Anatomy of a Critical Gunboat Turn: Austria, Autumn 01 - Spring 03

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Carl Tuckerson
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Anatomy of a Critical Gunboat Turn: Austria, Autumn 01 - Spring 03

#1 Post by Carl Tuckerson » Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:28 am

In early June, I organized a seven-game gunboat round robin among seven players on the site who were ranked in the top 100 of the Ghost Ratings for gunboat. Game Five finished a little while ago, in which I rolled Austria.

I'm going to analyze what I believe to be the most critical turn sequence that determined the outcome of that game from my side: Autumn 1901, Autumn 1901 Adjustments, and the year 1902.

However, I think this would be most instructive if I simply posted the maps for those turns, and opened the floor for alternative lines, before explaining why I ended up doing what I did. I do think the lines I ended up taking were essentially "correct," but it's possible that there are other good ones, and talking through the line you would take is often more important than finding the "right" one in these postgame/hypothetical discussions.

Might as well address the elephant in the room... yes, you could look up the game in my profile and figure out what I did. If you answer the questions out of order, you will know what I did simply by opening the maps. If you did look up the game, you would even find the postgame discussion in global where I explained why I did. If you want spoilers that's on you. If you do see them I'd appreciate you not posting them before I say so, but feel free to use them as the basis for your answer. Just don't spoil it for the people trying!

One final note: because the scenario involves Austria, we are going to be discussing predominantly Austria and the neighbors. Feel free, and indeed encouraged, to answer any questions as pertains to the other powers, however.

~~~

The first map is after Spring 1901.

https://webdiplomacy.net/map.php?gameID ... Type=large

You are Austria.

What orders are you anticipating out of the other powers in Autumn 1901?
What strategic objectives are you building towards with your Autumn 1901 turn?
What orders are you entering for Autumn 1901?
Is there anything else you'd like to share about this turn?

The second map is after Autumn 1901. Unfortunately there is a spoiler here, as I didn't think to screenshot the map before builds, so you can see that I made a curious decision.

https://webdiplomacy.net/map.php?gameID ... Type=large

Do you agree with my build decision? What if anything would you have done differently?
Are you surprised by any of the orders the other countries entered for Autumn 01?

Onto Spring 1902... same map as above.

Are you surprised by any of the builds the other countries entered?
What orders are you anticipating out of the other powers in Spring 1902?
What strategic objectives are you building towards with your Spring 1902 turn?
What orders are you entering for Spring 1902?
Is there anything else you'd like to share about this turn?

One final map... The game state as of Autumn 1902, after Spring 02 adjustments.
https://webdiplomacy.net/map.php?gameID ... Type=large

Are you surprised by any of the orders the other countries entered?
What orders are you anticipating out of the other powers in Autumn 1902?
What strategic objectives are you building towards with your Autumn 1902 turn?
What orders are you entering for Autumn 1902?
Is there anything else you'd like to share about this turn?

~~~

I will post my solution to these puzzles in a couple of days, but I'll leave the floor open here for discussion. I thought this situation was very skill-testing, definitely one of the toughest ones I have faced in a game on here. I think there were a lot of interesting decision points and I'm interested to see what y'all come up with. Happy solving!

- Carl
6

Puscherbilbo
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Re: Anatomy of a Critical Gunboat Turn: Austria, Autumn 01 - Spring 03

#2 Post by Puscherbilbo » Wed Jul 31, 2019 11:35 am

Well the French moveset clearly surprises.
No matter what you should take Por here. and gambling on 2nd built either by not protecting Brest or Mar seems legit.
But you NEED to get that 1st built at the very least.

For England i prefer stabbing Brest or trying for MAO at least occasionally if you go for Norway.
I find it unlikely to succeed to go for Bel unsupported.
The alternative would be to delay NOR and force Bel which i probably would prefer.

Other moves were among the most likely options imho.

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Re: Anatomy of a Critical Gunboat Turn: Austria, Autumn 01 - Spring 03

#3 Post by Puscherbilbo » Wed Jul 31, 2019 11:43 am

The situation in the south leaves Russia as kingmaker and no apparent alliances just yet.
So my built should reflect both that i am no easy target should he choose to ally someone else and that i am the potentially most useful ally.
In that regard a Fleet is at least somewhat understandable. Still i would argue that for Russia allying Italy right now provides same upside fleetwise while being the tactically superior option. Hence i prefer the army built expecting that i have to rely on turkish fleets to help me right now.

England very much sending mixed signals here which i would consider bad at this point giving the dependency of a working relationship with either France or Germany. Germany wants the built in Liv and France wants it in Edi. English position to weak to play kingmaker here.

Italy should built a fleet and try to get into Adriatic Sea. I see no actual realistic purpose for that 3rd army.

The rest seems standard.

Puscherbilbo
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Re: Anatomy of a Critical Gunboat Turn: Austria, Autumn 01 - Spring 03

#4 Post by Puscherbilbo » Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:02 pm

Think i try to bounce Italy in ION/VEN/TYR. If Russia+Turkey work together he has to be made aware there is no immediate gain for him not helping me.
Serb+Bud hold each other.

I am willing to gamble on turkish neutrality since he is in a much weaker spot then Russia and should be at least sceptical about russian attemps for BUL.

The alternative would be to support all your centers amongst each other with Triest either tapping Ven or going to Adriatic Sea.
This however makes u fairly vulnerable vs Tyr-Boh Ven-Tyr.

As Germany i would go into Bur and Bal intending to get Bel+Swe next fall. Personally i would like to eventually ally a 5-build France here. Given that i expect England to end up with a Fleet in Belgium that seems like a realistic outcome.

Puscherbilbo
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Re: Anatomy of a Critical Gunboat Turn: Austria, Autumn 01 - Spring 03

#5 Post by Puscherbilbo » Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:14 pm

Clearly Germany expected to get Bel and be allied with E with seems unrealistic.
I am missing proactively tapping North. Smart choice by england there.

I would not have had that lvl of trust into Russia in me i suppose. But looks like it worked out splendidly. As Russia i think i think i would have settled for a less ambigious decision. since his tactical superiority would have carried through to fall.

Puscherbilbo
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Re: Anatomy of a Critical Gunboat Turn: Austria, Autumn 01 - Spring 03

#6 Post by Puscherbilbo » Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:24 pm

As Germany i vacate Bur to Mun and still go for that alliance with France. Because of that tactical error before G is in a bit of a rough spot depending more on F than he would like to. Ruhr-Kiel seems necessary.

Funnily enough even with 3 builts France still is the kingmaker here. sind F+G > E/R
and germany not strong enough to fight all 3. Russia might want to try to stay neutral concerning G until the E vs F situation has cleared up. Meaning no support holds for Den.

A+R should focus T while stalling I.

