Russia for Experts

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Re: Russia for Experts

Postby Zosimus » 20 Dec 2017, 05:33

All right. Let's assume that Russia can negotiate the English alliance AND a Juggernaut down south. Will Russia really be sitting pretty? Russia opens F. Sev - Rumania, and gets Norway in the fall. That's two builds, but what kind of an attack is Russia going to be able to mount against Austria with a fleet in Rumania? He'll have to build in Sevastopol (an army, we assume) to fend off a justly hostile Austria and perhaps even an army in Moscow if Austria got two Serbia & Greece to start.
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Re: Russia for Experts

Postby DQ » 20 Dec 2017, 17:18

Zosimus wrote:All right. Let's assume that Russia can negotiate the English alliance AND a Juggernaut down south. Will Russia really be sitting pretty? Russia opens F. Sev - Rumania, and gets Norway in the fall. That's two builds, but what kind of an attack is Russia going to be able to mount against Austria with a fleet in Rumania? He'll have to build in Sevastopol (an army, we assume) to fend off a justly hostile Austria and perhaps even an army in Moscow if Austria got two Serbia & Greece to start.


I think the assumption about the fleet in Rumania may be overblown (non-zero chance you get bounced there), but why would Austria be hostile? A Russian fleet in Rumania is the second best thing for Austria (Best obviously being an Austrian Army). If I'm Russia here I'm working a three-way attack on Turkey, with me providing logistical support around Bulgaria and asking for absolutely nothing in exchange besides continued ownership of Rum.

I'm attacking Germany / Scandinavia. "My game is in the north, you guys go dig the Turk out of the corner" and then, once I've secured Berlin/Sweden/Munich/Denmark (3 of the four, probably) I'll work with Italy against Austria, and possibly France against England.

At least that's the way I draw it up on the whiteboard. Best laid plans etc.
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Re: Russia for Experts

Postby Zosimus » 22 Dec 2017, 03:40

You're Austria and you know that Russia and Turkey have signed an alliance. Why would you be hostile?

Let me think about it and get back to you.
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Re: Russia for Experts

Postby DQ » 22 Dec 2017, 22:13

Zosimus wrote:You're Austria and you know that Russia and Turkey have signed an alliance. Why would you be hostile?

Let me think about it and get back to you.


I'f I'm Russia, Austria doesn't know there is an R/T - because what R/T puts a fleet in Rumania?

But I think we've lost track of the original point of this thread.
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Re: Russia for Experts

Postby Nibbler » 30 Dec 2017, 12:37

Some of the replies seem to have missed the point of the article Toby wrote - "Russia for Experts". By that I mean there are a number of replies that suggest this isn't great for England. Perhaps it isn't but Toby also wrote an "England for Expert" article which, from memory, says England should take St Petersburg - which wouldn't be fantastic for Russia.

Toby is writing about Russia and how Russia can get the best situation from this. He has a solid chance of Scandinavia, with a friendly England in Denmark. Germany is in dire straits, whether or not he's lost Berlin/Munich. The Russians are coming (and, let's face it, when Russia pushes west, Germany falls, historically). The key to this is that Germany stays on three units; France (on four or five) 'knows' England isn't a problem, sees a weak Germany and chances to move into the Med, so can go either way; England isn't threatened by Russia who has an army in Norway (where's that going but towards Sweden?), and Russia can play in the north.

The problem is the south. While Turkey may be on the board with the delayed Juggernaut, if she chooses not to bounce in the Black Sea, and makes this clear, Russia then has to deal with her fleet being there, or move straight to Rumania. But there's no back-up for Rumania, and if a Russian fleet is in the Black Sea Turkey is going to be wary. So Russia needs the Black Sea bounce, and Austria and Turkey may just decide that a northern opening from Russia is a nice invitation.

The thing is, Toby never claims any of his ideas are foolproof. They may work, they may not. Frankly, I think he suggests, more often than not, that they don't. They're different ways to approach the game and, as the titles suggest, are for 'expert' players, who will be skilled diplomats. It's natural to spend a lot of time on the on-board tactics, whereas good players put just as much time (probably more) into the diplomacy-side.

But, is this good for England? Well, she's going to be able to at least hold France at bay. She's got two builds and isn't losing Denmark - a stepping stone into Germany - with a friendly Russia. And, if she doesn't get into Denmark, because Germany doesn't order F Den-Swe for some reason, she can ask for Denmark before giving Russia Sweden. As long as Russia doesn't build a fleet in St Petersburg, she's fine. She'll need to stop a Russian solo at some point, but she could begin working on that straight away - building an alliance with Italy and Austria/Turkey. It doesn't deal with France, which may be England's main problem, but she'll be able to turn her attention across the Channel if she can hold the Russian alliance.
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Re: Russia for Experts

Postby DirtyHarry » 10 Jan 2018, 22:40

Thanks for all the responses so far. As luck would have it, almost immediately after starting this thread, I drew Russia in a game where England is willing to give this approach a try. So I've had to wait until the game was over to chime in again.

http://www.playdiplomacy.com/game_play_ ... _id=136635

Anyway, I can now attest to the fact that this approach is REALLY fun when it works, although of course, it is not without it's perils. I learned that the diplomacy in the south is absolutely critical, and I did not court Austria well enough pre-1901. A big part of this strategy is that Russia will remain friendly with both Austria and Turkey early because of Russia's lack of southern ambition, and the fact he merely wants to stick a fleet in Rum in '01, and that's it. But in my case, because that was all I asked for, Austria was very suspicious of me, and immediately broke the DMZ in Galicia and denied me Rum as well, which I didn't acquire until S02 with Turkish help. So, the game got off to bit of a rocky start in the south, but if you look at the position after 1904, well, it's a very comfortable position for Russia.

