ALB & GSB

Early Encounters

Introduction

Needless to say, this is my overall view, but there maybe thousands, if not millions, of players throughout the world who may differ from me.

I am listing the countries, their possible friends or foes and the opening moves often used. In addition to those openings often used, Diplomacy openings, show those I have seen used. One main point is the article about communication, which I feel is more important than this particular article.

One aspect that a lot of people miss is, opening part of the game to middle to end section. I cannot say where openings stop and middle starts as I think the old saying sums it up, how long is the rope.

This being written is to give you a clue, but experience counts, so register for a game.

As you may see, I have put pictures of the countries, however a couple of things. Austria-Hungary has two pictures, one for each country and England's picture is as what the name should be in the game, Great Britain.

If instead of looking at each countries openings as you want to see a particular country, press on the country and you will jump to it:

Austria-Hungary ~ England ~ France ~ Germany ~ Italy ~ Russia ~ Turkey


Austria-Hungary

Overview:

AustriaHungaryMany players classed them as the most difficult country to play. Having said that, a lot of players enjoy being Austria-Hungary, mainly due to its possibilities. (In case you are not aware, many simply call it Austria rather than the full title). Being one of them in the centre of the map, they do have an ability to alter the game, however it is often they that are the first out.

I once read that someone waits for others, bar Germany, to write to them rather than vice versa. Personally I do not have the confidence to do that. Who knows, one day I might!

As said before, they are a difficult country, but equally good experience can be gained and enjoyment if it works.

Friends or Foes:

England have very little to do with Austria-Hungary's early advantage and may be classed as a foe, but equally remember this is about the openings, not the whole game.

France is more or less the same as England, but Italy is in between them and further discussions can happen.

More often than not, Germany is their main ally. Austria-Hungary can worry about the Eastern Square and Germany about the Western Corner. If they agree, Austria-Hungary does not have to worry about England and France bar one, which will be explained later.

Due to Italy's army in Venice (Ven) and the fleet in Trieste (Tri), a big problem arises. The way around the problem is discussions. Hopefully conversations might be better for Italy, than other countries suggestions to them. One thing for sure, is that Italy is better placed for fleets and Austria-Hungary for armies.

Russia can also be a big problem, but also a good ally. One of the usual tactics is Galicia (Gal). Austria-Hungary states that if they go to Gal, Germany is likely to bounce them in Sweden (Swe) in autumn. Needless to say, Austria-Hungary and Germany must be good friends and Germany would agree. Having said that, Austria-Hungary could say it without discussing it with Germany.

Turkey is probably the more difficult one. They, like Italy, are best positioned to have fleets and Austria-Hungary have the armies, but where can they both go? They can move against Russia and Austria-Hungary against Italy or perhaps for a laugh, vice versa.

Usual Opening Moves:

The Balkan Gambit is used to give various options. Regardless of the moves, Italy and Russia can be saying "goodbye"!


England

Overview:

Great BritainLike the other Wicked Witch, Turkey, players think it is easy to play them, but I am not sure. it is true that they can be very defensive and difficult to beat, but by being so, attacking can also be difficult.

Friends or Foes:

You can switch the countries around in the comments about Austria-Hungary's view on England and the same comments exist. One bigger problem is Austria-Hungary's possible view on Germany being their ally.

Being allied with France poses many problems for the pair. The English Channel (ENG) is very tricky and by allying with them, discussions will continue for a long period of time. Other comments about the seas are discussed later.

Germany can be happy with an alliance, as the threat to them is less than from France. The alternative, however can equally be said, which will be mentioned later. If to France, the ENG is important, the North Sea (NTH) is to England.

A good ally is Italy. They are miles apart and the pair can discuss certain things.

Russia can equally be a good ally. Certain discussions about Scandinavia can assist and I have heard that offering them Norway (Nwy) for no fleets in St Petersburg north coast (StP nc) keeps the northern seas. One thing I am aware of is too many players aim to gain StP. The result being that they are stuck in a cul-de-sac and their defensive moves, at home, are lost.

The country furthest away is Turkey, however by being so, they can be trusted. More often than not, the first time they face them, is when the game is more or less finished.

Usual Opening Moves:

The Northern moves guarantee Nwy, the Southern is classed as defensive and the other is obvious.


