Gunboat Strategies

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YanksFan47
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Gunboat Strategies

#1 Post by YanksFan47 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:46 pm

While I find I am subpar in standard diplomacy, I am quite abysmal when it comes to gunboat games. What is your strategy for doing well in gunboat? Specific countries' strategies and/or generalizations are both welcome and appreciated!

Octavious
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Re: Gunboat Strategies

#2 Post by Octavious » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:05 pm

I have a three point gunboat strategy that never fails...

1) During the pre-game period press the "leave game" button.

2) Search for a game of diplomacy

3) Join said game

Aereaux
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Re: Gunboat Strategies

#3 Post by Aereaux » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:15 pm

Octavious wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:05 pm
1) During the pre-game period press the "leave game" button.
I tried this last night, but the button was gone, saying that the game was starting soon, and I couldn't leave.

President Eden
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Re: Gunboat Strategies

#4 Post by President Eden » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:44 pm

Octavious wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:05 pm
I have a three point gunboat strategy that never fails...

1) During the pre-game period press the "leave game" button.

2) Search for a game of diplomacy

3) Join said game
presslet detected

gunboat masterrace

CptMike
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Re: Gunboat Strategies

#5 Post by CptMike » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:50 pm

A good strategy in gunboat is to observe and play defensive.
When two neighbours are at war, chose the best one [for you] to help.

Aereaux
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Re: Gunboat Strategies

#6 Post by Aereaux » Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:03 pm

I don't play too much gunboat, but I've found that I make and break alliances more often in GB, mostly (I think) because it's harder to form actual alliances because of the communication barrier.

President Eden
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Re: Gunboat Strategies

#7 Post by President Eden » Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:09 pm

YanksFan47 wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:46 pm
While I find I am subpar in standard diplomacy, I am quite abysmal when it comes to gunboat games. What is your strategy for doing well in gunboat? Specific countries' strategies and/or generalizations are both welcome and appreciated!
There are four things I would consider to be the key to success in gunboat games.

#1: Absolute mastery of your tactical options. Diplomacy's tactics are "simple" in that there are only a few permutations of useful moves in any given situation (support holds and moves, cutting supports, etc.), but "complex" in that you will usually find many layers of valid decisions in any situation. Before we worry about guessing the opponent's valid decision and countering it (see later), we need to make sure we cut out all our options that are invalid.

#2: Complete understanding of the major stalemate lines. This is as simple as going to a website like this archive of the Diplomacy Archive (so meta!) showing major stalemate positions. You won't need this knowledge straight from Spring 1901 per se, but you should be constantly aware of the key "battleground provinces." "Begin with the end in mind."

#3: Knowledge of standard opening options for each country. I wouldn't go so far as to say there are "standardized" gunboat openings for every country, but there are usually a few viable options for every country that come down to 1-2 important questions for the player. The Diplomacy Advice subsection of this forum has a Helpful Links topic with a couple of different addresses to read up on these. You don't need an encyclopedic knowledge of every opening every self-important jabroni bothered to write about in the 1970s, but all of the "normal" openings people play are covered in those pages. This is important for deciding how you wish to open, and getting an idea of how to read the openings of the other players.

#4: Be able to play everyone's turn at once. This is the hardest but most important skill. Gunboat is largely about prediction of your opponent's moves, especially once diplomatic pictures settle in and friends and enemies become known. Think through at least the "first level" play from your opponent (i.e. they have a guaranteed capture of an SC in the fall), and identify the moveset that best punishes the first level (maybe you can send would-be defenders into vulnerable non-SC provinces, instead of just having them sit there trying to save a doomed SC, support cut, effectively doing nothing). This can get complicated, especially if your opponent ends up with a "50/50 choice" (two moves of more or less equal validity), but even if you fail the first several times you try to guess, keep working on this skill and playing more games, and it'll come to you.


And don't forget the Golden Rule:
If you aren't absolutely sure what you want out of the game, don't pick fights first!
This is probably the most common mistake newer players make. They make the subtle mistake of interpreting "no press" to mean "no diplomacy," and just set out to conquer another player's territory without concern for whether they are limiting their options and making themselves vulnerable unnecessarily. This applies a little less to some countries than others (more defensible countries can afford to be more aggressive), but in general, the other players are usually going to commit first if you're just patient and wait until 1902. In gunboat, being reactive isn't a guarantor of survival, but especially if you're relatively inexperienced, you are more likely to have better outcomes by letting other people make the first move. Let them commit their troops everywhere while you make neutral opening plays; if they come after you, then you will have your whole strength at the ready to defend, and if they do not, then you'll have your pick of the litter and can make a more decisive opening strike at another country.

