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Subject: Diplomacy commentary - BGG-05-2 rss

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Rod Spade
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Commentary on game BGG-05-2 Spring 1901 movement:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geekjournal.php3?action=viewcom...

Comments in italics are from "The Library of Diplomacy Openings".


Turkey

Con - Bul: OK
Smy - Con: OK
Ank - Bla: Bounce with Sev;

BALKAN CONCENTRATION
Named by Manus Hand, this opening sends all the Turkish units toward the center-rich Balkans. Especially if the fleet move succeeds, Turkey has a nice position for fall, able to exert pressure on Serbia, Greece, and Rumania while defending his Bulgaria acquisition.

Turkey can employ this opening when she is unsure of Russia but does not want to move to Armenia. It may be that she has at least a neutrality pact with Russia which includes a pre-arranged stand-off in the Black Sea. Among other things, this can be used to deceive players in believing Russia and Turkey are at war, even though they are allied.


I will guess that the bounce in the Black Sea was arranged.

The weakness of this opening is that it limits Turkey's options regarding the Med. Bouncing in Bla is a good move, but if you if then want to move the fleet to Con in the Fall, the army must move to either Bul or Smy. Con-Bul is far from certain to succeed, and Con-Smy leaves you unable to build a fleet on the Med. My personal preference is to move Smy somewhere other than Con when bouncing in the Black Sea.


Russia

StP - Bot: OK
Sev - Bla: Bounce with Ank;
Mos - Ukr: OK
War - Gal: Bounce with Vie;

UKRAINE SYSTEM
Richard Sharp's name for any Russian opening involving the moves F StP/sc-Fin/BOT, A Mos-Ukr. There are five named variations:

1. the Austrian Attack (A War-Gal, F Sev-Rum)
2. the Livonia Variation (A War-Lvn)
3. the German Attack Variation (A War-Sil)
4. the Southern Defence (A War-Gal, F Sev-BLA)
5. the Southern Houseboat Variation (A War-Gal, F Sev H)

[HOP, STEP, AND JUMP OPENING]
Named by Iain Forsyth, this Austro-Russian opening sends Budapest to Rumania, followed in the fall by a Russian convoy of A Rum-Ank. The Warsaw army is sent to Galicia as Springtime camouflage.

[BLACK SEA EXCHANGE]
Aron Ambrosiani's name for the southern system follow-up which allows an R/T alliance to get both fleets into the Mediterarnean.

In Spring 1901, Russia opens F Sev-Bla, while Turkey opens the hedgehog. In fall 1901, Bla moves to Con, Arm to Sev and Con to Aegean Sea, and the Turkish A Bul can help a Russian army into Rumania.

The really hard thing with this variant is to the amount of trust it requires. The Fall moves are vital, since both countries move unsupported into each other's centers.


How much Austria or Turkey objects to this opening depends on which bounces were arranged. If both bounces (Gal and Bla) were arranged, this is a nice defensive opening that gives Russia leverage against Rum.

However, Russia must now choose either Austria or Turkey as an ally. He can be denied Rum if A/T conspire against him. An anti-Austrian continuation is Sev S Ukr-Rum, War-Gal, giving R/T leverage against Ser. An anti-Turkish continuation is Ukr S Sev-Rum, followed by a fleet build in Sev.


Italy

Ven - Pie: Bounce with Mar;
Rom - Apu: OK
Nap - Ion: OK

LEPANTO, SWISS VARIATION
The Swiss Lepanto, named by Manus Hand, often unnnecessarily antagonizes France. It can be used, however, if there is an Anglo-French alliance for sure and Italy wants to help Germany.

[ILLYRIAN OPENING]
A Spring 1902 continuation of the Lepanto that sends F ION-ADR, F Nap-ION, and A Ven-Tri. Even if A Ven-Tri fails, Fall 1902 provides the choice of either F ADR S Ven-Tri with F ION C Tun-Alb, the less aggressive A Ven S Tun-ION-ADR-Tri, or the primarily positional F ADR S F ION C Tun-Alb (if Tri looks too secure). The point here is that a Lepanto start in 1901 does not preclude an attack on Austria as early as Spring of 1902.

[PANTHER]
This Fall Austro-Italo-German continuation of the Swiss Lepanto Opening was named by Dan Abbott after Kaiser Wilhelm II's sending the German gunboat Panther to Africa in 1911. The opening presents a combined front by the Central Powers (A/G/I) in an attempt to guarantee control of Africa and the Gibraltar block by controlling the Mediterranean. To do this, the rival Mediterranean powers (France and Turkey) must be taught a lesson.

