Key Lepanto - why should Italy stay true to his word?

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Key Lepanto - why should Italy stay true to his word?

Postby dubfin » 25 Nov 2016, 10:30

The Key Lepanto has always been an opening that fascinated me, mainly due to the huge amount of trust it requires.

I am referring to the Key Lepanto as it is described by Tony Swinnerton (http://www.diplomacy-archive.com/resour ... epanto.htm). Possibly this is a little outdated, please correct me in this case.

The general idea is clear:

1. surprise everyone
2. put an overweight into the Balkans
3. clear up the east before turning west.

Already the first point is a difficult one IMHO. Italy outright invading Triest is possible but I have found the Tyrol opening to be more common against Austria. If at the same time Austria is forsaking Serbia the alarms in my head being any other player on the board would start - loudly.
The overweight is something you certainly get as Italy in AI usually has at least one army he doesn't need which is good use in this case.
The third point is my main problem. Even if everything works as intended Italy ends up with some supply centers far from his home, especially if he keeps Serbia which is terribly easy for Austria just to take over without risking much - and Italy will have to face France at some point which puts Austria in an awesome stabbing position.

Instead of facing towards this scenario, Italy could just move Tri-Bud or Tri-Vie in Fall and get his second army into Trieste. If he takes Tunis as well he is off for a 3build 1901 with Austria basically dead (optimum: Austria holds Vie, Rum, Gre with units in Gre, Rum, Ukr). Serbia is empty, Turkey has four centers. Russia will be kneeling before Italy and Italy gains much more influence in the Balkans than usual.

To put it in a nutshell: Why should Italy forsake this extremely powerful Balkan position with a good long term alliance perspective (Russia) for a junior position in an alliance with constant fear of a stab?
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Re: Key Lepanto - why should Italy stay true to his word?

Postby PatCleburne » 25 Nov 2016, 12:53

Because it's the best (maybe only) way to deal with a clever Turkey.

An observant Turkey should rarely if ever fall for a standard Lepanto: it's too easy to broker peace with Russia and at least bounce Italian fleets out of the Aegean and the Eastern Med, if not actually take them. And an Italian/Turkey alliance is rarely sustainable in the long term; should the two successfully defeat Austria, it's almost inevitable that Turkey will agree to split Italy with France.

So if Austria and Italy both realize that a juggernaut is likely, and that Turkey is not likely to be vulnerable, then it's time to get a little tricky and try a Lepanto variant.
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Re: Key Lepanto - why should Italy stay true to his word?

Postby dubfin » 25 Nov 2016, 15:07

If a Juggernaut emerges I'll expect some moves like

War - Gal
Mos - Ukr
Sev - Rum

Con - Bul
Ank - Con
Smy - hold

Vie - Gal
Bud - Rum
Tri - Alb

Ven - Tri
Rom - Ven
Nap - ION

--
Gal bounces, Rum bounces
--

War - Gal
Ukr - Rum
Sev s Ukr - Rum

Bul - Gre (or Ser if you'r really unlucky)
Con - AEG
Smy - Con

Vie - Gal
Bud s Vie - Gal (Rum impregnable)
Alb - Gre

Tri - Ser
Ven - whatever
ION - AEG (bouncing Turkey) / ION - Tun (taking the build)

--
no builds for Austria, 1-2 builds for Italy / 1 build for Turkey, 1-2 builds for Russia
--

With defined alliances AI vs RT a Galician Balkan Gambit is by far stronger. The Key Lepanto is based on distrust between Russia and Turkey - and thus certainly no strategy to prevent a Juggernaut.

---

If you take Russia out of the equation and want to play AI against a clever Turkey you might play a Blue Water Lepanto - but especially in that case I would try not to piss off Russia which I would clearly do by heading for Rumania, Galicia and possibly even Ukraine.
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Re: Key Lepanto - why should Italy stay true to his word?

Postby Zosimus » 25 Nov 2016, 15:33

I think you are overlooking a major facet of human nature. If someone does something for you, you feel the desire to pay him back at some point. Especially if he handles it well.

Personally, I've never had the fortune of playing the Key Lepanto. However, if Austria were willing to give me a center to start, I would have very positive feelings toward him.

If the goal is to destroy Turkey right from the go without letting Russia have any of the goodies, I don't think the Key Lepanto is the way to do it. Here's the best scenario I've seen so far.

