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Subject: A Spanish masterplan rss

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Moradur de Margaud
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The Spanish tightrope-walk

This heading just about sums up everything there is to say about playing Spain in EiA. On the one hand she holds an enviable geographical position in the corner of the map, which enables her to keep out of most conflicts pretty easily. On the other hand she has to master the tightrope walk between the French and the British camp, especially early in the game. I will explain why:

Relations with France

In 1805 the Spanish army is tiny and even guerillas will not be able to save her, if France intends to crush her. The British have better things to do with their even tinier army than to support you. Even an alliance with Prussia and Austria can turn out disastrous. Antagonising France in the early game is definitely not a good idea. There is however something, which can save you until your army has grown in strength: Your formidable fleet!
So how could your fleet possibly save you from Napoleon? Easy! Most French players would like to invade Britain at some time in the game, but concentrate on the inevitable clash with Austria/Prussia in the beginning, as this decides the division of German and Italian territories. France can never hope to beat Britain on the seas alone. She will need assistance from at least one of the other navies on the board – Russia or Spain; both would be preferable.
My favourite approach goes like this: Tell the French player that you would like to help break British naval domination at some time in the game, as this will allow you to use your fleet with less restriction and that you two should talk about the details once France has built a few ships. Make it clear that if France ever attacks or bullies you, you will move into the British camp and stay there indefinitely – no chance ever of winning you back, no matter, what he will be offering. I have not met a Frenchman who showed any aggression towards Spain in the early game once this had been proposed to him. This was the beginning of your tightrope walk – let's move over to Britain.

Relations with Great Britain

Britain is your best ally as well as your worst nightmare. While France can force you to surrender by invading your country, Britain can virtually end your game by sinking your fleet - even a march to Morocco can be blocked by a tiny naval contingent. Playing Britain I have once completely destroyed the French/Dutch fleet in Brest, the Russian/Danish fleet in Copenhagen and last but not least the Spanish/Portugese fleet in Italy. I should not have done this, as the Spanish player refused to continue the game for lack of perspectives. The point I want to stress here is that the one great problem you are facing when playing Spain is that you can't do anything sensible any more once your fleet lies at the bottom of the seas. So you have got to be friendly to Britain no matter what.
Be nice to her, state that you have no intention to assist the French in bringing Britain to her knees – pure folly, so to say, as the British army is the only assistance you could hope for once France decides to invade your country. The British could easily limit your expansion to Portugal if they wanted to, but most British players fear a Franco-Spanish alliance, so you will be able to elbow your way to getting the western Med for yourself.

And the rest...

Well, once you have mastered the tightrope between France and Britain, the rest is pretty obvious. I prefer a DoW against Turkey in December 04 to save the PPs. War with Turkey is inevitable anyway, as your plans of African expansion would be severely limited, if you avoided a conflict with the Sultan. As long as you refrain from attacking Egypt, he cannot do anything against you, as you possess a superior fleet. Let him conquer any African territory he likes – taking them from him saves the PPs for declaring war on them as neutral states.
Russia is a different matter. Although a Russian setup in Corfu doesn't make any real sense, there are quite a few Russian players who try this. As you cannot calculate the amount of ships Russia is going to put into the Med before the actual setup, be cautious and nice to her until the Turkish fleet has been sunk. An all-out Russo-Turkish naval alliance in the Med could really ruin your day (although it does not really make any sense – I have never seen one).
Keep friendly relations to Austria and Prussia; they are your best guarantee of safety in the early stages, as they keep the French eyes off you. Austria can be crucial once you develop Italian ambitions – but in the beginning none can foresee whether you will be conquering Italian provinces with or from Austria.

Expansion

I have seen Spanish players attacking Morocco, Tunis and Portugal in January 05. While this may work, in my mind it means high risk and much too high a profile. I prefer to start with conquering Portugal and Sardinia (if you don't take Sardinia right at the start, Britain will snatch it). From there take your time conquering Morocco, Algeria and Tunis at a rate of a province per quarter. Remember you are a weakling – keeping a low profile and not attracting attention to yourself is a sensible way to start. State that you intend to create a “mare nostrum” in the western Med – anyone will understand and (hopefully) nobody will mind.

