The Hadrian Alliance

Powers: England/Italy

Stage: Mid-game/Endgame

Primary Target(s): France, Germany, Russia

Also known as… ???

Associated 3-way alliances: The Spaghetti Western, The Guillotine, The Maritime Triple

The E/I alliance is not a great Early Game alliance on its own. Both powers have much more interest in their own locality to deal with than in each other. The real strength of Anglo-Italian cooperation in the Early Game is in swapping information.

Often, in this relationship, the bigger winner is England. If Italy can tell you what they’ve heard from France, Germany or Russia, all of which Italy should be in regular communication with, England can begin to build an Early Game strategy that is useful.

Alternatively, Italy gains very little from this. Italy may be interested in where France’s A(Mar) is going but, even then, Italy and France will often agree to a DMZ (Demilitarised Zone) in Piedmont anyway because it benefits neither of them to move there. Of more interest is whether England knows where Germany’s A(Mun) is heading: Mun-Tyl is comparatively rare, more often an agreed bounce between Germany and a reluctant Italy, but if Germany is intent on getting involved in the south then it may help Italy to know this. If a potential Russo-Italian alliance (the renowned Wintergreen) is forming then, arguably, England still gains more from knowing what Russia is doing than Italy does.

So this is very much more often Mid-game, rather than Early Game, alliance. If both powers have entered this stage of the game as mid-ranking powers, working together against a more powerful neighbour is a good choice. As you can see above, again, England probably benefits the most from this alliance, as the three usual suspects for being the target of the Hadrian alliance are France, Germany or Russia.

If France is doing well, then England or Germany will have suffered. For the sake of this alliance, it had better be Germany. This then frees France to either move against England or Italy… and then the chance is that the other will be the next target. It makes sense, therefore, for these two potential prey powers to work together to make sure France is shackled, at the very least. It is quite common, however, for both powers to be heavily committed away from France so it can be difficult for them to work aggressively against France on the board.

If Germany is the main common threat, then – again – France or England have likely suffered; let’s assume it’s France (otherwise we’re wasting our time!). This is potentially a more profitable target. Italy may be embroiled in the east, of course, but can potentially take action to the north more readily than in the west (against France). England may have benefited from France’s demise and be able to focus those units against Germany next. Unfortunately for the Hadrian alliance, it is often more profitable for England to focus their actions in the west Mediterranean spaces, as this is a way of securing the western side of the board.

Russia might be a target. This suggests a third (or even third and fourth) power(s) are also involved, however, as, for England and Italy to work together against Russia, they need to be free to do so. England needs to be free to thrust east, potentially ignoring German SCs; Italy also needs to be able to strike north-east, without worrying about Austria or Turkey, who will be in an ideal anti-Italian situation.

Given the difficulties of making the Hadrian alliance work, at almost any stage of the game, such an alliance is often subsumed by a triple alliance. More likely, then, that a Hadrian alliance forms in the Endgame, when the two powers are potentially able to block a potential winner from breaking across the neutral zone, the line of non-SC spaces that separates the west from the east. Crossing this line can be the key to success for a player, providing access to the eighteenth SC. Working together, they can ensure that it is difficult to achieve this.

Again, unfortunately for both powers, it is common for one or even both of them to get into the Endgame as an ‘also ran’, a power that’s there but not in any real force. Again, then, they are more likely participating powers in a Grand Alliance.

The Hadrian alliance isn’t common, therefore. Neither power should be considering this unless circumstances demand it.

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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