Get a Little Train-in’ For Russia

by “Hippie”

The Russian Empire, spanning the width of the board, appears to be an obvious targettfor anyone else looking to expand. The main question facing the Czar is does he forgo half his empire and concentrate his sphere of influence in one place or does he play the superpower, a finger in both pies and someone to be reckoned with in the new world order.

The TSR is fundamental in Russian strategy if he wishes to play the superpower from early in the game. Juggling an army between the 2 areas can effectively give him an army in both theatres of war if played right. If played wrong, he could effectively have no army at all.

If he decides to just concentrate on one area then he needs to remember that both his east and west coasts figure in stalemate lines that once established could spell the end of Russian influence in the area and remove his name from the winners podium. To leave Japan or Turkey uncontrolled for too long could mean that its too late to do much about it.

Early in the game, an alliance with Britain can be a good thing. It can spell the quick end of Turkey and a supply of information about Japanese/Chinese influences. However, once Turkey is divided up, Russia and Britain must share a long border together just at the time when China and Japan could be putting the squeeze on Russia from the East. If Much needed forces are packed off on the train to Manchuria, Britain could well take the opportunity to secure the Western stalemate line, along with the swift demise of Russia’s glorious future.

“A strong Russia makes it easier to do an army-fleet split (Russia has the armies, Britain the fleets). There are enough supply centres available to fleets (Netherlands, SE Asia) for this to be reasonably workable, I guess.” John Fouhy

If the British and Turk side together, then a tactical withdraw might be considered. Once the Turk has built a few fleets, the strain could well show in any Anglo-Turkish arrangement. Leave the withdrawal too long and the stalemate line gets established and your only hope will be to try and plead the British into sympathetic help

If the Dutch start putting pressure on the British, then this could be the chance to grab the Suez canal and send fleets into the Arabian sea. The problem is not telegraphing this with unusual shipbuilding in Odessa just prior to this cunning plans execution.

In the east, Russia has many difficult choices to make. He must ensure that the Chinese and Japanese don`t ally against him otherwise he will be involved in a slow but ultimately unsuccessful defence of the homelands.

In negotiation, the Chinese offer the greatest threat to Russian security in the short term. The relative nearness of all the Chinese forces offer some real concern. However, they are the easiest to persuade that an alliance can be beneficial, even if it means letting China take control of Port Arthur (although they must do some pretty strong convincing before this is agreed upon)

Japan on the other hand offers the security of an alliance built upon Japan concentrating on Fleets and attacking the southern Reaches of China while Russia concentrates on Armies and takes out the Northern states. The advantage of this approach is that many people often get nervous when they notice a quick increase in Japanese Fleets moving in a southerly direction (especially if your there to point it out to the powers slower on the uptake)

Overall, plenty of opportunity and an enemy behind every welcoming handshake!!

Lermontovs Push

A Vla – Seo
F Part – YelS
A Oms – TSR – Vla
A Mos – Ore
F Ode Hold

This opening is based on a healthy relationship with the Sultan and a healthy concern for any Japanese/Chinese initiative. The Fleet in Odessa holding should reassure the Turk while the sudden increase in troops in the east should help to counter any shenanigans being cooked up for Russian possessions in around Vladivostok.

As an offensive move, it could catch the Japanese off guard if the Sea of Japan has been DMZed or Japan has headed south ,increasing the chances of Fusan as another potential 1872 gain.

The Chinese could be surprised if Manchuria has been defended with just the army there holding in the first year in an attempt by the Chinese to grab land. Relying on a unit in Mongolia to provide support the following year could prove insufficient if a concerted effort by all Russian forces is co-ordinated.

Puskins Shove

A Vla – TSR – Mos
F Part hold
A Oms – Akm
A Mos – Bak
F Ode – Rum

This is an attempt to knock out the Turk as quickly as possible. Diplomacy in the east may be able to give the Czar enough time a get a couple of builds in the east later in the game, before the loss of the eastern seaboard. Otherwise this could perhaps be as a precursor to abandoning the Eastern seaboard altogether and aiming for a swift defeat of the Sultan and smashing into the British before he has time to concentrate his forces.

The chances of this move gaining success is in the unusual nature of it. For people to abandon home supply centres so early in the game is often very difficult even if the strategical theory is foolproof. Human nature can often make a fool of logic……..

A Vla – Seo
F Part – YelS
A Oms – Akm
A Mos – Bak
F Ode – Rum

Any move by Russia into Rumania and Baku in the first year has to be seen as an Anti Turkish move. The Threat to Turkey of a bounce in Tabriz is great when he relies so much on building up his small forces in the first year.

The Russian approach in the east is a basically defensive one. Possibly arranging a mutual bounce with the Japanese in the Yellow sea could increase Russian security and the generally small increase in influence of eastern colonies may persuade the others that you are not a threat. With any luck this will leave them to look for trouble elsewhere in the short term.

A Vla – Mac
F Part s A Vla – Mac
A Oms – Kra
A Mos – TSR – Irk
F Ode – Rum
This opening goes for the very throat of the Chinese. A huge increase in forces puts enormous pressure on the Chinese Emperor with retaliation difficult even with Japanese support. If diplomacy has managed to reduce the risk of unwanted Japanese turning up in Vladivostok in 1874, then an alternative move from Moscow to Irkutz instead could seal the Chinese threat before its even got off the ground with Mongolia then an easy target.

The move in this instance to Rumania does not show obvious hostility to the Turk because of the complete lack of any other Russian force in the area.

A Vla -Seo
F Part – Yels
A Oms – Akm
A Mos – Bok
F Ode – hold

This opening is pretty much the least confrontational opening the Czar can undertake. However, that does not mean that it is a weak opening. Assuming negotiations in the West have been successful, then by the end of 1874 the Czar could be looking at 4 builds and a potential choice of areas to expand into.

A Vla – Seo
F Part Hold
A Oms – TSR – Vla
A Mos – Ode
F Ode – Rum

These opening moves are designed for small but sure growth while removing any potential hostilities from either east or west. Although this may only provide the opportunity for 2 builds, it does stop Russia from being seen as an early leader and the strong defences may make opponents think twice before picking a fight. Traditional areas of Russian expansion will still be available in the following years but with perhaps the chance of choosing enemies rather than having them decide to attack you first.

A Vla Hold
F Part- Seo
A Omsk – Kra
A Mos – Bak
F Ode hold

this apparently anti Chinese approach assumes immediate seizing of Manchuria then moving into Seoul in the following year. This unusual opening offers the possibility of being able to build 2 more Navies on the eastern seaboard and offering some real threat to Japan early in the game. This could also be the Colonial attempt at the Lepanto from standard Diplomacy if done with Chinese consent. With the Chinese building a navy in Shanghai and the Russians 3 navies, The Japanese Emperor would be struggling to find any good from the situation.

Overall, the Russian has certain negotiations that need to be sorted whatever route or knife the Czar intends to pick up. The top priorities should be
DMZ the Black Sea

Get the Sultan to accept Rumania as Russian Territory

Agree with the Japanese Emperor to either DMZ or bounce in the Yellow Sea

In conclusion then, Russia is a good power to have and stands a good chance of hanging around into the mid-game. As long as the Czar has the foresight to cut and run if things start to turn bad, the strategic use of the TSR can mean a swift evacuation of one front and a chance to re-establish the Russian nation at the other end of the board should early plans of world domination go astray!!.