ROLL
Steffan, I don't like the die roll for ceding Duchies either. Here's a variant that is realistic:

VARIANT to Rule 15.2.
After Conquering a Power, the conqueror picks 0, 2, 4, or 6 Duchies for annexation The number of Duchies the conqueror picks determines a modifier of the Peace Die Roll in the subsequent Peace Phase:

DUCHIES TAKEN BY CONQUEROR: PEACE DIE ROLL MODIFIER
No Duchies taken: +2
1 Key Duchy: 1 non-Key Duchy taken: +1
2 Key Duchies, 2 non-Key Duchies taken: +0
3 Key Duchies, 2 non-Key Duchies taken: -1.

Mild peace terms are always conducive of a general pacification. Prince Talleyrand was France's dove, advocating mildness in the hope of firm peace. Napoleon was the hawk. If the Powers had done to France in 1815 what France did to Prussia in 1806-7, the war would certainly have continued.
 
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D Hansey
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You do gain a resource for conquering a nation and it's a victory point. So, even if you receive one Key the extra resource gives you 2 vps and nation you don't have to deal with for a turn.

You can play the game with any variants or house rules you want. Go nuts. However I think you should play the game more than a few times before changing things left and right.
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Steffan O'Sullivan
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This is game is so good I have no interest in house rules, thanks.
 
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D Hansey
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Just to add a little more...

If you have conquered Austria in the first turn, The French could have 1 vp for their resource, 1 Vp for Spain perhaps 1 vp for Denamrk 1 vp for an Austrain key assuming the worst case and 1 vp for an extra resourse. That's 4-5 victory points here and France could possible have Naples as well. I don't see where the allied player/players could be ahead here. It is certainly worth conquering Austria.
 
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Steffan O'Sullivan
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Smurfy6 wrote:
Just to add a little more...

If you have conquered Austria in the first tuirn, The French could have 1 vp for their resource, 1 Vp for Spain perhaps 1 vp for Denamrk 1 vp for an Austrain key assuming the worst case and 1 vp for an extra resourse. That's 4-5 victory points here and France could possible have Naples as well. I don't see where the allied player/players could be ahead here. It is certainly worth conquering Austria.

I'm certainly not going to play with a house rule, but here's the write up on how I won the war in Austria and lost the game:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/264999

It's very rare, but it can happen!
 
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Hey, Nappy himself beat Austria and lost the War.

And wouldn't you know, Austria reformed itself, rebuilt its army, and came out swinging again. That was in 1809 after the 1805 collapse.

Prussia followed a similar path. Beaten in 1807, and back in 1812.
 
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D Hansey
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sos1 wrote:
Smurfy6 wrote:
Just to add a little more...

If you have conquered Austria in the first tuirn, The French could have 1 vp for their resource, 1 Vp for Spain perhaps 1 vp for Denamrk 1 vp for an Austrain key assuming the worst case and 1 vp for an extra resourse. That's 4-5 victory points here and France could possible have Naples as well. I don't see where the allied player/players could be ahead here. It is certainly worth conquering Austria.

I'm certainly not going to play with a house rule, but here's the write up on how I won the war in Austria and lost the game:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/264999

It's very rare, but it can happen!


If it's a rare thing, I don't see why you would never try to conquer Austria again. If you knew that Europe Exhausted was in play, then perhaps in this case, you should have stayed out of Vienna.

Really, the odds were in your favor that conquering Austria would have put you in the lead.
 
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Neil Helmer
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The value and supposed problem of "The French conquer Austria" has come up in our games as well, and viewing the yes, disappointing, potential of losing keys (therefore VPs) from the prospect just reinforces the accurate historicity and flavour this thoughtful game produces. The idea that Napoleon would think "if I just hold all of Austria this year, the war is won" is proposterous. Occupying a nation required vast commitment of resources, and possibly losing initiative and opportunity elsewhere. Forcing peace on a nation was vastly preferable, freeing up forces and material to deal with threats or targets outside of that theatre. This did mean the sacrafice of some newly-conquered assets. Napoleon had no interest in a quick war, his empire relied on the of new victory and glory.

I definitely disagree with the idea of making it harder for a Subject Neutral player to build up and get back in the game. Once a forced peace was established, Napoleon was off to greener pastures, rather than policing its former enemy. The situation in Spain was vastly different, but i digress.

While there are a few elements in this game that narrowly miss the mark for a historian's quest for authenicity, they for the most part are admirably maintained. While my day job may make me wish a few things were slightly different in this game, the avid gamer in me is more than satisfied. I really don't think this game is 'broken' or in need of variant rules. But every group has the luxury to do what they feel is best.
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John Griffey
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James F. Dunnigan said, no game is finished, it just gets published. This game, as it is, is an almost perfect combination of playability, realism, balance, and strategic scope. It is far from "broken," and I will always praise this game and recommend it to friends.

It just needs a few tweaks. In this case, the game provides incentives for an unrealistic behavior (not making peace with Austria), and I see a way to correct the problem which simplifies the game, makes it more realistic, and provides a new strategic dilemma for players, viz.,the Table above giving modifiers to the Peace Die Roll.

People are free to disagree.
 
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Jason Cawley
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Everything you write shows a belligerent arrogant fool who doesn't understand the game. Keep spamming, it convinces no one.
 
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John Griffey
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Hrump
Mr. Cawley, you are free to criticize my ideas but please refrain from personal attacks. We are all gentlegeeks here.
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John McCoy
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I agree that France would be better off deliberately not conquering Austria, if France gains an utterly dominant position there. But that's a big if. J Griffey seems to be describing a situation in which France securely controls 4+ Austrian keys, does not control Vienna, but has Vienna effectively surrounded so Austria's interphase reinforcements are reduced to a minor distraction.

