Openings

What are your winning tactics? Kill them all? Discuss strategy for the classic and variant games using the classic map, or visit the sub-forums for the variant maps.
Forum rules
Strategy
In addition to the general Forum Guidelines (see here: http://www.playdiplomacy.com/forum/view ... 30&t=15441), there are additional rules for posting in this forum.
1. When discussing strategy, reference should not be made to any active game. This section of the Forum is for general strategy discussion, not specific situations within games.
2. It follows that links, images, game name and/or number should not be added to a post if the game is active.
Posts which refer to a specific situation in an active game, or which link directly to an active game, are subject to editing or removal.

Re: Openings

Postby mhsmith0 » 03 Nov 2018, 00:12

I'd say the big thing wrt openings is having a sense of which openings are good or bad for who. For instance, looking at some spring 1901 moves:

Turkey:
A Con-Bul - this is stone cold standard. Any move that ISNT this is weird and should be looked at more carefully
F Ank - moving to BLA is anti-Russian (it contests a very important neutral spot that both powers benefit greatly from controlling). Moving to Con is anti-Italian (it enables Turkey to get into AEG in fall 1901, which severely hampers any Lepanto openings [Italy-Austria alliance against Turkey] and also puts Turkey in great position to contest Greece (bad for Austria) and/or ION (very very bad for Italy if Turkey gets into that space).
A Smy - moving to Con is anti-Austria and pro-Russia. Moving to Arm is anti-Russia and pro-Austria.

The combination of those moves tells you what Turkey is probably going for.
Ank-BLA and Smy-Arm says that Turkey is going hard against Russia early.
Ank-Con and Smy-anything says that Turkey is going hard against Italy early. Smy H or Smy-Ank is severely pro-Russia (no threat against anything Russia does, and gives Russia BLA control full on), Smy-Arm is overall pro-Russia since BLA is still given away but is kind of an options open sort of thing.
Ank-BLA and Smy-Con says that Turkey is taking a relatively neutral stance, ensuring that it will hold Bul and get a build, but isn't doing anything super insterting (this is also the standard Turkey open). Almost by default it's anti-Austria, but not severely so.


Another relatively easy one is England:
The primary way of evaluating England's opening is with its two fleets; its army movement is secondary and something of a function of its fleet movements.
EDI-NWG, LON-NTH: This is extremely anti-Russia and extremely pro-France. England is leaving the English Channel wide open for France; if France gets in there, England is in serious early trouble potentially. But it gains a lot of power to contest Scandinavia and can force Norway no matter what Russia does. LVP-EDI is even more forcefully pro-France (London is potentially wide open) and even more forcefully anti-Russia (can convoy to NOR via NWG supported by NTH)
EDI-NTH, LON-ENG: This is actually England's default fleet open. It's anti-France (contests Brest and Belgium) but France can defend against England in the channel better than England can defend against France being there. It's pro-Russia in the sense that England can't force Norway (provided Russia opens MOS-STP). Here, the army movement is pretty important in determining intentions. LVP-YOR is the base standard English open and sets up a convoy to Belgium or Norway, but England cannot convoy to Belgium AND try for Norway. It's also limited in how anti-France it can be since the worse England can do to France is pop a fleet into Brest which is bad for France but not a crisis (an army there IS a crisis). LVP-Wales just means England is going hard to the south and after France.
EDI-NWG, LON-ENG: The main thing this does is signal pro-German intentions. By leaving NTH open, Germany can (if he chooses) walk in there in the fall and put a dagger to England's throat. There's a reason this isn't quite as popular as the other two opens.

etc etc

Like I said, the big thing is understanding which moves signal which intentions, and then negotiating from that basis. If you're Turkey and negotiate Russian friendship, and then discover that Austria and Russia DMZ'd Galicia, then your "friendship" probably isn't worth the paper you didn't write your messages on. Ditto anyone negotiating with England or France on the basis of them fighting over the Channel, only to discover they DMZ'd it with no stabs. And so on and so forth.

