# The Norwegian Gambit

• I think the fig/2 tnk comparison is unnecessary to properly evaluate the Gambit. Given reasonable dice, Russia loses a fighter in Kar on G1, but also preserves 2 extra tanks in WR compared to the WR+Ukraine attack. So Russia can just buy 2 tanks after attacking Ukr or 1 fighter after attacking Norway and end up with roughly the same forces.

IMO, the real problems with the Gambit are 1) increased probability of losing WR on G1; and 2) Ger being able to stack Ukraine and gain an important positional advantage (as pointed out by Hobbes). I think those elements have to be weighed against the extra UK BB, instead of the oversimplification of Russian fig vs UK BB.

• In my last game with a player who is imho one of the best around

who?

• @El:

I think the fig/2 tnk comparison is unnecessary to properly evaluate the Gambit. Given reasonable dice, Russia loses a fighter in Kar on G1, but also preserves 2 extra tanks in WR compared to the WR+Ukraine attack. So Russia can just buy 2 tanks after attacking Ukr or 1 fighter after attacking Norway and end up with roughly the same forces.

IMO, the real problems with the Gambit are 1) increased probability of losing WR on G1; and 2) Ger being able to stack Ukraine and gain an important positional advantage (as pointed out by Hobbes). I think those elements have to be weighed against the extra UK BB, instead of the oversimplification of Russian fig vs UK BB.

Absolutely, it is a simplification of the effects of the gambit but that can serve as a reminder of the choice the Allies are making by performing it. The Gambit favors more the UK than Russia because the BB will be saved. There might be other additional immediate consequences such as losing WR, although the odds for that are low. Russia will only lose 2 of its attacking pieces, 1 fighter and 1 armor, while a UKR+WR attack will cause it to spend 3 armor but they will destroy an additional German art+arm.
However, the loss of the fighter hurts Russia on the long run if it isn’t replaced. I’m a huge fan of armor for Russia like Grenada and I like to get myself a 10 armor stack to move around and slow the Axis advance but it will take more than 5 or 6 turns before the UK/US can move into Eastern Europe and stop any German advances against Russia. And during the initial 2-3 turns the Russians will have to contest 3 territories against Germany (Karelia, Belo and Ukraine), and afterwards usually start dealing with the Japanese.
You will need that 2nd fighter for those battles and to have 1 artillery always on the board to fight those 3 battles against Germany, otherwise you either concede the territory to Germany or have to use some of your T-34s.
By the time the Allies start liberating Karelia and taking that burden off Russia, it will still have to fight back into 2 territories. With only 1 fighter, it will either have to use art/armor to take them but with 2 fighters it can stop building any artillery, buy additional armor and use it all against the incoming Japanese units on Asia, instead of Europe.
Regarding the view that it might help a US Pacific strat by allowing the UK an early landing on Norway, I say that against a KJF, Germany’s will have to play very aggressively, regardless of Norway/Ukraine. Stacking Ukraine allows it to directly pressure the Caucasus - Russia is now tied to defending it instead of pressuring Japan on Asia, and loses the ability to contest Belorussia/Ukraine, denying Russia 5 IPCs. Or stacking Karelia to cut off the inflow of UK units. Whatever happens, I think I still prefer to keep that Russian fighter and destroy the German stack on Ukraine. If you want to defeat Japan on the Pacific you’ll have to stop it from increasing its income on Asia, while at the same time holding off the Germans until the UK is able to counter them.
Getting back to the fighter/battleship. The fighter allows Russia to save 4-5 IPCs per turn in offensive units that otherwise would be destroyed in German counterattacks. The battleship corresponds to 1 destroyer + 1 cruiser for fleet defense and for a quicker buildup of transports and ground units by the UK, plus the bombardment shot.

• Hobbes, I agree with everything you said. However, if 1) the 2nd fighter is so important, 2) you usually buy extra armor with Russia, and 3) Norway Gambit saves extra armor for Russia; then it’s just as easy to replace the 2nd fighter as to replace the 2 armor, right?

