1900 090321: THE ALL STARS

by Chris Dziedzic

Editor's Note: Some time ago, Chris proposed the idea of having a series of articles showcasing a demonstration game of the 1900 variant, with commentary from observers. He's managed to put together a truly stellar group of players for it! In this initial installment Chris introduces the players, explains how he managed power assignment, and presents us with the results from the opening year.

If you are not already familiar with the 1900 variant, you may want to look at previous articles on it, including the Variant Overview of 1900 from the Fall 2007 Movement Issue and chapters of the Gamer's Guide to 1900 which appeared in various issues (some quick links to these are provided at the beginning of the article on Turkey).

To summarize the variant briefly, it uses all the Great Powers from standard Diplomacy, but with a few modifications to the map. The starting forces are also slightly different: Germany has a fourth home supply center, while Britain and France also start with a fourth non-home supply center containing a unit (Army Algiers for France, and Fleet Egypt for Britain). Britain does not start with an Army in Liverpool, having instead a Fleet in Gibraltar (a new space which is not a supply center). Austria begins with an army in Trieste instead of a fleet. Italy's third home supply center is landlocked Milan, while Venice becomes a non-SC province "Venetia". Similarly, Turkey's supply center in Smyrna is removed (the province being named "Konya"), instead appearing as "Damascus" in Syria. Switzerland is a neutral supply center. Various other changes can be seen directly on the map.

The mechanics of the variant are exactly the same as in standard Diplomacy, except for two special rules:

  • The Russian Emergency Measures rule: Whenever Russia possesses at least one, but not all four, of its original home supply centers, it is entitled to maintain one extra unit on the map (i.e., one more than the number of supply centers it currently controls). Additionally, while Russia is in this condition, the Tsar may use Siberia as a build site during the adjustment phase, if Siberia is unoccupied.

  • The Suez Canal rules: A unit can move directly from Egypt or Hejaz to the Mid-Atlantic Ocean, or vice-versa, at half strength.

See the Gamer's Guide to 1900 for a more complete description of these two rules.

Game Start: Winter 1899

Spring 1900

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There are 39 supply centers on the 1900 map, but the victory condition remains 18. This means that a draw in 1900 requires at least three countries, since two cannot split the board without one of them reaching 18 centers and winning outright.

So let's meet our cast of characters.

  • Chris McInerney (Austria-Hungary): Chris has multiple solos as France, Germany and Russia in his extensive play of the 1900 variant. He also served as the Tournament Director for the 1900 tournament run on the DPJudge from 2005 to 2007.

  • Wayne Bailey (Britain): Wayne is one of the true veterans of this variant, as his play of 1900 goes back to its development in the late 1990's under Baron Powell. Wayne has multiple solos as Britain and Turkey in 1900 games to his credit.

  • JT Fest (France): Many of you will recognize JT from his long and successful involvement with the tournament play of Diplomacy. JT has the distinction of having been the first person to ever solo as Germany in a game of 1900.

  • Lynn Mercer (Germany): Lynn also has won multiple games as France, Germany and Russia in previous play of 1900.

  • Robert Stein (Italy): Robert has multiple solos as France, Italy and Turkey in previous play of 1900.

  • Mike Norton (Russia): Mike won the 1900 tournament that was run by Chris McInerney in 2005-2007 on the DP Judge, including a blistering solo as Austria-Hungary. Mike also has an Italian solo to his credit in his earlier games of 1900.

  • Jonas Lehtonen (Turkey): Jonas finished second in the 1900 tournament that was run by Chris McInerney on the DP Judge back in 2005-2007. Besides his success there, he also has multiple solos as Germany, Italy and Russia in his prior games of the 1900 variant.

As you can see, this field of players is very strong. They all have both lots of experience and lots of success in this variant. This is a great group to showcase the 1900 variant with to a larger audience.

Great Power Selection

In this game, I simultaneously considered the top choice from each player's submitted preference list:

WayneB F T G R A I
JonasR B T
ChrisA G I R T F B
RobertI (GBR) (TF) A
LynnG A F R I T B
MikeR G F B A T I

I simultaneously considered the top choice from each player's submitted preference list. Since Wayne is the only player who had Britain as his top choice, he is automatically assigned that power. Similarly, Chris is assigned Austria-Hungary; Robert is assigned Italy and Lynn is assigned Germany.