AI talk and hit it off. Austria agrees that Italy can have Trieste to cement the bond between them. Naturally, Italy agrees. Austria talks to Turkey and proposes that the two of them take on Russia. Austria encourages Turkey to try to take the Black Sea by lying to Russia about it. Austria tells Russia that he's interested in killing Turkey to start, but suggests that AR start by bouncing in Galicia for each one's safety. Austria also tips Russia off that Turkey means to take the Black Sea by stealth. Meanwhile, Italy tells R and T that he is going west. He also tells France that it's all a ploy and that he's really going to invade Austria (mum's the word).

If things go well, RT bounce in the Black Sea. If they've both agreed to a DMZ and then both tried for the Black Sea, all trust between them is shot to hell. Austria is headed for Greece and has Serbia in hand. He can easily tell both R and T that he's been stabbed (and they'll both readily believe it). However, in the fall, Italy plays from the Ionian Sea to the Aegean(!) leaving Tunis unoccupied. Italy still gets a build from Trieste so he can put a fleet into Naples (to get Tunis in 1902). Austria gets Serbia and Greece, but loses Trieste for a build. We also assume that Russia takes Rumania either with the fleet or with the army while Turkey gets the Black Sea (AR bouncing in Galicia).

So now Turkey is well good and fucked because with Serbia, Greece, and the Aegean all bearing down on Bulgaria, it's pretty tough to see how he's going to hold the center. Plus, Turkey has pretty much burned his bridges with Russia, so no help there. Italy can fairly easily play Trieste-Albania-Greece, returning Trieste to Austria. If you're in a non-Ambassador game, Turkey will probably just up and surrender making the whole thing a done deal.
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Re: Key Lepanto - why should Italy stay true to his word?

Postby edmgrim » 25 Nov 2016, 23:27

Zosimus wrote:Personally, I've never had the fortune of playing the Key Lepanto. However, if Austria were willing to give me a center to start, I would have very positive feelings toward him.

Ahhhhhh Zosimus, I have not had the (mis?)fortune of being on the same battlefield with you, bu somehow I suspect that your positive feelings for Austria would extend only far enough to keep him trusting you long enough to have someone else do him in on your behalf! But other than that, you are spot on! ;)
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Re: Key Lepanto - why should Italy stay true to his word?

Postby Zosimus » 26 Nov 2016, 00:48

Well, perhaps my feelings have been colored by the successes I've had with giving centers to Italy. For example in the following game, I agreed right from the start to turn Trieste over to Italy:

Image

It worked out remarkably well. I think people are too timid. If you want to win, you have to be more aggressive.
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Re: Key Lepanto - why should Italy stay true to his word?

Postby dubfin » 28 Nov 2016, 13:02

@Zosimus

I think we are looking at different scenarios. For me a Key Lepanto is not handing over Trieste to Italy but letting Italy pass through Trieste in order to gain an advantage in the Balkans. The opening you described is far less aggressive towards Russia (letting him have Rumania and stuff) so we're really talking about something different.

If key players on the board are morons you may want to ally with Austria but I doubt that's your best choice from a strategic point of view. In the game you've linked I have difficulties to understand what Russia is doing so I'd rather have the red ones on my side than the purple ones. France is busy with a stabbing English and Germany opens neutral - so everything's in your favour here. Of course AI is doing well then.
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Re: Key Lepanto - why should Italy stay true to his word?

Postby Mr.E » 23 Feb 2017, 20:10

I find, when reading strategy articles, that writers tend to focus one on possibility, one area of the board. The Key Lepanto? That means looking at an A/I alliance (or how successful a Stab Lepanto can be), the Balkans and fighting Turkey.

Of course, it does mean that. But, does Italy only consider the east? I hope not!

Austria may be Italy's most immediate and pressing concern but France is likely to be the bigger worry as the game develops. Not necessarily because France is going Italy hunting but because she is one of the powers that will do well... or should do in most games.

So, why would Italy keep to the Key Lepanto agreement? Well, it gives her 5 SCs in 1902. She gets Serbia and Tunis. Austria gets just Greece. Italy now has a numerical advantage over Austria, is in an excellent position to progress with an ally against Turkey, and has a unit or two spare to keep France at bay.

This isn't to say she should be going after France just yet. She probably can't afford to do that but she also can't afford for France to get a free ride. So Italy should be working hard to keep France off balance with her diplomacy.

Does Italy have anything to lose by playing the Stab Lepanto rather than sticking to the Key? Well, SC-wise no. She may get Trieste rather than Serbia. She may even grab BOTH if Austria is daft enough to allow Italy to get into a position to try this. If she gains Trieste, then she is strategically better placed than with the Key.