• @El:

Hobbes, I agree with everything you said. However, if 1) the 2nd fighter is so important, 2) you usually buy extra armor with Russia, and 3) Norway Gambit saves extra armor for Russia; then it’s just as easy to replace the 2nd fighter as to replace the 2 armor, right?

Yes, yes and yes.

But with the Gambit now G also has an extra art+arm on Ukraine, most likely can stack Ukraine and force Russia to keep its armor stack on Caucasus on turn 2 and abandon West Russia. What do you prefer?

• @El:

Hobbes, I agree with everything you said. However, if 1) the 2nd fighter is so important, 2) you usually buy extra armor with Russia, and 3) Norway Gambit saves extra armor for Russia; then it’s just as easy to replace the 2nd fighter as to replace the 2 armor, right?

Yes, yes and yes.

But with the Gambit now G also has an extra art+arm on Ukraine, most likely can stack Ukraine and force Russia to keep its armor stack on Caucasus on turn 2 and abandon West Russia. What do you prefer?

I think it really is a bit more complicated then that. You certainly do not need to abandon WR to keep Cauc R2. In our game Germany R2 could not take WR by any means. It could take cauc of course but did not do it because it could possibly create a situation when all Germany units both ukr and cauc could have been anihilated. Moreover if I did a bit more offensive buy R2 with Russia Germany could really have been compelled to leaving UKR R3 as you suggested earlier. And with UK/US having 19 units on kar at the end of R4 there was really no question of russias need of trading three teritories with G anymore. The thing was I did not protect my US fleet aginst the japy air properly but now I see it was possible to leave it SZ 7 US3 and the pressure would be ongoing from then on.

When it comes to trades and the second R fig, I am not convinced that in the classic set up of G/R trades (G sits on EE, R sits on WR and trade KAR, BEL and UKR) Bel is mandatory trade for R. If G is on real defensive you can trade a terriotry sending 3 inf on 1 but definitely not mandatory to trade all three territories if you only have 1 fig and 1 art ready. But this really occures very rarely. And I also do not think Russia should trade inf for inf on the 2IPC territories with japan. IMHO 2 IPC territories are not a good trade for Russia even if it had 3 figs. Since you are lighter on air in any case, you have a higher likelihood of losing more inf then Jap on those trades and it really is not worthy of the 2 IPC shift unless there are more stretegic concerns involved in such a trade.

• This is the complete game Hobbes vs. me including the last rounds.

HobbesMay0611.tsvg

• @El:

Hobbes, I agree with everything you said. However, if 1) the 2nd fighter is so important, 2) you usually buy extra armor with Russia, and 3) Norway Gambit saves extra armor for Russia; then it’s just as easy to replace the 2nd fighter as to replace the 2 armor, right?

Yes, yes and yes.

But with the Gambit now G also has an extra art+arm on Ukraine, most likely can stack Ukraine and force Russia to keep its armor stack on Caucasus on turn 2 and abandon West Russia. What do you prefer?

The real answer is I don’t know. I play on GameTable Online and have tried both openings, but have yet to encounter a good aggressive German answer to Norway Gambit. More testing seems necessary, maybe also in Low Luck. At least the game between you and Granada looks very interesting for both sides.

• By the way, is there a short and sexy name for the R1 Ukraine attack? Norway Gambit sounds sweet, but “Standard R1 Ukraine attack” is kinda dull… Ukraine Bash, Ukraine Crush, Ukraine Beats?

• I must be missing something with the TripleA software, it does not seem intuitive.  I can load the saved game but then what?  I’m guessing I press the ‘Play’ button?  When I do, I get a window that pops up:

‘An error has occured’

java.lang.IllegalStateException: Could not find file for map:World War II v4
at games.strategy.triplea.ui.UIContext.internalSetMapDir(UIContext.java:189)
at games.strategy.triplea.ui.UIContext.setDefaltMapDir(UIContext.java:162)

etc etc etc

• I must be missing something with the TripleA software, it does not seem intuitive.  I can load the saved game but then what?  I’m guessing I press the ‘Play’ button?  When I do, I get a window that pops up:

