More Guidelines for Emperors
By Phillip Hanson
In Vol. 27, No. 2 of The GENERAL, Mr. Hanson defined and established sound general principles for Tactics, Logistics, Strategy and Grand Strategy. In the following conclusion to his piece, he applies these to each of the seven major powers in EMPIRES IN ARMS.
On you lies the burden of the game system. By that, I mean that an uninteresting French player makes for an uninteresting game. You should cultivate an "attitude problem". Remember that each of these lesser countries, and arguably any two of them together, is inferior to your glorious might. At the same time, remember that you are not as powerful as all of them put together. Keep a moderate rein (but only a moderate one) on your ambitions and France will go far.
How each game will unfold will largely depend on your decisions. Yours is the power to make or break empires (including your own, let's not forget), raise new nations, humble the divine-right monarchs, and forever reshape the map of Europe. Your options are basically three: you can make war "Early and Often"; or you can "Build Up" your army to more effectively crush these upstarts later; or you can build a "Navy" to allow a final solution to the problem of Perfidious Albion.
Under the "Early and Often" strategy, you should begin the game at war with Austria, Prussia or Spain. You can reach any of these three easily and have immediate superiority over them. Starting at war saves you the loss of three Political Points and will precede the formation of alliances, so there is no call to allies. There is indeed a psychologically curious, but still potent reluctance among players to become involved in existing wars. You, as France, will certainly want to present the conflict to others as "just between me and Prussia" (or Spain or Austria). Perhaps they will even believe this. And if others do become involved in this contest, so what? Let them. Better they should lose the Political Points than you.
It can also be effective as well to declare on either Austria or Prussia on the first turn instead. The reasoning here is that they will not know of your intentions during set-up, and will almost certainly have declared against some minor countries -who will quite possibly seek your benevolent protection against the aggressor, inasmuch as your war gives you +2 on the roll to obtain these minors. Then as the, say, Prussian army finds it has its hands full defending against your French forces, their lapse of war will put these plums and their troops in your hands at no cost. However, minors are more useful as conquered states than as free states, so as France I prefer to get my territory honestly - by war.
In either case, your goal is to prevent the formation of effective conditions against you by crushing one of the potential partners early, before they have time to raise forces, establish diplomatic ties, coordinate deployments, and so on.
By following sound logistical and strategic principles, your enemy will soon lie prostrate at your feet. It is tough to pass up the sweetness of total victory, but often a Conditional Surrender is enough for France. Judge this ruthlessly according to your own need for Political Points. Bear in mind, however, that a crippled enemy will be easy pickings for the likes of the Russian bear. Who needs to give the Tsar free political status? Let him earn it the way you did, on the battlefield.
Furthermore, France should always select an Extended Peace and a Marriage. The purpose of the latter is to gain even more political status (and thereby victory points). That was the purpose of your war in the first place, remember? Extended peace is also critical to discourage the formation of effective alliances against France. If you, say crush the Austro-Prussian combine into the dirt in 1805, getting conditional surrenders from both, then you can declare war against either in February 1807, while neither may declare war against France until August. Your goal is then to turn your attention to, perhaps, Spain, having until February 1807 to crush her. Then you may again declare war against either Austria or Prussia, and the other may not become involved for six months. And the Spanish war will have secured that flank for a your or so. Let the others know that it is nothing personal; you're just on a circuit and have a schedule to keep. (Doubtless, they will understand and sympathize.)
The question of just which target to start the cycle is important. Spain, of course, is tempting by virtue of its weakness. However, tying down a large contingent there will provide lots of French targets in your exposed rear. Unless the Prussian and Austrian players are foolish, they will realize that you are giving them their best chance ever.
No, either Austria or Prussia is the best choice for France in the beginning. Their armies we very similar in initial composition, so treat this as a toss-up. I lean towards bashing the Prussians before Blucher shows up, so as to have the +1/-l die modifiers in any significant battle. Too, once their large initial force (particularly the cavalry) is destroyed, they will take forever to rebuild it, so you needn't worry about them as a threat for a long, long time.
The "Build" strategy differs in several critical aspects. First, France should not declare any pre-existing wars. Your goal is to grab the lion's share of the minors, construct an awesome fighting machine, then begin establishing your circuit in early 1806. Under this strategy, you should be quite assertive with respect to the division of the minor powers. In the first turn, when the "Italian Question" comes up, make it known at the outset that Tuscany is yours. Negotiate about the others from there, picking up any other minor Italian states offered or uncontested.
When you have them, declare no free states. You want those men in your army, training to be stalwart Frenchmen, not in same simpering minor allied corps with no morale to speak of. Those corps are all tiny, too, polluting your excellent leadership pointlessly.
Avoid getting involved in North Africa or on any of the islands. The British navy will always be waiting to pounce, cutting off vital corps from reinforcements and recall. Do not put your own head in the guillotine in the first place and you need not worry about it being cut off.
Appearance and attitude are everything here. Present yourself and your case strongly and confidently, and your legitimacy as arbiter of the fate of Europe will be firmly established. Act the wimp, and the dogs will scent blood. You can easily handle four, or even five, wars against minor countries at once. Pick the ones you want and discuss these with the other players. They may be as eager to avoid an early war as you.
Finally, your mind, while set to seek peace, should not run from war if it is thrust upon you. Remember, any war declared by another doesn't cost you my political status, and even offers the opportunity to feed further victories to French public opinion. The purpose of all this distasteful avoidance of war is to construct a juggernaut with which to roll over them all later. In particular, you will require the full Guard and artillery complements the army can contain. After that, train three to five cavalry factors per peaceful interphase. Build no ships. Increase your war chest by about ten over what you had after the last interphase. Voila! You have Le Grande Armee for smiting your neighbors, consisting of the Guard, I-IV corps, and either the V Corps or the artillery corps. This awesome force will total 143 factors (144 with the artillery instead) of a morale of 4.2.
Furthermore, this mass will not dilute Napoleon's leadership, and will contain enough cavalry to avoid inferiority to any (and gain superiority over many). With this instrument shall ye conquer. Just make sure to leave someone at home to keep an eye on Britain. Davout and two corps is usually sufficient for this task.
Build one militia factor per large corps that will not be travelling with the Guard. The roundoff leaves your morale for such corps at 4.0 still, and you need to save that cash for replacement Guard and artillery factors. The artillery is of singular importance. You get two factors for two manpower (not one as with other troop types); this is big help in gaining mass. And these factors get to shoot twice (once by bombardment, and once in each regular round)! The chart for bombardment tends to be twice as good as the battle chart. So, artillery is eight times as good as regulars (well, OK; I realize that during regular rounds they fire on whatever chart everyone else is using, making the calculation 2x2xl.5=6). Don't let this slip by. Any Napoleon who fails to build the corps to its maximum is an idiot.
Your goal is to declare your first major war in the first quarter of 1806. A January declaration is often effective. Enemy forces will customarily be spread out in high-forage areas waiting for spring. To move first is to catch them by surprise, and probably with too little money to fight a winter war. Your rich warchest will save you in good stead.
Offensive as it may be, snuggle up to the British. Point to your lack of a naval building program as evidence of your goodwill. Seek trade; it benefits you much more than him. If the British player is so foolish as to trade with you, use that money to build cavalry for the more efficient destruction of his continental allies. (This is the only form of vengeance against the English open to you under this strategy.) Resign yourself to never seeing Dover.
Perhaps, once you hold every German and Italian minor state and have crushed all the major continental powers who have the temerity to ally with Britain, Perhaps then you can think of invasion. But even then the British player will have laid many, many keels. Catching up will require quite a wait. And you must have a 3-2 superiority to even contemplate the matter (as discussed below). No, it is your army and not your navy that will win the game under this approach.
A French "Naval" strategy is very simple. You must build as many ships as you can (subject to building enough army factors to defend the empire), as well as acquiring the minor countries with naval forces. After some years of this, you will have a 3-2 superiority against the Royal Navy and can reasonably expect to get an invasion army ashore. This is the minimum required for any naval success. Anything less will mean the end of your fleet and your plans.
