One of the key areas in Spring 1901 is undoubtedly Galicia. It borders home supply centers of both Russia (Warsaw) and Austria (Vienna, Budapest) and has direct access to Rumania. A good strategy around Galicia is necessary for both Russia and Austria, but this can be played in many ways.
The Austrian side
If Austria severely doubts both Russia and Italian intentions, he could play the hedgehog, or southern hedgehog. Any Italian attack will be broken, because the army in Rome cannot occupy Venice, and you either bounce in Galicia or occupy it yourself. However, the consequences of these moves are also quite negative both from a strategic and negotiating point of view.
|F (Tri) – Ven |
A (Vie) – Gal
A (Bud) – Rum
|F (Tri) – Ven|
A (Vie) – Gal
A (Bud) – Ser
Although these moves give you a lot of certainty they also could drive Italy and Russia towards each other, forming an alliance against you. Hence, by being so distrustful, you could create your own self-fulfilling prophecy (these are the most dangerous prophecies out there).
To keep Russia out of Galicia, you could strike a deal with three countries involved: Russia, Germany, and yourself. Ask Germany to threaten to bounce Russia out of Sweden in fall 1901, if he makes a move for Galicia in Spring 1901. The advantage of this deal is that the Russians have to show their intentions in the Spring, whereas Germany will only have to respond in the fall. Obviously it is best if Germany has the intention to occupy Denmark in Spring 1901. But even in the case Germany will make a move for Holland with his fleet in Kiel, you could still bluff and achieve a “Russia-free” Galicia.
Another important consideration of the hedgehog moves is your position against Italy. An Italian player can be impatient and decides to immediately attack you. Most of the time he will do this via A(Ven) – Tyr, and A (Rom) – Ven. Although the move with your fleet to Trieste is great to counter this, especially if Vienna bounces with Russia in Galicia, you do have your fleet tight up in Trieste. This makes it impossible to conquer Greece in 1901. I would personally spend a lot of time negotiating any kind of deal where you can take Greece in Fall 1901. The main reason for this is that Austria needs growth in supply centers early, and Greece is such a strategic position that you do not want this to fall in the hands of anybody else.
The Russian side
For Russia, an Austrian army in Galicia is not nice to have, but you could survive this. Obviously, leaving Warsaw exposed to an Austrian invasion is not what you want, but I personally do not like a prearranged bounce over Galicia playing the Czar. The army in Warsaw is useless in fall 1901 and Austria either wants Vienna occupied to protect himself against Italian moves, or he bounces with Budapest, meaning he is still capable of putting pressure on Serbia or Rumania in the fall. At the same time, it could very well be that your fleet in Sevastopol is also set up for a bounce with Turkey over the BLA, and you do like some of your units to move.
Obviously both countries gain more from a DMZ in Galicia than a bounce. However, the amount of trust between the partners will depend if both stick to this deal.