‘An error has occured’

java.lang.IllegalStateException: Could not find file for map:World War II v4
at games.strategy.triplea.ui.UIContext.internalSetMapDir(UIContext.java:189)
at games.strategy.triplea.ui.UIContext.setDefaltMapDir(UIContext.java:162)

etc etc etc

MrMalachi, I think you do not have the V4 map installed. You have to download and install it first. It is the very last button on the TripleA opening screen “Download Maps”

• I just tried the Gambit in dice and I think I like it, since I m a rather defence-oriented russian player.
There is also IMHO a positive side-effect in it: With the UK BB in the Atlantic, the US can spare a few IPCs and slowly buy itself a small Pacific fleet just to prevent J from cheaply snatching AUS and NZL by R4 or 5.

There 's also a spin-off, “The Norwegian Gambit: Stalin goes to Vegas”. A 3-front attack in NOR (1 ftr), WR and UKR. If it works, the psychological damage to the Axis player will surely make it up for the russian ftr.

• I just tried the Gambit in dice and I think I like it, since I m a rather defence-oriented russian player.
There is also IMHO a positive side-effect in it: With the UK BB in the Atlantic, the US can spare a few IPCs and slowly buy itself a small Pacific fleet just to prevent J from cheaply snatching AUS and NZL by R4 or 5.

There 's also a spin-off, “The Norwegian Gambit: Stalin goes to Vegas”. A 3-front attack in NOR (1 ftr), WR and UKR. If it works, the psychological damage to the Axis player will surely make it up for the russian ftr.

G can retake all 3 territories and destroy most of the Russian army in the process. And losing WR on G1 is bad for Russia.

• I just tried the Gambit in dice and I think I like it, since I m a rather defence-oriented russian player.
There is also IMHO a positive side-effect in it: With the UK BB in the Atlantic, the US can spare a few IPCs and slowly buy itself a small Pacific fleet just to prevent J from cheaply snatching AUS and NZL by R4 or 5.

There 's also a spin-off, “The Norwegian Gambit: Stalin goes to Vegas”. A 3-front attack in NOR (1 ftr), WR and UKR. If it works, the psychological damage to the Axis player will surely make it up for the russian ftr.

G can retake all 3 territories and destroy most of the Russian army in the process. And losing WR on G1 is bad for Russia.

This is surely not a spin-off of the NG. If it was a move with japanese I would call it a seppuka move. Don’t believe in any psychological demage in AAA. The difference to real war is that the player can plainly sea all of the battlefield all of the time. So against a cold-blooded experienced player any attempts to do a “I-Will-Kill-You-Like-Hell-Before-You-Say-A-Word” move are likely to end up in a “I-Will-Kill-You-Like-Hell-Before-You-Say-A-Word” on the wrong side of the table. Never do a triple attack in V4.

• I just tried the Gambit in dice and I think I like it, since I m a rather defence-oriented russian player.
There is also IMHO a positive side-effect in it: With the UK BB in the Atlantic, the US can spare a few IPCs and slowly buy itself a small Pacific fleet just to prevent J from cheaply snatching AUS and NZL by R4 or 5.

There 's also a spin-off, “The Norwegian Gambit: Stalin goes to Vegas”. A 3-front attack in NOR (1 ftr), WR and UKR. If it works, the psychological damage to the Axis player will surely make it up for the russian ftr.

G can retake all 3 territories and destroy most of the Russian army in the process. And losing WR on G1 is bad for Russia.

This is surely not a spin-off of the NG. If it was a move with japanese I would call it a seppuka move. Don’t believe in any psychological demage in AAA. The difference to real war is that the player can plainly sea all of the battlefield all of the time. So against a cold-blooded experienced player any attempts to do a “I-Will-Kill-You-Like-Hell-Before-You-Say-A-Word” move are likely to end up in a “I-Will-Kill-You-Like-Hell-Before-You-Say-A-Word” on the wrong side of the table. Never do a triple attack in V4.

I m just kidding :-D, I know you are right. Fortifying WR is the single most importand thing for R1-and for every round acctually. Losing WR “decapitates” the russian frontline, and this is IMHO the only major weakness of the NG: It leaves WR troops exposed to a devastating G counter, and combined with a 5 inf-5 arm purchase Europe will become a no man’s land for the Russians pretty fast.

