How to reduce Mexico's power (NO LONGER NEESSARY!)

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A new power in the north?

Postby Pedros » 12 Jan 2013, 16:29

Mexico doesn't have an easy first year; he might get a second build with Texas, but Spain can prevent that by bouncing him in GoM. But after that he gets steady growth in the north west, and can fight Spain and/or UK for expansion in central America. And Hawaii is waiting in the wings as well. Later on Mexico can be slowed by having home buiilds only, but it's the uncontested growth in years 2-5 (approximately) which are its real strength. His only opposition in North America is UK and USA, who are a long way away (apart from the New Orleans fleet) and are almost certain to concentrate on each other. If UK doesn't go for USA what else can it do?

So why not a new power in the North West, starting possibly in Alaska, Oregon and California? That immedisately changes the balance in the north. It provides alterantives for everybody - west v east, north v south. The one problem is that the new power has no neutral at all to go for at the start, and a new one might need to be created - possibly further north than California, leaving Cal as a neutral.

If eleven powers are felt to be too many, then we could consider removing one in the south, where things are very much more crowded; but I'd prefer to see that left alone for the time being.

Thoughts?
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Re: How to reduce Mexico's power (War in the Americas)

Postby VGhost » 12 Jan 2013, 17:28

It's been a while since I played - I picked up a losing USA in one game, and continued to lose - so I'm not sure what value my comments are, but Pedros asked for input.

It seems to me the problem isn't so much Mexico as the USA and the UK. Neither has a guaranteed build. USA has Texas in S01 (whatever the first year is), but can't even hold that against a Spain-Mexia alliance. UK technically has Nic, but almost certainly gives up Jam to get it. This leaves the USA in the worst position, as Canada's (UK's) only expansion option is South, making them a natural ally of Mexico; USA meanwhile has no natural expansion route. Mexico isn't the problem, it just gets the profits.

Or at least, that's my diagnosis. My solution, though, would be fairly radical, and it would be to remove Canada - just make everything North of the USA impassable, not part of the game. USA still has an awkward position, but now offsets that with corner position.
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Re: How to reduce Mexico's power (War in the Americas)

Postby AardvarkArmy » 12 Jan 2013, 18:41

As one who played Mexico in the last game, I utterly disagree with the premise - other that the very slightest tinkering, any move to "weaken" Mexico will surely kill it.

Mexico actually has a substantial DISADVANTAGE at the beginning of this game - it is the ONLY power for whom it is physically impossible to gain more than 1 build in the first year. As the weakest nation on the map in year 2, it could be VERY easy prey for a dedicated partnership of neighbors.

The ONLY reason Mexico exploded so quickly in Game 2 was because USA NMR'd his first build phase! Rather than having a 6-unit northern neighbor ready to challenge - with superior firepower - for control of the Western USA, there was a limp carcass of a nation gasping for breath as the British took full advantage of the blunder.

There is no other nation on this map that is guarantted to start year 2 with a maximum of 4 units, with every other power likely grabbing 5 or 6. Put another major obstacle in front of Mexico's path and it will be comparable to a 2-center Italy.
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Re: How to reduce Mexico's power (War in the Americas)

Postby Pedros » 12 Jan 2013, 19:14

AA may have a point. I hadn't noticed when I looked back through that US had missed that build (mainly because QoH didn't list them!!).

And in Game 1 there were so many NMRs in the first couple of years (mostly amongst Mexico's neighbours) that I knew already the evidence there was tainted.

