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All Forums >> [Current Games From Matrix.] >> [Napoleonics] >> Empire in Arms the Napoleonic Wars of 1805 - 1815 >> The War Room >> Strategic Considerations for all Page: [1]
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Strategic Considerations for all - 4/18/2011 6:23:51 PM   

Posts: 803
Joined: 9/17/2003
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The last time I did this was during development and that post is well hidden and not very applicable to the current game so I decided to repost and update my thoughts in case anyone wanted some more advice:

FRANCE: NOTHING is as much fun as being 1805 France. You may lose, you may win, but the constant diplomacy, betrayal, chit pick suprises, die rolls, etc. will always give you something to discuss with your fellow players. As France, you need an ally, ANY ally. And when I say ally, it is someone who is going to join every war you are in. On that note, you start at war with Britain, try to keep it that way. Tell the others that Britain OWES them $$$, especially Russia, and if there is not enough $$$ promised immediately, you will help them get their share by force. (See Spain below for Sack of Britain)

My first choice is Spain. Deep down Spain knows that Britain will always want her fleets at the bottom, and Britain for some reason always acts like the Spanish need to use their fleets to weaken the French for the British naval death blow (thus ensuring the safety of the channel), so this is frequently not as hard a sell as you would think. Make the British French and Spanish navies relatively equal and you will be in great shape. There is NO reason to ever enter Spain, even if they are an opponent. I am not saying let them ravage France, but don't go across the border, there is no reason to give them free troops even if they are militia. If you can get Spain as an ally, stack with them blockading London at the start (you automatically get the wind gauge). Odds are the British will use their entire fleet to smash you, but these are the best odds you will ever have in a fight with them at sea, with you winning almost 2/3 of the time (by causing greater or equal losses as defender). In the event Russia decides to help, TAKE LONDON and go unconditional. Once London falls, you can do forced capitulation even if Russia backs out with a conditional peace (which actually only helps your goals - 2 peaces are more damaging than 1). Sow the fields with salt. Britain will never back off no matter how light a peace they get so strip them clean.

My second choice is Russia. If Spain is not on your side you will be fighting a holding action in the West so make sure that Austria/Prussia has a 2 front war too. Russia is frequently greedy for territory and you can offer them tons of other people's territories. If they are a trustworthy player, you will have a 3-power Europe. The 2 of you can't take out Britain, but they are the only ones that will be able to stand against you. Tell Russia to declare right after the Prussians declare Poland or commit too many troops too far west.

My third choice is Turkey. Turkey is always $$$ starved and you usually need $$$ for your own armies, so they are not the best, but they will stretch the Austria/Prussia/Russia lines thinner. Encourage Turkey in the Ottoman dream, it keeps them energized and it costs you nothing since they cannot reasonably expect you to help much in that goal since you are not connected to Africa by land. Turkey is my one exception to the starting war rule with Britain. I tell Turkey to be deceitful. Get Britain to give them Ottoman (pointing out that they can always take it away if things go bad...) and lots of $$$ to get their troops in the field and that they will help with France once their morale is up and then turn when the time to fight France comes. By then they should have a stronger army than Britain and Britain will have a hard time taking Ottoman away especially with France pushing the Central Powers harder due to the Turkish ruse.

If you cannot get the above, try for Prussia, and focus on taking Italy and splitting the germans with Prussia (while carving up Austria) but you better really trust the Prussian since they are best served by your defeat(s).

A note on Britain: as I am sure you can see, British fleets + French armies = lots of fun for Britain for and France but very little for everyone else. Usually people quit if this alliance forms at the start. It is best to see yourselves as team captains each leading a side in a pickup sport.