WayneAssigned Britain
JonasR B T
ChrisAssigned Austria-Hungary
RobertAssigned Italy
LynnAssigned Germany
MikeR G F B A T I

Jonas and Mike both had Russia as their top choice. Thus, I randomly assign one of them Russia; a coin toss works perfectly. Mike won the toss won the coin toss and was assigned Russia.

I was now done with consideration of the top choice from each player's submitted preference list. I crossed off the powers which have been assigned thus far. This produces the following list of players and their preference lists:

WayneAssigned Britain
JonasR B T
ChrisAssigned Austria-Hungary
RobertAssigned Italy
LynnAssigned Germany
MikeAssigned Russia

Jonas was now assigned his top remaining power, Turkey. JT, who asked for a random power assignment, is assigned France, the final power. The outcome, using this method for the given example, may be summarized as follows:

Preference rank
WayneAssigned Britain1
JonasAssigned Turkey3
JTAssigned FranceRandom
ChrisAssigned Austria-Hungary1
RobertAssigned Italy1
LynnAssigned Germany1
MikeAssigned Russia1
Average 1.3333

Note that five players received their first choice for power assignment and that the "average player" received better than his second choice. No player received anything worse than his third choice. I think that worked out pretty well.

Spring 1900

Spring 1900

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Paris: The French government announced today a defensive redeployment of forces in response to indications of impending troop movements throughout Europe. "It is with regret that we consider such a mobilization necessary," stated the President, "but various diplomatic channels are warning of a coming storm." The President, obviously troubled by the threat to peace on the continent, went on to say; "It is our greatest hope that cooler heads will prevail, and that this current crisis will pass before blood is shed and war engulfs us all."

Baltimore Times-Herald (Spring 1900 edition):

  • British Threaten to Use Native Troops Against the Boers in South Africa. Public Opinion in Europe Divided. Kaiser Lectures British Ambassador on the proper way to wage war.
  • Speak German or Else! Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary makes German the official language of the Royal and Imperial Army. Czechs defiant. Tsar offers to sent thousands of boxes of dictionaries to Prague.
  • Catastrophe in Brussels Averted! Assassination attempt on the Prince of Wales fails. Turkish suspects in custody.
  • Fancy Men in Fancy Pants Thwarted. Italian Olympic atheletes expelled from Games after deplorable incident. Paris World's Fair temporarily closed. Italy threatens reprisals.

Nicolas Winthrop reporting from Madrid


Austria-Hungary: A Vie-Tri, A Bud-Gal (fails), A Tri-Ser

Charles: This is a slightly non-standard opening for Austria in 1900 (see the discussion in the Austrian section of the Gamer's Guide to 1900). It looks like the Archduke expected the move to Galicia to fail, as he would otherwise have ordered A Vie-Bud to follow up. To my mind, this indicates two possibilities:
  1. The bounce in Galicia was pre-arranged with Russia.
  2. Austria expected a Russian attack.

Given the Russian moves (see below), it looks to me like negotiations between the Archduke and Tsar broke down. The fact that Austria didn't move A Vie westward is another indication, if a minor one — if peace with Russia was expected, the Archduke might have felt more free to participate in the West.

Chris: A fairly vanilla opening by Chris of Austria-Hungary. There is a bounce with Mike of Russia in Galicia. I can also see those two feuding over Rumania in the next couple of seasons. Chris of Austria-Hungary now has two armies on Rumania, while the Russian southern defenses are now stretched rather thin.

Britain: F Lon-Nth, F Edi-Nwg, F Egy-Eas, F Gib-MAO

Charles: If I were France, the move to MAO would make me uncomfortable. However, it doesn't look like a full-fledged attack on France. Since the PM didn't follow up with a move to the Channel, it looks far more like part of an Anglo-French plan to get unentangled from each other. The PM may also be interested in sending that fleet to reinforce his presence in Egypt — although Portugal is guaranteed if he chooses that instead.

I'm not surprised that the PM decided to keep the Royal Navy in Egypt. However, I do find it a bit unusual that he moved to the Eastern Med rather than Cyrenaica, where he'd have a shot at picking up Tripoli. This move may be pro-Italian, but it also looks anti-Turkish.

