Time for England to ask for bounce in the channel again?

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Time for England to ask for bounce in the channel again?

Postby 0wl » 14 Oct 2020, 18:39

I read a very interesting article recently that showed me how the strength of the different countries is largely influenced by the prevailing meta. Here is a link to the article.

http://uk.diplom.org/pouch/Zine/S2013M/ ... hannel.htm

The article mentions how long ago a bounce in the channel was the most common opening for England and France. But since this was a bad opening for France though later on French players offered to support England into Belgium in exchange for an empty channel.

Many people view France as the strongest country in diplomacy and I think that might be related to the later change in meta.

After thinking about it I'm surprised the meta is the way it is today. The vast majority of English players today leave the channel open without anything in exchange and often allow France to get 3 builds with no opposition while England likely gets one. This is clearly a bad strategy and deal for England.

I don't think asking for a bounce in the channel or making any demands is a good idea for England.

But what if England said to France, hello France, if I open to North and Norwegian Sea would you be willing to support me into Belgium?

If France doesn't say yes then just move to the channel and either support yourself into Belgium or make an attack on Brest. This will put you in a very good defensive position, certainly much better than the alternative.

If the meta changes so that French players have to offer England support into Belgium in exchange for a DMZ of the channel, England will be become a somewhat stronger power while will become a somewhat weaker power.

Even if the French player goes back on their word and bounces you out of Belgium they're still limited to two builds and you could point out to others how untrustworthy they are.

My point of view is that England should not leave the channel open without getting something in exchange such as Belgium.

Another possibility is asking France to promise not to build a fleet in Brest but if France gets 3 builds and goes back on their promise they're in an excellent position to stab you.

A 3 build France in 1901 is very dangerous to England. A common French strategy is to build two fleets, get those fleets into the MAO and Irish Sea and then convoy an army from Gascony onto the island.

As I said I don't think it's a good idea for England to demand Belgium or ask for a bounce but I think it's a good idea to ask France if they're willing to support you into Belgium in exchange for the DMZ and if they don't say yes I think you are better off of moving to the channel and supporting yourself into Belgium.

I'm curious about others thoughts. What do you think is a good course of action for England in the early game?
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Re: Time for England to ask for bounce in the channel again?

Postby V » 14 Oct 2020, 18:47

I’m very likely to adopt yours. My results as England are invariably feeble & I’ve never blamed English Channel.
From now on the brave English sailors will be after the Channel. It can’t yield worse results. Thanks V
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Re: Time for England to ask for bounce in the channel again?

Postby TTBen » 14 Oct 2020, 18:52

I'm by no means an expert here but agree with most of what you've said as far as the relationship between France and England.

The part I question and wonder about is there seems to be an increasing trend of Germany NOT opening to Denmark and going to Holland straight away. If Germany regularly opens this way can you really afford to go for Belgium? How are you playing Fall 1901 if you bounced in the Channel?

I readily will admit that I believe my opening strategy is the weakest part of my game.
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Re: Time for England to ask for bounce in the channel again?

Postby jay65536 » 14 Oct 2020, 19:53

I don’t agree with the premise of the article.

First of all, in my experience, a bounce in the Channel is fine for France and bad for England. England wants the Channel open.

Second of all, the idea that England should get Belgium already is the standard play in FtF (or at least was when I still played). No change in “meta” is required—it’s a known stratagem.
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Re: Time for England to ask for bounce in the channel again?

Postby 0wl » 14 Oct 2020, 20:14

I've heard that England does better in Face to Face than online.

In most of the games I've seen online England rarely moves to the channel and rarely takes Belgium in 1901 without moving to the channel but that could just be my experience.

I don't think a bounce in the channel is fine for France. In the fall England will be in the channel and if Germany moves to Belgium France will only get one build. You could try taking Munich but then you'd be facing an English German alliance.

If at the end of 1901 England is in the channel and France only got one build. I think that's a very bad situation for France. Maybe the Germany player will prefer not to ally with England but I think their best strategy would be to help take down France.
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Re: Time for England to ask for bounce in the channel again?

