Wintergreen (RI)

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Wintergreen (RI)

Postby beadsman » 01 Sep 2015, 15:23

First of all, a disclaimer: I have never played this alliance in this way, since the games where I considered it ended up going in a different direction. I still hope I have some thoughts that could lead to an interesting discussion.

There is something I have given some thought to, and I wonder why it isn't used more often. I am referring to the so-called Wintergreen alliance between Russia and Italy, but more specifically to how this alliance should be opened. Consider the following scenario typical of a Wintergreen alliance. Russia opens to Galicia, Italy opens to Tyrolia and Venice, Turkey (not wanting to miss out on the fun) opens to deliver the final blow to Austria.

When I think about it, though, this does not strike me as the most efficient, nor the most fair, use of the Wintergreen alliance. The clear danger, of course, is for Italy. If Italy helps Turkey and Russia to dismember Austria, what's to stop a Juggernaut from emerging and rearing its ugly head? Especially since, on this site, the Juggernaut seems all too common. Instead, I propose it would be a better move to attack Turkey first.

First of all, Turkey is a major rival for both Italy and Russia. The Black Sea causes many problems for Russo-Turkish cooperation, notably because if either one takes it it's curtains for the other (mostly). If the two arrange a bounce there, it severely disadvantages Turkey, since he loses a fleet that could be enjoying a lovely Mediterranean vacation in Italy. Which brings me to why Italy and Turkey are rivals. That's why.

Secondly, Turkey is a hard nut to crack. If Russia and Italy can use Austria to pry him out of his shell, there is a good chance the east will be resolved considerably faster than if they target Austria first. Austria has the armies, so why not use them? What's more, he will then most likely be taken by surprise when the Wintergreen emerges and turns on him.

Lastly, it is much safer for both Italy and Russia. If Turkey is eliminated quickly, neither of them has to worry about securing the corner, since they already have it! It's easy to defend from the outside, and acts as a power base from which to launch subsequent attacks into the west and elsewhere. As for individual country security, it is head over heels safer for Italy. If Turkey is gone, there is much less to worry about in the way of a Juggernaut. Further, neither party can effectively stab the other until Austria is gone.

This opening strikes me as a much more effective way to secure the east than other methods. For Italy, I can't think of a better situation to be in than this one. You are guaranteed more than four centers at the start, and you have a solid power base from which to springboard any other actions. After Austria is gone, you can work with other nations to kill off Russia or just dominate with your newfound alliance. I think of this primarily as an Italian opening, but it's good for Russia too. Russia could stab Italy in just the same way, of course, but he will be in a much stronger position to do so than he otherwise would be. He could work with Italy to kill off Germany, or launch an invasion of England. It strikes me as much more flexible.

Anyway, I'd love to hear the thoughts of some of the more experienced players out there. If anyone has played in the way I described, how did it go? Does my little theory work in practice? I'd love to know. Thanks!

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Re: Wintergreen (RI)

Postby Lukan » 01 Sep 2015, 15:36

Sorry... I know this is terrible, but... I really have to give the ''everything is possible'' answer here. It just depends on too many factors.

Is Austria going to see he is getting squeezed out and will he help Turkey?
How well will Turkey defend? (How long will it take to take him out?)
How easy will it be to attack Austria afterwards?
-Does Russia have trouble in the north?
-Does Italy have trouble in the west?
-Does Austria have allies you didn't expect him to have? (when I am Germany, I will sometimes move down to Tyrolia to help Austria if he is in trouble)
How tight are Italy and Russia really? (if the plan turns out to be suboptimal will they immediately abandon it?)

Overall I might even say that letting Turkey attack Austria will be easier, since it will stretch Turkey out and give him a false sense of security. When you stab him, he will have no defense, because he has to destroy.
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Re: Wintergreen (RI)

Postby beadsman » 01 Sep 2015, 15:41

That's fair. I was assuming circumstances conducive to the success of the alliance, which shouldn't be too hard to pull off, I think. Your point about stretching Turkey thin is a good one, but wouldn't a surprise attack by all his neighbors in the first year accomplish something very similar? Assuming you can keep it well enough hidden, of course. Also, this type of Wintergreen alliance would be easy enough to pass off to Austria as a Lepanto, I think.
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Re: Wintergreen (RI)

Postby gflbos » 01 Sep 2015, 16:27

I do agree with the "everything is possible" answer.

However, whenever I get to play Italy my favorite option is exactly as described.
I will try to setup Turkey and Russia against each other, while for the short term teaming up with Austria (in stead of attacking it straight away) for a lepanto on Turkey. With a hostile Russia on his borders there is also a good chance that the Lepanto will work against Turkey. I tend to open by telling Russia that I plan to work with him as soon as the lepanto is a success, so from that moment on between Italy and Russia we can also crush Austria. I have called it a secret or silent alliance where we work with Austria first and then crush him later.

I cannot say that it works all the time, because (like Lukan said) there are just to many variables, but I can say that it has worked better for me then any other strategy when playing Italy.....