The strong moves on Norway indicate that the PM wants to be sure of establishing a presence in Scandinavia, and perhaps anticipated opposition from the Tsar. Since the latter seems more interested in attacking Austria, Britain has a clear shot at Norway, and can position himself for further attacks in the North in the Fall if he so desires. Together with the move to Eas, it makes me wonder whether the PM is coming to Austria's rescue against an RT alliance.

Chris: The Entente Cordiale in effect, or at least it better be, for France’s sake. Wayne of Britain's opening allows for a smooth division of Atlantic supply centers with JT of France. Britain should easily have Portugal and Norway for two builds this year. The move to the Eastern Mediterranean is interesting. It doesn't antagonize Italy by threatening Tripolitania as an opening to Cyrenaica would. This opening is also not as anti-Turkish as an opening to Palestine. Unlike Charles, I read this opening as more pro-French than pro-Austro-Hungarian.

France: A Par-Pic, F Bre-Gas, A Mar-Bur, A Alg-Mor

Charles: It looks to me like the President has decided to gamble on peace with Britain and Italy while he attacks Germany, and it is paying off so far. He seems guaranteed builds from Morocco and Spain. The French fleet move to Gascony offers few tactical options, but leaves the armies free to focus on Belgium. France's move in that direction indicates the center will be a point of contention, and France is in position to toss the Germans out.

I find this a bit surprising, because at the start of the game France has more natural friction with both Britain and Italy than Germany (in my opinion) — the variant was specifically designed to encourage it. However, diplomacy trumps geopolitics. I have to wonder whether the Kaiser somehow offended France and Italy both? The bounce in Switzerland doesn't look good for Germany, since Italy tends to view that center as a natural gain for itself, while the fact that Italy sent one army southward bodes well for France.

Chris:JT of France should easily have Morocco and Spain in the apparent Entente Cordiale with Wayne of Britian for a pair of first year builds. Even more noteworthy, he can grab Belgium from Lynn of Germany this fall with a 2:1 force ratio with armies in both Picardy and Burgundy.

Germany: A Ber-Kie, A Col-Bel, F Kie-Den, A Mun-Swi (fails)

Charles: These are all fairly standard moves for Germany. However, France's move on Belgium leaves that space vulnerable, and it doesn't look like either Britain or Italy are interested in fighting the President. If the French arrangements with Britain and Italy go beyond non-aggression into an active alliance, the Kaiser may be in trouble.

Chris: The potential loss of Belgium this fall to France would be very frustrating. Lynn of Germany also needs to watch that British fleet stationed in the North Sea. That British unit can make attempts at either Denmark or the Netherlands, complicating German plans for growth.

Italy: A Rom-Apu, A Mil-Swi (fails), F Nap-Ion

Charles: It looks like Italy is going to convoy Army Apulia — most likely to Tripoli, although Greece is another possibility. That's good news for France in the short term, since it means the President doesn't face two armies bordering on Marseilles in the Fall. In the longer term, this strong presence in Africa may cause friction with France and/or Britain.

The focus on the south also means that Italy may not be able to claim Switzerland in the north, which would leave him slightly underpowered in the year 1901. However, with such an agressive move from France, it seems unlikely that the Kaiser will offend Italy by trying for Switzerland a second time. If anything, Germany may support Italy in as a gesture of goodwill (and to block another route of attack from France).

Chris: Robert of Italy will have Tripolitania if he wants it. What does the apparently obvious B/F alliance do to Italian policy from this point forward? Does it cause a G/I alignment in response? Or does it draw Italy in as a third partner with promise of support into Switzerland and obvious commitment not to contest continued ownership of Tripolitania?

Russia: F StP(sc)-GoB, A Mos-Ukr, F Sev-Rum, A War-Gal (fails)

Charles: A strong move against Austria. However, it comes at the cost of letting the Turks into the Black Sea. If the Tsar was expecting Turkey to stay out, he could be facing an AT alliance — a more comfortable arrangement for Austria and Turkey in 1900 than it is in standard Diplomacy.

