Austria Strategy - How to Deal with a Hostile Italy

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Austria Strategy - How to Deal with a Hostile Italy

Postby Hagen von Troneck » 06 May 2016, 04:38

I am quite fond of Austria. It requires a lot of diplomatic skill, strategic planning, and maybe even quite a bit of luck. But once a diplomat is able to acquire the Balkans, he will almost always be a force to be reckoned with. There's nothing like the feeling of an Austrian solo.

Nevertheless, there is one fatal flaw I have when playing as Austria. I feel like I'm at Italy's mercy.

If I can convince Italy to work with me against Turkey, or to hold to an NAP with me while he faces France or even Germany, then I believe that Austria has as good of odds of winning as anyone else.

But that's not always possible. Sometimes you can promise Italy the moon, and throw in the North Star too, and he will still rush the dagger through your ribs. A lot of very skilled players consider any strategy but attacking Austria straight away to be futile.

So my question is: What should Austria do if Italy comes knocking?

I know that Austria can and should work the lines with Germany, Russia and even Turkey, but what are some tactical troop movements Austria can employ to ward off Italy? How can Italy be made to change his mind? Better yet, what are some ways that Austria can hinder an advance from Italy?

I have found that the best Austria can do if Italy decides to strike is a grueling game that might result in a three way draw. I don't know if it's possible to solo if Italy launches a full-frontal assault on Austria.

Any thoughts and ideas appreciated
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Re: Austria Strategy - How to Deal with a Hostile Italy

Postby ruffdove » 06 May 2016, 15:35

Well, I'll start with prevention, even though that's not what you ask. Look at it from Italy's point of view. He has one automatic build. He needs more and you need to make sure they don't come at your expense.

In general when I see Italy attack Austria, it's because Austria's proposal for an "alliance" pretty much amounts to "You don't attack me and I won't worry about you attacking me while I take the Balkans and leave you in a stalemate with Turkey." Bad idea. I think Austria should promise to support Italy into Greece just as soon as he takes Tunis, if not sooner. I also think Austria should be willing to use his fleet to help Italy into Turkey. The best strategy is for Austria to take Greece in 1901 with the agreement that the fleet then moves to Aegean in 1902 and cedes Greece to Italy. Concede to the Italian that you have no aspirations to be a sea power and lend him your fleet for the conquest of Turkey and then tuck it safely away on garrison duty. Now... whether you actually DELIVER on all that is another matter, but an Austrian promising Italy Greece and Turkey while claiming Serbia, Bulgaria, Rumania and Sevastopol for his share of the region shouldn't have anything to worry about from any rational Italian in the early game. And you can usually also get him to give you something in exchange for your promise of no more fleets.

As for tactics:

If you think Italy is going to be trouble, you probably don't want to move your fleet south on the first turn. By moving to Venice, you can prevent him from moving to Trieste, and if he moves to Tyrolia, you bounce his Rome Army out and prevent a 1901 loss of Trieste in a 2-1 battle. Italy's Fleet isn't going to cause you any problems in 1901, so really preventing Ven=>Tyr and Rom=>Ven is the best out of the gate way to stymie Italy's best out of the gate attack on Austria.

Longer term, you need to control Tyrolia, which can be VERY tough to manage if you aren't friends with either Russia or Turkey. You also want to control the Adriatic if possible, which means at least one more fleet build. Honestly, unless you can make an ally of Turkey (Russia is a less likely ally), you're hosed if Italy wants to keep attacking. You simply need too many resources just to repel him. What you can do is repel him long enough to see that working with you is in his best interests if he wants a fast start.
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Re: Austria Strategy - How to Deal with a Hostile Italy

Postby Zosimus » 06 May 2016, 19:52

Tactically, there is a simple method that Austria can use to ensure a build and set himself up well to get a second build in 1902. The moves are:

Trieste - Venice (bounces)
Vienna - Galicia (bounces)
Budapest - Serbia

This is known as the Southern Hedgehog

In Fall 1901:

Serbia - Bulgaria (bounces)
Trieste - Albania
Vienna - Trieste

Then build. This is, as far as I can tell, the only viable forward-going plan for Austria in a gunboat game.

However, if Austria is on the horns of a determined Russian-Italian alliance against Austria, then Austria will still find himself facing Italian troops in Tyrolia and Venice and a Russian army in Galicia. This is not going to go well for long. I can only conclude that Austria must somehow find a way to get either Italy or Russia onside right away.

I don't often post on Austrian strategy, because, to be completely honest, I have no idea how Austria is supposed to solo. I've taken a good look at his position, and fuck if I know how to draft a plan for that country that has a good chance of getting a solo even if things go right.

Aim for a draw. Be very persuasive. Hope for the best.
Be more aggressive.
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Re: Austria Strategy - How to Deal with a Hostile Italy

Postby ruffdove » 07 May 2016, 07:54

Zosimus wrote:I don't often post on Austrian strategy, because, to be completely honest, I have no idea how Austria is supposed to solo. I've taken a good look at his position, and fuck if I know how to draft a plan for that country that has a good chance of getting a solo even if things go right.


Yeah, I've never managed anything but a draw with Austria either. The problem is that if you take down Turkey, all those units are now stuffed over in one corner of the board where it will be 2-3 years before you can recover them to your western front.

While I can't articulate an Austrian path to a solo, my working theory is that it involves an alliance with Turkey (to be jettisoned in the late game) and a lot more ship building than Austria usually does. I think the Turkish centers need to be the last ones you conquer, not the first.
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Re: Austria Strategy - How to Deal with a Hostile Italy

Postby Octavious » 17 May 2016, 23:45

The trouble with Austria is that it demands that things go your way early on, before you have a chance to fully engage your neighbours in diplomacy. In short, more so than any other nation you have to rely on a bit of good luck.

