Russia strategy

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Russia strategy

Postby numberwang1 » 30 Nov 2016, 04:05

Does anyone have any Russian strategies that work with any consistency? Russia is currently my least favorite nation to play, I have played probably 4 different games where I try to do a Jugg, or I try to make friends with Austria and Germany, and things appear to work for a while, and then by spring 02 I get stabbed by 4 people and lose. I know to some degree its impossible to make completely control what other people do, but I should be able to play Russia better and I don't know what I'm doing wrong.

I have tried focusing on the North to keep the southern people happy, I have considered just completely abdicating the North (not contesting Sweden, just sitting in St Pete) and focusing only on the South but I haven't tried it. At this point I'd be happy if anyone could give me a plan which would reliably get me to 1903, because the only other nation I've been so quickly destroyed while playing is Austria.
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Re: Russia strategy

Postby Durkeety » 30 Nov 2016, 04:46

The key to playing Russia is just not to get too big too soon. Russia is eveuones enemy because he starts larger than anyone else and if you play it well like you seem to point out, you grow really fast but then everyone sees you as an enemy. That's why everyone stabs you at once
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Re: Russia strategy

Postby Machiara » 30 Nov 2016, 06:11

A lot of it depends on the players and your diplomatic skills. Austria is often a good friend because he's surrounded and needs a friend, and the AR alliance is just as good as an RT alliance. The Turk is pretty much a thorn in everyone's side so it shouldn't be too hard to convince people to jump in.

As far as the north goes, hard-fought conflict between the three western powers means that they'll look to you for help/support rather than as a source of centers. If EF gang up against G, for example, he's going to want all the help you can give him. If EG gang up against F, it's going to be a slog and their units are going to be committed far from you.

Make sure you talk to everyone, that you're friendly, and that you keep your options open. And as Durkeety said (and he's a good guy to listen to) don't grow too fast! Be a friend, not a threat.
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Re: Russia strategy

Postby WarSmith » 30 Nov 2016, 07:18

Jugg.
While turning E & G against each other / keeping France on side.
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Re: Russia strategy

Postby numberwang1 » 30 Nov 2016, 10:25

Durkeety wrote:The key to playing Russia is just not to get too big too soon. Russia is eveuones enemy because he starts larger than anyone else and if you play it well like you seem to point out, you grow really fast but then everyone sees you as an enemy. That's why everyone stabs you at once


Yeah that makes sense, usually I get Rumania and Sweden in 01. Ive soloed once as Russia doing this so I just kept doing it.

Obviously its situational, but if you had to pick which front would you say is better to hold off on growth? I'd imagine the north which is why I've thought about playing a game without going for Sweden at all and seeing how that works out.
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Re: Russia strategy

Postby numberwang1 » 30 Nov 2016, 10:38

Machiara wrote:A lot of it depends on the players and your diplomatic skills. Austria is often a good friend because he's surrounded and needs a friend, and the AR alliance is just as good as an RT alliance. The Turk is pretty much a thorn in everyone's side so it shouldn't be too hard to convince people to jump in.

As far as the north goes, hard-fought conflict between the three western powers means that they'll look to you for help/support rather than as a source of centers. If EF gang up against G, for example, he's going to want all the help you can give him. If EG gang up against F, it's going to be a slog and their units are going to be committed far from you.

Make sure you talk to everyone, that you're friendly, and that you keep your options open. And as Durkeety said (and he's a good guy to listen to) don't grow too fast! Be a friend, not a threat.


I always have trouble picking between Austria and Turkey as an ally. Assuming that Italy sides with Austria which is usually the case, there isnt a whole lot of early growth potential fighting Turkey, and Austria's primary allegiance seems like it tends towards Italy. A suspicious Turk will just bounce or move into Black Sea and then its pretty tough to make any progress for a bit. I guess part of my problem might be that I'm playing Russia as if it is totally dependant on first turn growth like every other country kind of is.

Discounting circumstantial differences between games, do you think Russia is generally more successfully played focusing on the North or the South? It feels like my problems stem somewhat from trying to do too much everywhere and getting stabbed as a result which you and Durkeety both suggested.

Do you think theres any merit to just not persuing Sweden? Leaving it to Germany to make them happy and letting England and Germany fight over that rather than gunning for St Petes feels appealing, at least in theory, especially since the build usually goes right back into defending the North anyway. I havent tried it or seen it tried though
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Re: Russia strategy

Postby numberwang1 » 30 Nov 2016, 10:42

WarSmith wrote:Jugg.
While turning E & G against each other / keeping France on side.


I usually go for Jugg, but it doesnt always go well.

Do you have any particulae strategies for turning E/G? Its a pretty situstional question but if you have any general strats you could share it would be helpful. In at least 3 games I can remember off the top of my head, Germany just feigned friendship until 02 and then stabbed me with England. And I usually make overtures to England and Germany, it seems that it is a little out of Russian hands to sway E/G since it depends on France so much. I havent figured anything concrete that I can always offer that will regulrly appease one side and reliably convince them to work with me.
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Re: Russia strategy

Postby Zubb » 30 Nov 2016, 13:40

Wow, I love playing Russia, - I've learnt to do so. Somehow playdip rng sends me playing that country 1/3 of the time.

I also live in IRL Russia and hold a personal achievement of taking Paris with a Russian tank in Fall 1902 in a fair and square ranked game.

I'd like to disagree with Durkeety. Well, maybe not just outright disagree - make an amendment. It is not your fast growth as is that alarms people it is how they perceive your growth. If you can take 3-4 SCs F01 AND make 5-6 out of 6 people on the map consider you their friend - than by all means you do it.


The key to early game diplomacy as Russia IMO is keeping the options open both for you and for the other powers. Your 1901 moves directly and meaningfully impact 4 other powers in the game and that is a lot, so you have to utilize that bargaining potential to the max to succeed.

First, you pay attention to the South. Make sure both Jugg and AR options are on the table. If anything, this makes AT highly unlikely and that is like the first bad thing that can happen to Russia.

With Turkey - make sure Jugg option is open. I let them decide the status Black Sea. Bounce/DMZ Turkish stance gives you some information on how their negotiations with AI are going and generally should be enough to ensure they are not actively seeking Austrian friendship. This is probably the easiest negotiations you are going to have in 1901 - Turkey players love Juggernaut. And for a reason - Turkey gains more from it, compared to Russia.

Austria relations are so important because of this. I try not to start with the Galicia discussion - that auto sets Austria (who is likely already mildly depressed) on defense. I try to keep positive, speak about the expansion plans, propose Bulgarian Gambit. Lend your help in establishing AI peace (whether fake or true). Ask him to pledge for your case in Sweden to his friend in Berlin. Your main aim is just to make sure they are not antagonistic to you from the start.

If you do this right you have the luxury to pick the side in the coming conflict. And here we get to the part that helps you decide correctly.

Italy. Italy is your best friend early game. He has everything to gain from cooperating with you. Establish good communication, coordinate your communication with Austria to guide him in the right direction. Come up with the order in which you will be taking the others out - Austria first, Turkey second or the other way round. There is one great danger, though - with your support and an easy-to-achieve peace with France a strong Italy might come after you in the mid-game so beware. This is also why you should prefer taking out Turkey first - this keep a meat-shield between you, who has the Northern flank to worry about, and Italy.


Second, is the North. This is where things get really complicated and events here that make or break Russian early success. By playing your cards right you are highly unlikely to fail in the South. Mistakes in the North are much easier to make and will cost just as dearly.

The Dream here is to persuade England to give you Norway and go for down the world sweep. They are never open for this from very start, of course, so I usually start with discussion of Sweden, on the assumption that Germany is not going to give it to me. There are several roads this discussion can go down, two main are - Russian support of Norway to Sweden S02 and taking of Denmark F01. Make sure that you inform England that you understand that Germany is historic rival for Russia and that while you are open for cooperation with everyone in the early game - you don't see any future for GR relations in the long run. Either way, your aim is to give England more open options when they usually have to ensure they don't make Barents their sole goal for the first few years. Western Tripple is your worst nightmare.

Germany is the enemy, don't get it wrong. You almost can't solo without German home SCs and your mid-game is usually proportionately difficult to German SC count during the period. However, unlike, for example I-T relations, there is still a lot to talk about. I won't go in great detail on how to discern if they are lying to you about Sweden or not - this is way too situational and personal to give any general advice about. What you can and should do, though - is to ask about Sweden and observe their reaction. If they promise it to you straight away - ask for Kie-Hol and watch the reaction. If they are coming up with demands in exchange for Sweden - observe carefully - what are they asking for. Demand of move to Finland is BS and should be ignored 90% of the time, demands of peace with Austria is a gift of fate that you should forward to Archduke immediately, demands of an army move to Moscow should be seriously taken into consideration etc.

The good thing about early German relations is that you are not an immediate threat and the aim is to brew the cauldron of war in the West to your advantage. The faster things get messy there, the better of you are. Do what is necessary - share intel, make promises, forge messages, ask your friends in Rome to communicate what you need - whatever it takes.

