Strategy for England

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Strategy for England

Postby KaiserWilhelmIII » 07 Jul 2012, 22:18

I'm doing my first game as England, so I want to know if there are any good plans out there?
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Re: Strategy for England

Postby letram13 » 07 Jul 2012, 22:22

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Re: Strategy for England

Postby cs » 07 Jul 2012, 22:35

1. Decide what to do about France. A bounce in the English Channel is safer for England, but France usually prefers a DMZ to stake a quicker claim on Spain/Portugal. The catch to bouncing is that you can then only send one fleet out (usually to North Sea), and then you (a) lose the ability to make a play on Belgium or Holland) and (b) you are at the mercy of Russia--should Russia choose to order Mos-StP, Russia can prevent you from taking Norway. It's pretty unusual for Russia to do that, but not impossible.

2. If you agree to DMZ the English Channel, in the Spring send fleets to North Sea and Nwg Sea, and your army to Edinburgh. That's a no-brainer.

3. In the Fall, you can decide whether you want to convoy an army into Nwy and use your Nth Sea fleet on Belgium/Holland or convoy into Belgium/Holland and send Nwg Sea-Nwy. There's no point in landing an army in Belgium or Holland, however, unless you have either German or French support. It will almost certainly fail, and you will have tied up two units to bounce someone, when you could have done so with just your fleet. (Of course, if Russia orders Mos-StP, then you will need both fleets to take Nwy.)

In general, don't be greedy. One supply center in 1901 is usually all you will get with England. I usually end up with a DMZ in the English Channel (if the French player seems reasonable), and focus on grabbing Norway. I usually end up using the Nth Sea fleet to support either Germany or France in the battle over Belgium/Holland, as it is more important to me to make sure I have at least one of them on my side (and even better if I can get them fighting each other). I can say almost categorically (almost--nothing is ever 100% in Diplomacy) that England cannot survive unless she has either France or Germany as an ally. The good news is that if one of those two is committed to you, you have a very free hand to expand elsewhere, given the lack of other enemies you will face. France is slightly better than Germany, unless Italy and France are at war, in which case Germany usually makes a much better ally.
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Re: Strategy for England

Postby amano » 07 Jul 2012, 22:54

Funny, I was about to disagree with at least half of what the above poster wrote, then I noticed his rank....

Anyway, you need to write to F/G/R. Probably quite a lot. The least you are looking for is a peace treaty with russia and an alliance (or as close as you can get) with either France or Germany. I prefer a German ally but a lot of people will tell you France is better. I think France is better positioned to both stab you and to go for a solo, hence favouring Germany.

If F/G ally against you it will probably be all over for you pretty quickly.

You will probably only get one 1901 build, true, but I always negotiate strongly for a second, usually Belgium. I like to make my ally aware that I WILL be a presence on the mainland.
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Re: Strategy for England

Postby MichaelG » 08 Jul 2012, 00:02

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. I was in a game, as Germany, where England eventually won after bouncing me out of both Holland and Belgium in 1901 and conceding Norway to Russia. England got no builds in 1901, but eventually stabbed Russia and then France for the solo. You want to get a build 1901, and you want to try to get more than one if you can without being too greedy, but there are times when no builds is OK.

I'm in another ongoing game, as France, where I allied with Germany against England. However, England found allies in Italy and Russia. We're in the fall 1906 retreat phase, and nobody has been eliminated yet. So a Franco-German alliance is not necessarily a rapid death sentence for England.
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Re: Strategy for England

Postby cs » 08 Jul 2012, 00:04

amano wrote:Funny, I was about to disagree with at least half of what the above poster wrote, then I noticed his rank....

Anyway, you need to write to F/G/R. Probably quite a lot. The least you are looking for is a peace treaty with russia and an alliance (or as close as you can get) with either France or Germany. I prefer a German ally but a lot of people will tell you France is better. I think France is better positioned to both stab you and to go for a solo, hence favouring Germany.

If F/G ally against you it will probably be all over for you pretty quickly.

You will probably only get one 1901 build, true, but I always negotiate strongly for a second, usually Belgium. I like to make my ally aware that I WILL be a presence on the mainland.


What would you disagree with? It sounds like we are in agreement on the fundamental point, which is that you have to have either France or Germany on your side (or both). In terms of the specific disagreements ...

amano wrote:I prefer a German ally but a lot of people will tell you France is better. I think France is better positioned to both stab you and to go for a solo, hence favouring Germany.