If you have a hostile Italy from day one, the sort of prat who's decided in advance he wants to try an anti-Austrian opening and nothing will talk him out of it, then you're essentially at the mercy of Turkey and Russia. You might be able to get one of them onside, in which case you have a chance. If not, make sure you depart the game with Italy bloodied and regretting that he ever moved against you.
Guaaaaaaak!
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Re: Austria Strategy - How to Deal with a Hostile Italy

Postby NiccolosApprentice » 13 Jun 2016, 18:37

I believe the secret to Austria winning (just like every other country) is diplomacy. The non aggression pact with Germany is a gimme. And 3/4 of the time if Italy knows you are not abandoning Trieste he will convoy to Tunis to preserve the strategic integrity of his fleet.
A treaty with Russia or Turkey works, the secret is not being the OPO. Austria is a land power and wins by occupying the continent.
Your most likely centres are the home 3, 3 Russian (not St. Petersburg), 4 Balkan, 3 Turkish, 3 Italian, Munich and either Berlin, Marseille or Tunis.
Austria can't ignore anyone in the opening turns. Encourage German-Russian, Turkish-Russian, Anglo-Russian, Turkish-Italian and Franco-Italian hostility.
AI can Defeat a Juggernaut if they have minimal active support from either England or Germany.
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Re: Austria Strategy - How to Deal with a Hostile Italy

Postby PeytonManThing » 15 Jun 2016, 23:52

When you've got an enemy one of the biggest go-tos is to find a common enemy of your enemy. France and Italy are natural enemies, and so convincing France that Italy's success is not in his best interests is my first response. Get France to move to piedmont, possibly arrange a bounce between France and Italy so Italy isn't free to attack as aggressively, or trick France into believing Italy is moving piedmont in the first turn so that France makes an aggressive play on Italy.
In terms of actual moves if you can get turkey and Russia both on your side in the first few turns then Italy won't be too hard to deal with.
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Re: Austria Strategy - How to Deal with a Hostile Italy

Postby PeytonManThing » 15 Jun 2016, 23:57

ruffdove wrote:
Zosimus wrote:I don't often post on Austrian strategy, because, to be completely honest, I have no idea how Austria is supposed to solo. I've taken a good look at his position, and fuck if I know how to draft a plan for that country that has a good chance of getting a solo even if things go right.


Yeah, I've never managed anything but a draw with Austria either. The problem is that if you take down Turkey, all those units are now stuffed over in one corner of the board where it will be 2-3 years before you can recover them to your western front.

While I can't articulate an Austrian path to a solo, my working theory is that it involves an alliance with Turkey (to be jettisoned in the late game) and a lot more ship building than Austria usually does. I think the Turkish centers need to be the last ones you conquer, not the first.


I've solo'd as Austria a few times. Austria is actually one of the best countries to solo with if you make it to late game and prevent a stalemate line. Austria and Russia are a better team in many ways than turkey and Russia, and Austria has a good position for stabbing Russia. In one game on the last turn I stabbed Russia for 5 supply centers at once while we were taking out the last player or two besides us. They key is an alliance with Russia where you keep a positioning and supply advantage and then you stab Russia to win.
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Re: Austria Strategy - How to Deal with a Hostile Italy

Postby Zosimus » 16 Jun 2016, 19:12

I agree that an alliance with Russia is a good idea. If you ally with Italy or Turkey, he will squawk when you build a second fleet and will attack you when you build the third. Russia, on the other hand, won't bat an eye at it. The problem is that Russia has a tendency to get behind Austria, a circumstance that makes a Russian stab much easier than an Austrian stab is.

The key to an Austrian solo has to be an early invasion of Germany. Something like Italy goes west against France while Germany piles on and Russia opens the squid to keep England busy while Austria tips France off to the impending attack. Austria and Russia crush Turkey fast and before they're done, they invade Germany with Russia taking Berlin and Austria taking Munich. That will put Austria over the stalemate line and a timely attack on Italy will open Trieste for a fleet build to take Tunis. Austria, I guess, needs to encourage Russia to send troops north to subdue England and/or German units in England and then stab Russia to get 14 centers. If Austria can hold Munich, the win should be possible with 3-4 fleets holding the Med and the rest armies to finish the push to 18.

Or just get kingmade.
Be more aggressive.
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Re: Austria Strategy - How to Deal with a Hostile Italy

Postby Noefochesgiving » 09 Oct 2016, 15:47

Zosimus wrote:Tactically, there is a simple method that Austria can use to ensure a build and set himself up well to get a second build in 1902. The moves are:

Trieste - Venice (bounces)
Vienna - Galicia (bounces)
Budapest - Serbia

This is known as the Southern Hedgehog

In Fall 1901:

Serbia - Bulgaria (bounces)
Trieste - Albania
Vienna - Trieste

Then build. This is, as far as I can tell, the only viable forward-going plan for Austria in a gunboat game.



I would argue that given current opening style for Italy in Gunboat (Venice > Tryolia, Rome > Venice) that the best opening for Austria in Gunboat is:

Trieste - Albania
Vienna - Tryolia (bounces probably)
Budapest - Galicia (bounces)

It is a little risky, but is Austria going to do any better playing more cautiously?

In Fall 1901:

Budapest - Serbia
Albania - Greece
Vienna - Trieste or Tyrolia

Austria will get either Greece or Serbia, then build.
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