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Re: Gunboat Strategies

#8 Post by Octavious » Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:04 pm

Yep. Like Eden says, to succeed in gunboat you learn some basic bog standard openings and connect the dots to some basic bog standard finishing positions, making sure you don't do anything that could be interpreted as initiative in between. 8-)

President Eden
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Re: Gunboat Strategies

#9 Post by President Eden » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:17 pm

Octavious wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:04 pm
Yep. Like Eden says, to succeed in gunboat you learn some basic bog standard openings and connect the dots to some basic bog standard finishing positions, making sure you don't do anything that could be interpreted as initiative in between. 8-)
So just like full press, without having to talk to the self-important brainlets running around this site?
Best argument for GB yet, thanks Oct!

Octavious
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Re: Gunboat Strategies

#10 Post by Octavious » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:23 pm

President Eden wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:17 pm
So just like full press, without having to talk to the self-important brainlets running around this site?
Like full press without the fun, yes :)

Octavious
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Re: Gunboat Strategies

#11 Post by Octavious » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:27 pm

President Eden wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:17 pm
Blah blah blah blah blah blah...
Oh, that's fun... You can deliberately misquote someone :P

President Eden
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Re: Gunboat Strategies

#12 Post by President Eden » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:55 pm

Octavious wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:27 pm
President Eden wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:17 pm
Blah blah blah blah blah blah...
Gunboat is the One True Way to play Diplomacy
:o

Octavious
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Re: Gunboat Strategies

#13 Post by Octavious » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:14 am

President Eden's Mom wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:55 pm
He's such a sweet boy, and when he announced to the world he was a gunboater we weren't surprised. Looking back the signs were always there. Even so, as a parent you can't help but feel a small pang of sadness. He's going to miss out on so much...
:cry:

swordsman3003
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Re: Gunboat Strategies

#14 Post by swordsman3003 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:57 pm

Read this journal I wrote about playing a gunboat game from start to finish. I believed I discussed every possible thing a gunboat player might consider during a game:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Kb2 ... iAfsJE9WY/

Consult my primer on gunboat solo win strategies to see which powers are natural allies or enemies and which centers you will likely need to conquer to win:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CAM ... tStABatOtA

Claesar
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Re: Gunboat Strategies

#15 Post by Claesar » Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:12 pm

It's a long read (Swordsman's journal), but definitely worth your time! It made me a better man. No, seriously, it's good and recommend it.

bo_sox48
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Re: Gunboat Strategies

#16 Post by bo_sox48 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:16 pm

That journal belongs in the category of webDip's best reads. That might have been the best EOG posted.

mhsmith0
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Re: Gunboat Strategies

#17 Post by mhsmith0 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:45 pm

How to play Gunboat

See if you randed Turkey

1) If you did, solo

2) If you didn't, join another game and try to rand Turkey

:P

taylornottyler
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Re: Gunboat Strategies

#18 Post by taylornottyler » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:44 pm

I always try and throw in one or two absolutely ridiculous moves just because people try to guess exactly what you’re going to do. By sometimes taking a more foolish course you end up being in a better position rather than in a boring stalemate. Sometimes you don’t. But that’s what makes it fun.

taylornottyler
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Re: Gunboat Strategies

#19 Post by taylornottyler » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:01 am

That being said - only apply foolishness when you have nothing new to do. I agree with the majority in this forum in that starting aggressively will be your downfall (though the only real thing you can do as austria) but from there just mess with people. My absolute favorite thing is to guess people’s moves when they’re about to take a territory (especially if it’s mine) and support the into it because it makes no sense, and if you didn’t want to bounce them it really messes with everyone else on the board.

swordsman3003
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Re: Gunboat Strategies

#20 Post by swordsman3003 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:26 pm

Some moves are unpredictable because they are weak. I advise against making unpredictable moves for the sake of unpredictability.

Tactically, "predictable" and "strong" are often the same thing. For example, in a high-level game it is easy to predict the opening moves and first few turns' follow up because good players have shared ideas of what are powerful ways to begin a game.

Furthermore, making moves that are both unpredictable and weak may have bad diplomatic consequences: players who come across as weak are often chosen as early targets. Someone who makes moves which make no tactical sense and also weaken their position is a tempting early target because such a player appears likely to collapse quickly when attacked (due to their poor choices thus far, or due to continuing to make poor choices once under attack). I especially advise that you not make moves which do not advantage you even if they succeed.

On the other hand, overly-predictable moves will hold you back. In many situations in Diplomacy, there is a way for other players to counter your chosen moves -- so playing in a way that other players can catch on to and start predicting is not the best way to play.

However, this does not mean you should make unpredictable moves for the hell of it. Instead, think of moves which are reasonably strong (perhaps not the very strongest) but are harder to predict. These moves have a reasonable chance of succeeding and paying off well. Mixing together powerful-but-obvious and less-strong-but-still-decent combinations of moves (perhaps playing different batches of units differently) across many turns (varying your choices) will reduce your predictability without sacrificing the quality of your move choices. I advise that you occasionally make risky moves, but there should be some kind of substantial payoff that you anticipate if the risky move succeeds.

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