OVERALL STRATEGY is to always have an enemy but rarely (if ever) declare war. Two things are critical for France: war and supply. The PP machine for France is built off of land battles and you need to keep having them, so always have an enemy (Britain is good at the start but they will die quick if they are your only enemy). Tell the other powers they can have a free hand with the minors, you just want to kick British butt, roll on every control, but go to war over important ones like Denmark and Sweden. You have a few bordering minors that you can reach before anyone else and that lack corps so grab those but tread lightly after that. Usually you will have Prussia/Austria/Britain at war with you at the start. Act scared of them and offer them all the minors they want. Every one they declare on gives you more troops and supply bases. Your intial target depends on setup but the default is Prussia. Only Prussia has corps that can hold a good number of cavalry and Prussia is also going to have the hardest time rebuilding their losses. Often Austria will try to cling to the Alps and you may be able to kill the Prussians early, then turn your forces to Austria who has to decide between denying you cav superiority, trading superiority for much more factors or dropping the tactical of Charles. Of course if Austria sets up in a position that is easier to strike than Prussia, then Austria must be hit first. The entire British army can be handled by Davout and 1 corps at the start. Later French wars are best set up on a "rotation". Try to get your enemies on a rotation where every 6 months an enforced peace expires so you can fight one at a time and keep beating them. Strip them of money, and a few pieces of land but make sure they can make war again! You need an opponent plus you look to be magnaminous in case you need them later. Supply is the final aspect of French (and everyone's) strategy. Depots and supply chains are the easiest targets in the game. Keep in mind Napoleon won entire national surrenders from a single battle. Follow his example and only chase the big battle - learn from US Grant too and keep in mind, only key cities (Atlanta, Richmond, Vicksburg in Civil War, but Capitals in EiA) are worthy of capture, otherwise destroy your enemies' armies. Try to stay close to your borders, plan movement so that you can "auto" forage (forage roll is 6 for all corps), pay supply for those corps that can't auto forage, and go last in land until you need the double move (going last in one month and first the next month gives your corps a range of 8 move points, and while you then will sacrifice a similar advantage to your opponents when you switch back to going last, they only get a range of 6 movement points from it and when used right, you will be giving them that advantage right after they have surrendered) to engage the Great Victory KEEP MILITIA IN YOUR RANKS. MANY people have argued this with me. They say that for the $$$, it is worth having only infantry in corps. If you place a few militia in your corps, you will lose .1 or .2 overall morale and can lose some cheap troops; every militia loss is $3 saved. I have seen more national armies destroyed from having to forage than from losing a battle, so the extra $$$ is important in my mind.

BRITAIN: Britain used to be near the bottom of my list but around here people hand Britain the game usually by the 2d Econ phase. I hate playing Britain mostly because I hate beggers and whiners. I also hate the fact that I have to help defeat France and everyone knows it. That means carelessness by others, particularly Prussia and Austria, is paid for by me. As someone said here earlier, you must keep the anti-French coalition together. Give Russia Sweden, take Denmark, and mediate Africa, keeping in mind that if you have naval superiority, especially overwhelmingly, then you can hold Denmark and western North Africa to the Egyptian border and make the Russian assault on Sweden a living nightmare of foraging. If you want some extra allies tell Spain and Turkey that you will hold Tunisia and keep both separated or convince Spain that a Ottoman Turkey will hold Russia off and secure Spain a good Italian empire. You must negotiate all the minors for everyone (who gets what) but agree minors will get taken care of once France is defeated, then minors get grabbed, then hit France again. After that, everyone is free to act as they wish (and the Germans/Turks usually want to get Russia at this point). France must fall twice to truly weaken it enough for it to be on a semi-equal footing with everyone else. I tell Spain that I will not build new ships if they do not so that we can focus on France and then offer $$$ proportional to MP to everyone in the alliance. Spain + France is bad for Britain and if you are not pouncing on Spain, they are more likely to stay neutral at least. Get the French fleet! No matter where it is pursue it (don't impale on port guns, you can count on losing 15% of the guns value so in most cases it is only a justified run if there are 13 or more total ships in the port), attack attack attack until it is no more. If it stacks with Spain at the start, you still have the odds with you so long as they are at sea, but try to gather all the allied fleets together (Turkish or Russian) and get greater numbers. I have never believed that Britain has anything to really offer Spain, so find out what they want and get it for them from the others (pointing out that France is the real enemy). Once the French fleet is sunk, you have a free hand navally which is where your military strategy comes into play. I keep a corps (even a minor one) in Britain, at a port, and use a mobile force to hit the French. If they are moving deep into Central Europe, I start taking French provincial capitals and costing them $$$. If they stay home, I jump isolated corps (remember the 8 space movement France can make) near the sea. If they are foolish enough to sea or coastal supply I cut supply.

