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http://phpdiplomacy.net/board.php?gameID=7674 Paused due to long-eliminated player being banned. All orders finalized for this round, but due to 72 hour phases some players only log in every few days. Would be nice if it could be unpaused sooner.
Starting my first game and a couple things weren't really clear... 1. What does a blue dot next to a country's name mean? 2. Am I required to finalize orders, or will the game use the last ones I have currently selected?
Somebody else just posted a topic on the "Fleet Rome" variant; it was discussed by many as a very problematic arrangement, so why not try something else?
Perhaps a better alternative would be making the Italian home supply centers Venice, Apulia, and Rome-Naples (combined to form one province). With an army in Venice and fleets in both Apulia and Rome-Naples, Italy would have the flexibility to attack Austria in 1901 (F APU-ADR), to fully defend against an Austro-French attack (A VEN-TRI, F APU-ADR, F ROMNAP-ION), or to even set up defensively for a Lepanto-style attack on Turkey (F APU-VEN, A VEN-ROMNAP, F ROMNAP-ION).
That alternative was something I just pulled out of my arse so go ahead and rip it apart if you like :)
The board does have a vague symmetry that runs diagonally from England through Turkey with Scandinavia balancing out Italy. My guess is this was the justification for the fourth Russian supply center.
Games that retain symmetry in game design, like chess, checkers, and go and create asymmetry due to the move order are considered close to ideal and have good replay-ability. Topographical asymmetry most often causes severe game imbalance (as with Australia in Risk and the power issues with Axis and Allies). So I'm pretty impressed with how Diplomacy is designed. Stronger players may challenge themselves with Italy and Austria while weaker players may find handicaps with France and Russia. The various hints of asymmetry create character for the various powers. But I think the even game mechanic of Diplomacy forced small asymmetries in the game board so that a stalemate was not necessarily the result of best play.
Could it be better? Sure. Various scenario maps are exciting to try. If it were up to me, I would give France a second fleet rather than an army in Marseilles in order to put a bit more pressure on England, to occupy Italy a bit, and to slow France down some against Germany. this would be in addition to a second fleet for Italy.
I don't see why everyone has a problem with Italy. Learn to play better.
There are no major cities in Apulia so that doesn't really make sense. The only viable Italy change was to make Tuscany Milan to remove the Venice-Trieste thing. But I like it and I think any possible Diplomacy imbalances are balanced out by the players perceiving them.
There actually is a major city in Apulia (Bari, 9th italian city in population), but nonetheless I believe Italy isn't really damaged by the current map. It is true that Italy has less room to expand, but it is also out of the two major conflict areas, and can thus wait and see what happens without being in any conflict.
Imbalances are much less pronounced in Diplomacy than in Risk because of diplomacy! If everyone knows that Italy has the lowest win ranking and Turkey has the highest, it's just one more reason to leave Italy alone and take out that Turk before he's painted Europe yellow. It makes variants much more robust because less attention has to be payed to board balance because once the balances are recognized they are naturally counteracted by players negotiating.
Risk. My strategy is always North America, and South America as a secondary goal. People always see it as too hard to take, and thus not worth reinforcing in the first rounds. Then launch an assault into South America.
Savlian, I agree with you... although I only realised this the last time I played. I took N America really easily and then South America fell... everything just fell into place from there!
Regarding Italy, I always feel you need to ally with Russia (and hope they haven't allied with Turkey) to stand any real chance. Oh, and having an Anglo-German alliance helps your cause, too. The biggest problem with Italy (and also, therefore, with Austria-Hungary) is that you have a home SC that can be lost in Spring 1901, so you're instantly on the back foot.
Australia has the largest win percentage in tournament Risk games. Something like 70%. Eventually the countries just don't matter much, and the cards are everything, which is where Australia really excels.
As far as Italy goes, I love playing it because of its difficulty and its ability to expand once it really gets moving.
The most common complaint about Italy and Austria is their adjacent supply centers. The oldest variant approach was to place a province between Venice and Trieste called Perrijavo (after Larry Peery who ran a few of these games postally).
Personally I am not a big fan of altering the map, but this was an approach way back when.
Why have I made 3 posts about a game being unpaused without myself unpausing and they have not been responded to? I didn't even make a move because I did not have knowledge of the game being unpaused. Hispano hablantes is the game and you will find the link on my other posts if you scroll down.