Postby 0wl » 14 Oct 2020, 20:27

I think another reason people have trouble with England online is that many Germany players prefer not to ally with England but I think this is a mistake.

The last game I saw Germany do the opening with fleet to Holland they got eliminated. I think mentioning that trend is a good point but I don't feel it's a smart opening for Germany.

I think some Germany players feel since England is an island they're the hardest country to stab but that's not true. It's much easier for Germany to stab England than France.

When I play Germany I prefer to ally with England and help them take Belgium. You can take Belgium later whenever you want and it makes it easier to stab them.

For the stab later you take Belgium, one other English center and then build double fleets. It's very effective.
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Re: Time for England to ask for bounce in the channel again?

Postby Phlegmatic » 14 Oct 2020, 20:39

England doesn't want to bounce in the Channel. No, England wants to BE in the Channel.

The only viable path to an English solo, and frequently to a decent draw, is to kill France quickly and brutally.

So never offer that bounce, just get in there, stay in there, and stick the knife in hard and repeatedly.
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Re: Time for England to ask for bounce in the channel again?

Postby V » 14 Oct 2020, 21:34

0wl wrote:I think another reason people have trouble with England online is that many Germany players prefer not to ally with England but I think this is a mistake.

The last game I saw Germany do the opening with fleet to Holland they got eliminated. I think mentioning that trend is a good point but I don't feel it's a smart opening for Germany.

I think some Germany players feel since England is an island they're the hardest country to stab but that's not true. It's much easier for Germany to stab England than France.

When I play Germany I prefer to ally with England and help them take Belgium. You can take Belgium later whenever you want and it makes it easier to stab them.

For the stab later you take Belgium, one other English center and then build double fleets. It's very effective.


I agree with all of this.
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Re: Time for England to ask for bounce in the channel again?

Postby Groo » 14 Oct 2020, 22:48

I agree with Jay, it's a bad premise. E doesn't fare well if he bounces in Channel and fares a lot better if she is IN the Channel. It's very constraining to be bounced as E in 01 and you have zero chance of getting 5 in 01.

France at 5 is good for him, he doesn't need 3 builds. In fact it often backfires if you're the board leader at 6 in 01 as France. The bounce in the Channel is not something F would love, because it's much better to have that F in MAO, but he can live with it.

I also think the German opening to Hol is just terrible. The best strategy for G is to ally England in the early game, thus E in Belgium is considered fair (it allows E 5, G is happy about it because it's easily retaken afterwards and F is fine with it because it means he's not getting targeted. At least that's my view of the meta moves for 01 in the west.
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Re: Time for England to ask for bounce in the channel again?

Postby FloridaMan » 16 Oct 2020, 03:29

I think 0wl makes some strong arguments in this post...

England has always been one of my weaker countries; I do the worst with that and Italy. I think if I would try asking France if they're willing to support me into Belgium in exchange for the DMZ and moving to the channel if they refused and supporting myself into Belgium, my opening game would be appreciably better (and as it happens, the opening seems to be the hard part with England; if England can get off the ground, I often find it can become a powerhouse).

However, I think a bounce in the Channel is significantly worse for England than it is for France. France will likely still get two builds, England will almost certainly get just one, and France will probably be trying to go after England after that (which is a bad situation unless England already secured German friendship).

I also agree that Germany not going to Denmark in Spring 1901 is a negative trend for Germany. It gives up valuable diplomatic leverage, which is a bad decision to make early in the game (usually for no real gain).

However, I still don't agree that it's easier for Germany to stab England than France. England is a corner power who can only be directly threatened by the Western powers and (usually rather dubiously) by Russia. France can be credibly attacked by the Western powers plus Italy. Indeed, France is one of Italy's two primary natural enemies, so an Italy that doesn't find an opportunity to attack France is usually doing rather poorly. If Germany chooses the moment right, and Italy doesn't get creamed early on, France should be crushed between them. By contrast, if England plays well, Germany should never have the opportunity to stab England. Rather England should crush Germany with Russian support.

I will say, however, that giving England Belgium just so you can take it back later is a very workable anti-English tactic. A good way of compensating for how difficult it is to stab a strong English player.
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