How likely is it really that France will accomplish this? In my view, not very. It's certainly possible for France to capture a bunch of Austrian keys, although its not a forgone conclusion. But its one thing to capture them and another thing for them to be secure.

So long as Austria is in the fight they are going to be devoting everything they have to regaining those keys, and even 2 cards and a reserve each turn is enough to build a respectable army. Under these circumstances, Russia would be incredibly foolish not to be devoting everything they can to Austria's assistance. Between the two of them they can field a very dangerous force in Austria, turn after turn. So France's hypothetical occupation-without-conquest of Austria will be far from easy to maintain.

I'm not saying France couldn't pull this off. But I do think it will be difficult. Difficult enough that it is far from being a clearly superior strategy for France. And difficult enough that if France chooses to pursue this strategy and succeeds then it seems reasonable to me that they should be rewarded with the substantial victory points and, more than likely ultimate victory in the game.
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John Griffey
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John, I agree with everything you say. It would be difficult to establish French control of the 5 Key Duchies around Vienna in the first place, and difficult to maintain.

While on the subject of Austria, was the controversy over "Hussars & Grenzers" ever settled? The question: if "H & G" is played as an Event on the last Austrian Impulse, does "H & G" remain in effect during the Attrition, Free Flag, and Naval Builds Phase after all Impulses have ended, thus preventing free French Flagging of French occupied Austrian Duchies?

I'm inclined to say yes, as this would make taking over Austria in the manner I've described more difficult, and reward the Austrian in a major way for not playing "H & G" for CP. If played before the last Austrian Impulse in a Turn, the "H & G" Event doesn't seem so helpful.
 
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John McCoy
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I believe the card remains in effect during the interphase if played as you describe it. But it would not prevent the free flagging of spaces occupied by the enemy. The card says that only Austrian flags can be placed in Austria by CP expenditure, enemy flags can still be placed by events, a flag overrun, or during the free flag phase.
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John Griffey
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Re: "Hussars and Grenzers"
Thanks John, you nailed it. That makes perfect sense.
 
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D Hansey
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vynd wrote:
I believe the card remains in effect during the interphase if played as you describe it. But it would not prevent the free flagging of spaces occupied by the enemy. The card says that only Austrian flags can be placed in Austria by CP expenditure, enemy flags can still be placed by events, a flag overrun, or during the free flag phase.


That's pretty much the answer I received, when I asked the question, over at consimworld,
 
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John Griffey
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Re: Hussars & Grenzers
And, presumably the H&G Event remains in effect until the next Austrian Impulse, even though the next Austrian Impulse is in the next Turn.

H&G could be played again in the new Turn. Thus, H&G could be played in back-to-back Austrian Impulses, as long as an Interphase separates the two plays of H&G.

 
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Johan Johannesson
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I certainly try to conquer Austria when I play France. In my opinion you have much to gain from a conquest. Yes, the die roll is random but given average result you still gain two keys which is fine by me and will boost you hand for the following turn. You also get a resource which is a permanent VP. But the most important thing is that you get one less enemy for a whole turn. Something that can be invaluable.

You are in the lead when it comes to VPs after conquering Austria and can move on towards Russia and England during the following turn. Sure, Austria get a bigger hand when conquered but having one less opponent for a whole turn is very valuable. I find it very hard to defend against three active enemies and keeping Austria occupied and defend against Russia, Austra and England is a daunting task to say the least. If you want to keep the offensive going I think it is important to knock an enemy out as fast as you can.
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Ken
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There's been a lot of criticism leveled already, but the analysis misses a very key point - what does conquering Austria allow France to do in the turn that Austria is out of it? Removing Austria from the war gives France a far freer hand in Italy, supporting Spain, using cards for diplomatic efforts (and each pact is a VP), building up for the next war, etc.

About the only reason I could see not to conquer Austria as France is that the Austrian and Russian armies have largely been wiped out and I don't have anything else to do. But that's fairly rare and is risky to pursue regardless - there are plenty of events to mess with France's army, and there's no guarantee that a bit of smart play and luck won't reverse the fortunes of war.

But the key reason to conquer anyone as France in this game is somewhat simple - so you can set up to conquer them again, get another resource, rinse and repeat. The free hand you get with actions on other fronts (diplomatic or military) is a larger benefit for you than your opponents, and your military advantages aren't going away. Unlike Empires in Arms, it's very hard to "win the war, lose the peace," in this game.
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Donald Everett
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Suppose victorious France flags two ceded duchies plus two already flagged associate duchies, that would leave Austria with five duchies. Under 1st Edition rules, Austria would draw two cards and have his Home Card for Turn Two--worth an average of 14CPs to rebuild his army.

2nd Edition allows Austria to draw four cards plus a card to replace his Reserve--an average of 20CPs to rebuild his army. 6CPs difference seemingly isn't enough to cause France to want to NOT conquer Austria, in most cases. And if used for troop rebuilding, this allows France's enemies to be more resilient than in 1st edition. I did see a few cases in the old days where the game continued on with Austrian and Russian reinforcements coming on in dribs and drabs then getting ground up piecemeal.

What is worrisome is that Austria actually gets to DRAW three cards more than he would under the old rules. That's three more shots at pulling a power card that could pull Prussia into the Coalition or break one of France's pacts--or worse. I'm not saying that France doesn't get adequate compensations for taking the conquest, but it isn't a no-brainer. I would be less inclined to take the conquest than in 1st edition, and I would carefully evaluate all options before deciding whether or not a particular game's circumstances made it advantageous to conquer Austria.

-Donald
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