One good example of this is during the playdip league, I randed Russia, and had England tell me that he wanted to be my friend while DMZ'ing the channel and opening NWG and NTH. Some frantic negotiations later, myself France and Germany negotiated a Sealion open, and before long I found myself in possession of Norway AND Sweden, while England was first to go. Critical to that outcome was recognizing that England is only my ally if he's heading south. If he's heading towards Scandinavia, he's almost certainly intending to befriend France and fight me, not the other way around.
Proud holder of the Superior Tophat of Solving, an item entrusted with the forum's most prominent smartass
User avatar
mhsmith0
Premium Member
 
Posts: 3578
Joined: 11 Dec 2015, 06:55
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1269)
All-game rating: (1439)
Timezone: GMT-7

Re: Openings

Postby nanooktheeskimo » 03 Nov 2018, 01:33

I actually pretty strongly disagree about the English opening. France opening to channel isn’t really that bad for england, as long as Russia doesn’t open to StP. And england opening NWG, NTH, and York I’d argue is neutral to Russia, cause they have to forgo a chance at Belgium to convoy to Norway and be a threat to Russia.

And as england, with rare exception I almost always open to NTH and NWG, with the army depending on my read of the board. I often put it in Edi, then convoy it to Belgium—I don’t want to fight Russia, but if he opens north I want that option. I actually rarely want to fight Russia as england.

So yeah, I pretty strongly disagree that NTH and NWG is a strongly anti-Russian opening. It’s almost as standard as Turkey’s Con/Bul/BLA opening.
Platinum Classicist
(h/t lordelindel)

I am your (co-) Leader.

GM of WitA 7, WitA 8.

Come play face to face!

Need a forum game GM'ed? PM me!

Mod (but I'm normally not talking as one)
User avatar
nanooktheeskimo
Premium Member
 
Posts: 9487
Joined: 19 Jun 2014, 19:52
Location: East TN
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1209)
All-game rating: (1389)
Timezone: GMT-5

Re: Openings

Postby mhsmith0 » 03 Nov 2018, 01:49

IMO, the most neutral English opening is ENG/NTH/YOR.

France in the channel gives him huge influence over Belgium in the short term and NTH and much of the English homeland in the long term. He also has the fall 1901 options to support Germany into NTH, to convoy from Pic into Wales or London, or just to push harder into Belgium. But overall, it cuts down English freedom of action and makes France the stronger power.

If I'm any of R/I/G, and ENG is DMZ'd in spring 1901, I'm going hard on the messages to whip up a solid anti EF alliance, because if you DONT do that you're in real trouble. An EF alliance (and EF is extremely natural if ENG is DMZ'd and both powers are growing, and both powers WILL grow given a DMZ there, barring aggressive actions on the other powers to stop them). In particular if I'm Germany, and either England or France wants an alliance with me, I want them in the channel (or even better, bouncing) and I'd basically make that opening move to be part of my opening negotiation.

If I'm Russia, and I have decent reason to think there's a DMZ in ENG, I'm trying for a Sealion since England is wide open to French aggression and Germany will be happy enough to kill a western power early. I want England and France fighting, or I want France conquering England since France is my most natural ally.

And if I'm Italy, and I have decent reason to think there's a DMZ in ENG, I can live with a Sealion if I want to be friendly wtih France, but I'm really trying to organize an early E/I/G alliance against France so I get some early wins and can then focus in the east from 1903 or so on (if that alliance works, I'm basically promising neutrality and maybe some minor support to Austria).
Proud holder of the Superior Tophat of Solving, an item entrusted with the forum's most prominent smartass
User avatar
mhsmith0
Premium Member
 
Posts: 3578
Joined: 11 Dec 2015, 06:55
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1269)
All-game rating: (1439)
Timezone: GMT-7

Re: Openings

Postby jay65536 » 03 Nov 2018, 21:01

I also have some thoughts on this (most of them boil down to "this is cultural"), but England is one of my weakest countries and also it would hijack the thread topic.

