"Eastern Triple"

Strategy discussions for the 1900 variant.
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"Eastern Triple"

Postby luckythirteen » 20 Jul 2013, 20:24

In a recent game of 1900 I was playing Turkey and suggested an "Eastern Triple" alliance between A/R/T to combat an E/G alliance. In my game the E/G broke up and the A/R/T shortly thereafter. Austria and Russia never seemed thrilled with the idea in the first place, making me question whether the "Eastern Triple" could even work at all. I still like the idea but think it might need a little tweaking.

The "Western Juggernaut"

After some analysis of about 50 completed "normal" 1900 games on this site ("normal" meaning no gunboat,fow, AoE, etc), I have concluded the E/G alliance is one of the most powerful alliances in the 1900 variant. Germany has won or drawn in over 40% of the completed games. In particular Germany has done well when allied with England against France, frequently eliminating France by 1904. Germany and England can use the French SCs for explosive growth. This growth potential combined with the secure corner of the map for England reminded me a lot of the R/T "Juggernaut" in classic Diplomacy games causing me to label the 1900 E/G as a "Western Juggernaut."

The "Eastern Triple"

In classic Diplomacy, a common response to stop (or at least slow) an R/T "Juggernaut" is a "Western Triple" alliance between E/F/G. France heads south against Italy, England north against Russia in Scandinavia, and Germany supports the other two and moves east towards Austria. It isn't the most efficient option for any of them, but it keeps the western powers growing at a similar rate as the R/T so that the Juggernaut does not sweep the board while everyone else is fighting each other.

My theory is that a similar response from the "Eastern" powers might work in the 1900 variant, allowing players to create an "Eastern Triple" as an early game effort to stop an E/G "Western Juggernaut." This is how it might work:

Austria: The Archduke is the key to making the triple work. Austria can either join in a combined attack with Russia against Germany or can focus on Italy while Russia focuses on Scandinavia/Germany. Austria's SCs will mainly come from Central Europe and Northern Italy.

Russia: In order for the triple to work, The Tsar *must* open to the North. This either looks like a standard Northern opening like in classic Diplomacy, or works with Austria against Germany. Russia's SCs will mainly come from Scandinavia and possibly England or northern Germany.

Turkey: The Sultan must move south and will primarily be a naval power. His SCs will primarily come from the Mediterranean and North Africa. He also has the possibility to indirectly influence things in the Western theater, particularly if Russia ends up working against England.

Opening Strategy:

Ultimately I think Germany is the larger threat, so to me this would be the ideal opening:

Spring 1901:

Austria:

A Vienna - Bohemia
A Trieste - Tyrolia
A Budapest - Serbia

Russia:

A Warsaw - Silesia
A Moscow - Livonia
F St. Petersburg (sc) - Gulf of Botnia
F Sevastopol - Rumania

Turkey:
A Constantinople - Macedonia
A Damascus - Palestine
F Ankara - Constantinople

The Rumania Problem

There is a lot of potential for bickering over Rumania. To me, it feels a lot like Belgium in classic Diplomacy's "Western Triple" in that control of that SC can be switched around based on the need of the alliance. In my opinion, allowing Russia to take this SC in 1901 makes the most sense so that he can build against both Germany and England (remember, this is an anti-E/G strategy). However, I think that going into the alliance there should be agreement to "share" this SC.

Mid and Late Game Options

By nature, Triples tend to be short term alliances, particularly when formed in the early game like this one. While it is possible for the alliance to last until the mid or even end game phase of the game, more frequently two players in the triple will work well together and turn on the third member.

In this particular alliance, Russia probably has the upper hand because Austria is in the middle and Turkish growth will be slow. Also, Turkey will have a lot of fleets and have a difficult time breaking into the Russian mainland (or Austrian mainland for that matter). However, Russia will be fighting both England and Germany in the North and West, so he will be out of position if he moves south.

I think everyone in the Triple needs to be aware of the purpose of the alliance (to ensure E/G does not gain the upper hand in the early game) and recognize the mid game risks before agreeing to the strategy. In my opinion the "Eastern Triple" has no greater risk than other triples, but it should still be discussed.

Would You Try It?

Ultimately my attempt for the triple was not successful. This was partially due to the E/G breaking up (or not being there in the first place) and partially because Austria didn't love the idea of a triple in the first place. However, I think the idea has potential. Would you consider it if you were A/R/ or T and were facing a potential E/G?
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Re: "Eastern Triple"

Postby sock » 20 Jul 2013, 21:16

gsmx, jayahr, and I executed a pretty successful Eastern Triple in our PDCC Tournament last year. We actually seized upon the idea, because the three of us felt pretty aligned personally, liked each other's company, and really did want to execute a stab, at least early on.

