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Pre-Game Alliances

PostPosted: 12 Nov 2017, 10:55
by mjparrett
Hi all. I don't know where to post this. So I'm chucking it here and see what reaction (if any) I get.

So. Pre-Game Alliances are against the rules. Is that concerning players or nations? The reason I ask is that as playing certain nations I favour certain openings.

For example, as Italy, I am CONVINCED that attacking Austria in 1901 is suicide. Now I know there are a lot of good players out there who will disagree with me. That is just the conclusion I have come to from my games/experience on this site and playing the game over the years. I also think Lepanto's are a bit "tired" and probably benefit other nations more than Austria. So unless France is the nicest most persuasive player EVER, I want to head west. My relationship with Austria only matters in as much as if I don't like him I ally and then stab 1903ish. If I like him I might try something long term.

Obviously each game is different. Austria might not share my views and invade ME, messing everything up a treat. But the fact remains if I get drawn Italy then I want to invade France even before I have sent or received a single message. Is that ok? I *think* so, but part of me thinks it is going into a game with a pre-planned idea.

Obviously hoping I don't draw Italy soon and people read this :o Anyway just chucking it out there. I assume most good players have their favourite openings. Wondering if people have any thoughts, or I am just talking pish...?

Re: Pre-Game Alliances

PostPosted: 12 Nov 2017, 11:31
by Machiara
The prohibition concerns players, MJP. I think most people probably have certain ideas about what they want to do with various countries. For a widely-accepted example, I think it's generally suicide for Germany and Austria to attack each other in 1901. Nothing wrong with that, it's just my (and many others') evaluation of the situation at that time.

If you always do the same thing with a country you run the risk of becoming predictable but there is no site-based prohibition on having favorite openings/alliances for particular countries.

Re: Pre-Game Alliances

PostPosted: 12 Nov 2017, 11:33
by Strategus

You are within the rules to favour specific alliances for a given country. But it is only a pre-game alliance if you agreed that with a player before the game starts. Just having your own preferences does not mean the other player(s) will play ball.

In respect of whether you should go in with a pre-planned idea, I would say that you need to think about why the things you are saying come true in a game. For instance, if you are playing Italy, and your negotiation strategy/capability with Russia and Turkey sends them down the Juggernaut path, then you are right not to attack Austria. But if you can persuade one of them to attack the other after you dismantle Austria, then you can do so, and this can be very successful for Italy. E.g. RIT takes Austria down, and then RI take Turkey down. Later in the game Italy stabs Russia for the solo (if all other things around the board go to plan of course).

A lot also depends on the quality and character/type of player your opponents are. I.e. whether they also understand the consequences of different strategies, and what risks they are prepared to take. You can take the view that you are allying with the player, not the country, and that puts a different perspective on things.

So the generic answer is "it depends". The bottom line is to have a plan, and try to get your opponents to do what you want them to do - i.e. use Diplomacy :)

Re: Pre-Game Alliances

PostPosted: 12 Nov 2017, 11:41
by mjparrett
Good point re being predictable. Hadn't thought of that. Thanks for your replies - I assumed as much but wanted to check.

Some openings are more up for debate. And there are strategy articles on this site from time to time exploring new options. But in my opinion, at least 4 of the countries have an "obvious" early enemy who I would generally be looking to take down. It never fails to surprise me that no two games are alike. And of course, the diplomacy side of things is what keeps it different and interesting. But just wanted to check I was being above board (if not a little predictable and easy to play against!) by favouring these openings!

Re: Pre-Game Alliances

PostPosted: 12 Nov 2017, 21:43
by Radical Pumpkin
mjparrett wrote:But in my opinion, at least 4 of the countries have an "obvious" early enemy who I would generally be looking to take down.

This has nothing to do with site rules, but I suspect you're being overly rigid from a strategic point of view. My impression of the strategic consensus among strong players (and it fits with my own experience) is that you should find the players you want to work with, then figure out a way to make it happen on the board. All two-power alliances are feasible, and as long as you're mindful of safeguards and have common enemies you can both reach to attack, the less common ones aren't even that problematic. To take a common example, Austria-Turkey and Italy-Turkey alliances can totally work.They're not going to a 2-way draw, probably, but they can get both powers off to a good start and even a good mid-game.

Re: Pre-Game Alliances

PostPosted: 12 Nov 2017, 22:14
by mjparrett
Turkey is one of the powers that doesn't have an obvious enemy :)

Don't get me wrong - I see your point and mainly agree. Play each game on its merits and get an idea of who you think you can work with. My point, is that before a message has been sent, is that I know who I want to ally with for every country except England and Turkey (I think the corner powers have the most flexibility). I was more double checking that isn't against any rules, and thankfully have established it isn't :)

Re: Pre-Game Alliances

PostPosted: 13 Nov 2017, 13:26
by el Swine
I see nothing wrong with having preconceptions before starting a game.

I'll naturally think about allying with Austria when playing Italy, and vice versa. But I'm always flexible. What it comes down to is the diplomacy style of my fellow players and their tactical ideas/nous.

To give an example... I'm playing Austria. Opening dialogue shows Italy, my natural ally who I am planning on working with to be a bit reserved, not prepared to commit to alliance beyond non aggression. Russia is curt, not giving much, not replying in any timely manner. Turkey and I click. Same kind of player, same negotiation style, same tactical outlook. I made the decision to go with the risky A/T and we're off to a flyer.

I'll let you know how it finishes :shock:

It will in any case have been worth trying out

Re: Pre-Game Alliances

PostPosted: 13 Nov 2017, 20:21
by Strategus
el Swine wrote:It will in any case have been worth trying out

Here, here! This is the most fun thing. If you never try it you never know what might have been.