Player Comments Regarding the Hundred Variant

Some very good players have played the hundred variant, and a few of them have provided the colowing commentaries. While I am not 100% in agreement with all the thoughts, I think the diversity of opinion is itself a sign of good game balance.

On France: the Southern Strategy

From R Gordon Aickin's EoG in the NoPress game Jun1h (USIN)

I suspect that this variant is well suited to RT play due to the short duration and small number of players. Having said that I feel that it is probably not at its best when played without press as this makes stopping the leader even harder than it normal is. Also I suspect that stopping the leader is harder in hundred than the standard game because there is very little time to reposition forces in before the win is achieved.

I think I was the only player who had played the variant before and if that is so then I had a great advantage. I played in the game Arras (I was France then too) and it was a disaster for me as the game was won quickly by Burgundy while France and England fought one another. (I came a poor third.) The main reason for this was that the three players ended up in roughly three vertical lines with France as the filling in the sandwich. This made it almost impossible for England to attack Burgundy and left France to be crushed. My main aim in this game was to avoid the same happening again.

So I started by moving strongly for the Cantons in an attempt to get away from the middle in to a corner. The advantages were two fold. I was more afraid of England than Burgundy and hoped that England would not attack me if I did not attack him. Also I hoped that by keeping Burgundy in the north it would be easier for England to attack him.

After the first year there was a period of four years while the players joked for position and all were cautious. The only SC build gained was for Scotland but there was some exchanging of centers between nations. My plan was to position myself along the bottom of the map so that I would have my back to a wall as it were and be able to advance with out protecting my back.

I succeeded in getting this line. Losing Paris and Orl in the process but once the line was established it was relatively easy to advance especially as the English and Burgurs were now fighting. The game was really quit well defined in to two phases and I think that it was the first phase that decided the result more than the second. If England had moved fleets down into The bay of biscay. Or retreated to Catalonia [Aragon] and thus being behind my line I think that the result could have been very different.

And finally I will do what is possibly very dangerous and disagree with the designer. I am not certain that it is Burgundy who has it hard in no press games. I think that the most obvious thing is for France and England to fight. It is certainly what my first instincts tell me to do as France, Attack the English in Aqu and Nmd. I would have done that If I had not tried it already and see it lead to my down fall. And in a No press game it is a great advantage to be the only one not fighting as it allows you to position your self first and then attack. I think it is possibly England who has it hardest as England has the least opportunity to avoid war. The fleets are useless as aggressive weapons against France unless France attacks first and can not be used to defend once territory is gained either. While the armies in Aqu and Nmd start along way from Burgundy and the French are likely to be in the way even if of the obvious route to advance on. This means that the English must either fight both opponents simultaneously. (Not a good option.) Or else waste a third of their units with nothing to do.


Follow up by Charlie Eldred, re: the NoPress game Jun1h (USIN)

I agree [re: Burgundy's advantages in No Press games]. Burgundy, like Turkey in standard Dip, has nobody behind it and can sit back for a while. Perhaps the next phase in the maturing of the game will be routine EF alliances against Burgundy. But then there's the problem of unused English units. It sure is fun seeing the variant develop.

Crucial Supply Centers

By Vincent Mous (game designer extraordinaire)

I think that Cantons is a very important center to own for France and France should try getting it right off the bat even if it means losing Paris. This is because it is very easy to hold for France or Burgundy but if France has it she essentially protects herself from any strong Burgundian attack.

In the midgame, Paris is a very important center to hold. It is a supply center, but it is even more important tactically because it borders 5 other supply centers (a big number for Hundred). Actually, it ONLY borders supply centers. If you hold Paris, whoever you are, you can easily launch supported attacks on neighbouring centers. For this reason, I think Paris changes hands very often, because no one wants someone else to have it.

Dover is of similar importance to England and Burgundy. It borders 5 supply centers, and qualifies as the second most important peace of real estate on the board after Paris. Because of the limited number of units and therefore of fleets in Hundred, it is also very hard to be pushed out of Dover.

An interesting move for Burgundy is to take Scotland and then build an army there. With an army on the British mainland, Burgundy's position to attack England is much stronger. Unfortunately, doing so makes England more or less a permanent enemy, which helps France out as she can chose on what side to fight.

BTW, Andy, has any France won without building a fleet?

Ed. Note: Yes, in Agincour, won by Michael Johnson

How Should England Deal with Guyenne: A Discussion

Andy Schwarz, winner as England in Crecy starts the debate:

Guyenne (formerly Aquitaine): Has been captured 8 of 12 games by France. England,knowing it will likely lose it, should abandon it early. Brittany, on theother hand, has gone Englih 7 of 5 times, and I would wager that of those 5 times it went French, it HAD been English for at least 3 of them.

