The Mediterranean Axis

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TDOS
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The Mediterranean Axis

#1 Post by TDOS » Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:24 pm

In one of my games, I am playing Italy. An alliance has formed in the game based on a concept I've seen called "The Mediterranean Axis." The MA (which I will call it from here down) is an alliance between Austria, Italy, and Turkey. The idea is that, with these being the three southernmost powers on the board, they can aggressively expand northward without having to worry about their borders.

However, it is a relatively unorthodox alliance. All three pairings have their problems. Austria and Italy have their natural distrust, what with Venice and Trieste bordering one another. Consequently, some of each nation's forces will always be garrisoned at the border unless they can trust eachother. Austria and Turkey have natural problems relating to the Balkans and the fact that it's hard for either to win without destroying the other. Italy and Turkey are constantly fighting over dominance in the Meditteranean.

This actually tends to be the undoing of the MA. Italy and Turkey (and Austria if they played a naval game) will end up fighting over the Mediterranean and collapse.

However, if the three work together, they can actually do pretty well at marching northward and seizing a three way draw.

What are your thoughts? Could this alliance possibly be stable?
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Carl Tuckerson
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Re: The Mediterranean Axis

#2 Post by Carl Tuckerson » Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:28 pm

I'm a gunboat player and I should probably stay in my lane, but while press theoretically makes anything possible, it strains credulity to think that an alliance between the three Mediterranean powers will hold up in the long run. Geography dictates that resolving the question of what to do with Turkey will be insuperably difficult. What is Turkey supposed to do once the alliance has reached Moscow? Attack Germany? It is too difficult to breach St. Petersburg and invade Scandinavia.
I couldn't tell you how exactly it ends, only that it almost certainly ends.
4

Dejan0707
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Re: The Mediterranean Axis

#3 Post by Dejan0707 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:35 pm

My first thought is that Med Axis name would more suit France-Italy-Turkey alliance. Austria can become Med power but only in middle/late game when either Italy or Turkey are taken down. France, Italy and Turkey are real med powers.

Other than that I am convinced that any alliance in the game can work, thing is that some alliances are natural and easy maintained while for others you need much more effort and skill. For I-A-T to work Austria needs to be very brave and optimistic person to even consider that alliance. Austria risk the most and get the least from that alliance. Turkey risk very little and gains the most from this axis alliance. Italy is mid way, and it can get good position but also if things go bad for the alliance Italy could be the first one to go.
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TDOS
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Re: The Mediterranean Axis

#4 Post by TDOS » Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:19 pm

I also thought the name would better suit F-I-T. I actually think the MA functions better than that though. F-I-T, by my experience, tends to end up with Italy and France dominating the west while Turkey sits in the east never gaining much. At best, Italy and Turkey can team up to take Austria, but, in my experience, Italy in a F-I-T tends to focus more on the west.

Anyways, Austria definitely has a lot to risk. I play as Austria more than any other nation, as I love the dangerous position it starts in. In my Austrian games, Italy and Turkey are typically the most likely to stab Austria. Germany and Austria are normally at peace, and Russia, while a significant danger to Austria, is less worrisome than the south. Italy often falls to the temptation of going at Trieste. Typically, though, as Italy, I find that this isnt the greatest long-term option. Turkey is always a danger because of the Balkans.

So, yes, Austria could be quickly eliminated. The Austria I'm playing with is pretty optimistic, though, and is willing enough. However, I feel like, if all members of the alliance were honest, Austria could benefit a great deal.

Turkey is problematic for the same reasons as in any Austro-Turkish partnership. Inevitably, Turkey is either boxed into the corner or has to take Scandinavia. This is absurdly difficult for Turkey. Inevitably, Turkey has to stab Austria, contributing to Austria's risk.

So, I think, in summary, the alliance can do well in the early game and early midgame. However, at some point, it has to fall to a purely A-I alliance, either because Turkey stabs or because Austria and Italy see the stab coming and turn on Turkey.
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mhsmith0
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Re: The Mediterranean Axis

#5 Post by mhsmith0 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:45 pm

Is this game still ongoing? If so I don't feel comfortable commenting on it, if it's now over then I'm happy to give my $0.02.

