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Cadillac Alliances

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These alliances are tried and true. They are seen so many times that they have been named by the Diplomacy community.

Anschluss (Austria + Germany)

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Named after the Anschluss, the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938. Probably the most natural alliance on the board, for Germany is the only power Austria can count on, this alliance varies in every game. Sometimes a full alliance against Russia, sometimes just a non-aggression pact, these two powers must stand back to back in the game. A stab in this alliance spells doom for both, for attacking the most natural ally in the game results in wasting of armies pulled from other fronts. The first target is to either have Germany work in the west while contributing a few armies against Russia or Italy. Once one power in the East has fallen, the alliance is free to continue against the other (usually Turkey comes after Russia, then Italy). Austria has only slightly more to gain in the alliance, for it cannot influence the west until it breaks through Italy or the Mediterranean, but generally, the two powers are on very equal terms. A stab from the other power is unlikely in this alliance, which helps build it in most situations. Some variations for Germany are: Bohemian Variant (A Ber-Kie, A Mun-Boh) Burgundy Variant (A Ber-Kie, A Mun-Bur) Ruhr Variant (A Ber-Mun, A Mun-Ruhr) Silesia Variant (A Ber-Kie, A Mun-Sil) Tyrolean Variant (A Ber-Kie, A Mun-Tyr)

The Sealion (France + Germany + Russia vs England)

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The Sealion opening, a joint Franco-German-Russian opening against England, is named after 1940 Operation Sea Lion, Nazi Germany's plan for the invasion of Britain which was eventually called off after the Nazis lost the Battle for Britain. Just as in real life, the goal is to use forces in France and Germany to launch a sudden excursion into the waters around England in order to seize control of them, then land troops on the island to bring down England -- a power which is traditionally extremely difficult to eliminate -- in very short order. Russia provides support for the operation by blocking England from Norway and is typically awarded Norway as a prize for this support.

The negotiations are relatively easy; France negotiates a DMZ in the English Channel and France and Germany come to some agreement on Burgundy (sometimes a DMZ, other times allowing France to move to Burgundy as a feint).

Sealion moveset
Date Moveset Comment
Spring 1901 France: F Bre -> Eng, A Par -> Pic/Bur, A Mar -> Spa

Germany: F Kie -> Den, A Ber -> Kie, A Mun -> Ruh

Russia: F Stp(sc) -> GoB, A Mos -> StP (A War and F Sev are irrelevant; Russia should not move A War -> Pru/Sil)

England: F Edi -> NWS, F Lon -> NTH, A Lvp -> Yrk [most likely opening]

After Spring 1901:
  • At this point England will probably consider France an enemy and Russia a nuisance; this is Germany's turn to steer English actions to prevent any snags in the plan.
  • France now wants to support Germany into the North Sea.
  • Germany should probably push England to cover London with A Yorkshire and support Norwegian Sea to Norway with North Sea.
Autumn 1901 France: France: F ENG S German F Den -> NTH, A Pic/Bur -> Bel, A Spa H/-> Por

Germany: Germany: F Den -> NTH, A Kie -> Den, A Ruh -> Hol

Russia: Russia: F GoB -> Swe, A StP -> Nwy

England: A Yrk -> Lon, F NTH S F NWS -> Nwy [most likely, cont. varies]

After Autumn 1901:
  • From here there are a couple of possibilities, depending on England's moves; but odds are the position is like described in the row below.
Winter 1901 (Possible positions after the most likely move in A1901)
  • France: F ENG, A Bel, A Spa/Por
  • Germany: F NTH, A Den, A Hol
  • Russia: F Swe, A StP
  • England: F NWS, A Lon, F NTH [retreat could be Edi, Yrk, HEL, SKA]
Deployment phase 1901:
  • England is likely without a build, and France and Germany definitely have two.
  • Their builds can go toward their next targets; the starting units are sufficient for the next step in the plan.
Spring 1902 France: F ENG C A Bel -> Wal

Germany: F NTH C A Hol -> Yrk

Russia: F Swe S A StP -> Nwy

England: Doesn't matter, England's game is over.

