Next level of gunboat metagame

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Carl Tuckerson
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Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:23 pm
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Re: Next level of gunboat metagame

#21 Post by Carl Tuckerson » Fri Apr 26, 2019 5:31 pm

Claesar wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:26 am
Carl Tuckerson wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:40 pm
... If I fear England will move to the Channel, I tend to open:

If Germany bounces you in Bur, you can cover Bre and still grab two builds. If you so desire. Few English players here move ENG-MAO in Autumn.
Slight quibble but wouldn't you rather move Marseilles to Burgundy and Paris to Gascony? I think I would rather be in Marseilles/Gascony than Paris/Gascony for A01. Don't know if it really makes a difference though.
No, that's exactly my point. If I fear Italy will open to Piedmont, I start with
Mar-Bur and Par-Gas. That way, if Germany bounces you, you can cover Mar while still grabbing Par and Por.

To counter England opening to the Channel Par-Bur is best, surely.
There is an advantage to Par-Bur vis-a-vis Mar-Bur, which is that Paris projects force onto Brest and Picardy. In the event that England decides on the full bore anti-French line of opening to the Channel and moving his army to Wales, you give yourself the opportunity to make England guess wrong on his convoy (as if you had bounced with Mar-Bur and moved Par-Gas, England would have a free convoy to Picardy).

The advantage to Mar-Bur over Par-Bur is that you can move Gas-Mar-Spa in the fall if Italy opens to Piedmont, which will punish Italy for trying to take Marseilles in the fall. Critically, in both cases, if England opens to the Channel and Italy opens to Piedmont and you decide to try for both Iberian centers, Gascony will be an overburdened defender, so in the unfortunate event that all three of your neighbors elect to move to the no-go spaces on the first turn, you'll have to forgo one of Portugal, Spain, or a perfect defense of the home centers.

To that extent it might be better to open Mar-Bur on purpose with the aim of enticing England to take the "safe" convoy to Picardy, so that Gascony can cover Marseilles while you take both centers. Of course, then one has to wonder what Germany would think of seeing you so far on the backfoot in 1901...

The overarching lesson here is that unless you're a savant and correctly guess that you need to bounce Piedmont and Burgundy on the first turn, you'll have to make a guess on the first turn as to which front you should risk--the English Channel, Burgundy, or Piedmont.

This raises an interesting question: which front should France be risking? There's a "level zero" component of geography (which front can France least afford to lose? most?) and a "level one" component of site meta (which neighbor is most likely to challenge France? least?)

Geographic: I think Burgundy is clearly the frontrunner, followed by English Channel, followed by Piedmont. Burgundy gives Germany an incredible number of options which are all terrible for you. English Channel gives England fewer options which are easier to insulate yourself against. Piedmont gives Italy one option which is trivial to thwart if you're not otherwise under pressure.
I would rate this, from most to least important: Burgundy > Channel > Piedmont

Site meta: This is where it gets interesting... I think Germany is the least likely to threaten France. Munich has a very strong option of going to Ruhr, which deters England from threatening Holland, puts force on Belgium, and still deters hostiles from threatening Munich. And as a generalized statement it's just been very rare to see anybody move Mun-Bur. That might just be my limited experience but it doesn't seem like it happens often.
Meanwhile, we've all discussed the fact that England should be going to the Channel more often than it does, suggesting England isn't all that likely to go to the Channel.
Italy is the most interesting case. I think I said earlier that my default opening is to move to Piedmont, Apulia and Ionian Sea with Italy, signaling total cooperation with Austria, setting up the Lepanto, and making France think more than he's used to thinking in 1901. I strongly believe this is the best Italian opening. But I also virtually never see it.
I think I would rate this Channel > Burgundy > Piedmont

This makes it clear that France should prioritize a defense of the Channel and Burgundy, which I think makes Par-Bur/Mar-Gas more preferred. Notably, I think it makes Mar S Par-Bur clearly wrong, as your most likely intruder is England, and that moveset protects you from England the least.

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