France

Overview:

FranceMany people look at France and feel they are a good country to play, with every possibility of winning. Whether that is right or wrong, they have a good number of options.

Friends or Foes:

As said before, the opening moves have little to do with Austria-Hungary and vice versa, but one country might counteract it, Italy!

Regarding England, the fun happens! The pair can do well, but again it is the ENG and Mid-Atlantic Ocean (MAO). I have always felt the MAO is more important and if an enemy is in there, it is see yer later. There are three ways around the ENG. Call it a De-Militarising Zone (DMZ) or allow them to have Brest (Bre) with their fleet, but not an army or allow them in, then pray.

Germany can be either a good ally or the opposite. By being a good ally, England will have a nightmare and when done, it can continue throughout the game. Germany goes east and France the same way, but through the Med. Burgundy (Bur) is the key and it can be that province that can decide whether they can be friends or enemies.

As said before, Italy is more bothered with their section, but Piedmont (Pie) is a province that needs sorting out. To me, Pie is worth nothing to France, but equally they would prefer Italy not to go there. One thing for sure is that if Italy moves to it, France will know in advance rather than too late.

Russia can be a good ally. Events in Scandinavia together with Germany and England might help out.

As far as openings, Turkey has no value, however the Med will be a problem later. All said and done, no harm writing to them.

Usual Opening Moves:

Plenty to chose from and often does not try to move to ENG. Moving to Bur is either a defensive move against Germany. Doing the same and moving to Picardy (Pic) is interesting to see how Germany feels about it.


Germany

Overview:

GermanyLike Austria-Hungary this is a central country, but unlike their possible ally, they are not as vulnerable as the other. Their position can allow them to cause fun in the Eastern Square even though they are more interested in their own section.

Friends or Foes:

As said earlier, there main ally is Austria-Hungary. The comments said about Gal do not mean they have to go to Denmark (Den). They rarely have to be worried about Austria-Hungary moving north, therefore their main concern is, more or less, the Western Corner.

England is difficult to beside. They have the ability to build fleets, which can bear down on them. The alternative is allying with them against France, but certain criteria's need to be met.

For the worry of English fleets, the alliance with France can elevate the problem. Bur is France's fear, however that can be overcome. As said earlier, I have seen the pair ally until the end.

Italy's aggressive move towards Austria-Hungary should worry them. If the army in Munich (Mun) has moved west or north and A(Ven) - Tyr the concern is the following move to Mun. I think Italy should be treated carefully for a reason I will say in their chapter. If Italy is working with Austria-Hungary or does not move to Tyr, Mun is safe.

There are various alternatives with Russia. In the opening moves, neither country is likely to move towards the other, however the Swe bounce has been discussed. Dependant on how Russia is doing with Austria-Hungary, a suggestion is Russia and Germany going towards England. That can deal with France.

Turkey is miles away and given the alliance with Austria-Hungary and maybe Russia or Italy or both, it could be classed as a foe.

Usual Opening Moves:

As you can see, the various Blitzkrieg variants should not up-set France. Anschluss is defensive against France and Italy, but the variation could be classed as either an attack on a different an aggressive defence. The last mention is an attack on them.


Italy

Overview:

ItalyAttacking Italy can be classed as being very difficult. Many players are not bothered about playing them, but I cannot see why. Other than Austria-Hungary, most countries think they are puppets in their plans. Again I cannot see why.

The first time I played them, it was embarrassing. I was out very fast and what was worse, it was a Scot playing Austria-Hungary that finished me off. Bloody Glaswegian! The second time, I had fun and was in a three-way draw, with England and Russia. Needless to say, I learnt from the other games and in a game called, Urusai, I was able to get 20 SCs and the last map can be seen by clicking here.

Friends or Foes:

Attack Austria-Hungary, ally with them or just wait? That question about waiting can be said by all other countries, but possible more relevant with the pair. The pair can form a good alliance that can go until the end or, as said later, can be easy pickings.

I have already mentioned the benefit of being in an alliance with England, but obviously the pair has Germany as a target.

France is more bothered with the other two in the Western Corner and an agreement about DMZ can work well. The two or three should be Pie, Gulf of Lyon (GoL) and perhaps Tyrrhenian Sea (TYS). An alternative, about attacking them, will be shown next.

