by Bob Olsen
all countries start out roughly equal in strength, and since even after
they have taken their normal complement of neutrals they are still
roughly equal, to get anywhere you
must ally with another player against somebody
else. Normally the fight becomes two-against-one, but it doesn't have to
be that way. If two countries
together are much more powerful than one, then
presumably three countries acting in concert would be even better...well,
triple alliance can accomplish a lot of good things in short order. In the
most common alliance of this type, the "Western Triple" of
France/England/ Germany, England
and Germany can gang up on Russia while France pretty much
has his own way with Italy, who generally starts out oriented toward the
east. Fairly quickly, France will
grow from 5 (her home centers plus Spain and
Portugal) to 7 or 8, with Tunis and an Italian home dot or two.
Meanwhile, Germany (home centers
plus Holland and Denmark) and England (home plus Norway
and--generally ceded by F/G as incentive--Belgium) each grow likewise to
7 or 8 each, picking up Sweden, St.
Petersburg, Warsaw and maybe Moscow. Then what?
Italy and Russia are crushed, the crisis of the alliance occurs. France
looks to go against dot-rich Austria and defensive giant Turkey; Germany
will be scrounging around the
remaining scraps of Russia and worrying about
Austria. And England has nothing whatever to do. Nothing to do, that is,
but stab an ally.
nothing wrong with a triple alliance in the early game (it certainly
beats being the odd man out of a two-against-one) but success almost
always destabilizes the
arrangement, and nobody should pretend to themselves going in
that a triple is a permanent deal. It's up to you to make sure that when
the stab comes, you aren't the one
who gets it in the back.
Western Triple is the most common triple alliance. The eastern analogue
(R/A/T) is much rarer because it is even more unstable. Turkey is in
England's position of having no new
worlds to conquer almost from day one, so unless he
will faithfully build fleets and nothing but fleets - with the few builds
he will garner--there's little for
him to do. Further, the arrangement requires
Austria to do most of the fighting while assuming most of the risk. Most
Austrian players will pass on such an opportunity. If he's being
pressured to accept the R/A/T,
Austria is probably better off allying with Italy and hoping for the best.
combinations of countries can be picked more or less out of a hat. Later
on in the game, triples of down-and-out countries or desperation
stop-the- leader alliances are possible, but they hardly count.
other triple is worth mentioning, though: the Austria/France/Russia
alliance. Instead of advancing in a solid wave from one side of the board
toward the other (and stumbling over each other like the Three Stooges),
these three countries most likely
to be first to reach 5 or 6 centers work together.
Unless the remaining players coordinate well and move fast, an A/F/R can
quickly sweep the board: Austria and Russia combine to besiege Turkey;
Austria and France menace Italy;
Russia and France put the squeeze on Germany and
the only thing that can stop this is a strong and well-played E/G
alliance, and even if one forms, they face in France and Russia attacks
coming from opposite sides, making
defense extremely difficult. Further, later on in
the game, members of the alliance are more widely separated, and a stab
is less likely.
never hurts to discuss the possibilities of a triple alliance with your
neighbors, but nobody should have illusions. If your partners weren't
sneaky, greedy fiends, they
wouldn't be playing Dip in the first place. If you can't
trust them, don't bet the rent money on them. If you think your
prospective allies can be trusted,
though, saddle up and charge, and be ready for the
chance to out-sneak and out-greed them all.