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Subject: Preussian strategy rss

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Harald Torvatn
Norway
Trondheim
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Preussian strategy

This article explores one prussian strategy, and some possible conter strategies for the other countries.

As a prussian player, you have several tactics aviable. You can use brute force (playing cards untill you win). You can die slowly (lose a battles with one after just one card play), and cling to the objectives while your forces slowly melt away, you may delay (stay out of range of the enemy and within range of your objectives), and you may hunt enemy supply trains. But none of these tactics will win the game for you alone. The trick is to know when where and against who each of them is to be used.

The strategy discussed here help you to choose that. The basic idea is to fight each one of your opponents in just one suit. If you can manage that, three out of four cards each of your opponent draws will be meaningless, and you will actually have a card advantage. You will not be able to do that completely against competent opposition, but just doing it partly will help.

The two main conterstrategies to this is concentration (attacking with a huge superiority of armies) and help from other countries.

There are many possible combination of suits, but the combination I will discuss here is to use hearts against France, clubs and diamonds against Austria and Imperial and spades against Russia.

Against France, the objectives to hold in the end is Magdeburg and possibly Hilberstadt. This can be done by a prussian army in the heart area close to them using brute force. France cant win unless it can drive such an army away by beating it in hearts. As hannover should force france to use op at least some of its hearts, this is unlikely. France can not concentrate wery well, because then hannover will retake its objectives. This means that brute force is likely to succeed here.

What this means for hannoverian strategies is that as well as engaging france in any suit hannover happens to be strong in, delaying france, eating france's supply trains and in short doing everything you should do as hannover even if not using this strategy, they should force a battle in hearts (most likely in Sultingen), causing france to use up as much hearts as possible. Then when france reach Magdeburg, one prussian general must be ready, and hopefully have enough hearts to repel all french assaults.

Against Russia, there are two places to make a stand: in the norteast corner and in Königsberg (the one norteast of berlin, not the one in east preussia), both in spades. As preussians normally draw more spades than the russians, the russians must concentrate to win. Unlike france however, they can do that. A little math: The average number of spades points russians draw + the number of reserves points is 8,8. The average number of spades points the prussians draw per turn + one quarter of the reserves the prussians draw per turn is 13,4. This means that unless the russians attack with a numerical superiority of 4,6 each turn, the prussians can use brute force to hold indefinitely. As the prussians can at most have 8 armies in east prussia, and the russians can concentrate 16 against them, that means the russians can wear the prussians down.

But the russians may not have enough time. That russian stack may have to fight as far east as Lötzen, meaning they have eight turns to reach Königsberg (west). Since they will need some time to concentrate their armies, Elizabeth may be dead by the time they are rady to seriously challenge the obejectives in west Preussia..

The Prussian plan against russia therefore is to delay as long as possible, draw the russians as far east as possible, and use brute force in spades as long as the russian has not concentrated at least four more armies against them than the preussian has. When the russians force battle with more than four or more more armies than the preussians has, the preussians simply leaves those preussian armies to their fate save the spades they have, and make prepare to meet the russians later at Königsberg west.

One thing to watch out for however, is army teleportation by out of supply death. This is to send two generals west, each with one army, and use the other two, with 14 armies to clear out east preussia. When this is done, he can kill those 14 armies by moving them out of supply, and then rebuild them with the two generals in the west. This is costly, but can solve both the problem of wearing down a prussia with more cards, and the problem of the great distances. Those two generals may even help the swedes. I am not sure about what to do against this, but hunting supply trains should be an option. Also, this leves the russians very weak in the suits they use to rebuild those armies, so you may try to switch suits and fight russians in something else.

