by Dick Schultz
With an introduction by Larry Peery
This letter/article first appeared in Graustark in March, 1964. It
suggests 1901 moves for the Great Powers and discusses alternatives.
Unfortunately, most of his ideas are now old-fashioned and inflexible. Still,
better safe than sorry!
I've been doing a lot of thought about Diplomacy lately. And I've come up
with a series of moves for each country which are the best possible. At least
they are, as far as I can tell.
England: F Lon-Nth; F Edi-Nwg; A Lvp-Edi. Next: A Edi-Nwy; F Nwg C A Edi-Nwy;
F Nth-Bel. (This presupposes an arrangement with France allowing Belgium to
England for this year at least).
France: F Bre-Mid; A Mar-Spa; A Par-Bur. Next: F Mid-Por; A Spa H; A Bur-Mun.
It would take more than two moves for an English army to reach Paris. Brest is
in danger if the London fleet moves to the Channel. (A calculated risk, if
England is presumably an ally.) France should hold out Belgium as a bribe to
keep England in line for the first few moves.
Reasoning: Norway is out of reach for both Russia (F StP) and Germany (F Kie)
since they cannot reach it in less than three moves. F Nth might be attacked,
therefore convoy the army using the F Nwg to insure the suppy center. Germany
should try to gain Denmark and Holland, therefore England should try for a
supply center that is probably Germany will not try for. Spain and Portugal are
unprotected (so they are easy targets for France). By moving A Par-Bur, Munich
is threatened. If Italy threatens Marseilles, the army may be moved to cover
Marseilles or at least to contend with an Italian army in Piedmont for it,
therefore leaving it unoccupied. If the army in Munich attempts to move to
Burgundy on the first move, A Par-Bur keeps this army at bay. In Fall 1901,
attempt A Par-Bur once more. If this is unsuccessful, the army is in a position
to attack Ruhr and Munich and defend Marseilles, not to mention covering Paris.
If unsuccessful, A Mun is also stopped once more, meaning stalemate while France
Germany: F Kie-Hol; A Mun-Bur (alternately, A Mun-Ruh); A Ber-Kie
(alternately, A Ber-Sil). Next: F Hol holds (alternately, F Hol S A Ruh-Bel); A
Bur-Par or Mar (Germany should attack Paris if Italy threatens Marseilles); A
Kie-Den (alternately, A Sil-War).
F Kie might also move to Denmark, leaving A Ber-Kie, thence to Holland. Then,
according to whether the French have moved into Picardy or Burgundy, the Ruhr
army may support A Kie-Hol or return to Munich. A return to Munich might be
dictated as inadvisable if Italy menaces MArseilles with an army in Piedmont.
The fleet in Denmark would then hold. A Ber-Sil should be played only if Germany
and Russia are definately at war. If A Ber-Kie and Russia moves A War-Sil,
Germany can still move A Kie- Ber.
Germany has more enemies on both sides of her, and the other frontiers are
not decure. At all costs make Russia friendly, therefore. But in any case take
and hold Denmark as early as possible, and engage in a contest for the Low
Countries, both to deny them to the enemy and to gain supply centers. I do not
think that under any circumstances can Germany be holding more than four supply
centers by Fall, under pressure of a concerted Franco-Russian attack. Therefore,
gambling is in order.
Italy: Under all circumstances attack Trieste immediately witn A Ven-Tri; F
Nap-Ion; A Rom-Tus. Next: A Ven-Tri or A Tri H; F Ion-Tun; A Tus-Ven if Ven is
free and otherwise A Tus-Pie. There can only be war between Austria and Italy.
Therefore Trieste is to be gained at the earliest. Seek alliance with France,
for with armies moving into northern Italy a French drive from Marseilles is
impractical. If the Austrian fleet is not in a position to take Greece, F Ion-Gre
instead of to Tunis might be considered.
Austria is forced to defend Trieste. Make a secret alliance with Austria to
facilitate the seizure of Trieste. If Trieste is taken, Austria cannot obtain
and hold more than four supply centers. Italy will have five. If Trieste is
defended, Austria's Russian and Turkish frontiers are in danger, and Austria
will probably not have more than five centers all told in any case.
