England's Sweden Strategy
by Kevin Brown
Funny thing about playing England. It seems that you always start out in the same position. Fall 1901 has just been completed and you're sitting with A Norway, F North Sea, and F Norwegian Sea. France has sent his fleet down into Spain and Russia hasn't moved north. How many times before have you been here? How many times have you waited for Germany or Russia to tell you what to do with your pieces?
If you're like most players, the answer is "Too Many.” But this common position is not one that requires a passive yes-man England. Don't let them tell you where to go, you tell them where you're going. Where is that, you ask? Simple: you are going to Sweden.
The move to Sweden can be effective against either Russia or Germany. The first thing to consider is whether Sweden is occupied. Obviously if Russia is in Sweden then you will need German support from Denmark to take it. This should not be difficult to gain. Tell Germany the whole plan: along with A Norway-Sweden, you will be moving F Norwegian Sea-Barents Sea and F North Sea-Norway (using your new build to cover North Sea). With your friendly German's support you can not only take Sweden, but also be in a position to take St. Petersburg in the fall.
If Sweden is unoccupied (presumably due to a standoff), you should have little problem getting Russian support into the province. In this case the F Norway-Sweden would be accompanied by F North Sea-Skagerrak (or to Helgoland Bight if you’re particularly bold) and either F Norwegian or your newly built fleet to North Sea. Then in the fall, you can take Denmark with two supports and Russia can slip into Sweden right behind you. With A Denmark, F Helgoland, and F North Sea, you will have a tremendous tactical advantage over Germany. With the fleet in Skagerrak instead of Helgoland, the advantage is not as great but still considerable. If France or Russia can spare an army, Germany should go down in short order.
You don't want to give away your strategy to whichever one you decide to hit. You can always solicit support from both Russia and Germany into Sweden, and then decide which to hit. Even if Russia has Sweden at the end of 1901, you can still go through to hit Germany. Russia should be happy to have the army out of Norway, particularly if he’s involved in the south. In that case, when the Russian fleet is dislodged it can retreat to Baltic Sea and help support you to Denmark, thus demilitarizing Scandinavia for both sides. The key thing to remember is that your move to Sweden can be made to look good for both Russia and Germany. When I first tried this strategy at DixieCon two years ago, both Russia and Germany supported me to Sweden in Spring 1902!
This strategy is not without its downside. If you go after Russia your gains will be limited to Sweden and possibly St Pete. A sustained attack into Russia would leave you very spread out and vulnerable if Germany or France turns traitor. If you move against Germany you leave your northern flank very open to Russian aggression (particularly if you moved to Helgoland rather than Skagerrak.) In either case you will be vulnerable to a French attack; you should make quite sure that France is an ally before attempting this maneuver.
There you have it: an uncommon answer to a common situation. Just a little decisive action is all it takes to change England from a solid, boring defensive power to a fluid, exciting dot grabber. Next time you play England, tell yourself to go to Sweden.