Mercy
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Re: Anatomy of a Critical Gunboat Turn: Austria, Autumn 01 - Spring 03

#7 Post by Mercy » Wed Jul 31, 2019 2:31 pm

I have never played a gunboat game that was non-live or was filled with experienced players, and I have little clue to the meta. Let me give my thoughts.
Carl Tuckerson wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:28 am
The first map is after Spring 1901.

https://webdiplomacy.net/map.php?gameID ... Type=large

You are Austria.

What orders are you anticipating out of the other powers in Autumn 1901?
What strategic objectives are you building towards with your Autumn 1901 turn?
What orders are you entering for Autumn 1901?
Is there anything else you'd like to share about this turn?
Turkey opened pro-Russian. He will probably move his fleet to the Aegean Sea. He could bounce with his armies in Constantinople, but then he doesn't get a unit in Constantinople to defend Bulgaria next turn. Since he already showed that he wants to take a risk in trusting Russia, I am guessing he will move Ank to Con and do something else with Bul, like supporting Russia into Rum or moving to Greece.
Russia will surely move Ukraine to Rumania. Probably he will use the Black Sea for support and will continue sending Warsaw to Galicia.
Italy opened weirdly. I don't understand what he wants. The fact that Turkey seems to want to ally Russia, though, should discourage him from attacking me, and since he didn't do it in the spring to begin with, I will bet he won't do it in the autumn either. He can't convoy to Tunis though. Maybe he wants to go straight to Aegean with his fleet and snatch Trieste to still get a fleet build. If Italy does that, I won't be too mad at him.
I will ignore the west for now. I know that Italy can mess a bit with France and I know that it is important what England and Germany do with Russia, but it won't affect my moves for now.
Since Russia will most likely move to Galicia and I think Italy will not attack me in any aggressive way, I will move Vienna to Galicia again. Albania will move to Greece. My most difficult decision is what to do with Serbia. I could support Russia into Rumania to show that I want to work with him versus Turkey, who he has a great position against, but on the other hand, I don't want Turkey to bounce me out of Greece, so I will use Serbia to lend support to Greece, preventing that from happening.
Carl Tuckerson wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:28 am
The second map is after Autumn 1901. Unfortunately there is a spoiler here, as I didn't think to screenshot the map before builds, so you can see that I made a curious decision.

https://webdiplomacy.net/map.php?gameID ... Type=large

Do you agree with my build decision? What if anything would you have done differently?
Are you surprised by any of the orders the other countries entered for Autumn 01?
Yes, I am surprised. Why did Italy attack me after seeing that dangerous Turkish opening? :( Turkey was less trusting to Russia than I thought. Now he has to use Aegean to support hold Bulgaria.

I don't get my fleet build. Why did I do that? There are armies all over me. D: I want something that can have influence over all of my home centers, not just Trieste! Weird stuff.
Carl Tuckerson wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:28 am
Onto Spring 1902... same map as above.

Are you surprised by any of the builds the other countries entered?
What orders are you anticipating out of the other powers in Spring 1902?
What strategic objectives are you building towards with your Spring 1902 turn?
What orders are you entering for Spring 1902?
Is there anything else you'd like to share about this turn?
I think I can understand a little bit why Russia would build that army there. He has a great position in the south but has to fear for England doing nasty stuff like moving his army from Norway to Finland and backfilling Norway with a fleet. Russia needs an extra northern unit to counter something like that, if he does not want to lose St. Petersburg.
I don't get Italy's build. I mean, when I see him building that army, I can guess that he wants to move Rom -> Ven -> Tyr, and I can easily block that. Instead of a third army, why not build a fleet in Naples so that he can support himself to Ionian Sea? That gives defense against Turkey and can be used offensively against me as well.

I expect Turkey to move Smyrna to Ionian Sea to move Ankara to Constantinople and either to use Aegean to support hold Bulgaria or to use Aegean to attack Greece, supported by Bulgaria. He wants to go west.
Italy will probably move Tunis to Ionian Sea, Rome to Venice, Venice to Tyrolia and Tyrolia to Bohemia, OR he tries to trick me and move Venice to Trieste with support of Tyrolia, OR he tries to really trick me and move Tyrolia to Trieste with support of Tyrolia, with his army in Rome going to Naples.
Russia is either supporting himself to Budapest, or is simply support holding himself, or wants to stab Turkey by convoying Rumania to Ankara. If Russia supports Galicia to Budapest, he should be worried about something slipping into Galicia and taking Warsaw. If he is aggressive against me, it seems more likely for him to move Rumania to Budapest with support of Galicia, and move Black Sea to Rumania. But he may not attack me because he is also fighting in the north and doesn't want to spread his armies too thin while helping Italy and Turkey. If he stabs Turkey, he can grow while Italy and I are keeping each other down.
Since I built a fleet, I guess I want to send it to open water, so I move Trieste to Adriatic Sea. I will Greece to Ionian to block Italy, move Serbia to Bulgaria in case it supports an attack on Greece, and move Budapest to Trieste with support of Vienna in case Italy supports an attack in Trieste. Meanwhile, I am praying that Russia is nice.
Carl Tuckerson wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:28 am
One final map... The game state as of Autumn 1902, after Spring 02 adjustments.
https://webdiplomacy.net/map.php?gameID ... Type=large

Are you surprised by any of the orders the other countries entered?
What orders are you anticipating out of the other powers in Autumn 1902?
What strategic objectives are you building towards with your Autumn 1902 turn?
What orders are you entering for Autumn 1902?
Is there anything else you'd like to share about this turn?
Okay so I misordered; I sent Vienna to Tyrolia instead of supporting Budapest to Trieste. But I am glad with my misorder as it countered what Italy was doing. I am very glad with what Russia is doing. He could have convoyed to Ankara, like I had predicted. I actually am fine that he will have a little bit more trouble with Turkey. Aaaanyway. I will keep attacking Bulgaria in the hope of receiving Russian support. It looks like he will get a build from Sweden and Ankara and he can afford to give that build to me. I will support with Greece this time. Trieste will be convoyed to Apulia and Vienna will just stay there, I don't want Italy walking into Vienna. Pray that Trieste doesn't get attacked? My hope is Italy support holding Venice.

naked
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Re: Anatomy of a Critical Gunboat Turn: Austria, Autumn 01 - Spring 03

#8 Post by naked » Wed Jul 31, 2019 3:24 pm

Regarding the 1901 builds:
Austria's fleet build is a strategic mistake on my opinion. It is mainly a high commitment build which makes sure that Italy for the rest of the game will be your enemy. Facing an aggressive Russia and Turkey this seems very optimistic to me. Yes, Italy was for sure no friend until now, but things can change.
Italy building a tank ??? That is just awful. Italy has to realize that his surprise attack on Austria did fail and he has to (re)evaluate the position. Making war with Austria ? In a 1 versus 1 this is not winnable. But what happens if R + T are joining? Austria will just lose, fighting for the only thing he can accomplish. Getting Italy as little out of it as possible. So most likely Italy will only get Trieste and this also only after or while R + T get her gains. I would exspect Turkey, after getting Greece, strongly thinking about going for Ionian Sea and crushing Italy. The only thing which can prevent this is a stab by Russia, which can or should happen, but this depends highly on the exact situation. Also a stab by Russia to Turkey in almost all situations in this game is no whoopee for Austria and/or Italy simply because it should leave a very strong Russia.

