England’s Opening Moves: Introduction

England has few opening move possibilities when compared to most other powers. When we consider the profitable openings, there are even fewer (as you’d expect).

Richard Sharp introduced the method of categorising openings for the powers. For England, he did this by first focusing on the moves of the fleets, then the army.

These openings can be split into four groups: Northern openings, Southern openings, Splits openings and others. The Northern openings feature the fleets moving to the Norwegian Sea and the North Sea; the Southern openings have the fleets moving to the North Sea and the English Channel.

When Sharp named individual openings he used names which could be confusing. I dislike confusion, frankly, so I’ve renamed the openings. However, as the Dip Hobby tends to use Sharp’s names, I’ll include these below.

Northern openings

  • Churchill Opening: F Edi-NWG, F Lon-NTH, A Lpl-Edi
  • Jorvik Opening (Yorkshire Opening or Northern Opening): F Edi-NWG, F Lon-NTH, A Lpl-Yor

Southern openings

  • Leith Opening (Edinburgh Variation): F Edi-NTH, F Lon-ENG, A Lpl-Edi
  • Ouse Opening (Yorkshire Variant): F Edi-NTH, F Lon-ENG, A Lpl-Yor
  • Severn Opening (Welsh Opening): F Edi-NTH, F Lon-ENG, A Lpl-Wal

Splits openings

  • Castle Opening (Edinburgh Variation): F Edi-NWG, F Lon-ENG, A Lpl-Edi
  • Minster Opening (Yorkshire Variation): F Edi-NWG, F Lon-ENG, A Lpl-Yor
  • Harlech Opening (Wales Variation): F Edi-NWG, F Lon-ENG, A Lpl-Wal

Others

  • Western Opening: F Edi-Cly, F Lon-ENG, A Lpl-Wal
  • Yorkshire Pudding: F Edi-Yor, F Lon-Yor, A Lpl-Yor

I’m going to discuss the Yorkshire Pudding here, simply because I’ve included it simply to include it. It has no use, realistically. But it’s such a famous opening, because of the ridiculousness of it, that I’ve included it. And, after all, it was – apparently – used in a tournament!

This, therefore, leaves nine fairly useful opening moves. Not all of them are typical openings and a number of them are not very profitable. But there may be a reason for using any of these. So they all deserve some kind of discussion.

Continuation openings

“Continuation” openings are those that involve planned moves beyond Spring 1901:

  • Atlantic Bind: This begins with the Ouse Opening and is followed by F ENG-MAO and either F NTH-Nwy or F NTH C Yor-Nwy
  • Eastern Push: This begins with the Jorvik Opening and is followed by F NWG-BAR, A Yor-Nwy, F NTH C Yor-Nwy
  • Levy Opening: This begins with the Churchill Opening and is followed by A Edi-Nwy, F NWG C Edi-Nwy, F NTH-SKA

Alliance openings

“Alliance” openings are Continuation openings that involve planned moves beyond Spring 1901 in combination with other powers:

  • Prince Louis Magdeburg: This begins with England’s Churchill Opening with Russia ordering F StP(sc)-GOB. In F01 England orders A Edi-Nwy, F NWG C Edi-Nwy, F NTH-Den and Russia orders F GOB-BAL. Germany – attempting to bounce Russia in Sweden – manages to take Sweden unopposed but has units in an Anglonaut alliance threatening Germany.
  • Benckendorff Magdeburg: This begins with England’s Jorvik Opening with Russia ordering F StP(sc)-GOB and A Mos-Nwy. In F01 England orders F NWG H, A Yor-Den, F NTH C Yor-Den and Russia orders F GOB-BAL, A StP-Nwy. In S02, England orders F NWG-Nwy, F NTH-SKA and Russia orders A Nwy-FIN and a fleet built at St Petersburg’s south coast in W01 moves to the Gulf of Bothnia.
  • Arkhangel Gambit: This opening involves Russia allowing England to take St Petersburg in 1902, while England supports Russia to take Sweden and Denmark. There are a lot of variations to complete this but it usually starts with the Jorvik Opening.
  • Harris Hammer: England opens with the Ouse Opening and Russia orders F StP(sc)-GOB, A Mos-StP, A War-Sil. Russia then attacks either Munich or Berlin, England takes Belgium with a convoy supported by the Channel fleet (or Holland if they’re feeling brave). Russia orders F GOB-BAL, A StP-Nwy.
  • Hey Bresto!: England uses the Severn Opening. With agreement from France, England takes Brest (A Wal-Bre, F ENG C Wal-Bre) and Norway. England holds onto Brest, securing herself from France, but supports France into Belgium and Holland in following years.

For interest (OK, marginal interest) the names I’ve chosen were chosen for different reasons:

  • Jorvik was the name for the city of York in the era when the Vikings ruled much of Britain. I chose this over the Roman name for the city, Eboracum, because Norway is usually the target for the opening.
  • Leith, Ouse and Severn are names for rivers in Edinburgh, York and Wales.
  • Castle is named after Edinburgh Castle.
  • Minster is named after York Minster.
  • Harlech is named after a town and castle in Wales.

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Published by Mal Arky

I'm a Diplomacy nut... if you haven't guessed. I write about the game Diplomacy, mainly as played online on websites, such as Playdiplomacy, webDiplomacy and Backstabbr. I write books on Diplomacy, too. First one to be published soon!

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