• @El:

By the way, is there a short and sexy name for the R1 Ukraine attack? Norway Gambit sounds sweet, but “Standard R1 Ukraine attack” is kinda dull… Ukraine Bash, Ukraine Crush, Ukraine Beats?

Sigh pretentious names . . .
Call it Russian Bear Rampage, or whatever as you please.  Only don’t expect anyone to understand you.

• I just tried the Gambit in dice and I think I like it, since I m a rather defence-oriented russian player.
There is also IMHO a positive side-effect in it: With the UK BB in the Atlantic, the US can spare a few IPCs and slowly buy itself a small Pacific fleet just to prevent J from cheaply snatching AUS and NZL by R4 or 5.

There 's also a spin-off, “The Norwegian Gambit: Stalin goes to Vegas”. A 3-front attack in NOR (1 ftr), WR and UKR. If it works, the psychological damage to the Axis player will surely make it up for the russian ftr.

Cute name for it Advosan!  (I hate cute names . . .)

I personally would call the Nor/WR/Ukr attack “Stalin’s Nightmare” or perhaps “Three Little Bears Wander Into A Wolf’s Lair” or “Russian Roulette”

The odds are good that at least one of the attacks fails, and depending on dice results, you can set Germany up for TURBO TANK DASH, which is about ten times nastier than a regular German tank dash.  Basically Germany forgoes Africa, lands enough units in Caucasus to hold it against the UK1 fighter/bomber/infantry combo, whacks West Russia with the Belorussia infantry and air, then Japan flies in 4 fighters to reinforce Caucasus, leaving Russia unable to recapture.  G2 sees the G1 tank build rush into Ukraine, while Germany starts popping units out on Moscow’s doorstep, while Germany doesn’t even have to recapture Western Europe from UK - it’s IPCs in UK’s bank, but UK can’t mount any sort of serious threat to Berlin or Rome, while Moscow’s about to break in half.

This whole scenario is pretty much impossible for a WR/Ukr attack, but a Nor/WR/Ukr sets it up.

If you’re talking about playing Low Luck, better mention that.  Low Luck is a house rule.  Dice is the default.

• In all seriousness, the names are useful when you’re typing up a strategy post and need short references like NG. Ukraine Opening will do just as fine, if it sticks (but still less cool than Norwegian Gambit).

• @El:

In all seriousness, the names are useful when you’re typing up a strategy post and need short references like NG. Ukraine Opening will do just as fine, if it sticks (but still less cool than Norwegian Gambit).

Clarity > Coolness.

Although just CHECK out my new profile image and saying.  Yeah.

• @Bunnies:

@El:

In all seriousness, the names are useful when you’re typing up a strategy post and need short references like NG. Ukraine Opening will do just as fine, if it sticks (but still less cool than Norwegian Gambit).

Clarity > Coolness.

Although just CHECK out my new profile image and saying.  Yeah.

we call a German response to a failed triple;

Rapid Attack Plan Epsilon
Or “RAPE” for short.

• We have talked a lot about the cases when NG does not or might not work. Let me for once tell you a story of how it looks when it actually works, a story of a perfect Norwegian gambit I would say. A Norwegian Gambit when you enter Berlin with russian tanks on R4  :mrgreen:.

You do everything as usual in R1, you get good dice, so you leave 6inf, 2 art, 3 tnk on WR, you have 3 units left on Norway, you have 2 infs and the lame fig on Kar and 6 units on cauc.

Germany takes AE, takes Kar, builds defensively only ground units and does not kill SZ1, but uses the sub on SZ 13, thus preserving all subs (cru does not hit) and all 5 figs.

UK takes back AE and luckily with all 3 infs surviving, sinks SZ 59, kills the SZ5 trannie, and builds AC, dd, trn, hence having 3 trns on R1 on SZ8: not bad really. The figs land on WR, the Indian Ocean fig plus the bmb land on Belgian congo.

Japy does some ussual shimy shumy as she usually does on China and Pearl, builds an IC and something else.