I think Austria (which I was) is really the most vulnerable of the three powers, because unless Austria knocks out either Russia or Turkey early, it will be stuck in a pretty difficult vise, either now or in the future. Austria's only hope is to sprinkle enough seeds of doubt in either Russia or Turkey that a stab of it would lead to the other power securing a solo. There was a ring of truth in that, because once Turkey and Russia stabbed me, the way was clear for Russia to solo, as I predicted.

I may have pulled this strategy off with lesser players...but gsmx and jayahr are not lesser players.
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Re: "Eastern Triple"

Postby jayahr » 20 Jul 2013, 22:03

:oops:

You're no slouch yourself, sock. I remember that game and how much fun it was. I think it was the only time I ever participated in an Eastern Triple that lasted more than one turn! But of course every alliance must come to an end (or at least it should, if people are playing the game as it was intended), so the only question is when and how - and naturally Austria is at a disadvantage simply because it's between the other two and does not have a safe corner.

I'm wondering whether Austria has any hope of winning without having eliminated either Russia or Turkey. It seems to me that without the extra SCs and strategic position that accrues, Austria is vulnerable throughout the game - and of course the wolf pack always takes down the weakest of the herd. So an Eastern Triple simply perpetuates that vulnerability, leading to eventual elimination.

Has anybody won as Austria in an Eastern Triple, or in any game where they have not taken the home SCs of either Russia or Turkey? If not, then I suggest that an Eastern Triple is a bad long-term strategy for Austria, although it might be useful as a short-term ruse.
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Re: "Eastern Triple"

Postby Radical Pumpkin » 21 Jul 2013, 04:09

Are we all talking 1900 here? PDCC isn't, is it? Either way, I have something to say. :)

Classic Dip: I've tried to get Eastern Triples going a few times, but usually other players aren't too interested. (I had one going in a current game, but I won't say too much about that as the game is ongoing.) My thinking has always been that Austria is in an inherently more vulnerable position but that negotiations can alleviate a lot of that risk. If all of the Eastern Triple's units are going to be put to good use, then Turkey should be very heavy in fleets, and Russia should be building a lot in the north (again, often with fleets). Those builds make Austria's position significantly safer. I do see potential for Austria to get stuck, though, since the natural order of centers is Serbia, Venice, Munich... and then there aren't any more easy ones. You're getting into centers that are pretty vulnerable by sea (e.g., Rome) and that risk boxing in an ally (e.g., Berlin).

1900: If the Eastern Triple is a response to an E/G alliance, then I don't see why Turkey should be going through the Med. If there's an E/G, France is in trouble. Get France to support Turkey into MAO! Perfect time to use the Cape.
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Re: "Eastern Triple"

Postby luckythirteen » 21 Jul 2013, 04:52

Radical Pumpkin wrote:1900: If the Eastern Triple is a response to an E/G alliance, then I don't see why Turkey should be going through the Med. If there's an E/G, France is in trouble. Get France to support Turkey into MAO! Perfect time to use the Cape.


I don't think the Eastern Triple is a good idea for Austria in classic Diplomacy. There just aren't enough SCs in the East to split three ways, Austria and Russia cannot easily coordinate against Germany due to the configuration of the board and units, and Austria is stuck in the middle. My experience is that in classic Diplomacy the Eastern Triple tends to end up an R/T Juggernaut.

1900 seems different. There are more SCs thanks to the addition of North Africa, Austria and Russia can coordinate more effectively against Germany. Turkey will have to build a *lot* of fleets to take North Africa and will not be able to easily turn on Austria or Russia, so my theory is that Russia can effectively choose between either Austria or Turkey as a long term partner. The map layout also makes it easier for A/R to take on Turkey than in classic Diplomacy. All of these make it much more attractive for Austria to participate in the Eastern Triple in 1900 than in Classic Diplomacy.

In this particular game of 1900, my original plan *was* to have France support me (as Turkey) through the Suez Canal, but that was a lot more difficult than I expected. If E/G are able to convince Italy to join them, France just won't have the builds to keep England out of MAO. If England controls MAO *and* EGY, it is really difficult for Turkey to get through Suez. If Italy does not join with E/G (probably making it an I/F vs. E/G) that could probably work well. I think I saw a few games that seemed to play out that way and featured Turkish control of London when all the dust settled. 8-)
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