If i would be Russia in 1901 i would have simply gone for R + T and after a breakthrough versus Austria mainly looking for a stab versus Turkey, which should be do able with my fleet in the Black Sea. Assuming a successful stab, i would exspect having a good shot at the solo.

Matticus13
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Re: Anatomy of a Critical Gunboat Turn: Austria, Autumn 01 - Spring 03

#9 Post by Matticus13 » Wed Jul 31, 2019 3:50 pm

naked wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 3:24 pm
Regarding the 1901 builds:
Austria's fleet build is a strategic mistake on my opinion. It is mainly a high commitment build which makes sure that Italy for the rest of the game will be your enemy. Facing an aggressive Russia and Turkey this seems very optimistic to me. Yes, Italy was for sure no friend until now, but things can change.
Italy building a tank ??? That is just awful. Italy has to realize that his surprise attack on Austria did fail and he has to (re)evaluate the position. Making war with Austria ? In a 1 versus 1 this is not winnable. But what happens if R + T are joining? Austria will just lose, fighting for the only thing he can accomplish. Getting Italy as little out of it as possible. So most likely Italy will only get Trieste and this also only after or while R + T get her gains. I would exspect Turkey, after getting Greece, strongly thinking about going for Ionian Sea and crushing Italy. The only thing which can prevent this is a stab by Russia, which can or should happen, but this depends highly on the exact situation. Also a stab by Russia to Turkey in almost all situations in this game is no whoopee for Austria and/or Italy simply because it should leave a very strong Russia.

If i would be Russia in 1901 i would have simply gone for R + T and after a breakthrough versus Austria mainly looking for a stab versus Turkey, which should be do able with my fleet in the Black Sea. Assuming a successful stab, i would exspect having a good shot at the solo.
I'll have some comments in the actual game posted by this evening if you would like to take a look, naked. I happened to be Russia. I don't want to post any spoilers in here, but it's safe to say I disagree ;)

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Re: Anatomy of a Critical Gunboat Turn: Austria, Autumn 01 - Spring 03

#10 Post by Puscherbilbo » Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:50 pm

In GB going to Triest has to be better than bouncing Gal. With 5 units and even little Italian help i can hold my own. Especially vs R. And playing for time is great here. Russia will eventually loose interest and stab T.

The moveorder is fairly Anti-French usually going for Mar and Fleets west. Venice secures the east and has that fairly free stab. Free since Austria won´t be strong enough to retaliate anytime soon.

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Re: Anatomy of a Critical Gunboat Turn: Austria, Autumn 01 - Spring 03

#11 Post by pyxxy » Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:40 am

Going to give these questions a shot without reading the other posts in this thread. FYI I've only got a few gunboat games for experience but I have read a lot of Swordsman's posts about gunboat. Any criticism or questions about my reasoning is welcome, as I'm 100% learning.

Sorry for the super long post, I got really into writing it. As such, here's a summary of my thoughts/moves.

Short summary:

A01:
ALB -> TRI, VIE -> GAL, SER S BUL -> GRE. I need a friend. Russia and Italy look mean. That leaves pairing up with Turkey even though they opened friendly towards Russia. I hope it works.

W01 (hypothetical builds if my A01 moveset was done):
If Italy was mean and/or is still in VEN, F TRI. Else if Turkey took GRE, A BUD.

W01 (builds with the actual moves that were done):
Since Italy was mean and is still in VEN, F TRI to scare them. And since Russia is knocking on my doorstep, A BUD.

S02:
ADR support hold VEN.
BUD -> GAL supported by VIE.
SER support hold GRE.
GRE support AEG -> ION.

A02:
GRE -> ION supported by ADR.
VIE -> TYR bouncing with TRI -> TYR.
SER -> GRE (assumes that friendly Russia with do RUM -> BUL).
Carl Tuckerson wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:28 am
The first map is after Spring 1901.

https://webdiplomacy.net/map.php?gameID ... Type=large

You are Austria.
E:
I expect ENG -> BRE and YOR -> NWY via convoy. I see Germany with potentially 3 builds unless I contest BEL, so I want to be their friend by not contesting BEL, while still holding NTH in case they choose to attack me and to dissuade an attack on me. Germany might also bounce Russia which makes my army useful for supporting Germany or Russia into SWE and gaining a friend or attacking either country. Makes me desirable to have as a friend.

Other thing to think about is if I wanted to keep the army for convoying to France next year, so that my NWY build can be a fleet (which should happen regardless imo). Even if I take BRE, I don't see a land war in France as a great idea (yet). I want to see what Germany does with their builds first.

F:
I would take POR and lose BRE, and it's even possible that England doesn't take BRE. At this point, with a strong Germany on the horizon and England already in the channel, I don't need Brest because I won't be building northern fleets anyway. I bounce GAS and SPA in MAR to secure that. I'm not scared, but anti-France is the meta, so I'm on high alert next year.

G:
I see Turkey open friendly to Russia and decide to bounce Russia in SWE. I try for both BEL and HOL rather than support myself into HOL. I'm guaranteed two builds unless England decides to bounce both BEL and HOL (and get no builds for themselves???). It leaves all my centers open to pick my next play.

I:
Well, if I moved ROM -> VEN, I'm eyeing TRI. It might be worth moving TRI -> TYR to set up an army build in VEN (as I will move ION -> TUN). Problem is I've committed to anti-Austria half-heartedly by moving to PIE instead of TRI. Better move might be to support myself from PIE to TYR to setup myself as influential in the region, and no longer bothering France since they will have to fight off Germany.

R:
I'm content to be friends with Turkey, for now. I support myself from UKR -> RUM and try for GAL again. More than happy to start moving against Austria as I think Germany may turn into a strong threat in the mid-game.

T:
Russia took BLA as expected. I self-bounce in CON with BUL and ANK, just to be safe. I move CON to AEG to prepare to fight Austria. I watch closely to what Russia does this turn. I'm fine with Russia not accepting my opening, just means I have to be nice to Austria.

A:
R/T is scary. I've got to stay on supporting myself into Greece. The thing is, if I move to TRI to defend against Italy, do I send Italy a message that I don't trust them when I need an ally against R/T? Or do I leave TRI open and hope they get the general idea? Especially since Italy should see Turkey's open and start wondering about a Juggernaut.

