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Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2011-06-13 07:08:26
Much thanks to guest artist extraordinaire MadCat =^-^= for filling in while Vargas is vacationing. She'll be handling this and two more Dave the Direman strips in addition to her usual Everwas workload - she's definitely taking one for the team.
Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2011-06-11 17:35:23
Diplomacy VI - Spring of 1994
Britain has much the same strengths and drawbacks in "Modern" Diplomacy as the standard game: easily defensible, but possessing limited expansion routes. Steve G. has opened soundly and peaceably, even working out an agreement with Spain over the point of conflict that Gibraltar could've been. He'll be able to increase his navy by two fleets, with the luxury of waiting to respond to whichever opportunity or threat arises. Germany's two fleets make for the most obvious enemy.
Egypt is the new Turkey, boasting the security advantage of the southeast corner. Steve W. will double his forces, then look to strike his first target. Turkey seems like the obvious choice. If he can push north, he would command the entirety of the Middle East and be able to link up with his good friend Russia (the two players demonstrated an extraordinary level of cooperation in the previous game). The alternative would be a deliciously tangled Mediterranean naval shootout.
With so many neighbors, France has difficult expansion avenues in the "Modern" game. Paul has managed to successfully insinuate himself into Switzerland, and is on the doorstep to invading Germany. However, he has no guaranteed builds (unless he settles for one), and has to resort to gambling against enemy maneuvers on this, the first year of the game. He's already at the point where game theory calls for randomization. If the fortunes of war favor him, he'll be riding momentum straight through a hamstrung enemy. If not, France will become increasingly irrelevant as the other powers grow. What I can't comprehend is that French Wing unit in Bordeaux. Its might is wasted on mock military exercises with Spain, instead of being brought to bear at the point of conflict. Spain needs his army to capture Portugal and is a minimal threat; that Wing is an asset France can ill afford to squander. Security is important, of course, but I am of the school that loss of tempo is the greater risk.
[Edit: the map is wonky. Monaco is a supply center, not Piedmont. This significantly aids French ambitions, guaranteeing two new supply centers.]
Germany is in a precarious position. Mike has already skirmished with Italy over Austria (which has cost both of them dearly in terms of wasted moves), has France on his porch, and his navy brings him into conflict with England simply by existing. The only secure front is to his east, and only because Poland decided to go elsewhere. It appears that he has failed to Diplomacize. He needs to win a 50/50 gamble against British Wing movement (Belgium or Denmark) to ensure the growth he needs to buy the time necessary to reverse these political failures.
Italy is in a similar situation, albeit not as pressingly dire, as Germany. Kodi will doubtless be bounced by Spain in Tunisia, and conceivably bounced in Serbia by either or both of the other powers vying for the Balkans. And the situation to her north is disturbingly uncertain. She too relies on the whimsy of fortune (or masterful diplomacy) to provide her the growth required to maintain naval superiority against a clearly hostile Spain.
Poland has all but declared war against Russia. As the weakest power, surrounded by potential foes, Dave needs to play aggressively in both the political and military arenas. His bold play thus far, guarantees growth and the survival that brings. On his west, Germany is occupied with other matters, and to his east Ukraine too is committed against Russia. Whether lucky, or the result of shrewd negotiation, Poland could not have asked for a more fortuitous opening.
Russia is in trouble. Both of Charles' primary movements were mirror thwarted by Ukraine, and Poland has seized the other salient. He can only assume these two powers are allied against him. Russia has only one guaranteed build from Sweden, and will be hard pressed if Poland and Ukraine show ANY amount of coordination.
Spain accomplished his most pressing diplomatic task: the British evacuation of Gibraltar. He pushed his fleet into the W. Mediterranean, showing his hand: an anti-Italian naval strategy. If he is indeed cooperating with Britain (which provides him extra naval muscle in the zone of conflict), France continues to be occupied elsewhere, and Egypt stays out of the Mediterranean fray, Kang has all of the necessary tools to overcome a slow starting position. That's a lot of "ifs", but all of them are reasonable.
Turkey will see healthy growth, as three builds are ensured. All three powers on the Black Sea honored a DMZ, so no threats are imminent. However, Gorbash's idle Ankaran fleet was wasted, unless a specific political deal was reached with Russia. However, I'm unable to construct a beneficial scenario involving such a deal, without a corresponding act of aggression against Ukraine. Georgia appears to be a simple concession to Russia. This is likely a trifling matter to him at the moment, though. Geographical exigency compels me to believe he needs to array his forthcoming military units for war with Egypt.
(This is just an idle thought and unlikely, but it's worth nothing that his Iranian army could swiftly march north and provide the extra firepower to finish Russia.)
Ukraine matched Russian aggression with his own, and the two thwarted each other. However, Ukraine evidently has an ally in Poland, and together possess the superior force, if they can coordinate. Despite being largely halted on the first turn, a Polish ally would be a political asset that more than offsets this initial frustration. Without Turkish aggression, Ukraine is able to concentrate on a sole enemy. He does need to win a 50/50 gamble in Rostov/Georgia in order to prevent Russia from gaining an extra unit. This is a huge coin flip for both players.