However, when playing Russia, there is always the option of the "Juggernaut"..........(all the more reason to try and steer Russia towards Turkey (and vice versa) if you are playing with Italy)
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Re: Wintergreen (RI)

Postby Peanut » 01 Sep 2015, 17:16

I've played the R-A-I alliance a few times as Italy and like it a lot. I've had mixed results once Turkey is taken care of, sometimes I-R comes out on top, sometimes it's I-A and we've even maintained the 3-way with the three of us taking on what's left of E-F-G in the West.
R-A-I gives Italy many options, just try to keep France busy in the West!
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Re: Wintergreen (RI)

Postby Zosimus » 01 Sep 2015, 22:51

beadsman wrote:First of all, a disclaimer: I have never played this alliance in this way, since the games where I considered it ended up going in a different direction. I still hope I have some thoughts that could lead to an interesting discussion.

There is something I have given some thought to, and I wonder why it isn't used more often. I am referring to the so-called Wintergreen alliance between Russia and Italy, but more specifically to how this alliance should be opened. Consider the following scenario typical of a Wintergreen alliance. Russia opens to Galicia, Italy opens to Tyrolia and Venice, Turkey (not wanting to miss out on the fun) opens to deliver the final blow to Austria.

When I think about it, though, this does not strike me as the most efficient, nor the most fair, use of the Wintergreen alliance. The clear danger, of course, is for Italy. If Italy helps Turkey and Russia to dismember Austria, what's to stop a Juggernaut from emerging and rearing its ugly head? Especially since, on this site, the Juggernaut seems all too common. Instead, I propose it would be a better move to attack Turkey first.

First of all, Turkey is a major rival for both Italy and Russia. The Black Sea causes many problems for Russo-Turkish cooperation, notably because if either one takes it it's curtains for the other (mostly). If the two arrange a bounce there, it severely disadvantages Turkey, since he loses a fleet that could be enjoying a lovely Mediterranean vacation in Italy. Which brings me to why Italy and Turkey are rivals. That's why.

Secondly, Turkey is a hard nut to crack. If Russia and Italy can use Austria to pry him out of his shell, there is a good chance the east will be resolved considerably faster than if they target Austria first. Austria has the armies, so why not use them? What's more, he will then most likely be taken by surprise when the Wintergreen emerges and turns on him.

Lastly, it is much safer for both Italy and Russia. If Turkey is eliminated quickly, neither of them has to worry about securing the corner, since they already have it! It's easy to defend from the outside, and acts as a power base from which to launch subsequent attacks into the west and elsewhere. As for individual country security, it is head over heels safer for Italy. If Turkey is gone, there is much less to worry about in the way of a Juggernaut. Further, neither party can effectively stab the other until Austria is gone.

This opening strikes me as a much more effective way to secure the east than other methods. For Italy, I can't think of a better situation to be in than this one. You are guaranteed more than four centers at the start, and you have a solid power base from which to springboard any other actions. After Austria is gone, you can work with other nations to kill off Russia or just dominate with your newfound alliance. I think of this primarily as an Italian opening, but it's good for Russia too. Russia could stab Italy in just the same way, of course, but he will be in a much stronger position to do so than he otherwise would be. He could work with Italy to kill off Germany, or launch an invasion of England. It strikes me as much more flexible.

Anyway, I'd love to hear the thoughts of some of the more experienced players out there. If anyone has played in the way I described, how did it go? Does my little theory work in practice? I'd love to know. Thanks!

beadsman

Most people know that I'm a big fan of the Wintergreen and that Austria is usually first on the chopping block. The reasons are not hard to understand. Russia can usually negotiate a DMZ with Austria and then either honor it or violate it with impunity. By way of comparison, it's very hard to convince Turkey to leave the Black Sea open and then invade him.

Most Italian rulers prefer to take out Austria first. Those who launch an ill-fated Lepanto usually end up getting invaded either by France or by Austria. Italy needs to ensure that France gets at most two builds in 1901 -- never three! That third build somehow always ends up being F. Marseilles.

Even if the Lepanto can be pulled off, Italy usually doesn't get to 5 SC until 1903. That's a long, long time to wait for extra centers. By way of comparison, a successful attack on Austria usually gets Italy to 5 SC in 1901 and 6 in 1902.

A successful AIR usually results in too many gains by Austria. Austria will get his original three, Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria, and Constantinople. Russia gets Ankara, and Italy gets Smyrna... if he's lucky. At that point Austria, with 7 supply centers, normally looks at his near complete control of the Balkans and thinks, "If only I had Rumania, this would be a beautiful picture." Then the Russian-Austrian war starts, and by this time, Germany may be finished in the west and will decide to join in the fun by taking Warsaw.
Be more aggressive.
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Re: Wintergreen (RI)

Postby beadsman » 01 Sep 2015, 23:05

Peanut wrote:I've played the R-A-I alliance a few times as Italy and like it a lot. I've had mixed results once Turkey is taken care of, sometimes I-R comes out on top, sometimes it's I-A and we've even maintained the 3-way with the three of us taking on what's left of E-F-G in the West.
R-A-I gives Italy many options, just try to keep France busy in the West!


