Italy of course has the immediate problem of what to do with Austria Hungay. Either player could sweet talk the other then back stab on move one, a move which could knock out the other player straight away. Ideally then you want a good (trusting) relationship with Austria.
Standard opening apparently is to follow the Lepanto opening or a variation thereof. However no everyone is aware of this opening (esp. if you are playing with new players), also you might not have a particularly helpful Austria Hungary so the Lepanto is out of the question anyway.
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If Austria prospers in the game AND you have a great realtionship, then you won't have to worry about the east of the board (unless Germany is a maniac) and you can concetrate on fending off the probable French invastion.
In the Lepanto opening you and Austria head towards Turkey with the Austrian fleet assisting you in landing that army in Tunisia onto Turkish soil.
The key Lepanto (which surely never ACTUALLY gets played) Austria allows Italy through thier land to end up in the Balkans on the first fall turn. In our games no one would be that trusting - er - trust me. ;-)
However its very tempting to back stab Austria straight away. This is a very risky manouvre because if anything goes wrong (Austria doesn't trust you, or his own moves don't work and the unit Trieste doesn't move), then your reputation is shot - not only now but if you ar playing in the same group week in and week out - the others will remember that.
There is a more certain way of back stabbing Austria (if you really want to kill them off), and that is to prepare the attack in spring 1901, to go in with a supported unit in the fall. (See the video for the actualy moves).
How do you deal with France as Italy, one idea is to put an army in Peidmont in the spring of 1901 and attempt to grab Marseilles. You can also try to go through Germany (with thier approval), which I doubt will work.
A more sublte approach is to work with Austria, go into Treiste in the spring on 1901 and arrange to be kicked out in the fall, refusing to retreat so that you can build a new fleet with the unit that died as a result of a non-retreat.
So thats the theory, but what about the practise? usually the Italy / Austria alliance will be a kind of uneasy looking over the shoulder affair, so keep an eye out for a back stab.
You'll get attacked by France and hopefully with your extra fleet in the region you'll get a 2 v 2 standoff and later a 3 v 3 standoff. You best best is to talk others on the French border to weaken the French. Germany is the obvious candidate here. A 3 way alliance (Germany, Austria and Italy work well) is very desirable.
Try to get a rock solid alliance with Austria if you can. Hang on in there and watch others fall around you. 7 pieces with Italy and good relationships with a couple of the others is a decent spring board for a surge in the mid game.
So what happend to you in games where you have played Italy, please comment below. Disagree with my analysis please comment on my facebook page.
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