With the exemption of comments said earlier, there is one part I have witnessed. Germany said that he would have a go at either Austria-Hungary or Italy, if they fight. My attitude was probably classed as not being very friendly. The opposite is a three-way alliance between A-H/G/I. In this case, Italy goes west, Austria-Hungary east and Germany west and north.

Russia is always open to conversations and the pair attacking Austria-Hungary is a favourite stance. It is difficult thinking of any reason why they should not be allies other than the A-H/G/I alliance or the Juggernaut.

Possible two fleets against each other or a divide of Austria-Hungary and the Balkans between Turkey and Italy, needs some thought. Regardless of whether they are allied with Austria-Hungary or Russia or maybe the pair, Turkey can be a good target. Dividing Austria-Hungary and the Balkans can allow Italy moving towards Germany and France.

Usual Opening Moves:

The Lepanto is the more popular move and is classed as a waiting game. The Key version can be used to move to Serbia (Ser) in autumn or maybe just staying. Tyrolian looks pretty close to an attack on Austria-Hungary.


Russia

Overview:

RussiaMany players like to play them. Their size worries some, but that is wrong if they continue to negotiate with all countries. As said before, some countries have possible foes and obvious friends. As you will gather all countries should write to the others, but Russia needs contact with all players!

Friends or Foes:

I have enjoyed being a Russian and forming an alliance with Austria-Hungary that continue until the end of the game. As said before, Gal is the key.

England sometimes goes the wrong direction, i.e. StP, but Scandinavia is the area to discuss as well as other countries near the pair.

The distance between France and Russia allows the pair to be good allies. Dependant on what France is thinking about may allow possibilities.

The comment about Gal brings Germany into action, but A-H/G/R can be allies. Germany might be interested in Nwy going to Russia with assistants about getting into England. It is unlikely that Germany will move armies towards Warsaw (War).

A good ally is Italy and Russia punishing Austria-Hungary. The down side is whether Italy and Austria-Hungary are working together, but that can be overcome.

Most people have heard of the Juggernaut. If they have heard of it, ask if they have seen it as I have only seen a handful. The reason being that many players have heard of it and quickly change their alliances to break it up. The Juggernaut usually does better for Russia than Turkey, which is sometimes why Turkey has broken it. The Black Sea (BLA) is an important sea, together with another one mentioned later.

Usual Opening Moves:

It might seem to be loads of times, however Southern Defence is used far more times than the others. If you are wondering about the fleet in (StP)sc, I think you will guess where it goes. In twenty years, I have only seen it going to Finland (Fin) twice and standing twice. The Squid is pro A-H/G/R alliance or perhaps A-H/R!


Turkey

Overview:

TurkeyAgain very defensive and perhaps better than England, but not sure about Italy. Various options allow Turkey to be a good country to play.

Friends or Foes:

To be a friend of Austria-Hungary, two other countries need to be dealt with. The best time I have seen these two allying was in a Gunboat game. If you are unsure of Gunboat, it is a secretive game, i.e. no communication between players. Seeing that being done, they created two walls, one went northeast and the other west. I think it was a lot of trust from Austria-Hungary. Being foes is obvious, straight into them! By clicking Gunboat ESP, you can read comments about that variant.

England as said earlier is a good ally for communication and part of that is to find out what others are doing.

I cannot see any other reason for France other than if Italy is after you, but that is not in the opening stage.

Germany is probably an ally of Austria-Hungary therefore a tricky one. No harm in writing to them to find others things out.

The Med can be a battle against Italy, but one thing is a possibility. They are best placed to control the western Med and Turkey push armies into the two in the north. The Balkans will have to be shared and probably Greece (Gre).

With the exemption of the Juggernaut when Russia is a friend, a move to Armenia (Arm) is a problem for them. The BLA is the critical area. It can be a DMZ or a bounce. The other is tricking them and then moving to it unopposed.

Usual Opening Moves:

The first is used more than the others, but I feel the second is good. Russian Attack can be an attack shown to all others than Russia, who will know it or perhaps a simple attack.


Conclusion

When playing in a game and ignoring draws, you might think you have 1 in 7 changes of winning. The suggestion above might be classed as being crap compared to what did happen. Is that my fault for writing this? I think not!

The point for the paragraph is one of two things. Your opponents might like the idea, but prefers another one. If that is the case, you have gained experience. The second thing is simplistic, having conservations with others, you should enjoy playing the game and the next one could be good for you.

Have fun!


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