Africa

You should start the game with a pre-DoW against Turkey. This greatly increases your flexibility in dealing with Africa. Never you mind if Turkey sets off to Tunis in January 05 – just liberate it once you are ready to. It is impossible for the Turks to hold on to any African territory except for Egypt as your navy will be able to beat theirs anytime and anywhere. Any African territory in Turkish hands will save you one PP for the declaration of war. The only important African issue is: How far can you go without enraging Great Britain? In my mind leaving Tripolitania and Cyreneica to the British is a sensible option, as this will calm them down and secure your position of the much more lucrative western territories.

Italy

Italy is a completely different matter, which you can turn your attention to from January 06. You cannot really accomplish much there against either France or Austria if you face them alone, but there is any chance of getting Naples and perhaps Papacy, if allying with the one against the other. Just keep your eyes open and wait for an opportunity – in my experience it will come sooner or later.

Defending your country

Any time from 1806 it may be possible that France has finished Prussia and Austria and needs another victim in order to get PPs. But what is there to be gained by France, if you deny them battles? 3PP lost in DoW, no provinces to conquer, 5PP won (if at all) by unconditional surrender, loads of French soldiers starved because of Guerillas. Is this really worth it? Applying the diplomacy described above and pointing this out to the French player I am confident, that France will think twice about attacking you – but one never knows.
If the Cosian ogre really attacks, call the British for help. Alone, Spain can field 70-80.000 troops under Castanos – under Wellington this could well be 110-120.000 with quite a good morale owing to the British troops. Retreat and wait; let yourself be attacked in the mountains north of Madrid or retreat even further if your political status allows. Let the guerillas do their work...

Attacking Britain

There may come a time when France gets the notion of breaking British naval dominance. Think about it twice (or even more often)! Desirable as it may be, this is the most risky business you could find yourself in. Maybe it is best to slow France down in this venture. Demand that she builds more ships first, point out that without Russian help this will be next to impossible and if this does not deter France from proceeding – trust in god!

One word of caution

As I already mentioned, the worst, that could ever happen to you, is losing your fleet. ALWAYS be on your guard! The British may be allied to you, but they can always be counted on to jump at any opportunity they get to destroy one of the three large fleets they are facing. Placing your ships in a harbour without guns is like sending an invitation to London. Keep them in Cadiz, when in Spain or in any harbour further than seven sea areas from the harbour where the bulk of the Royal navy is stationed (usually the Brest blockade box) and you're safe. Keep Cadiz garrisoned in particular, as it might be attacked from Gibraltar if weakly defended.

Resume

Spain is a country perfectly suited for players who like to take the initiative at their time of choosing and do not mind sitting and waiting until an opportunity presents itself. If you need to be in conflict in order to have fun – choose another country.
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mike frey
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My opening move with Spain was to declare war on Portugal,Morocco,Algeria,Tunisia,Naples(ans Sicily).Who can stop U?. I threatn Russian and Turkey with my fleet,and kiss France"s behind.Then i lay low and build both fleets and armies.I then free Portugal and Naples after 1 year and build there fleets too.then Spain is in a good position to mess with the big boys and really can mess with Turkey in the Med.I figured this strategy back in 1989 by first playing Turkey when i was terrified of large fleets in the eastern Med
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Moradur de Margaud
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Well, building the Portugese and Neapolitanian fleets as well as a lot of Spanish ships isn't the problem. The problem is getting into a position that allows you to do so...

You will most certainly encounter "lapses of war" when declaring war on five minors at once. I won't say that attacking each country with only 5 or so Infantry while forageing after disembarkation (in winter) is impossible - but it's lunacy (and attracting quite a bit of unwanted attention).

Do it at a pace of a minor per quarter and you'll be getting there in the end without trouble and risk.
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Sergio Sergio
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I agree it's dangerous to DOW so many minors at once.

I personally prefer to DOW at first some Italian minors, for example, Papacy and Napples at january 1805. Rome is easly conquered if not controlled by the same Major Power who controls the Kingdom of 2 Sicilies. Rome should be a good supply source for the spanish besiegers at Napples. After that, Morroco, Algeria, Tunisia and Portugal should easly fall on Bourbons hands (Italy is a dangerous and desired place so the first you are the better you got it).
Of course, this works if there's a Turkish agreement about Tunisia.
If Turkey seems reluctant to a such agreement, fleets should be used to conquer Tunisia instead of Napples. Tunisia and Portugal should then be the primary goals.
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Michael Akinde
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A Spain that gets Morocco, Tunis, Algeria, Sardinia, and Portugal should be happy.