With openings from Italy and Russia that don't give me a good chance to make friends, I think I have to try and befriend Turkey. Do I risk a second build for it, with SER supporting BUL into GRE and ALB moving back to TRI (and VIE to GAL again)? I think I do. It's not optimal...but I need a friend.
Carl Tuckerson wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:28 am
The second map is after Autumn 1901. Unfortunately there is a spoiler here, as I didn't think to screenshot the map before builds, so you can see that I made a curious decision.

https://webdiplomacy.net/map.php?gameID ... Type=large

Do you agree with my build decision? What if anything would you have done differently?
Are you surprised by any of the orders the other countries entered for Autumn 01?
Before looking at the A01 moves, I'll lay out what I might build if certain things happen. This assumes using my prior moveset of ALB -> TRI, VIE -> GAL, SER S BUL -> GRE.

If Russia takes RUM with UKR, that's fine and still leaves my build options open, as they can't hold BUD without taking GAL, and I can take back BUD in A02 with VIE and SER (as long as Turkey is my friend). If Russia takes RUM with BLA, then I won't build in BUD no matter what as I am much more worried about Turkey not allying with me now.

If Turkey went to GRE, I'll probably build A BUD to help Turkey fight Russia. Otherwise, I assume a neutral/hostile Turkey and a hostile Italy, so I might build F TRI to scare Italy into backing off and then move onto the Balkans. The fleet might also make Russia think about picking me over Turkey.
Carl Tuckerson wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:28 am
Onto Spring 1902... same map as above.
Reactions to A01 moves (if they warrant an opinion):

E:
Thought so. ENG -> BEL is reasonable to prevent a runaway Germany.

F:
uhhhhh I'm struggling to see what makes this a better play than MAO -> BRE and GAS bouncing with SPA in MAR. If you're worried about ENG slipping into MAO while you protect BRE and then moving onto the Iberian peninsula, you'll have an army in SPA and an army in GAS to hold POR and SPA, and protect BRE. Yes, your fleet would be stuck in Brest. But also this moveset would have let Germany have 3 builds, and then England is going to need F MAO elsewhere! I don't get these moves. I think France went too big brain on this moveset.

A:
Ah, this is interesting. I eagerly await your reasoning for this moveset, which makes a lot of sense. Same idea as using VIE to bounce something and remain in VIE, which may be better than having your fleet in ALB. This values another build over a potential friendship with Turkey (my moveset) but Turkey chose to protect their homeland over an unlikely two build moveset (a reasonable choice by them). But Serbia supporting would still have sent a friendly message.

I see armies surrounding me and I don't see a friendly face. Not sure what I would build now if I had done my moveset (which looks worse in retrospect). Probably an army in BUD? And just pray that Turkey starts pushing against Russia (I will be looking at Turkey's build to give me a sign).

Reactions to builds (if they warrant an opinion):

R:
Russia is befriending Turkey with the army in StP. That's bad for me as Austria. I may want to attack Russia and weaken them so that Turkey is tempted to join in on the fighting.

I:
A ROM...this is an attack against me as Austria. Giving up the seas to Turkey (and France is nothing to be worried about from the west) is a sign of allying against me.

T:
I'm thrilled to have no second fleet from Italy. I want to crush Austria along with everyone else now. My fleet build is a commitment to that.

A:
Given two builds...I agree with these. You need to either fight off Russia or Italy or both and leave them regretting ever attacking you, and do that fast enough to survive the other one still attacking you! And seeing an army from Italy, I may want to abandon TRI to them and start threatening ION, TUN, NAP with my fleets.

My plan as Austria...is to keep being nice to Turkey? Maybe I'm stuck mentally/tactically, but the whole "no one likes me" problem got worse after builds. I might have to support AEG -> ION and hope Turkey gets the idea. This is coupled with SER support holding GRE.

After that, if I guess that Italy will support itself into TRI, then ADR support holds VEN, thinking that I'll retreat to ADR anyway if I get dislodged, and in the slight chance that I'm not dislodged, maybe Italy looks elsewhere.

Other move would be BUD -> GAL supported by VIE. I want to push back Russia so that I can retake BUD in the fall. If Russia does RUM -> BUD, then in the fall I do GAL -> BUD supported by VIE. This might be cut by Italy in the fall, so I might have to use SER instead which could also be cut by RUM if Russia does RUM -> BUD and GAL -> RUM...which leaves WAR wide-open unless StP - MOS. WAR for BUD is a reasonable trade that I'm willing to take.

So yeah, my S02 would be ADR support hold VEN, BUD -> GAL supported by VIE, SER support hold GRE, GRE support AEG -> ION. It may be wrong/naive/inexperiencedness (sp?) to keep wanting to send ally signals to Turkey.
Carl Tuckerson wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:28 am
One final map... The game state as of Autumn 1902, after Spring 02 adjustments.
https://webdiplomacy.net/map.php?gameID ... Type=large
R:
That is the sneakiest sneak I've seen all day. A StP build was a great distraction. I'm curious how I could have predicted this sneakiness? Maybe I overestimated Turkey's kindness to Russia as turning into a real alliance?

T:
Oof.

A:
Oh man I've even more excited for your reasoning on these moves. My thought is that when you analyzed Russia last turn, you figured that for Russia to attack you and hold both BUD and RUM in the fall was either unlikely, or would required BLA -> RUM, or would require leaving WAR open. I saw WAR being open but I didn't come to the conclusion that Russia would act differently when they realized this (my mistake when writing this earlier, already I've learned something).

So by concluding that Russia would figure out that attacking you wasn't an easy win, you thought about their other options and saw the move against Turkey, and then made your moves predicting that moveset from Russia? And I'm writing all this without reading any other posts from you or in this thread, so apologies to anyone who already wrote this, I'm not trying to steal your ideas.

What would I do now? This all assumes Russia is my friend now. Bounce TRI and VIE in TYR to keep Italy penned in, SER -> GRE because I assume RUM -> BUL to cut support of AEG -> GRE, and GRE -> ION supported by ADR.

(going to eat dinner and then read other people's replies in this thread and learn more about gunboat!)

