The Spanish Armada

Spain in the Modern Variant

Vincent Mous

Table of Contents


Welcome to the tenth article in my continuing series about the Modern variant. In the first article you got an introduction to the modern variant, as well as some information on how to get started playing it. In the next five articles I discussed the opening strategies for Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, and Italy. Then, I took a break and conducted a review of those six articles, before continuing with Poland and Russia.

In this article, I examine the position and opening choices of Spain, one of the three three-center powers in Modern, and probably the one with the most challenging opening position. Spain has to quickly resolve its relationship with both Britain, whose ownership of Gibraltar will cause early tensions if not conflict, and France, who will usually be nervous about Spain's position at her back. Nonetheless, with a reasonable chance at a solid corner position, and access to both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, Spain is strategically strongly placed, and a capable diplomat could lead her to greatness.

Updates and additions to this article can be found on the homepage for the Modern variant.

"Marks out of 10 for potential (no-press):
Italy - 10
Britain - 9
Egypt - 8
Spain - 6
Poland - 5
Germany - 3
France - 2
Russia - 1" --- Toby Tyrrell

Recently Finished Modern Games

As always, I'll take a look at recently finished Modern games. Don't forget, however, that you can get the latest on the variant at the Modern Home Page, including the Modern Hall of Fame, a monthly or quasi-monthly discussion topic and rules for the use of wing units, with which Modern was originally designed.

A few interesting games have started recently. Modhof97, the 1997 Modern Hall of Fame game has started on USEF - the going is a bit slow, but the quality of play will be high and interesting to watch. Also forming or started are a Modern blind game (fauxmod/USEF), a Payola Modern game (newmoney/FROG) and a game with the wing units (af1/USEF). The wing units are not completely supported by the judge, so some hand-adjudication is necessary. Finally and quite coincidentally, a Spanish-language game called Galicia has just been created on USEF. Perhaps they will have their own view of how to play Spain - the two German-language games on DEAC saw Spain open with the highly unusual Catalonian Offensive.

Anyhow, on to the article itself. I'll be looking at Spanish strategies, and will then, as usual include a section of player comments on Spain in Modern.

Statistics on Use of The Spanish Openings

Modern Games in Progress

GameOpening UsedYearSC'sPlacement
sardIberian Domination2020291st
nowadaysConquistador2016 161st
modgameIberian Domination2015212nd
naderIberian Domination2019182nd
modt97ePaella Attack2007132nd
kyyivAndalusian Attack199772nd tied
novgorodToreador200182nd tied
brakerIberian Domination2010113rd
therockViva España200883rd tied
ericIberian Domination200294th
beneschIberian Domination200074th
norm11Viva España200974th
ooViva España199974th
euro97Real Madrid200864th
modt97dIberian Domination200664th
sedanIberian Domination200495th
todayFC Barcelona200085th
sedanIberian Domination200575th
lastcoinAlgerian Ruse200155th
heuteCatalonian Offensive199765th tied
modjan98Iberian Domination199765th tied
peterAlgerian Ruse200066th
appleIberian Domination199757th tied
crazyIndurain Defense199948th
ptolemyIberian Domination199758th tied
wilhelmPicasso Strike199758th tied
modhof97Gibraltar Castanets199659th tied
modt97fConquistador200229th tied
euro98Viva España1999210th
samPortuguese Gambit1996??
ableIberian Domination2009 elim.
censoredIberian Domination2002 elim.
dip158(Cat-23) Catalonian Offensive2008 elim.
dip174(Cat-23) Viva España2005 elim.
dip202 (Cat-23) Iberian Domination2005 elim.
marinettConquistador2008 elim.
modt97cPicasso Strike2011 elim.
norm7Iberian Domination2014 elim.
reaganGibraltar Castanets2002 elim.
zwoelfaCatalonian Offensive2001 elim.

Finished Games - Spanish Win or Draw

GameOpening UsedResult/YearSC'sPlacement
izmir2ConquistadorS 2013331st
milosConquistadorS 2010331st
odessaAlgerian RuseEPS 2022251st tied
academy4Sevillian Guard (Navarran Variant)EIS 2009221st tied
izmirAlgerian Ruse (Madrid Variant)EIS 2005203rd
milanToreadorBES 2014153rd
cairoToreadorIPST 2009251st
natoFlamenco PactEGRS 2007171st
hamburgToreadorEPSU 2016143rd tied
lyonToreadorBPST 2011133rd
desirePyrenees InvasionGSTU 2008113rd
buchananConquistadorBEPSU 2022182nd

Finished Games - Spanish Loss

GameOpening UsedResult/Year# SCsPlacement
modt97bToreadorU 2010132nd
rostovIberian DominationI 2015132nd tied
spartikuConquistador (Catalonian Variant)P 2004103rd
thisthatIberian DominationG 200473rd
detailsConquistadorU 202354th
auroraSevillian Guard (Portuguese Variant)R 2009 elim.
blitzzToreadorBEP 2017 elim.
bogardanConquistadorBFU 2007 elim.
day2dayConquistadorR 2009 elim.
deleriumAlgerian RuseE 2008 elim.
despairSiestaFIR 2012 elim.
dickensConquistadorEFG 2015 elim.
euro95ToreadorERT 2023 elim.
euro96Algerian Ruse (Sevillian Variant)EFP 2017 elim.
frontlinAndorran DiversionBEU 2013 elim.
gdanskIberian DominationGIRT 2014 elim.
gun1994Pyrenees InvasionG 2009 elim.
katrasConquistadorBIPT 2012 elim.
liarliarAlgerian RuseT 2007 elim.
lie2meAlgerian RuseT 2007 elim.
minskConquistadorGTU 2019 elim.
modhof96ConquistadorFGT 2003 elim.
modsquadToreadorU 2009 elim.
modt97aPortuguese GambitR 2015 elim.
norwayViva EspañaBFTU 2020 elim.
perotSevillian Guard (Portuguese Variant)FPT 2018 elim.
sevilleIberian DominationI 2014 elim.
taunt3Iberian DominationBEGR 2018 elim.

List of Openings for Spain in Modern

Neutral/Defensive Openings

Indurain Defense
Fleet Barcelona HOLD.
Army Madrid -> Navarra.
Army Seville -> Gibraltar.
Named after the multiple Tour de France Winner, the Indurain Defense blocks the Pyrenees against a French incursion from Bordeaux, and defends Barcelona against a similar one from Paris or Marseilles. Gibraltar might not be taken, but Britain should not be able to build there, and Portugal is still probable in the fall. Barcelona could have been defended just as well by moving the fleet out, but keeping it in port is sure to offend no one.

Navarran Defense (Stephen Breininger)
Fleet Barcelona -> Western Mediterranean.
Army Madrid -> Navarra.
Army Seville -> Gibraltar.
"It's fairly neutral. The fleet can go to Tunis, or swing to SoG for a good second year position. The army from Madrid will go to Portugal the second move. Svl - Gib will succeed in most games, as Britain usually opens to SAO." - Rick Desper

Fleet Barcelona, No Order Processed.
Army Madrid, No Order Processed.
Army Seville, No Order Processed.

A Spanish NMR opening, it isn't as bad for Spain as it is for other powers, as Spain's targets are still reachable in the fall of 1995. The Spanish Siesta significantly reduces chances of capturing Gibraltar in 1995 though, and if Spain and Britain bounce there in the fall, Spain is in real trouble.

Sevillian Guard
Fleet Barcelona -> Western Mediterranean.
Army Madrid -> Navarra. (Navarran Variant) --or--
Army Madrid -> Portugal. (Portuguese Variant) Army Seville HOLD.
A seemingly pro-British and anti-Italian opening that could turn into a quick capture of Gibraltar and an attack on Morocco. The Sevillian Guard is a good defensive opening which keeps Spain's southern options open for the Fall of 1995.

Anti-British Openings

Andalusian Attack
Fleet Barcelona -> Andalusia.
Army Madrid SUPPORT Fleet Barcelona -> Andalusia.
Army Seville HOLD.
A strong anti-British opening, the Andalusian Attack guarantees the capture of Gibraltar in the fall or allows Spain to risk it and move the fleet from Andalusia to the Straits of Gibraltar, ensuring a quick capture of Morocco in 1996. Unlike the Gibraltar Castanets, the army in Seville holds in the spring. This lets Spain support herself into Portugal in the fall if need be and/or take Gibraltar with her fleet.

The Andalusian Attack is not optimal though, as Seville could have offered the support to Barcelona, and Madrid would thus have been freed to move to Portugal or Navarra.

Gibraltar Castanets
Fleet Barcelona -> Andalusia.
Army Madrid SUPPORT Fleet Barcelona -> Andalusia.
Army Seville -> Gibraltar.
Almost identical to the Andalusian Attack, the Gibraltar Castanets opts to move Seville to Gibraltar in the spring of 1995 in case Britain moves out. If this works, it allows the fleet to be moved to the Straits of Gibraltar and Morocco to be much more easily captured in 1996, but if France also moved to Navarra in the spring, Portugal cannot be guaranteed.

"The best opening in my opinion depends on alliances but should try to keep open the possibility of forcing Morocco in Fall 1902, like this one for instance. Britain should do gib - sog/sao to ensure taking Morocco in the fall, allowing Spanish moves in Fall 1995 of: and-sog, gib hold, mad-por." - Toby Tyrrell.

Iberian Domination (Eric Person)
Fleet Barcelona -> Andalusia.
Army Madrid -> Portugal.
Army Seville SUPPORT Fleet Barcelona -> Andalusia.
"This opening is a fail-safe opening for taking the Gibraltar." - Petar Mimica

"This move guarantees that Portugal and Gibraltar are gained in the fall, thereby unifying the Iberian under Spanish rule. In the fall, Spain can choose to either support its fleet into Gibraltar (a guaranteed success) or, assuming that Britain will take the easy gain in Morocco, move Seville to Gibraltar and Andalusia to Straits of Gibraltar. This second choice would guarantee the gain of Morocco next year, even with Italian interference.

The big drawback to the opening is realized if France moves from Marseilles to Auvergne--a rare move, but a danger nonetheless." - Eric Person

Picasso Strike
Fleet Barcelona -> Andalusia.
Army Madrid -> Seville.
Army Seville -> Portugal.
This is a strange opening, because the same position could be achieved with Madrid going to Portugal instead of Seville. Seville could then have been better used to actually support Barcelona to Andalusia. But then again, some Spaniards, like Picasso, like to do things quite differently.