Luckily for Russia, the inactivity of Turkey's Army Damascus means that there will be no two-unit attack on Sevastopol in the Fall. If that was deliberate on Turkey's part, it may indicate an RT alliance. In that case, Fleet Black Sea may go to Bulgaria rather than Sevastopol after all. Even if it doesn't, the Russian Emergency Measures rule means that Russia will lose no units from the loss of Sevastopol. It's possible that Russia and Turkey are deliberately taking advantage of this rule to field an extra unit.

Chris: Russia is the one power where the openings are the same as in standard Diplomacy. This opening is the Austrian Attack Variant of the Ukraine System. The Library of Diplomatic Openings describes this opening in standard Diplomacy: "Russia's second most popular opening, this generally means that Russia is confident he has a Turkish ally against Austria. A drawback is that the fleet in Rumania is poorly placed. Russia must usually choose between a northern or southern strategy. This means putting her eggs in the appropriate basket. Here she is allied with Turkey against Austria. If there is a stand-off in Galicia or Rumania, there will be support for the same order in the Fall." We'll see if Mike of Russia's confidence in having Jonas of Turkey as an ally is justified.

Turkey: A Con-Mac, F Ank-Bla, A Dam hold

Charles: The hold in Damascus raises some questions. I find it hard to believe it was an accident, but it doesn't seem to serve any obvious purpose. If Turkey were genuinely moving against Russia, a move to Armenia would be stronger. Even if Austria is the real target, an Army Armenia could be convoyed across the Black Sea to Bulgaria, putting immediate pressure on the Archduke. As it is, if Turkey takes Bulgaria it will have to be with the fleet, forcing the Sultan to rearrange his forces in 1901 if he wants to advance further.

Of course, Britain's move to Eas would probably force Turkey to move the army back to Damascus anyway. As noted above, this may indicate that there's an RT alliance and Britain is moving to help defend Austria against it.

Chris:The opening to Macedonia is solid, as it allows for options against both Bulgaria and Greece in the fall. The move to the Black Sea won't be the most welcome development for Mike of Russia, but it is not as threatening as a combination with A Damascus to Armenia. I have to admit, I do not see the value in A Damascus hold, or for that matter, in most hold orders. In this case, since Wayne of Britain opened into the Eastern Mediterranean, if the Turkish army moved, it could have been ordered back to Damascus in the fall to cover. Or if it moved to Palestine this spring, it could engage in a game with the British fleet over whether to move to Egypt or to Damascus. Besides the tactical issues, there is the diplomatic perception to consider. A hold orders signals some combination or indecisive, passive or clueless. None of those are traits one wants to portray in a game.

Commentator Summaries

Charles: It seems to me that nobody has managed to get through the turn without some trouble looming on the horizon. Of course, that depends on what some moves actually mean. Overall I believe that Britain and France are in good shape so far, with Italy doing reasonably well too. Austria and Germany, however, may be facing hostile alliances. Russia and Turkey are in no immediate danger, but Britain could cause problems for both of them.

Diplomatically, Britain and France seem to be on friendly terms (in spite of the uncomfortable move to MAO), as do France and Italy. Russia and Turkey also seem to be working together — although Turkey's moves are somewhat ambiguous. Austria is isolated in the Balkans, but may receive some much-needed help from Britain. Of course, it's very early yet. Any one of these apparent alliances may in fact be setting someone up for a stab... but only the Fall moves will tell.

Chris: I have always loved the first turn of any diplomacy game. There’s a tabula rasa that can never be recovered after the first adjudication is published. Right now, Germany looks to be the one most interested in unringing the bell. The apparent B/F alliance shouldn’t be good news in Berlin; neither is a bounce with Italy in Switzerland. On the other side of the board, I’m having a harder time reading the strengths of Austria-Hungary, Russia and Turkey. Turkey’s opening is ambiguous, and may be thrown into confusion because of the British opening to the Eastern Mediterranean.

If I had to rank powers by how good or bad of position they are in, as Charles discussed in his summary, I would say Britain and France are in the best shape, followed by Italy, with Germany dead last in worst shape. On the spectrum between Italy and Germany I would group the three powers of Austria-Hungary, Russia and Turkey. I would place Britain slightly better than France because of the occupation of the crucial Mid Atlantic Ocean.