After Spring 1902:
  • If both convoys go through, England's game is over, as the French-German alliance can support itself into two of England's three home centers.
  • England can typically manage to dislodge the German fleet in North Sea and save itself, but depending on the retreat and Russia's cooperation it may not (for instance, if England retreated to SKA, Russia might have F Swe hit Skaggerack and cut a support).
  • Or, England may elect to cover Edinburgh with Norwegian Sea; if so, both convoys go through and England is cooked.
Trying to predict beyond S02 is difficult because of all the possible permutations of England's moves in A01 retreat phase and S02 movement phase, but England should be out of the game by 1904. France probably has a fair claim to London and Liverpool, Germany to Edinburgh, Russia to Norway; at this stage, Germany and Russia are likely to go to war over Scandinavia and their respective homelands, while France turns south to attack Italy (or, perhaps, gets involved in the impending German-Russian conflict).

There are several pitfalls to consider.

  1. Russia's involvement: Russia can profit nicely from acquiring Norway and Sweden, but if England falls too fast, Germany will be ready to hit Russia before Russia sees profits from the campaign in Southeastern Europe. Russia may decide to opt out of a Sealion altogether and certainly has no impetus to accelerate England's demise once it acquires Norway.
  2. England's reactions: An experienced England may recognize what's going on and allow Russia to take Norway (in line with (A.)), using its units instead to bounce France or Germany out of a Lowland center while support holding the North Sea. There's little the Sealion coalition can do if England realizes the Sealion is developing; the trick is to make sure that France (in S01 diplomacy phase) and Germany (in A01 diplomacy phase) convey their peaceful intentions to England very clearly and convincingly so that England doesn't catch on.
  3. The southeast: Both France and Russia could come into trouble in 1901 with such a commitment north. Italy moving to Piedmont in S01 can cause France some serious problems, especially if it leads to France guessing wrong in A01 on whether to bounce Italy from Marseilles or not. A one-build France will be particularly vulnerable to an Italian focusing west. Likewise, Russia has to pull one of its armies north; the result is, typically, that Russia seeks to demilitarize Galicia with Austria, so that it can send Warsaw to Ukraine to secure Rumania. Russia is therefore dependent on Austrian goodwill. (Turkey can also cause problems for Russia, but the result from Turkey's point of view is no different than the standard Russian opening, so the threat is no greater than usual.) If Austria or Italy decide to cause trouble or seem to be causing trouble during S01 negotiations, the Sealion is not an attractive option.

The Sealion is a powerful opening with relatively low-maintenance diplomacy requirements; aside from a successful Italian(-Russian) attack on Austria in 1901, it is likely the most rapid dismemberment of a power in the entire game, leaving a power with a single center after 1902 and possibly out of the game by 1903.

The Lepanto (Austria + Italy)

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The Lepanto System, a joint Italian-Austrian opening system against Turkey, is named after the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, a naval clash between the Ottoman Empire and the Holy League (which at the time included the Spanish Empire, in Italy, and the Habsburg Empire, in Austria). The opening (which, for those curious, is not based on the actual events of the Battle of Lepanto) has Italy convoy an army to Tunisia via Ionian Sea in Autumn 1901, while Austria captures Serbia and Greece; then in 1902, Austria seizes Bulgaria while Italy builds a fleet and sets up a convoy line to Syria. If the opening succeeds, then Turkey is often eliminated by 1903 or 1904, a remarkable feat considering the defensive prowess of the Ottoman state. The bulk of the traditional opening system's moves are Italian, and so the opening can be attempted by Italy, without Austrian support; however, neither side of the equation can afford the opening without at least nonaggression from the other, and an outright alliance is preferred.

The Spring 1901 negotiations focus on a couple of key relationships: Austria's relationship with Russia and Italy's relationship with France. (Germany is practically a given not to interfere with Italy and Austria, but some focus on keeping up good relations with Germany is required.) Austria should keep Russia out of Galicia at all costs in 1901; as long as Austria doesn't have trouble from Russia in 1901, Turkey has little to no chance to resist the Austrian assault on Bulgaria in 1902. Italy's relationship with France is most vital: France can ruin the opening with an early Mediterranean excursion, but fortunately for Italy, simply offering nonaggression to France is often sufficient, because France usually has more pressing matters to attend with England and Germany. Austria and Italy also should coordinate to convince Russia that Turkey is going to the Black Sea, and vice versa; it often takes very little effort to get Russia and Turkey to bounce in the Black Sea in Spring 1901, but that bounce is vital because a Turkey which can get its fleet into the Aegean Sea by Winter 1901 can defeat the Lepanto without much trouble.

