comment by HughRistik ·
2011-02-17T07:30:16.866Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
I began the game by making overtures of alliances towards both my neighbors, and I arranged a bounce in the Black Sea with Russia. In particular, I told Russia that I would be interested in a Juggernaught, perhaps a disguised one.
Austria's overextension, combined with a lack of communication from it, made attacking him an easy choice.
Italian King Alexandros moved Tunis to the Ionian, and Naples to Apulia without warning. While this move might seem innocuous, it actually started a dark chapter of Italian-Austrian relations. His fleets were closer to me than to anyone else, and he didn't need them against Austria. Austria failed to retain either Vienna or Trieste, and I knew he was about to lose Budapest to Italy, also, which I hadn't expected because I thought Russia would support it.
I thought ahead to the end of 1902, and I didn't like the idea of Austria being eliminated, with so much Italian units nearby and two Italian builds coming. I feared an Italian-Russian alliance brewing. I regretted attacking Serbia, and wished that I had attacked Russia in Rumania instead.
Not wanting to be the odd man out in the new Southeast triangle, I created a plan for Fall 1902 that would preemptively strike Italy in case he attempted to cut Albania to get two builds without notifying me. Furthermore, by preemptively striking Italy, I sent a costly signal to Czar Thausler that I was interested in working with him, and that I had been willing to sacrifice my options for an Italian alliance by alienating the Italian Monarch. Hitting a neighbor first is always a tough decision, but I didn't just want to wait around and risk them ganging up on me.
Believing that I had Russian backing, I embarked on a very risky plan to attack Italy (though Russia didn't know the details of my plan). I went for a convoy into Apulia in Spring 1903. Unfortunately, Russia stabbed me and got together with Italy, attempting to support Italy into Serbia. Even though I cut Russia's support, I knew that Italy had only attacked me out of belief in a Russian alliance. Two of my centers fell to Italy.
With the survival of Turkey in danger, I wrote impassioned emails to Russia urging him to attack Italy's open flank. I pointed out that Italy would grow very fast on my centers, and that he would incur a Parfit's Hitchhiker problem getting Italy to give him my centers and allow him to keep them (he was the one who originally brought up Parfit's Hitchhiker earlier in our negotiations). I asked Russia whether he really wanted Italy moving towards him, whereas if he worked with me, I would be moving away from it.
In the background, I emailed the entire Western triple, warning them of Russian expansion, and urged them to attack Russia.
Luckily, I was able to convince Thausler to work with me, and he stabbed Italy in the Fall. I still don't know exactly what Thausler was planning in the Spring. I would be curious to know why he worked with me, instead of dismantling me with Italy.
After Russia switched back to my side, I had to decide whether to continue working with him, or to stab him and work with Italy. The result of his stab was that we were working together, like originally planned... except I had received a disband, and he had snagged Budapest. I genuinely wanted to punish this defection, so I continued agitating towards the West against Russia, telling them that I was only working with him out of convenience, but that I would stab him as soon as they moved against him. I explained that I didn't want to merely tickle Russia, and that I wanted any attack against him to be decisive.
Meanwhile, I told Russia that I might overlook him stabbing me if he was able to give me a mutually-profitable alliance. I explained that if he stabbed me again, it would be war for the rest of the game. I told Thausler that I was agitating against him as a diversion, so that our Juggernaught (aka Russia-Turkey alliance) would be hidden until it was too late. I was telling almost the whole truth to everyone. If the West got on board against Russia, I planned to stab him. If they failed to take him seriously, then I would keep working with Russia in a Juggernaught.
I told the West that I would like to see an alliance structure that would be effective against Russia. However, England stabbed Germany, while letting Russia walk into Norway in Spring 1904. I told Thausler that I was agitating against him as a diversion, so that our Juggernaught (aka Russia-Turkey alliance) would be hidden until it was too late. I was telling almost the whole truth to everyone. If the West got on board against Russia, I planned to stab him. If they failed to take him seriously, then I would keep working with Russia in a Juggernaught.
I told the West that I would like to see an alliance structure that would be effective against Russia. However, England stabbed Germany, while letting Russia walk into Norway in Spring 1904. Thanks to his lack of fleets, France had been toothless against England for far too long.
As for Italy, we were never able to negotiate a deal against Russia. The problem with me working with Italy and attacking Russia is that doing so would have allowed Italy to build fleets behind me, which I considered risky. Italy declared that if I was working with him against Russia, there would be no need for me to worry about him attacking me!
While I found this assurance from Italian Monarch charming, and I believed that he was probably telling the truth, I had to explain to him that I did not want to create a situation where he had the ability and incentive to hit me in the back merely on his assurance that he would not respond to that incentive.
Maybe things would have been different if Italy had been able to show me more of a benefit to working with him, instead of just using costs of attacking him and Russian expansion to try to motivate me. Since I had the stronger military position, I wanted more carrot, and less stick. Italy never attempted to paint me a rosy picture of an Italian-Turkish alliance, nor gave even lip service to attacking France. He would have had a better chance if he had accepted junior partner status in an alliance with me (attempting to stab me later), rather than going out in a blaze of glory. And of course, if the West had actually put any real pressure on Russia, then I might have looked for an ally in Italy against him. In the end, I just couldn't justify working with Italy and suffering the opportunity cost of my alliance with Russia. I can go into more detail about Ottoman-Italian relations if anyone is curious.