Turkey EoG

Beginning of game.

This was my first time playing Turkey, and I have to say options for Turkey seem grim at first. However, I was lucky enough that all three of my neighbors seemed willing to work with me in the begining. I mentioned already my awkward experience with Italy initially. Lucky for me, I latched onto Austria immediately. In the beginning, there really was no question, and was not a close call. Austria all the way.

I was very *(pleasantly) surprised that Italy actually attempted to convoy to Greece. I had a feeling that he was leading me on, and hoping I would "waste" A Bul's move with a voided support order. I think I actually got to the Ionian Sea by 1902, but Italy proved a stubborn foe, and it took me the entire game to progress beyond the Ionian Sea.

I never really knew England, since he never returned press. Since I felt I was on decent terms with Germany and France, his friendship seemed unnecessary. A pity.

My first impression of Germany was that he was a "slick" player. To me that means a player who will not lie, but will engage in all sorts of funny business behind your back. I did not really trust him for the long term, but he was a very reliable source of information and diplomatic support. In hindsight my wariness was probably due to my contrasting Austria with Germany. Austria seemed completely trustworthy and friendly, much more so than Germany.

My impression of Russia was favorable, but he couldn't compare with Austria, and also I didn't want to anger Germany, since he had been very helpful. And I didn't want to form an RT, which would have caused the ire of everyone else.

My initial impression of France was favorable, but after 1901 our relations hit a permanent snag with his stubborn insistence on "protecting" Italy. After about 2-3 years, it was apparant to me that at least France believed that he and Germany would sweep the board (Austria can verify my many paranoid presses "There's an FG I'm tellin' you!" :-) I may have lied to France (which was a mistake I outlined in my reaction to Italy's EoG), but it seemed clear after 1901 that France was completely uninterested in friendship with Turkey. I had been hoping that France would help me carve up Italy.

Had France helped carve Italy, I would have had to then choose whether to remain at Austria's side and push into France, or stab Austria at that point. I was playing for a solo then, and I always have an eye on where my 18th center might come from. I knew that to win as Turkey I would have to get my fleets into the MAO. A large task which Italy prevented me from reaching. Had France helped me against Italy, in all liklihood I would have attacked France (and not Austria) next.

In fact, the unlikeliness of the AT was what Austria and I were counting on to foil our foes. We were hopeful that the others would assume that at any moment one of us would stab the other, and AT would be over.

France and Italy always wanted me to attack Austria (understandably for Italy, but from France this was puzzling.) France claimed to want to stab Germany, but his insistence that he needed Italy to do this was 100% unconvincing. If he wanted to stab Germany, why wouldn't he try to convince Austria? But my sense was that Austria and France rarely talked.

Anyway, with France, Italy, England and Russia out of bounds diplomatically, Austria and I naturally turned to Germany, who at least I had been in touch with since the beginning. I was very nervous about the diplomatic strength of Germany. He was allied with every power on the board except England and perhaps Italy (what happened between I and G that seemed to cause such bad feelings?)

It was around now that I started on the long road of thorough negotiation with Germany, and my many "conditions". At that time, Germany seemed to want me to attack Austria. He went so far as to move unannounced to Tyrolia, which sparked a minor controversy (our only controversy, as it turned out).

I insisted that I could not move against Austria unless he attacked one of his many allies first. I was still deathly afraid of FG. He finally attacked Russia.

There was one point immediately after that where I seriously contemplated attacking Austria (a two center stab involving Serbia, if I recall). I had France on board and Russia was very receptive also. I even had the orders in. My aim would have been to gain strength to survive the shakeout, and get Russia on my side so that I could concentrate exclusively on AI. And I also wanted Russia to be viable to put up some fight against Germany, to keep him contained. But then I did some simple thinking: stab my main ally, and piss off my second best chance at an ally, and force myself to trust former enemies (Italy for a turn or two, and Russia, and the up-to-then insincere sounding France)? I changed the orders at the last minute (this was one of the "lies" I had told F and I and, regretably, R, who didn't deserve it at that point; sorry Russia!)

So at that point the GAT alliance was going strong. I still considered Austria my primary ally. Somewhere in here Germany stabbed France, but since France was still annoyed with me, he kept his fleets defending Italy. I realized that I would not be able to break though to TYN anytime soon, and I was concerned that in the long run Germany has a serious shot at a solo.

Austria and I could have set up a stalemate pretty easily (we were starting to make some progress against Italy by this time, and figured that Italy would agree to be part of the line in exchange for being in the draw). Trouble is, I hate three way draws, and I would never have agreed to a 4-way (I only do 4-ways if I'm a 1-center power and don't deserve to be in the draw at all ;)

This is when I started thinking seriously that I would have to stab Austria to advance my position and be a real contender. Germany and I started talking more and more, and he broached (or maybe I did; but I think he did) the offer of a 2-way. From his point of view it made sense: find a 2-way partner, or watch the game harden into a large draw.

Ironically, I thought my bargaining power vis a vis Germany was strong for this very reason: either he works with me, or he's going to have to settle for a large draw. The only danger to me was if Germany sided with Austria, but strangely I wasn't very concerned about it. It didn't seem likely.