Napoli? Romagna? Stupid, stupid, stupid. You should never place yourself in a position where you have lands you can't defend. Granted - it is almost impossible to defend against France or Great Britain, but that is what diplomacy is for. An Italian adventure, however, is simply asking for conflict with Russia and Austria - conflict which is completely unnecessary.

Sicily is the only Italian province you should ever consider getting in the start. Everything else is just something that will waste your forces and your money.

Save your forces and your money... and build up quietly for the inevitable clash that will eventually come with either France or Great Britain. Leave the Turk alone, unless he is being unreasonable.

Eventually someone WILL attack you; simply because you are capable of winning the game by doing nothing if they don't. How much better to be attacked in a position of strength, with a compact empire, than having to defend a sprawling set of minor nations that you have gotten by alienating all your potential allies.

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mike frey
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it is very easy to take all 5 minors in 2-3 months.Spain starts with 48 str ponts Castanos with 10 to Naples...Blake with 10 to Portugal ..the 9 a piece to the African minors(1 morale troops).
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Jason Johns
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IMO, the only reason that Spain is a major power is it's fleet. Once it's lost that edge, it is the biggest minor power. I would NEVER have my whole fleet out of a fully stacked Cadiz.

The problem with the big Spanish land grab is the Brits. In the beginning they have no army but a ton of ships. They should be looking for almost any chance to destroy or seriously maim any navy. Sailing out the Spanish fleet like this is suicide with the psycho British players I've had in my 5 or 6 games.

Besides, why would Britain "let you" have Sicily? Portugal may be a given as is Morocco and later Algeria. I do take Sardinia early also, but do it with a small force.

I mostly agree with the first poster. Balance is the key for Spain. Also, restraint. I also usually work to get money from both Britain and France, telling Brit that I'm building Cav to help out against France and telling France that I'm building ships to help out against Britain. You can do this for a while, until one of them attacks you.

(The one thing I disagree with is Spain destroyoing ANYONE's fleets. The more fleets out there, the more Britain sweats with more targets. One game we had the Spanish, Russians, French, Swedes all against the English. Gah, we barely made it... but we did.)

Finally, it can be somewhat boring (I don't think so), but you can economically manipulate your way to victory... as I have ... whistle

Don't get me wrong. Spain is my second favorite country to play, after Russia. But it is a tough one to do well.
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Warren Bruhn
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Spain is an intriguing position, particularly if you like ships. However, there is hardly any alternative land play if your fleets get sunk. Take the ferry to Morocco or attack or support France by marching in there. The eastern powers have more options for overland marching and fighting.

I think maintaining a low profile is very important. Having multiple minor country corps is not really useful unless you are bent on conquering the continent, as France should be. Spain should not be trying to conquer the world. I have seen Prussia and Spain make slick moves that got them a lot of minor corps and fleets, and all that accomplished was to attract everybody's attention. It led to serious whoopings. They could have been on their way to high VP totals instead.

Getting land and minor corps is what players really want to do. High VP totals don't make anybody look like success. It's a big territory and lots of corps that makes somebody look like a success. In some ways those Prussian and Spanish players could clain a different king of victory. They had the big fish story to tell later about how big their empire actually got during the game before they lost it.

One of the old strategy articles recommended not utterly destroying an enemy, because there would not be VP left to gain during the next war because the defeated would be too weak to put up a fight. Also, the defeated would be too much a prey to others. I think one can extend that suggestion to Britain being a madman about destroying all the other fleets.

A lot of this game is ego and revenge. It's probably better not to utterly destroy Russian and Spanish and Turkish navies. As long as those navies exist those countries might find better things to do against each other rather than attack Britain. Another pitch one can make to Britain is to leave some Spanish navy for pride's sake, and also so that Spain has something to do other than providing armies to support the French.

Spain doesn't just need to worry about the British fleet. Spain can be hit hard by Russia too. Some Russian players feel it is essential to support Britain, and might attack Spain to keep Britain from getting crushed.