Austria: F Tri -> Alb, A Vie -> Gal (bounce), A Bud -> Ser
Italy: F Nap -> ION, A Rom -> Apu, A Ven H*
Turkey: F Ank -> BLA (bounce), A Con -> Bul, A Smy -> Con
Russia: F Sev -> BLA (bounce), A Mos -> Ukr, A War -> Gal (bounce)

The next step is pretty easy; the A01 moves practically write themselves. Aside from maintaining Franco-Italian peace, there's not much new to do in A01.

Austria: A Ser S F Alb -> Gre, A Vie -> Gal (bounce)
Italy: F ION C A Apu -> Tun, A Ven H*
Turkey: F Ank -> BLA, A Bul -> Gre (bounce), A Con -> Bul (bounce)
Russia: F Sev S A Ukr -> Rum, A War -> Gal (bounce)

Austria builds all armies, Italy builds a fleet in Naples. Turkey may build a fleet in Smyrna, which should be watched carefully for, because it can pose a very real danger to the success of the Lepanto; however, there is a good chance that Turkey will move that fleet to the Aegean Sea to contest Austrian control of Greece. Careful diplomacy between Austria and Turkey may induce Turkey to build an army in Smyrna to attack Russia; this is best because the Lepanto then has a high chance of success. And if Russia can be convinced to support the fleet to Rumania instead of the army, then Austria and Italy practically have a war stirred up already: Russia typically follows this with a fleet build in Sevastopol, and Turkey, knowing this, is forced to build a fleet in Ankara to defend the Black Sea.

S02 is the pivotal turn and it is absolutely vital that everything with France and Germany is squared away. France needs to be looking at England or Germany as an initial target, and Germany simply needs to be reassured of peace. Russia is fairly harmless at this point because Austria can still stall Russia out of Galicia.

Austria: F Gre S A Ser -> Bul, A Tri -> Ser, A Bud S A Vie -> Gal (bounce)
Italy: F Nap -> ION, F ION -> EMS, A Tun H, A Ven H*
Russia: A Rum S A War -> Gal (bounce), F Sev S A Rum, A Mos -> Ukr
Turkey: F Smy -> AES, A Bul -> Gre (fails, dislodged), A Con -> Bul (bounce), F BLA -> Con (bounce)

And in A02, Austria can typically force Rumania while preserving Galicia (if war with Russia is desired) and Bulgaria, or simply stick to the objectives, while Italy has an open convoy to Syria. Turkey collapses in about two more years with or without Russian help.

Typical partition of spoils sees Italy claim all three Turkish home centers, while Austria turns next to Russia. Austria is understood to accept a marginal share of the spoils from Turkey in exchange for enhanced security (by consolidating control of the Balkans) and peace to look toward Russia for more serious gains. Italy uses its builds to go west against France. Of course, both powers are in an excellent position to attack one another after the fall of Turkey; the Lepanto allows both countries to be flexible in post-Ottoman foreign policy.

There are many variations on the Lepanto, which is why it is referred to as the Lepanto System instead of the Lepanto Opening. Each one requires discussion of about this length to cover adequately and as such these variations have not been included.