US builds 3 trns, AC and inf plus art, thus having 6 units to move off EUS, plus four on UK with the trns and cru on SZ8. Lands 2 figs on UK AC SZ8. Bmb kills the dd SZ7.

Russia R2 builds 3infs and 4 tnks, because I really love having 10 R tanks on R2 and story of this game will show you why.

G2 is a major mistake since the guy really does not feel like losing the med fleet so he builds an AC and fortifies Libya like Kaddafi.

He gets KAr, bel and ukr but just, and fortifies WEU.

UK is cold as ice and does not move anywhere from SZ8, build 3 more trannies and ground units, so it has 6 full trannies to unload R3. And moves all air to cauc. Retreats 2 units from AE leaving there just one, and keeping 3 on Kenya (one is the original SA guy) and 2 in India, with 2 on the aussie trannie in SZ 30.

J goes west with its ships which is really interesting, it tooks Hawaii, bury, sink, and gets some more guys to FIC, to invade india, where the 2 annoying gurkhas were able to keep it for her majesty on UK1 and UK2 really.

US2 builds 2 more trannies /so it has 8 o them which is all it needs really/ and 7 ground units in order to have 8 units ready to be shipped off Eastern Canada from R3 on (one of the 8 being the AA gun from EUS).

R3 Russia is having real feast since Germany is fighting for Med like a fire engine going to a wrong fire. So it takes Karelia, with 7 infs and 10 tnks, it takes bel and ukr too.

Germany on R3 makes another real bad decision because some mistakes tend to produce more mistakes and builds another AC on med. The guy does not want to lose the ships including the AC he has build the previous round. So it ends with trying but not taking UKR, trying but not taking bel, leaving one guy on EE, and having BB, 2 ACs, 3 subs and 4 figs off Italy, but only 5 inf, 1 bmb and  2 figs on Berlin. Impressive. Just for the record: Germany takes AE with three units.

UK uses its trannie that on R1 moved the guy from NZ to Aus, and on R2 moved 2 guys od Aus to SZ30 to move the 2  infs to AE where they merge with 3 infs from Italian East Africa (2 retreated from AE, 1 came from Kenya) and since there are 4 planes from cauc, they kill all three Ger units on AE with not a single hit back, thus taking AE with 5 infs. UK also moves everything it can to Norway, setting up the fleet SZ3. The important thing is the US figs move on board of the UKs AC.

Japs come with really strong fleet to South Atlantic, take india, Sink and yakut, but they are nowhere near anything important really.

US kills the Gerrys EE guy with bmb and 2 figs off the Uk AC SZ3. Just for the record, the Gerry did not strike back. They move the fleet to SZ 3 too and all UK units to Norway, 4 trannies are there at SZ 3, 4 others are at SZ1 with the bb, and there are 8 ground units on ECanada, there are also 3 infs and 4 tnks at WUS to keep the japs honest, and 4 infs on EUS.

Round 4: Russia attacks Berlin with 10 tanks taking it 5 tanks remaining. Russian also take balkans. Although Gerrys were able to retake it, Axis player resigns before the round ends. It is obvious Allies would prevail not before too long.

• Let me for once tell you a story of how it looks when it actually works, a story of a perfect Norwegian gambit I would say.

The description of the game is way too vague to get a real concrete grasp on exactly what happened.  Sounds like Allies got very lucky on multiple early rounds in Africa, Germany screwed around with too much Med fleet.  Besides that, it seems Japan messed around without focus evinced by its attack on Hawaiian islands on J2, while Germany either really got screwed on dice or messed up its buys and moves on G3, or both.

If that’s true, the game doesn’t speak much to the validity of the Norwegian Gambit (i.e. two fighters to Norway on Russia’s first turn).  Allies had good luck, Axis screwed around; all the Allies had to do was avoid tripping and falling on their own swords.

The way I see it, WR/Ukr is a ‘safe’ opening for the Allies; even if things go badly, noncombat moves and unit placement minimizes the damage the Germans can do.  But Norway is ‘dangerous’.  If things go badly with Norway/WR, the Germans can SMASH the Russians, and there isn’t much the Allies can do except hope for some extremely crappy G1 dice.

