Well lets see….. It’s the beginning of a new Supremacy game. Opportunity abounds! So many places to attack but where to begin? Hmmmmm……
In Supremacy, people rule. Players always trump money, resources or even nukes. The ICBM can’t hurt you if the player is unwilling to fire it at you right? Exactly. While planning my strategy for the game, I always consider the players running the superpowers first.
Next, geography. Which superpower are you? This will have a huge impact on the forces you will need and the theaters you can directly influence. For example, if I am playing Russia, I can easily deploy and fight in Europe, China and the Middle East. Can I fight in North and South America? Africa? Yes, but not in a big way for a sustained campaign. It is good to have bases and a RDF that can respond into those areas. Don’t fool yourself though. For all your bluff and bluster, this is mostly just a threat. At best you are looking for a quick strike to buy time for some fast talking and deal cutting.
But, I digress. Where were we? Oh yes, we considered our opponents. Then our geographic strengths and weaknesses. Now what? Resources. Resources are critical. You can’t grow into a global menace without tons of resources. Where do you get them? This is where many players suffer from short sightedness. Often times new players will wait and see what cards pop up during the game. Once the ‘good’ cards come out, then you know where to attack. The problem with this approach is: so does everybody else. It’s not going to be easy now. You must race other players there. If you are fortunate enough to win and beat them all away, you are going to be rewarded with many new enemies looking to settle the score.
This reminds me of Sun Tzu. He said something like: In ancient times, wise generals attacked when victory was easy. For when victory was not easy, they did not attack.
Excellent but when is that? At the beginning of the game. You know, the first couple of turns where everybody is building and trying too feel each other out. Everyone is being careful not to start a war of make anybody mad. Yes, this is the perfect time to attack. Wait a minute, won’t that make you seem like the aggressor and make everybody pounce on you? Nope. That’s the beauty of it. You are attacking them before they even realize you are attacking them!
Where is the best production at? Where are the biggest cards in geographic regions where you can easily dominate? Saudi Arabia, Rumania, South Africa, Sweden…. Spend some time looking through the deck before the game if you aren’t that familiar with the possibilities. It’s just a matter of time until these big ones are pulled. So why not get them now BEFORE they are pulled?
If you attack now, it’s easy. You will make Sun Tzu proud. All you have to do is wipe out the neutral armies. Who is going to care? You aren’t seizing their production. You are just taking out some minor somewhere. So what? You aren’t taking anything from them to get it, at least not yet….
There are other benefits. You will have bases established around in different regions. Maybe the big oil won’t pop up in Saudi Arabia. Maybe it will be Iraq and Iran. So? Who will be in a position to get their first in strength? Exactly. Notice what else this does? While they are building massive and threatening piles of armies, your modest looking forces are constantly getting pruned back and dispersed by these little invasions. Their big stacks make them targets. Players start to worry and ally against big piles of armies. Besides, you’re just attacking neutral minors. Harmless. Some may even call your ventures pointless and wasteful. “Well, I’m just trying to get a feel for how combat works in this game.” you can explain with a smile. Yes, pointless and wasteful like a fox!
What they hopefully won’t notice is that you have easily and cheaply acquired all the prime real estate before it became valuable. A few turns later, you are going to be sitting on top of a majority of the world’s production. I don’t recommend seizing all those companies as soon as they come up. Better to lull them into a false sense of security right? Let them realize after it’s too late. What they won’t realize is that the war against you was already fought and lost at the beginning of the game while they were milling about. Because you already won when it was easy.
As the Emperor of the French used to say: All great men are the masters of luck.