Supremacy 1914 New Player’s Guide
Supremacy 1914 New Player’s Guide by Alphared
1. Supremacy1914 is a grand strategy game, as such it is not a micromanaged tactical war game. This is actually a very important distinction. You will not be setting taxes, building highly detailed infrastructures, or determining who is a worker and who is a soldier. You will however be using generalized quotions to your benefit or detriment.
2. Of the several facets of game play, the most valuable to all players is morale. Ever player can benefit from becoming intimately acquanted with what morale is and how it works. Without morale you won’t get very far, you will however discover the limitations of a military without an infrastructure, it won’t be pleasant.
So, what is morale, beyond the simple technical measurement? It is the measure of how well you provide your citizens with what they want. Quite simply if you don’t feed, house, or otherwise take care of your people they won’t like you, as their leader, very much. Look in the ‘Manuel’ to find out what they will want, and how much of it. Read on for how to prevent problems with it.
3. Another important factor in Supremacy is trade. Most new players have the mistaken idea that since you have such a great military to start with your set to relieve your supply problems (see all the red numbers in your status box in the game?) by conquest alone. Nothing can be further from the truth, in fact there is more then one problem with this idea. No conquest, especially without forethought, will only dig you deeper in the hole of bad morale and lack of supplies.
The fact is there is only one answer to your supply problems that doesn’t risk your morale, or worse your whole country, that answer is trade. Trade is easy to accomplish, costs you nothing in morale, and can make you friends that can help in other situations later on. It’s simply a win-win proposition. You have surplus’ (see the green commodities) and so does everyone else. You have deficits and, likewise, so does everyone else. The favorable thing about it is every one has different surpluses and deficits, you simply need to do your homework and figure out who has what you want, and who wants what you got.
How hard is it to figure those things out? Let’s take one example; France produces one thing very well – Grain, but needs quite a bit in coal, wood, and mining. How do we know what to do with our grain, but still get what we need. Let’s take a look at the ‘strategic map’, we see that Sweden and Austria have all kinds of wood. We can see that Germany and Greece are star producers of coal, and England and Austria have abundant mining resources. That’s all you need to start approaching other players with trade offers, an idea of who can benefit while also benefitting you.
Remember how I pointed out this could benefit you in other ways? Keep reading and you will see how.
4. Another factor of the game that directly effects morale, and therefore your overall probabilities of success, is provincial improvements. It is a serious matter to be sure, because it does so greatly effect your morale and your production numbers. You should consider that not every improvement is going to benefit every province in every country the same. No, there is a strategy to building them that you must relearn for every different country you play.
Here’s a good rule of thumb that may help. If your low in a resource (red) that your country produces, provinces that have that resource really need some improvement. On the other hand if an improvement requires a resource you don’t have or won’t have enough of it won’t be much of an improvement to build it.
Clearly this is another area of strategic desicion, not just a matter of expediance. What good will a railroad do you if you have no coal to run it? Or a factory if you have no oil/mining/wood to use it. Again a good cause for trade in the long run.
5. Another, obvious, system in the game is the military. This game is somewhat unique in that you start out not so bad off in this area. You certainly have enough forces straight out of the box to start some real trouble. Unlike most games of this nature, you do far less to micromanage recruitment, force structure, etc. Most of these things are actually handled for you, or completely irrelevent primarily because this (as stated in point 1) is not a tactical simulation but a strategic one.
As I pointed out, you have the forces to get a military campaign going from the start and here is where most first time players find the temptation just to…well tempting. Of course due to the strategic nature of the game, there are a lot of factors that can be easily missed, especially if you come from a strict background of tactical micromanagement.
One factor that is easily missed is scale. Many first time players are tempted to poke at there neighbors. That means of course sending out that one single lonely unit to all the surrounding provinces to see who jumps. The problem with this strategy, you are asking everyone to immediately dispose of your further involvement in the game. They are all just as militarily capable as you, and willing to cooperate enough to get the job done.
The another factor often missed is the idea that not everyone is focused on all possible fronts. Meaning, the first time player might assume that just because everyone has a border with someone else that they must automatically be able to defend them all. This kind of thinking can easily lead to the idea that a neighbor must have evenly distributed there forces. and that noone will be prepared for the blitzkrieg style assault you plan on them. Nothing, usually, can be further from the truth…not only are they prepared when they see an unfamiliar face in the game, usually everyone else is prepared to cooperate and take advantage of the fact that all your forces are in someone else’s country, not in your own.