OVERALL STRATEGY: Britain needs constant battle. Fleets only last so long in the game if you are doing your job right so you will need some land battles. Spread your corps throughout your allies' armies. Your morale (and leadership for some allies) helps them and while you will gain the same PP invictory, you only lose 1 PP in defeat (1 or at most 2 corps is all you ever have with an individual allied army).

RUSSIA: Russia is my 3d favorite to play. Russia is the "free agent" of EiA. Everyone wants your help or at least your neutrality. Sweden is yours. Anyone who disagrees is your enemy. If Britain disagrees, tell them OK, they can have Sweden and Denmark but they better declare on them at the first round or you will on 2d Econ. Run to France and tell them you are going to help with the Sack of Britain and go to war with Britain when they declare on the Nordic minors (even if they just declare on Denmark). They will quickly be offering Sweden and MUCH more to get you away from the French. I tend to be ambivalent to Prussia and Austria. I tell Turkey that they need to focus on Ottoman (so what if they get it - they are not going to come into Russia and use it - they will die; NO ONE, not even Nappy, succeeds in a land war in Russia) and then do whatever they want and that you will keep the border unarmed if they will (even if they lie, who cares? As I said NOONE....). In addition to Sweden you can take the minors between you and Turkey, they don't need them and Ottoman is a bigger prize.

OVERALL STRATEGY: Britain and France are the key people to be talking too. Think like a German Prince or the Swiss of this period. You have some mercenaries for sale, who wants them? Make them pay IN ADVANCE full price for each factor they want to have fighting for them (you will graciously eat the MP). They also need to reimburse your supply costs and full price for each factor that dies, if they fail to do this, your troops are heading home (you got some $$$ up front). France will usually tell you to kiss butt (they may buy part of your navy for the Sack of Britain), but to Britain you are offering them a way to make up for their weak army by using yours. They will usually offer a more moderate arrangement, but as long as you are not bearing all your costs, the British are good friends. Never forget that yours is the only army that can go toe-to-toe with France's (artillery/double guard commitment). Make them come to you. Outside of the mercenary principle and taking Sweden (NOT IN WINTER - the infamous March of Neal lives to this day among us from where a Russia lost ALL his land factors executing a Winter Campaign by land against Sweden) there is no reason to venture far from home. Like France, you can use an enemy at all times to get PP, but you can go without longer than France can. If you decide to help France, read the above about peace and be nice to the Germans.
Austria/Prussia should be viewed as "buffer states". Think like Stalin, their land is your land, their supply is your supply. The French have too much territory already and every step they make East is one step closer to making you fight. If Britain is not keeping the Germans alive, you have to, even if your entire army has to be militia. Keep in mind though, while this is ultimately what you must do, do not let them know you think that way, even if you have to let them sweat it out for a while. Always act like you are doing everyone a big favor by even getting involved in these "European" problems.

PRUSSIA: Good old Prussia. Prussia is as much fun as a sack full of wildcats as they say in these parts ;) Prussia should have 2 constants: alliance with Austria and alliance with Britain. No matter what, Prussia lives or dies hand-in-hand with Austria. A Prussia/France alliance is a nice thought, but France is really using you to take the minors that do not award PP for combining (France would LOVE to make Poland.....) and for bases to launch a few forays into Russia who will not be very forgiving when peace comes between Russia and France. If you actually get offered surrender, take conditional every time or you will not be getting peace. Russia and France have no reason not to spurn your unconditional and leave you in the war just to recoup their PP (and even decimated by factor death they still outnumber and outgeneral you). Save LOTS of MP. This unique ability can turn the tide at unsuspected moments. Nothing scares Russian and French armies as the fact that you can suddenly pop up 20 militia on their supply lines. The most difficult part is to decide what France's intentions are, and Spain is usually the one to ask. If Spain indicates they are doing a pro-French alliance, and they will tell you for the most part since they want Britain to know and they know you will tell Britain - their French alliance is not designed to attack you since Spain wants nothing that you have, then play very defensively until the British win at sea. You will need to combine with the Austrians quickly, preferably at the French border. Regardless, set up all your corps exactly 5 spaces from the French border, this prevents them from double moving and starting the Great Battle. Yes it will take you a couple turns to move on France if you need to, but it will also cause France to go deeply East if they really want to get the Great Battle (and once they have a supply line, cut it). You can usually make 2 armies: one for taking out the main French force, and 1 for conquering minors/replacing losses from the main force. As for the British alliance, they need you as much as you need them. They have $$$, you have MP and cav. True, once the French fleet is at the bottom of the sea they can sit back, get their win and let Fortress Europe be made, but usually they are very attached to their German States and they can't truly "win" unless they fight and beat France. Encourage them to build your cav to supplement their Inf and offer stacking with them - remember this whole era ended due to the British/Prussian stacking!