The difference this time is that she has tried herself down to a conflict with Austria. A clever Russia and Turkey will happily leave them to it. Unless Italy is confident of bringing one from Russia or Turkey with her against Austria the longer term outcome of the Stab Lepanto could well be disastrous.

And the big question: how quickly can Italy progress from those 5 SCs? Best case scenario is that Italy doubles her strength in the first two years. She may remain strong if she can bring an eastern power along with her. But, ultimately, why would either Russia or Turkey help Italy out? The harvest is on their side of Austria.

The Key Lepanto is a bigger risk for Austria than Italy. If she is stabbed that early in the game she won't win. But the Stab may not do Italy much good at all.
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Re: Key Lepanto - why should Italy stay true to his word?

Postby Zosimus » 24 Feb 2017, 19:47

Nibbler wrote:I find, when reading strategy articles, that writers tend to focus one on possibility, one area of the board. The Key Lepanto? That means looking at an A/I alliance (or how successful a Stab Lepanto can be), the Balkans and fighting Turkey.

Of course, it does mean that. But, does Italy only consider the east? I hope not!

Austria may be Italy's most immediate and pressing concern but France is likely to be the bigger worry as the game develops. Not necessarily because France is going Italy hunting but because she is one of the powers that will do well... or should do in most games.

So, why would Italy keep to the Key Lepanto agreement? Well, it gives her 5 SCs in 1902. She gets Serbia and Tunis. Austria gets just Greece. Italy now has a numerical advantage over Austria, is in an excellent position to progress with an ally against Turkey, and has a unit or two spare to keep France at bay.

This isn't to say she should be going after France just yet. She probably can't afford to do that but she also can't afford for France to get a free ride. So Italy should be working hard to keep France off balance with her diplomacy.

Does Italy have anything to lose by playing the Stab Lepanto rather than sticking to the Key? Well, SC-wise no. She may get Trieste rather than Serbia. She may even grab BOTH if Austria is daft enough to allow Italy to get into a position to try this. If she gains Trieste, then she is strategically better placed than with the Key.

The difference this time is that she has tried herself down to a conflict with Austria. A clever Russia and Turkey will happily leave them to it. Unless Italy is confident of bringing one from Russia or Turkey with her against Austria the longer term outcome of the Stab Lepanto could well be disastrous.

And the big question: how quickly can Italy progress from those 5 SCs? Best case scenario is that Italy doubles her strength in the first two years. She may remain strong if she can bring an eastern power along with her. But, ultimately, why would either Russia or Turkey help Italy out? The harvest is on their side of Austria.

The Key Lepanto is a bigger risk for Austria than Italy. If she is stabbed that early in the game she won't win. But the Stab may not do Italy much good at all.

I think your analysis is quite good.
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Re: Key Lepanto - why should Italy stay true to his word?

Postby dubfin » 22 Mar 2017, 14:40

Nibbler wrote:So, why would Italy keep to the Key Lepanto agreement? Well, it gives her 5 SCs in 1902. She gets Serbia and Tunis. Austria gets just Greece. Italy now has a numerical advantage over Austria, is in an excellent position to progress with an ally against Turkey, and has a unit or two spare to keep France at bay.

This isn't to say she should be going after France just yet. She probably can't afford to do that but she also can't afford for France to get a free ride. So Italy should be working hard to keep France off balance with her diplomacy.

Does Italy have anything to lose by playing the Stab Lepanto rather than sticking to the Key? Well, SC-wise no. She may get Trieste rather than Serbia. She may even grab BOTH if Austria is daft enough to allow Italy to get into a position to try this. If she gains Trieste, then she is strategically better placed than with the Key.

The difference this time is that she has tried herself down to a conflict with Austria. A clever Russia and Turkey will happily leave them to it. Unless Italy is confident of bringing one from Russia or Turkey with her against Austria the longer term outcome of the Stab Lepanto could well be disastrous.


I was really talking about a situation where the Key Lepanto works. That means in S01 Austria is in Gal, Rum, Alb. Austria does not gain only one center but two if not three. If you are afraid of a Juggernaut you obviously won't stab your ally - but in that case the Key Lepanto was the wrong opening to begin with.

France is always a topic to deal with but you have to fight someone in the beginning and in my opinion this should not be France. If you have a weak Russia and a weak Turkey distrustful of each other and distrustful of Austria but both without a reason to distrust you - isn't an alliance with Russia a better option than an insanely powerful Austria that has no Joker in his back as you have?
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