Another, often, mistaken concept in the game is that number of provinces equates with success in the game. The number of games that actually promotes this premise is almost incalculable. But, again this is totally erroneous in Supremacy. Not only does the number of provinces you have not make an exceptional difference, having the wrong provinces will actually accelerate any problems with morale or supply you might have. Let’s take an example, we will use Greece this time. Greece has an abundance of oil, but they decide an attack on Sfax (in Morocco) could boost there score (on the premise that number of provinces is paramount). The attack succeeds and oil production is now through the roof. One problem, Greece also doesn’t produce much grain, so now you have exacerbated your food shortage and lowered your morale even further. Good trade relations could help here, but what if you have torn your diplomatic moorings completely asunder (more on diplomacy later).
Not to mention that there is a price that is paid whenever you make a conquest. the morale of a province will automatically drop as a result. If you are already low in morale or the province was, you aren’t doing yourself a favor by diving head long into it’s subjegation. Here to a bit of forethought on your part can prevent a very short, disappointing game.
Here is the best advice you could get if you want to succeed in Supremacy; Keep the soldiers at home until you know what, where and how. Acting without a plan and without knowing what you could be facing is the quickest way to find yourself out of the game.
6. The number one overlooked element of the game is diplomacy…that’s right DIPLOMACY. To be sure civilian morale, trade, and military prowess are important. You couldn’t play without them in fact. But the overarcing, number one, facet in Supremacy1914 is in fact, diplomacy. Without it you have nothing to rely on but luck that the other players don’t know it’s importance either. But, the odds are you will be playing with experienced players who actually are well aware of it’s power.
If you are Germany and just happen to have never trade with anyone, or wrote a single word in the paper or to another player, you might expect that at least two of your neighbors are eyeballing all that precious coal your hoarding. AND they have been talking quietly amongst themselves about it. Never fear, it’s almost a certainty they make good there ideas of conquest. There is one simple reason why, they have nothing to fear from an ally you don’t have.
In short, tools are in place for you to communicate with your fellow players and there are many ways to acquire friendly relations. It takes no effort to put your mind into the game and write an article to the paper, or type out a friendly message to a neighbor. Truthfully, it makes the game just that much better if you play the role of diplomat as well as general. Here’s where setting up trade agreements really does you a service. Here is also where that private or public show of support can benefit you.
It would be very hard for a single country to run the gambit of Europe alone and not be destroyed in the effort. It would be even worse for a player to saddle themselves with another who thinks they can. Here a bit of forethought and observation should be all that is needed to determine who can benefit you most.
7. A few other factors to consider.
Once you have gone through your first game (or perhaps during it) you may find you can’t get enough. (Addiction isn’t always bad.) It is also highly likely that you meet and play some of the same opponents. This could be both good and bad. Your first consideration should always be, ‘this is a game, it should be fun, not personal’.
Your second consideration should probably be, ‘this is game number (?) the situation will be different then game number (?)’. That’s right IMHO you can get the most enjoyment from Supremacy1914 if you allow every game to start on a ‘clean slate’. Yes player ‘dopehead’ allied with his neighbor in the other game and took half your country. But, if you immediately attack him in this game, you might just miss that he has a brilliant plan that he wants you to be a part of.
That being said it also does hold true in the opposite, ‘I have done this #x times to that player…’. If you make an alliance with the same player in three games and break it by attacking him in all of them, chances are probably high that he isn’t going to ally with you in game #4. In fact, you should probably consider war insurance because he is understandably going to distrust you. He may even have forgot that this is a game and think you are out to get him personally. Of course, odds are that noone well come to your defense in game #4, you have set a pattern that others will surely notice.
That concludes my bit of advise to you, the new player of Supremacy1914, I hope you enjoy, this is a really great game.
Admins.- I offer this free of copywrite if you want to sticky it, or even post it along side the FAQ and manual on the sidebar (though I wouldn’t mind my name attached). Of course, you might just think I overstep myself or that it is non-sense, you are free to delete it in that case.
I freely admit that I may have missed some salient point, I would be happy to amend or correct it, or be corrected. And I certainly am willing to revise it when the new map arrives if some strategy has changed.