Some pitfalls to consider:
(A.) Mutual security
Italy and Austria have the most complicated security issue in the game, with two home centers adjacent to one another. The idleness of the Italian army creates a difficult situation for the two powers to resolve. On the one hand, Austria is slightly uncomfortable with the notion of having to tie up all of its units defending against Russia while executing the Lepanto, while Italy has an army sitting next to one of the Austrian home centers capable of causing problems. (One common Italian stab is to set up a Lepanto, then walk into Trieste in 1901 anyway.) On the other hand, if Austria *isn't* tied up fending off Russia, then it can be ever-so-tempting for Austria to use its two army builds to take Venice from Italy in 1902. And if Italy tries to utilize its army elsewhere -- harassing France or Germany, or even moving to Bohemia to help Austria take Galicia in 1902 -- then the security gap is even wider. (The asterisk in the moves listed above indicate that Italy doesn't have to hold in Venice and that as long as both parties are comfortable with other movements, Italy is free to use the army elsewhere.)
(B.) Turkey
An experienced Turkey can pre-empt the Lepanto as early as the A01 movement phase, and build the appropriate fleet in Smyrna (in W01) and move to Eastern Mediterranean (in S02) to prevent the Lepanto convoy. One counter devised to this plan is to have Italy move to Aegean Sea with Austrian support; however, the A02 convoy to Syria becomes a convoy to Constantinople or Smyrna, much more difficult to pull off. (Sometimes Austria will help Italy convoy to Bulgaria from Tunisia in A02; however, the benefit of this is questionable to Austria, as Austria now gains no centers from Turkey's demise.) And if Turkey happened to negotiate a DMZ in the Black Sea with Russia in 1901 -- which wasn't broken by Russia right afterward -- then Turkey can get his fleet to the Aegean Sea by A01 and block both sea spaces from Italy. The Lepanto requires some serious misdirection in negotiations between Austria/Italy and Turkey.
(C.) The neighbors
While it's unlikely that France or Germany will cause problems for Italy or Austria (respectively) during the Lepanto, Russia could be a thorn in Austria's side. And Russia is likely not too welcome in the attack on Turkey: three powers trying to cut into four centers' worth of spoils is simply too difficult to divide without someone getting shafted, and Russian presence doesn't provide major help in bringing Turkey down. Austria has the heavy duty in Russian negotiations. Italy, meanwhile, needs to be talking to the western powers, even England, to ensure that France is busy until around 1905 or so, when Italy has the builds needed to attack France. An Anglo-German alliance works wonders for this, though it could cause Austria problems down the road when it comes time to KO Russia (on account of the fact that, again, three powers combining on one leads to someone being shafted out of the spoils).

The Juggernaut (Russia + Turkey)

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An alliance between Russia and Turkey is often referred to as the "Juggernaut".[1]

Easily the most feared alliance in the game is the Juggernaut, the alliance between Turkey and Russia, which can sweep across the board extremely rapidly. Only committed defense by Austria, Italy, Germany, and England will bring the alliance to a halt. Enlisting the aid of Italy in particular can be difficult, due to resentment for being unable to expand, being deliberately uncooperative by attacking Austria or seeing the alliance as an opportunity to side with Russia should he decide to stab Turkey. Without having to worry about safety in the south, Russia quickly punches through Scandinavia, Germany and the northern Balkans. Turkey clears through the southern Balkans and the Mediterranean. Turkey's other options for alliance (Austria and Italy) are difficult to sell, so the Juggernaut becomes one of Turkey's few choices.

An important point to consider is what to do with the Black Sea since whoever controls the Black Sea has plenty of opportunities to backstab their ally and take one of her homeland supply centers: Sevastopol in the case of Russia and Ankara or Constantinople in the case of Turkey, or possibly Bulgaria or Rumania. Continued stand-offs at the Black Sea with Turkey's starting fleet and Russia's southern fleet is a common way to solve this issue between the two powers.

Other Common Alliances

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The Entente Cordiale (England + France)

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An alliance between England and France has been referred to as the "Entente Cordiale", named after the series of agreements between France and England of 1904.[2]

France and England are nearly as dangerous to each other as Russia and Turkey. Both printed and conventional wisdom states that England and France are best off trying to claw each other's eyes out starting Spring 1901 (although France usually has the option of picking up Iberia first, then working against England). Together, the two can roll through Germany, then France will turn towards Italy, while England moves through Scandinavia and Russia. One of England's greatest dangers is its "backdoor", in the Irish Sea and North Atlantic Ocean. A French fleet can move from the relatively non-threatening position in the Mid-Atlantic Ocean to England's doorstep in one turn. France must also be wary of England, who can swing a fleet into the North Atlantic from the Norwegian Sea. Demilitarizing the English Channel is a good way to keep a good strong alliance between the two powers. If it can be negotiated, a French fleet in Brest can be a fabulous tool to prevent this backstab - the fleet can go nowhere that threatens England, but at the same time, France cannot build a fleet to support his attack.