I’m a visual guy, so let me try this:

Best Position <-- B -- F -- I ---- [A R T] ---- G --> Worst Position

Fall 1900

Spring 1900

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Dateline, Paris ... The French President announced today that efforts to avoid European conflict appear to have failed. After spring clashes in Switzerland and Galicia, autumn has brought escalation on all fronts. In his statement, the President declared that France is prepared to defend its citizens, and offered his hope that the war will be short lived and his confidence that it will end in victory for La Troisième République. Meanwhile, in Morocco, French troops shouting "Pour la colo!" solidified their occupation.

Baltimore Times-Herald (Fall 1900 edition)

  • Germans Will Soon Have Super Weapon. Count von Zeppelin has successfully completed a short flight in his new lighter-than-air ship. Reports of a crash are denied as British lies.
  • Italian King Assassinated by an Italian-American Anarchist. Grieving heir, Victor Emmanuel, claims assassin was really a free mason and Turkish provocateur.
  • French President Pardons Dreyfus. Celebrity and twice convicted traitor and spy rumored to have left Paris for a vacation on the Rhine.
  • Russia Completes Occupation of Manchuria. Tsar responds to Japanese protests by mobilizing reserves. Austria offers diplomatic support.

Nicolas Winthrop reporting from Monte Carlo.


Austria-Hungary: A Tri – Ser , A Bud – Boh, A Ser – Bul

Chris:An interesting reversal. Was the conflict with Mike of Russia in Galicia in the spring a misdirection? Or did Chris of Austria-Hungary participate in a diplomatic realignment? The A/R alliance also in is flexing their muscles in central Europe against Lynn of Germany.

Charles: A complete surprise! I'm not sure whether Austria and Russia planned this from the beginning, or negotiated it after the Spring. Either way, it's bad news for Turkey and Germany. Together Russia and Austria can dismember those two quite effectively if they stick with it.

I think Austria has managed to improve his standing considerably this turn. He's managed to get an ally in Russia, and gotten the drop on Turkey and Germany. The fact that Russia took Rumania with the fleet rather than an army means that Budapest and Serbia are both safe in the immediate future. Turkey can still put up a good fight, but Austria is in a strong position.

Britain: F Nth – Bel, F Nwg – Nwy, F Eas – Dam (failed), F Mid – Egy

Chris: The Entente Cordiale is still in effect. The double barreled fleets in the Eastern Mediterranean theater caught my eye. Wayne of Britain is making an investment of two units there now. That signals immediate conflict with Jonas of Turkey. But longer term, how effectively can Wayne of Britain maintain himself there against Italy or Russia in the mid-game? Does the Entente Cordiale allow for further reinforcement through the Mid-Atlantic, since Egypt is not a build site?

Charles: The attempt on Dam was worth a shot, except that Turkey's moves indicate that he expected that Britain would convoy that army. If so and the PM knew the Turkish Army Damascus wasn't going anywhere, the only purpose I can think of for the attack seems to be to reassure Italy that Britain is friendly, and make Italy fear Turkey's intentions. However, it looks like Britain promised that convoy to Turkey, in which case Italy may correctly see it as entrapment. Of course, this action may be in support of Austria — did the Archduke and PM reach a deal, trading the use of the Royal Navy against Turkey for the Austrian attack on Germany?

Elsewhere, we get continued evidence of a British-French alliance. Portugal was open to Britain, but the PM instead choses to reinforce his position in the eastern Med. In return (presumably), France supports a British attack on Belgium. That seems to commit both of them against Germany, at least for the present. However, tactically this may not have been the best choice. A fleet in Belgium is unable to support activity in Alsace or to threaten Cologne: a French army would have. It also leaves the crucial North Sea open, although it seems likely that Britain will fill in that gap easily with her new builds.

France: A Pic s British F Nth – Bel, F Gas – Spa(nc), A Bur s Italian A Mil – Swi, A Mor h

Chris: JT of France has the southwest corner of the map wrapped up for himself. Even with that being the case, one is forced to ask where is the growth in the next few years for France?, With the British in Belgium with French support and Robert of Italy in Switzerland with French support, the avenue eastward into Germany is now very narrow for deploying those multiple French armies. Alsace is not a broad front for growth.