(edit) - I would say the Norway two-fighter opening has one advantage - if you’re going against an Axis player that doesn’t know how to counter properly, and that isn’t able to improvise an effective counter, then with average to good dice, you will have a better edge than you would with a WR/Ukr open.

BUT I would say if the Axis player IS prepared, the Norway opening is at best only a little better, if that.  Early game, the Russians lose a fighter; mid to late game if Norway is in Russian hands, UK doesn’t have Norway income (which I am increasingly thinking is very imporant in the face of UK territory losses in Africa/Asia/Pacific).  If Norway is still in Russian hands and Moscow falls, the Allies will lose that many IPCs in income as Norway becomes effectively dead territory.  Yes, Norway in Russian hands increases Russian income, but in a worse-case (not worst case) scenario, the Allies can really afford to lose Moscow - and if they do, Norway in Russian hands does the Allies no good, but if Norway is owned by anyone else, the Allies can at least contest it.

• Bunny, here you go again.

We all know the criticism, all I say is that when it works, it really can work beautifully. Of course, Allies were blessed with some kind dice early on, of course the Axis game was suboptimal to say the least because Germany really should not be sinking IPCs in the water, but it does not diminish my joy of having Russian tanks in Berlin R4. Priceless.

On balance, I have to say the only recent time when I felt I was thouroughly outplayed, the guy, apperantly an old Revised Pro at the end of the game told me the only mistake I made was going Norway R1 since “all the senior players agree, it is way too risky”.  I think the guy has meant it as a flatter but in fact he was just adding an insult to an injury.

So OK, I admit for the best players playing against the best players NG might not be the optimal way, but I know as you know, that I am not going to beat the best anyway on the standard dice, so why not give it a shot with the edgy sharp opening, eh?

• So OK, I admit for the best players playing against the best players NG might not be the optimal way, but I know as you know, that I am not going to beat the best anyway on the standard dice, so why not give it a shot with the edgy sharp opening, eh?

That’s basically the jist of it.  Norway was/is popular because since it works 80%+, it’s the sort of risk that might increase Allied winning percentages against most Axis strategies.

Logically, if you think you are better then your opponent and will beat him over the long game, then you shouldn’t try NG R1, because the risk is too high.  This is part of the reasoning of experts not doing it….  For me the main case FOR NG is in cases where you have great respect for your opponent and need a leg up.  For example, Lukalion and El_Ravager both do (or did) alot better with Allies than many experts in expert-on-expert settings, and alot of that has to do with NG R1.

Hobbes has been endeavoring to demonstrate that if Axis is capable of changing up and taking more risks following NG R1, then the Axis’ situation following a successful NG R1 is not as bad as it might seem; and that in fact it’s possible NG is not a good risk at all.  His arguments are very interesting…I wish I had some time to test em.

• Bunny, here you go again.

We all know the criticism, all I say is that when it works, it really can work beautifully. Of course, Allies were blessed with some kind dice early on, of course the Axis game was suboptimal to say the least because Germany really should not be sinking IPCs in the water, but it does not diminish my joy of having Russian tanks in Berlin R4. Priceless.

Nothing like winning that Battle of Berlin award!

Hobbes has been endeavoring to demonstrate that if Axis is capable of changing up and taking more risks following NG R1, then the Axis’ situation following a successful NG R1 is not as bad as it might seem; and that in fact it’s possible NG is not a good risk at all.  His arguments are very interesting…I wish I had some time to test em.

Next game you play with Axis check the Case Blue strategy I’ve outlined on the Article Submission section and do the West Russia counterattack with Germany, regardless of Russia doing a Norwegian Gambit or not. In most cases you’ll have the odds on theory to win WRus, the main problem is really the will to sacrifice most of the Luftwaffe due to that Russian AA.
The more I’ve been thinking (and playing) the more I’m convinced that it is one of the best Axis openings, to hit West Russia on G1. And NG just makes it even juicier - 1 Russian fighter destroyed and a large portion of the Russian army diverted to a side territory, while the German units on Ukraine and Belo remain intact… priceless

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