The Anglo-Saxon (England + Germany)

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England and Germany ally a little more frequently than England and France, because England and France are both naval powers, while Germany is traditionally a land-based power. However this alliance will have to be very patient, when fighting the French. A good French player will be able to last until approximately spring 1904. France has a strong defensive position, due to the impassable Swiss territory. While finishing, or while attacking France, England and Germany turn against Russia. Then England can continue against Italy, while Germany crosses the stalemate line and attacks Austria.

Franco-German Alliance (France + Germany)

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A common alliance between France and Germany against England. Some claim that this is the natural alliance for both powers, as the main alternative is an alliance with England, which leaves the land-based powers of France, and especially Germany, vulnerable to English fleets. France uses his builds from Spain and Portugal to build fleets to attack England. A common route of attack is having France taking control of the English channel, and going around the back of England to Liverpool. Germany uses his power to deny supply centers to England and cut support from a probable English fleet in the North Sea. English supply centers are then split, and France and Germany can go their separate ways. The key to this method of attack is to try to prevent England from getting builds. If England can be limited to only Norway, and the alliance is formed early in the game, England cannot muster a good defense.

After England is split up, France typically attacks Italy, and Germany attacks Russia in Scandinavia. This alliance does well if it stays together, and is fairly stable, as the French-German border can be stalemated by placing only a few troops. However, later in the game, France, which usually has more fleets, can stab Germany by taking his English supply centers and use its naval power to crack the stalemate, and Germany can likewise use fleets to push France back. This common alliance is usually very effective, though it may lose effectiveness if England gets too many builds early in the game.

The Wintergreen or "Penne alla Vodka" (Italy + Russia)

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Italy and Russia fit together well. The two can make short work of Austria, and continue into Turkey. Italy must work to get a fair split of the centers, but Italy has greater potential for quick growth working with Russia than with Austria.

The Austronaught/Peppermint (Austria + Russia)

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Russia and Austria often work together against Turkey. Austria ends up surrounded by Russia on all sides, but can produce troops closer to Russia's conquests, and is thus more able to perform a good stab.

Central Triple, Triple Alliance, Central Powers, Axis (Austria + Germany + Italy)

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Austria and Germany collaborate against Russia, Italy and Austria attack Turkey, and Germany attempts to deal with France and England with Italy's help. It is less definite, but has a clear geographical split of the supply centers.

Western Triple (England + France + Germany)

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This is the famous England-France-Germany alliance. This eliminates the competition in the Western Triangle. Potential enemies are Italy and Russia.

Andrew England, who wrote about this triple alliance, says that each power can get two neutral supply centers.[3]

Spring 1901
Fall 1901
1901 Winter build

Richard Hucknall suggests different moves [1]

Spring 1901
E: F(Edi)-NWG, F(Lon)-NTH, A(Lpl)-Edi
F: F(Bre)-MAO, A(Par)-Gas, A(Mar)-Pie
G: F(Kie)-Hol, A(Ber)-Kie, A(Mun)-Tyr
Autumn 1901
E: F(NWG)-Nwy, F(NTH) C A(Edi)-Den
F (If A(Mar)-Pie succeeded): F(MAO)-Por, A(Gas)-Spa, A(Pie)- Ven or Tus
F (Otherwise): F(MAO) C A( Gas)-Por, A(Mar)-Spa
G: F(Hol)-Bel, A(Kie)-Hol, A(Mun)-Tyr or A(Tyr)-Vie/Tri or assists the French to Ven.

This way, England gets Denmark instead of Germany, France goes for Italy, and Germany goes for Austria.

Simon Szykman suggests the "New Millennium Western Alliance" [2]

Spring 1901
England: F Edi-Nwg, F Lon-Nth, A Lvp-Yor
France: F Bre-MAO, A Par-Gas, A Mar-Pie
Germany: F Kie-Den, A Ber-Pru, A Mun-Sil
Fall 1901
England: F NWG-BAR, F NTH C A Yor-Nwy, A Yor-NTH-Nwy
France: F MAO-WES, A Gas-Spa, A Pie-Tus (or Ven)
Germany (if Russia has two units adjacent to Warsaw): F Den-Swe, A Pru-Lvn, A Sil-Pru
Germany (otherwise): F Den-Swe, A Pru-War, A Sil S A Pru-War
Winter 1901
England: Build F Edi
France: Build F Mar (or A Mar, depending on what Italy and, to some extent, Austria have done)
Germany: Build A Mun

This way, they are in a more offensive position against Russia and Italy.

Keep in mind that as France or Germany, England has the chance to backstab either power, but if the alliance is maintained it proves to be a powerful force.

Unorthodox Alliances

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Austria/Turkey (Austria + Turkey)

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Turkey/Austria has been called by numerous sources as the most impossible alliance in the game. Given that the normal eighteen center victories for Turkey and Austria run directly through each other's territory, and the near-impossibility of constructing a two-way draw between the two (although this has been done, with Turkey taking the coasts and Austria the territory in the center of the board). This alliance is rare and usually short, but both Turkey and Austria should consider cooperation, for a short time at least, if Russia grows powerful. Experience has shown that in stale-mated games where Russia has been reduced to three centers, it can be profitable for an Austria-Turkey partnership to continue in a similar manner to 'the Juggernaut'. It helps to send Turkey north and Austria through Central Europe.

Top-of-the-World Sweep (England + Russia)

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This alliance is one of great ease and effectiveness if used correctly. With Russia and England both at the "top of the world", they can sweep downwards without stop, crushing Germany, Austria-Hungary, France and sometimes Italy and Turkey. Russia advancing into Germany, Austria-Hungary, and sometimes Turkey, it claims the Eastern world. England can make its way down the coast and into France, completely dominating if it can get its navies into the water fast enough. And once it has claimed France, Italy will be the next to easily go, since it will generally be attacked by Austria-Hungary and France at the beginning of the game. But here's where the hard part comes in. Russia and England both border Germany, which is a key spot in attacking both Austria-Hungary and France. Also, these are both big countries, and though they are supporting each other, it can get tricky and tensions can get high if Turkey decides to attack Russia. England can't do anything. And if France attacks England and is winning, Russia really can't help at all either since it would have to cross English territory and therefore make a seemingly aggressive attack on England. Overall, this is a great alliance if they can pull it off properly. If not, they will most likely fight each other to the death.

The Crunch (England + Turkey)

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A tough alliance, but possible if Turkey makes temporary alliances with her neighbors and eliminates Austria quickly. Quick elimination of Russia is also sometimes necessary, and this alliance can be stopped by an Austria/Germany/Italy alliance. This alliance is most effective with two very aggressive players, and can demolish Russia very quickly (England invading Norway and St. Petersburg, while Turkey moves on Austria and Italy). This alliance must also be kept secret, and coordination is minimal. The alliance also bogs down around the German and Italian border, for Turkey is hard-pressed to crack the defense.

The Ultimate (France + Italy)

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This alliance only works with complete trust between these two powers, and a DMZ in the Western Med. Italy must become a major player in the eastern theater of the war in this alliance. Also, their position is quite hard to outflank. However, they are able to sweep across the board after France has eliminated England. Italy's best move would be to invade Tyrolia, then help France attack Germany, while keeping an eye on Austria. However, the Italian player must be careful, because the Tyrrhenian Sea borders three natural Italian supply centers, while not having much of a threat to France. This alliance is also possible to overwhelm with a decent Russia/Turkey alliance.

Russian Nightmare (Germany + Turkey)

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Germany/Turkey has been found to be a great alliance when started early. With trust and teamwork, they can quite quickly dispatch of Russia and each move west with Germany taking: Warsaw, Saint Petersburg, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London, Brest, Paris, Marseilles with their own 3 Home Centers for 16 Unit. Turkey can take Sevastopol, Moscow, Rumania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, Budapest, Vienna, Trieste, Venezia, Roma, Napoli, Tunisia with their own 3 Home Centers for 16. Then leaving the last battle over Spain and Portugal for 18. Until Austria is taken completely there is no big chance for either to attack the other but allow support against Russia and Austria. A powerful opening for this alliance in Spring 01 is Germany-A Ber to Pru, A Mun to Sil, F Kiel to Den. Turkey-A Con. If Russia can be convinced to go north and get his armies to StP and Liv, then this is a sure shot to get both Sevastopol and Warsaw in Fall of 01.

The Triple Entente (Austria + Germany + Turkey)

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Very hard to pull off but when done successfully can be profitable in the short term. This allows for a relatively simple takeover of Russia but any farther than that results in backstabbing and a lack of aid from Turkey against the French and English threat.

Garlic Thanksgiving (Italy + Turkey)

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Not as impossible as Turkey/Austria, Turkey and Italy can make a profitable short-term alliance, by splitting Austria and the Balkans between them. One thing Turkey can do to make this alliance more tempting for Italy is to offer supporting Italy into Greece in the first fall, and at the same time deny Austria that supply center.

This alliance often falls apart, since Turkey and Italy's struggle for dominance in the Eastern Mediterranean parallels Turkey and Austria's usual struggle over the Balkans. Once Austria has fallen, Italy will be in the way of Turkish expansion, in a similar manner as Austria was before. To achieve a two-way draw, Turkey would have to conquer territory as far north as Denmark or Sweden, assuming Italy keeps TRI and BUD or VIE from Austria.

The Wall or Dagger (Austria + England + Germany)

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England and Germany attack France, while all three can attack Russia.

This alliance is used to divide the other powers. France and Italy are on one side of this alliance, while Russia is on the other. However, more successful versions of these alliances include Turkey, so that the end is not open. This alliance's one great weakness is that if two great powers assault one empire in the center of this wall(usually Germany), then the alliance quickly falls apart. It requires some tricky diplomacy to keep this undiscovered, but it is devastating once one side of the wall has been defeated. Note-Germany has great ability to perform a stab on Austria, for Austria borders three potential hostiles.

The Scissors (Austria + France + Germany)

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France and Germany attack England, Austria and Germany attack Russia, Austria and France attack Italy with German help through TYR. This alliance typically only forms when Turkey has already been defeated.

The AIRhead (Austria + Italy + Russia)

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The key feature of this alliance is a rapid attack into Germany in the Spring of 1902, with Italy in TYR, Russia in SIL and PRU, and Austria in BOH.

This alliance allows Russia and Austria to remove Turkey, which benefits Italy since there will no longer be another threat to his Mediterranean dominance. It benefits Russia because he can focus on the north and it benefits Austria because he no longer has to worry about two of his four neighbors attacking him. Finally it gives Italy a good chance to fight France.

It takes a lot of trust for these three nations to work together. Gal must be DMZed and Austria and Italy must find a way to keep their borders safe. If there can be cooperation between all three powers it is even possible to attack Germany in Spring '01 and take Munich or Berlin.

The Mediterranean Axis (Austria + Italy + Turkey)

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These three potentially have the power to crush the northern opposition, but bickering over advanced spots in the Mediterranean cause this alliance to be tough, if not impossible.

The Eastern Triple or the RAT Pact (Russia + Austria +Turkey)

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The alliance is extremely geographically cluttered, and two of the members will usually turn on the third. In fact, this alliance will almost never happen since Turkey cannot expand because both of her neighbors are allies. Turkey's only possibility of expansion is to build fleets and try to expand into Italy.

The Sweep (England + France + Italy)

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This alliance is hard to set up, and it is obvious that France would get the lion's share of the inland territories, but with good diplomacy, France can enlist their help and easily sweep through to the board. with France moving into Germany, England making naval landings against Russia, and Italy attacking Austria through TYR. Only a very good Russia/Turkey alliance can hope to repel this alliance.

Anglo-Franco-Turkish Alliance (England + France + Turkey)

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A difficult alliance to establish; however, when well timed, it is a blitz across the map. Key early moves are: a faithful alliance between France/England/Germany, Turkey/Russia splitting the Balkans and Austria, and France taking Italy. Once those are done, Turkey can aid France into Austria, cementing the fail of Russia's southern Front. France then can aid England in claiming Germany/Scandinavia, then it is a swift move for England to Russia's northern providences.

The French Fear (England + Germany + Italy)

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If achieved, this alliance can easily plow through France, But after France is destroyed, bickering over advanced inland spots can break this alliance up, usually by attacking Germany.