In Spring, Austria opens to pressure the Ionian, while Germany opens to Burgundy and Holland. The pure Panther sees occupation of Serbia and Kiel in Spring 1901, but other variations are possible, which also put pressure on Russia.

In Fall, the Italian army in Apulia is convoyed to Albania by the Austrian fleet, while Italy takes Tunis, and both Germany and Italy continue to harass France in Marseilles, Burgundy, and Belgium. While France is occupied by pressure on his entire eastern border, Turkey sees two hostile fleets coming at him. The remaining two powers, England and Russia, should be pleased by the opening. Russia is able to not only get in on the Turkish party but also appeased by Germany's lack of Scandinavian force. England is also satisfied with the Scandinavian lines and can help out with France.

[BLUE WATER LEPANTO]
Manus Hand's Fall 1901 continuation of the traditional Lepanto has the Italian covering a threatened Venice and feeling forced to take Tunis with the Ionian fleet. The Austrian (who opened to the Adriatic) sails to the vacated Ionian to be dislodged by F Nap and F Tun, retreating eastward to form part of the convoy chain that carries the Italian army to Anatolia. Described in an article in The Pouch Zine by Manus Hand and in a follow-up article by Derek Pillie.


A "Lepanto" opening, which may be a good option given Turkey's abandonment of the Med and the progress of Austria's fleet.

The move to Pie may be part of a E/G/I conspiracy against France. However, Italy's fleet move to Ion shows that he is not committed to a full-out attack against France. Perhaps he hoped to have German support (from Bur) for Pie-Mar in the Fall. Or perhaps the bounce in Pie was arranged with France as a "defensive" measure - or perhaps he ratted out the alliance to France.


Germany

Kie - Den: OK
Ber - Kie: OK
Mun - Bur: Bounce with Par;

ANSCHLUSS OPENING
Richard Sharp's strategic notion that Germany should, in the early game, strive to keep Austria strong to reduce both powers vulnerability as central (and surrounded) powers. Although they take their name from the annexation of Austria by Nazi-Germany in March 1938, Anschluss alliances are generally regarded as essentially pro-Austrian, with Germany using diplomatic leverage to discourage other powers -- in particularly Russia (with the threat of standing him out of Sweden in 1901) -- from attacking his ally. Tactically, Anschluss openings entail F Kie-Den and A Ber-Kie. Munich either HOLDs or stands off in Burgundy or Tyrolia (the pure Anschluss), or even enters Tyrolia or Bohemia, with Italy told that this unit will aid Austria if Italy attacks. The advantage for Germany is that it is statistically evident that Germany is far less likely to win if Austria is eliminated early in the game. There are three variants:

* Sudetenland Variant (A Mun-Boh);
* Tyrolean Variant (A Mun-Tyr);
* Silesia Variant (A Mun-Sil).

The pure Anschluss is Germany's fourth most common opening. Unless a standoff in Burgundy occurs, it bespeaks an aggressive German player almost certainly allied with England. A standoff is more ambiguous, but may be Germany's attempt to head off a France-England-Russian blitz.

(Notice that the opening using Mun-Ruh is not considered an Anschluss opening. Rather, this is the Danish Blitzkreig, the most popular German opening.)


The move to Bur is clearly anti-French, unless the bounce was arranged with France. The moves to Den and Kie are quite common, giving Germany access to both Swe and Hol. Germany gets to decide whether Russia gets Swe this year. His decision depends on many factors.


France

Bre - MAt: OK
Par - Bur: Bounce with Mun;
Mar - Pie: Bounce with Ven;

ATLANTIC OPENING, PIEDMONT SYSTEM
Any Atlantic Opening sending Marseilles to Piedmont. A standoff in Piedmont may be arranged, which can be of great value to France, as it permits him to take Spain without having to guess the intentions of any Italian army. The standoff also provides Italy with good camouflage if he intends to make a grab for Trieste in Fall of 1901. Otherwise, entry into Piedmont by France is more likely to be a back door attack on Germany than an attack on Italy. (See the German Northern Tier Alliance Opening.)

About the standard Piedmont System opening (A Par-Gas), the Gamer's Guide to Diplomacy says, "this attack on Italy can sometimes yield stunning results. The fall orders can include A Pie-Ven or Tus. The latter is actually a little better because in 1902 the army threatens two Italian centers. This sequence presumes a three-way Western alliance and England/Germany are attacking Russia."