Real Madrid
Fleet Barcelona -> Andalusia.
Army Madrid HOLD.
Army Seville HOLD.
Madrid's football team must have been having a home game here, because Madrid would have been better off moving to Navarra or Portugal, and Seville supporting Barcelona to Andalusia or moving to Gibraltar.

Toreador, or "the Bullfighter"
Fleet Barcelona -> Andalusia.
Army Madrid -> Portugal.
Army Seville -> Gibraltar.
A reasonably good opening against Britain, it will usually allow the capture of Gibraltar as well as an upper hand in capturing Morocco if Britain moved out of Gibraltar. If it does not, Britain will not be able to build there and the damage will be minimized. Portugal is taken in the spring, and will be held unless France and Britain cooperate in the fall. Finally, the fleet in Andalusia can cover Barcelona if France moved an army to Auvergne.

Viva España (Murray Grelis)
Fleet Barcelona -> Andalusia.
Army Madrid -> Navarra.
Army Seville SUPPORT Fleet Barcelona -> Andalusia.

"That'll keep French fleet out of Navarra, and take Gibraltar." - Earle Ratcliffe

"This prevents France from moving his fleet from BOR-NAV. It also allows the northern army to cover BAR in case France moves into AUV in the spring. I would even directly tell France of this planned move for two purposes: First it discourages a French attack and second it informs him that you do not want the move to NAV to threaten him. Both will help encourage him to move eastward.

Concerning Gibraltar, it is easily captured in the fall by moving F AND-GIB w/ support from SVE. However if Britain has ordered F GIB-SAO/SOG en route to MOR, you may want to press your luck with fall moves of A SVE-GIB and F AND-SOG. This will set up the capture of MOR the following year (as you can support a new fleet built in Seville to SAO in the spring)." - Stephen Breininger

"This is the move I'd make in a no-press game. The fleet in AND can move against GIB in the fall but can also defend BAR in case France moves to AUV. The army in SEV guarantees the fleets move into AND, in case Britain orders f GIB-AND. In the fall this army can either move or support into GIB or POR. The second army in MAD moves to NAV in order to block any French move there, from NAV that army can move against POR or BOR. If France blocks a MAD-NAV, the army in MAD can still move or support into POR in the fall. I've called this move Viva España because I believe it is the safest way to gain control of the Iberian peninsula without letting down my guard against the French." - Murray Grelis

Anti-French Openings

Andorran Diversion
Fleet Barcelona -> Auvergne.
Army Madrid -> Portugal.
Army Seville -> Gibraltar.
Moving a single fleet north is not such a strong attack on France, so this can perhaps be considered but a diversion. If Italy moved to Piedmont though, Marseilles can be taken in the fall. This protects Spain against an early army attack by France, and the diversion might force France to occupy Marseilles, by moving back there. A good Spanish ploy in this case is to support France back in, denying him a build and the possibility of building a southern fleet in 1996.

Catalonian Offensive
Fleet Barcelona -> Gulf of Lyon.
Army Madrid -> Navarra.
Army Seville -> Gibraltar.
The Catalonian Offensive is a strong anti-French opening, hopefully with British approval for the capture of Gibraltar. It has the further advantage that if Madrid makes it to Navarra, France will have to move to Bordeaux to protect it in the fall, thus being unable to build there in 1996. The Pyrenees Invasion is usually indicative of an alliance with Italy, as Marseilles can only be taken if Italy also moved to Piedmont.

If Italy is not in the game, the fleet in the Gulf of Lyon can still be useful however to ensure France not only cannot build a fleet there in 1995, but also loses a build. Supporting Monaco (or Switzerland) to Marseilles in case France attempts a self-standoff in Marseilles accomplishes this quite nicely. Spain can also try sneaking into Marseilles, of course, in case it is not defended.

Seville HOLD here is a reasonable move, as Portugal can then be captured by either army, and Gibraltar can also be taken in the fall if Britain does not move back (and with such Spanish moves, he might believe Spain is going to let him keep Gibraltar).

Flamenco Pact
Fleet Barcelona -> Gulf of Lyon.
Army Madrid -> Navarra.
Army Seville -> Portugal.
Similar to the Catalonian Offensive, the Flamenco Pact is possibly the strongest pro-British opening in the Spanish repertoire. All Spanish units move away from Gibraltar and Morocco. Britain might be tempted by Seville, so a possible fall set of moves would be Por-Sve, Nav-Por. If Madrid made it to Navarra though, it might be a good idea to risk it all and move to Auvergne (and perhaps the Ligurian Sea), setting up a 1996 attack on Marseilles.

Paella Attack
Fleet Barcelona -> Gulf of Lyon.
Army Madrid -> Portugal.
Army Seville -> Gibraltar.
The Paella Attack includes a bit of everything � an attack on Britain in Gibraltar, capture of a neutral SC and harassment of France in Marseilles. Unlike the Catalonian Offensive, it puts no pressure on Bordeaux, but it allows Spain to defend Seville with a self-standoff.

Pyrenees Defense (Theo Kermanidis)
Fleet Barcelona -> Gulf of Lyon.
Army Madrid -> Barcelona.
Army Seville HOLD.
"This opening I feel largely based on paranoia will give the French a strong signal to look elsewhere while at the same time allows the option of a sneak-attack into Marseilles if the French are caught asleep. The Fall turn can provide a single SC in Portugal providing some mutual beneficial agreement with Britain is struck." - Theo Kermanidis

Pyrenees Invasion
Fleet Barcelona -> Auvergne.
Army Madrid -> Navarra.
Army Seville HOLD.
An early Spanish attack on France that also defends Barcelona from a French army moving to Auvergne

Anti-Italian Openings

Algerian Ruse
Fleet Barcelona -> Western Mediterranean.
Army Madrid -> Portugal. --or--
Army Madrid -> Andalusia. (Madrid Variant)
Army Seville -> Andalusia. --or--
Army Seville -> Portugal. (Madrid Variant) --or--
Army Seville HOLD. (Sevillian Variant)
Possibly the best anti-Italian opening, the Algerian Ruse assumes an alliance with Britain, or at least the appearance of one - if Gibraltar is to be taken, it will have to be by deception in the fall. In that case, WMed could move west to the Straits of Gibraltar for the best position to attack Morocco in 1996.

This opening allows the convoy of an army to Algeria, and thus the support of an attack on Tunisia in the spring of 1996, but an alliance with Egypt is perhaps an easier and less risky way to accomplish this. An army in Algeria can also be used to move west against Morocco, so this opening is full of options.

Italian permission to take Tunisia would be even better, as it could be captured in 1995, and support into Libya can be offered to Italy in exchange in spring 1996, usually before Egypt can get any reinforcements there.

Fleet Barcelona -> Western Mediterranean. --or--
Fleet Barcelona HOLD. (Catalonian Variant)
Army Madrid -> Portugal.
Army Seville -> Gibraltar.
Unlike the Algerian Ruse, the Conquistador doesn�t move an army into convoy position. Instead, he tries to conquer all the Iberian Peninsula by moving to Gibraltar and Portugal. This is a good opening if Britain has agreed to give up Gibraltar in exchange for Morocco, and will use the Moroccan fleet to help Spain in North Africa later. Spain can always change her mind about Morocco in the fall though, by moving WMed to SoG.

FC Barcelona
Fleet Barcelona -> Western Mediterranean.
Army Madrid -> Barcelona.
Army Seville -> Gibraltar.
This is a strange opening, as if all moves succeed it gives up all chance at capturing Portugal in the fall. This can be especially devastating if France moved to Navarra. Perhaps the Barcelona football team has just won the Spanish championships? The army in Barcelona can be convoyed to Algeria or Tunisia in the same way as the Andalusian army can in the Algerian Ruse.

Portuguese Gambit
Fleet Barcelona -> Western Mediterranean.
Army Madrid -> Andalusia.
Army Seville SUPPORT Army Madrid -> Andalusia.
The Portuguese Gambit is similar to the Algerian Ruse but ensures that it can capture Gibraltar in the fall by issuing a support if necessary, but giving up Portugal in the process. Portugal can still be captured though if France did not move to Navarra in the spring, and Gibraltar might be left alone in favor of a convoy to Algeria.

Spanish Strategy

So you find yourself playing Spain in a Modern game. What should your immediate goals and concerns be? Whom should you ally with? Whom should you attack? Are there any special considerations you should make? I will give you my opinions on these questions and others in the section below. Along the way, you can read some of the player comments on the same subject by clicking on the various links, but don�t forget to read them afterwards to get their complete points of view!

Initial Strategy

Spain's most immediate concern is her relationship with Britain and the question of Gibraltar. Since Britain can reach Morocco from Gibraltar in 1995, it also becomes part of the question. Spain can either fight Britain for control of both of these or negotiate with Britain for ownership of one (usually Gibraltar) while letting Britain keep the other. While control of Gibraltar can be forced in 1995, taking Morocco can require a lot of time and effort, slowing down Spain's expansion and letting powers in other areas of the map gain dominance. This is especially so if Britain sees a chance of fighting for Morocco. She might then send one or more fleets southwards and exacerbate the problem�

To capture Morocco more quickly, Spain can do two things. The first is to move Seville immediately to Gibraltar, hoping that Britain moves out. Unless Madrid supports Barcelona to Andalusia though, as in the Gibraltar Castanets, she might not be able to take Gibraltar in the fall. This is usually not so bad as Britain would not be able to build in Gibraltar, as it will be occupied. If Spain gets in, she will be able to move the fleet onwards to the Straits of Gibraltar in the fall, build a fleet in Seville and then be usually sure of capturing Morocco in 1996.

The other option is to choose one of the many openings where Seville supports Barcelona to Andalusia and to take a risk by moving Andalusia to the Straits of Gibraltar in the fall instead of being involved in an attack on Gibraltar. The risk here is that Britain will bounce with Seville in Gibraltar, and be able to build, causing big headaches for Spain. If it works though, Spain can usually guarantee Morocco in 1996, the same way as above.