Now, there are other places in EMPIRES IN ARMS to find ships than at your shipyards, so this depressingly long timeline can be shortened. The Spanish have a nice fleet and are no match for you on land (see below). The most likely way to gain control of the Portuguese navy is by proxy through a cowed Spain. Taking Portugal ought not to be beyond their (admittedly) meager capacities. Sweden can only be had through some dereliction on the part of Russia. Perhaps you can arrange a distraction after the Russian declares war against it (if it falls to you to control). But don't put a lot of effort into this, however, because the prospects for payoff are slim.
Denmark, now, is another story. They harbor no good will towards the British as a result of Nelson's Copenhagen raid. The Danes will often be driven into your arms when the British player declares war on them. This is all the more likely if you are at war with Britain. Keeping Denmark though is a more difficult proposition. And one tied to your general anti-British strategy. You must keep one corps in port with each of your fleets, even if they contain only a factor or two. Naturally, these should be placed so as to be within range of Britain. Now the British player is faced with a dilemma.If the British do not blockade your ports, France can declare war against them in support of some minor power (if not already at war) and invade. If the British do blockade your ports, they must do so in some strength inasmuch as they cannot afford any chance of losing a naval battle that would leave their islands open to invasion by even a single French corps. This will leave them precious little to defeat the Danish navy (which would certainly sortie against any British invasion of the islands). Many times the result of all this maneuvering will be that France retains control of Denmark and its all important fleet of 19 ships (representing six months worth of ship-building for Napoleon).
As a final aside, those same corps and fleets will also be available for a surprise invasion should Britain foolishly make a major commitment to the eastern Mediterranean. Keep a close eye on his naval deployments. If the British player ventures beyond two-turn range, declare war and invade with your coastal corps - no matter what strategy you may be following.
Irrespective of which strategy above you follow, a land war is virtually
inevitable. France has the unique ability to do a double-move combination
(last, then first). While this extends your range to eight areas, the more
practical effect is to allow you to attack forces five areas away without
outrunning your supplies. Keep Eugene and Jerome with Napoleon at all times.
This way, they will do better service by catching a bullet meant for him
than ever they could leading troops. Having looked at possible French grand
strategy above, let us now consider her relations with the other empires
Spain. Historically, the Spanish paid Napoleon a monthly indemnity to obtain his sufferance of the confirmed presence of a Bourbon on a European throne, be sure to mention this fact to the Spanish player (whether or not you plan to insist on similar treatment). To avoid your justified wrath, he should also put his fleet at your disposal should you wish it. And naturally, he will allow the infamous British nowhere near Portugal, and will after taking it be glad to declare Portugal a free state to make another 12-factor fleet available to France. Spain has much to gain from such an arrangement as well, odd as this may seem. It stands to gain Portugal, and a secure flank. So the French should offer some support for their expansions in North Africa, as controlled minors in Spanish hands are not in British hands.
Nevertheless, the Spanish player will covet carrots that the English
may dangle before them. Tie the apron strings tightly. Insist that the
Spanish maintain troops in garrison in Lorraine or some such place. That
will keep Spanish knives out of your back. If the Spanish agree to all
these terms, reward them with an alliance. Even though the political status
for stomping over them can look tempting when no other war is available,
it is unwise to attack a Spain that sees things the French way.
Britain. The British are certain to be a constant source of irritation to you. Nonetheless, you gain more from trade than they, so offer it whatever possible under an "all-or-none" policy. Then spend the money on cavalry with which to better attack their continental allies, or on more ships with which to invade the British isles. Two-faced certainly, but that's life in the dominant zone.
Keeping the minor fleets away from British control is critical to any hope you have of ever invading. Do not allow them to sweet-talk the Russian out of his legitimate interest in Sweden. Denmark, of course, should be yours. And Portugal belongs to Spain. Keep these out of his hands, and the naval balance looks less bleak. Similarly, prey on the insecurity of any naval action by Spain, Russia or Turkey during diplomacy with them. "The British could always declare war on you, move first, and crush your navy," you will say - often.
When at war with Britain (a regular state of affairs), try to sucker
him into landings you can crush. The British take forever to recover from
any serious loss of troops. If he declines to be obligingly stupid, point
out to their continental allies how little bleeding the British have done,
despite the quality of their troops, while you rampage through the others'
homelands. Make a habit of checking every turn for an opportunity to land
troops in Britain. If they take the first naval move while a war is in
progress (especially a war they may have forgotten about due to inactivity),
demand a strength count on any fleets that can intercept your invasion.
All you need is a 3-2 edge over the fleets between you and Dover, and only
for a single naval phase. After that, the French navy is expendable to
achieve a large-scale landing in England.
Prussia. It exists only to provide France with cheap political status
advances. Do as Napoleon did and trounce them regularly. Much of his military
reputation was built on piles of Prussian corpses. Get into the 18-month
cycle against them as soon as you can. Whenever they surrender unconditionally,
take minor states and/or provinces. Poland is a nice base from which to
keep an eye on the Russian.
Austria. See the above paragraph. With less cavalry potential, the Austrian
has a hard time turning his wealth into anything fearsome. But watch out
for Charles; he knows his way wound a battlefield almost as well as Napoleon.
Always, always remember when settling on peace terms to separate your enemies
whenever feasible. Why fight Austria and Prussia together, when fighting
them individually is so much easier and more profitable?
Russia. Russian help can seal the doom of Prussia and Austria, but why cut Alexander in on the spoils? Do make sure he takes Sweden to keep it out of unfriendly hands. If you feel a need for Russian help or support, or even friendship, cut him in on some Italian minors.
Attacking Russia is folly. Count the areas from Poland to Moscow. And
then consider who might vacation in Paris while you're in Russia. If this
doesn't dissuade you, play out the Russian scenario. Only if you can win
that consistently should you even think about invading Russia in the campaign
game. Now, if the Russian should somehow wind up with some Italian or German
minors, that may be mother matter. Just remember that forcing Russia to
surrender is virtually impossible, so settle in for a long war.
Turkey. Your only natural ally. You want nothing they have or can ever
give you. Furthermore, their enemies are also your enemies. This is always
the basis for a beautiful friendship. The only potential for friction lies
in North Africa, should the Spanish player prove intelligent enough to
see the advantage in allying with France. In this case, try to broker a
fair partition (i.e., my that excludes England and keeps your two friends
from each others ducats, and hence their navies intact.)
Always remember that you are Great Britain. You, like the French player, are a dominant power and should act the part. Otherwise, the others will lose respect. Your demesne is the sea. It brings you wealth and keeps your enemies safely away from your vulnerable homeland. Rule the waves and win the game. Try anything else and lose. It's that simple ... and that complex.
Your primary objective is obvious: keep your islands safe. Who threatens your islands? No matter how you consider it, the answer comes up "France". All your energies must therefore be centered on the destruction of the French capacity to invade. This may very well require the destruction of the French empire. Oh, darn.
Let's look briefly at the naval picture. His Majesty's Royal Navy is by far the most powerful, with some 100 vessels. But next are the perfidious French with 49 to their own account, and maybe 15 stolen from the legitimate government of Holland (so, 64 in all). Then Spain weighs in with 57 ships, and the Russian with another 49. The Turkish 22 are unlikely to be very significant in your calculations. Naturally, your nightmare is that they will all gang up on you. Equally natural, the evil Napoleon will be doing all he can to encourage such a conspiracy. This doomsday scenario, and your fear of it, should motivate all your diplomacy.
What you must do is dangle the substantial benefits of association with England before the greedy eyes of the Spanish and Russian players. Help them out with their goals so long as they are not building ships. The only purpose for them to be building ships is to do something you will not like. After all, if you do like the actions of others, you can protect them with you fleet. Do not swallow any nonsense on this score. A major shipbuilding program by any other power is detrimental to your interests, and very possibly to your territorial integrity. Wield your trade club to punish momentary offenders.
Of course, England must add more ships to her own account. Build a minimum of two each interphase, even if you see no current need. By the time the need is apparent, it will be too late to begin. Build more than these two if others do. Britain can easily sustain five per interphase, and can usually push the total to ten if it must.
Do not allow yourself to be out built at the shipyards under any circumstances.
