A running conversation about 1648 I'm crossposting here (my online archive, so to speak).

> Where can I download the V2.3 Realpolitik files? That would make study and
> practice of the variant much easier.

I'll post the files in the near future.

I've actually thought of a way to do some solitaire playthroughs of the early game. I'd roll a die for each power and consult a table indicating which power it attacks or in which direction it makes its main effort. Say on a 1-2 roll Poland concentrates on the east, 3-4 the South, 5 West and 6 North. In following seasons, roll and if a 5-6 is rolled, reroll for a general reorientation. A bit crude, I admit, but hey, it's a good "Solitaire Diplomacy" exercise.

> Also - there appear to be a number of bi-coastal territories on the map?
> Are they all coded into RP/identified somewhere?

Yep. It all works. Though the GM will have to figure out the DP allocations himself before submitting the right orders. Also, I've implemented "Chaos" Build Rules. Though of course, my build sites are far more limited. Again, the GM needs to make sure all build orders are legal. In any case, it all works.

The map's the one you've seen in my posts, but currently I'm using the butt-ugly and anachronistic standard units icons Realpolitik provides. Gotta work on a more fitting set of unit icons.

I understand that Ambition & Empire, the variant which pioneered the Diplomatic Points mechanism, is about to be implemented on DPJudge. With the programming done for the DP system, I should think it'd be easy to also bring 1648 to the DPJudge.

> As for the Norwegian Sea redraw, I think that this would strengthen the
> Danish/Swede ties even further, as a Danish offer of F Chr - NRG to support
> Swedish attacks on Nov would be difficult for any Swede to pass up.

Perhaps. But why should Denmark go THAT far out of the way to help Sweden? My guess is that if anything, Sweden would offer to support the Danish fleet into Novgorod.

> Russia
> would have to dedicate three units to the defense of Nov against Chr/Sto/Rig
> in the first season...

Not quite, since A Nov should be able to keep at least one Swedish army at arm's length, but I concede this idea of mine may further increase a Russian defensive mindset.

> ...and that assumes that the *Poles* don't also join in
> the fun with their very common opener (I suspect) to Smolensk.

I don't think any first turn order is the 100% sure thing A Con-Bul is in Standard, though F Sto(ec)-BAL is close. I could see however Sweden ordering that unit say to Scania if it thinks it cannot prevail in the DP struggle over F Courland and does not want to employ A Riga to cut/dislodge F Courland.

As for A Vilna-Smolensk, I can see Poland and Russia agreeing to a DMZ and organise a joint campaign to carve up the South-East European Steppes and against Turkey. A DMZ would free up A Vilna for a move to Volhynia. For Poland, I think this presents an acceptable risk for the price of Russia immediately invading Turkey.

But sure, A Vilna-Smolensk will be common. Moves to White Ruthenia (probably gonna rename that space to Black Ruthenia) and to Volhynia should spice things up at times.

> So I think that change would make the already difficult Russian position
> hopelessly screwed. You were right in the other message I think when you
> said Russia tends to hedgehog early on, even at the expense of their
> potential gains.

Personally, I think going for two SCs in the south may be well worth the risk of exposing Novgorod if the diplomatic climate looks favourable enough. Too conservative play won't allow for a good start.

Anyway, should Russia prove to difficult a position, I might consider adding a Central Asian minor power adjacent to Persia. Moscow would remain two spaces away, but Voronezh might be adjacent to it. Persia might then be split into Azerbaijan and Persia proper to encourage a Russian move on Central Asia over one on Persia (so as not to tax Turkey too much at the outset of the game).

> Even with the rich gains available in the Romania/Crimea
> region, I know I would! Too much risk to the home SCs not to. Changing the
> Russian start unit in Nov to a Fleet NC would offset this some, but also
> steer them too strongly into an inevitable conflict with the Scandinavian
> powers.

Not justifiable historically and crippling for Russia, I think.

Should Russia need help, I might go for the Central Asian extra SC and/or have all Russian home centres touch each other.

At one point, I considered making Riga and Vilna adjacent to romp up the Polish-Swedish tensions (plenty historically at the time!). That'd certainly help Russia. But I chose the familiar configuration instead.

> (though note that it does reduce Dane/English tension by increasing the
> Danish incentive to open to NRG, which I think is a good thing)

Alternatively, I considered having the Arctic Ocean (then to be renamed, probably) touch Christiania, but as we discussed above, that would probably mean one would have to help Russia in some other manner.

Hm, the more I think about it, the more do I find the idea of that Central Asian SC appealing - in combination with the expanded Norwegian Sea...

> Speaking of the English, I understand the historical justification for only
> giving them two SCs and disconnecting their two fleets but I still think
> they're more than a little screwed by that position. Most every other
> position seems to have a decent shot at two SCs in the first year, but the
> English will be lucky to grab one.

Certainly slow growth compared to others. I think there is a chance at 2 SCs, but it's not easy to pull off, I admit.