A negotiated settlement about Gibraltar, giving Morocco to Britain is perhaps best though. If Britain keeps her word, then Spain can quickly move east against a longer-term threat - Italy. Spain can usually make sure of taking Tunisia in the spring of 1996 by convoying an army to Algeria in 1995. This North African attack would hopefully make Italy an inviting target for any of her many neighbours but is quite limiting to Spain, as she would only be able to take one of Gibraltar and Portugal. Another alternative is to bounce Italy in Tunisia in 1995, denying him the extra build and letting Spain take both Portugal and Gibraltar. It will then be more difficult to capture Tunisia in 1996, but still possible, especially with Egyptian help from Libya. In both cases, Britain might be willing to help by moving her fleet to Algeria in 1996 in exchange for continued peace...

In any case, this stage of the game is often Spain�s best chance of taking on Italy, before Italy gathers strength and bottles up the Med completely. Of course, getting Germany, France, Ukraine, Turkey or Egypt in on the attack would help. If Spain comes under attack from France or Britain however, she will have to call off the attack on Italy, so this strategy can be risky.

Spain�s other initial concern is to head off an early French attack on Spain and to calm her fears about Spain, which occupies a position at her back. The main danger here is a French move to Auvergne, which will force Spain to defend Barcelona in the fall and possibly lose an SC gain. Spain should always defend Barcelona though, as the French army in Auvergne has no reason not to move there in the fall of 1995, and letting France into Barcelona at such an early stage is equivalent to suicide. The other immediate danger is France moving her Atlantic fleet to Navarra in the spring of 1995. It is a lesser danger, because only Portugal is threatened, and not very effectively, but it occurs more often. Fortunately, moving the Madrid army to Navarra in the spring of 1995 and then taking Portugal with it in the fall easily defends it, whether or not there is a bounce.

In any case, if Spain finds herself under attack, she will find the Iberian Peninsula quite easily defendable. An army in Madrid is the linchpin of that defense, as its support is difficult to cut, and can be used to help almost any space on the peninsula. Thus, keeping an army there is in itself a strong deterrent to any would-be attacker, and usually sufficient to keep anyone from attacking the Spanish armadillo.

Midgame and Endgame

If Spain has gotten past the initial stages of the game and achieved some degree of security, through conquest or alliance, she will be in one of two positions - reactive or proactive. If Spain moved too slowly or faced too much opposition in and around Iberia, she might find herself in a Europe in which one or two large powers have emerged. If Italy is one of these, then Spain will be pushed into a reactive position and not be able to do much more than defend herself for the rest of the game. If the power is on the other side of the board - Turkey or Ukraine, for example - then Spain has more freedom. A draw is well within the realm of possibility, but Spain will have to play exceptionally well to catch up and win the game.

With a bit of luck however Spain will be able to have a proactive position and be able to choose where to head next. Southern France seems to have been the usual target. This is because France is nearby and very vulnerable to a combined attack of Spain and another power. Spain must usually take care not to attack France along with a larger power though. This is especially the case with Italy, as Spain might end up using all her units to block off Italy again, both in the Med and in France.

An early anti-French alliance with Germany may look more tempting though, as Germany can also help against Britain and even Italy. However, after taking Switzerland, Lyon and another French SC, Germany will be both stronger than Spain, and closer to Britain, whom she will quickly overwhelm when the joint attack comes, and it almost must, because Britain will be completely cut-off from the rest of the board by the SG alliance. At this point, it will be very difficult for Spain to progress further against Germany�s large army or navy. Only a strong Poland or Russia could help. The way to Italy will probably be difficult as well, with some strong power in the area, and Germany again being able to swing her forces more quickly to Italy than Spain can if there happens to be a power vacuum there.

All this is not to say that Spain should not attack France at some point, and she will certainly have to do so to win the game, but that perhaps it is best to grow stronger first. If France can be convinced to be friendly, it is therefore probably best for both of them to take on another power together. This makes both of them stronger much quicker than if they fight each other and gives both of them a better chance of getting further in the game. The good thing about such an alliance, from the Spanish standpoint at least, is that the danger is mostly France�s.

Whether the alliance is active or but a non-aggression pact, Spain�s choices of targets are then Britain, Italy or Egypt. Britain is perhaps the preferred choice of France, as France will feel less vulnerable on her west coast than her underbelly. To attack Britain at this point of the game will require getting into the Mid-Atlantic Ocean. That is often difficult as it is easy to block, so help from France�s northern fleet, or some distraction in the North Sea area will be needed. Once Spain has captured the Mid-Atlantic, the going is much easier, as Britain will need three fleets to block further Spanish progress...

Attacking Italy has been covered a bit earlier, but attacking Egypt requires a bit of flexibility on Italy�s part. If Italy concentrates on land and gives Spain Tunisia and allows Spain in the Med below the boot, Spain can move quickly to take Libya - especially if she has taken Morocco with an army - and then onwards towards Egypt herself. This may seem far, but Alexandria and Aswan are as far from Morocco as Liverpool and Ireland. Some Spains have managed to attack Egypt successfully this way; it can probably only be attempted with a weak Italy, but the position achieved can be quite strong if it can be maintained and expanded.

Care must be taken, as in any attack, to strike at the right moment, so as not to get bottled up. The Med is soon enough teeming with fleets and whether attacking Italy or Egypt, the going will be tough if there is a dominant power. Spain must therefore strive to keep the powers of the Eastern Med balanced, through any means, diplomatic or direct. Otherwise, there will be little chance to get past the Italian boot and into Egypt or the Balkans. The Maltese Sea is the important first step there, with control of the Ionian, Adriatic or Libyan indicating a good measure of success that can usually be pushed quite a lot further.

Spain�s position is the end game can be quite strong, because she has access to both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. This should mean that she has quite a lot of leeway in the SCs she captures to win the game. In practice though, the winning list of SCs was remarkably similar in Milos and Izmir2, Spain's two wins to date - essentially the capture and control of France, Britain, Italy, Germany and a bit more...

You can try the finding your way along this proven, though by no means easy, path to success, or you can try to reach the destination by other means. The Balkans, for example, a rich source of neutral SCs, are just beyond Italy, and so are Turkey and Egypt. I am confident a southern Spanish victory is as possible as the mostly northern ones we have seen to date. Only time, and the efforts of brilliant strategists and diplomats like you, will tell.

Relationship with Other Powers

Spain�s relationship with Britain is usually strained at best. Spain�s main interest here is to get Britain non-involved in the south quickly, either by throwing him out of Gibraltar and Morocco, or by making a deal with him which would let Britain keep Morocco in exchange for giving up Gibraltar without a fight. After this, Spain�s interests in Britain are essentially non-aggression or conquest, though the latter may never come, especially if a large eastern power must be held to a drawn game through cooperation. An alliance with Britain can be a profitable one however, rolling eastwards somewhat like the EF alliance in Vanilla Dip, and might be worth examining.

France�s position with regard to Spain is much like that of Austria with regard to Turkey in Vanilla dip - any alliance will be difficult. However, there are no equivalents of Russia for Spain to combine with for a juggernaut or Italy for France to Lepanto with. If France is to be attacked, then it should be as late as possible, so that Spain is in a position to take as much of France as possible. If France has invaded Germany, for example, and Germany is in her death throes, then Spain will not have to share France with anyone, but the timing here can be quite tricky. In almost no case should Spain invite Italy to attack France, Germany is almost always better, but in a pinch either can do if Spain is facing an early French onslaught.

Italy is Spain�s main rival in the Mediterranean, and probably her main obstacle to being successful in a Modern game. Unfortunately, the questions of Britain and France are more pressing for Spain, and this usually gives time for Italy to become quite large and difficult to take on. A large Italy is also a threat to France (but so is Spain) though, so she can perhaps be convinced to back off or even help out. Italy also has many neighbours, so it also possible that others will attack Italy early, doing Spain�s job for her. An alliance with Italy is possible though, especially with a demilitarized western Med, but this would surely involve moving north against Britain, who will see it coming if the SI alliance becomes public. When in an alliance, Spain should watch out for a quick Italian attack, as Italy can build two fleets in the Western Med to Spain�s one, and Spain is therefore more vulnerable to a stab. An interesting opening option is to have Italy bounce Egypt in Libya while Spain takes Tunisia. Spain can then support Italy into Libya the following spring, or at least promise to do so.

Germany may seem like Spain�s natural ally, as she borders Spain�s three neighbours, Britain, France and Italy, and will not be a Spanish rival in the Mediterranean. In many cases, this is true. Care must be taken that Spain is of equal strength to Germany and equal future prospects if such an alliance is undertaken. Germany can move faster from one of these powers to another, and will get freebies in the form of Scandinavia and the Lowlands when Spain and Germany form an alliance. Spain should therefore either delay an alliance with Germany until she is as strong as he is, or make sure there is a suitable counterweight among the Poland/Russia/Ukraine trio. Of these, Poland and Russia can build fleets in the Atlantic and be a threat to Germany, Ukraine cannot.

It is a bit unrealistic though to think Spain can have a large influence on the outcome of the PRU struggle. She can, however, observe what is going on and adjust her strategy in consequence. If Poland seems to be winning, then a stronger Germany may be a good thing and can be accomplished by allying with him. On the other hand, an eastern avenue of attack can be pursued most effectively with Ukraine or Russia as allies as they can harass a strong Turkey from the north. Ukraine can block access to the Balkans most easily though, so perhaps a northern option with Poland or Russia or a southern option with Russia are preferable.

Spain in General

With her two recent wins, Spain has finally come of age in Modern, taking her place as a serious contender among the group of European nations. Spain is not an easy power to play, and the road to success is not necessarily the one that is most obvious. To lead Spain to victory, one must be not only a skillful diplomat and a good tactician, but also a bit of a gambler willing to take risks to achieve the necessary speed Spain needs to take it all.