I conditioned my allegience with Germany (we never really said, "we're making an alliance") on his acceptance of countless conditions which were designed to prevent a situation where Germany could go on a solo run. Of course he could have lied, but there were so many conditions (and new ones each turn) that I would have been tipped off way in advance, and I felt that if push came to shove, we could form a stalemate line.

So, with a heavy heart but firm conviction in the wisdom of my decision, I stabbed my main ally, Austria (he was up til then my main ally). Austria and I had become fast friends in this game, and it was a tough decision to make. I had fresh in my mind the memory of a similar situation in which I stabbed a loyal ally who I was very friendly with, and he took it very personally and refused to talk to me ever again, and I felt guilty. I didn't think Austria would react that way, but you never know. Happily, he took it quite well (it is a game, afterall), but obviously he shifted strategies, and attempted to get Germany on his side, presumably to get Germany within striking distrance of a draw, therefore scaring me into stopping my attack on Austria and forming a draw line with him....

I'm positive he knows this, but to Austria I must say that it was only the dictates of geography (and my desire for an ending better than a 3-way ;), which prevented me from making decent progress in the Med, which made me stab. I have no doubt that we could have successfully pursued a 2-way if the conditions had been more favorable.

Back to the narrative...

....However, Germany agreed to every condition, or, more ususal, we arrived at an agreement through back and forth negotiation. I really felt like the two of us were playing the game as it was originally intended to be played. We were both very thorough and shrewd, yet reasonable. Unreasonable requests were transformed through negotiation into reasonable requests.

There were many scary moments were I lost a lot of sleep thinking the German stab could come at any minute. This deserves a brief explanation. The game before this one ended in a loss for me, when a 2-way partner who was reasonable throughout the game stabbed at the last minute for a solo. This disappointment was always on my mind, and for this reason I always negotiated til there was nothing left to negotiate about, and then found a few more things to negotiate about.

One source of worry was that FIA's moves would become coordinated and I would be effectively stalemated in the Med. Surprisingly, FIA were always uncoordinated, much to my advantage. I firmly believe that France and Austria must never have exchanged more than two or three press. Is this true?

If FIA formed a tight alliance, I may have been slowed, but I'm not sure it would have had an impact on the game. I say this because by this time I felt that there was no situation Germany and I could not overcome through negotiation. One of the cornerstone agreements of our 2-way run was that neither of us get more than one center ahead of the other, even if it meant not taking centers which easily could have been taken. The other cornerstone was that Germany not enter the MAO until I entered TYN. And we DMZ'd most of the north for a while.

There was a tense spot at the end where it looked like I could grab a solo. However, I didn't view France as reliable, and I suspected that France would help out only long enough to scare Germany into including him in the draw. Also, Germany and I had such an effective working relationship, that it seemed cheap to stab at the last moment. Still, if I could have forced the solo on my own, not having to rely on anyone, I may have done it. But, to Germany's credit, he made requests and insisted on conditions (like I had made to Germany for all of those years when I was the underdog :) which made it not possible for me to explore the possibility of a solo, without taking a risk that I would fail. I wasn't about to throw away a guaranteed 2-way for a maybe solo that would have otherwise been a 3 or (gasp!) 4 way draw. And my decision "felt" right, so I'll never be convinced that I made an error in not pursuing the solo.

In all, I think I speak for Germany and myself when I say that we're proud of all the diplomatic effort that went into this GT draw. Even until the end, we never rested on our laurels. There was serious negotiation for almost every move. If either of us had not given full concentration to any of the moves for any turn, the other would have had a good opportunity for a solo. I felt that this game was the most tense of any I've ever played, even though all of the negotiations went well. I just never knew when or if the ax would fall. Germany and I joked that if anyone thought this draw was prearranged, they ought to go back and read of all of the press we had exhanged. There was a ton of it, and only near the very very end did we start to talk about personal stuff or refer to our assocaition as an alliance. I felt that the diplomatic rigor of our association was an integral part of what made it so strong, and I didn't want to jeopordize it by getting into personal stuff before I was certain I was in the clear.

It is worthy of note that not one of the GT agreements or conditions was broken, except near the end by me, when Germany left town before I had a chance to talk to him (my fault) and one of the moves he said he entered was one I would have objected to. I sent about 10 presses explaining the situation, announcing my intention to violate one or two agreements, and taking great pains to self-impose other conditions so that Germany would have accepted my proposal had we been able to negotiate. I think I succeeded (at least he claimed not to be annoyed or angered).

OK, I think that's it, and at any rate, I'm babbling. I hope the length of this EoG is not interpreted as vanity. My job consists predominantly of writing (and I like to write, thankfully), and I can type faster than I can write with a pen.

I had great fun in this game, and enjoyed the cast of characters. I would love to meet any of you in another game sometime, (though it better be anonymous, so that I'm not attacked out of revenge! ;-), and would be happy to discuss anything that needs discussing/clearing up.

Best regards to all,
Karlis Povisils
New Jersey, U.S.A.
a.k.a. Sultan Rimi

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