Turkey gunboat opening options

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Carl Tuckerson
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Turkey gunboat opening options

#1 Post by Carl Tuckerson » Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:09 am

I'm having trouble figuring out reasonable things to do with Turkey. Aside from the obvious games where Italy and Austria start warring very early or Russia just collapses, it seems that Turkey's path is very linear and that Turkey has very little agency in dictating its fate. The country is certainly good in gunboat, since even when things go poorly it is incredibly strong on defense, but being proactive is rather difficult.

I think the big hangup is the "forced" moves in the Black Sea. You "have" to bounce in the Black Sea because you "can't" let the other guy in there because he will surely kill you with it, or something. If my skepticism and the direction of this post isn't clear yet...

I tried this out in a gunboat game and got punished, but survived the punishment, so take that endorsement how you will:

Constantinople to Bulgaria
Ankara to Constantinople
Smyrna to Ankara

The follow-up was to self-standoff Constantinople and move the fleet to Aegean Sea. If Russia causes problems you can build in Constantinople and swivel around, if not you can build a fleet in Smyrna and start pressuring Ionian Sea and Greece.

Obviously there are significant risks here, but if there's any power you should be willing to gamble on, I think it's Russia. Russia is so bad in gunboat. Russia is always looking for a friend and a stable diplomatic arrangement so that it doesn't have to navigate the chaos of four potentially hostile neighbors in a world without words. And even when Russia does well early, it's typically not too hard to beat Russia back.
I worry that this forces Italy's hand toward a Lepanto, but it seems that Italy almost always helps Austria against Turkey in the opening salvos anyway, because Italy can't afford to let an R/T alliance get rolling unopposed. This opening definitely prevents Italy from getting his first centers at your expense though, and if nothing else it at least moves the battle lines from Smyrna and Syria to Aegean Sea and Eastern Med, because you get to the battle site quicker.
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FlaviusAetius
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Re: Turkey gunboat opening options

#2 Post by FlaviusAetius » Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:51 am

Italy is aggressive, and if you go after Austria right away, you can probably get Italy to follow suit. From there just attack Russia, while Italy holds his peninsula until the end of time

Matticus13
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Re: Turkey gunboat opening options

#3 Post by Matticus13 » Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:16 am

I dislike the self bounce, but I tend to be nonconservative by nature. With a slow roller like Turkey, I'd rather hold Bulgaria and A Ank->Con. If Russia is a problem after opening F Ank->Con, you are likely out of it anyway... Better to go for it IMO.

Carl Tuckerson
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Re: Turkey gunboat opening options

#4 Post by Carl Tuckerson » Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:42 am

Matticus13 wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:16 am
I dislike the self bounce, but I tend to be nonconservative by nature. With a slow roller like Turkey, I'd rather hold Bulgaria and A Ank->Con. If Russia is a problem after opening F Ank->Con, you are likely out of it anyway... Better to go for it IMO.
See, the way I look at it is the exact opposite. The risk with this opening is that Russia can completely crush you and grab a highly secure base of centers if you don't guard yourself and Russia capitalizes. Ceding the Black Sea (without some backhanded threat like moving to Armenia) is already highly deferential to Russia, and I'm sure some of the more insecure or greedy Russian players will jump at any chance to expand quickly into a defensible area. I realize it's a hedge which implies there are problems with the plan, but I think the hedge is necessary with all the uncertainty at the game start.
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Matticus13
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Re: Turkey gunboat opening options

#5 Post by Matticus13 » Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:00 am

Carl Tuckerson wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:42 am
Matticus13 wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:16 am
I dislike the self bounce, but I tend to be nonconservative by nature. With a slow roller like Turkey, I'd rather hold Bulgaria and A Ank->Con. If Russia is a problem after opening F Ank->Con, you are likely out of it anyway... Better to go for it IMO.
See, the way I look at it is the exact opposite. The risk with this opening is that Russia can completely crush you and grab a highly secure base of centers if you don't guard yourself and Russia capitalizes. Ceding the Black Sea (without some backhanded threat like moving to Armenia) is already highly deferential to Russia, and I'm sure some of the more insecure or greedy Russian players will jump at any chance to expand quickly into a defensible area. I realize it's a hedge which implies there are problems with the plan, but I think the hedge is necessary with all the uncertainty at the game start.


Moving the fleet to Constantinople S01 is the risk in my view. If I'm going there with the fleet, it's all or nothing!

Carl Tuckerson
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Re: Turkey gunboat opening options

#6 Post by Carl Tuckerson » Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:06 am

Matticus13 wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:00 am
Carl Tuckerson wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:42 am
Matticus13 wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:16 am
I dislike the self bounce, but I tend to be nonconservative by nature. With a slow roller like Turkey, I'd rather hold Bulgaria and A Ank->Con. If Russia is a problem after opening F Ank->Con, you are likely out of it anyway... Better to go for it IMO.
See, the way I look at it is the exact opposite. The risk with this opening is that Russia can completely crush you and grab a highly secure base of centers if you don't guard yourself and Russia capitalizes. Ceding the Black Sea (without some backhanded threat like moving to Armenia) is already highly deferential to Russia, and I'm sure some of the more insecure or greedy Russian players will jump at any chance to expand quickly into a defensible area. I realize it's a hedge which implies there are problems with the plan, but I think the hedge is necessary with all the uncertainty at the game start.


Moving the fleet to Constantinople S01 is the risk in my view. If I'm going there with the fleet, it's all or nothing!
I don't see how this follows. Just because we've decided to roll the dice once doesn't mean that we have to roll them twice. I think the first roll has a high reward, since getting to the Mediterranean earlier is big game. But the second roll's upside is just getting the army in position along the bottleneck a turn earlier. And the first roll's risk is mitigated by playing it a bit safer on the second turn, whereas you're doing zero risk mitigation whatsoever by rolling twice. Different strokes I guess but I don't get it lol.
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Matticus13
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Re: Turkey gunboat opening options

#7 Post by Matticus13 » Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:45 am

Carl Tuckerson wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:06 am
Matticus13 wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:00 am
Carl Tuckerson wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:42 am

See, the way I look at it is the exact opposite. The risk with this opening is that Russia can completely crush you and grab a highly secure base of centers if you don't guard yourself and Russia capitalizes. Ceding the Black Sea (without some backhanded threat like moving to Armenia) is already highly deferential to Russia, and I'm sure some of the more insecure or greedy Russian players will jump at any chance to expand quickly into a defensible area. I realize it's a hedge which implies there are problems with the plan, but I think the hedge is necessary with all the uncertainty at the game start.


Moving the fleet to Constantinople S01 is the risk in my view. If I'm going there with the fleet, it's all or nothing!
I don't see how this follows. Just because we've decided to roll the dice once doesn't mean that we have to roll them twice. I think the first roll has a high reward, since getting to the Mediterranean earlier is big game. But the second roll's upside is just getting the army in position along the bottleneck a turn earlier. And the first roll's risk is mitigated by playing it a bit safer on the second turn, whereas you're doing zero risk mitigation whatsoever by rolling twice. Different strokes I guess but I don't get it lol.
I am going to Black Sea. At least in a gunboat.

Claesar
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Re: Turkey gunboat opening options

#8 Post by Claesar » Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:01 am

I believe it was A_Tin_Can who was a strong proponent of A Smy H. It allows you to move F Ank->Con in Autumn. You get to bounce Russia first and then DMZ Black Sea. It offers almost the same advantages, without the risk in 1901.
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shield
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Re: Turkey gunboat opening options

#9 Post by shield » Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:53 am

Claesar wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:01 am
I believe it was A_Tin_Can who was a strong proponent of A Smy H. It allows you to move F Ank->Con in Autumn. You get to bounce Russia first and then DMZ Black Sea. It offers almost the same advantages, without the risk in 1901.

After Ank to Con Fall, how do you follow up with army Serbia and Fleet Greece threatening Bulgaria

Carl Tuckerson
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Re: Turkey gunboat opening options

#10 Post by Carl Tuckerson » Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:25 pm

Claesar wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:01 am
I believe it was A_Tin_Can who was a strong proponent of A Smy H. It allows you to move F Ank->Con in Autumn. You get to bounce Russia first and then DMZ Black Sea. It offers almost the same advantages, without the risk in 1901.
That's a solid iteration too. You get to the Aegean later, but still earlier than in the "normal" opener. And right, there's no risk in 1901.
I think my main beef is that Turkey's "second" army (in Smyrna) is just so useless in the early going, unless you decide to all-out attack Russia, which is typically suicide. Anything reasonable you can find to do that gets your fleet into the relevant theater without your army getting in the way sounds like a win to me.

Matticus13
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Re: Turkey gunboat opening options

#11 Post by Matticus13 » Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:21 pm

Claesar wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:01 am
I believe it was A_Tin_Can who was a strong proponent of A Smy H. It allows you to move F Ank->Con in Autumn. You get to bounce Russia first and then DMZ Black Sea. It offers almost the same advantages, without the risk in 1901.
I would give this a shot. Had the privilege of playing with Tin in the way back a couple of times. Good times.

ziran
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Re: Turkey gunboat opening options

#12 Post by ziran » Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:58 pm

Claesar wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:01 am
I believe it was A_Tin_Can who was a strong proponent of A Smy H. It allows you to move F Ank->Con in Autumn. You get to bounce Russia first and then DMZ Black Sea. It offers almost the same advantages, without the risk in 1901.
another advantage of this opening is that is one of the few ways to communicate in the opening (the other being smy-arm). it clearly (imo) states that you want to dmz the black sea.
shield wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:53 am
After Ank to Con Fall, how do you follow up with army Serbia and Fleet Greece threatening Bulgaria
this is a valid criticism, i don't really have an answer. there is a chance that austria instead goes for aeg in the spring, or that russia supports bul or taps ser. you could also support bul with con, but that has its own problems. imo you need to get con out into aeg.

Carl Tuckerson
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Re: Turkey gunboat opening options

#13 Post by Carl Tuckerson » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:33 am

shield wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:53 am
Claesar wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:01 am
I believe it was A_Tin_Can who was a strong proponent of A Smy H. It allows you to move F Ank->Con in Autumn. You get to bounce Russia first and then DMZ Black Sea. It offers almost the same advantages, without the risk in 1901.

After Ank to Con Fall, how do you follow up with army Serbia and Fleet Greece threatening Bulgaria
This is why I'm interested in the riskier line of going straight for Aegean Sea from the jump. Admittedly it is a major concession to Russia that could backfire, and setting up the first turn bounce avoids this.

The other thought I had is that sometimes Turkey wants the Russian fleet in the Black Sea (and not just to backdoor him with an army in Armenia). When the Balkan fighting turns into a static A/I vs R/T war (as it often does), having a fleet in the Black Sea to issue support holds to Romania and Bulgaria, or support moves to reclaim them, is an immense boon. Turkey is often the power that ends up with the fleet there because the normal play pattern involves Turkey's fleet being stuck behind its own armies and unable to get into the Mediterranean. But in the abstract, it would be better for Russia's fleet, often a very weak piece stuck in Sevastopol, to be in the Black Sea, while Turkey's fleets enter the Mediterranean.

The challenging part, which is an issue with the whole opening, is that if you are successful, Russia's fleet quickly becomes a liability, especially if Russia is holding serve or better in Scandinavia.

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Re: Turkey gunboat opening options

#14 Post by A_Tin_Can » Mon Apr 15, 2019 4:57 pm

I don’t like Ank-Con as the first move, because I think it (should) immediately band together Italy and Austria- and I don’t like forming alliances that don’t have me in them.

Of course, I *love* that opening if I am say Russia.

As to russia’s fleet or protecting Bulgaria in 1902 - In general, I’m not worried about single units or single provinces. Maybe Russia gets into the Black Sea, maybe Austria kicks you out of Bulgaria in 1902. The key is to be in consistently better positions overall, not on holding individual spaces or worrying about particular units.

It’s hard to speak generally about particular openings without knowing what the rest of the board looks like, but I do think that smy-con in spring 1901 dramatically reduces your options in the medium term. I’ve definitely opened with it before (and I will again), but I would say that in 70-80% of games it’s not the strongest opening.

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Re: Turkey gunboat opening options

#15 Post by A_Tin_Can » Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:00 pm

Oh! I should add that I don’t like smy h *just* because it makes it easier to get the fleet out- my preferred set of orders for the fleet (everything else being equal) is to go to the Black Sea with Russia’s permission- either in spring (ideal) or fall (more likely to be acceptable to Russia).

Carl Tuckerson
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Re: Turkey gunboat opening options

#16 Post by Carl Tuckerson » Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:15 pm

A_Tin_Can wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 4:57 pm
I don’t like Ank-Con as the first move, because I think it (should) immediately band together Italy and Austria- and I don’t like forming alliances that don’t have me in them.

Of course, I *love* that opening if I am say Russia.

As to russia’s fleet or protecting Bulgaria in 1902 - In general, I’m not worried about single units or single provinces. Maybe Russia gets into the Black Sea, maybe Austria kicks you out of Bulgaria in 1902. The key is to be in consistently better positions overall, not on holding individual spaces or worrying about particular units.

It’s hard to speak generally about particular openings without knowing what the rest of the board looks like, but I do think that smy-con in spring 1901 dramatically reduces your options in the medium term. I’ve definitely opened with it before (and I will again), but I would say that in 70-80% of games it’s not the strongest opening.
First of all, thanks for your input.
My first question is a little pedantic so forgive me. You say in "70-80% of games" it's not the strongest opening. How do you know that you are in the 70-80% of games where it's not, vs the 20-30% of games where it is?
More substantively--aren't you really trading off options against Russia for options in the Mediterranean?

mhsmith0
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Re: Turkey gunboat opening options

#17 Post by mhsmith0 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:39 pm

The gunboat meta on this site seems to be that IA work together a LOT early on, and Russia is overall a pretty weak power.

In that context, Turkey being deferential to Russia and aggressive against IA probably isn't a terrible move, though letting Russia into BLA in spring 1901 is VERY deferential. Not sure there's a great answer here.
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FlaviusAetius
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Re: Turkey gunboat opening options

#18 Post by FlaviusAetius » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:38 pm

Be friendly to Russia, they have too many enemies to not be friends with you for a long time. Hope Italy and Austria are aggressive for long enough, that you can exploit it with Russia. Move Greece and Bulgaria, hopefully, no one challenges you there.

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Re: Turkey gunboat opening options

#19 Post by A_Tin_Can » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:41 pm

Carl Tuckerson wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:15 pm
My first question is a little pedantic so forgive me. You say in "70-80% of games" it's not the strongest opening. How do you know that you are in the 70-80% of games where it's not, vs the 20-30% of games where it is?
More substantively--aren't you really trading off options against Russia for options in the Mediterranean?
I have to apologise here - I didn't read the OP correctly, so I didn't realise this was about gunboat. The answer I'd *like* to give is "you use your press to determine whether Smy-Con is a good move in this game or not". But that's not relevant to this thread.

One of the major advantages of Smy->Con, Ank->Bla is that it's so standard that nobody will be surprised. For me, this increases the number of times I'll use it in gunboat - but I should also add that I'm not a top tier gunboat player.

In gunboat, position signalling is very important. So, if I open say Con->Bul, Ank->Con, Smy->Ank, it's clear that I want to work with Russia. However, Russia will very likely be in the black sea, so I have to hope that they want to work with me too.

The standard opening is less risky, because it doesn't mean that I have to hope that another player works with me. But, it also means that I'm not giving any offers to work with others. There's less risk from the standard opening, but also less potential payoff.

For me, "strong" means "effective at getting a big result". To get a big result in Diplomacy, it's helpful to have an early game ally - I think not going Smy to Con is stronger, because there's more opportunity that you can signal to Austria or Russia that you'd like to work with them.

But if "strong" means "safe", I don't think it's the strongest opening.

In a press game, I'd argue (as I did above) that it's not common to have a good reason to open Smy->Con.

In gunboat, I think it's less clear. It's probably better to hold off on trying to make allies until you've seen what kind of orders others write, and Smy->Con is a good way to do that without offending anyone.

Also, because it's a long way to the stalemate line, the path to a solo for Turkey means predicting the 18th centre way ahead of time - it's good to select your ally once you can make a reasonable guess at where the stalemate line will be soft - this is especially important in gunboat, since you can't use press to soften the line. Smy->Con is a good way to wait and see where the line will be soft

(as a side point, the distance-to-the-line argument is why "wait and see" is a horrible way to play Italy).

I do still think that Smy->Con is a poor opening in terms of giving you the best range of powerful options in 1902/3. It's all tradeoffs - do you want to prioritise safety? Options? Allies? Risk?

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