And the north! Things went well in the north. The Russian move to Sil in S01 induces Germany to try to bounce Russia in Sweden, but Russia moves to the Baltic instead. Meanwhile, England slips into Denmark while Germany tries to bounce in Sweden. That phase of the plan part went like clockwork.

And as Toby says in the article, the head scratching that goes on among the other countries is TOO much fun. Poor Germany. He had no idea what was happening. And I think Turkey was quite confused also, but wasn't in danger, so wasn't as concerned.

BTW, in answer to the question of whether or not this approach is good for England, Mr. Harris certainly thinks so. I've got a copy of the England for Experts article, and it seems Mr. Harris thinks this might be the best way for England to start the game as well.
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Re: Russia for Experts

Postby Zosimus » 13 Jan 2018, 02:37

Image

Presumably Russia has negotiated a DMZ in Galicia with Austria and a bounce with Turkey in the Black Sea. Other than that, his actions are in accord with the strategy we're mentioning. Unfortunately for Russia, Austria didn't trust the DMZ and has moved into Galicia. This leaves Warsaw, Ukraine, and Rumania hanging in the wind. The north has better come off as planned, because the South is not looking good at all.

Image

Germany is completely bamboozled and has a hostile France to boot. Germany will not be long for this game. England gets two builds to start -- a major coup, and Russia gets a build. He does not get Rumania. Turkey moves into the Black Sea because... what else is he going to do with that fleet? I'm surprised Austria didn't try supporting Galicia into Rumania from Serbia.

Image

After a Russian build in Moscow, he convinces Turkey to support his fleet into Rumania. Austria takes it easy on him thanks to a fortuitous Italian invasion that has Austria otherwise concerned. England takes Holland and would have gotten Kiel too except he screwed up his order and tried Denmark-Ruhr (illegal). Most Russian units just hold(!)

Image

Russia gets Sweden and manages to switch his army and fleet around in Rumania to form some sort of a pro-Turkish alliance. Germany, justifiably angry at Russia, invades because, after all, he's pretty much dead and has nothing better to do than to lash out at someone. Turkey gets Greece, a major coup.

Image

After retreats and builds, Russia has a reasonable position whereas England and Turkey are doing amazing things! England already has a fleet in the Med, and Turkey gets Serbia. France continues to gobble up Germany in a way that seems reckless to me.

Image

Russia makes inroads into Austrian space without actually getting any supply centers. France holds onto his gains in Germany while opening a third front against Italy. Italy, in an aborted Lepanto, still has an army sitting in Tunis. It never ceases to amaze me how popular this crappy opening is. No wonder Italy never gets very far in most games.

Image

After spring and fall moves, France is getting his derriere handed to him. Russia makes inroads into Germany, but all the goodies are gone. Russia gets a center off of Austria. France continues to push into Italy for some strange reason. The Russian army in Norway seems... wrong somehow. A fleet would be far better.

Image

This is the part of the game that I really disagree with. Russia builds an army in Moscow. I think that a fleet in St. Petersburg(nc) is a clearcut action followed by STP->NWY, NWY-SWE, SWE-SKA and an excellent shot at allying (at least temporarily) with France against England and picking up Denmark. Russia cannot make any real inroads against Turkey, so he needs to mix it up against England.

Image

England has made a great start, but he has a bad unit mix. He is too fleet heavy. Russia had a clear shot at an England stab, but didn't go for it. Russia picks up Vienna but loses Budapest.

Image

After the spring and fall moves, Russia has made progress in Germany and in Austria. His northern units are a mixed up mess though.

Image

England, who should have built an army, now finds himself without Denmark due to a Russian stab, I assume. Meanwhile, I don't get what happened in Sevastopol, but Turkey is in. Turkey has also seen fit to put the poor Italian army out of its misery in Tunis.

Well, that's all I have time for. Let me know your thoughts.
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Re: Russia for Experts

Postby DirtyHarry » 13 Jan 2018, 17:49

Thanks for the analysis Zosimus!

As the Russian player in that game, I'll add a couple of my thoughts regarding the last couple of pictures. The whole idea behind Harris's strategy in the article was that Russia stick an army in Norway. and then there need not be any fighting in the north over Scandinavia. Russia doesn't need to, he can solo by eventually stabbing both Austria and Turkey and building mostly armies. At least that is the theory, one which I probably stuck too a little too closely, based on your analysis.

So in the last picture, I'm at 11 centers, and I decided to lie to everyone and stab France, England and Turkey. If everything had worked, I would have gotten to 13 centers, and had Sev open to to build a fleet, giving myself excellent solo chances, I thought. But France stabbed me instead, and Turkey smelled a rat, and made a preemptive strike. If I hadn't tried to sneak in his back door, his move to Sev would have just bounced, but he caught me red handed! Ha!
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Re: Russia for Experts

Postby Zosimus » 13 Jan 2018, 20:56

Below are the final board positions of three solo victories as Russia.

Image
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Image
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Image
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Now my question is this: Based on your position, which of those three pictures do you think it would be easiest to achieve? In my opinion, you are closest to position 2, and that is what you should strive for.
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Re: Russia for Experts

Postby DirtyHarry » 14 Jan 2018, 06:20

Thank you, that make a lot of sense. That second picture jumps out at me as well, and I wouldn't have had to expose myself as much to achieve that position. Hopefully I'll be in a game soon when I can look at the board with all these new ideas on mind!
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