SPAIN: Spain will need to talk to only 2 people: France and Britain. Either you are helping the British gain absolute command of the seas or you are aiding the French in Fortress Europe, with a possibility of the Sack of Britain. As Spain I usually tend to go with the French option. Britain has little to offer and mostly wants you to impale your fleet on the French to soften them up for victory, usually with you losing PP for the impale and Britain gaining for the victory. You do make a nice base for the British to work from and make inroads to France, and can gain some PP this way, but if you are going to lose PP at sea and win PP on Land, why not join France where you will get LOTS of PP at land (not to mention serve under some of the best generals ever) and you may even get PP from sea? Regardless of your choice, stack with your ally and follow their victories. One game Spain even saved my France since I had never attacked him, he chose to save my army with his pick (only took a weak corps from me, blocking anyone else from destroying my army) when I had to surrender to the coalition (took unconditional with Britain, Prussia, Austria, Russia, Turkey, Spain - bad bad war) and my army was saved. I never asked for peace again that game and although Spain paid by invasion from her allies, I made sure Spain was well rewarded for their help (it was the board game and I got him Dominance). Some may disagree, but stick with France and you will not regret it (as long as they are honorable).

AUSTRIA: Good news and bad news. Good news: you know your eternal enemy is France and your eternal ally is Britain; Bad news: Russia, Turkey, Prussia and Spain may all want to carve you up. As with Prussia (above) the Austro-Prussian alliance is key. You need to set up your troops exactly 5 spaces from the French borders. this is often hard for Austrians to do since they focus on the easy minors at hand but it is imperative. You cannot afford to have France trounce you while you are divided from the Prussian and Russians. You have to convince Russia to join the alliance. Try to get Russia to set up on your (Austria's and Prussia's) border and move on the shortest path to the French front. Keep in mind the French need battle, use that against them. Get your forces concentrated on ground of your choice, ideally 8 spaces from the advancing French with some Cav corps 1 space back. This forces the French to double move to fight and lets your cav corps kill any depots the French use forcing them to forage home (watch their creative movement after losing their supply depot). In the event the French are poised to Sack Britain, move to the southern French border and then SCATTER trying to do 1 corps per spot (3 factor corps help, enough to kill a garrison factor and acceptable casualties when the French jump it with a full corp). Yes the French will be all over you and you will get sacked for PP but they cannot afford to ignore you and you can regroup at a central spot. Britain will reward you for your losses and you can count on regaining those PP when the Russians arrive. Give Turkey a free hand at Ottoman and ignore Spain.

TURKEY: Finally on the list is Turkey. My main goal is to become Ottoman and then try to hold on to whatever I can. Spain tends to be the main block to this (maybe Britain if they take Tunisia to block you) so I talk to Spain first and see if they object (usually I offer them help in Italy and the rest of Africa). Next you need $$$ for your non-Feudal corps, to build troops and to supply the corps. This means you need British or French (or maybe even Russian) funding. Britain is obviously your best bet. They have the power to assure you get Ottoman and the money to keep you well supplied. Once you have Ottoman, the key to life is maintaining your borders and earning PP through helping others fight. Who you fight doesn't matter. I try to make it clear that I have no ambitions beyond being Ottoman and that usually keeps everyone happy with me (it does not however mean that they lack ambitions on me). France as an ally can be useful in that they will allow you to piggyback on Austrian defeats, but they will not be able to help you hold Ottoman unless the British fleet is severely weakened. Also the French cannot be as generous with funds as the British. Strangely, the Russians can be as generous as the British, but they often want neutrality from you since they plan on fighting you at some point for PP (usually after they are done with a French war and have gotten their corps close to the south). Still, if they are happy to get their PP elsewhere, the "edge of the board" alliance can be very profitable for both of you. Austria is a good ally too if you can convince them to attack Russia after France dies and let you get that extra feudal cav corps.