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Re: Anatomy of a Critical Gunboat Turn: Austria, Autumn 01 - Spring 03

#12 Post by naked » Thu Aug 01, 2019 3:38 pm

@Matticus13

I read your in game comment regarding 1901, but there was nothing concrete regarding my comment. I will try to give you a better idea of what i think is wrong with your choice of stabing Turkey instant. You should have a clear picture of your strategic options in this game and in the opening this mainly means knowing the particularities regarding your neighbours. Which are good partners to work with and which are bad partners to work with. With Russia and only looking in the south this is my picture of the possible relationships:
R + I: excellent partners, both have the same neighbours (=targets), both have plenty of room to growth without targeting the other (even after destroying A + T), both have a very hard time to get to the other mainland. So it is easy to work together with both sides getting gains and at the same time the other being no threat
R + T: good partner, both have one neighbour which they desperatly want to get ride of: Austria, both have plenty of room to growth without targeting the other (even after destroying A), but there is also the Black Sea which gives both sides good access to the other mainland. The Black Sea makes R + T more complicated than R + I
R + A: This realtionship as partners is very difficult. Why ? Because both mainlands are very close. This means even if you are working good together, demilitarizing your border, there only has to be one year with one player getting gains and the other getting none and you have a perfect setup for a stab. In fact this characteristic favours Austria, because his troops will always be not too far away from his mainland, because his mainland is very central, while Russia has to move his troops much more away from his mainland to put them to use. Also if Russia or Austrie wants the solo they have to get ride of the other. Look here:
https://brotherbored.com/diplomacy/gunb ... ro/russia/
You can get your solo as Russia with Turkey staying in the game, but not with Austria.

You can also look at the game and you see the problems Russia has with Austria. You are making war in the north with lots of troops and you are open to get stabbed the whole time. Austria doesnt need to set it up. He just needs to have some tanks in his mainland. Russia got everything he could even imagine in this game (all of Turkeys land, no pressure from Austria, the Scandinavians as a gift by England), except one thing: a defeated Austria. So there was no russian win.

Matticus13
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Re: Anatomy of a Critical Gunboat Turn: Austria, Autumn 01 - Spring 03

#13 Post by Matticus13 » Thu Aug 01, 2019 6:01 pm

naked wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 3:38 pm
@Matticus13

I read your in game comment regarding 1901, but there was nothing concrete regarding my comment. I will try to give you a better idea of what i think is wrong with your choice of stabing Turkey instant. You should have a clear picture of your strategic options in this game and in the opening this mainly means knowing the particularities regarding your neighbours. Which are good partners to work with and which are bad partners to work with. With Russia and only looking in the south this is my picture of the possible relationships:
R + I: excellent partners, both have the same neighbours (=targets), both have plenty of room to growth without targeting the other (even after destroying A + T), both have a very hard time to get to the other mainland. So it is easy to work together with both sides getting gains and at the same time the other being no threat
R + T: good partner, both have one neighbour which they desperatly want to get ride of: Austria, both have plenty of room to growth without targeting the other (even after destroying A), but there is also the Black Sea which gives both sides good access to the other mainland. The Black Sea makes R + T more complicated than R + I
R + A: This realtionship as partners is very difficult. Why ? Because both mainlands are very close. This means even if you are working good together, demilitarizing your border, there only has to be one year with one player getting gains and the other getting none and you have a perfect setup for a stab. In fact this characteristic favours Austria, because his troops will always be not too far away from his mainland, because his mainland is very central, while Russia has to move his troops much more away from his mainland to put them to use. Also if Russia or Austrie wants the solo they have to get ride of the other. Look here:
https://brotherbored.com/diplomacy/gunb ... ro/russia/
You can get your solo as Russia with Turkey staying in the game, but not with Austria.

You can also look at the game and you see the problems Russia has with Austria. You are making war in the north with lots of troops and you are open to get stabbed the whole time. Austria doesnt need to set it up. He just needs to have some tanks in his mainland. Russia got everything he could even imagine in this game (all of Turkeys land, no pressure from Austria, the Scandinavians as a gift by England), except one thing: a defeated Austria. So there was no russian win.
I actually missed a solo in A10 even with strong Austria. There are many different paths to victory my friend.
1

Carl Tuckerson
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Re: Anatomy of a Critical Gunboat Turn: Austria, Autumn 01 - Spring 03

#14 Post by Carl Tuckerson » Thu Aug 01, 2019 8:58 pm

I'm told we do not have a way to tag spoilers... so just know this entire post is spoilers for those who still want to try their hand at solving.

~~~
Carl Tuckerson wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:28 am
The first map is after Spring 1901.

https://webdiplomacy.net/map.php?gameID ... Type=large

You are Austria.

What orders are you anticipating out of the other powers in Autumn 1901?
What strategic objectives are you building towards with your Autumn 1901 turn?
What orders are you entering for Autumn 1901?
Is there anything else you'd like to share about this turn?
First things first, I will quickly dispense of the three Atlantic powers, and of Russia's northern unit. Though it's always good to try to predict everyone's moves--and I want to stop to give a shoutout to swordsman3003's superb gunboat journal for teaching me this skill as a self-improvement technique, check it out if you have not--for the purposes of this exercise, England, Germany, and France are only tangentially relevant.
This exercise is very tactical in nature, and we are very much in a "worst-case scenario" where we need to respond as though all three of Italy, Russia, and Turkey are at least potentially hostile. It's possible that France counterattacks Italy after the provocation in Piedmont or that England and Germany harass Russia in Scandinavia, but for our purposes, our fate will be decided by decisions we and I/R/T make before either of these possibilities comes into play. It's entirely possible, after all, that Italy and Russia could delay E/F/G long enough to kill us--Austria dies by 1903 with alarming frequency, and in gunboat where E/F/G can't negotiate a perfect WT solution, it will inevitably take them time to marshal their forces and clear things up with one another.
With all that said, I anticipated that England would allow Germany to take Belgium, for the tactical reason that an army in Belgium is better against France than a fleet; that Germany would bounce Russia in Sweden; that England would either go for Brest or Mid-Atlantic Ocean; and that France would cover Marseilles with Gascony and Spain, and either cover Brest or take Portugal (and I think taking Portugal is stronger here). Further, I did not anticipate that Italy would attempt to disrupt France further by providing hostile support to break the Marseilles standoff, or that Italy would attack Marseilles outright.

I didn't anticipate those plays, because Italy's opener is not anti-French, but anti-Austrian. I could write an entire piece on Italian opening strategy alone, but suffice to say for this post that if Italy wants to attack France early, this play is not the way to execute it. France will naturally find its units drawn north to fight England and Germany in almost all games, either in defense against an E/G alliance or on offense with one against the other. If Italy just waits until 1903-04, usually it will have an excellent opening to attack France without telegraphing the attack quite as hard. Making the first move against France is usually wrong as Italy, because France's units start off drawn to the south, due to Iberia, and so an Italian attack from the jump just makes sure that they stay drawn south, giving E/G the easy road to invade instead of you.

However, Italy's opener is great for attacking Austria, because it looks anti-French and risks provoking French aggression, which leads Austria to think you may be distracted on future turns. The continuation that Italy typically makes here is to move (often successfully) to Tyrolia and Trieste, and then building a second fleet and third army, giving a strong base of operations to push further into Austria while Austria has (typically) moved east to resist R/T. These styles of attacks are so effective against Austria that the meta response from Austria for quite some time (and possibly still today) is to suicide into Italy in response, throwing the game away to contribute to a meta that discourages future Italian players from making the same move.

Turkey's opener is unequivocally anti-Austrian, because it is unequivocally pro-Russian. Turkey has essentially guaranteed that he can never make a viable attack on Russia until after Austria is dead by conceding the Black Sea here. It is possible to pivot back against Russia, but Turkey would lose an entire year's worth of moves to circle back, and would still be on the defensive because of Russia's superior position in the Black Sea. Turkey has, for better or worse, committed to allying Russia and seeing to my and Italy's demise.

Russia's opener is completely neutral.

Right now, with two hostile powers and one neutral power as neighbors, there is one and only one strategic objective to which I'm building: survival. This script often ends with a dead Austria by 1903. My objective is to flip the script somehow: get the jump on one enemy, hold off the second, dissuade the third from attacking me.

The key to this strategy is to deny our opponents easy opportunities to take our centers. This strategy is why Austria almost always covers Galicia: the easiest way for Russia to attack Austria is to be allowed into Galicia on the first turn, and it's relatively low-cost to prevent that from happening, so you bounce it. It's also the principle behind rushing Greece with two units: aside from getting another build, Turkey can't meaningfully harm Austria until he takes Greece (which lets him pressure Serbia), so by taking and securing Greece, you prevent the harm before it begins.

I expect Italy to move to Tyrolia, Trieste, Tunis; Turkey to move to Greece, Aegean Sea, Bulgaria; and Russia to move to Galicia and support himself to Romania.

It turns out that Turkey decided to protect himself with a self-standoff. I thought about risking Greece by sending Serbia to cover Trieste, which would let me bounce Galicia again. Had I known what Turkey was actually going to do, I would have done this play, because it furthers the strategy of dissuading potential enemies by taking away easy avenues to attack us. But because I didn't know Turkey was going to hedge, I figured Turkey would see through his opening to what I considered the logical continuation--you trusted Russia enough to let him have the Black Sea; trust him this fall and pressure Greece instead of setting up a standoff. And if he does that, and I don't take Greece, I think I'm in more trouble even if I denied Galicia to Russia, because I don't have the units I need to fight Italy and Turkey at once.

Instead, I decided that I had to choose between leaving Trieste open and leaving Galicia open. There is a real argument to leave Trieste open--Italy could decide to back off--but I had a strong read that he wasn't going to back off, and I thought I would look like a tougher out with five centers but a hostile Russian in Galicia than I would with four centers.

A Vie -> Tri
A Ser S F Gre -> Alb
F Gre -> Alb