TDOS
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Re: The Mediterranean Axis

#6 Post by TDOS » Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:46 pm

Yes, the game is still going.

mhsmith0
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Re: The Mediterranean Axis

#7 Post by mhsmith0 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 12:48 am

My apologies, but I don’t think it’s approporoate for me to offer my $0.02 then. Good luck though :)

Temasek22
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Re: The Mediterranean Axis

#8 Post by Temasek22 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:32 am

Here's one game where it didn't work out...

https://webdiplomacy.net/board.php?gameID=236423

Claesar
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Re: The Mediterranean Axis

#9 Post by Claesar » Thu Apr 18, 2019 9:39 am

Just so we're clear, discussing ongoing Gunboats isn't allowed. This isn't a Gunboat, so it's all fine.

mhsmith0
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Re: The Mediterranean Axis

#10 Post by mhsmith0 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:03 pm

Well if it's fine to discuss then I'll just give my $0.02 then

Successful "Eastern Triple" type alliances inevitably include Russia. The reason for this is that Russia is the only "eastern" power that can build fleets north of MAO. It is INCREDIBLY easy for one or more western powers to shut down I/A/T around the MAO space, and it is IMPOSSIBLE for the southern powers to force a 3-way draw without getting into that space.

1) Why you need MAO
Without northern fleets, no southern power can hold onto any supply centers in the NOR/SWE/DEN/STP set, and obviously it's impossible to take any English centers either, and while you're at it, without control of MAO, you're probably not going to get any, much less all of, POR/SPA/MAR.
Generic western power or alliance of western powers can park a fleet in MAO, a unit in Spain, a unit in Marseilles, two fleets in ENG/IRI/NAO, and you're pretty much stuck without a way to advance around MAO. Similarly, a single unit in Denmark (of any type) and a single unit in STP (of any type) supported by any single unit in BAR/NOR/FIN holds onto the scandinavian centers indefinitely.
Western power or powers can have LON/LVP/EDI, DEN/NOR/SWE/STP, BRE/PAR/POR/MAR/SPA, and EVEN IF you're able to somehow get into Belgium/Holland/Kiel (which itself is dubious) it's super easy to lock you out of the 12 centers listed above with substantially fewer than 12 units (it's also probably easy to kick you out of Belgium/Holland/Kiel with some number of spare units)
Side note: if you have one single fleet in MAO, it's STILL fairly easy for western powers to lock you down from advancing further with it. Three english fleets in NAO/IRI/ENG plus any western unit in Brest keeps that MAO fleet from going anywhere. So you basically need to send the fleet BEYOND MAO (and ideally, get a 2nd fleet into MAO at the same time) to really do damage with it.

2) Why it's easy for western powers to lock down MAO against I/A/T
For starters, this alliance doesn't include Russia. The key aspect of that is that, if Russia is fighting for its life against a southern alliance, there's no way that it's going to be threatening any of the other western powers. This means that E/G have a free hand in Scandinavia, etc
Maybe Italy beelines for the west, but it's fairly easy for France to hold off Italy if E/G aren't going after France. It takes a WHILE for Austria and/or Turkey to send fleets westward, and it becomes fairly obvious what's actually happening if they bypass Italian centers to try and push for MAO.
But just generically, an I/A/T alliance that is going after Russia and Germany and eventually France is super good for England, who probably absorbs Scandinavia fairly quickly (who's going to stop him? Russia is busy fighting the alliance, Germany probably is as well, and France is probably too busy preparing for the Italian assault to be bothered with England, or Italy isn't actually attacking France quickly, in which case it'll still take TIME to push fleets towards MAO usefully).
At whatever point Italy starts pushing hard towards MAO (and a hard push is required to ever create a breakthrough), France can mend fences with England and the two of them can barricade MAO, or one of them (probably England) has become strong enough to barricade MAO by themselves and just absorb most of the western centers.

