Editor's Note: During a discussion of the article on Turkey in Ambition & Empire in this issue, one of the variant's designers offered an overview of how the country came to be in its current configuration. I thought it was valuable background information; so I compiled his comments. This is the result!
Turkey was not always a two SC power. When Ambition & Empire (Version 1) was first introduced in 2000, Turkey had three home SCs: Constantinople, Sofia, and Bakhchisaray (see Map 1). As the variant was played and changes were made based on game results and player comments, Turkey remained largely unchanged.
The first major change to Turkey’s structure occurred in 2005 with the introduction of the Version 4 map. Bakhchisaray became a neutral SC, the Crimean Khanate (or Crimea for short), and Damascus became Turkey’s third SC (See Map 2).
Unfortunately, these changes did not result in the Turkey that Jeff and I had hoped for. In a nutshell, the new Turkey was too strong. We liked the idea of keeping the Crimea as a minor power, so the question was how to redesign a new Turkey that was less powerful, but still viable. We agreed that Turkey should have only two SCs and two units at game-start; however, we struggled to come up with a satisfactory arrangement.
Fortunately, Chris Dziedzic came to the rescue by offering an ingeniously simple and effective solution (see Map 3). Chris suggested incorporating the small portion of the Constantinople space in European Turkey (i.e., the portion that contains the City of Constantinople itself) into the Sofia space and calling the resulting new space Constantinople. The remainder of the former Constantinople space would become a new SC called Ankara. Damascus would revert back to a non-SC space called Syria. Constantinople would start with a fleet and Ankara an army. These changes became effective with the introduction of the Version 5 map in 2006.
To date, five games have been played with this new Turkey. It has reached as many as 12 SCs (remember, only 15 centers are needed to win in A&E!), but also been eliminated completely. Only time will tell whether more adjustments are needed!
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