Spain�s fallback position is a good defensible corner which, if held, can prevent a lot of other powers from winning and therefore ensure Spain a spot in a draw. This is not something to aim for though unless things are going quite badly. With Spain in Modern, it is better to risk and lose then never to have tried at all�

Player Comments On Spain

General Comments

"The toughest part for Spain is to figure whom to attack..." - Stephen Breininger

"Spain has better chances if things progress slowly (no one power races to dominance) in other parts of the board." - Toby Tyrrell

"Spain has a wide choice of strategies after he consolidates Iberia in the first year. It may be the most flexible country in Modern. He can be an effective naval power or land power and can also employ a balanced force." � Jeff Serandos

Initial Strategy

"I think Spain's initial strategy should be to carve out the Iberian Peninsula, first and foremost. Normally this task isn't terribly difficult. The biggest challenge is to deal with the British fleet that opens in Gibraltar, but fortunately Spain can outmuscle it every time. The real choice for Spain is whether to move conservatively and guarantee Gibraltar or to take a risk and develop an excellent position while not guaranteeing Gibraltar." - Eric Person

"Grab Tunisia year 2, go into (Italian) boot". - Stewart Alexander

"Take Gibraltar and Portugal. Make sure France doesn't attack. Go after Morocco." - Rick Desper

"To somehow keep France and Britain from ganging up on you, and driving Britain out of the south while doing so." � Earle Ratcliffe

"Kill the British fleet in Gibraltar before Britain can reinforce." - Robert Rehbold

"Wait, send a lot of messages to your neighbours and grow slowly." - Mikael Norberg

"Not annoy the British and deny the French access to your SC's." - Theo Kermanidis

"Kill off that Gibraltar fleet. Determine relationship to France. Try to secure a one-front, one opponent war, with peace with everyone else. You have to fight someone, as you need to grow, but you can't afford to be at war with more than one opponent, or you're history quick." - Jim Kloss

"1. Get rid of Britain in Gibraltar. Spain cannot allow Britain to have a home center on the peninsula. The best way is to negotiate a peaceful retreat to Morocco to avoid unnecessary complications like B: F GIB -> SAO F: F BOR -> NAV

2. When Gibraltar is secured, a large fleet in Mediterranean should be built. Spain should try to push in the south (and east) rather than in the north." - Petar Mimica

"Initially I'd consolidate my position by taking Portugal, Gibraltar and Morocco, but only if France was not hostile. If France opens with a strong anti-Spanish move, I'd move against him as best I could and hope to secure the peninsula and Morocco as I go. I'd encourage Italy to think of me as an ally." - Murray Grelis

Winning as Spain

Spain has been the solo victor in two Modern games. In both, the victorious Spaniard held Barcelona, Belgium, Berlin, Bordeaux, Denmark, Edinburgh, Frnakfurt, Gibraltar, Hamburg, Holland, Ireland, Liverpool, London, Lyon, Madrid, Marseilles, Milan, Monaco, Morocco, Munich, Murmansk, Naples, Norway, Paris, Portugal, Rome, Seville, St-Petersburg, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, and Venice.

In the game "milos", Spain also held Austria, while in "izmir2", he capped the victory off with the addition of Libya.

"Go through Italy and North Africa first. then through France and Germany. Eventually take Egypt." - Theo Kermanidis

"I think the best ally for Spain is Italy. The two of them can easily divide up France. Then the next task is to attack either England or Germany. First one should fall, then the other. Once this is achieved, you should be able to push on through Poland and Russia. This should be enough to give you the solo victory.

If you do decide to head south, then you will need to coordinate with the Eastern-Med player in attacking Italy. Plan on moving only 1/2 way through the MED. Then plan on moving into England/France/Germany. Hopefully you will have enough western centers to give you the victory." - Stephen Breininger

"Slow and steady. The corner position is nice, and you can make gains in both the Atlantic and Med at the same time, as well as march some armies across Europe. But these gains will come slowly. A Spanish victory will probably end up being a long game." - Earle Ratcliffe

"Carve out the Iberian, get rid of any British presence in the south, make sure Britain is fighting Germany and France is fighting Italy, build lots of fleets, take the south of Italy, join forces with the weaker of Turkey and Egypt (if both are left), stab France, and advance into Britain/Germany/Balkans enough to grab 33 centers. As simple as baking a cake!" - Eric Person

"Claim undying faithfulness to Britain and get a non-aggression pact with Italy. Take France out and then attack Italy." - Mikael Norberg

"First, France should be eliminated. Then, with Germany's help, Italy should be minimized. With a strong navy in Med, all of North Africa could be taken, thus threatening Egypt's position. Now, with Turk's help Egypt could be divided. Spain should have about 20 SCs so far. Then it is a matter of time before Spain wins!" - Petar Mimica

"I think it's difficult. You can't grow fast, so you need to act as a junior partner with a more powerful ally. I like peace with Britain (other than Gibraltar), with neutrality with one of France or Italy, and then combining with Germany to hit the other." - Jim Kloss

"Not annoy the British and deny the French and Italians access to your Scs." - Theo Kermanidis

  1. Kill the Brits in Gibraltar and take Mor (ideally B/F or B/G are at war)
  2. Stop a possible onslaught by British fleets before they get further than MAO (the French fleet may help); a war between Italy and one of ET would be helpful to keep Italy small
  3. Get France (and perhaps Germany) to join you in eliminating Britain; don't forget to cover WMS against a sneaky Italian
  4. Shortly before Britain is dead, stab France with German help
  5. Steam into the Med to "help Italy" and/or "help Egypt"
  6. Grab whatever you can from Italy and in Africa
  7. Stab Germany for the win. - Robert Rehbold

"(I�d win) by bribing my opponents? I'd eliminate France and then try to ally myself with either England or Germany, depending on their positions. We would then head east, a reverse steamroller. England might be unlikely since I would have taken Gibraltar off him, but Germany could well get in my way later in the game on the mainland. I would try to eliminate Italy, this would be difficult with an English ally unless I had help from Turkey or Egypt. I would try to set up an eastern power to take on my ally, Poland or Russia would be best. Then I could stab my ally while he takes on this Eastern power... maybe the bribes are a better idea!" - Murray Grelis

"Make early peace with Britain, perhaps letting him keep Morocco. Team up with Italy or Germany and invade France, making sure to get Bordeaux and Paris. Hold back and look for next place to grow based upon who is strong in the East. Look to get Italy, all of France, and Britain. Take Tunis and Libya in Africa. Turn corner into North Sea and into Scandinavia and Germany. This is the hard part, as Spain is liable to be stretched thin. Usually one of Britain, Poland, Germany, or Russia is dominating Northern seas. Somehow, this eventuality has to be avoided. I don't foresee Spain breaking through into the Balkans. I have seen Spain invade Egypt, which though difficult, would be very good for Spain." - Rick Desper

Spanish Strengths

"The corner and the ability not only to build fleets on both sides of Gibraltar, but to move them from one side to the other easily." � Earle Ratcliffe

"It's hard to fight Spain. You have to make a full scale attack on Spain with at least two, preferably three fleet units. Especially France has a tough time fighting Spain. Two neighbours need to cooperate to take Spain out." - Mikael Norberg

"Spain has only one neighbor, France. Spain is a very hard power to eliminate early in the game." - Petar Mimica

"Spain is a corner power and is very strong defensively, and France should be a pushover if either Germany or Italy can be persuaded to help out." - Toby Tyrrell

"Flexibility above all. Next, the ability to wait until Year 2 to form a plan. This feature gives Spain a good opportunity to get the lay of the land before making any commitments. Spain also has a nice compact position to defend, access to both seas. Finally, Spain has very strong growth possibilities in several directions and the ability (if he does well) to establish a chokehold between the Med and the Atlantic." � Jeff Serandos

"I see two Spanish strengths: first, his strong defensive position--it takes a while to dig Spain out of its corner, and second, a very strong middle-to-endgame position (assuming Spain lasts that long)." - Eric Person

"Its remoteness to the main sources of Scs." - Theo Kermanidis

"Can control western Med region easily with a few fleets." - Stewart Alexander

"Nice defensive position in the corner, which can hang around for a long time. Only one neighbor with a real angle of attack: France." - Rick Desper

"Corner position, access to both Atlantic and Med. Spain is difficult to attack without naval support." - Murray Grelis

  1. Once the British SE fleet is gone, it's easy to defend (corner).
  2. Your most dangerous neighbour, France, is easily kept at bay if he feels threatened by either Germany or Italy.
  3. Easy access to both the northern seas *and* the Med." - Robert Rehbold

"Semi-corner power. May not be seen as a major threat." - Jim Kloss

Spanish Weaknesses

"Shitty growth at first. Hitting France early with another power always hurts Spain." - Stewart Alexander

"Spain is difficult to win outright with, because of it's relative remoteness from the rest of the board. For instance, it is hard for Spain to capture more than Gib/Mor/Por in the first two years." - Toby Tyrrell

"France's position almost guarantees aggression early in the game, the need to take Gibraltar will antagonize the British. Spain could be overrun very quickly, especially if Italy or Britain get heavily involved. A minor weakness is a relatively narrow land access to the mainland, makes army advancement difficult." - Murray Grelis

"A good French player can beat Spain in a 1-on-1 fight if left alone or with only minimal British help. Also, Spain has little room to grow, with little access to neutrals." - Rick Desper

"The British Thorn can be a problem. Navarra is a terrible soft spot touching three Iberian centers. And although Spain has great growth opportunities, he does start smaller and grow slower than any of his neighbors. That leaves Spain vulnerable to a one-on-one attack early on, especially if Britain decides to be unhappy about losing Gibraltar and uses his fleet to assist France or Italy." � Jeff Serandos

"Few new SCs in reach the first two years." - Mikael Norberg

"The fact that both France and Britain are much better off without you. Spain doesn't have much else to do except go after France, but can't do that with that annoying British F Gib hanging around there, so has to do something to get rid of it." � Earle Ratcliffe

  1. Britain will be bound to kill you since he'll not be safe and will not be able to get into the Med unless Spain is eliminated.
  2. Early full-blown BF attack will kill you quickly.
  3. Since to survive you either need a strong alliance with Britain or to kill him, your entry into the Med may be countered by already strong Egyptian or Italian fleets." - Robert Rehbold

"Not enough room to grow easily. Needs to be both a land power - so as not to be tempting to France - and a sea power - so as to not be tempting to Britain." - Jim Kloss

"Its remoteness to the main sources of SCs." - Theo Kermanidis

"A very narrow land connection (Navarra, Barcelona, Auvergne and Bordeaux) to the rest of Europe. It is very hard for Spain to make a land progress early in the game." - Petar Mimica

"One big weakness: I think Spain has the poorest overall growth potential of anyone. It's very difficult to squeeze units through Auvergne and Navarra, it's very difficult to advance into Britain due to the Mid-Atlantic Ocean bottleneck, and it's difficult for Spain to gain a naval advantage in the Med over the many competitors (France, Italy, Turkey, and Egypt). The fact that Spain begins with two armies also slows its growth and positioning considerably.