If France is facing a three-way alliance against him, the bounces in Bur and Pie have increased his chances substantially. I would not expect Italian aggression against France, but he may be facing a E/G alliance.

France does have a difficult decision to make: If he uses MAO/Mar to take Por/Spa, Par must choose between protecting Bre and Bur.

Diplomatically, France must convince Germany that he will gain more from going after England than from attacking France.


England

Lon - Eng: OK
Edi - Nth: OK
Liv - Yor: OK

SOUTHERN OPENING
Richard Sharp's name for the opening F Lon-ENG, F Edi-NTH. There are three named variations:

* the Edinburgh variation,
* the Welsh Opening, and
* the Yorkshire Opening.

[ATLANTIC BIND]
In this Fall 1901 continuation of a Southern opening, England sends the Channel fleet into the Mid-Atlantic Ocean while convoying to Norway. England passes up the slim chance of Brest in exchange for the forward position. (The MAO is much harder for England to take once France builds a second fleet.) If expelled from MAO, the English fleet can move to the Western Mediterranean, threatening Spain, Tunis, and the Gulf of Lyon.


This opening is clearly anti-French. Generally, a stronger anti-French opening is Lvp-Wal, giving the option of a convoy to Bre or Pic while Nth takes Nwy. However, in this case, moving to Yor allows a convoy to Bel via Nth. This is an attractive option, given that Bel is uncontested and Russia does not have any forces adjacent to Nwy (though he could potentially build in StP at the end of the year).

If England has an alliance with Germany, a strong continuation is Den-Swe (protecting Nwy for England to take later), Nth C Yor-Bel, and either Eng-Bre or Eng-MAO, depending on what England thinks France will do.


Austria

Vie - Gal: Bounce with War;
Tri - Alb: OK
Bud - Ser: OK

BALKAN GAMBIT, GALICIAN VARIATION
The Balkan Gambit with A Vie-Gal. The opening defends against Russian entry into Galicia, and when the Austrian succeeds in taking Galicia, he has two units on Rumania plus the threat to Warsaw -- which may well distract a Ukraine army away from Rumania. On the down side, this opening risks the loss of Trieste. But if the move to Galicia fails, Austria has shielded two home centres from attack, and is in a decent position to limit further mischief from any Italian army that does get into Trieste.

The Gamer's Guide to Diplomacy notes that, "here the object of distrust is Russia. If Turkey is friendly (F Alb-Gre) may still succeed. Austria thus has the possibility of 3 builds. The Fall 1901 move A Gal-Ukr is also made possible." This provides a devastating position for 1902.

[BULGARIAN GAMBIT]
This Austro-Russian combination requires a careful diplomatic setup of Turkey, but guarantees to keep the Turk at three SC's by the end of 1901. Austria opens with Tri-Alb and Bud-Ser, while Russia sends the Sevastopol fleet to Rumania. In the Fall, Turkey is convinced by one or both of Austria and Russia to attempt a move out of Bulgaria, and A/R combine to dislodge the unsupportable Bulgaria. Doug Beyerlein wrote an article on the Bulgarian Gambit.


An excellent opening, if you trust Italy. The bounce in Gal may have been arranged as a mutually defensive measure. Given continued trust of Italy, a good continuation is Vie-Gal, Ser S Alb-Gre.
 
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Daniel Edwards
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hope you dont mind the further comments:

turkey
- agree bounce weakens options to the med - if theres a strong r/t turkey invariably heads to the med
- where else can smy go? the only options are ankara if anti-R or con

russia
- russias move are as orthodox as you can get
- russia has to ally with one of austria or turkey - if there was an A/T then turkey would have moved to ankara so its likely an R/T who dont quite trust each other

italy
- a vanilla lepanto generally only refers to anti-turkish moves with help from austria
- the move to piedmont does not suggest anti-turkish intentions - its most likely defense from france
- abandoning the ionian is not a smart move whether the target is france or not
- in my experience most players have much better things to do than arrange a lot of bounces in the first move and certainly not over piedmont - that army is much more useful to italy elsewhere

germany
- standard with the anti-france bump in burgundy
- presuming there is an E-G with england move to the chanel he will likely bump sweden

france
- id say france was lacking in the intial diplomacy in this game - attacked by all his neighbours hes is in real trouble - ironically the worst attack was england in the channel which was the one he missed
- i think france is a new player - why attack germany and italy?
- he now gets to play the delightful should i go back to brest gambit with england
- problem with the diplomatic plan suggested is that france is in a terrible position to defend against england and its easier for germany to work with england than france

england
- agree that wales can be stronger but england probably didnt expect to get into the channel - he leaves his options only for norway or belgium (most probably belgium) - 2 builds for england always gives me a fuzzy feeling

austria
- most common move for austria. agre with the obvious rider that you have to trust italy but that was borne out here
- with the italian out of the way and r/t bouncing in the black sea things look good for austria if it can keep a r/t from getting moving
 