Austria and the Imperials will help each other, so I would look at them as one nation, with a combined card draw of six. That is uncomfortably close to the preussian card draw of seven, which is why I will use two suits against them. I will try to use only clubs against the austrians and diamonds against the imperials, but I must expect that the austrians will force me to use dimonds against them. Using two colours I have better odds to be superior in at least one of them, and also make it possible to engage in favorable cross suit battles: If I can fight a big battle in which I use clubs and austria uses diamonds, I can switch to just defending in diamonds. Finally it makes it possible for me to defend a large zone and not just a few objectives. Althoug I try to fight only in clubs and diamonds, I will try to cover objectives in other suits as well. For example, austrian generals in rosenberg (M3) and Jauer (J4) defends all objectives in the spade area in K4, as well as Waldenburg in a heart area. This makes it possible to switch suits later. I use brute force if they do not concentrate, but die slowly or delay against large stacks. After all, they have to take a lot of objectives, and I defend most of them.

You have probably noted that I dedicated no suit to the swedes. That is partly because I will use the one I get most of, but also because I hope to fight the swedes without cards. The swedes are so isolated an have so widely dispersed objectives that it should be impossible for them to take the last of their objectives and at the same time defend those they have taken. Russian generals in west preussia early could be a problem however, but their suply train might be difficult for them to protect.

One weakness of this strategy is that even if it makes it difficult for all of your enemies to win, it may flag your intentions early, as well as making it easy for you enemies to take those objectives you dont plan to hold in the long run, and thus giving them a long time to find a way to wrestle those last objectives from you. One obvious way is to help each other out: My strategy dont draw a single heart from austrias hand, so when they decide it is time to help france out, they have lot of hearts while your hand is depleted fighing france. The best bet against that is probably to treaten supply trains, and die slowly. After all it should not happen until late in the game.

Also, enemy losses becomes almost meaningless, as each of them has three suits to rebuild their lost armies. That should make them willing to try a lot of battles, and they will likely find and exploit any suit you are weak in. You could of course counter that by switching to defend in another suit.

All in all, this does no way guarante a preussian victory, but think allocating siuts to enemies that way is a much better than using them randomly. I would be very interested to hear about which conter strategies people come up with.
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Greg Low
United States
Mansfield
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Thanks for putting together this piece. Definately in line with my thinking on Prussia (although I haven't had a turn at the helm yet, as we've done random allocation).

A tactical issue I've noticed is that Prussia must avoid falling back directly in the direction their foe wants to go. Falling straight back doesn't really delay your foes much (I know retreats are chosen by your foe, but controlled withdrawls are under a player's control).

-Greg
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richard sivel
Germany
berlin
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thank you harald for this very detailed and wonderful analysis.

I would only like to add that the prussians should know when they want to strike. And if they strike, strike hard. (esp. encircling your enemy after he had attacked and retreated by -1: There are several locations where you can retreat him into a position where you can encircle him with your counterattack, and thus can get rid of up to 24 troops in one battle!)
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Anton Telle
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Sometimes it is also wise to not "die slowly" even if the opponent has a much greater force. Just playing to zero in the battle makes your opponent use all his cards of that suit. That way the opponent cannot use his armyadvantage so often.
If you time the killing card in the battle correctly - that is the time your opponent runs out of that suit - you can even send him home properly.
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Eric Grutz
Serbia
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Harald wrote:

If you can manage that, three out of four cards each of your opponent draws will be meaningless, and you will actually have a card advantage.

But they're really not meaningless. The allies will attack and attack to draw TCs out of Prussia's hand, usually losing armies in the process. Then they use those "meaningless" suits to recruit their armies back. Prussia doesn't really have the luxury of buying many armies back, because they need all 4 suits.

But besides that, good article.
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Philip Thomas
United Kingdom
London
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Theoretically Prussia only needs to fight in 3 suits, one for each opposing player. It isn't that easy to manage things, but if you can do it you have one suit free for building new armies.

Whether you fight small battles losing a little or big battles trying to exhaust the enemy hand is partly dependent on the events. If Poems or Lord Bute or both have happened then exhausting the enemy hand is probably not going to work, especially against Austria.
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