Knowing this, and given F Devon (formerly Plymouth) being a Brittany unit almost entirely in the first year of play (1425, formerly 1415), I propose the "correct" play for England (at war with France) is:

A Guyenne-Aragon, A Normandy-Orleanais

By going to Aragon, you remain a thorn in France's side for a long time. Plus, if you ever get a fleet into Biscay, suddenly regaining Guyenne isn't so hard. The Normandy move may not be optimal...

Hell, maybe the best move is A Guyenne-Poitou along with Nmd-Bri

The point is Normandy can be dislodged, but then Britanny is there for the retreat. If Orl-Brit, then Orl is probably vacant, so adding A Poit can assure the Guy for Bri trade AND get te crucial unit INTO France. If you take Bri with the fleet, get it into Bis can get back Guyenne. If you take it with a Dislodged, Nmd, use the A Poi to either retake Guy or cut support and take Nmd from the BCH.

I think England is doing poorly in these games because of an unwillignness to send Guyenne on a "Chevauchee" across to Calais, like the Black Prince used to do, cutting a swath through France. Get that army inland and let the navy retake Guyenne later! What else can you do with those fleets anyway? Well, there is the matter of defense, but...

I also think F Lon-Dov should be a standard opening and the F Lon-Ang is really second rate. If Burgundy is willing to send its fleet north, let it! Take advanatage of the strong defensive position of Dov. Plus, can England really afford to have F Hol-Dov succeed?

Now that I say that, though, no one has tried a really western opening, as far as I rememeber, i.e., F Lon-Ech, F Dev-Bch.

Actually Charlie Eldred reminds me that England did this in Fulton, but France and Burgundy took Calais and Normandy, so he disbanded F BCH in W1416.

This gets a fleet into Biscay really fast and might make it worth whie to contest Guyenne by hitting Toulose to prevent the 2nd unit from provence from slipping in if A Tou-Poi is tried.

I think England is using its fleets wrong in many games I watch. These are just some ideas to bounce of of you experienced players (some of you have played hundred more than I have)

Of course, there is no BEST move in Diplomacy, since alliances matter more than tactics. But since Hundred's alliances are quick to form and end, tactics probably play a bigger role.

Your thoughts?


Doug Essinger-Hileman, winner as England in Bretagne replies

I disagree here. *If* England is at war with France, and has prepared for that war by forming an alliance with Burgundy, I believe that the best opening for England is to take Brittany from Normandy with support from Guyenne . The two fleets then open to the Strait of Dover and the English Channel. And the army in Calais supports the Burgundian into Paris.

With this combination of moves, a French move to Brittany is foiled. And if France takes Normandy it is easily regained.

Of course, one of the difficulties of any diplomacy game is in making the initial determination of who to trust and not. If England is unsure of the trustworthiness of France and Burgundy, then I believe giving up Guyenne in exchange for Brittany is a sound move.

If England is unsure of the opponents, and decides to cede Guyenne for Brittany if necessary, then I believe that this is a good choice of first moves.

> I also think F Lon-Dov should be a standard opening and the F Lon-Ang is
> really second rate. If Burgundy is willing to send its fleet north, let it

Absolutely. I do not see the time when I would consider sending the London fleet north in the opening move. If I were allied with Burgundy, that would be a clear sign that I was breaking the alliance. And if I were at war with Burgundy, then I would rather establish a solid strategic position in the Strait of Dover (or deny that position to Burgundy) than send a unit to the northern hinterlands.

> ...can England really afford to have F Hol-Dov succeed?

Not if at war with Burgundy. However, that fact can often be used as a powerful tool in negotiating with the French. For if Burgundy gets into the Strait of Dover behind the English defense, then Calais is quite threatened. And the fall of Calais and the Strait of Dover to a hostile Burgundian means that the safety of London, and then maybe Devon, can not be guaranteed.

> I think England is using its fleets wrong in many games I watch. These are
> just some ideas to bounce of of you experienced players (some of you have
> played hundred more than I have)

As England, I have twice now had to manage the liabilities of the fleets. Their initial position suggests that their easiest use is along the northern coast of France. However, once there they do not have the ability to move or support inland. This can be especially costly if England is trying to defend and Orleanais garrison. They can be better used along France's western or southern coast, but it takes some time to get them there.

The problem of inland support of Orleanais can be solved (I discovered too late) by rotating the army in Guyenne to Brittany, and retaking Buyenne with the fleet if necessary and desired.


Back to Andy Schwarz's Hundred Variant article