The Crusher, or Froggernaut (France + Russia + Turkey)

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As long as these allies don't let each other get too powerful, it can quickly crush the Central powers of Germany, Austria, and Italy. However, in the end, it usually ends up with the Western powers of France in an alliance with England, attacking the Eastern powers of Russia and Turkey.

The RIGorous Powers (Germany + Italy + Russia)

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Although harder to set up, this alliance can easily sweep through Turkey and Austria, and then turn west to France and England. However, if England/France/Germany is created, it can attack while Austria and Turkey are being invaded, and prove a major annoyance, if not threat to this alliance.

The TRIple Powers (Italy + Russia + Turkey)

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A variation on the traditional Juggernaut, this alliance would be harder to establish, but would easily plow through Austria. However, one must not let Turkey get too powerful, as it can ruin the alliance. Also, Turkey must not let Italy and Russia get too powerful, as they can easily turn on Turkey and perform a great stab because of their surrounding nature to Turkey. Also, Germany/France/England can produce a serious barrier, with France invading Italy, England attacking Russia from the north, and Germany moving in on Austria.

The Swiss Star (Germany + France + Italy)

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The Swiss Star was a name coined by a player known as "TheBB" on the web site www.playdiplomacy.com. According to another player known as "Minneapolitan" the alliance is described as such...

In a nutshell, France dismantles England with help from Germany, while Germany focuses on helping Italy dismantle Austria.

The more detailed plan of the Swiss Star is for France to allow Germany three builds in 1901 (Denmark and the Low Countries), while France takes Spain and Portugal. Italy makes a direct attack on Austria, though this doesn't need to happen right away. After Germany has doubled in size, it sends two armies into Bohemia and Silesia. Here in the heart of the Stalemate Line, Germany supports Italy into Vienna (and the rest of Austria) while Silesia holds Russia in its place.

While supporting Italy against Austria, Germany uses its strength to help France attack England head-on. After a few years when France has crushed England with Germany's help, France continues into the Far North to wage war on Russia, again with help from Germany. This war may take place in Scandinavia, but the ultimate goal is St. Petersburg. While this happens, Germany continues to push farther into Eastern Europe with Italy. Germany goes directly into the heart of Russia while its southern flank continues to support Italy against anything still left in the Balkans, including Austria and Turkey. If Italy should be met with strong opposition in the Mediterranean, France should have the resources to build fleets in Marseille and support Italy there as well.

Three Emperors Alliance (Austria + Germany + Russia)

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Named after the League of the Three Emperors, the Three Emperors Alliance is extremely rare mostly because it's not clear what advantage, if any, accrues to Germany. Russia and Austria can make short work of Turkey while Russia and Germany can make moves against England. However, France will either join in the fun and take away Germany's winnings or ally with England and push against Germany. Even if successful, the alliance usually falls apart immediately after its first victories with Russia/Italy attacking Austria or Germany/Austria taking on Russia.

Unholy Alliance (Austria + England + Turkey)

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An Austria/Turkey alliance, but with England. This alliance is typically forged to deal with a Russian threat or France/Italy alliance. It can also serve as a counter to The Sealion. Of course, it is likely to break up for the same reasons as an Austria/Turkey alliance. Another issue that England is largely separated from Austria & Turkey, making it largely impossible for England to receive support.

The Fir Tree Alliance (France + Italy + Russia)

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This alliance is generally a long term one that develops in the mid game. However, this can be coordinated in the early turns, with each nation creating short term alliances. France will have to choose whether to side with England or Germany against the other while Russia helps, before France and Russia proceed to eliminate the other. Italy and Russia will also work together to pinch Austria or Turkey, before moving on to the other. The Russia addition to this alliance helps to secure a DMZ between French and Italian territories by way of a 'mutually assured destruction' deterrent. This alliance generally relies on the element of surprise, the secrecy of the alliance, and a strong trust between the players in order to succeed.

The Six Powers (Any six of the seven players)

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Extremely rare, but deadly when used. Almost always ends in a stab. Generally used to stop a country from winning.

See the above alliances sorted by country.


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  1. Stephen Agar: "Driving a Juggernaut"
  2. Stephen Agar: "The Entente Cordiale"
  3. Andrew England: "How to Make Love in Western Europe: The Triple Alliance"