Italian "Lepanto" Openings in Milan

Strategy discussions for the Milan variant.
Forum rules
In addition to the general Forum Guidelines (see here: ... 30&t=15441), there are additional rules for posting in this forum.
1. Members should not seek advice about an active game they are in.
2. It follows that links, images, game name and/or number should not be added to a post if the game is active.
Posts which refer to a specific situation in an active game, or which link directly to an active game, are subject to editing or removal.

Italian "Lepanto" Openings in Milan

Postby luckythirteen » 31 Dec 2015, 21:05

The "Lepanto" openings in "Standard Diplomacy" are a pretty common system of openings for Italy, enabling the Italian to take a "wait-and-see" approach and if Austria proves himself trustworthy, can lead to a joint Austrian/Italian invasion of Turkey (often with Russian support). The basic concepts translate well into the Milan variant, with only minor adjustments required. I am classifying any opening in which Italy sends its army in Rome south to Naples or Apulia so that it has the option of a convoy in F1901 as being part of the "Lepanto" system of openings. There are several variations within the system, primarily centered around what the Italian does with the Army in Milan. The Lepanto System has been used in 13 of the 43 "Classic Milan" games completed on this site (full press, no special rules like build anywhere or fog of war) or about 30% of the time. It is a very versatile system of openings.

Classic Lepanto (used in 3 games or 7%)

A Rome - Naples/Apulia
A Milan Hold
F Naples - Ionian Sea

This is the literal conversion of the "Classic Lepanto" in "Standard Diplomacy" in Milan form. In Standard Diplomacy, the army in Venice holds to offer protection in case Austria is not trustworthy and "stabs" from Trieste. Many regard this opening as being too passive, myself included. Its one upside is that if Austria did prove to be untrustworthy, the Pope's armies are in position to threaten Austria in 1902. In Standard Diplomacy, I don't particularly care for the "Classic" flavor of the Lepanto, preferring some of its variants instead. In the Milan variant the supply center is moved to the new "Milan" territory and Venice has been made into a "buffer" between Austria and Italy. This removes the one redeeming factor of the "Classic" opening and in my opinion makes the "Classic Lepanto" even weaker than before. I like the Lepanto system, but I don't care for this variation of it in Milan.

Tyrolian Lepanto (used in 5 games or 12%)

This opening is the same as the Classic Lepanto, but instead of ordering Milan to Hold, the Italian orders A Milan - Tyrolia. This is my preferred variation of the Lepanto in "Standard" Diplomacy, and I like it quite a bit in Milan as well. Because Austria starts with a fleet in Trieste, Austria can really only threaten Milan in 1901 by moving Vienna to Tyrolia. Moving to Tyrolia has a lot of advantages for Italy in that it is a strong defensive move and gives Italy influence in both the Eastern and Western theaters. If nothing else, it should help the Pope get an invitation to the negotiating table rather than being left out while other powers focus on more immediate threats. It also helps prevent Austria from gaining too quickly because the Archduke will likely want to leave some units back for defense. Of the completed "Classic Milan" games on this site, Austria has been a big winner so far (tied for 1st in Solos and in the top 3 for being part of a draw) so slowing Austria down a bit may not be a bad thing for Italy. Even if Italy plans to ally with Austria, this move can act as "stab insurance" and ensure the Pope has a lot of Diplomatic choices. The major downside is that one of the goals of the Lepanto (at least the Classic version) is for Austria and Italy to work together against Turkey and this opening could stress that relationship. Unlike "Standard" Diplomacy where Italy and Austria already have adjacent SCs so there is little added risk for Austria, in Milan there is a buffer space so moving to Tyrolia which is adjacent to Trieste could be considered much more "anti-Austrian" than before. This feels similar to England opening to the English Channel. It can work, but my gut feeling is that most Archdukes will be less supportive of this opening in the Milan Variant when compared with "Standard" Diplomacy. Still, there is a ton of upside and that is reflected in the popularity of this opening in the completed games so far.

Swiss Lepanto (used in 1 game or 2%)

The Swiss Lepanto is the same as the Classic Lepanto, but instead of ordering Milan to Hold, the Italian orders A Milan - Savoy. Savoy is a much more powerful space than Piedmont because it borders Marseilles, Burgundy, Milan, and Rome. In my opinion it has similar diplomatic benefits as the move to Tyrolia, except that the powers that will wish to speak with Italy will probably change. Austria will definitely like this more so if the Pope wants to improve A/T relations this is probably the better move, and if the Italian manages to get into Savoy, he will likely have some furious discussions with France and Germany. It's also a good defensive move in case France moves MAR - SAV (which might be more common in the Milan variant considering how powerful that space has become). In the "Standard" game the "Swiss Lepanto" means that Italy orders F Naples - Tyrrhenian Sea with the goal of convoying Tunis into France or Iberia in 1902 instead of moving against Turkey. Thanks to the changes in the map, I think there are better ways to accomplish this goal in the Milan Variant (see the other post about the Alpline system of openings). However, I think from a classification system the fact that Italy is sending the army to Naples with the option to convoy probably means regardless of whether or not the fleet opens to TYS or ION, it would still be OK calling it part of the "Lepanto" system of openings. I will consider the "normal" version of the Swiss Lepanto in Milan to send the fleet to Ionian with the objective of working with Austria vs. Turkey. In this version of the opening, the move to Savoy is less of an attack on France and more of a defensive move, or perhaps an attempt to garner favor with France or Germany by influencing Burgundy.

Roman Lepanto (used in 2 games or 5%)

The Roman Lepanto is the same as the Classic Lepanto, but instead of ordering Milan to Hold, the Italian orders A Milan - Rome. I'll be honest, I don't understand this opening at all. If this opening was combined with F NAP - TYS I might understand it better (you have the option of convoying either army), but in both cases this opening has been used, the Italian ordered F NAP - ION. This opening feels similar to holding in Milan, but to me the hold in Milan is more versatile (which is saying something because as stated earlier, I don't particularly care for that opening). The move to Rome (combined with F NAP - ION) results in fewer options and the same defense. It's been used twice though so maybe there is something to this. Perhaps I'm missing something? At a glance I see no redeeming factors for this opening.

Venetian Lepanto (used in 0 games or 0%)

The Roman Lepanto is the same as the Classic Lepanto, but instead of ordering Milan to Hold, the Italian orders A Milan - Venice. This opening is similar to the "Key Lepanto" in "Standard Diplomacy", but because Venice now acts as a buffer between Trieste and Milan, it isn't nearly as effective. It has never been used in any of the completed "Classic Milan" games on this site. I'm not surprised since the purpose of the Lepanto is usually an A/I vs. T. and this move has all the negatives/stress associated with the move to Tyrolia as mentioned before, but none of the upsides. However, I think in a situation where there was high trust between Austria and Italy, the Pope could actually make this a pretty effective opening. In principle it would be very similar to the "Trieste Gambit" in "Standard Diplomacy" where Austria agrees to temporarily give up Trieste in exchange for the Italian building two fleets in 1901. These fleets can either be used against Turkey or France, and provides Austria solid defense because Italy can't really stab effectively with just fleets. Just think how quickly France or Turkey could crumble if the Italian had two fleets to begin 1902! It would take the right partners and Diplomatic situation, but I could see this being VERY effective. In my opinion it is no less risky than the Key or Blue Water variations of the Lepanto in Classic Diplomacy.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

User avatar
Posts: 137
Joined: 25 Oct 2010, 21:30
Class: Ambassador
Standard rating: (956)
All-game rating: (1007)
Timezone: GMT-6

Return to Milan Strategy

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest