Gunboat Strategy: Italy

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jengamaster
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Gunboat Strategy: Italy

#1 Post by jengamaster » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:29 pm

Attack Trieste Spring of 1901.

Take more Supply Centers.

Win.

:)

mhsmith0
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Re: Gunboat Strategy: Italy

#2 Post by mhsmith0 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:18 pm

FWIW I've generally done decently as Italy in press and gunboat, so I'll just give my $0.02 on gunboat...

1) Pick who you're going to attack right off the bat, with three primary opening possibilities
- Lepanto (Ven H, Rom-Apu, Nap-TYS): you're going after Turkey here. Kinda sucks for you if Austria vacated Trieste, since Austria in Greece really isn't waht you want to see, but A/I against T, with Russia being ok with piling on T, is usually fine by Italy, you just need to watch out for Austria growing overly strong (and sometimes also watch out for France growing strong quickly and then going after you)
- Key Lepanto (Ven-Tri, Rom-Apu, Nap-TYS): if it grabs Triest, you're in pretty good shape. If it fails, you'll have an Austria who's against you... but you can always recover in the fall by supporting Trieste to hold, and going back to an anti-Turkey move set.
- Tyrolian Attack (Ven-Tyr, Rom-Ven, Nap-TYS): here you're going against Austria, and you'd better hope that Turkey didn't go with the Russian attack, and that Germany isn't going to take a direct interest in helping Austria live (Germany bouncing with France in Burgundy gives him the option to tap Tyr in the fall, and if he does that life starts to suck)... also, if Austria goes Tri-Ven (which is common enough) your anti-Austria opening will start to sputter.

Honestly, I think the Tyrolian Attack is potentially powerful enough that you can't discount it... but I think I'd open Lepanto or Key Lepanto more often than not as Italy in gunboat. Attacking France is also always an option, but particularly in gunboat that's somewhat hard to coordinate, and if you're in Pie while England opens north and Germany opens to Denmark (both are common enough), you're going to be stuck out on a limb, and motivate France to come after you pretty quickly.
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teacher2
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Re: Gunboat Strategy: Italy

#3 Post by teacher2 » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:18 am

Im a fan of being super friendly to Austria, and threatening to France
Ven - Pie
Rom - Apu
Nap - Ion

This signals desire for an austrian alliance, and may help reduce France's builds/keep a unit in Mar to slow his ability to come south. I tend to expect Austria not to move Venice, as that is hostile when Austria needs one ally and T and R expected to be hostile.

But If Austria goes Trieste, you can support your way back to Ven without any threat to Apu. In that situation, you have IRT. In my view, Italy makes a better midgame Russia ally, as it can balance the board.

If Austria goes to Albania, you have a decent IA facing a likely RT. Italy will certainly make it to the midgame, when the board presents more options -- R or T stabbing based on play in the north.

This move set is the worst when Austria stays home, which is such a null move (even s ven) that I dont see it that much. That said, I see the advantage of the key move. But it reads as so anti-austrian that I wouldnt try it in a no press game. But all of this is just my two cents.
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teacher2
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Re: Gunboat Strategy: Italy

#4 Post by teacher2 » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:36 am

Also, mbSmith, I assume you meant Ionian not TYS in all options, but if not, please explain?

mhsmith0
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Re: Gunboat Strategy: Italy

#5 Post by mhsmith0 » Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:12 am

teacher2 wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:36 am
Also, mbSmith, I assume you meant Ionian not TYS in all options, but if not, please explain?
Yeah I did just sloppy in labeling lol

I tend not to really fear France massively in gunboat, but then again I'm like the world's worst France player so *shrugs*

Claesar
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Re: Gunboat Strategy: Italy

#6 Post by Claesar » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:00 am

jengamaster wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:29 pm
Attack Trieste Spring of 1901.

Take more Supply Centers.

Win.
Could you give some examples of finished Gunboat games where you (or others) did well as Italy with this strategy? My experience is that Russia and Turkey benefit more from this opener, and Turkey crushes you in 1904-1906.
mhsmith0 wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:18 pm
FWIW I've generally done decently as Italy in press and gunboat, so I'll just give my $0.02 on gunboat...

1) Pick who you're going to attack right off the bat, with three primary opening possibilities
- Lepanto (Ven H, Rom-Apu, Nap-TYS): you're going after Turkey here. Kinda sucks for you if Austria vacated Trieste, since Austria in Greece really isn't waht you want to see, but A/I against T, with Russia being ok with piling on T, is usually fine by Italy, you just need to watch out for Austria growing overly strong (and sometimes also watch out for France growing strong quickly and then going after you)
- Key Lepanto (Ven-Tri, Rom-Apu, Nap-TYS): if it grabs Triest, you're in pretty good shape. If it fails, you'll have an Austria who's against you... but you can always recover in the fall by supporting Trieste to hold, and going back to an anti-Turkey move set.
- Tyrolian Attack (Ven-Tyr, Rom-Ven, Nap-TYS): here you're going against Austria, and you'd better hope that Turkey didn't go with the Russian attack, and that Germany isn't going to take a direct interest in helping Austria live (Germany bouncing with France in Burgundy gives him the option to tap Tyr in the fall, and if he does that life starts to suck)... also, if Austria goes Tri-Ven (which is common enough) your anti-Austria opening will start to sputter.

Honestly, I think the Tyrolian Attack is potentially powerful enough that you can't discount it... but I think I'd open Lepanto or Key Lepanto more often than not as Italy in gunboat. Attacking France is also always an option, but particularly in gunboat that's somewhat hard to coordinate, and if you're in Pie while England opens north and Germany opens to Denmark (both are common enough), you're going to be stuck out on a limb, and motivate France to come after you pretty quickly.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Could you give some examples of finished Gunboat games where you (or others) did well as Italy with this strategy?

I'm curious about some of the points you mention. In the Lepanto, I always thought it's actually good if Austria takes Greece. That way you can also put pressure on Aegean, plus you deny Greece to Turkey so he can't build 2 fleets and shut you out. You feel Greece should go to Italy to even the centre count? That's hard to arrange in Gunboat.

In the Tyrolian attack you mention you hope Turkey and Russia don't fight. As I hinted earlier in this post, I feel that it's the opposite way around. You'd love that. If they Juggernaut and come for their piece of Austria, you'll only get Trieste and subsequently be trampled by Turkey.

One last note is that "Key Lepanto" is reserved for a strategy in which you move to Trieste but then surprise Turkey by working together with Austria. What you mean is "Trieste attack" or something similar.
The actual Key Lepanto is difficult in Gunboat. Brainbomb (Italy) and I (Austria) once tried it, but unfortunately we were both in different games...

dancing queen
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Re: Gunboat Strategy: Italy

#7 Post by dancing queen » Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:19 pm

mhsmith0 wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:18 pm
FWIW I've generally done decently as Italy in press and gunboat, so I'll just give my $0.02 on gunboat...
Never mind, I missed the answer to my "TYS?!?" question above.

GarlMargs
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Re: Gunboat Strategy: Italy

#8 Post by GarlMargs » Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:15 pm

Might seem odd, but I find the 1901 stab to actually be much worse in gunboat than in regular press.

In regular press you can.

- Set Austria up for the stab with convincing messages.

- Reliably negotiate for support from the other attackers.

- Browbeat Turkey into supporting you into Greece.

- Gauge the Russia/Turkey relationship and try to bring one of them (preferably Russia) under your influence.

- Beg for forgiveness if the stab goes sour and/or there's an ascendent R/T or something.

You can't really do any of this in gunboat, which makes me think that the stab is very likely to be stalled out or get straight up blocked. I think a friendly start and an opportunistic stab in 1902 or 1903 would work better in most cases.
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mhsmith0
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Re: Gunboat Strategy: Italy

#9 Post by mhsmith0 » Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:09 pm

I tend to think that if Russia and Turkey are fighting, it's good in the sense that it'll help you not get swarmed by one or the other, but it's bad in that Austria can focus almost entirely on taking you down (also, he might be able to ally with Russia against Turkey or vice-versa with well placed supports, and then it's a bit harder to juggle on your end, at least IMO)

I think Key Lepanto opening is nicely neutral tbh. It punishes an Austria that is aggressive in moving the fleet south (long term, it's generally decent for Italy if that Austrian fleet just stagnates in the harbor IMO... and if Austria grows too fast he can eventually swarm you, or even just force you to stagnate until someone comes from the west to finish you off.

My first (and only) Italian solo
https://www.playdiplomacy.com/game_play ... _id=137232

Turn one I opened key lepanto, austria opened hedgehog
https://www.playdiplomacy.com/game_hist ... =O&gdate=0

Fall turn Russia kicked Austria out of Romania (unsurprising), I went to the Lepanto construct, and even with Turkey getting double builds, he was eventually ground down (I think Turkey overbuilt armies tho in that situation... and Russia/Turkey eventually fighting turned out to be very helpful for my purposes).

That one also featured the bizarre outcome of my losing Tunis to the west, though that happened mainly because I was focusing substantially on expanding northward, and basically accepted the loss of tunis as not a huge deal, and I think that was actually correct, particuarly since around that time England and France were inseparably fighting while I was (slowly) gaining ground on Russia.

PS I don't think that the key opening is necessarily optimal per se, but I DO think it's useful enough in worlds where Austria moves the fleet that I wouldn't remove it from my arsenal entirely.
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taylornottyler
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Re: Gunboat Strategy: Italy

#10 Post by taylornottyler » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:21 pm

http://webdiplomacy.net/board.php?gameI ... #gamePanel

If I’m italy I almost always attack Trieste. Just as england I’d almost always attack English Channel. Gunboat is too fickle to start with everyone attacking you. France is never ever ever ever ever ever going to move to piedmont so you may as well be on the offensive to start, because if you don’t you will get swamped.

Once two countries decide to pounce on you you’re crushed, but with the Trieste opening you’re pretty set to defend yourself well enough to maneuver towards whoever else is getting swarmed and take advantage of those folks


Edit: plus it’s way more fun that way

swordsman3003
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Re: Gunboat Strategy: Italy

#11 Post by swordsman3003 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:38 pm

In a high level gunboat game, you will almost never see Italy attack Austria in 1901.

This is because

1) A good Turkish player can almost always exploit a 1901 attack upon Austria by Italy to rapidly get control of Greece and Serbia while Italy struggles to get any centers beyond Trieste. Turkey and Russia will likely form a truce so that they can profit as much as possible off of an Austrian collapse (you must understand that, in high-level games, the Russian and Turkish player are looking for an excuse to go attack targets other than each other because their defensive positions vs. each other are just too strong).

2) A good Austrian player knows that there is no hope for survival by trying to advance south when being attacked by Italy in early game. Austria's best hope to get into a draw, at that point, is to FORCE Italy to give up by ceding as many centers to Turkey and Russia as necessary (especially Turkey). Austria will immediately give up on Greece or attacking Turkey and Russia. Austria will curl up into a ball of the Austrian home centers, or maybe just Vienna and Budapest. Turkey and Russia will NOT want all the Austria centers to go to Italy, because both of those powers are counting on the Austrian centers for their own chance at a solo win - accordingly, they will start support-holding Austrian armies in the defensive ball so that Italy cannot take the centers.

3) The combination of 1 and 2 means Italy likely ends up with just 5 centers while Russia, and worse of all Turkey, each reach 6 or 7. Russia and Turkey will then likely consider each other too strong to attack (certainly Russia will feel this way about Turkey and not attack), and Turkey will likely have an easy time pushing forward against Italy.

Thus, a solo win for Italy is unlikely or even impossible when attacking Austria in 1901 in gunboat. Italy's chances of getting eliminated may be somewhat INCREASED actually, and even if Italy comes out stronger than just 5 centers and won't be eliminated, FAT CHANCE of ever getting a solo win, because Turkey will simply be FAR to strong to ever get rolled back in time for Italy to get a solo win.

In my opinion, attacking Austria in 1901 as Italy means you are playing for, at best, a 3-way draw with Turkey and a western power. Often you will just get a 4-way draw with France, Turkey and Russia. Worst case, and common, scenario is you get crushed by Turkey in mid-game.
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naked
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Re: Gunboat Strategy: Italy

#12 Post by naked » Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:09 am

Some thoughts on Italien:

Italy at the start has 3 options:
First going west, attacking France. That is simply bad on my mind. Italy has to clear the east in a favourable way. Otherwise earlier or later there will be a big problem in the east which at that time cannot be handled anymore by Italy, simply because of a lack of partner to cooperate with.
So Italy is left with going west. There are 2 possible options:
First the Lepanto. That is a very sound strategically option. After defeating Turkey Austria and Italy can both go their own way (Austria with tanks to the north, Italy with fleets to the west). They dont have to stab each other, but like always they can. The big problem with the Lepanto is to make it work. It needs lots of good coordination of both parties and also the circumstances need to be right. Most likely Austria will get gains a lot faster than Italy, leaving Italy only with the option to stab Austria, just to prevent Austria getting out of control, or trusting Austria and leaving his partner not also with the choice of a further cooperation, but also with the option of a good stab, simply because he is already so big that he doesnt need Italy anymore.
Last the attack of Austria. This has the big advantage that at the start you dont rely on any cooperation, which is a big plus. From a strategically view this means most likely Austrias death and at the end the situation that Turkey, Russia and Italy all have a big share of the east. But what will happen now ? A cooperation between Turkey and Italy is for sure not in the interest of Italy. While possible Italy would have to be prepared for a turkish attack all the time, making other gains much more harder. Turkey? Will do what it always does. Taking every alliance with a big smile and trusting on his superior strategicially position. Russia ? Can cooperate with Turkey and Italy, but i would guess that now Italy is the prefered partner, simply because after Austria is gone it is Turkey which means the greatest danger for the south of Russia. Italy should not even be able to fight for the Black Sea, Turkey will fight for it at least. Also Italy is the last chance for Russia to have a partner to fight Turkey with. If Italy is gone, defeated by Turkey, Russia would have to do it all by himself. Most likely versus a very strong Turkey. The Juggernaut has the problem that after Austria is gone both partner have good possibilities to expand on their own. Why is this a problem ? This sounds like a very good foundation for a alliance. Because both partner have also a lack of control if the other one expands faster. How to stop the other guy if you need to ? The main possibility is fighting around the Black Sea. So why not do it instant with a highly motivated partner who only has very limited possibilities to stab you ? I think Russia has lots of good reasons to go with Italy instead of Turkey.

Summary: in a weak game Italy has to attack Austria, in a strong game he can.

An example for an italian attack on austria with a later Italy-Russia alliance:

http://webdiplomacy.net/board.php?gameI ... #gamePanel

VillageIdiot
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Re: Gunboat Strategy: Italy

#13 Post by VillageIdiot » Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:19 am

In my eyes, the cool thing about Italy is there are a TONNE of alliance options for him. He's a swing country that has loads of influence over the direction of the game in the early years. He has a strong influence over pacing on either or both sides of the board, and the secret sauce is managing that pacing in a way that best influences him.

Options for alliances:
Wintergreen - Italy and Russia can be quite strong
Central Alliance - Three person alliances can be a challenge, but if you've got the right three players and can keep it low key for a bit this can be a total powerhouse
Lepanto - A very good conservative opening alliance which, if France is pre-occupied, can keep you safe for a fairly long time while helping thwart any potential Juggernaut attempts

There's a bunch of other potential three person alliances as well (AIR, FIR, GFI, etc).

So which one to pursue? Frankly, all of them. It's going to take a while to realize who's reliable in the game and as Italy you can do some pretty decent fence straddling for quite a while with a number of these options. Can easily juggle a bunch of Lepanto/Central Alliance/Wintergreen/AIR alliances while not having to fully commit to any of them until the board balance becomes more clear and even then once the dust settles may end up in an unexpected E/I alliances should the right opportunities come forward.

As the swing country, Italy also seems to get afforded some leniency when it comes to shifts in alliances. In the triangles people tend to take more personally when they're the odd man out but Italy seems to be granted a bit more forgiveness if he isn't immediately loyal to a country but later agrees to shift course. Everybody loves a swing country when they swing in their direction (assuming you maintained respectable diplomacy even when you swung the other way).

Regarding attacking Trieste in 01, it depends for me. I actually generally hate over-reaching to Turkey when i can help it and France always is a turtles pace campaign so never my first choices unless i'm feeling extremely good about a central alliance with an extremely good relationship with Austria. If Austria comes across as somebody who's going to be difficult or the CPA is dead in the water or if i'm trying to sell myself to Russia as somebody who could be a very strong ally choice then his other options, then Trieste here i come!

End of the day, success as italy is going to depend on two main things - strong relationships and an ability to use those relationships to help puppeteer the board in your favour. If you're the quiet type, chances are you're just not going to get very far at all as italy.

VillageIdiot
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Re: Gunboat Strategy: Italy

#14 Post by VillageIdiot » Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:31 am

My bad, completely missed this was intended for gunboat strategy talk. Oh well, no delete option.

taylornottyler
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Re: Gunboat Strategy: Italy

#15 Post by taylornottyler » Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:32 am

swordsman3003 wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:38 pm
In a high level gunboat game, you will almost never see Italy attack Austria in 1901.

This is because

1) A good Turkish player can almost always exploit a 1901 attack upon Austria by Italy to rapidly get control of Greece and Serbia while Italy struggles to get any centers beyond Trieste. Turkey and Russia will likely form a truce so that they can profit as much as possible off of an Austrian collapse (you must understand that, in high-level games, the Russian and Turkish player are looking for an excuse to go attack targets other than each other because their defensive positions.
Thanks for clarifying that you’re a high level player.

But Gunboat is ultimately chance in the first couple years. And to be frank the likelihood of a Turkey russian truce going anywhere but downhill fast is so low. Even lower than the odds of Italy attacking Trieste in 1901. I think you missed my point. My point was that by playing an untraditional opening against a traditional field can yield fantastic results if you’re okay with taking the risk. If it becomes the standard it loses its practicality. But while it’s still novel go for it. Especially if you know who you’re playing against and being moderate is usually your style. An army convoy with your fleets in the sea pretty much takes Greece and then you’ve got turkey in a few years regardless of Russian help. There are too many SCs there for you to work for then to defend. Plus you have a solid support line if Germany is preoccupied up north.


But all opinions. I do hope to play with you in the upcoming tournament

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