Once, I was an Italy in an R-A-I alliance. It was ideal for me! As you said, things then often go in different directions. In my game, I stuck with Austria and swept the board with him. I eventually got a solo. If things had gone differently, I would have stuck with Russia and killed off Austria like I described earlier.

The reason that didn't happen the way I hoped is directly related to Zosimus' point. Austria just got way too big for me to be able to handle with Russia. Honestly, that was partly because I failed to warn Russia of the impending Austrian stab, but also for precisely the reasons Zosimus brings up. I think perhaps this alliance really only thrives if Austria can be diplomatically kept in check. I still think geographically getting rid of Turkey makes sense in ideal conditions but it is entirely dependent on just that: ideal conditions. I just think I would like to see it more often.

What if the three members of the alliance made it a point to "keep everyone equal in SCs" during the attack on Turkey? Italy could take Greece when Austria captures Bulgaria, or something. Russia could get Con and Ank. Everyone is pretty happy, right? Austria gets a powerful position, Italy controls the med, Russia secures his southern border.

Maybe also (gasp) lying could help mitigate this situation? If both Russia and Italy pretend they are very closely allied to Austria and make plans for cutting out the other player's share of the spoils after Turkey's demise, then Austria might be satisfied with less than his fair share initially.

Just my thoughts.
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Re: Wintergreen (RI)

Postby Antonidas » 04 Sep 2015, 21:58

I played as Russia in an alliance very similar to the one described in a game with friends recently. It eventually led to my first ever solo! :D

I organized a R-A-I alliance against Turkey, but from the very start Italy knew that Austria would be our next target. Italy was willingly given Greece as Austria took Bulgaria, which was quite useful later. Right before Turkey completely collapsed, Italy and I convinced him to take our support into Bulgaria as we ate up his home centers and launched the stab on Austria. After one turn of rather brilliant defense, Austria cracked and fell soon enough after that. Turkey survived a little while longer in Serbia, but he stopped submitting orders so I gobbled him up.

I was having great success up in Scandinavia and Germany while all this was happening, and I had pulled fairly far ahead of Italy in centers, so he attempted to stab me. Thankfully he botched it a bit (Smyrna move to Smyrna) and in a few years I managed to nab the solo. So yes, I would recommend this strategy for a Russia player, it was a very fun experience.

As for Italy, I'm less certain. In my game, he ended up surviving to the end with a respectable amount of centers, but he just couldn't keep pace with my SC gains. Had his stab been performed perfectly I might've been prevented from soloing, but I still highly doubt he would've been able to take the win. If I were Italy and I was set on this alliance, I would try and influence England and Germany against Russia so that he didn't outstrip me. I might also prefer to attack Austria first, because as Italy I would be itching for faster gains.
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Re: Wintergreen (RI)

Postby Zosimus » 05 Sep 2015, 00:40

Antonidas wrote:I played as Russia in an alliance very similar to the one described in a game with friends recently. It eventually led to my first ever solo! :D

I organized a R-A-I alliance against Turkey, but from the very start Italy knew that Austria would be our next target. Italy was willingly given Greece as Austria took Bulgaria, which was quite useful later. Right before Turkey completely collapsed, Italy and I convinced him to take our support into Bulgaria as we ate up his home centers and launched the stab on Austria. After one turn of rather brilliant defense, Austria cracked and fell soon enough after that. Turkey survived a little while longer in Serbia, but he stopped submitting orders so I gobbled him up.

I was having great success up in Scandinavia and Germany while all this was happening, and I had pulled fairly far ahead of Italy in centers, so he attempted to stab me. Thankfully he botched it a bit (Smyrna move to Smyrna) and in a few years I managed to nab the solo. So yes, I would recommend this strategy for a Russia player, it was a very fun experience.

As for Italy, I'm less certain. In my game, he ended up surviving to the end with a respectable amount of centers, but he just couldn't keep pace with my SC gains. Had his stab been performed perfectly I might've been prevented from soloing, but I still highly doubt he would've been able to take the win. If I were Italy and I was set on this alliance, I would try and influence England and Germany against Russia so that he didn't outstrip me. I might also prefer to attack Austria first, because as Italy I would be itching for faster gains.

Agreed. Italy's best chance for a solo is to attack Austria first so as to gain the initial strength he needs. Then Austria must turn on France and cross the stalemate line. Once that's done, Italy can join in on offing Turkey and then he must plow his way through Russia to solo.
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Re: Wintergreen (RI)

Postby DirtyHarry » 13 Feb 2017, 13:07

Agreed. Italy's best chance for a solo is to attack Austria first so as to gain the initial strength he needs. Then Austria must turn on France and cross the stalemate line.


Zosimus, I know this was written a couple of years ago, but I'm a bit confused. Did you really mean Austria, who is under attack by Italy, turns on France? Or did you mean Germany?
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