The other important source of ships is the navies of the minor countries. Seize as many as possible. If you cannot seize them for yourself, try to keep them independent. If you cannot do that, keep them out of French hands. And if you cannot even do that, look for every opportunity to destroy them utterly. Looking over the neutral minors, we find:
Sweden. The Russian will almost certainly declare war on Sweden. Your reaction should be dictated by British relations with the Russian, and by the roll of the die for control. If the Evil One gains control, urge the Russians to hunt down the Swedish fleet (for the political status gain it can give). It may even be best for Britain to avoid rolling for control of Sweden for this very reason. Ships on the bottom, be they Swedes or Russians, cannot carry enemy soldiers to your shores. In general, encourage naval battles among the others. Sometimes, though, it may be to your advantage to have the Swedish fleet in the hands of the Russians. They may cooperate with your continental schemes if you dangle this plum before them. This is one of those instances where gauging the character of your fellow player is very important.
Denmark. England can usually capture Denmark without too much trouble, providing you are not at war with France (or the French have not made the preparations for invasion outlined above). If your land forces will not be immediately available for the conquest of Denmark, little will be lost by delaying awhile. The Prussians cannot capture it so long as the Danes' fleet guards the crossing mows. The Russians have many fish to fry, and should be informed in any event that Denmark is legitimately yours. They will probably not wish to tangle with your fleet -especially if you are reasonable concerning Sweden. If someone else does declare war against the Danes and you gain control, do all you can to bring about a lapse in that war and to keep their forces out of Copenhagen. The Danish capital is on an island, so the Danish fleet can always be sent out to do battle Or to interdict the crossing arrows. Then, even should you lose the naval combat on their behalf, the prize goes to the bottom.
Portugal. Historically, the British and the Portuguese had been friends since the 1300s. Banter about that 500-year friendship freely in diplomacy with the Spanish. The Spaniard may be amenable to selling his admittedly legitimate interest in Portugal, particularly if his relations with Napoleon are poor.Naples/Sicily. Forget grabbing this fleet unless you are playing with the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies option. If so, insist on Sicily as your part of Italy during its carve-up. Probably no one will object. If they do, inventory your ships in their presence and review all those naval rules that so outrageously favor Britain.
As for the rest of Italy, try to broker a peaceful solution between Austria, Russia, Turkey and yourself. Inciting a war with France is OK, but discourage the others from petty bickering amongst the anti-French forces. Remember that those who are not anti-French today may wine to their senses in the near future. Internecine conflict will not do. Threaten trade sanctions if any misbehave. For your part, restrict your demands to Sicily and Sardinia. These are islands and can thus can be protected by your navy. Graciously consent to yield those rich mainland minors (which are, after all, within the reach of the vile Bonaparte) to the others. Make sure they are aware of your generosity in this matter.
Hanover/Hesse. Forget it. Yes, these are the king's ancestral lands,
and he doubtless pines over their loss. But Britain does not have a realistic
chance to take them; and if taken, they could not be held. Pursuing them
will only put your tiny army out where Bonaparte can get it. And we don't
want that do we?
In general, stay off the mainland. Do not be tempted to send your army where malefic Frenchmen can abuse it. Wait until your army is very strong (over 50 factors), then commit it all at once in concert with your allies. Restrict your attentions to the Mediterranean islands and North Africa. All the other maritime powers have Mediterranean islands you can scoop up should they be so foolish as to irritate you. Use these as bargaining chips. Do not allow any of them to simply assume that you will automatically suffer their presence on these, which are by nature British.
By the same token, do not needlessly antagonize people. Quietly point out how forbearant you are to allow them to maintain their ownership over these same islands. Make a big point out of grabbing these and you will have made needless enemies.
Never forget that Britain itself is an island. There must be strong British forces within one turn's sail of the English Channel. Pencil into your copy of the Sequence of Play the "Checking for Channel Security Phase". Check it every turn. If you should forget - even once - you'll be amazed at how quickly the declarations of war can come. If your group is playing with the Lille-Dover crossing arrow, pencil it directly onto the map (if the game's owner will permit). Park a British fleet there. Leave it even during the interphase. It is well worth it to be sure you don't forget about some trivial war against, say Austria, which has been dormant for months. It would not do to wake up to the sight of fire raging in your shipyards as Austrian light infantry run over the waters of the Channel. You have been warned.
Do not trade with France. Ever. What is the French player going to do with that money anyway? Build ships with which to invade Britain, that's what. For the other empires, the trade gives you some leverage. Trade with the 0/1 ports only in exchange for some kind of favor. There is absolutely no reason to line the pockets of the others needlessly. You want the others to have to come to you hat-in-hand for their surplus cash. Giving it away like this reduces their need for you. You may want to institute a policy of only trading with the 1/1 and 2/2 ports, except for your allies. This is a hard-nosed approach, and will reduce your discretionary income as well, but it can encourage alliances against France. Or it can blow up in your face as they turn to Napoleon for income. Tact is not dispensable in this, or anything else.
So, how does the above relate to English relations with the other six
players. Let's see.
France. Napoleon is rich enough to build his fleet up to its full capacity (120 ships). He is also rich enough to give the Dutch funds to raise their own fleet to 30 ships. This is a formidable armada, and must not be permitted to develop. You have two strong allies in this regard: Admiral "Impatience" and Admiral "Inattention".
The historical Napoleon tried to invade England before he was ready to tackle the Royal Navy. Your Napoleon may do the same. It will be a long time before France can have a navy that can match yours. If France attacks too soon, Trafalgarize them. Once down to 10 or 15 ships, the French will think the better of bothering you again.
If, even once, they leave a strong fleet in a port without a garrison, declare war (if not already at odds), move first, and kill it off. Even if but ten or so ships are present, their loss is a heavy blow to invasion plans, and a giant step towards British security. If only a weak garrison is at hand, a swift landing might take the port. If a blockaded port falls, ships in the port must either sally into the teeth of your wind gauge or be scuttled. This may not profit you much in victory points after accounting for the cost of declaration, but it will profit you immensely in terms of sound sleep. But beware of French factors showing up during the Reinforcement Phase. Still, the worst thing that can happen is that you will still be at war with France.
Other than this, you must keep France embroiled in continental wars to drain the money that would otherwise surely go into his naval program. Subsidize the enemies of France in proportion to their success in killing Frenchmen. A bounty on French factors might not even be a bad idea.
Another potentially profitable tack is to sucker some French corps into North Africa. North Africa is your playground. Any French army must sail there, and that means they cannot return without your permission. If the corps are substantial in size, strand them there and encourage your continental allies to declare war on the rump of the French army.
A particularly wicked ploy is the "Tripolitanian Shuffle". If Britain
declines war against Tripolitania and the French gain control, they must
take the corps into the field (as Tripoli cannot hold all its own army
factors). Now this minor country consists of four territories which are
all coastal. If you take a six-factor British corps you can pretty much
count on your 4.5 morale to beat down their pitiful 1.5 morale without
causing them any casualties. That means you can suck a political status
point off the French each month until they remember they can voluntarily
dissolve this corps. This might even be quite awhile.
Spain. England and Spain can help each other. As the wicked Bonaparte gazes over the Pyrennes, what does he see? Easy Political Points, that's what! What the Spanish need to deter French aggression is cavalry, higher morale and a competent leader. You can supply all of these. British money and Spanish manpower (they have goodly amounts of it) can make fine cavalry. The higher morale and fine leadership will come from your expeditionary force under Wellington. What you need from Spain is a second front to worry the French, cannon-fodder to screen your valuable and hard-to-replace troops, and assurances that the Spanish navy will not fall into French hands. Spain can provide all of these.
Of course, Spain does not need any more ships. They are already superior,
naval-wise, to all the powers except England. Pointedly ask the purpose
of each ship Spain builds. They can easily defeat Turkey's navy, the most
likely opponent. France's navy you will handle yourself. Russia is not
a threat to Spain surely. There is, therefore, only one naval power left
as a target. If the Spanish have the money to waste on unneeded shipbuilding,
obviously there is no need for British subsidy. Cavalry is what Spanish
surplus gold should go for - not ships. Naturally, they would not think
of allying with France.