~~~
Carl Tuckerson wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:28 am
The second map is after Autumn 1901. Unfortunately there is a spoiler here, as I didn't think to screenshot the map before builds, so you can see that I made a curious decision.

https://webdiplomacy.net/map.php?gameID ... Type=large

Do you agree with my build decision? What if anything would you have done differently?
Are you surprised by any of the orders the other countries entered for Autumn 01?
Of course I agree with this handsome man...

I was surprised by the bounce in Belgium and by France's zero-build start, but as far as our theater goes, mostly everything went as expected. Turkey's hedge was surprising but doesn't change anything.

Since there's no use agreeing with myself, I'll explain my play.

We now know, of course, that Italy is hostile. We had a hunch before, it's now been confirmed. Turkey's play was a bit more cautious than expected, but we can be pretty sure he is still an enemy, since he's made it so hard to pivot against Russia. Russia is still not yet committed.

When determining friends and foes just from board position in gunboat, you need to look at two things: the lines of play available to your opponent and the incentives your opponent has to follow each one. If your opponent's only plausible lines of play involve attacking you, they're going to attack you. If your opponent has plausible lines of play in either direction, they're going to choose the route they're most incentivized to choose. I realize some of that sounds tautological, so bear with me a bit.

As we've discussed in 1901, Turkey's only plausible lines of play involve attacking me at this point. He deprived himself of the chance to attack Russia in any meaningful way by vacating the Black Sea and going straight to Aegean Sea. Since I've already taken Greece, Turkey's only possible line of play that doesn't involve taking centers from me would require him to build a second fleet and run a "reverse Lepanto" where he seizes Ionian Sea and convoys to Italy. That line is usually implausible because Italy almost always builds a second fleet in W01, which means forcing Ionian Sea is prohibitively difficult. And why go the very long way, leaving all your centers exposed to Russia and Austria to fight Italy, when you already have a supported attack on Greece, and a plausible ally in Russia (maybe two in Italy)? This is what I mean by incentives--Turkey's incentives are much more clearly to attack me than to go around me to hit Italy. And whatever incentives Turkey may have to attack Russia are a moot point, as his position prohibits him from attacking Russia.

Italy has several viable lines of play, including attacking me, that he could choose. It's not too late for him to pivot here and attack France or even Turkey. He would need to build a fleet, but the line is there. The main issue is not possibilities but incentives. If Italy recognizes what we've said above, he knows he has one ally ready to fight Austria with him. He also can't help but see Russian armies in Galicia and Romania. Italy could reposition for a year and maybe hit center #5 by the end of 1903... or he could participate in the carve-up of Austria and try his odds in an I/R/T middle game. His situation is pretty favorable there too, since Russia has the Black Sea and is unlikely to leave it. The incentives at this point clearly favor him attacking me, even though he has plausible alternatives.

Russia also has several viable lines of play, but the key difference and the linchpin of our solve to this puzzle is the fact that he is just as incentivized, maybe more incentivized, to ally with us as he is to ally with Turkey. Turkey has given Russia prime position to attack him if Russia wants, and we've been forced to give Russia the same. And unlike most situations where this is the choice, there's no significant difference in speed here: because Russia has the position to convoy into Ankara or Armenia right now, he will grow from attacking Turkey about as quickly as he will from attacking me. The difference, and it is a huge difference, is that Turkey is a corner position, highly insulated from further predation, while Austria is right in the crossroads of the solo ambitions of three countries. This difference is compounded by the fact that Italy already has a sizable jump on Austria. Russia's gains in Austria will probably be about two centers (Vienna + Budapest), and they will be very insecure for most of the middle and end game, whereas Russia's gains in Turkey will be 2-3 centers, and will be very insulated from others' greed. We can see that Russia is at least just as incentivized to ally with us as kill us.

Finally, though we hope it never comes to this, we must observe that because Italy and Turkey are already coming for us, if Russia joins in, our tactical choices are irrelevant. We cannot survive a three-front attack. Our hand has mostly been forced to trust Russia even if we thought he were likely to attack us. But we have good reason to think he won't, and there's no opportunity cost to trusting Russia because there's no world where we survive an untrustworthy Russia.