Charles:Again, this shows solid cooperation between Britain and France. The support for Italy's move to Switzerland may also gain some goodwill in that quarter, although it was not actually needed — and with Germany also supporting the Italian move, it seems the Pope doesn't have to fight the Kaiser if he doesn't want to.

Overall I think France is in very good shape. He's managed decent growth, he seems to have secured a solid alliance with at least one neighbour against a second, and the remaining neighbour has opened in a different direction. He can also take Portugal in 1901, although expansion after that may be difficult as the B/F alliance isn't able to attack Germany further very effectively until they rearrange their forces. Still, another year like this will put France in a strong position.

Germany: A Kie – Net, A Bel s A Kie – Net (cut, dislodged), F Den – Swe (failed), A Mun s Italian A Mil – Swi

Chris: Things are looking rough for Lynn of Germany. He lost Belgium this fall, and is facing both a B/F in the west and an A/R in the east. He has to cut some sort of deal with Robert of Italy, despite the wide berth that B/F is giving Italian expansion (the active support into Switzerland, the passive non-contention of Tripolitania).

Charles: The Kaiser can't be very happy right now! He's under attack from all sides, and has only managed to grow by two rather than the usual three. More importantly, he doesn't seem to have a single friend — except possibly for Turkey — who is too far away to help, and facing problems of his own anyway. I would say that bouncing Russia in Sweden was a diplomatic mistake, except that with Russia's invasion of Silesia I tend to think the Kaiser probably knew that Russia was already hostile. And now, Munich is looking extremely vulnerable.

If this continues, Germany seems likely to be the first Power to be wiped off the map. However, the game is never won or lost in the first year. If the Kaiser manages to get one or two of his attackers to change course, or gets help from Italy, his position may become less desperate. He did support the Italian army into Switzerland, at least, so maybe there's some hope there. Still, this isn't a good beginning.

Italy: A Apu – Ion – Trp, A Mil – Swi, F Ion c A Apu – Trp

Chris: Both JT of France and Lynn of Germany supported Robert of Italy into Switzerland. What happens in 1901?Italy has some interesting decisions to make in the near future. Does the pair of French supports and the British distance from Tripolitania lead to B/F/I vs G? Or does the danger to Germany and the German support into Switzerland lead to B/F vs G/I?

Does Italy try to redress the balance in the West or exploit the imbalance for further growth? If I were playing Italy, much would depend on my read of the diplomatic lay of the board. Is there a chance to break up B/F in the future or would I be relegated to third wheel status? Is Germany being targeted because of some personality trait or play style? Am putting myself behind the eight ball by aligning with Germany and potentially alienating other powers?

Charles: Italy looked a little weak after the Spring moves, but now seems to be back on track. He managed two builds, which is reasonable. However, the presence of two British fleets in the eastern Mediterranean may be a cause of concern. I'm not sure where he can go next: eastward, in an attempt on Egypt? An attack on Austria? West against France? So far he seems to be on good terms with everyone, but it looks like Italy will have to make some hard choices if he wants to grow next year. Personally, I think he should be worried — once Germany is gone, where will Britain and France turn next?

Russia: F GoB – Swe (failed), A Ukr – Sev (failed), F Rum s Austrian A Ser – Bul, A War – Sil

Chris: Mike of Russia’s aggressive move to Silesia points to a comfortable alliance with Chris of Austria-Hungary. It pressures both Munich and Berlin.

Charles: Again, I am surprised by this reversal, and very curious as to what brought it about. The clash in Sweden denies Russia a needed build, but with Germany pressed so hard on all sides I think the Tsar's chances of growing in 1901 are better. Turkey also seems to be facing some severe difficulties, so the Tsar may not have to worry about his southern frontier so much. Still, with only one build Russia looks moderately weak at the moment. If Britain remains friendly, the Tsar can gain Sweden in 1901, which will improve his position.

Turkey: A Mac – Gre, F Bla – Sev (failed), A Dam – Eas – Cyr (failed)

Chris: This is a tough spot for Jonas of Turkey. Those paired British fleets are going to be a threat to Damascus. And the A/R coordination in the Balkans spells trouble on a second front. I’m not sure how he turns back Wayne of Britain from Damascus. In the Balkan triangle, we’ve already seen one reversal of alliances, so anything is possible. Can Chris of Austria-Hungary’s alliance be bought with a promise of Rumania… maybe even Sevastopol as well? I’d be making those offers? Similarly, can Robert of Italy be encouraged to make a play for Egypt with his paired North African units? That it itself can be dangerous long term to encourage Italian adventures in the Eastern Med, but the Sultan needs to explore any and all options.