Prussia. Bear in mind that the Prussians can call up a huge army from their reserves (consisting of one-quarter cavalry) if supported 3:1 with money. If timed properly, this can be devastating to the French. This ratio makes for a high Morale force (3.3 if even a single previously-built cavalry or guard factor is included), and lots of these forces, if two conditions come about.
The first is for the Prussians to have a large pool of saved manpower. This will depend on his losses, which depend on how the first continental war and division of minors plays out, which is all largely beyond British control. Urge the Prussian player to save men especially when at compulsory peace with France. The other necessary condition for the rebuilt Prussian army to reappear is that the British (you) save $3 per manpower point the Prussian has in reserve. Let's look at an example in which the Prussians have saved 40 manpower points:
This 40 points will support creation of 20 factors. Dividing them 3-1 yields 15 infantry and five cavalry factors. Fifteen infantry cost $45, and the five cavalry cost $75 - a total of $120, or exactly $3 per manpower point. Just remember to sock away $3 per Prussian manpower if you expect the Prussians to take the field at a crucial moment. It will seem a great burden to have to save that money when there are so many other things it could be spent on. Certainly other players will beg and plead for the cash. You must remain firm; stiff upper lip and all that.
It will seem an even greater burden when the malevolent Corsican cuts
these troops to ribbons. Ah well, these are the dollars that must be spent
to bleed the French. Try using British rather than Prussian troops and
see how that feels to you.
Russia. Denmark is yours. Surely the Russians will realize this. If
it seems possible, strike a deal for Sweden. Perhaps the Russian visualizes
his destiny in the south. Offer to split off Finland if you think that
will make the deal seem sweeter. But in no case press so hard as to offend
the Russian player. His fleet joined with the French would be very dangerous.
There is no reason for England to come into conflict with the Russian,
unless he fears greatly for his fleets or he plans to team up with the
Dark Lord. This last would be, as noted below, highly risky for the Tsar.
Austria. Try to weld together an Austro-Prusso-Russian alliance with
you using subsidies as the carrot and fear of the French as; the stick.
"Napoleon will get you if you don't watch out," and that sort of rot. These
three powers have little to fear from you in term of direct aggression,
and much to fear from France. The Austrians are a critical part of such
an alliance, giving it more resources and enhanced strategic options arising
from the increased room for maneuver. Austria, like you, can never be secure
so long as France hangs over them. Play on this, and his lust for French
minors, and the Austrian emperor should come around.
Turkey. North Africa is the critical issue here. Cyrenaica and Tripolitania
can be valuable sources of manpower for the British army. And the Turks
would not lose much revenue in allowing you to take them. Also, they can
more than make up their loss by trading with Britain. You wouldn't want
to trade with someone who denied such a reasonable request, would you?
All the years of goodwill between these nations notwithstanding. So you
can likely strike an acceptable deal with any Turkish player in his right
mind. Your support in Italy would be most helpful to them, for instance.
So would onetime or continuing payments. There is much room for negotiation
leading to mutual profit here. And this should be the watchword for all
Great Britain does, as you will be called upon to make heavy financial
contributions to others to achieve the victory rightfully yours.
As Spain, you are caught between a rock (Gibraltar) and a hard (-nosed) place. Britain and France are each quite capable of destroying you. Yet you have something that each wants. Skillful diplomacy can allow you to play one against the other, but it must be done very carefully.
Spain has a pretty good navy which must be protected from the Royal Navy, which sadly can probably smite it. Once your navy is gone so, in effect, is Spain's major power status (as you cannot realistically hope to ever build back over $500 worth of ships). And Spain has a modest army, totally inadequate to the task of defending the land from Le Grande Armee, which sadly can always smite it. Taken together, this all might seem to the pessimist as a prescription which adds up to the inevitable loss.
It ain't necessarily so. Protection can be couched in diplomatic as well as military terms. This is good, since military protection is infeasible for Spain. The French should be keenly interested in maintaining your fleet, and can often be persuaded to help keep hostile British troops away from your ports. Few British players will then wish to enter a gunnery duel against the port of Cadiz in order to destroy your fleet. On the other hand, the British are looking for a safe staging area for their troops to marshal for the march on Paris, or to open a second front against the French, or for canon fodder to throw against the French, or to lure the foraging French into poor areas. Spain can provide any of these to the English, thereby gaining access to high-morale troops to stiffen its defenses.
An alliance with both dominant powers is very much in Spanish interests, especially if they are already at war with each other. It will raise the political cost of declaring war on you, which is a far better deterrent than the prospect of tangling with your fearsome armed might. (If Spain considers declaring war on either of these, you are a fool and deserve to lose, which will surely be your fate.) It is improbable that they will call you into their own wars. What, after all, are you going to do against Prussia? Russia? Austria? And war with the Turks in alliance with either can be very much to your advantage.
If logic goes against you and one does call for your support, declare war with them (as a loyal ally should), then note your inability to help. It is vital to preserve the five-point cost to them in declaring war on you. If they should go to war with each other (as is likely), it is usually best to side with France if forced to choose. Hide your fleet in a fully-garrisoned port and cry loudly far help, pointing out the juiciness of my British troops that do land in Iberia. The French can preserve you from the British, at the cost of your losing your initiative. The reverse is generally not true unless the French are very busy elsewhere.
Even given all this, what will Napoleon do after the war in Germany is over? Even should France lose and surrender there, will Spain be included on the victors' side. Probably not, as Napoleon will then be hungrier than ever for the Political Points he can get for beating up weaker countries. Will the victors in this case insist on French army reductions on your behalf? Possibly, but can you be sure? Can Spain hold off even the rump of Napoleon's army? Weigh all this very carefully when choosing sides.
Spain has two basic places to look for expansion - North Africa and Southern Europe. The former is your best bet. Going after North African colonies will surely bring conflict with the Turks. This is fine, as you can likely beat the Turks. Under this strategy, Spanish interest in Italy is restricted to minor Minor Powers or traded off entirely for support in your war against the Heathen Horde of Turks. You goal should be firm and sustainable control of Algeria and Tunisia; these valuable states will make up for your weaknesses as they both have good manpower values and offer some respectable income as well. You can always walk across and take Morocco. A first turn declaration of war against all three is feasible. Check British and French intentions though, as they may have something to say about the matter. To go further east along the north coast will mean conflict with either Turkey or Britain, or both, on unfavorable terms.
Italian holdings are a temptation that can lead to ruin for the Spanish. You are not strong enough to hold Naples (should you be so fortunate as to even obtain it) against the Austrians or the Russians, much less the French. Angle for a smaller piece of the boot: the Papacy, Sicily, or Sardinia perhaps. Whatever you come away from the Italian Question with, be content and milk it for income as long as it lasts - because it may not last long, depending on the sufferance of Britain (in the case of Sardinia/Sicily) and France, Austria or Russia (in the case of all others).
Of worse, Portugal and Morocco are in your legitimate sphere of influence,
and you should never let anyone sweet-talk or browbeat you out of them
without gaining a hefty favor of some kind in tenon. Looking at who might
try to do so, we find:
France: Napoleon needs the Spanish navy if he is ever to have a serious chance of invading Britain. Use this as best you can in your diplomacy to avoid a war with France. When the war does come, seek a conditional surrender. Perhaps France merely wants some political status and will settle for a marriage and other undamaging conditions. Very seldom will it be in France's best interest to totally destroy you.
If the Frenchman seems implacably hostile, hide your army in North Africa to keep from losing battles and Political Points, and then swallow the eight for an unconditional surrender. "Tis worse to have fought and lost than never to have fought at all." You won't beat Napoleon unless he has sent a puny force; and you'll have to give up sooner or later anyway. It is better done sooner than later. Of course, if you don't care about political status (i.e., winning) go ahead and fight. You can make life in Spain hell on French troops. For a taste of what it's like, run through the Peninsular War scenario. Keep track of the Political Points though, and you'll find it is Spain who loses - big.