I would recommend not getting too greedy. Take either Naples or Portugal, but not both. Other powers might not be too offended by Spain having one minor country with corps and a fleet, but won't want to see Spain with both.

There are times when Spain can take and hold Naples and the Papacy, if the French feel the need to buy Spain off for a while, or the need to fatten Spain up for a later slaughter. France might not mind seeing Spain hold these if Spain is using the Pope's money and Naples to build ships. This obviously depends on Austria, Russia, Turkey, and the almighty arbiter Great Britain. However, sometimes the other powers are too busy elsewhere to care about those morale 2 corps. From a role playing perspective, it makes sense for Spain to go after Naples and the Papacy.

Portugal is obviously safer. In fact, it may be dangerous to let Britain have Portugal, as this tips Spain's hand as being in the British camp. That may really piss off France. And France is the one power that can make sure Spain loses PP.

I think it should be against the rules for powers other than Turkey to use North African manpower, but still agree that Spain could take one or two North African states without conflict with Turkey, particularly if not involved in Italy. Main thing is not to look too big.
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i like many of your ideas. I was thinking of playing spain since i like playing countries where you play low. I play turkey as my main power. I know that sounds weird and you ask how i can have fun but i do. Actually i WONsurprisewith turkey. As turkey i had russia and spain as an ally. I don't see why spain has to declare war with turkey before the game even starts. I'm asking anyone who is out there if they would accept this deal (In my game they did). I'm allied with russia and she says that she will back me up in a war against you. I will not attack you and stay out of africa beside eygpt. I lose 10 VPs every turn that i don't declare the ottoman (I need Africa). So to make up for that give me Sicily. I would see if that would be accepted by any of you guys. I still can't see how it is in the benefit to DoW on turkey before the start of the game.
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I've seen crazy things done by spain. In the new game I'm in Spain allied with me(I'm Turkey). The left Africa to me. Even went as far as to declare war on Morroco, Algeria, and Tunisia (So they became my free states). I was able to declare the Ottoman Empire and all is well. Spain has taken Naples and Portugal. It has also built a huge navy one that rivals England and Spain has never been invaded. I still don't see how come Turkey and Spain can't get along and both be happy in your guy's mind.
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Michael Akinde
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See my post above.

I completely agree. If Turkey is reasonable (to me, as Spain, that would be a Turkey that realizes its limitations and stay out of "my" African territory), then I don't see why we can't be friends.

Going to war with Turkey for PP may seem attractive, but all that really does is paint a big red target on your back for France or Great Britain. Keeping a low profile is the most likely route to success for Spain. Ideally you want everyone else fighting each other, while you bank your 8 VP per interphase.
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Jason Johns
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Strategy wrote:
See my post above.

I completely agree. If Turkey is reasonable (to me, as Spain, that would be a Turkey that realizes its limitations and stay out of "my" African territory), then I don't see why we can't be friends.

Going to war with Turkey for PP may seem attractive, but all that really does is paint a big red target on your back for France or Great Britain. Keeping a low profile is the most likely route to success for Spain. Ideally you want everyone else fighting each other, while you bank your 8 VP per interphase.


I concur completely. A big spain is the result of poor English/French play or luck. (And I have won as Spain!) A navy the size of England's??? Seems highly suspicious to me and once again poor English play or MASSIVE French help.
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iamspamus wrote:
Strategy wrote:
See my post above.

I completely agree. If Turkey is reasonable (to me, as Spain, that would be a Turkey that realizes its limitations and stay out of "my" African territory), then I don't see why we can't be friends.

Going to war with Turkey for PP may seem attractive, but all that really does is paint a big red target on your back for France or Great Britain. Keeping a low profile is the most likely route to success for Spain. Ideally you want everyone else fighting each other, while you bank your 8 VP per interphase.


I concur completely. A big spain is the result of poor English/French play or luck. (And I have won as Spain!) A navy the size of England's??? Seems highly suspicious to me and once again poor English play or MASSIVE French help.





