by Allan B Calhamer
The one Great Power which did not survive World War I has also shown a certain weakness at the Diplomacy table; in both cases, we believe, due in part to her wide open landward frontiers on three sides.
Recently players of the Italian hand have began to cooperate with A-H, however, after several games have shown that Italy has great difficulty holding onto the spoils of a defeated Austria-Hungary in the ensuing play with Russia and Turkey. A fine game was played in which an Italian fleet cooperated with Austria against Turkey, while an Italian army passed through Tyrolia and attacked Munich with the aid of an Austrian army.
In another recent game, in which Austria became the biggest power, she played the daring opening A(Vie)-Budapest, A(Bud)-Serbia, F(Tri)-Albania. Italy expected Trieste to be defended, therefore did not order A(Ven)- Trieste, which would have been crushing. Austria followed with (Fall, 1901) A(Bud)-Trieste, A(Ser) S F(Alb)-Greece; holding everything and building two units. This sort of play has been attempted many times before, after an agreement has been reached with Italy to vacate Trieste and Venice on the opening move. It has invariably failed due to a double cross by Italy. The new idea was to play the moves in absence of an agreement, and it worked!
For more secure play with A-H, consider the moves (Spring, 1901) A(Vie)-Tyrolia, A(Bud)-Serbia, F(Tri) stand. If Italy tries either A(Ven)-Trieste or A(Ven)-Tyrolia, A(Rome)-Venice; her armies do not move. If Russia has not invaded Galicia, Austria can continue with (Fall, 1901) A(Ser)-Bulgaria, which assures her of one build (either Serbia or Bulgaria, depending on Turkey’s play) and holds Turkey to one build. If Russia has invaded Galicia, and the Austrian A(Vie) has stayed in Vienna due to a standoff with Italy in Tyrolia; then Austria may order (Fall, 1901) A(Vie)- Budapest, A(Ser)-Budapest! These pieces stand each other off, hence A(Ser) stays in Serbia on the Fall, therefore establishing occupation. At the same time, the Russian army cannot move to either Vienna or Budapest. Immediately thereafter A-H can raise an army in Budapest.
The “catch” is that Italy may not order A(Ven)-Tyrolia. Then the A-H A(Vie) goes to Tyrolia in the Spring. Now if Russia has invaded Galicia, Austria has a hard choice. If she orders (Fall, 1901) A(Ser) back to Budapest, Russia may not order to Budapest; A-H A(Ser) will move out of Serbia and therefore not establish occupation of it. If she leaves A(Ser) in Serbia, Russia may order to Budapest, thus capturing it.
The improvement is for Austria to contract a treaty with Germany whereby both the Austrian A(Vie) and the German A(Mun) are ordered to Tyrolia in Spring, 1901. This prevents Italy from entering Tyrolia, without the possibility that either the German or Austrian pieces will lose their positions. Now if A-H has also played A(Bud)-Serbia, F(Tri) stand; the double standoff in Budapest can invariably be played, if the Russians have entered Galicia, and Austria is guaranteed one build, even against the combined attack of Italy, Russia, and Turkey.
Germany should like the deal, because Italian armies in Tyrolia often batter Munich. The German army is usually pinned down in Munich anyway, because the French A(Par) usually enters Burgundy.
If this deal is made, Italy might as well be informed of it. If she knows she will only waste time by attacking either Tyrolia or Trieste, she may be willing to join Germany in a French campaign instead – and Austria is off to a safe and reasonably good start.
Reprinted from The Dispatch No.2