by Edi Birsan

Galicia is the critical land province in the East early in the game. It is the most common land place for a stand off in 1901, and is often seen as critical to understand what is happening in the East. It borders on 4 supply centers (Vie/Bud/Rum/War) and 3 other provinces (Sil/Boh/Ukr) which puts it up there in the top 3 or 4 places on the board to be. It is also the site of one of the many first lies in the game between Russia and Austria.

In Spring 1901 the Austrians typically (over 50% of the time) try to go to Galicia, mostly to keep the Russians out rather than to use it as a development for an attack on Russia's Warsaw or primary interest in Rumania. The Russians go there usually to keep the Austrians out, or to provide a launching platform for an attack on Austria.

Historically looking at the results of games, Galicia occupied by the Russians in 1901 is the most common indicator of an early exit by Austria. Oddly enough for the Russians, to have an Austrian army in Galicia is not as commonly associated with early Russian Death Syndrome. The reason for this is that when the Austrians are sucked into Galicia they are not protecting Trieste, and the Italians often will find it overwhelming tempting to shift to Trieste for 'defensive development'.

Galicia is an excellent springboard position for going West, and one of my favorite AIR attacks (Austria-Italy-Russia) involves the Russians being in Galicia in the Fall of 01 and building Army Warsaw. Then in the Spring of 1902 the Russians go Gal->Sil, War- >Pru as the Italians and the Austrians fill into Tyr/Boh.

For wars between Austria and Russia, Galicia is center point of the battle line, with flanking attacks needed to turn the tide either into Bohemia or Sileisa in the West, or Ukraine and Rumania in the East.

For stalemate lines between the East and the West, Galicia is needed if the East wants to hold Warsaw and Moscow, whereas if they want to go into the 14 center SE Turtle position (Ion-Nap-Rom-Ven-Tri-Vie- Bud-Rum-Sev) it is expendable. However, in the decision making process, forcing Galicia can make the difference between sitting in a Turtle position while the game is decided clearly and safely in the west, or sitting on the edge of the center board always threatening the Center and having 16 centers — which makes the room for decisive action in the West less likely.

Galicia is often left as a Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between Austria and Russia, or even Italy and Russia, as the middle game progresses. This is then the dramatic point of entry into the land of betrayal and end game victory runs. Therefore players in the east might want to consider structuring the DMZ as a dynamic DMZ, where there should be a set bounce between the sides. This tends to pull units off the front line and slow advances to the west; but at the same time, there is no doubt as to the increased security value. Players often forget about the need to put in some physical orders to ensure trust, rather than to just leave it to the emotions of rolling the board. Trust, but bounce in Galicia!

Edi Birsan

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