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Top Provinces

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Afpdippers were polled as to which provinces they considered important, be that for tactical reasons or game design reasons. They were asked to give 5 points to the most important province, 4 for the next most important and so on. These are the results of their deliberations as of April 1998.
Position Province Points
1 Munich 14
2 The North Sea 13
3 Switzerland 9
4 Mid Atlantic Ocean 8
5= Black Sea 6
5= Bohemia 6
7 Burgundy 5
8= Spain 4
8= The Ionian Sea 4
8= The Tyrrhenian Sea 4
11= Belgium 3
11= The English Channel 3
13= Greece 2
13= Skagarak 2
13= Tyrolia 2
13= Venice 2
13= Western Mediterranean 2
18 St. Petersburg 1

Here were the reasons given. The voter is identified by a key letter with their score given in brackets:

  • A(3): Easy to get, hard to keep, and almost always pivotal in who ends up on the bigger side of the stalemate lines at the end of the game.
  • B(5): It seems to be the focal point in so many games in the end. Both sides, if they won Munich, could win the game. It is the centre.
  • C(3): This province allows a lot of different options in holding off attacks into Germany either from the south or the west. The fact that it can be vulnerable without support is negated by its usefulness in stalemate lines.
  • E(3): Munich sits on many stalemate lines and given that Switzerland is blocked, provides the most direct route between the east and west segments of the board. He who controls Munich controls the doorway. Easily defensible it is especially important in the end game.
The North Sea
  • B(3): The North Sea is essential for England during the entire game. It borders 2 of England's Home SC's, and four others. Russia, England, Germany, and France are all affected by the North Sea.
  • C(5): This province derives its importance from the number of options it allows the holder, including Scandanavia, Germany, and England. It is also quite useful in convoys or supports.
  • F(5): No reasons given
  • E(5): Without Switzerland the game would not be as fun or as interesting to play. It provides a blockade and a barrier which makes traversing the alps much more difficult.
  • F(4): No reasons given
Mid Atlantic Ocean
  • C(4): This province can be critical come stalemate time. It can hold off a northern fleet with some help and is quite useful in blocking the mediterranean, also with some help. See CARROT for a multitude of examples.
  • E(4): MAO is a gateway to and from the Mediterranean. Like Gibralter and Ceuta in times past by owning MAO you wield a huge amount of power. If you are england it is your greatest defence, and your route through to Italy, the Baltics and Turkey. If someone else it is the route through to western europe. By far the most strategic position on the board. Important all the time.
Black Sea
  • A(5): So key in the early game is who gets the Black Sea. As a rule, it's almost always true that if Russia gets it Turkey dies and if Turkey gets it Russia dies. And due to the respective powers of these two countries, the winner of this conflict is extremely well set up to be the winner of the game.
  • D(1): Russian and Turkish squabbles over this almost always lead to an early war between them. Neither side can afford to concede as it immediately puts in jeopardy a home SC. If there is no bounce in S1901 then more likely than not there is an alliance. A bounce in S1901 is a *very* good sign for Austria.
  • B(1): Once again, it is on so many battle lines of the end game, that I had to put it on this list.
  • D(5): Defines the North/South dividing line across Europe and hence alliances. A Germany/Austria with it, cannot easily be attacked by the other. If neither country shows interest in it, look for an alliance between them.
  • B(4): Burgandy is crucial in the early stages, and affects France and Germany with its presence, even when unoccupied. Attacks and stabs go through Burgandy
  • F(1): No reasons given
  • A(4): Spain is a great province, both in early game as a free SC to France and later on as England, France, and Italy all try and argue over who should control it.
The Ionian Sea
  • E(1): ION is in many ways like MAO, controlling access to the med. It is bordered by three SCs and can easily be the lynchpin of a blockade in the east med.
  • F(3): No reasons given
The Tyrrhenian Sea
  • D(4): The Tyrrhenian Sea *is* the approach to Italy. With it, Italy can control the Med and prevent any land attack on Italy. Without it, Italy readily dispatched by any attack from French/Austrian armies.
  • D(3): Early relations between England, France and Germany will be heavily affected by who gets Belgium. Almost certainly one of the three will be targeted by the other two, and Belgium could well decide which one it is. It is also strategically as proved in the 2nd WW, from any France-Germany stab.
The English Channel
  • A(1): The English Channel has historically been an area for great struggles between the French and English, and in the Diplomacy this is carried over perfectly, as it is very often true that whoever gets English Channel gets, by mere elimination of the opposition, control of the seas.
  • D(2): What can be said? If the English or French player loses control of this, then they are in trouble (France more than England). If both powers ignore it early in the game then there is a EF alliance for sure.
  • E(2): Greece is bordered by two SCs directly and is a great staging post between Italy and Turkey and to a degree Austria. Very important in the early game for Italy and Turkey. Very important in the mid and end games for anyone.
  • A(2): It's rare that a fleet actually occupies Skagarak, but the way it affects the surrounding provinces causes a whole new dimension in the struggle between the three northern powers for the Norse territories.
  • F(2): No reasons given
  • B(2): Venice is not so important midgame as at the end. Once again, the owner of Venice gives a large bonus, and is on many stalemate lines.
Western Mediterranean
  • C(2): Another flexible province. You can precipitate an attack on Italy from here, shore up defences in France or Spain, or launch a very sneaky attack on England.
St. Petersburg
  • C(1): This, quite often, seems to be the province people need for a good stalemate or a good win. The fact it can send fleets into the heart of Scandanavia and quickly attack England can not be counted out. It is also a very tough nut to crack. If this is taken, Russia loses a lot of its power.

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