"I've seen many games where things go pretty well for Spain, who ends up carving through France or Italy. Then, because it takes SO LONG for Spain to get through the starting gate and gain momentum, there's almost always a much stronger power on the horizon, like Ukraine, Turkey, Russia, or Egypt, for example. So even when things work well for Spain, time always seems to be Spain's enemy. Spain is the sloth of Modern." - Eric Person

Spanish Starting Position - Advantageous or Disadvantageous?

"IMO, Spain has the most balanced starting position on the board although it is far from static. Rather, the strengths and weaknesses offset one another creating a dynamic balance. While any country can be taken by storm if its neighbors all gang up on it, I think Spain allows the fairest chance for a good player to score well while a more inexperienced player will have lots of problems." � Jeff Serandos

"Advantageous." - Rick Desper

"Disadvantageous, a lot of potential enemies, only one guaranteed non-aggressive center (Portugal) for expansion. There are countries with a worse start than Spain though." - Murray Grelis

"Depends on how you play it - the answer might be: both!" - Mikael Norberg

"Average. Would be "advantageous" if there wasn't Gibraltar and the British fleet." - Robert Rehbold

"Disadvantageous." - Stewart Alexander

"Spain definitely has an advantageous starting position." - Petar Mimica

"Starting position, I'd say disadvantageous, but if you can survive an F/B assault (or better yet, prevent one), then you've got it made. If you can get to about 7 or so within 3 years, you'll do fine." � Earle Ratcliffe

"I think Spain has a generally disadvantageous starting position. The weaknesses outweigh the strengths." - Jim Kloss

"Well that depends: if you want to survive, Spain's position is very advantageous. If you want to solo, Spain's position is exceptionally poor. Those two armies at the start make Spain almost a landlocked power. If Italy grows fast early, Spain looks like an easy target without much of a counter-punch available to it. Similarly if France somehow makes peace with both Germany and Italy, Spain's in big trouble." - Eric Person

"Actually the answer to this question kind of came from studying the strategic significance of Spain. It seems from my limited experience in playing it, that Spain has to be a really good diplomat to gain the initiative. He has to balance the needs between the British and their objectives of securing their home SC in Gibraltar with the French feeling insecure of having a Spaniard in their back, as well as a marauding Italian fleet. If Spain is a diplomat with savvy, I feel he would have an advantage. If he has no diplomatic ability then he will fall by the wayside." - Theo Kermanidis

Three Most Important Spaces for Spain

"MAO - - Britain getting there is the potential beginning of the end for Spain. Nav/Bar - - if France attacks and gets there, Spain's probably done." - Jim Kloss

"Gibraltar, MAO, WMS." - Robert Rehbold

"Its three home SCs. Without them Spain is doomed." - Theo Kermanidis

"Gibraltar, Mid-Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Lyon." - Petar Mimica

"Madrid. South-Atlantic Ocean. Gibraltar. An army in Madrid controls everything important (Nav, Bar, And, Svl, Por). SAO borders 4 Scs that Spain wants to control. Gibraltar is important to deny to Britain." - Rick Desper

"Maltese Sea, Auvergne and Ligurian Sea. I know this sounds odd but after the initial growth these seem to be what Spain needs to control to do well. Initially, the important ones are SOG, SAO, GOL." - Stewart Alexander

"Navarra, your soft spot. If it's an army in Nav, you're dead. A fleet is manageable. South Atlantic. You must control this to survive. You can't move fleets through the straits without it, and it touches 4 centers. Madrid. Not only is it your capital, but it touches all your other centers. Lose Madrid, and it's over." � Earle Ratcliffe

"The South Atlantic Ocean and Navarra are probably the two most important. The Western Med may be third." � Jeff Serandos

  1. Gibraltar. (early) Once Gibraltar is secured and Britain leaves the south, this territory no longer becomes crucial. But its role as a potential British home center makes it first priority at the beginning.
  2. Barcelona. Sooner or later Spain absolutely must control the Western Med, and without Barcelona, Spain will be essentially locked out of the med and will hence become an also-ran.
  3. 3. Navarra. Auvergne could be attached to this one as well, although Navarra's a bit more important. Navarra borders two Spanish home centers and Portugal--nothing will expose Spanish holes quicker than an enemy army in Navarra." - Eric Person

"MAO, Nav and And" - Mikael Norberg

"Besides Madrid, Barcelona and Seville? It would of course depend on who your allies are, but generally I'd say Croatia and the Ionian. I believe that Spain would profit most by heading into the Med, gaining control of ION and CRO would mean that the more difficult stalemate lines were crossed. A northern ally could easily block land access to the East by taking VEN or CRO before you do. I'd have to consider the North sea as important to Spain but only if she enters into a northern campaign, but for my money a more important space is the Mid Atlantic, it protects the homeland." - Murray Grelis

Spanish Stalemate Lines

A discussion about stalemate lines will soon be appearing on the Modern Home Page. Here are some of the comments relating to Spain:

"Gibraltar is always a key point in major stalemates." - Rick Desper

"There are several in the Med that could help against a strong naval advance from Egypt, Turkey or Russia. There is another running up through Britain to the Arctic which could halt a naval advance coming from the north." - Murray Grelis

"There is a natural stalemate line running east-west through Spain/central France/SWI/AUS/northern Ukraine/Volga/KAZ. It can be used to stop both a northern and a southern power from winning the game. In both of these cases, Spain defines the difference between a solo victory and a draw. Spain sits directly on top of this stalemate line. If Spain chooses a southern player to be his main ally, then Spain should move northward. However if Spain chooses a northern player to be his ally, then his main focus should be to the south." - Stephen Breininger

The bottleneck to the Iberian peninsula is a good defense, you only have to make sure that France doesn't get control of it! - Mikael Norberg

Bottlenecks Spain Must Avoid

"During an attack on Britain, MAO may be difficult to take. During an attack on France, Auvergne is a key area to get. For access into the Med, the Maltese Sea seems important." - Robert Rehbold

"The stalemate lines in the Med around Italy, and around Britain. Spain should try to cross these lines before they get blocked." - Murray Grelis

"Two of the biggest bottlenecks on the board are both integrally tied to Spain: (1) the Mid Atlantic Ocean, and (2) Auvergne/Bordeaux. Although the bottlenecks allow Spain to defend itself ably against a northern assault, I think it's more often an impediment than an advantage. As I've said earlier, Spain's largest drawback is its inability to gain momentum into the Middle Game, and these two bottlenecks represent the biggest reason why this stagnation occurs." - Eric Person

"Spain should try to avoid overcrowding peninsula with armies since it can easily be blocked by armies in Auvergne and Bordeaux." - Petar Mimica

"Don't get trapped on one side of the line. Try to get a fleet into NAO or Iri ASAP. Just sneak it in when the Brit's not looking." � Earle Ratcliffe

"France can put armies in Auvergne, Marseilles, and Bordeaux and effectively shut off Spanish expansion. It seems unprofitable for Spain to buccaneer against Italy or Britain, as the SC gain is outweighed by the force dispersion." - Rick Desper

"Getting in an alliance with Germany and trying to grow. This is because Germany focuses all his units as armies (blocking from moving beyond France) and to get to Britain quickly is impossible - he sees it coming a mile away. So you either do land or fight the Med - which usually by then has either a strong Egypt or Turkey. I guess might be using bottleneck incorrectly. What I mean is you then created yourself a HUGE wall that is hard to pick at." - Stewart Alexander

Most Important Advice for Spain in Modern

"Go for Italy first." - Stewart Alexander

"Don't commit to an all out war. Nibble here and there until you're strong enough to take someone out. Guerrilla tactics." � Earle Ratcliffe

"Spain must negotiate with distant neighbors, particularly Germany, a lot more than most countries." � Jeff Serandos

"Figure out BFG ASAP and use it to your best advantage." - Jim Kloss

"Make an alliance with England - no matter the cost!" - Mikael Norberg

"Diplomatically, make sure above all else that Italy and France end up fighting. If they ally, they'll consecrate the deal in Madrid." - Eric Person

"Get somebody to attack France." - Rick Desper

"Build a large fleet in the south and avoid conflicts in the north!" - Petar Mimica

"Don't turn your back on the French." - Murray Grelis

"Kill the British Gibraltar fleet or convince the British player to give it up (along with Gibraltar) in return for an alliance." - Robert Rehbold

Size of Spanish Army

"Three armies at most. Two might suffice at the beginning. It is just as important, though, to put the right forces in the right places, i.e. armies in Madrid, fleets in Portugal and Gibraltar." - Rick Desper

"Minimal, unless Spain gets early help in cracking France. In any other circumstance, Spain should beef up its navy. Remember, Spain only needs two armies in Nav and Bar to block access by land." - Eric Person

"One third until having 8-10 fleets. 10 fleets should be sufficient, the rest afterwards should be armies." - Robert Rehbold

"Initially, two armies. Mid-game, three to five armies (depending on where you go). Endgame, five to ten armies (no more than ten armies)." - Mikael Norberg

"At first not much, then after Italy is gone, a hell of a lot." - Stewart Alexander

"Spain is a naval power primarily, but armies are needed to march through into Germany. The more centers you can take inland, the fewer you need in the East Med/North Atlantic." � Earle Ratcliffe

"(Spain can use) 4 armies early in the game. Later, an additional 4 should be built for a transfer into Africa. Total of 10 armies is maximum that Spain can effectively use." - Petar Mimica

"Fleets are more important to Spain but I'd field an army at somewhere between 30% and 50% of total forces. At some stage Spain will probably have to remove France, she'll need armies to take and then hold it. For a victory Spain will need to advance into the continent, this will take plenty of armies." - Murray Grelis


"Gotta have it. If it survives, Britain will have to defend it. If you kill it off, Britain may go elsewhere." - Jim Kloss

"Either the British player agrees to disband his fleet and give up on Gib (and Mor) in return of an BS alliance (most probably anti-French) or a full-blown attack must be conducted." - Robert Rehbold

"Gibraltar is VERY important and should be taken ASAP." - Petar Mimica

"Important - take it and let Britain have Morocco." - Stewart Alexander

"Extremely vital to Spain early; unimportant once Britain is removed from the South. Take Gibraltar early and guard it viciously until Britain's far away." - Eric Person

"Take it. You need the build, and as long as Britain's there, you don't have your corner position, and you also don't have complete control over the Straits." � Earle Ratcliffe

"Spain should try to acquire Gibraltar in negotiations with England. Offer him something else (Morroco). If he doesn't want this, OK for the time being, but later you'll need to take it." - Mikael Norberg

"Very important, Spain can't afford another power to build units on her back door. Take Gibraltar as soon as possible. Most British players would expect to lose Gibraltar anyway, don't give him time to try to keep it or even expect to keep it. Then try to patch up relations with Britain at least until France is taken care of." - Murray Grelis

"Extremely important. Britain can build there! Spain has to make its capture the highest priority, no matter what. If he wants to be buddies with Britain, he can leave Britain in charge of Morocco instead." - Rick Desper

"Gibraltar belongs to Spain, no question. For the British, it is nice launching pad into the Med late in the middle game (if things are going his way), but Spanish for the most part. It is sometimes possible to have an alliance of sorts with Britain if he is willing to use his fleet to assist Spain in exchange for being allowed to keep Morocco. The advantage to Britain is that he keeps a Med presence that may come in handy later on." � Jeff Serandos

Strategic Importance of Portugal

"Spain may want a fleet there early on to force its way into MAO after the British southern fleet is gone." - Robert Rehbold

"A fleet in Portugal can support units in both The Mid-Atlantic and Navarra, spaces that lead into the Spanish homeland. POR is therefore very important in its defensive role against assault from the north." - Murray Grelis

"Portugal is a good defense from the British or France naval threat. One unit in Portugal can cover MAD and SVE..." - Petar Mimica

"Portugal is part of the POR/SAO mini-stalemate line." - Rick Desper

"It's the door to the Atlantic, and so it's of crucial strategic value to Spain - to any nation with a desire to rule the Atlantic." - Mikael Norberg

"Go (to Portugal) if you need to dislodge a British fleet out of the MAO." - Stewart Alexander

"I suppose you can anchor a stalemate there, but that's it." � Earle Ratcliffe

"It is a fairly soft spot that is often the first target for an enemy beachhead." � Jeff Serandos

"Portugal will be the first strike for an angry Brit coming down from the north to avenge the loss of Gibraltar... It's not terribly difficult to defend unless France helps out. If Britain is distracted to its east (and it usually is, it seems...), then keeping a fleet and an army in the vicinity should serve as a sufficient deterrent to Britain and France." - Eric Person

Strategic Importance of Navarra

"I would advise building an army in BAR during the first winter. Then use it to support A POR->NAV to create a safe defensive wall against a land attack." - Stephen Breininger

"If Spain is to make a land progress, Navarra is the necessary first step." - Petar Mimica

"DMZ with France." - Robert Rehbold

"A very bad spot for Spain. An enemy army there is a huge problem. Since a Spanish unit there is not usually looked upon kindly by the French, this space is a real headache." � Jeff Serandos

"Very important (one of my three most important for Spain). It's bordering Bar, Mad and Por, and so an army in Nav is very bad for Spain. It's important for the defense of the Iberian peninsula. An enemy fleet in Navarra is not as bad as an army there." - Mikael Norberg

"Best as way to help get into Auv when you finally turn on France." - Stewart Alexander

"It's long, so can transport armies quickly. It's a vulnerable spot that Spain needs to control." � Earle Ratcliffe

"French occupation of Navarra is a bad sign as it would be a staging point in any offensive action." - Theo Kermanidis

"Once Navarra houses an enemy army, Spain's in huge trouble. If an enemy fleet is there, the danger isn't nearly as great--Spain could hold out for a good long time." - Eric Person

"One of only two land spaces leading into Spain, this must be held. If it can't be, then Spain is in big trouble." - Murray Grelis

"It's the route France often takes to invade. The real problem is that France puts a fleet in Biscay, and armies in Bordeaux and Auvergne, and can hit Navarra very hard. Still, Spain can lose Navarra without losing the war. But it's a bad sign. It is more difficult to use Navarra as a launching pad." - Rick Desper

Strategic Importance of Andalusia

"Andalusia becomes key when Spain gets navally assaulted from the east. I believe it's the destination of choice for many enemy convoys. In such a case, it's extremely prudent for Spain to cork up Andalusia." - Eric Person

"A unit in AND can support a move into GIB at the start and can help defend BAR against attack. In an assault upon the Navarra-Barcelona from the north the support from a unit in AND would be difficult to cut." - Murray Grelis

"It's nice if Spain wants to open Svl S Bar - And, which guarantees Gibraltar the first year. It's also a bad place for foreign armies to land." - Rick Desper

"It's equal to Nav, or even more important. But once you get an enemy army in And, you're probably soon dead. As with Nav, an enemy fleet there isn't as bad as an enemy army." - Mikael Norberg

"It makes it easy to take Gibraltar, but also gives foreign powers a place to land an army via convoy." � Earle Ratcliffe

"Only important in the opening moves, to take Gibraltar." - Petar Mimica

"Place where the Barcelona fleet should be before fall 1995; later on none." - Robert Rehbold

"Spanish occupation of Andalusia is a bad sign for the British as it would signal an intent to gain Gibraltar. Probably best avoided in the early stages." - Theo Kermanidis

"I don't see much advantage to it unless you have fleet SoG and want to go to Africa. I prefer Bar-WMed--Tun/Algeria." - Stewart Alexander

Southern France

"You're going to need these to win. If you can get France to help vs. B and I, then great, just make sure you can stab him before he stabs you. You can't win without these spots." � Earle Ratcliffe

"Auvergne is France�s Achilles heel, and a Spanish army there can give the French a few headaches." - Theo Kermanidis

"Southern France should be taken ASAP. The most important space in the beginning is Auvergne." - Petar Mimica

"Unless it's BS going for France, Nav, Auv and GoL should be agreed DMZs between France and Spain. France should not be building any unit, army or fleet, in Bordeaux unless really every other SC is occupied, and even then it should make Spain wary. A French F Mar may be anti-Italian, but Spain needs to be very sure of good French intentions before allowing it." - Robert Rehbold

"Auv is important, as it borders all French SCs. Get an army there, followed by others, and France will soon be out of the game. Spain should try to get Bor, Mar, Mon and Swi. Britain would probably want to get something too, so Par, Lyo and Bel should be given to him." - Mikael Norberg

"Gee, that's tough. To handle it, look to have a Spanish fleet in GoL, and an Italian in Ligurian, and carve up France's underbelly with Italian help. The hardest SC to take is the first." - Rick Desper

"Try to get Auvergne and Navarra as DMZs. Encourage France to never build in Bordeaux." - Stewart Alexander

"Auvergne is very key. An enemy army in Auvergne really puts pressure on both Navarra and Barcelona--that's trouble. I think a good Spanish strategy is to cultivate a friendship with France and DMZ Auvergne and Navarra (and also forbid armies in Bordeaux)." - Eric Person

"If France is hostile Spain should try to take MAR, this denies France any builds in the Med, this is the most important space to Spain. Bordeaux is the next important for similar reasons." - Murray Grelis

"Auvergne is obviously a critical province to the French. Since it is adjacent to Barcelona, a Spanish army in Barcelona will alarm France greatly. Therefore, Spain should probably only move an army to Barcelona as the introduction of an attack (i.e., in conjunction with other units moving into position to attack)." - Jeff Serandos

Northern Africa

"No war in North Africa (further than Mor) before the British question is settled (i.e. Britain is an ally or no British units exist south of MAO and BoB). Algeria should be a DMZ with Italy. Upon entry into the Med, a Spanish army should be in Algeria or the Western Sahara to support activities to gain Tunisia and Libya." - Robert Rehbold

"Spain should try to negotiate to get Mor from Britain, the sooner, the better. But let him have a replacement SC before you take it! After France is gone, Italy should be the target, why Tun is one of Spain's targets. Leave Lib to Egypt - at least until later." - Mikael Norberg

"Care about Africa after killing Italy. The best way to grab is Tunisia early. Grabbing Lib only pisses off Egypt, taking Mor pisses off Britain. Take Tunisia and go north." - Stewart Alexander

"Spain should look to balance Italy and Egypt in Africa. It has been popular for Spain to leave Italy alone and attack Egypt in some games, but I don't see that as profitable. BTW, Spain ought to take Morocco with an army, not a fleet." - Rick Desper

"Own Morocco and don't let Italy into Algeria, once the French question is sorted out Spain can afford to enter the Med. Tunisia should be one of the first centers taken. Don't take Libya if it would antagonize a powerful Egypt before you are ready for him." - Murray Grelis

"Spain should try to avoid a major battle in North Africa until France is weak enough. After that, North Africa is a necessary goal." - Petar Mimica

"It is certainly one road of expansion. It all depends on negotiations. In particular, Spain should lay early claim to Morocco unless Britain is willing to use the fleet to further Spanish interests." � Jeff Serandos

"Morocco should be taken. It's a high-risk, high-payoff center in that it often takes a large force to take it, which pulls Spain way out of position, but once taken, it can be easily defended and eventually unpatrolled altogether. Spain also has good expansion potential through Africa, augmented by a timely convoy from the mainland. An army's ability to move to Western Sahara and to jump from Algeria to Libya is very useful." - Eric Person

"Morocco can be handled with a deal between Britain and Spain. It can provide a win-win situation for both nations by avoiding conflict if a compromise is struck. Initially Tunisia is a nice spot to annoy the Italians if that is your objective and is within reach for conflict in the first year. Of the remaining centers initially little interest with Spain." - Theo Kermanidis

Size of Spanish Navy

"As much as possible." - Petar Mimica

"Somewhere between 50% and 70%. A strong fleet is very important to Spain especially in the early game." - Murray Grelis

"Keep building the fleets! Spain needs a big navy to win, but not so many armies." - Mikael Norberg

"At least three fleets. Spain needs fleets to expand." - Rick Desper

"Lots and lots. Fleets, fleets, and more fleets. A few armies are great, but the fleets are what'll win Spain the game." � Earle Ratcliffe

"Tons at first." - Stewart Alexander

"As large as humanly possible! This is the only way for Spain to grow quickly enough to keep pace with leading power - unless France gets smoked early, which ironically enough seems to benefit other powers more than Spain, usually Germany or Italy, sometimes Britain." - Eric Person

"A strong naval support base is required if a French containment policy is pursued. This will eliminate most approaches to the Spanish mainland, however may draw you into conflict with Italy and Britain." - Theo Kermanidis

"A lot. Take Gib and build two fleets to make the British southern fleet go away. From Mor build another fleet and sail three of them into the Atlantic. After gains there build fleets and armies in the ration of 2:1 until you have 10 fleets, which should be sufficient to control both the Atlantic and the Med." - Robert Rehbold

Med or Atlantic?

"Both are important. It's necessary to keep this in mind. Worse, France can build on both sides." - Rick Desper

"The Atlantic, because the Brits are there. Regarding the coastal SCs needed to win penetration of the Med however cannot be avoided." - Robert Rehbold

"The Med, it offers more centers, and you are more likely to meet your opponents one at a time, France then Italy and then the victor of Turkey/Egypt." - Murray Grelis

"Med is more important because Spain is more vulnerable from the Med than from the Atlantic." - Petar Mimica

"The Med. The Atlantic is easy to defend as long Spain holds SAO. An attack from the Med can come much faster and be crippling. By the same token, it is easier for Spain to mount an attack in the Med than in the Atlantic." � Jeff Serandos

"Both are of equal importance. You have to watch the game and see how it develops. In one game Spain might need to send more naval force to the Atlantic, and in another to the Mediterranean." - Mikael Norberg

"Med is where she should go, Atlantic is where she needs DMZ. Any foreign units in Atlantic, then Atlantic utmost important." - Stewart Alexander

"The Atlantic is more readily defensible than the Med therefore a stronger presence in the Med would provide greater security for the Spain, with Italian permission of course." - Theo Kermanidis

"I'd say the Med. There's more centers nearby, and you don�t have to go through the game's most naval oriented power, Britain." � Earle Ratcliffe

"The Med. There are many competitors in the Med, and Spain really has to win Italian centers to have a shot at soloing, and this requires attacking the heart of Italian strength. Usually Egypt or Turkey will be trying to accomplish the same goal, and they usually have stronger navies than Spain does...

The Mid-Atlantic is a bottleneck that normally turns out to be a dead end for Spain, although if Britain's having too much trouble elsewhere, Spain could make some excellent gains. Actually, come to think of it, taking Britain would really augment Spain's chances at a solo more than expanding anywhere else, but the problem is that it's a longshot strategy, especially when Germany usually has the upper hand." - Eric Person

Spain and the Mediterranean

"Neutral even friendly until France is subdued and then take Italy, try to get armies into the Balkans." - Murray Grelis

"Stir up an EI war in which you stay neutral with DMZs towards Italy." - Robert Rehbold

"Control WMED and MAL and TYS - forget about further east since you will only help either TR or U." - Stewart Alexander

"Keep Italy occupied in the Eastern Mediterranean area. No foreign fleet units should come close to Spain." - Mikael Norberg

"Make sure no one power dominates it. Keep Italy weak and distracted, keep France from building Fleets in Mar, and keep E and T fighting." � Earle Ratcliffe

"Love everybody until the Iberian is secure and Britain's out of the south. Make sure above all else that France and Italy don't become chummy. Spain's first choice as an ally should be France, definitely. If France is a friend who's fighting Germany and if Italy gets involved to its east, things look very rosy for Spain." - Eric Person

"(Spain should strive) to control as much of the Med as possible." - Petar Mimica

"Keep WMed and GoL in friendly hands. If alliance with France is possible, an excursion into the boot might actually work. " - Rick Desper

"Initially for defense against the French and possible Italian incursions. More broad-ranging to entice the other Mediterranean powers into conflict while maintaining a neutral posture. This is to gain time and secure the south-western corner of the map." - Theo Kermanidis

Spain and the Atlantic

"Kill Britain." - Robert Rehbold

"Don't let Britain bring more fleets down. The SAO must be Spanish, and the MAO must be friendly. Perhaps encourage France to move his fleet North?" - Rick Desper

"Take away the French fleet there, take Bor, and then make it a DMZ with Britain." - Mikael Norberg

"Try to avoid any conflicts." - Petar Mimica

"Try to sneak past the British into the North Atlantic and then stab him. If you make it, you should have it made." � Earle Ratcliffe

"Eliminate France, placate Britain after taking Gibraltar. Discourage a British-German alliance. Keep control of the Mid-Atlantic and the Bay of Biscay." - Murray Grelis

"Get a DMZ and get Britain to go north." - Stewart Alexander

"Initially for defense against the British and French. More broad ranging is to gain leverage in diplomacy between Britain and France. Securing one as an ally against the other is a beneficial objective to achieve." - Theo Kermanidis

"Demilitarize as much as possible. With friendly neighbors in Britain and France, Spain won't have to keep ANY fleets in the Atlantic. Besides, it's easy enough to build a fleet in Seville during times of emergency.." - Eric Person

Spain and Britain

"England is most likely the first opponent you will face. England may still be sour from losing his fleet in GIB. However, it will be very difficult to defeat England by yourself. I would advise seeking German help in attacking England." - Stephen Breininger

"They should have a non-aggression pact. If they ally, their natural goal is France. However, they should NOT be allied, the non-aggression pact is more than enough. Spain should watch out for a BF alliance and try to get Britain to turn north and east and to forget about going south or retaking Gibraltar. Spain should never attack Britain early in the game." - Petar Mimica

"Sell your soul to have this alliance! But try to convince Britain that you need Gib. He can have Mor instead. Later, you shouold get Mor, when Britain can get another SC in the north - or you might use his fleet in the offensive against Italy! Britain shouldn't have the ability to build units in Gib, because then he can get a very strong position, and the temptation to stab Spain will be very strong! I don't see any advantage in attacking Britain early on, unless you're very sure of your other two neighbours." - Mikael Norberg

"Precondition for a working alliance: Spain gets Gibraltar and the British fleet there sails north (perhaps after taking Mor). First common goal is France, then separated efforts in the north by Britain and in the Med by Spain. Attacking the Brits in Gibraltar is essential for Spanish security. Attacking the British Isles is not advisable without support from France or Germany; if neither participates, just block Britain from getting back south again (you did eliminate that Gibraltar fleet, didn't you?" - Robert Rehbold

"Spain must take Gibraltar, if Britain is willing to accept that an alliance is possible. The common goals would be the elimination of France and Germany. Britain should then be encouraged to concentrate on the north, Poland and Russia probably, while Spain heads into the Med. The only advantage in attacking Britain early is to take GIB (and maybe MOR if Britain has taken that), to continue an assault against Britain's home centers before France is subdued would be dangerous." - Murray Grelis

"I see no advantage to attacking Britain. Let her have Mor and then move the fleet north. Do not take Mor from her when she leaves until she is far enough away. Always keep one army in mad to discourage a British southern invasion. Be her best friend, never let her worry about you." - Stewart Alexander

"Get rid of his southern presence. If he's willing, attack Gib with support in the fall, and get him to retreat it OTB. He can rebuild it in the north, and you've got Mor next year. You then have a mutually-beneficial alliance that controls two of the corners." � Earle Ratcliffe

"Well, assuming Britain understands that Spain needs Gibraltar, an alliance with Britain is a possibility. But Britain would need to build armies, or be willing to let Spain have the lion's share of France. Or, they could be part of a larger alliance, perhaps with France." - Rick Desper

"It's tough to be allies with Britain, because the initial positioning of Britain in Gibraltar makes Spain and Britain natural enemies. If Britain can overcome the idea of losing all presence in the south, Britain and Spain can be extremely strong together, almost like a naval juggernaut. I believe that in the end Spain needs Britain's friendship more than vice versa. Spain (is usually) a year or two behind in positioning due to messing around near Morocco.

One thing for Spain to watch for is Britain bouncing at Gibraltar rather than taking Morocco that first year. It's risky for Britain, but if the bounce works, then Britain can build there and pretty much sink Spain.

Can Spain gain an advantage by attacking Britain early? NO WAY. Britain will essentially always have a fleet hanging out in Ireland after the first year. Thus, Britain can never really be caught unprepared should a Spanish fleet penetrate the MID early." - Eric Person

"Spain and Britain can be allies, but it is not very likely. Britain gets to keep Morocco and Spain has an extra fleet to assist him. The problem, of course, is that Britain's long-range goal is to take back Gibraltar which makes it hard to stay allied. But at the beginning of the game, both powers can benefit. This is especially true if Italy is growing fast and Britain's fleet is used to help defend against Italy instead of being used to attack Italy. Britain doesn't want to deal with an Italy that strong, so he is more likely to cooperate.

Most of the time, this alliance is not a good idea and Spain should simply claim Morocco. However, if Spain wants to try this alliance, he should insist that the British fleet be stationed in Algeria (to prevent a surprise move to SAO) and should always be alert for signs that Britain may be readying an attack from the north.

This alliance can work. I, myself, played the British part of it in the late, lamented spring96 (on the late, unlamented YUBG). Here, Spain was a land power and Britain and Spain cooperated against France and then Germany. The British fleet was stationed in Algeria and was very handy for keeping Italy in check. But the game was lost when YUBG went up in smoke, so it is not clear if the alliance could have lasted into the endgame." � Jeff Serandos

Spain and France

"Ally early on. No advantage to attacking, usually only helps Germany who is closer to building units to defend France once taken." - Stewart Alexander

"France and Spain can hardly be allies. Even a non-aggression pact is hard to achieve. Their common goals? I do not know, Italy? Spain should try to get France to attack Germany or Italy early in the game. Of course, Spain should attack France early in the game." - Petar Mimica

"France is Spain's best bet for a strong ally. However, if France makes peace with both Italy and Germany, it should probably try to take out Spain. A healthy Spain will eventually grow to haunt France, to be sure. France and Spain have a great DMZ in Auv/Nav, and they make a good army-power/fleet-power combo." - Eric Person

"The risk of an alliance is with France, not so much with Spain. France must be the land power; Spain rules the seas. France is the primary choice as an ally for attacking Britain. This is a good reason to bring the French Atlantic fleet up north (away from Spain) and may/should open opportunities to stab - but only after Britain's death is guaranteed! An early attack on France seems stupid." - Robert Rehbold

"Any alliance would be risky and only good in the short term. A strong France would inhibit Spain�s growth. Take him out before he gets too powerful. A short term alliance could work against a common foe, either Britain or Italy." - Murray Grelis

"Spain is too vulnerable to a French stab. Spain needs to attack France early on. If they trust each other they must cooperate against Britain and Italy. It is possible to form an alliance with France. But beware! The French stab isn't far away!" - Mikael Norberg

"If France is willing to cede you Bordeaux (to one of your fleets), and never build fleets, you could make a go at it. By getting Bordeaux, you guarantee that France only builds one fleet at a time, and since any non-French centers are generally far away, Bordeaux give Spain a little bit of oomph to reach those centers." � Earle Ratcliffe

"S/F can work together against Italy and Britain. France would gain Milan, Venice, while Spain got Tunis, Naples, Rome, Morocco. It seems to stall at that point. OTOH, Spain gets a big advantage by a successful early attack on France, and the reverse is also true. I don't put much faith in S/F alliances." - Rick Desper

"France is usually willing to sue for peace. He is usually concerned with his eastern front. However France can not be a long-term ally. Spain can make significant progress with her fleets, but will need to use armies to achieve final success. These armies will need to push through France into the rest of Europe." - Stephen Breininger

"BTW, I�ve kept harping on about how Spain and France could not work together well, I realized that I was being a little narrow minded. Spain and France could have a rather interesting alliance but Spain would have to build practically no armies while France built no fleets. In a no press game it would be nigh on impossible to formulate but in a press game it could be quite interesting." - Murray Grelis

Spain and Italy

"Italy is perhaps Spain's most natural choice as ally. They can work together against France, which lets Spain out of the corner. The Spanish presence in Morocco can be a useful helper for Italy against Egypt." - Rick Desper

"Attack the boot right away with fleets. Then when she is gone you have enough firepower for North Africa and France. You control the waterways." - Stewart Alexander

"If France and Britain attacks Spain, then Spain needs help from Italy. Otherwise I don't see why Spain should cooperate with Italy. S/I could cooperate against France - but Italy would want something, so Spain would have to leave Swi, Mar and Mon to Italy, while Spain takes Bor, Par and Lyo. If Spain and Italy are to work together further from that, Spain has to attack Britain, and Italy will have to go east (Turkey, Egypt)." - Mikael Norberg

"Don't antagonize Italy early on, be wary of Italy sneaking into French centers while you're fighting France in the south. It would be best to encourage Italy to head East. I'd discourage an alliance unless France is proving to be a problem or if Britain and Germany ally. I wouldn't attack Italy until France is subdued and I know what Britain and Germany are likely to do." - Murray Grelis

"Once the Iberian and Morocco are secured, Italy's a good choice for an attack. Just as Spain will always make France weak, Italy will always make Spain weak. With two ports at Rome and Naples, Italy's just way too dangerous. Even if Italy and Spain ally against France, it seems likely that Italy will take the lion's share of profits and be already prepared for an Iberian assault. I think Italy and Spain will rarely ever get along over the long term. It's too easy for them to smack each other with fleets. However, if Italy gets pulled East, well hey, that's awesome for Spain - choices galore.

An Italian fleet in the Western Med is very dangerous--it's mobile, and it can convoy armies to vulnerable places. If Italy's in the Western Med, this act should be treated as grounds for war." - Eric Person

"Italy is usually a poor choice (of target) because of the naval stalemate line in the Western MED. (Sp F GOL/F WMED vs. It F LIG/F TYR). This stalemate line usually holds until either Spain or Italy is attacked from behind. On the other hand, Italy is usually a good choice for an ally - point out to him of this natural defensive line." - Stephen Breininger

"Don't attack Italy. You want Italy facing east, unless you're facing a strong FB, and then you want a bit of help in Pie and Lig. If you can arrange it, take Tunis while he bounces the Egyptian in Lib. Support him in next turn, and then go your separate ways. One way to finagle an extra build out of him." � Earle Ratcliffe

"It depends on what happens in the first year. If a BF alliance has formed, then Spain and Italy could ally against France. It is important to watch out for Italy's breakthrough through Med, especially Gulf of Lyon and Wmed. Italy should be talked into attacking France early in the game. There is no significant advantage if Italy is immediately attacked." - Petar Mimica

"This should be an easy alliance, with Italy shifting east and Spain going north. After killing the British F Gib (!!!) the allies can take out France before going mainly separated ways. An early attack on Italy seems stupid." - Robert Rehbold

Spain and Germany

"Germany is a natural ally for Spain. However, in many games Germany and Spain beat all the others and then Germany beats Spain! It is a very tricky alliance." - Petar Mimica

"Spain and Germany can attack France from two directions, and then they can continue to work together against Britain and Italy. A very good choice of alliance. They will never need to fight each other!" - Mikael Norberg

"Spain and Germany can be very effective at squashing France. And Germany is the only power to get Britain weak and distracted enough such that Spain can sneak into the British rear." - Eric Person

"They *could* go for France together. Yet this should wait until the Gibraltar matter is settled and Britain locked out of SAO." - Robert Rehbold

"You need Germany. He's the only logical counter balance to the FB. Further, if the FB is successful, he's the next target." � Earle Ratcliffe

"I haven't seen this happen often, but I think it would be a natural idea. Presuming Italy is preoccupied in the East, and Britain's influence is not a problem, a G/S two-front invasion of France is good for both parties." - Rick Desper

"Germany could be a great ally for Spain, they can double team against France and Britain. Germany can also aid in an assault against Italy. In the endgame Germany could be a soft target for a stab if he comes up against a powerful Eastern power and is forced to weaken his western defenses. Spain would need to watch out for Germany cutting off land access across southern Europe (ie by taking VEN or CRO) this would mean that Spain would have to convoy armies in the Balkans should she get that far." - Murray Grelis

"Spain is an interesting country because non-adjacent powers can be the best Spanish allies. Chief among these is Germany. Germany and Spain can cooperate against Italy, France, or even Britain. Since one of these three is virtually always the first Spanish target and the first German target, cooperation is natural and an alliance is easy to maintain (at least until the goal is achieved and the two meet face-to-face!).

Spain's first target of choice is probably the dangerous Italy whereas the first German target is more likely to be France or Britain. Nevertheless, Spain should talk early and often to Germany and keep German goals in mind when negotiating with other countries (i.e., if Germany is dead-set against attacking Italy, Spain should try VERY hard to get Italy pointed elsewhere)." � Jeff Serandos

Spain and Egypt/Turkey

"Spain's best outcome would be for these powers to stalemate so that no one power gets too powerful, this would be almost impossible to encourage in a no-press game. The most likely positive situation in a no press game would be for Spain to attack Italy while she is heavily involved against E and or T." - Murray Grelis

"Italy should be at war with E or T or both. Since the first targets are in the Atlantic, Spain cannot be interested in the existence of a dominant naval Med power." - Robert Rehbold

"Spain's interests here are that ETI comes into a stalemate fight, where no one emerges as victor. When Spain attacks Italy one of Turkey and Egypt should be chosen as an ally. Keep talking with Turkey and Egypt!" - Mikael Norberg

"Spain should try to talk Egypt into attacking Italy. As for Turkey, it is not important early in the game." - Petar Mimica

"Spain very much wants Italy to meddle in the East, no doubt. Also, Spain's gotta watch things carefully, because usually either Turkey or Egypt will develop a powerful Med-based navy. If anything, encourage Turkey over Egypt, since Turkey's more likely to build a strong army." - Eric Person

"IMO, Spain's position is really too flexible to give a definitive answer to this question. If Italy is hostile, Spain obviously wants a united ET to help keep him in check. If Italy is under attack from France and/or Germany, a strong ET could roll right through the Med and wash out Spain." � Jeff Serandos

"Have them fight. Be friendly to Egypt. Keep Egypt interested in the north, not the west." - Stewart Alexander

"Keep 'em fighting. The longer it goes on, the longer Spain has to grow, and come to dominate the Med. Spain's growth will be slow for a while, so keep them from getting too big for their britches." � Earle Ratcliffe

"Of the three powers, Turkey is the most dangerous if allowed to prosper. Egypt can grow strong if Turkey falls, but it takes much longer for Egypt to move forces to the front. Italy doesn't have the same ability to influence the East as the others do (at least not as quickly). A T/E alliance seems bad. I would suggest working with either Italy or Egypt, or both." - Rick Desper

Spain and Poland/Russia/Ukraine

"Spain should prefer a strong PR!" - Petar Mimica

"If PU go for R, U will go for T next and keep EI busy." - Robert Rehbold

"That's just too distant. If Britain is strong, Spain might want a strong Russia to present the greatest threat in the North. If Britain is weak, perhaps a strong Ukraine is better. But Spain has to realize that he'll only have minimal influence over the outcome of PRU struggles. Better to not make plans which depend so much on exactly what happens over there." - Rick Desper

"The best outcome for Spain would be for Poland to triumph, since the other powers can build fleets in the Black Sea and influence the Med. Although it could be useful for Russia to be dominant if Turkey gets too powerful in the Eastern Med." - Murray Grelis

"As with ETI, Spain prefers that no one is victorious, so that Spain can grow slowly, and then suddenly be at ten SCs. It takes longer for Spain to get to 10 SCs than what is possible for let's say Ukraine or Poland - they have more SCs available the first years." - Mikael Norberg

"A strong Ukraine isn't so bad, because Egypt will likely take on the Uke and keep one strong power from motoring west through the Med. A strong Poland is bad because it can't challenge Turkey or Egypt in the Med, leaving T or E as the only game in town. Russia is better than P but worse than U, simply because it can challenge the strength of T and E, but not as much as U can." - Eric Person

"Make sure U does not break out into the Aegean/Ionian. This is because if U breaks out into the Aegean/Ionian that means he has an alliance with P or R or one of them is dead. This allows U to fight for your Mediterranean space. You see, once you take Italy and start picking south, it is good to get Serbia and Greece. With Ukraine in Ionian she can cut Adriatic support. I�ve seen this in several games I have observed. In one game, Ukraine and Russia have killed Poland and Ukraine has a fleet in the Ionian. To protect her interests in Tunis, Naples, and Venice, Spain has to have a huge fleet build up PLUS keep armies in Italy. Spain cannot DMZ Italy because Ukraine can go to Albania or threaten some SERIOUS sea regions Spain needs to control. In the other game, Ukraine has realized he needs to build fleets to fight Spain. So now Spain needs to beat him in holding Ionian and block him from moving. I guess in the big scheme of things I am thinking about the midgame when I make this comment. I just see Ukraine as a bigger threat to growth than some other powers because by the time Spain reaches Ukraine he and Spain must be quite puffy. So a PR success is important for Spain cause it allows Spain easier growth in the south." - Stewart Alexander

Vincent Mous
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