by Steve Smith
If this were a perfect world you would get to play Austria 14% of the time. Here I on CompuServe I have had the privilege to play it 25% of the time. I have completed 7 games as Austria. More than anyone else here. This does not make me an expert or mean that I even play it well. It simply means that I have a lot of knife wounds. I have been eliminated twice, drew four times, and have won once. Take it for what it is worth.
If you draw the lot of Austria don’t panic, don’t resign, don’t commit suicide and hope to come back as a different country in another life. Austria is actually a very strong country. All you have to do is survive the first couple of years. Once you have done that then you have a fair chance to not only draw but to win.
So how do you survive the first couple of years? Number 1 priority: Do whatever it takes to keep Russia and Turkey from allying. Beg, plead, and even hold their children hostage to ensure a war between these two.
Offer to support Rum into Bul and Bul into Rum. Promise Turkey whatever it takes to get him to move to the Black Sea. Sacrifice your fattest calf to whatever god you worship and plea for Smy-Arm. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of eliminating the R/T alliance. Make sure one does not form.
Second priority. Ensure friendship with Italy. Trust Italy. Take him down with you if attacks. Reassure him that you will both die if either attacks the other. This happens to be true about 95% of the time. Do whatever Italy wants. Let him into Trl, Tri (assuming he is only moving through) or support the lepanto. Neither you or Italy can afford a war. Most Italians realize this. Encourage them to read this and the suggestions for the Italian player. AI wars are bad for both.
You usually have to worry about an attack from Italy when it is played by a new player with little experience. They often don’t realize that by attacking you that they are signing their own death warrant.
You don’t mind anything which limits Russian success in the north. Even if you ally with Russia against Turkey do what you can to encourage Germany to bounce him out of Swe. Also encourage England to move to Bar in the fall. This helps keep Russian attentions away from you.
Standard openings; F Tri-Alb; A Bud-Ser. These two moves should always be your opening moves. Few others are of any value. Russia owns Rum. Let him have it.
The only question is what to do with Vie. You don’t want Russia in Gal. You can keep him out with diplomacy or by moving there yourself. If you move there make sure it is either a prearranged bounce or that you have a very solid alliance with turkey. Gut call. If you feel you can trust Russia to leave gal alone then I recommend Vie-Bud.
What do you do if an RT alliance develops in spite of your best interests? Make sure you and Italy work together. The two of you can stall the RT. It is then up to FEG to come to your rescue. You don’t want France coming after Italy because if Italy dies so do you. You want to encourage through diplomacy an attack on Russia in the north. This will in time help you out.