This is a close call, I agree. You're right that France is probably better positioned to stab you in the early going. But I don't think there's much difference after that. A stab in the later phases of the game is more likely to occur in acquired SCs than home territories, and there's really no way to know how how those will shake out until later in the game. However, England probably is in a better position to stab Germany (if you want to take that into consideration) than France, as Germany will be caught between England and some combination of other powers as the game unfolds, creating a good opportunity for a stab. That can backfire, too. If Germany is worried about a stab, he may be more paranoid, inhibiting cooperation.

At the end of the day, I would say it really depends on the players. The odds are very good that you will just feel more comfortable with one or the other, and that will trump any considerations about the tactical advantages of one over the other.

amano wrote:You will probably only get one 1901 build, true, but I always negotiate strongly for a second, usually Belgium. I like to make my ally aware that I WILL be a presence on the mainland.


Well, yes, get a second if you can do so. And I do usually try to argue that of the six available SCs to France, Germany, and England (Nwy, Den, Bel, Hol, Spa, and Port), each power should get two. That said, I will sacrifice a SC any time to get a reliable ally. Given the acquisition of Bel or Hol probably is not guaranteed under any circumstances, I would rather build goodwill than come across and too concerned about myself. That is a general strategy, not just specific to England. It has worked well for me, but other people play different styles with equal or greater success. So do what works for you.
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Re: Strategy for England

Postby Sanguinem » 08 Jul 2012, 04:23

Regarding Belgium, I agree with Cs. I always try to get it for myself, but if it means the difference between having and ally or not having an ally, give it up and make a friend. If I'm allied with Germany, I would rather have an army there (to help the alliance force Burgundy in s 02). If I'm allied with France, I'm usually content to let them have it, as my army would just get in the way of theirs.

That being said, don't give up Belgium without some sort of concession, unless you're forced to support yourself into Nwy because of Russian shenanigans.
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Re: Strategy for England

Postby sock » 08 Jul 2012, 04:33

Let me build upon some of comments already offered.

First, I really hate playing England. It's opening options are limited, it's really tough to solo, and as mentioned already, you need to make friends with either France or Germany. And that can be a real problem.

Why?

Both Germany and France are very wary of England, because it can lurk in the background, just waiting to strike in the mid-game. And the longer England hangs around, the stronger is gets. That's why French/German alliances can initially seem so appealing, since they want to kill England before it gets going.

Then there is Russia. The Norway/STP flashpoint is very tricky, especially if Russia and Turkey form a juggernaut. Scandinavia can end up being a bit of a roach motel for England, as it commits its forces in a crowded place, and exposes its southern flank to France. You want to make peace with Russia at least until either France or Germany has been eliminated. If Russia is your target, Germany can prove to be a better ally than France, but it will want a piece of the action--usually Sweden.

Three other thoughts...

1) Don't forget to build armies. Without armies, you will always be a marginal power in the game.

2) If you are facing off with good players, it can be exceeding difficult to solo with England. It's very easy to block you at STP and seal off the Mediterrean, so if you can't get two of following three centers (Munich, Warsaw and Moscow), you might as well settle for a draw.

3) Turkey is always your friend...even if there is a Jug, because Jugs are never permanent, and Turkey can be convinced to turn on Russia. Build a nice comfortable relationship with Turkey (who faces many of the same opening challenges you do), and it can work out nicely in the long run.
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Re: Strategy for England

Postby cs » 08 Jul 2012, 15:57

There is one huge point in favor of England, almost unfairly so. England cannot be defeated by any combination of Turkey, Austria and Italy, and Russia, too, provided England captures StP. Without StP, none of those powers can build fleets outside the Med, and England can bottle up all their existing fleets by simply holding Portugal, MAO, and, say, Irish Sea (the Channel or North Atlantic works equally well). For example, an Italian-Turkish alliance can overrun the entire board, but, if England keeps only 4 SCs (the original three plus Portugal), England gets a share of the draw. A solid French-English or German-English alliance is almost impossible to defeat because of the ability to draw an effective stalemate line.

England may be tough in terms of a solo (I get very few solos, so I'm not much of an authority on that), but you should have a remarkably high chance of getting in on a draw.
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Re: Strategy for England

Postby KaiserWilhelmIII » 09 Jul 2012, 21:06

Thanks guys, I will take all your strategies to heart and reply and tell you how I did. :D
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