Massive French help was the main reason but also Spain never had to worry about Turkey. Spain could just build ships without having to build much of anything else. They were also able to snatch up some providences like Naples and Portugal. Later I (Turkey) cede him over Morroco, Algeria, and Tunisia. He was able to create a large navy and get many providences. Yes he had to wait a long time to get them as well as lose a descent amount of PPs but now he is extremely strong. I would consisder this deal reasonable. Now I see why not all people would take this. Spain can take Morroco, and Algeria by herself, and there is no promise that Turkey will do as it says. So I'm not saying that Spain would be a fool not to take this deal but the up side is fantastic IF Turkey follows through. But you can't tell me you wouldn't take this deal if you totally trusted Turkey.
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Michael Akinde
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Check my post - I am a big supporter of a Spanish-Turkish understanding. As I said, I can see very little reason for conflict, and even if Turkey is not trustworthy, why should Spain care? 1-on-1, Spain will beat Turkey if it comes to a fight.

Jason is right, though. If Spain has built a huge fleet, though, that suggests that the British have been playing rather poorly. For the British, a major Spanish ship building program is tantamount to a declaration of war. If the British had reacted as they should, they would have immediately blockaded the Spanish fleet and then taken Sicily (and Naples, unless the French maintain a garrison there). GB can easily out-build Spain + Portugal if they need to.

Sounds like a fail in EiA diplomacy 101 for GB (though, of course, player personalities play a significant role. Not everyone can be reasoned with cry ).
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Michael Akinde
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uggla6 wrote:
So I'm not saying that Spain would be a fool not to take this deal but the up side is fantastic IF Turkey follows through. But you can't tell me you wouldn't take this deal if you totally trusted Turkey.


Comment on the specific case: I've actually played in a game where I received a similar offer. I absolutely trusted the Turkish player - and I still turned the offer down.

Fact: a "strong" Spain is an illusion. Spain is only as strong as its allies - and those allies are not interested in having you win (at least not if they are playing to win themselves).

A Spain that has spent a huge amount of money on its fleet does not have a strong army - in other words, if Spain looks to be winning, the French will shortly be marching their Corps into Madrid. A Spain that has spent a huge amount of money on its army still does not have a strong army. The French can still march their Corps into Madrid if they feel like it. Now - I'd certainly build up my garrisons, Corps and even a few ships (if GB will allow), but always keeping in mind that any security these afford are but an illusion.

IMO, a Spain that is flexing its muscles is handicapping its most powerful force - diplomacy.
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Jason Johns
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Well stated. Diplomacy (and economic manipulation ) is the key to Spanish victory. I tended to build a couple of ships "to just fill out my fleet counters" and a couple of cav to do the same. I got money from both Britain and France (for a while).

The second turn that Spain builds a lot of ships, Britain starts looking to dow. If that fleet sails, it's gone. Also, as Britain I "claim" all or most of the fleet producing places: Naples (or rather Sicily), Denmark and/or Sweden (giving one to the Russian to keep him friendly) and Portugal, unless the Spanish is willing to talk. Then he gets that.

If Spain claims Sardinia, Morocco and maybe some Italian state; well that's OK. I can always take them at some other time.

In addition, AT SOME TIME France will be at peace with the Germans and with nothing else to do, will turn his greedy eyes up the VP cow that is Spain. No amount of building will stop that. This is where you NEED a strong ally willing to work. Either get with the German states and help out in the war or get England to help defend you or fight France alone. Which usually involves insta-surrender or long drawn out surrender. surprise

I guess that's my point. Spain can beat Turkey navally, but only if Britain allows it. From Britain's point of view, they want other navies to fight, then they get to clean up the mess. France needs so many points, that they will come knocking at some time. Spain's best bet is a strong alliance or a quick surrender.
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In our game England was so tied up with France none of her threats were scary. I as Turkey was threaten by her to destroy my fleet. But she was so tied up with France that she could only send 1 fleet and I was able to destroy that. England in our game has no control over Africa or the Med. Although she still is powerful. So when Spain went to take Naples, and Portugal, England couldn't do a thing. It's so bad that even Denmark is controled by Austria. Finland by Russia. Sweden by France, and I (Turkey) control Norway. England is letting things happen. I'm not saying that the Brittish player is doing well but he is winning. The game is messed up. none of us care about history. England, Turkey and Austria and attacking Russia and Prussia. Spain and France are fight England at the seas. It is a messed up game but it is still fun. But Spain is actually powerful and it is not an illusion. All of her fleets are filled (including Portugal's and Naple's). She has a lot of MP and $ from Africa and France is her ally. You can't tell me that Spain isn't strong or atleast for Spain's position. All because she trusted me, Turkey.
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Strategy wrote:
Check my post - I am a big supporter of a Spanish-Turkish understanding. As I said, I can see very little reason for conflict, and even if Turkey is not trustworthy, why should Spain care? 1-on-1, Spain will beat Turkey if it comes to a fight.