Is there no hope for them to have a
> third SC anywhere?

If I were to help the English, I would want to do so by other means. I like a smaller English military and diplomatic (DP) footprint. The New Model Army was puny by continental standards and diplomatically the English Commonwealth was pretty unpopular for being regicides (I'm leaning towards starting the game with Spring 1649, i.e. shortly after they executed unhappy King Charles).

I guess one could have London touch Scotland rather than Bristol doing so. Then a F London-Scotland and an F Bristol-Irish Sea opening could ensure England subjugating the entire Celtic fringe during the first year.

I really like Yorkshire being a potential debarkation point for foreign troops though.

I considered enlarging the North Sea to touch Flanders (four-way crossing point) and/or Rhineland-Westphalia, but that only further encourages a Danish move there.

I also considered a Bristol-Ireland connection, but it's a bit of a hard sell geographically. Yet as said, I think England isn't in such a bad position as you fear.

> I know the electorate of Hanover came under their sway
> some time later in the 18th century. So did Gibraltar and Minorca,
> which are also negligible for anything but a strategic location.

All long before 1648. England really wasn't strong in the first half of the 17th century.

> How about
> this? The Plantation of Ulster (Antrim colony) was comprised of a mixed
> Protestant population (English, Scot, and Welsh), but I believe claimed by
> the English Crown. How about splitting Ireland and putting a third English
> SC in the Ulster region? After all, the English civil war was fought in
> Ireland too. That wouldn't be historically inaccurate.

Yeah. Thought about this one, but like Ireland the way it is. Those settlers kinda are simulated when A Ireland supports English operations in Scotland.

> And now wild thoughts - (feel free to disregard at will, just free
> brainstorming)

Keep em coming! :)

> How about a neutral fleet in Malta for the glorious Knights of St. John?

I was thinking more of Venetian Crete as an option. The Venetians there were a major strategic problem for the Turks in the mid-17th century. I considered adding it and connecting it by arrow to Constantinople and perhaps also to Tekke. What held me back? Hm, in part perhaps rather idiotic scruples over arrows spanning lots of blue sea.

It's definitely an idea that tempts me. But for now, I decided to have F Tunis be the lone arbiter in a clash over the Ionian. Also, F Crete - while a pain - might be too easy for Turkey to gobble up.

But hey, were I to go for F Crete (or perhaps better named Candia?) I'd cast aside my scruples over the Pope not helping heathens and thus have F Crete and A Pap both present threats to Constantinople and Rome respectively.

> Could make the naval fight in the Mediterranean more interesting? As it is,
> Spanish dominance seems assured since the French start with A Marseilles and
> the Turks with A Damascus. This would give the Turks more of a chance to
> challenge them.

I don't think Crete would do anything for Turkey early on. It'd be more of a strategic headache (given adjacency to Con) as I conceive it. As said, I'm tempted... It'd give Spain an opportunity to take Constantinople in the first year (probably requires a perfect storm of events, though) and hence heighten Turko-Spanish tension.

Anyway, I think the Med is interesting as it is. It's initially a Spanish-Turkish affair. No problem for me there. Don't agree that Spain holds all the trump cards. And later, Austria and France might join the fun. But I really want that to be up to them.

As for F Marseilles, that'd present way too much S-F tension. I've put a lot of work into REDUCING S-F tension such that these aren't condemned to a bitter struggle. So it had to be A Marseilles. Besides, 2 fleets for France would feel all wrong.

F Damascus? The beauty of an army is that it can turn from Damascus in all directions. Egypt, Constantinople, Armenia - all viable options. I very much like that and don't want to railroad Turkey into a war with Spain.

> What of the extensive overseas holdings of the Republic of Venice? The
> whole of Morea was theirs at this time, even though Venetian holdings were
> not at their peak (Cyprus and Crete were lost).

Actually, in 1648, the Morea wasn't theirs. Crete was. And as you see, that option is tempting me...

> I mention these two in particular, because the Mediterranean fight seems a
> bit bland, and Spanish dominated.

As said, I disagree. I might add that Ambition & Empire's Med theatre is much to my liking (at least under v4.0 - not so happy about the religious restrictions hampering Christian powers operating in North Africa under the latest rules).

Nor do I think it's Spanish dominated. F Seville might be engaged more in the Atlantic sphere. And the military balance of power in the Med really depends on the first builds.

> There is only one other rival fleet in
> the entire Mediterranean (Turkish F Con) and it seems likely to contain
> itself in the Black Sea where easier spoils can be found.

Not so sure about that.

> Sure, the French
> and Austrians *can* build fleets later, but the Spanish dominance gained by
> F Seville and F Naples would make such an effort futile.

Don't see why. If France and Spain are at war, a Med fleet for France is almost required. It might not be as strong as Spain, but it can be a heck of a nuisance in what Spain would otherwise consider a Spanish lake, i.e. the broader Western Mediterranean region. And Turkey might join France's efforts...

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