Austria: F Tri-Alb; A Vie-Tri; A Bud-Ser. Next: F Alb-Gre; A Ser H; A Tri-Ven.
The fleet moves to contend for Greece. The army of Vienna contends for Trieste.
The army in Serbia can support A Vie-Tri. If a Turkish army in Bulgaria attacks
Serbia, the army in Vienna still contends for Trieste. Better yet is A Ser-Bul.
That way a Turkish attack on Rumania would be spoilt, or at least leave Bulgaria
neutral and Serbia in Austrian hands.
Austria must move south to the Balkans and defend Trieste. Do not trust an
Italian treaty. If Russia moves A War-Gal and the army in Vienna still contends
for Trieste, move A Ser-Bud. At worst, the move will be legal. At best, A
Ser-Bud cancels A Gal-Bud; Trieste and Budapest are free of units, and Serbia is
still held. It might be wise to have A Bud hold on the first move and go to
Serbia on the second. But the Turkish threat to Serbia must be considered.
Austria, like Germany, has no safe flank and must try to contend with all
Russia: F StP-Bot; A War-Sil (or A War-Gal); A Mos-Sev (or A Mos-Ukr); F Sev-Rum.
Next: F Bot-Swe; A Sil-Ber or Mun; A Sev-Arm or A Sev S F Rum H. Alternatives: A
Gal-Vie or Bud, depending on which is undefended; A Ukr S F Sev-Rum.
Move A Mos-Ukr only if an immediate contention with Austria over Rumania is
believed possible. Let the move by the army in Warsaw be governed by political
considerations. If a working alliance with France exists, A Bur can support A
Russia and Austria must fight sooner or later; it's best to weaken or
frighten Austria into ill-considered moves if possible.
If F Sev-Rum works in the first move, try F Rum-Bul(ec). Since Turkey will
most undoubtedly defend Bulgaria, the move will have the effect of a hold order.
If A Con-Bul, then A Bul-Gre, the Russian move F Rum-Bul(ec) will make Bulgaria
a neutral and thereby out of Turkish control. Result? Scratch one supply center
Turkey: A Con-Bul; F Ank-Bla; A Smy-Arm. Next: A Bul-Rum; A Arm-Sev; F Bla
supports one of these moves. It is impractical to try for Greece, sure to be
contested by one of the other powers. But A Bul- Rum pins down the Russian fleet
in Rumania, which will probably be supported by an army in Ukraine, Sevastopol,
of Galicia. If Russia is engaged in Austria in 1901, F Bla S A Arm-Sev just
might succeed. Otherwise, it's a forced draw with Bulgaria firmly in Turkish
If an Austro-Russian alliance is apparently in effect, it might pay to order
F Bla S A Bul H. In any case, order A Arm-Sev, if only to cut Russian support of
General notes: It pays Germany to attack the Low Countries if it's at all
possible, with A Mun-Bur. France therefore must move into Burgundy herself, ally
herself with Italy, and let England contend for the Low Countries at first.
Therefore, it behooves Russia to make alliance with Austria and Germany, and
immediately break it. Simple, yes? In any event, avoid conflict with England
until forces are built up heavily. England should contend for the Low Countries
and take Norway and, if allied with France (watch out for those fleets in Brest)
attack Germany's northern flank, avoiding overextending herself into Russia
until built up. At any event, England should be well established in the Baltic
and Scandinavia before attacking Russia.
To avoid being trapped, Turkey should seek alliance with Austria or Russia.
Turkey might agree to split the Balkans, with Russia at least, and promote a
Russian trend into central Europe.
Austria and Italy should be at each other's throats immediately. If they are
not, it is a diplomatic masterpiece by someone. Naturally Italy will attack
Trieste whatever treaties she may have signed.
France, England, and Russia should at all costs avoid fratricidal warfare
until forces are built up at expense of neighbors. Russia, England, and France
could in fact sweep the board. Take advantage of the fact that in real life
these alliances did exist, just as German and Austrian players take advantage of
historical alliances to promote one frm flank anyway.
Reprinted from Diplomacy World 83