1900 090321: THE ALL STARS

by Chris Dziedzic
comments by Charles Roburn

Editor's Note: At long last, here is the continuation of the All Stars game of 1900, which we introduced in the Spring 2009R Issue. To recap, this is a demonstration game of the 1900 variant, played by a spectacularly talented group of players, with commentary from observers who are familiar with the variant.

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, and 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.

By the end of the first installment, we had completed the first year of the game. Each of the Great Powers seized neutral supply centers and built new units.

Winter 1900

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However, some seem to be doing better than others:

  • Austria-Hungary (Chris) has grown by two centers, and seems to have an alliance with Russia against both Turkey and Germany, while maintaining peace with Italy. All seems to be going well.

  • Britian (Wayne) is cooperating with France against the Germans, and has sent a second fleet through the Suez Canal to give the Empire a significant force in the Eastern Mediterranean area. These two fleets seem destined for action against Turkey in the near future, based on his failure to convoy the Turkish army from Damascus to Cyrenaica this past Fall.

  • France (JT) has worked with Britain to get out of each other's way in the West, and to force the perfidious Huns back from Belgium. He too is enjoying peace on his border with Italy. Portugal is still open for French occupation. Overall, things seem to be going pretty well for la République.

  • Germany (Lynn) is beset on all sides. In the West, the Entente Cordiale has just forced German troops out of Belgium. In the East, Austrian forces have just advanced to Bohemia in coordination with a Russian invasion of Silesia. As a result, Germany is looking understrength and diplomatically isolated.

  • Italy (Robert) has sent his forces mostly south, and seems to be on friendly terms with everyone (there was a clash with Germany in Switzerland in the Spring, but Germany supported the Italian move in the Fall) and Turkey (whose attempt to land in Cyrenaica looked decidely unfriendly). However, both Germany and Turkey pose no immediate danger, and each now have other issues to worry about. Still, with all neutrals now occupied, Italy's only paths for future expansion go through at least one other Great Power — it will be interesting to see which one he chooses.

  • Russia (Mike) is somewhat understrength, having picked up only Rumania in 1900 while clashing with both Germany and Turkey. However, his apparent alliance with Austria gives him the optimal ally in such a situation. If Britain remains friendly, Russia may be able to regain his footing.

  • Turkey (Jonas) has not had the best year. He only picked up one neutral center, and all three of his immediate neighbors seem to be working in concert against him.

So that is the situation as the second year of conflict begins. However, as in standard Diplomacy, the game is never decided in the first year alone. There are surely many surprises to come...

Spring 1901

Spring 1901

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Dateline, Paris... The President announced today his deep regret that relations with Germany appear to have been unilaterally severed from Berlin. While France is willing to accept responsibility for an anti-German policy last season, it should not have escaped the world's notice that Germany was not exactly honest in its dealing with France, either (please note the support of an Italian army to Swi, despite promises from Berlin that it would be supporting a French army in). So, being as how both parties are guilty of deception, this would seem to be a fine time for reconciliation -- except that Berlin claims to be destroying diplomatic overtures without even the courtesy of reading them. A strange form of diplomacy, to say the least, and when every single power that borders you has moved against you, one would think that talking might be prudent. Alas, perhaps we should try shipments of wine...

Baltimore Times-Herald (Spring 1901 edition)

  • Queen Victoria dead at 82 after a reign of nearly sixty-four years.  Kaiser overcome with grief.  Wilhelm asks for a truce so he can attend the funeral.
  • Japan warns Russia to stay out of Korea.  Mysterious Westerners were later seen leaving the Japanese Foreign ministry.
  • Prominent Liberal MPs Warn of Gallic Threat.  Prime Minster tries to calm irate backbenchers.  Promises easy victories to come.
  • Italians mass troops in the Alps.  Tyrolese spokesmen seek assurances that Italy will not join the Slavic assault on Germany.  Austrian Emperor rumoured to be suffering from tertiary syphilis.  Hungarian prevented from calling out the landswehr.

Nicolas Winthrop reporting from Trieste


Austria-Hungary: A Ser – Mac (fails), A Boh s A Vie – Tyr, A Bul s A Ser – Mac (cut), A Vie – Tyr, A Bud – Ser (fails).

Comments: Austria continues to move agressively against Germany and Turkey. His alliance with Russia appears to be solid, and the pair are setting up for attacks on Munich and Turkey. While these may not succeed immediately, the continuing pressure on Germany from the West means that the campaign should ultimately result in Austro-Hungarian victory, so long as Britain and France maintain their course.

Similarly, in the south Austria faces short-term frustration, but long-term success. Turkey was able to blunt the Austro-Hungarian attack on Macedonia; but with Britain and Italy joining in on the Dual Monarchy's side, Turkey seems unlikely to last long.

The only potential fly in the ointment so far — and it's a small fly at that — is Italy's move to Piedmont, which puts pressure on France. That should stall the French attack on Germany, and may persuade the President to back off, making it easier for the Kaiser to defend against Austria. However, this strikes me as a minor concern. Overall Austria seems to be in a pretty good position.

Britain: F Bel s F Edi – Nth, F Nwy s Russian F GoB – Swe, F Eas s F Egy – Pal, F Egy – Pal, F Lon - Eng, F Edi – Nth.

Comments: Britain also continues to move against Germany and Turkey, while giving active support to Russia. Damascus is his for the taking, and he stands a decent chance of picking up another German center as well: he can make a supported attack on the Netherlands or (with help from his Russian ally) Denmark. However, the success of such an attack is not certain, as it depends on guesswork and on the defensive choices of Germany. As noted earlier, the fleet in Belgium is a bit of a hindrance: it has allowed the Germans to leave Cologne vacant, since the fleet cannot attack inland.

The British position does seem a bit vulnerable to a French stab via the Mid-Atlantic fleet, which could convoy Army Morocco to Egypt, or make the classic move on Liverpool through the Irish or North Atlantic Seas. The public press from France (if it is indeed from France) is worrisome in this regard, since it indicates a desire for peace with Germany.

However, the Italian moves on France should reduce the chances of such an attack, even if the President was contemplating it in the first place — France can't risk a war with all three neighbors at once, and so is more likely to stay loyal to the Entente. Given Britain's apparent cooperation with Italy against Turkey, perhaps the Italian moves were not entirely unexpected on the Prime Minister's part...

France: A Pic s British F Bel hold, F Spa(nc) – Por, A Bur s British F Bel hold (cut), A Mor – Sou (fails), F Bre – Mid, A Mar – Pie (fails).

Comments: The French are in a bit of trouble in the south. President JT correctly guessed Italy's intentions, but was unable to keep that Italian army out of the crucial Piedmont space. That will put considerable pressure on Marseilles, which will hamper any French operations against the Germans.

Unfortunately, France has no obvious ally against this new threat:

  • Austria is a possibility, and could even slip into Milan this turn: but that seems unlikely. Austria is currently getting Italian help against Turkey, and Germany is being attacked on enough fronts (all of them!) that lessened French pressure shouldn't seriously hamper the Austrian campaign.
  • Germany is doubtless welcoming this turn of events, and seems unlikely to turn against the one country so far who has come to his rescue. Even if the Kaiser could be persuaded, he has more immediate problems to deal with.
  • While the Sultan is doubtless sympathetic, Turkey is too far away and too busy fighting off attackers to help.

France should be able to hold her own for the time being, but I'm worried about what this portends for the French midgame. I have a sneaking suspicion that Britain may have encouraged Italy to attack in order to limit French growth, until such time as Germany and Turkey have been defeated, and the PM can join in actively to make France the next victim.

Germany: A Net hold, A Als – Bur (fails), F Den – Bal, A Mun s Russian A Sil – Boh (invalid), A Col – Kie, A Ber s A Mun hold.

Comments: Poor Germany. What can you do, when every single one of your neighbors attacks you? Just hang on and hope for a dramatic change that may or may not come. No such change has come yet.

It seems the Kaiser hoped to bring about the collapse of the Austro-Russian alliance, but obviously that didn't happen. He can, however, take some comfort in the Italian move on Marseilles — as noted elsewhere, that will likely make the President ease up a little. The public press from France (again, if it is indeed from France) also offers some hope on that front: if France is willing to make peace, Germany's situation becomes a little less hopeless.

Even if that happens, though, the German situation is not good. He faces possible supported attacks on four of his six centers in the Fall, and he cannot possibly defend against all of them at once. He seems likely to lose either Denmark or Berlin at the very least, if Britain and Russia continue to coordinate. Even after that there is still hope — but not much. The anti-German coalition will have to fall apart pretty spectacularly in 1902 for Germany even to survive, never mind prosper.

Italy: A Trp – Sou (fails), A Swi s A Mil – Pie, F Ion – Aeg, F Nap – Ion, A Mil – Pie.

Comments: Italy has chosen his course. This season sees him make strong offensive moves against France and Turkey, leaving Milan a bit exposed to a possible (but not likely) Austrian stab.

The Italians should easily dislodge the Turkish army from Greece in the Fall. The move on Marseilles is less certain: it requires that Germany use his army in Alsace to cut defensive support from Burgundy, and the Kaiser may not be able to spare the unit. Even then, Italy faces a problematic choice. If he supports the attack from Switzerland, a French move from Burgundy cuts the support: but if he supports from Piedmont and moves from Switzerland, he risks the French simply moving in behind him. A German A Mun-Swi would cover that possibility, with the risk of Germany accidentally taking the center if France doesn't attack. In any case, with Austria poised to take Munich, this move seems unlikely. Given these problems, perhaps the Pope will choose a completely different course of action: he seems unlikely to gain a supply center from France this time.

However, the Pope may not be thinking in terms of immediate gains. As mentioned above, I have a sneaking suspicion that Italy has made a deal with Britain, with an eye to eliminating France in the midgame. Given the friendly relations between Britain and Russia, this could easily lead to joint Russo-Italian action against Austria as well. Three-way alliances are a natural phenomenon in 1900, since the victory conditions make a two-way draw impossible, and Britain-Italy-Russia is certainly a viable example. Are we seeing the beginnings of such a triangle?

Russia: F GoB – Swe, A Ukr – Sev, F Rum s Austro-Hungarian A Bul hold, A Sil s A War – Pru, A War – Pru.

Comments: A good turn for the Tsar! He gets into Sweden, and sets up an attack on Berlin in the fall. His allies have remained faithful, and his enemies are both encircled. His Fall season should go well. He isn't in good position to benefit directly from the fall of Turkey, but is on friendly terms with those who will. Overall, the Russian position seems to be shaping up nicely.

Turkey: A Gre – Mac (fails), F Bla – Bul (fails), A Dam – Eas – Ion – Nap (fails, but gets a chuckle), F Con s F Bla – Bul.

Comments: A bad season for Turkey! Italy joins the existing three-way alliance against the Porte. Barring a miracle, both Damascus and Greece are lost. There is no help on the horizon: while Turkey's enemies are all engaged on other fronts as well, they are well able to conduct both wars. As things stand, I have to say it looks like Turkey will be the first elimination.

Commentator Summary

As I mentioned in my commentary on Italy, three-way alliances are a natural phenomenon in 1900. This is because the victory conditions make a two-way draw impossible. A solo victory still requires 18 supply centers: but with the additional supply centers on the 1900 map, the board cannot be split between two powers without one of them reaching 18, and claiming a win. As a result, players cannot pretend that they're willing to split a two-way draw: instead, they have to pretend they're willing to split a three-way draw. That means negotiating three-way alliances. All of the players on this board have enough experience with the 1900 variant to be well aware of this, and I'm sure that possible three-way configurations have figured prominently in their negotiations.

Consequently, I'm sort of taken with my new theory that we're seeing a three-way alliance from between Britain, Italy, and Russia. While the Russo-Italian leg of such a triangle has not yet manifested, the potential is there. And the evidence for Britain's friendly relationships with Russia and Italy is there. To my eyes, Italy's decision to help Britain against Turkey while attacking Britain's ostensible ally in France is particularly suggestive.

If I'm right, France and Austria are in more danger than is obvious from their current positions. Austria appears to be doing reasonably well: but if Russia and Italy gang up against him once Germany and Turkey are defeated, the Emperor could be very hard-pressed. Similarly, the Italian attack on France isn't devastating, but would be a lot more serious if Britain were to join in — especially if Germany has been eliminated by then.

The obvious counter to this would be for Austria, France, and Germany to form an alliance of their own (including Turkey for the time being, although the Sultan's position is particularly weak at present). However, this would represent a significant reversal on the part of France and Austria, so I'm not betting on it. Still, if JT and Chris are reading the board the same way I am, we could see an astonishing realignment of the Great Power alliances in the near future.

Of course, it's too early to assume that I'm correct in this. There are many other equally viable triangles that could form — Austria-Britain-Italy, Austria-Britain-France, Austria-France-Russia, or Austria-Britain-Russia. At this point, however, it seems to me that Britain is on the inside of whatever configuration eventually forms.

So I think that Britain is doing best, followed by Austria, Italy, and Russia. Austria looks to be in good shape positionally: but I have a hunch that he may be facing trouble in the longer term. France has had a setback in the attack from Italy; and while that in itself is manageable, he too could be in trouble in the longer term. Germany is still doing poorly — Italy's intervention won't be enough on its own to save him. And Turkey is worst off of all.

Fall 1901

Fall 1901

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Dateline – Marseilles… Our beloved President arrived in Marseilles this morning, taking up arms and proclaiming that he would be the first to fall should the Italians attempt to take the city. After rallying the locals, The President took his leave for an undisclosed location (for security reasons), assuring the troops that he'd be right back if shooting started.

Baltimore Times-Herald (Fall 1901 edition)

  • American Troops Ambushed on Samar Island, the Philippines. 48 American soldiers confirmed dead while insurgent casualties are estimated to exceed three hundred. Angry US General has ordered Marine and Army units to turn the island into a "howling wilderness" so that "even birds could not live there" in retaliation.
  • Italian Makes Technological Breakthrough. Marconi sends first transatlantic radio signal from Cornwall to Newfoundland. Mysterious figures leave Gauloises butts and empty wine bottles near open laboratory window.
  • Kaiser Makes Surprise Visit to Vienna to Protest Alarming Austrian Maneuvers on the Borders of the Fatherland. In an exclusive interview Wilhelm confides to this correspondent that he doesn’t understand his fellow emperors. "At least when they talk about my withered member they’re talking about my arm," the jolly monarch quips.

Nicolas Winthrop reporting from Bern


Austria-Hungary: A Ser – Mac, A Boh s A Tyr – Mun, A Bul s A Ser – Mac (cut), A Tyr – Mun, A Bud – Ser.

Comments: Success! K&K troops force their way into Munich and Macedonia, setting up an attack on Constantinople next Spring. The attack on Munich succeeds because of help from Italy, which I didn't expect. It seems the Austro-Italian relations are decidedly friendly — maybe we're looking at an ABI or AIR alliance instead of the BIR that I suspected after the Spring moves.

So Austria grows modestly, gains position for the next year, weakens his chosen enemies, and demonstrates that he enjoys good relations with his remaining two neighbors. A strong performance all around.

Britain: F Bel – Net (fails), F Nwy – Swe (fails), F Eas s F Pal – Dam, F Pal – Dam, F Eng – Bel (fails), F Nth – Den (fails).

Comments: I'm at a loss to explain what the Prime Minister was doing in Scandinavia. The move from Norway to Sweden in particular seems counterproductive if he was expecting Russian support into Denmark. And the move to Denmark seems counterproductive if he was hoping to take Sweden. Perhaps he expected the German fleet in the Baltic to support the move, while the Russian fleet in Sweden supported the British attempt on Denmark, which would then succeed as long as the German army in Kiel didn't cover it. I don't understand much point to the attack on the Netherlands, as it was not supported — if Germany had counter-attacked, the British might conceivably have lost Belgium. It all leaves me with the impression that Britain got greedy, and as a result missed a chance to take another center. Perhaps more importantly, it looks like this could damage relations with the Tsar.

At least things seem to have gone better on other fronts. The attack on Damascus went smoothly as expected, and France remained loyal in spite of evident German machinations — although that French fleet continues to hold position in the Mid-Atlantic.

Overall, I don't think this has been a good turn for the British. It isn't disastrous: but the failure to coordinate with Russia to take at least one other German center is disappointing. As a result, Britain's diplomatic situation may also take some damage.

France: A Pic – Bur (fails), F Por hold, A Bur – Als (fails), A Mor – Sou (fails), F Mid hold, A Mar s A Pic – Bur.

Comments: I'm a little surprised that President JT decided to keep that fleet in the Mid-Atlantic rather than moving it through Gibraltar toward Italy. It is a strong position for the fleet in general, but with Italian armies converging on Marseilles and trying to march into Southern Algeria, I thought he might want to apply a little pressure of his own. I'm also surprised that the army in Burgundy attempted a move into Alsace rather than to cut support in Switzerland. Evidently, France wasn't as worried about Italy this turn as about making sure that Germany took damage. That may cause him problems; Italy should be able to mobilize more forces to send westward in the near future.

The German moves indicate that he expected, or at least asked for, France to switch sides. If that is still on offer — and given the desperation of Germany's position, it could be — perhaps the President could take advantage of it. France does seem to need an ally against Italy. Then again, perhaps Austria has already promised to take that role once Germany is dealt with. That could explain why France put higher priority on cutting the possible support for Munich than on defending against the possible attack on Marseilles.

I await the French build with great interest.

Germany: A Net s French A Pic – Bel (invalid), A Als – Mun (fails), F Bal – Ber (fails), A Mun – Sil (fails, dislodged), A Kie s A Als – Mun, A Ber – Pru (fails).

Comments: The decline continues. The first German home center falls because of Italian treachery, and the Kaiser's attempt to turn France against Britain fails.

Still, it could have been worse. Germany's foes made some mistakes. The clumsy British-Russian clash in Denmark leaves the center in German hands, and the Tsar's attack on Berlin failed. While Germany is losing ground, there are signs of possible internal friction within the coalition that opposes him. If he can hang on long enough, the Kaiser may yet survive.

Any relief will have to come very soon, however, or Germany won't be around to take advantage of it...

Italy: A Trp – Sou (fails), A Swi s Austro-Hungarian A Tyr – Mun, F Aeg – Gre, F Ion s F Aeg – Gre, A Pie s A Swi hold.

Comments: As noted above, I'm sort of taken aback by the reversal in policy represented by Italy's support for the Austrian attack on Munich. Or perhaps I should say shift in policy: while Italy's moves last season helped Germany by being hostile to France, it was evidently a mistake to read them as being friendly to Germany in themselves.

The Italian attack on Greece succeeds, supporting a new Italian build. That may well be a new fleet in Rome, which would cause problems for France. And France does seem to be the most logical target for future Italian expansion: there are quite a few centers that Italy could pick up there.

However... Italy should keep a careful eye on the east. Austria is doing well. That's fine so long as the Emperor remains friendly; and he does owe Italy one for that support into Munich. However, the gratitude of princes is grudging, and does not last. If Austria sees an opportunity to strike while Italy is occupied in the West, he may take it, to devastating effect.

Russia: F Swe – Den (fails), A Sev s F Rum hold, F Rum s Austro-Hungarian A Bul hold, A Sil s A Pru – Ber (cut), A Pru – Ber (fails).

Comments: A disappointing turn for the Tsar. Using the army in Silesia to support the attack on Berlin was a mistake — as it turns out, the attack would have succeeded if Russia had tried it the other way round. And the awkward bounce with Britain in Denmark is frustrating and troubling. The two powers should have coordinated better: the fact that they didn't raises questions.

This year wasn't a loss for the Tsar. He managed to pick up Sweden, and his two chosen enemies in Germany and Turkey both lost ground. Still, as Russia I would be concerned about the future: Britain appears unreliable, and Austria appears to be strong in terms of units and diplomatic options. What happens after Germany and Turkey are out of the way?

Turkey: A Gre – Ion – Aeg – Gre (fails, but gets a giggle, dislodged, destroyed), F Bla s Austro-Hungarian A Bul – Rum (invalid), A Dam – Eas – Ion – Aeg – Gre (fails, but gets a louder laugh, dislodged), F Con – Bul (fails).

Comments: The noose tightens. As expected, Turkey gets hammered in Greece and Damascus. His attempt to drive a wedge between Austria and Russia bears no fruit.

If he can make peace with Britain and Italy, who cannot reasonably expect to gain any more Turkish centers, the Sultan might be able to stave off the Austro-Russian alliance for a short while. However, even if that happens, it really doesn't look good.


Germany: The dislodged A Mun can retreat to Col or OTB.
Turkey: The dislodged A Dam can retreat to Ara, Arm, Kon, or OTB.

As a reminder: according to house rules for this particular game, the Fall Retreats are included with the Winter Adjustments adjudication. To account for this, players can submit several build orders that are conditional on the retreats. For example, Austria can submit one build to be used if Turkey retreats to Armenia, and another to be used if Turkey retreats anywhere else. In this particular case, the retreats do not affect supply center ownership, so the totals can be published right away.

SUPPLY CENTERS (as of Winter '01):

Austria-Hungary (5+1=6): Vie, Bud, Tri, Bul, Ser, +Mun+
Britain (6+1=7): Lon, Edi, Lvp, Egy, Bel, Nwy, +Dam+
France (6+1=7): Par, Bre, Mar, Alg, Mor, Spa, +Por+
Germany (6-1=5): Ber, Col, Kie, -Mun-, Den, Net
Italy (5+1=6): Rom, Mil, Nap, Swi, Trp, +Gre+
Russia (5+1=6): StP, Mos, Sev, War, Rum, +Swe+
Turkey (4-2=2): Con, Ank, -Dam-, -Gre-
Neutrals (2-2=0): -Por-, -Swe-

Commentator Summary

This season causes me to revise some of the opinions I had after the Spring moves.

Britain appeared to be strong, but his questionable actions this Fall make me wonder what's going on in Whitehall. Not only did the Prime Minister miss an opportunity to grab centers; in doing so, he may have damaged his diplomatic credit with Russia. He's still in a good position, but less so than he could have been.

Austria appears to be doing as well as always — successful in expanding, and to all appearances on friendly terms with everyone he isn't actively fighting. I look forward to seeing what he does next.

Italy is reasonably strong, and looks headed for a clash with France. If so, each must hope that it will be decided swiftly in their own favor: otherwise they may only keep each other pinned down long enough for other powers to grow stronger and sweep in behind them. Italy would appear to have the upper hand, at least to start; but France can put up quite a fight as long as it remains one-on-one.

Russia has grown a little; but like Britain, has missed an opportunity to do more damage to Germany. His work against the Kaiser and Sultan appears to be helping Austria more than Russia itself, and there's at least some friction in his working relationship with Britain. While Russia isn't in immediate danger, I think the Tsar has to worry about the midgame. Again, what happens when Germany and Turkey are gone?

Which leads me to the basement. Germany can fight hard, but no country can withstand a five-way coalition for long. If it doesn't fall apart this coming year, Germany may not make it to 1903. And Turkey is in the worst shape of all. A concerted effort between Austria and Russia could see him completely eliminated by next Winter.

Winter 1901

Winter 1901

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Germany: The dislodged A Mun retreats to Col.
Turkey: The dislodged A Dam retreats to Kon.


Austria-Hungary: Builds A Vie.
Britain: Builds A Lon.
France: Builds A Par.
Germany: Disbands A Net.
Italy: Builds A Mil.
Russia: Builds F StP(sc).
Turkey: Disbands A Kon.


The fleet build in StPetersburg and new army in Paris both look bad for Germany (and the former may be something of a relief to Turkey). I'm not sure where the new British army was intended to go originally, but it doesn't look good for Germany either.

The new Italian army in Milan is interesting — as I said above, I thought Italy might choose a new fleet in Rome instead.

The German disband indicates that the Kaiser's priority may be to retake Munich. It certainly leaves him vulnerable to Franco-British attack.

I don't read much into the Austrian build and Turkish choice of disband. I am, however, eager to see what all these talented players will do next...

Spring 1902

Spring 1902

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Dateline - Paris: Returning from his successful command in Marseilles, our courageous President reviewed the newly organized 5th Army Corps, rallying them with an inspirational speech. He then retired to study the latest intelligence from the front lines. Official statements contain nothing but optimism and confidence, but sources close to the President quietly confirm that there is cause for worry in the coming season. Speaking on condition that he not be identified, the President's Chief of Staff admitted that; "There is the possibility that some of the Heads of State the President has been meeting with may be acting duplicitously ... the President is concerned."

Baltimore Times-Herald (Spring 1902 edition)

  • The opera "Hunchback of Notre Dame" premiers in Monte Carlo.  In Paris the work is widely recognized as a comedic commentary on French political leadership.  In a strange coincidence, Mt. Pelee, a volcano on the French Island of Martinique in the east W. Indies, blows up and wipes out the town of St. Pierre.
  • A Real Tariff War.  During a Senate debate, Senator Benjamin Tillman suffered a bloody nose for accusing Senator John McLaurin of bias on the Philippine tariff issue.
  • Tensions Between John Bull and the Bear?  Britain signs an alliance with Japan.  British diplomats refused to comment on rumours of tensions with St. Petersburg.  In related news, our sources report hostile tribes gathering on the borders of the Northwest Frontier province.
  • New Science Shines a Light in the World’s Dark Places.  Denmark becomes the first country to accept fingerprints as acceptable evidence in criminal trials.  German diplomats scurry for the borders.

Nicolas Winthrop reporting from Beirut.


Austria-Hungary: A Mac – Con (fails, dislodged), A Boh – Tyr (fails), A Bul s A Mac – Con (cut), A Mun – Swi, A Ser – Mac (fails), A Vie – Tri.

Comments: A shocking reversal! Austria abandons his German gains in favor of a concerted attack on Italy — or is it a pre-emptive strike? The Italian moves below indicate that it was certainly warranted: obviously relations broke down. In retrospect, I guess the army build in Milan was more significant than I appreciated at the time. Was that the tipoff that made Emperor Chris realize what was coming? Or was it his reaction to it that eventually led to a rift between the two powers?

Either way it's a good thing for him that he moved on Italy the same turn that Italy moved on him, rather than later. Austria's wars against Germany and Turkey are now either on hold, or suspended indefinitely while Austria deals with this new threat. Fortunately, both Germany and Turkey are in no position to take advantage, while Italy seems unlikely to gain anything from his attack — in fact, it's Austria that has managed to occupy Italian Switzerland. And it looks like Austria has a committed friend in France, while the Russians also seem to be pursuing the alliance against Turkey.

I do wonder about Britain's intentions here. The Prime Minister's actions could have a profound influence on the outcome of this new war. What will the fleet in the Aegean do?

Britain: F Bel s A Lon – Net, F Nwy – Ska, F Eas – Aeg, F Dam – Eas, F Eng – Mid, F Nth c A Lon – Net, A Lon – Nth – Net.