Jason is right, though. If Spain has built a huge fleet, though, that suggests that the British have been playing rather poorly. For the British, a major Spanish ship building program is tantamount to a declaration of war. If the British had reacted as they should, they would have immediately blockaded the Spanish fleet and then taken Sicily (and Naples, unless the French maintain a garrison there). GB can easily out-build Spain + Portugal if they need to.

Sounds like a fail in EiA diplomacy 101 for GB (though, of course, player personalities play a significant role. Not everyone can be reasoned with cry ).


GB is still winning in the PP and VP standings. But yes they are allowing a lot of things to happen.
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Michael Akinde
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Sounds like the English player has royally screwed up. For England to be defeated in a naval battle by Turkey... oh man. He should be keelhauled for that.

No, I'm not saying that Spain in that position isn't strong (though obviously, the only reason Spain is strong is because England has been playing very poorly - France and Spain alone cannot tie up the entire British fleet) - but she won't win the game this way, unless the French player is also incompetent.

uggla6 wrote:
I'm not saying that the British player is doing well but he is winning.


I have difficulty understanding how that is possible.

Though you can console your English player that his game is not (yet) as messed up as that of the English player in the last game I played. That game had the French player invade and take London not once but twice during the game before 1808. The second time, I - as the Spanish - declared war on GB and got in on an unconditional British surrender (the GB player had been making threatening noises beforehand, so it was now or never to get that 36 months of peace). Good times.

uggla6 wrote:
You can't tell me that Spain isn't strong or atleast for Spain's position. All because she trusted me, Turkey.


What happens to Spain when the war with GB is over and France decides its needs some additional political points? whistle
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Strategy wrote:
Sounds like the English player has royally screwed up. For England to be defeated in a naval battle by Turkey... oh man. He should be keelhauled for that.

No, I'm not saying that Spain in that position isn't strong (though obviously, the only reason Spain is strong is because England has been playing very poorly - France and Spain alone cannot tie up the entire British fleet) - but she won't win the game this way, unless the French player is also incompetent.

uggla6 wrote:
I'm not saying that the British player is doing well but he is winning.


I have difficulty understanding how that is possible.

Though you can console your English player that his game is not (yet) as messed up as that of the English player in the last game I played. That game had the French player invade and take London not once but twice during the game before 1808. The second time, I - as the Spanish - declared war on GB and got in on an unconditional British surrender (the GB player had been making threatening noises beforehand, so it was now or never to get that 36 months of peace). Good times.

uggla6 wrote:
You can't tell me that Spain isn't strong or atleast for Spain's position. All because she trusted me, Turkey.


What happens to Spain when the war with GB is over and France decides its needs some additional political points? whistle




Well first you can get alot of PPs with naval vicories. France was getting pounded at sea. They both lost simular amouts of ships but France always lost a couple more and England got the PPs. Thats why France in the instable zone. Also how is it hard to beleive that a Turkish fleet of what 20 something beat ONE fleet of Englands. I think that France will turn to Prussia before Spain. Especially with the help from spain with England and the future help that she will bring.
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Michael Akinde
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uggla6 wrote:
Well first you can get alot of PPs with naval vicories. France was getting pounded at sea. They both lost simular amouts of ships but France always lost a couple more and England got the PPs. Thats why France in the instable zone.


Ah - so obviously neither France or GB are any good (AI players?). Well, that explains a lot - lot's of people seem to think EiA is a game about war, when in fact it is a game of economy and diplomacy.

A France that engages in naval attrition warfare with GB has completely missed the boat.

Quote:
Also how is it hard to beleive that a Turkish fleet of what 20 something beat ONE fleet of Englands.


You didn't say you just beat it - you said you destroyed it. And quite frankly, you should not even have gotten the chance to beat it. The British control, 100%, the sequence of events at sea as they determine in which order they will move every turn - in short, they should determine where and when battles occur. They never need to enter a naval battle that they have any significant chance of loosing except to defend the Channel.