So the TLDR is that the realistic best case for an I/A/T alliance is that one western power (probably England) becomes the #1 power on the board, but not quite strong enough to solo, so it becomes a 4-way draw.
Probably the likelier outcome is that it enables a strong western power alliance (probably E/F or E/G), and since a 5-way draw is super lame, you're likely to see I/A/T break up and whoever's the most vulnerable gets stabbed, leading to a bunch of draw whittling.
And of course there's a pretty realistic chance that instead of that scenario, you instead just enable a strong western power (again, likely England since you'll be attacking all of England's competitors; much like a western triple tends to be super good for Turkey), who will either solo or 2wd with a single of the former southern alliance.
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mhsmith0
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Re: The Mediterranean Axis

#11 Post by mhsmith0 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:06 pm

PS The E/F/G western triple concept can be successful because it has access to most of the key stalemate lines, France can build south of MAO in Marseilles, Germany can move into TYR/BOH/SIL, etc
Despite all of that, it is typically relatively easy for Turkey to set up an effective naval barricade around ION (and land barricade around SEV) and keep said triple from fully overrunning the board, which then leads to the collapse of the alliance, usually with Germany as the power getting stabbed.

TDOS
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Re: The Mediterranean Axis

#12 Post by TDOS » Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:49 pm

It is easy to halt the MA. The idea on the press side is to keep all of the nations very divided, prohibiting any alliances.

mhsmith0
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Re: The Mediterranean Axis

#13 Post by mhsmith0 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 9:43 pm

TDOS wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:49 pm
It is easy to halt the MA. The idea on the press side is to keep all of the nations very divided, prohibiting any alliances.
It sounds incredibly difficult to pull off, presuming the other players have a baseline level of competence.

The simplest natural path of I/A/T is to crush Russia, but crushing Russia helps England via lack of competition over Scandinavia (it's almost impossible for I/A/T to seriously contest Scandinavia without northern fleets). The next thing that they can do is go after France and/or Germany, but that also helps England.

If you're not expanding beyond Russia, then you're not actually a threat. If you're not adding centers, but are mutually moving a bunch of fleets towards MAO, then it's pretty obvious what's going on (at the least, it should be super obvious there's an I/T that's trying to hit MAO, even if Austria might be less clear).

At some point, either you need to get France and/or Germany to go hard after England (and why would they do that when you're threatening them?) or you need England to be sloppy (probably extremely sloppy) and let you through MAO in force while he's taking advantage of French and/or German weakness.

"Natural" draw outcomes involve one or more northern power and one or more southern power (Russia can work as either due to its fleet building locations and how MOS/WAR can fit on the northern side of a Juggernaut line and southern side of a Versailles/main stalemate line, which is part of its strength as a power in the game, as it can potentially make a stable 2wd alliance with ANYBODY)

There's probably sort of a path through to MAO whereby Italy has an early alliance with E/G to carve up France, while Austria and Turkey go after Russia, and then Italy takes quick advantage of the opportunities created by France's collapse to shore up a northern position. Even there, though, it's difficult given that
1) England is probably fleet-heavy at that stage and ought to be able to block most of what Italy is up to
2) England is probably steadily growing in Scandinavia, grabbing Norway and STP against essentially 0 opposition (and you can presume England at the very least gets Brest as well, and most of the time England gets 1+ of Belgium/Portugal/Spain to boot), and a 7-center England who only needs to keep 2 units in Scandinavia to block off STP means that he's got 5 units to more or less blockage MAO from Italy. If A/T go after Germany, then England has no northern enemies and can fully commit to stopping Italy (and can probably pick off some of Bel/Hol/Kiel/Den/Swe from the German collapse without much effort), and if A/T don't go after Germany, then they're basically sitting around doing nothing, which is itself fairly suspicious. Maybe A/T do a phony war with 0 real progress in either direction, but again you're ultimately depending on lazy board-reading by the northern powers i think.