Nor is it in your interest to see France destroyed. Even a rump of France
can overwhelm your army after Europe has been made safe for the German
speakers. If France is going under to a grand coalition, you have a difficult
choice; what to do depends upon your assessment of the French player's
character. Perhaps France is without a moral compass and will declare war
on you after it recovers from its surrender, even if you were loyal. If
you suspect this, declare war against him in order to get in on the surrender
terms. Try to get the extended peace as your condition. But if the French
player is the type to remember favors, then you should stay out and hope
neither side will take out their frustrations on poor Spain.
Britain. The British need Spain friendly for reasons previously outlined. Use this as your lever to obtain freedom of the seas. If the British sink your ships, jump into bed with the French - immediately. Your hopes for effectiveness as a world power go down with your navy. Remind the British player that nothing - not even losing chunks of Spain - will get you as much as losing the fleet. Do whatever it takes to spite him if he kills your navy. Point out to the British the benefits of Britain owning Cyrenaica and Tripolitania (in terms of their manpower problem). Those two in British hands make a nice buffer twist you and the Turks in North Africa.
Turkey. At last, someone weaker than yourself on the battlefield. You can beat the Turks; what's more, you are near them, which makes it possible to do. Spain has unquestioned naval superiority in the Mediterranean over the pitiful so-called navy of the Heathen Horde. That means you can reach all of North Africa and my of the islands in the Mediterranean with a naval invasion. If the British player has been bright enough to grab Cyrenaica and Tripolitania, then the Turks cannot even get at you overland. And even if the access is legally possible, long distances and your naval supremacy make it impractical to bring the battle to you. You can choose the time and place to most benefit the Spanish army. This means that the Turk has to watch for your landing everywhere, and you can concentrate your strength on fights you can win. Your army has a 50% higher morale than their basic trooper. And you can always evacuate smoothly if things start to look dicey.
The bottom line is you can win wars with Turkey. beginning at war with them is a good idea, and a very muscular foreign policy is clearly justified by the facts of relative strength - so long as the English don't sink your navy. Use the Turks as a punching bag. Bat their miniscule navy about for Political Points. Drop on small groups of Turkish corps at various places for yet more status. Toy with them as a cat toys with a mouse and watch your political stock rise.
Two cautions here. Do not attempt to remove them from the war by taking
their capital. Such a move could easily drown your army in an ocean of
feudal troops. Avoid any large concentration of Turks in favor of small,
killable ones. Secondly, do not capture territory you cannot hold. You
are not seriously trying to take Palestine, or Syria, or Egypt. You want
to pounce on the corps there for political gain. But lands lost by the
Turks to you will later be lands lost by you to another, with accompanying
loss of Political Points.
Austria. There is no need for anything but amity between the Austrians
and the Spanish. Make a deal over your respective and legitimate Italian
claims. Attacking Austria without substantial support from France is very
risky, even if it is weak. Who is going to guard Madrid while you play
in Italy-or march on Vienna? How are you going to withdraw your forces
when things go badly elsewhere? No, stick to Turkey-bashing. Be friendly
and peaceful in all dealings with Austria.
Prussia. You have virtually no reason to even talk to the Prussians.
You and they will be playing a different game in different parts of the
world. The Prussian player may wish to sucker you into some grand alliance
against France. But you should only be seduced by British money and troops.
Let other blandishments pass over you without a trace, like waves beneath
the keels of your ships (which you stand to lose by being stupid).
Russia. Cut the Russian player in on the division of Italy. Find out
what his position is on the central British-French conflict. Remember that
he too has a substantial navy and may decide that he has interests in North
Africa as well. Together with the French and the Russians, you can indeed
humble the British, should that be your collective desire.
No doubt about it; Austria is in a tough position in EMPIRES IN ARMS. Everybody nearby wants a piece of your territory ... and everybody is nearby. You are not in any shape to oppose them all; you must have some friends to help you. If you cannot forge a lasting alliance with at least one of your neighbors, you are doomed to a long and depressing game.
You do have certain advantages, however. Austria is a very rich state, which can help provide a rapid recovery from the numerous hammer blows. Charles is a splendid leader, one who can even bleed Napoleon. A pesky problem is that everything you want to buy requires two manpower factors, but Austria gets 25; it is galling to throw away that extra factor. You cannot even manipulate with it; your manipulation loses six or eight.
You must, consequently, either buy ships (which you should do once simply to make sea supply and transport possible) or conquer the Papacy. No other accessible minor country will do. Look around. Romagna offers two manpower; Bavaria, four; Wurtemburg, two. Naples has five only if the Two Sicilies rule is not in play. But if you conquer the Papacy, what does that leave for France? Are the French likely to agree to settle for Tuscany? Those French, they vex you at every turn.
A modest and unassuming posture may bear the greatest fruits diplomatically. What Austria most desperately needs - more cavalry capacity in your army - you can never get. You might as well, therefore, adopt a low profile if you believe this will mollify, rather than encourage, French adventurism. It is France that causes you the greatest headaches. La Grande Armee hangs over you like the sword of Damocles whenever Austria attempts anything. How to deal with France is the central question in Austrian grand strategy.
You might decide to take the war to them early in the game, while you and your allies have superiority in Guard and cavalry, and have not yet been split apart by staggered compulsory peaces. The idea is to deny France the additional men and monies from minors while gaining some for yourself. Realize that sooner or later, you must fight France. In many ways, sooner is better.
The alternative is to assert yourself in Italy and Germany, gaining important minors to aid your build-up in preparation for the ultimate showdown. The problem here is to keep the alliance intact in the face of diligent French attempts to split you up. Russia, particularly, is likely to desert the coalition. Still, every minor in your hands is one less in Napoleon's (at the risk of you having more dirt than your army can defend). Just bear in mind that these minors, which gain you no Political Points to acquire, lose you one when lost.
For Austria, everything in the game devolves to adept diplomacy. Taking
each of the others in turn, here me my suggestions:
France. Sooner or later you will be at war with France. Plan on giving Napoleon a stomping in conjunction with Prussia, Russia, Britain and Spain. Strive always for this end. When the war with France does come, conduct it very carefully. You will need to have allies to have my chance of winning. If there is no prospect for allies, surrender immediately.
Mack and Charles are equally good at resisting Napoleon with up to four
corps. Examine the tactical rating modifiers on the charts. They each give
to France a +1. If Napoleon himself is leading the enemy against you, it
might be wise to detail Charles to oppose some other French force under
a less imposing French commander. Salzburg is an excellent place to park
Mack and four corps. It will cost a mere $2 a turn to supply up to 64 factors
from a single depot. The French can ill-afford to ignore such a large force
poised to strike at their important minor states, supply lines, or even
into France itself. The mountainous terrain will be in your favor, aiding
in the goal of bleeding the French while awaiting the arrival of your allies.
Britain. The British player will be your friend if he has any sense at all. He needs some large land armies on his side to distract Napoleon and keep the Corsican from building up a navy. Therefore, he must give you some money. Remind him of this, as he has a tendency to be tight-fisted with your legitimate subsidies. And while it is quite true that Austria is a rich country (as he will no doubt point out), wait until you try to bring back 15 cavalry factors. You begin with that many, and Napoleon can make them evaporate just as fast. Austria can come up with the 30 manpower with little trouble, but where else will $225 come from if not from Britain?
There is a chance that you may even have something to say to one another about the division of Italy, should the British be so foolish as to yearn for a continental empire that France can snatch away at will. Point out this folly to them should they lay claim to minors on the boot. If the British persist, acquiesce - but insist that they then commit troops to defend these territories, for you certainly won't be able to do so.
Prussia. Prussia is, as should be, your bosom buddy. The Germanies hang together or separately. Support the Prussian with money if need be. It is critical for you to be able to enter my round of diplomacy saying, "Prussia and I think . . ." Do not allow foolish pride to jeopardize this strength. And support Prussia in the equitable division of the German minor states. Strive at every turn to assure that as many such as possible fall into Prussia's hands or your own, simply to keep them away from France. Ignore any opportunity to make off with Silesia. Dominant status is a snare and a delusion, getting you to attack your only friends and thereby destroy yourself. Do not be led astray.
If, despite everything, the Prussian will not be your true friend, Austria
is most likely doomed. Smile, put up a good front, and make every effort
to make him see the light.