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I think that France will turn to Prussia before Spain. Especially with the help from spain with England and the future help that she will bring.


And what about after Prussia?

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Warren Bruhn
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This is a great topic, one worth revisiting because Spain is in one of the most interesting positions.

You might get a player for France that has actually read a lot about the Napoleonic Wars, who might think that invading Spain was Napoleon's worst mistake. The player might enter the game with no intention of ever invading Spain. I invaded Spain once when I was playing France, and I found it to be a major pain in the derriere. It takes a lot of corps and depots to set up a supply line through the guerillas, and a lot of corps to beat down the Spanish armies and besiege all the Spanish cities. I probably could have pulled it off if the Prussians hadn't marched a huge army up to the Rhine. But the Prussians did, and I failed in Spain.

Besides needing help from the huge Spanish navy, the French would also love to have the help of two or three Spanish corps. Spain could stack a couple of corps with a French army and hope to score +PP against Austria, Prussia, and Russia, while using another corps for seiges and supply line protection. Spanish corps work better for the French than any minor corps other than Lombardy or Poland. The Spanish corps are bigger than the 3 morale corps, and are higher morale than the big 2 morale corps. Spain could play for a while as a French puppet, and make some serious gains.

I don't know why anybody thinks that Britain can push Spain around early in the game. Britain's army is barely big enough to defend London. Any British player who gets that small army scattered out trying to grab minors in the early game is risking the loss of London to the French or Russians or Spanish. In the 1805 campaign, Wellington does not come in for the first year, and Britain doesn't even have a general to post on corps at London. And in the 1792 campaign game British leadership is worse, and the starting army is even smaller.

With regard to fleets, the British fleets should be stretched to the limit in the early game just keeping the French and Dutch fleets blockaded. With the Swedish, Danish, Portuguese, and Neapolitan fleets popping into play as nations DoW on these minors, with some of them going into the control of France, or possibly hostile Spain or Russia, Britain has more than enough for its fleet to do. Why look for opportunities to DoW on Spain in order to attack the Spanish fleet when the British fleet is stretched so thin? If Britain did this, then whose fleet would be blockading the French and Dutch? Would the Russians take $70 or $80 in payment to blockade the French so that Britain could go hunting for Spanish ships? Really? Any competent French player will have a couple or three French corps on fleets ready to hit England at the first weakening of the blockade. Britain cannot afford to increase the number of enemies with big fleets by doing DoW on them. That seems like suicide to me. Britain would need to be playing against complete imbeciles.

On the other hand, it can be pretty nice for Spain to have a cozy relationship with Britain. Both Britain and Britain's allies could land corps in Spain to help defend agains a French invasion. Spain is certainly better off economically if it is not at war with Britain, is trading with Britain, and is collecting it's gold convoy every fall. Also, with Britain, Spain may be less of a junior partner in the relationship than Spain is with France. While Britain is certainly stronger in many ways, the power of France dwarfs that of Spain. However, if Spain clearly favors Britain, then a French army in Madrid would more than offset the benefits British trade. If, for example, Spain let Britain take Portugal, France would be trampling on Spain to get at Portugal in order to prevent Britain from having another high morale infantry corps.

Indeed, it is a tightrope walk. One of the real challenges available when playing EiA.
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update:

Russia won that game obviously because she sat back just kicked butt.
 
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Jason Johns
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Warren Bruhn wrote:

I don't know why anybody thinks that Britain can push Spain around early in the game. Britain's army is barely big enough to defend London. Any British player who gets that small army scattered out trying to grab minors in the early game is risking the loss of London to the French or Russians or Spanish. In the 1805 campaign, Wellington does not come in for the first year, and Britain doesn't even have a general to post on corps at London. And in the 1792 campaign game British leadership is worse, and the starting army is even smaller.


I think because the value of catching a hostile or not-friendly set of fleets would be a high risk / high reward proposition for Britain. If the Spanish are wiped out (due to sailing out or even after some conflict with Turkey as suggested elsewhere) then there may be a short term loss of sea control, but such a long term gain in the lack of that second navy allied to the French. This is all the more better if GB can also put Russia in it's pocket.
 
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