Charles: Ouch. It looks like the Sultan is facing a pretty rough 1901. If Austria, Russia, and Britain keep up the pressure they can force Turkey back. With two fleets in the eastern Mediterranean area, Britain can threaten Damascus. If Russia builds a fleet in Sevastopol, that threatens the vital Black Sea (though it would leave StPetersburg open to Britain, a risk the Tsar may not be willing to take). And Austria can continue the pressure in the Balkans, slowly forcing his way into Macedonia. Like Germany, Turkey could be in a lot of trouble in 1901 if the Sultan cannot find an ally or two, or somehow convince one or more of his enemies to change direction.

Commentator Summaries

Chris: If I had to rank powers by how good or bad of position they are in, as Charles and I did last season, I would say Britain is in the best shape, with Turkey and Germany in worst shape. I rate Germany’s position worse because it has four attackers, and not merely three as Turkey has. Elsewhere on the spectrum, I would place Britain better than France because of the ownership of Belgium cuts off France from meaningful growth at the expense of Germany. Similarly, I rate Austria-Hungary over Russia because of positioning for future growth appears better for Chris than for Mike. I place Italy only ahead of Germany and Turkey because of its relative apparent isolation; no power can do well early on without allies; this is still Diplomacy.

Here’s my seasonal graphic:

Best Position <-- B -- A -- F -- R -- I -- T -- G --> Worst Position

Charles: This season has seen a few changes. I think the most dramatic has been Austria's improved position — from the Spring moves, I didn't expect that Austria and Russia would pair up against Turkey, and certainly not against Germany.

The Franco-British alliance seems to be in full swing, and doesn't seem likely to fall apart any time soon. That potentially has long-term implications for Italy, even though there is not yet an overt threat. I'll be watching Italy's moves in 1901 with great interest.

Russia isn't doing too well, but the country's weakness is manageable. If the Tsar has a good 1901, that should compensate for earlier problems.

Germany and Turkey are in trouble. If the coalition opposing them sticks together, they will go down to defeat quickly. The trick will be to hang in there until the enemy alliance falls apart.

Overall, I'm most impressed with Austria and France — they both seem to have done very well. Britain and Italy are both doing decently, but their forces are somewhat scattered, and I'm not clear where they can go next. Russia is wobbly, but not under immediate threat, and thus has time to recover. Germany and Turkey are the countries facing the greatest difficulties.

Winter 1900

Spring 1900

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As a quick reminder, the house rules allow for conditional adjustments based upon the winter retreats since both the fall retreats and the winter adjustments are resolved in the same adjudication. In other words, players could submit different build orders according to where the German army Belgium retreated to.




Germany: The dislodged A Bel retreats to Als.


Austria-Hungary: Builds A Vie and A Bud.
Britain: Builds F Lon and F Edi.
France: Builds F Bre and A Mar.
Germany: Builds A Col and A Ber.
Italy: Builds F Nap and A Mil.
Russia: Builds A War.
Turkey: Builds F Con.


Charles: I'm a bit surprised Austria didn't build in Trieste — the build in Budapest looks a bit threatening to Russia, though I don't really think the Archduke is terribly likely to attack him. The French fleet build in Brest is also interesting — where will it go?

The Russian build indicates that Germany is the Tsar's main target. The other builds seem fairly standard, although Britain might have chosen to build a first army instead.

Chris: The Austro-Hungarian build in Budapest and the Russian non-build in Sevastopol are making me want to revisit the prospects of an alliance reversal in the Balkans. Is Mike of Russia easing off on further offensives against Turkey? Is Chris of Austria-Hungary going to hit Rumania?

Like Charles, I was struck by the French fleet build, but at the risk of continually harping on the same topic season after season, I’m not sure where another French army could be deployed in Metropolitan France.

The next turns of the All Stars game are scheduled to appear in the Fall 2009 Movement issue. Be sure to see what happens next!
Chris Dziedzic

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