Russia. Any stomping of France will be much easier with the Russians
helping. Russia, Prussia and Austria can dance on Napoleon's grave. So
find out what the Russians want as their price. Almost anything will be
worth it because you cannot really commit to an all-out effort against
the French with the Russians hovering just behind you, waiting to scoop
up the Galicias. And you need the Russian more than he needs you. A certain
flexibility in what you have come to regard as your lands may be necessary
to gain his cooperation and support. Giving up pieces of Italy is less
painful than giving up pieces of Austria.
Spain. Spanish cooperation in the coalition would be helpful. Find out what he wants as his price. Odds are you won't be able to give it to him directly, but you might convince the British (who are probably in the position to grant Spanish desires). The more who come to Napoleon's wake, the merrier the party will be.
Your only possible bone of contention with Spain is Italy - specifically
Naples. The Spanish may want it; so do you - and so does France of course.
It will not do to see France have it. it is much better that it wind up
in Spanish hands if it cannot be yours. And it makes an excellent bargaining
chip for cementing your friendship with Spain.
Turkey. Austria is in a delicate situation visa-vis the infidel Turks. You can crush their army easily enough, and in so doing reap much political status. However, you due not do so with France hovering at your back door. Initially, the best approach to take with the Turks is to tell them in no uncertain terms who will be the primary target for your army if they are unwise enough to interfere in Austro-French relations with a vulturish declaration of war. You need to keep them out of the fight until matters with France are settled. Then, if you wish, Chutes may turn and crush them during the mandatory peace when Le Grande Armee cannot rescue them. Naturally, you should not attempt this if your own army has been too mauled to field an expeditionary force of at least 50 infantry and ten cavalry factors. (That is, above and beyond what is necessary to defend Austria from such other threats as exist, or seem to exist.)
Important logistical considerations come into play in any war between Austria and Turkey. Careful attention to supply and reinforcements should guide your conduct of the war. If Turkey invades, let the first two corps move freely into your territory. If they both finished in the same area, let the third through unmolested as well. If not, then stop the third with the Insurrection Corps. Stop the fourth one in any case. Your objective in this war is to gain Political Points. Therefore, you wish to engage stacks of one, three or five enemy corps. To engage any stack of two, four or more is to allow the enemy extra strength with no more Political Points risked.
It is tempting to form a large force around Charles and go crushing all Turkish concentrations, but do not be shy about engaging isolated corps of his with a single full corps of yours as well. Your troops are better - substantially better - than his, and you should win most encounters. If the enemy has an infantry symbol, you can be highly confident of cavalry superiority (with even one cavalry factor intrinsic to your corps); only the Nizami-Cedid has any cavalry capacity among his infantry corps.
Keep careful track of the strengths of Turkish feudal corps. Move into the home provinces of those that are weak (or dead) during your December turn. Because your turn comes after Turkey's, there will then be unbesieged enemy corps in those home provinces and that feudal corps will be ineligible for muster. This can be a rude shock to the Turkish player who takes a "so-what" attitude toward his feudal casualties. The same ploy will also prevent previously stood-down corps from standing back up.
Locate the Janissary and Nizami-Cedid corps. Attack them with a large group of yours and a good leader. Even if you don't win against these superior (for Turks) troops, you want to bleed their quality formations so that they present less of a threat.
While Austria need not accept a conditional surrender from the Turks,
it may be wisest to do so. You don't really want to weaken them just so
the Russian can profit with no effort, do you? Beat them up until you have
gained a goodly dose of political status, then make peace. Do not overlook
the advantage of an informal peace (no Compulsory period). You can then
crush them again later for a quick boost to your political position (the
only valid reason for starting my war with Turkey in the first place).
Poor Prussia - so near to enemies and so far from meaningful help. Prussia is caught between the expansionist French and the expansionist Russians. It is frequently very convenient for the two to decide to partition Prussia the way Prussia earlier engineered the partition of Poland.
So, what to do? First, count yourself lucky if the French are not already at war with you as the game opens. This means they will have to spend Political Points to declare on you. Next, Seek an alliance with Austria. It should be very happy to enter into a mutual-aid pact with Prussia. Seek also the help of the Russians. Grit your teeth and agree to their demands, which are sure to be extravagant. Try to grab as many minor states as possible to build up your strength. Buy as much cavalry as you can afford, subject to maintaining a war chest of at least $30 and using all your manpower on regular SP. Do not save manpower at the start of the game.
The time to save manpower is after the first war against France. By then your proud cavalry arm will undoubtedly be savaged. Compress the remainder into as few corps as possible, and bank your men during the interim to save money. Bring them on just as Peace is expiring, financed by British coin.
An alternative strategy worth considering is to buy absolutely nothing
in the early game. Save everything. You need not announce your lack of
reinforcements, and it can be an effective deception to simply bud a corps
off another from time to time to provide the illusion of growth. The objective
of such a course is to minimize your forms subject to loss in that first
war with France, and to maximize your recovery rate. Seek British subsidies
when you are about to pop your army up - even if you have the cash to do
it unaided. You don't want the British to feel unneeded, do you?
France. Napoleon can kick your butt. Up one side and down the other, in fact. The Prussian army has inferior morale, inferior leadership, inferior movement, inferior mass, and inferior resources. Without allies you are, therefore, doomed. Do not allow Prussia to be separated from her natural allies through your own stubborn pride. If France can set up the rotation, your plans are vain and hopeless and your victory in the game impossible. You must bring France down before you can pursue other plans. Commit yourself to the downfall of France. Only if you seize the bulk of the German minors will you be able to approach France with anything near equality.
At the same time you are fomenting an anti-French alliance, you should take pains to encourage the French naval program. Nothing is sweeter for the Prussian than to see all that French money cast upon the waters.
Of the above-mentioned weaknesses, the leadership problem you face will be eased when Blucher comes on the board. Before then, seek to stack your corps with Charles of Austria in the joint fight against France. The Austrians; will agree if they know what's good for them, because of the large and compact cavalry contingent you can bring. Between the two of you, you might be able to achieve cavalry superiority against Le Grande Armee. It is the only superiority either can ever get, so work for it.
With intelligence and effort, you can ameliorate the severity of the
leadership and resource problems Prussia faces. The other problems are
going to persist until and unless France is stripped of dominant power
status. Only a "grand" coalition can hope to accomplish that feat, and
this should be your goal in diplomacy, hard as it is to bring about.
Britain. Treat Britain as the banker for your saved manpower. Let the British player know how much you have saved, and that he should maintain a strategic reserve of cash equal to three times that. Then use it, at a strategic moment, to finance a cavalry point per three infantry. If the British will not play ball, wax apoplectic about providing all the blood while they are merely asked to foot the bill. If they remain unmoved, the British player is very stupid and you should approach Frame about becoming a vassal state. Let the British player try to find another land power to distract Napoleon from his naval campaign.
Let the British know, too, that coin is not enough. The primary beneficiary of a land war against Napoleon is Britain. Insist that, since the war is being fought on your soil, the British army be committed to raise coalition morale. Also insist that they reduce France's Victory Points. The British player will squawk at doing so, but if he does not and will not commit his army, how serious is his commitment to the coalition? Press this point hard. Britain can recover from the failure of a coalition effort much more easily than you can.
Prussia will be bearing the brunt of the French attack, and the brunt
of Political Point losses as well. The British had damned well better be
prepared for some sacrifices of their own. Use these as a litmus test of
British sincerity and commitment. If he will not do either, then he is
obviously just looking for cannon fodder to wear the French down and distract
them. Never tolerate any British slacking in this regard. "Put up or shut
up", is a marvelous saying to throw in their faces from across the water.
Austria. Austria is, or should be, your boon friend and companion. Read
the advice given to the Austrian player. Most of it applies to you as well.
Russia. You must bend every effort to find out what the Russians want and get it for them. The worst thing that can happen to you is to team up with, say, Austria and Britain, get your army into France (and perhaps even drub the upstart a time or two), and then suddenly find an infestation of Romanovs in your own yard. Encourage Russian garrisons (hostages) in you country; then he cannot declare war without telegraphing his intent at lent. On no account declare war on France without such tangible assurances from the Russian player. We're not talking one or two factors either, but enough to make him think twice about a backstab. Let's say 10-20.