Because this analysis favors Russia over Italy and Turkey, our path is clear: we should commit all-in to an alliance with Russia and move in complete accordance with it, as though we negotiated it in press ourselves. The word "luck" is a bit of a dirty word these days, but we are essentially committing to catching the break that Russia will work with us instead of killing us. We will do what we can to encourage this outcome, but it's ultimately out of our hands.

Given this commitment, the fleet build is necessary for three reasons.
(1) The fleet is essential to counterattacking Italy and, should we get involved, the Turkish mainland.
(2) The fleet cannot threaten Russia until much later in the game.
(3) We want to leave open the possibility that Russia will be our ally for the long haul. Fleet builds are hard to come by as Austria, and they're necessary in an A/R more than any other alliance, because you will essentially become the king of the Mediterranean and will need to launch viable coastal attacks on Iberia, Marseilles, and MAO.

The other "choice" we had was to waive a build in Budapest, but that's plainly silly. I mention it only because it's possible to decide to do this, not because you ever should in this circumstance.

~~~
Carl Tuckerson wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:28 am
Onto Spring 1902... same map as above.

Are you surprised by any of the builds the other countries entered?
What orders are you anticipating out of the other powers in Spring 1902?
What strategic objectives are you building towards with your Spring 1902 turn?
What orders are you entering for Spring 1902?
Is there anything else you'd like to share about this turn?
I am very pleasantly surprised by Italy's army build. I know that sounds completely absurd, but remember what I said earlier about the trick to survival being not to give your opponents easy ways to attack you? The same goes for waging war against a known opponent: you win by depriving him of clean plays to defend himself and to attack you, and you lose by giving him openings to defend himself and/or attack you more efficiently than you defend yourself or attack him.

I believe Italy's army build was a mistake here for two reasons:
(1) Italy only has one fleet, which means that if I'm able to corral his armies in Italy, he will have literally zero means of successfully attacking me, because I will always be able to trade one fleet move for his fleet move. Furthermore, because I also built a fleet, I actually have the naval advantage and will be able to secure Ionian Sea and Adriatic Sea at some point, which gives me all the ability to attack.
(2) Italy's armies are bottlenecked through Tyrolia, which allows me efficient trades of moves. More on this in a bit.

Turkey's fleet build in Smyrna is no surprise. This is actually the build I'd expect from him if he were going after Italy, but I don't think Italy's no-fleet build changes Turkey's incentives. I guess I might have thought he'd build an army in Constantinople, but that's neither here nor there; the fleet makes sense.

Russia's no-build in Warsaw is a great sign. I think his build in St. Petersburg was forced, so it's not a clear sign of alliance, but it shows he hadn't yet made up his mind to attack me, which means that my fleet build in Trieste has a chance to endear me to him. (Minor spoiler: Matticus [Russia] said in the postgame that my fleet build in Trieste did have an impact on his decision in S02, so we know that Russia hadn't committed against me yet.)

Let's get down to business to defeat Italy. Italy has set himself up for a popular continuation called the "Bohemian Crusher," where Italy moves from Tyrolia/Venice to Bohemia/Tyrolia. Usually this is done in A01 with an army build in Venice, but in this case he's simply deferred it a turn. You'd expect that it would work a high % of the time anyway, since the obvious continuation for me from this position is to move Trieste -> Adriatic Sea, Vienna support Budapest to Trieste.

But we're outnumbered, six units to five, and integral to winning in such a situation is to figure out how we can trade one move for multiple. Holds are awful here, and virtual holds (i.e. when you offer a support that isn't relevant) are just as bad. Supporting ourselves to Trieste is terrible if our opponent doesn't support himself to Trieste. What else can we come up with here?
It's worth starting by seeing what a supported attack on Trieste would look like. The army in Rome badly needs to advance to a relevant position, so it's extremely likely that if any supported attack on Trieste occurred, it would look like this:

A Tyl S A Ven -> Tri
A Rom -> Ven

Notice that this means we are just as well off by moving Vienna to Tyrolia, as that cuts Italy's support.

What else does moving to Tyrolia do? Consider the Crusher continuation mentioned earlier. If we move to Tyrolia, our army trades for two Italian moves--Rome to Venice, Venice to Tyrolia. And honestly, without Tyrolia as backup, the army move to Bohemia is actively bad for Italy, since it has no ability to influence the battle lines except to attack Vienna. In a way it trades for "two and a half" moves.

Finally, we want to move our fleet in Greece to Ionian Sea if we can get away with it. This traps the Italian fleet in Tunis, meaning that we'll have traded two moves (Greece to Ionian Sea, Vienna to Tyrolia) for our opponent's entire turn.

The one catch is that Turkey has a supported attack on Greece. Since we're moving Greece, Serbia can't support its hold. But attacking Bulgaria should be just as good since there's no army in Constantinople: we will either cut support for an attack on Greece, or we'll take Bulgaria in exchange for Greece. If we cut support for an attack on Greece, that's superb, as we will have traded two moves (Greece to Ionian Sea; Serbia to Bulgaria) for three enemy moves (Tunis to Ionian Sea; Bulgaria support Aegean Sea to Greece). If we merely take Bulgaria instead, that's clearly worse, but still acceptable. We're very likely to get a support hold from Russia in Bulgaria if we end up there, and we can just accept the trade for the time being until we have time to retake Greece.

That leaves us with this moveset to trade with Italy's and Turkey's whole turns, as far as those turns immediately regard us:

A Vie -> Tyl
A Ser -> Bul
F Gre -> ION

This means we have two units--A Bud and F Tri--free to make positioning moves. This is the heart of how you win in these situations: you trade half your turn for your enemy's whole turn and you use the remaining moves to get a positional advantage.

Here, we're going to be able to move Trieste to Adriatic Sea and Budapest to Trieste, which in conjunction with keeping him out of Tyrolia and trapping an army in Bohemia, or with trading with his move to Trieste and taking the Adriatic Sea, will immediately turn the corner on Italy, putting us on the offense and leaving him to figure out how to defend himself.

Now we just pray that we catch our one break with Russia and we're in superb shape.

~~~
Carl Tuckerson wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:28 am
One final map... The game state as of Autumn 1902, after Spring 02 adjustments.
https://webdiplomacy.net/map.php?gameID ... Type=large

Are you surprised by any of the orders the other countries entered?
What orders are you anticipating out of the other powers in Autumn 1902?
What strategic objectives are you building towards with your Autumn 1902 turn?
What orders are you entering for Autumn 1902?
Is there anything else you'd like to share about this turn?
Perfect. We caught our break and our orders worked to perfection.