Last, but not the least is France. Every French player I've messaged S01 as Russia had agreed to the statement the RF make good allies in the long run. However, all too often I see (especially when picking up surrendered positions and looking through other peoples mail) that the communication stops there. That is wrong. You need war in the west and unit it fast. In my experience in playdip metagame it is unlikely to start of fast on its own. France can, with some skill and luck, be your key to igniting the flames of war. It is by no way a guaranteed option, but you have to take your chances there. There are several options - one is the Sea Lion opening. If you can push G and F into persuading each other on ganging up on England - you are in a prime position. Move your army to St.P, tell England of the Sea Lion, take both Scandinavian SCs while the west is to busy with infighting, pick the side to join. Other options revolve around brewing paranoia regarding three provinces DMZ in which is necessary for French to coveted builds in Iberia - Pie, Bur, ENG. Use whatever intel and influence on EFI to make France pick a side and start the war right now and pull the others along.


I wasn't speaking about exact moves much above, because they are not that important, compared to the diplomacy. I will make a short overview now.

St.P sails to GoB, no exceptions. Moving to Baltic should be given thorough consideration at all times when there is a fleet in Denmark in the Fall. This leaves St.P somewhat open, but if you've screwed up your diplomacy with England staying put won't save you regardless.

Black Sea
bounces when agreed to do so. I prefer not to break the DMZ when given the opportunity - Bulgarian gambit screws Turkey much better and cements your relationship with Austria. One often overlooked option is holding in Sev when there is no Bulgarian Gambit negotiated. Fleet in Rum sucks because it limits your options greatly so it is better to support an army in in the Fall. The risks of getting bounced out should be minimized by not sucking at diplomacy.

Warsaw has two and only two ways to go - Galicia or Ukraine. And you only should consider going to Ukraine if you have directly agreed with Austria to keep it DMZ. Even in this case there things to consider - have you decided with Italy that you are going for Turkey first? - are you sure Austria will keep it DMZ? - is Moscow going North?

There is one grey area that I often use - if you are friendly with Austria and are sending Mos-St.P but have not formally declared Gal DMZ - move where, claim that this is not an attack on them, because you have an empty Ukraine (and likely, empty Rum), keep your options open.

Moscow I tend to move it to the North every time I'm feeling safe about my future in the South - you don't need that third unit if you have the luxury of picking the side in A-T conflict and Italy coordinating your moves with you. This is not an anti-English move as it is - it is a way of getting more bargaining power in the West. One important thing to do is to minimize the harm that move does to your relations with England - ideally persuade them to let you in by giving them better options and promising them safety in the flank and future support.


I hope this helps and my poor English hasn't made that completely unreadable.
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Re: Russia strategy

Postby Zubb » 30 Nov 2016, 13:47

numberwang1 wrote:
WarSmith wrote:Jugg.
While turning E & G against each other / keeping France on side.


I usually go for Jugg, but it doesnt always go well.

Do you have any particulae strategies for turning E/G? Its a pretty situstional question but if you have any general strats you could share it would be helpful. In at least 3 games I can remember off the top of my head, Germany just feigned friendship until 02 and then stabbed me with England. And I usually make overtures to England and Germany, it seems that it is a little out of Russian hands to sway E/G since it depends on France so much. I havent figured anything concrete that I can always offer that will regulrly appease one side and reliably convince them to work with me.


Don't aim at taking Sweden at all costs. It has little value on its own if you have to fight to keep it - it essentially becomes a dead weight that gives others ground on which to begin cooperating against you. Make it unappealing to England to go for Barents by either diplomacy with France and Italy or, if that fails, by deploying troops. Have a stong anti-German stance in communication with England.
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Re: Russia strategy

Postby Strategus » 30 Nov 2016, 13:47

I find the Juggernaut is difficult to pull off as Russia, as every man and his dog shouts it out after about two turns, and Russia always gets the brunt of the backlash. If you can convince Germany and England that you are going to stab Turkey "soon", you might get away with it for a while.

A simple two way with Italy can work, but you might end up 2v2 in the East, which can take up a lot of resource.

I find it easier if you can get into a three way relationship with either Italy/Austria vs Turkey, or France/Germany vs England. Possibly both, allowing growth North and South with backing from your allies. You can also convince Italy or France respectively that you will squeeze out the other party later. Try to stay ahead of your allies in terms of builds, but only by one centre. Two at the most. And be helpful in getting your allies their respective builds. That may help you if someone else turns against you.

In the end, you sometimes just have to accept that the bullet has your name on it. If the rest of the players team up against you, there is usually not much you can do to stop them.

This might help too:- http://www.diplomacy-archive.com/resources/strategy/russia.htm
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