However, I don't take the whole of AA's argument. Mexico may not do well in year 1, but thereafter it has steady and uncontested growth in the north west.
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Re: How to reduce Mexico's power (War in the Americas)

Postby Pedros » 13 Jan 2013, 15:54

The other point about Mexico is that although it has USA as a threatening neighbour, compare that to the southern nations. Everybody from Spain southwards is embroiled in a serious cage-fight for survival. Mexico's big advantage is that while everybody else slogs it out (even USA and UK are at loggerheads without a huge amount of trust - and contrary to AA's claim, UK in Canada and USA only have one sure available neutral each in year 1 - Mexico can dislodge the US gain in Texas, as AA did). UK can import a gain from the south into Canada if he chooses, but if so he faces the loss of those outposts very quickly.
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Re: How to reduce Mexico's power (War in the Americas)

Postby Pedros » 13 Jan 2013, 21:29

I'm thinking of running this again later in the year, and this discussion is important as I try to decide what changes if any to make.

My current thinking after this discussion is to agree with AA that no drastic steps should be taken, but I do feel that Mexico's easy gains in the North West should be limited, and to this end I'm currently intending to make the game Home Centre builds only.
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Re: How to reduce Mexico's power (War in the Americas)

Postby stalin813 » 14 Jan 2013, 02:20

I think the thing with Mexico later game and the oceans in general are the stalemate lines. If mexico holds CPO and MPO, its really hard to get up at them and with the central american isthmus hard to move down, Mexico (as was stated in the AAR of game 2) has very easy stalemate lines and defensable DMZs)

What about splitting UK across the map. Give him one eastern Canada SC and on western SC?
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Re: How to reduce Mexico's power (War in the Americas)

Postby Pedros » 14 Jan 2013, 07:12

Hi stalin - welcome back to the discussion. Good point about the Pacific, although there must be chances up the small sea spaces near the coast. But there's also the Caribbean side. I don't think it's a real stalemate line - too many opportunities of outflanking.

Which means the other nations - especially those around the Caribbean - need to get their act together. One of the problems with the two games so far has been early NMRs. And Spain has never persuaded anybody to ally with them - that would surely limit Mexico's growth. I'd love to see a game with reliable and visionary players all around the board! And, I think, definitely home builds.

An England centre in the west would certainly make a huge difference, although the locals would probably claim it isn't remotely historical! Alaska or Oregon? On the other hand, if England manages to survive up there it should be sending its northern fleet westwards from Greenland to pick up Alaska (Spring 03) before Mexico gets there (much later.) Even if they're struggling in the East that has to be worth it!
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Re: A new power in the north?

Postby BlueBorjigin » 15 Jan 2013, 20:40

Pedros wrote:So why not a new power in the North West, starting possibly in Alaska, Oregon and California? That immediately changes the balance in the north. It provides alternatives for everybody - west v east, north v south. The one problem is that the new power has no neutral at all to go for at the start, and a new one might need to be created - possibly further north than California, leaving Cal as a neutral.

Though it would be an anachronism considering that the game year starts in 1901, what about a Russia in Alaska, somewhere around California, and Hawaii? This is definitely far-fetched historically and some revisionism, but in the early-mid 1800s and before Russia had claims to all of those (although claims to California-area were pretty nominal). You could also add a Kamchatka to the west of Alaska to give Russia more of a base. It would be quite isolated, giving it both defensive capabilities but preventing it from growing too rapidly. This would require British an American attention given to the northwest, and would create a historically accurate (though anachronistic) Russo-Anglo-American-Spanish tension. It changes the dynamic in the northern half of the map completely, and addresses, in one way or another, most of the comments made on page 2 of this thread.

I must say, this is better than removing Canada.
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Re: How to reduce Mexico's power (War in the Americas)

Postby Pedros » 15 Jan 2013, 20:56

I'm not removing Canada. In fact I've had another totally wrong idea (historically speaking). Exactly as I said before - home builds only; but in addition Alaska is a home SC for England, although they have to reach it an capture it first.

That then gives them an incentive to go there, gives Mexico a new challenge, without a major change in the structure of the game. I'm sufficiently impressed by AA's arguments to want to try it with the present powers, but something needs to trim Mexico's sails slightly (especially in the years around 1903-4), and more play for UK in Canada must surely be good for game balance.
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