Here, I'm expecting Italy to support hold Venice, since Italy has no way to punish me for attacking Venice here. It's very plausible he risks losing Venice to support himself into Tyrolia in the fall, but that play just makes more sense in the Spring, when he can recoup a possible loss of Venice by attacking Vienna and Trieste. I'm expecting a support hold here, but Italy could surprise me with a gutsy move.
Italy will obviously move on Ionian Sea again.
I expect Turkey to try to pivot back against Russia now that Russia's made his move. I'd like to seal Turkey away in his home and leave him to Russia by taking Bulgaria this turn; the additional unit would also be very valuable in fully turning the corner on Italy in 1903. Since I'll need Greece for that (can't necessarily count on Russia helping me into Bulgaria, even if we're in accord), and since I'm expecting Italy to defend Venice, I'll use Adriatic Sea to stall Ionian Sea again. If I felt I could be sure that I'd get Bulgaria without using Greece, I would have gone for the more aggressive line of convoying Trieste to Apulia (anticipating no attack on Trieste) and using Greece to cut Ionian Sea again, building something (probably an army) in Trieste.

~~~

You can watch the full game unfold here if you like: https://webdiplomacy.net/board.php?game ... #gamePanel

~~~

END OF SPOILERS

~~~
2

pyxxy
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Re: Anatomy of a Critical Gunboat Turn: Austria, Autumn 01 - Spring 03

#15 Post by pyxxy » Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:25 am

Carl Tuckerson wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 8:58 pm
I'm told we do not have a way to tag spoilers... so just know this entire post is spoilers for those who still want to try their hand at solving.

When determining friends and foes just from board position in gunboat, you need to look at two things: the lines of play available to your opponent and the incentives your opponent has to follow each one. If your opponent's only plausible lines of play involve attacking you, they're going to attack you. If your opponent has plausible lines of play in either direction, they're going to choose the route they're most incentivized to choose. I realize some of that sounds tautological, so bear with me a bit.

....

Here, I'm expecting Italy to support hold Venice, since Italy has no way to punish me for attacking Venice here. It's very plausible he risks losing Venice to support himself into Tyrolia in the fall, but that play just makes more sense in the Spring, when he can recoup a possible loss of Venice by attacking Vienna and Trieste. I'm expecting a support hold here, but Italy could surprise me with a gutsy move.
Italy will obviously move on Ionian Sea again.
I expect Turkey to try to pivot back against Russia now that Russia's made his move. I'd like to seal Turkey away in his home and leave him to Russia by taking Bulgaria this turn; the additional unit would also be very valuable in fully turning the corner on Italy in 1903. Since I'll need Greece for that (can't necessarily count on Russia helping me into Bulgaria, even if we're in accord), and since I'm expecting Italy to defend Venice, I'll use Adriatic Sea to stall Ionian Sea again. If I felt I could be sure that I'd get Bulgaria without using Greece, I would have gone for the more aggressive line of convoying Trieste to Apulia (anticipating no attack on Trieste) and using Greece to cut Ionian Sea again, building something (probably an army) in Trieste.
This first part about lines of play is excellent and it got me wondering about what Italy could have done differently in A02. If you were in their position, what would you have done?

If I had to think outside the box...well, Tunis always goes to the Ionian.

Beyond that, since Italy might know that everyone expected the Bohemian Crusher and assume they're focused on attacking Austria, would it have been viable to try and slip into Munich for essentially a loan of that center? This would have let Italy build a fleet and later disband that third army when losing Munich, giving them more flexibility in the future. This also would have let Italy defend Venice with Rome's support in case you (Austria) attack with support. And if it got bounced, it's the same result as moving to Vienna.

Or is it not worth annoying Germany this early in the game? I also know that crossing the center/stalemate line as Italy is discouraged as an unsustainable strategy, but in this case I think the fact that it is unsustainable is the whole point (to disband the third army in the future).

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Re: Anatomy of a Critical Gunboat Turn: Austria, Autumn 01 - Spring 03

#16 Post by Carl Tuckerson » Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:52 am

I think going to Munich would have been a great move there actually, if Italy follows up by building a fleet. Annoying Germany is unfortunate, but Germany was in the thick of a fight with England and Russia, so Germany can't meaningfully punish the play.

Getting that build and getting into Munich also unlocks Italy's hand a bit. The fleet prevents Austria from securing naval dominance if Italy decides to continue the fight, and probably keeps me off of convoying to Apulia (I was very highly prizing the ability to deprive Italy of any meaningful use of his fleet in Tunis, so I think there's a good chance I continue stalling the seas instead of attempting the convoy).
The fleet is also obviously useful for attacking Turkey or France. And there's an occasionally employed gambit (usually in full press) where Italy fakes an attack on Austria, then dives into Munich in A01, then builds fleets and moves Munich to Burgundy with German support, Venice to Piedmont, fleets west, and tries to outflank France by going around Switzerland. It's certainly never planned out in gunboat, but this would have been a situation where Italy might pull that off, depending on the status of France's armies in 1903. And the fail case is that you just disband your army, having effectively converted it to a fleet, and go about your day.

Usually I hate pissing additional people off in a spot like Italy's, but in this case Germany would had a very tough time making good on any threat against Italy, and Italy badly needed a fleet to extricate himself from the war with Austria (or continue to prosecute it).

I can't say I'd have done it, because I don't know if I'd have thought of it, but I think that's an excellent idea.
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pyxxy
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Re: Anatomy of a Critical Gunboat Turn: Austria, Autumn 01 - Spring 03

#17 Post by pyxxy » Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:40 am

Oh wow, I had never heard of the full press variant of Italy doing MUN -> BUR in 1902, that's pretty clever. And it definitely would have been an option with France missing builds early in this game. Thanks for your thoughts!

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Re: Anatomy of a Critical Gunboat Turn: Austria, Autumn 01 - Spring 03

#18 Post by Puscherbilbo » Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:27 am

Well i think Italy should have built a Fleet. At least for me it is not conceivable why an Austro-Russian alliance would be more beneficial to Russia than an Russian-Italian one.
The tactical superior position vs Turkey should be more or less permanent.
So carving up Austria and then reorganizing Turkey seems a really strong option.

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Re: Anatomy of a Critical Gunboat Turn: Austria, Autumn 01 - Spring 03

#19 Post by Puscherbilbo » Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:34 am

If Italy does not go for this kind of stupid built then an army surpasses a Fleet in its usefulness. The situation seems highly fluent tactically. So delaying any advance of our neighbours hightens the probability for someone to switch sides.
I am also banking on the fact that Russia might go for the easier target available. But this also means i should not present myself as such.

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Re: Anatomy of a Critical Gunboat Turn: Austria, Autumn 01 - Spring 03

#20 Post by New England Fire Squad » Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:17 pm

Puscherbilbo wrote:
Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:34 am
If Italy does not go for this kind of stupid built then an army surpasses a Fleet in its usefulness. The situation seems highly fluent tactically. So delaying any advance of our neighbours hightens the probability for someone to switch sides.
I am also banking on the fact that Russia might go for the easier target available. But this also means i should not present myself as such.
Italy hit the wrong button.
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