To bring it back to what the OP originally asked about...I noticed that in smith's last post, he used the term "Sealion". The context was Russia "trying for a Sealion". This sort of highlights the fact that it doesn't really matter if you memorize the names of openings.

The reason I say this is because if I'm in a game where Russia says "I want to do a Sealion", my response--mentally for sure but sometimes I might really say it--is, "What do you mean?" The Sealion, as originally invented, is not a Russian opening at all. It refers to the specific idea of France moving to the Channel in S01 and then, in F01, supporting Germany into the North Sea while G uses his two armies to get builds (and France picks up Belgium), leading to two attempted convoys in S02.

Over the years, the name "Sealion" seems to have morphed into the general idea of blitzing England out of the gate. Which I guess is fine if you're part of a culture where you can use that word and everyone will understand you. But if I'm Germany, France says "let's do a Sealion", and I'm thinking no, I want to kill England but I don't like the Sealion Opening, it's very, very easy to get wires crossed. For reasons like that, I'm not a fan of talking about the names of openings.
jay65536
 
Posts: 407
Joined: 10 Sep 2016, 18:13
Class: Ambassador
Standard rating: 1124
All-game rating: 1130
Timezone: GMT-5

Re: Openings

Postby mhsmith0 » 03 Nov 2018, 21:38

WRT sealion, one big thing is that it kind of goes to crap if Russia isn’t there to contest Norway, so I tend to think of it as Russia being an active participant. Typical result I think with Russian participation is that Russia gets Norway and Sweden, Germany and France get to carve up Low Countries and England, and it basically wraps by like 1903. FG alone can take much longer.

But yeah I think it’s also important to be really careful with details (tho operational security is just as important, england can really ruin your day if he sees it coming and can organize the other powers against you)
Proud holder of the Superior Tophat of Solving, an item entrusted with the forum's most prominent smartass
User avatar
mhsmith0
Premium Member
 
Posts: 3578
Joined: 11 Dec 2015, 06:55
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1269)
All-game rating: (1439)
Timezone: GMT-7

Re: Openings

Postby blazebbc » 04 Nov 2018, 22:18

I agree that the Sealion works much better if Russia is able to bounce England in Norway. However, even if he does not and England gets a build, Germany is sill in the North Sea with two builds and France is in the English Channel with two builds. Barring attacks on France and Germany from other powers, England is still toast.

Left out of this discussion as a whole is the role that diplomacy plays in opening strategy. Your goals and general strategy get set through discussions with other nations. Your opening moves are nothing more than the first step in pursuing your overall strategy. Sometimes, you might be making a move that appears to be contrary to your overall objective.

For instance, If I am Turkey and have decided to attack Russia with Austrian help, I might want to order Smy-Bul instead of Smy-Arm on my first turn. If, for instance, I am not convinced that Austria is going to order Bud and if Russia has demanded a bounce in BLA, Smy-Arm may actually be harmful to my goals of hitting Russia. First, there is the obvious: If I have read the Austrian wrong, I have lost my chance for working with the Russian. Second, there is a chance that Greece will be open, especially if Austria performs a Hedgehog opening. I like Greece - plus the second build would give me a significant advantage for a 1902 assault on Russia. Moreover, it will allow me to continue to play nice with Russia, perhaps allowing me to learn his moves on a vital turn. Finally, Austria just might leave himself wide open and I just just change my mind.

I don't disagree with much of what has been said here. I just want to point out that the diplomacy of the opening turn is what really drives alliances. Studied openings are only a way to potentially advance strategies determined through discussion.
Ally Extraordinaire
Intermational Medal of Honor Recipient
blazebbc
Premium Member
 
Posts: 201
Joined: 13 Jul 2012, 07:09
Location: Seattle, WA
Class: Diplomat
Standard rating: (1122)
All-game rating: (1132)
Timezone: GMT-8

Previous

Return to Diplomacy Strategy

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron