The Alpine Doubleback

By Matt Simpson

Do you ever get bored with the same old Italian openings: Trieste, Lepanto, France or wait & see? Munich not looking tempting? Switzerland in the way? Thought so. Luckily for you, everyone else thinks that you'll be doing one of these things as well, so if you do something else, it takes people a while to scrape their jaws off the floor and do something about it. So it was that in a recent newbie game (for I am a nearly-newbie myself), I noticed that A Tyl-Pie was a legal move and the cogs started turning...

The Alpine Doubleback opens as a classic Lepanto (Tyrolean Variant), but swings suddenly west to attack France in 1902, once she's engaged elsewhere.

Your objectives in pre-game diploming are the following:

France: You need to reassure France that you are heading east. Maybe worry him about E/G or let him go for Iberia. Agree to pretty much anything to get him to remove his army from Mar and head away from you.

Germany: Ideally, you want someone competent but not brilliant at the helm. You want him to be aggressive towards France - perhaps offer him a 2-pronged attack on France.

England: Probably wants to be Pro-French at this point, but not about to go steaming north to Russia.

Western Triangle in general: France needs to be drawn north by a German attack or west by peace (to take Iberia) so that your attack will fall on empty centres. Ideally, either England or Germany will be on the road to an early elimination by the end of 1902, and you can persuade the remaining one to stab (in �Rochelle", Germany attacked France and was quickly destroyed by a Franco-German alliance, followed by an English stab of France coinciding with the doubleback).

Austria: needs to be your *friend* - agree a DMZ treaty covering Ven, Tri and ADS, promise not to build more armies, he promises not to build fleets. Tell him you're Lepantoing and moving to Tyl to support against possible German/Russian aggression. Also suggest that RT might be gearing up.

Russia: Russia should mistrust RA but be confident about E. Tell him the Turk is going to BLA and the Austrian is thinking of opening to Gal & Rum.

Turkey: Tell Turkey Russia is going to BLA and Austria is pally with Russia.

Eastern Triangle in general: You want Russia, Austria and Turkey all fighting each other with no one power coming out on top and no alliances at all if you can do anything about it. Use Grey press if it's allowed, use England or France, just keep RAT at each other's throats. But be very careful of letting A know that's what you're doing. Promise an AI alliance, a Lepanto and anything else he wants.

S1901M A Ven - Tyl, A Rom-Apu, F Nap - ION

F1901M A Tyl H, A Apu - ION - Tun, F ION C A Apu - Tun

W1901B Build F Nap

So far, so boring. Looks like a Lepanto with an Italian army sitting in the Alps twiddling its thumbs.


If the Frenchman has, as is likely, headed for Iberia or Germany...

F ION - Tun, A Tun - Naf, F Nap - TYS, A Tyl - Pie

Right about now you should start getting some panicky press from France. Of course, if the positions are wrong, you can go through with the Lepanto. But you only really get one chance at pulling the switchback, and it's now.

F1902M F Tun - WME, A Naf H, F TYS - GoL, A Pie - Mar

You might have a build now, depending on whether A Pie-Mar worked. If not, don't worry, you'll have plenty of time to force the issue.

W1902B If you got a build from Mar: Build A Rom

S1903M France might have moved F Bre - MAO - Por - Spa (sc) in the previous 2 years. If France has a fleet in Spa(sc), then it can really ruin your day unless it either moves to MAO or Por, or Holds. If it moves to GoL or WME, your cunning plan is revealed and fails.

So, you need to send press to England: (if allied with france) �I am going to go to MAO and attack Por, but I won't come near you" (If France's enemy) �Can you tell France I'm going to MAO"

France will look a prize chump if he moves his fleet into MAO as your army sails in from the other direction.

F WME C A Naf - Spa F GoL S A Naf - Spa A Naf - WME - Spa (A Mar H or A Pie - Mar depending)

Now you should have Spa at the very least, possibly Mar as well. If not, now is the time to force Mar with A Spa and F GoL supporting A Pie in. It is imperative to the doubleback to close Mar as soon as possible to avoid the inevitable Build of F Mar. Now you have 2 or 3 armies in southern France. While leaving a few units in place to mop up Por and make sure the English or Germans don't come wandering into your new-found empire, you can assure France that all you wanted was to be sure that he wasn't going to build F Mar and you simply took the opportunity provided, and begin to build up against Austria. Build F Ven (you know you've always wanted to do that by 1903) and go for Gre and Tri with Fleets while your armies catch up. If Austria is more suspicious, build as for a Lepanto, and ask him to move his fleet to AEG to convoy A Apu - ION - AEG - Smy, Con or Bul. Once more, as his fleet leaves the Piraeus, your army will be landing in Greece (A Apu - ION - Gre) ... And you're on your way to victory. To win, Italy needs 18 centres, and these can easily be found around the Med: Italy (3), Austria (3), Turkey (3), Iberia (2), the Balkans (4) + Mar, Sev, Tun = 18. Taking out the French Med presence and blockading Gibraltar makes it easier for you to concentrate on the East without having to watch your back.
Matt Simpson
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