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Rod Spade
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where else can smy go? the only options are ankara if anti-R or con

I don't think Ank is anti-Russian. Arm, of course, would be. The other option is for Smy to hold.

a vanilla lepanto generally only refers to anti-turkish moves with help from austria

I agree that opening to Ion and Apu does not necessarily mean that Italy will attack Turkey. It merely gives him the option of the Lepanto attack, which is a long-term commitment against Turkey.

i think france is a new player - why attack germany and italy?

I'm not convinced that these are attacks. They may have been arranged bounces, though this leads to abandoning any influence on Bel.

problem with the diplomatic plan suggested is that france is in a terrible position to defend against england and its easier for germany to work with england than france

I'm assuming that England is committed against France, so France's best hope is to split Germany from the E/G alliance. This would involve promising that England will get most of the gains if Germany allies with him (and it is not infeasible for France to arrange this), and promising that Germany will get Bel if he turns on England.
 
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Daniel Edwards
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Quote:
where else can smy go? the only options are ankara if anti-R or con

I don't think Ank is anti-Russian. Arm, of course, would be. The other option is for Smy to hold.

a vanilla lepanto generally only refers to anti-turkish moves with help from austria

I agree that opening to Ion and Apu does not necessarily mean that Italy will attack Turkey. It merely gives him the option of the Lepanto attack, which is a long-term commitment against Turkey.

i think france is a new player - why attack germany and italy?

I'm not convinced that these are attacks. They may have been arranged bounces, though this leads to abandoning any influence on Bel.

problem with the diplomatic plan suggested is that france is in a terrible position to defend against england and its easier for germany to work with england than france

I'm assuming that England is committed against France, so France's best hope is to split Germany from the E/G alliance. This would involve promising that England will get most of the gains if Germany allies with him (and it is not infeasible for France to arrange this), and promising that Germany will get Bel if he turns on England.


oops i of course meant armenia - my analayis is all mapless. staying in smyrna provides far less options than con. it may well also invite agression from russia.

most italian moves start out the same with the two southern units. i think the lepanto term gets overused because it is sexy. the key part of the lepanto is the east ward move of the ionian fleet threatening the apulia convoy to the turkish mainland.

it is certainly a possibility now with the turkish fleet still in con, the austrian conducting a robust defence and france with other things to worry about. doubtful if it was the initial plan with the move to piedmont

i think planned bounces are less common than you think particularly in the first turns - its much more common to either have co-ordinated moves with a neighbour that result in growth or attacks

both france and italy are crazy to try and bounce in piedmont. the units are better used elsewhere particularly the italian army which needs to alternatively defend venice, attack trieste or muck about and exert pressure on germany or austria in tyrolia

i agree frances only hope is to break up an e-g. The problem is that france and germany can only make headway against england with fleets and that is going to be difficult with brest threatened. France can be crippled by the end of 02 guaranteed. England can also offer Germany the carrot of peace in scandinavia and co-operation against russia there. As against that France can over only Belgium and Germany still has to take that. I think Frances only hope is if England gets too greedy.
 
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Rod Spade
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both france and italy are crazy to try and bounce in piedmont. the units are better used elsewhere

I agree. However, I think that one attacking the other via Pie in 1901 is crazy as well (with the exception of Italy in a EGI alliance). I can think of only two reasons why France would open to Pie:

He's paranoid and/or got wind of the Italian attack;
or he arranged a "defensive" bounce with Italy.

I am assuming that many of the players in this game are relative novices and are more likely to play defensively than aggressively in 1901. (I'm thinking that regular Dip players already have enough games going on without playing on BGG yet as well.) Perhaps I'm wrong.
 
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Daniel Edwards
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Thats probably right. Diplomacy can be confusing for a new player and is very prone to overanalysis by the "experts"
 
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