If you can find the inducement to bring the Russians actively into the
grand alliance, its success is virtually assured. Few prices are too high
for this, but never let on to him how desperate you really are.
Spain and Turkey. You will seldom have any cause to even talk to them,
except to mount moral pressure against them vulching your allies while
the war with France is still inconclusive. [ "Vulching" is what vultures
do, I guess.]
You have a wide range of options. Therefore, listen carefully to all offers before committing Russia to any one course of action. Frequently, the other powers will fall all over themselves with enticements. Select those which attract you the most in setting overall strategy. It is Russian strategic decisions which, more than any other, will determine the course of the game.
Your position on the edge of the board is a source of both strength and weakness. It is a strength because you need not fear a stab in the back (as there is no one there). The weakness stems from the same source, however. You cannot ever expect help from that direction either. Still, the Austro-Prussian coalition in front of you will usually be too preoccupied with France to mount much of an effort against Russian actions.
Should either try an invasion, you can back up slowly for a long time, entering battle only when conditions favor you. Most nations are forced to defend threatened capitals practically on their borders when invaded. The vastness of Russian distances can provide an effective deterrent (as can a tactfully worded reminder of 1812). Because of this, and Turkish weakness, you have the luxury to choose your actions relatively free of worry over immediate threats to your home base. Russia is the only power with a range of very different options and the freedom to actively pursue them.
You have the option to concentrate on the minor states. To do this, deploy a corps in Corfu with a fleet to transport it, and several corps facing Sweden. These are the only bases near my significant number of minor countries. This deployment will not seriously drain the home defense, and you should do so whether or not you intend to be active in those areas in any case.
After this, simply sit in on the Italian Question negotiations. Make it known that you have an interest, and will not lightly relinquish your claims. The other players will not know if your Corfu corps is hollow or full. Besides this. most will realize that they will want your help later. This can make them most reasonable when it comes to dividing up the Italian states. If you do not wish to become an Italian or North African landlord, then angle for cash, or an understanding with everyone over Sweden, Poland, Denmark or whatever else will advance your game plan. The critical point is to have a game plan.
Another alternative is to aid the French with their anti-British naval war. France, Spain, Russia, Portugal and Sweden can easily take on Britain, and win. But what will you gain from this? Know before you commit yourself to such an irrevocable course what you can get for it. Once the Royal Navy is smashed, it cannot be easily refloated in ease of later need. Bear that in mind.
Still another possibility is to lean on Prussia to create Poland. Then have him cede it to Austria, who will add the Galicias to it. And cede it to you! In exchange for this powerful minor, you will commit the Russian army (in substantial numbers) for the defeat of France. Be sure to follow through on this promise if you make it A hostile coalition is a dangerous thing, and who knows who else they may be able to persuade to join if you show so little faith?
Yet another option is to vulch off Prussia and Austria after France has finished with them. They do have certain territories which they have unjustly been withholding from your grasp. You may wish to communicate to them the error of their ungenerous ways.
So many choices. Most of them also permit you the luxury to sit back and allow events to develop if you wish. Keep these choices all in mind and check which way the prevailing winds of opinion are blowing before jumping. The other powers, by and large, need you more than you need them. What a splendid position to be in. All this makes Russia the easiest country in the game to play. Bid high for it if this is your first game.
"Mother Russia" is very fruitful, with an innate ability to belch forth a full corps each interphase, even if you hold no minors. Do not take this lightly. You can easily outbuild everyone but France. Your manpower is only barely inferior to the Austro-Prussian combination. With time and careful diplomacy, you can possess an army superior to theirs put together. Concentrate on filling out the special troops early. Buy the artillery and Guard as soon as possible, that start on your cavalry.
You will find that soon, very soon, all of those have been bought and
that you still have immense amounts of money left after buying 17-20 infantry
points each turn. It is fortunate that Russia has many cities to contain
this bounty of troops as garrisons. Then is the time to fill out your fleet.
Yes, it will certainly make the British nervous. Let no one - no one -
take you for granted. How do you use this to treat with each? Well:
France. Russia need not fear France as much as Austria, Prussia, Spain or even Britain do. Your capitals are far away by land, and the British will probably block any French naval action, even if ostensibly launched against St. Petersburg. If not, you can assemble sufficient force to recapture it should the French succeed in taking it. Of course, your large concentrations left over from the conquest of Sweden could be used if such an attack comes early. Finally, the French navy is not that much larger than the Russian, so you even have a decent chance of opposing them on your own account -especially with the Swedish squadron to aid you. No, you need not fear the French too much.
Now, this doesn't mean that you will necessarily be friends with Napoleon
either. It is still conceivable for the French to mount an invasion (it
just isn't easy). If an invasion of Russia by anyone does develop when
you we unready, try to draw the enemy into Russia slowly. Moscow is a long
way from Poland, and your cossacks can make my quartermaster's job a hellish
one. The number of troops available to actually fight you will diminish
as they approach the capital, due to the necessity of garrisoning depots
and guarding against end run, while yours will increase with reinforcements
and the absorption of outlying garrisons. Remember, each quarter means
another corps of Russians, while the enemy will typically be unable to
receive their forward reinforcements.
Britain. Without a doubt, a conspiracy against Britain will be discussed. Such a project holds great benefits for the French and some for the Spanish, but what gain is there for you? Ponder this question closely and insist on a timely and specific answer before joining my such plan.
Now the British player may be difficult on the topic of your Swedish
aspirations, or your schemes in Italy. If he is too much the obstructionist,
participating in his downfall may be the only way to show you cannot be
forever pushed around. You can usually get away with a lot against the
British, simply because they will not want to antagonize you into joining
this anti-British invasion force. State plainly and calmly what you want
from the British, and you have a decent chance to get it without spilling
my Russian blood.
Austria/Prussia. Your construction capacity is almost equal to theirs. If they get into any war, their losses will close the gap between their initial forces and yours quickly. Russia can, therefore, be quite assertive towards them if need be. With Napoleon in their rear, they are not going to make problems for you.
In fact, your best bet in many cases is simply to ignore their existence. While they may beg and scream for troops to help against the French, France is pretty much their problem alone. Be sure that you get something valuable for your aid, should you choose to render it. If they object, calmly compare the present situation to one in which all your spare corps were camped on their borders. If not, an entente with France has its advantages. Just be sure that you, not France, wind up with Poland. Possessing Poland will do nothing but put unwise and dangerous thoughts in Napoleon's head.
Generally speaking, Austria and Prussia are valuable buffer states between
you and the French, and are better left in that capacity than destroyed.
Turkey. Read the comments about Turkey given to Austria. Most of them
apply to Russia as well. Turkey can be a fine place to pick up a few victory
points if needed. Just remember to define your objectives beforehand and
quit when you have attained them. It can be hard to resist the temptation
to squash them. But it won't do to crush them so completely that you can
crush them again later because the others have vulched them to death.
Spain. Russia just might come into conflict with Spain over Italy, should your expansion be into their area. Oddly, Spain is the only player who needn't fear you. Spain has bigger fleets and is closer to sources of reinforcements. It is a bitter pill to swallow, but the Spanish just might beat you in an Italian war. Of course, they have the fear of France to keep them in line. Be sensitive to the diplomatic nuances in gauging whether Spain and France lie in bed together.
If they are, then your Italian plans are complicated immensely. Do you
really want to commit many troops where both Spain and France can get at
them? It may be far better to bide your time. Eleven years is a long while,
and circumstances rarely develop to the detriment of the Czar.
The "sick man of Europe" indeed! I'm afraid there's bad news for the Turkish player. Feudalism is the way of the past, not the future. Every single one of the other major states can beat you in a fair fight - even Spain. How you cope with this humiliation is hard to say. The only saving grace you have is that everyone else has to be concerned with France. If they are concerned enough, you can sometimes get away with a few things. Your only real recourse as a bargaining chip is to threaten the rest of the major countries at war with France. Granted, this can make you appear a bratty and petulant child, but you do what you must to survive.
North Africa is, of course, your natural route of expansion. It is the only place on the map inhabited by troops worse than your own. Egypt can practically be guaranteed. The others are dicey. The British with their unholy morale and the Spanish with their larger fleet make Islamic unity a distant dream. Perhaps if you offend no me, they will not come to Istanbul to snuff out your life.
This may be a bit overstated, but it serves to point up Turkey's inferiority. The dominant line of the political track is not for you. If you are a patient player, just staying out of other people's disasters can be a winning strategy, Plodding along at eight victory points per interphase can win the race. Eight times 44 equals 352, and your minimum need is only 315. Perhaps not glamorous, but an enviable position to be in for any gamer.
War with other powers is unwise unless they have first been seriously weakened by someone else. Even then, what do you hope to gain? Political status? Even the shell of their army has better morale than yours. Land? They'd have to be very desperate to surrender to the likes of you. Of course, sometimes the bordering countries can be very desperate - a point not to be overlooked. Your best bet is a low profile, sticking to the neutral zone on the chart, and gathering the eight points per interphase. Anything more assertive will attract unwelcome attention.
A ploy you can use to good effect is to make alliances with likely aggressors early, when they we still pre-occupied with the division of minors and so seeking some easy political status gains. These alliances can later dissuade people from declaring war against you, as five points is a lot to give up at once. This can blow up in your face, however, if they begin declaring war against each other. But then, if they we fighting one another, what's to worry about?
If none of this convinces you to turn away from an adventurous policy,
an early declaration of war does have its advantages. You begin the game
with virtually the maximum military strength you can ever achieve. The
others will grow stronger in the absence of war; you will not. To strike
while the iron is hot does have its appeal. The main danger is that France
will use the respite to build for its own purposes while you whittle down
potential foes for them. Don't expect Napoleon to remember your sacrifice
with gratitude either.
France. Your natural allies are those far from Turkey, who want nothing you have, and who can engage your enemies. France is the only country that fits this description. Spain and Britain want North African and Italian possessions. Austria and Russia lust for your adjacent provinces. Prussia is more likely allied with, than opposed to, these countries.
Be friendly with the French player, but weigh carefully the advantages
of declaring war against Austria when France does. Remember that the Austrian
need not surrender to you just because Napoleon has pounded him into the
dirt and you are France's ally. Sad, but true. Also, the French might accept
a conditional surrender and so leave you high and dry facing an enraged
and point-hungry Austria. Even if Napoleon does hold out for unconditional
surrender in deference to your survival and value as a continued ally,
he may be "forced" to choose conditions that do not savage the Austrian
army enough.Still, if you must fight Austria, a cooperative war with France
is by far the best way to go. You can do far more than your normal irritation
if the Austrian is looking at a simultaneous French invasion. But this
is the time to watch over your shoulder for the Bear. Alternatively, this
might be a good time to attack Russia. After all, are the Austrians likely
to intervene while absorbed in a war with France? I think not!
Britain. The British, as noted above, lust after manpower. This will frequently drive them to try for Cyrenaica and Tripolitania, or even for Egypt. A peaceful arrangement can be very much in your best interest. It can provide a constant source of income to fund your operations (the Turkish treasury is embarrassingly empty much of the time). Compare this with the cost of making an enemy of Britain. No trade, which costs you money you can ill-afford to lose. In battle on land you will face an army with twice your morale. At sea. they get +1 for the wind gauge and +1 in combat, on top of outnumbering your fleet. So, far better to let England pay you and, at the same time, form a buffer to keep those crusading Spanish at bay.
If Britain is determined to clash, your only option is to overwhelm its small army with mass and kill them all. You must keep a large force near Istanbul to protect it from occupation. Naval superiority will allow them to shift forces quickly, so never leave your capital guarded by less than 50 factors, including at least 16 of cavalry so you can be assured of the superiority bonus.
With the remainder of your army, mount a campaign against their minor
holdings. It is too hard to assemble the force needed to crush a British
army before the Royal Navy can pick them up. Therefore, your targets must
be territorial. Leave garrisons in the capitals of your own minors so that
they will have to besiege them, and possibly be delayed by poor luck. Pounce
on my small forces whenever you can gain 2:1 superiority in strength. The
main way to win is to expend your replaceable feudals burying the enemy
in casualties. Certainly, you can't count on breaking a 4.5 morale.
Spain. The Spanish are your natural enemies. They want North Africa, or maybe Italy; Turkey wants North Africa, or maybe Italy. The Spanish have better troops and a better navy. Read the notes on war with England above, since most of that also applies to a war with Spain. Tactics against the Spanish are more involved though. You can hope to win some battles by means other than simply killing them all. While your army is inferior, it is no walkover, and you needn't take my guff from the Spanish.
Of singular importance is the cavalry pursuit you can put together should
you be fortunate enough to win a battle. You have 31 cavalry factors to
your account, plus another six if the Syrian corps is present. With Ali
to lead them, annihilating the entire enemy army is a real possibility.
That might bring a peace offer real fast.
Austria. The real question in Austrian strategy for the Turks is whether to jump in against them once they have been weakened by France, or whether to seek peaceful co-existence. This will be determined by your personality. Do you want to be patient and quiet, or assertive and bold?
Also take into account the attitude of the Russian. If he seems to have a "Let you and him fight" stance, he could be just waiting for you to weaken yourself. A surprise visit across the Black Sea by the Tsar while you besiege Vienna would be unpleasant. Investigate closely the reason for my naval deployment in your sea.
If an aggressive war against Austria is in the cards, move carefully to minimize the threat of Insurrection corps to your supply lines. The first time you enter one of these provinces, pile all your invading corps into the first area you enter. This way, the insurrection corps would have to fight your whole army. If they do, crush them completely. If they do not, then they have just lost the opportunity to use them in that province. Just bear in mind that Hungary is also such a province, so you might have to repeat this procedure two or more times.
Besides, the Austrians have both urbanized and fortified their border with Turkey. Until these fortresses have been reduced, supplying an invasion force will not be possible. Of course, he might have neglected to garrison these critical posts. If so, that's like an engraved invitation. Invitations can conceal traps, however. He might just stand up some troops during the reinforcement phase.
Because of all this, any invasion of Austria has to be done slowly,
which gives him time to mobilize. Now, perhaps, you understand why your
ancestors were never able to take Vienna. And a lot can happen while you
we approaching the city.
Prussia. Ignore him. Unless he seems foolish enough to antagonize either
Austrians or the Russians. Give subtle encouragement to such folly. Better
they should die Fighting each other.
Russia. The great bear is a menace to all you do. They can replace army factors almost as easily as you, except theirs will be regulars with regular morale. There we few threats you can make to keep the Russian player from using you as a punching bag for a little extra political status.
If you do attack them, how are you going to get to Moscow? If you don't head for Moscow, how are you going to compel them to end the war? If you cannot compel them to end the war, how will you get what you want? Closing the Dardanelles to them is but an irritant. It is inconvenient for them to Support their Italian operations from the Baltic, but it is not impossible. It is also very important to you whether you we locking them into - or out of - the Black Sea. You may wish to consult with your allies concerning this matter.
Still, the Russians may have diplomatic problems on other fronts to
distract them. To keep these simmering is in your interest.
As can be surmised, each of the seven nations has a fair chance to claim the victory. With judicious application of sound guidelines for tactics, logistics, strategy and grand strategy, even the "sick man of Europe" is a force in this kaleidoscope of shifting fortunes. While the French and British players may seem to dictate much of the action, they rarely manage to "win" the game. This race goes, not to the swift or the strong, but to the smart and the patient.
There is a terrible tendency in EMPIRES IN ARMS to regard what has happened
most recently as determining the outcome of the balance of the game. Nothing
could be further from the truth. One hundred and thirty-two turns is a
long, long time. What seemed an insurmountable lead late in 1805 can turn
into disaster by 1807, to say nothing of 1815. And the events of 1815 never
determine the winner, except by destroying player morale. Most players
crumble faster than Turkish feudals. It is the resolute and steadfast player
who will emerge victorious, rather like the British did historically. Patience
and sound, thoughtful play are rewarded in this game as in few others on
die market. Perhaps the above has helped you take heart. Good luck!