Maybe somewhere in there you can arrange a fallout between England and Germany, but Germany is unlikely to go out of his way to stab England when he has major threats from the south to worry about, and England is *PROBABLY* not super likely to be overly greedy when Germany could well collapse without much effort on his end anyway.

mhsmith0
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Re: The Mediterranean Axis

#14 Post by mhsmith0 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 9:54 pm

Incidentally,
https://www.playdiplomacy.com/game_play ... _id=138643
is an example of a game where I (as France) had to deal with an early southern alliance (in this case AIR not AIT)
Essentially, it was turning into a big ole grand, except that Austria stabbed Italy, and then it turned into a bigger grind of EFT against RAT, and then eventually England pissed everyone off so we ended in a 3wd of F/A/T (on playdip you can exclude living players from a draw if they vote for it, so basically England gave up on the game since the writing was on the wall)

TDOS
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Re: The Mediterranean Axis

#15 Post by TDOS » Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:15 am

The first moves of the game have resolved, with:

Italy-
Ven M Pie
Rom M Nap
Nap M ION

Austria-
Tri H
Bud M Ser
Vie M Gal FAILED (Bounced with War M Gal)

Turkey-
Con M Bul
Ank M BLA
Smy M Arm

Ogion
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Re: The Mediterranean Axis

#16 Post by Ogion » Fri Apr 19, 2019 5:12 am

I'm with those who don't see it working. Turkey gets to Moscow and has nowhere to go but into Austria. Also, if successful, Italy is the only one with northern fleets and gets basically enough to solo if he isn't stabbed.

Matticus13
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Re: The Mediterranean Axis

#17 Post by Matticus13 » Sat Apr 20, 2019 12:33 am

The Med Ax is going to get stuck fairly quickly if the West can settle their differences. I think the only shot of making it work long term is that England and France are squabbling early. If (a big if) Italy could sneak a fleet into MAO somehow, it has chance. A very small one.

I'm all likelihood, the alliance has to break up after Turkey hits Moscow, or Italy hits a French/English brick wall at MAO. Realistically, the best you can expect in most games is a 4WD with England anyway. No one can build fleets in the north.

TDOS
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Re: The Mediterranean Axis

#18 Post by TDOS » Tue May 14, 2019 1:49 am

The game with the Mediterranean Axis completed. If anybody was wondering how it went, it started out with fantastic momentum. Germany and Russia were quickly eliminated, and Italy was making ground against France. France, meanwhile, had eliminated England and was the only non-MA power on the board. It looked as if a 3-way draw was in sight, but Turkey stabbed Austria and eliminated them within a year. Facing a Turkish and French onslaught, Italy's position began to rapidly collapse, but they held out while Turkey won a solo.

Conclusion: France and Italy survived, Turkey won, Germany, Russia, Austria, and England were eliminated.

mhsmith0
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Re: The Mediterranean Axis

#19 Post by mhsmith0 » Tue May 14, 2019 2:01 am

Sounds like Med Ax is as good for Turkey as Western Triple is for England then ;)

Enriador
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Re: The Mediterranean Axis

#20 Post by Enriador » Mon May 20, 2019 12:25 am

I can see a F/I/T Mediterranean Axis along these lines:

France:
A Par-Bur
A Mar S A Par-Bur
F Bre-Mid

Italy:
A Ven-Tyr
A Rom-Apu
F Nap-Ion

Turkey:
A Con-Bul
F Ank-Bla
A Smy-Arm

So you got France betting heavily on a Maginot Opening, with Italy pulling a Tyrolean Lepanto and Turkey using the Crimean Crusher.

In Fall we have:

France:
A Bur S A Tyr-Mun
(grabs Por/Spa)

Italy:
A Tyr-Mun
(convoys to Tunis)

Turkey:
A Bul-Ser
(harasses Russia as possible)

Hopefully we got France with two builds, Italy with two builds, and Turkey with either two builds or a fleet in the Black Sea and Armenia, with Constantinople open for a build.

France and Italy can then create great havoc against Germany; Italy can pull the Illyrian Opening to help crush Austria more quickly and Turkey keeps assaulting Russia's southern flank and giving a hand on Austria.

Unfortunately Italy/Turkey have the greatest amount of border tension on the board, both being naval powers. Turkey's expansion over the land will necessarily put Italian gains at risk, and a strong France at the other side doesn't bode well for Italy at the long term. Still, unusual and can be pulled off for some short-term gains.

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