GMing: OK, not really a country but I thought about it and figured I better put my 2 cents in here too. GMs, especially non-player GMs, seem to be needed more these days for resolving disputes, fixing bugs, and keeping the games moving. Some people are even having trust issues like when playing against the same group in 2 games, people are carrying over alliances and vendettas from one game to the other even though it may run contrary to their usual national interests. Makes me really appreciate the treacherous dogs that I play with - they always watch out for themselves regardless While I think these people have been shaken out now, new ones may arrive. If you are non-player GMing I would reccomend using the 3d party battle system and resolving the battles yourself (put away the lucky clear red 6-sider that rolls that 6 every major battle and only rolls low for forage, death is fun when you are not the one dying and a 3 round battle can yeild more casualties than a 1 round break). It is not resented as much when a GM applies a rule and skips someone's turn as when another player does it. I only did this once and it was a lot of fun. You get to learn a lot about other players (especially their loyalties and their machiavellian natures) and you know how things turn out. Unfortunately I was boring as I learned later by seeing others. I would report the chit pick and the die roll and the casualties and a very statistical report on each turn. I much prefer the GMs who write up battle reports instead of giving the results statistically like:


October, 1813, Battle of Dogger Bank: Lord Admiral Nelson and his flagship Revenge, HMS Thunderer, HMS America, HMS Valiant, HMS Valkyrie, along with 15 frigates and 20 transports soundly thrashed the French raider Riposte and her 3 escorts. Riposte was captured and is being refitted in Glasgow, the escorts were sent to the bottom of the North Sea. We suffered one casualty when the Bowswains Mate on HMS Valkyrie, Master Tomlinson, was hit by an unsecured bucket and fell overboard unconscious mid battle. He drowned before it was noticed he had gone overboard but his body was retrieved and accorded full military honors.

Instead of: 15 factor British fleet met 1 factor French, British lost 0 factors, French lost 1 factor, +2 PP British, -1 PP French

Being Gm is a lot of fun, especially if you are playing a different game at the same time, and people really love you for doing it (they will even send you REAL LIVE CASH!!! to buy you a pizza and some Coke sometimes).

< Message edited by Murat -- 10/9/2011 6:40:50 PM >
Post #: 1
RE: Strategic Considerations for all - 4/18/2011 8:16:10 PM   


Posts: 168
Joined: 3/26/2004
From: Italy
Status: offline
Standing ovation !!!



- Scutum Romae -
"Gladius et Scutum Romae" appellabantur. Hannibal se recepit, Marcellus expugnavit Syracusas, Cunctator Capuam. Postremo Quintus Fabius Maximus expugnavit Tarentum.

(in reply to Murat)
Post #: 2
RE: Strategic Considerations for all - 4/21/2011 9:38:28 PM   

Posts: 803
Joined: 9/17/2003
From: South Carolina
Status: offline
Others PLEASE add your own insights! I know we have many excellent players here and my plans have been foiled often by a strategy that at first I looked at and said 'what a moron for doing that' only to suddenly be like 'Ha ha, run away little mice. Hey, what the hell are you doing moving there? No one ever goes there. I never protect that province. Oh crap, I can't reach you for at least 3 months now and if I do my plan suddenly has a weak flank. @#%)!' Probably the best example is that we used to beat the stuffing out of Britain in the tabletop (and I mean for years) so much so that Britian was originally on the bottom of my list here (and then Austria was until I played Turkey without any $ incoming) and in the last 5 games we have had Britain kicking everyone's butt in VP. Hopefully we will change that this time.

< Message edited by Murat -- 9/25/2011 6:06:01 PM >

(in reply to Cunctator)
Post #: 3
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