Comments: This time the Prime Minister does better than last season. He manages to keep good relations with Russia and France, and advances into the Netherlands while the Russians take Denmark and Berlin — at the cost of Moscow, which is now vulnerable to German conquest in the Fall.

Britain also continues to play an active role in the Eastern Mediterranean, and it looks like that fleet in the Mid-Atlantic may be headed there to provide yet more reinforcements. The new Austro-Italian war provides new diplomatic opportunities for the British: both Austria and Italy could use some help from the Royal Navy, and could be willing to make generous offers to Britain to get it. Perhaps the PM can pick up Constantinople from one side or the other (although Italy appears to be working with Turkey for the moment).

The new Austro-Italian war does take pressure off France, who is now Britain's most powerful neighbor. But Germany and Russia are entangled, and Italy is looking east. Relations with the President have been quite friendly to date: perhaps they can continue that way, to the benefit of both. France seems more concerned with Italy in any case: Britain should hope that lasts.

France: A Pic s A Bur hold, F Por – Spa(wc), A Bur s Austro-Hungarian A Mun – Swi, A Mor – Alg, F Mid – Mor, A Mar s Austro-Hungarian A Mun – Swi, A Par – Gas.

Comments: The Italian threat is suddenly lessened dramatically. Marseilles is no longer in danger, and with Austrian help could become the springboard for a counter-attack into Piedmont. With Italy's evacuation of Tripolitania, that center too becomes vulnerable to eventual French counter-attack. Austria and France have the potential to squeeze Italy between them, much to France's profit.

Still, there are possible troubles on the horizon. Germany's dying stab into Livonia will cause damage to Russia. That's a serious problem if the President was counting on Russia to form a counterbalance to Britain's growing power. With Germany continuing to deteriorate, where can France turn if Britain becomes hostile? And how much more likely is it that Britain will become hostile if France makes signficant progress against the Italians?

Germany: A Als – Mun, F Bal c A Ber – Lvn, A Col s A Als – Mun, A Kie s A Als – Mun, A Ber – Bal – Lvn.

Comments: Germany retakes Munich, but loses three centers to get it. In the Fall he may lose more — or he may regain some lost ground. Overall it's looking worse and worse: it's good that Germany has retaken a home center, but not at this price.

The one point that may give the Kaiser some (malicious) comfort is the successful convoy to Livonia, which leaves a German army in position to seize Moscow, and to force Russian units to fall back on the homeland in order to contain it. That's unlikely to save Germany, even if it does lead others to take advantage of Russia's resulting weakness: but it may give the Kaiser some satisfaction to have punished Russia in this way. For whatever that's worth.

Italy: A Trp – Ion – Mac, A Swi – Tyr (fails, dislodged), F Gre s A Trp – Mac, F Ion c A Trp – Mac, A Pie – Mil, A Mil – Ven.

Comments: As I say in my commentary on Austria, a stunning reversal! I have to wonder what led to this turn of events. If this was a pre-emptive strike on the part of Italy to ward off an Austrian attack, it was only partly successful. If it was intended as a stab, it may represent a fatal miscalculation.

I tend to think it was pre-emptive: even if all the Italian moves had worked, they wouldn't have put Italy in that good a position against K&K forces. As it is, I think this new war works to the detriment of both countries — but more so against Italy, in the long run. If France is not distracted by Britain, and continues to work with Austria, Italy could be in a lot of trouble in a few short turns.

Was Italy hoping that Russia would join in? If so, I'm afraid the Pope has been sorely disappointed. Now it's too late: it's unlikely that Russia will turn against his Austrian ally now that the Huns have landed on Russian shores.

Russia: F Swe – Den, A Sev – Arm, F Rum – Bla (fails), A Sil s A Pru – Ber, A Pru – Ber, F StP(sc) – GoB.

Comments: Oh, Russia. The Tsar's best turn yet in terms of gains is marred by the German convoy into Livonia. While the impending loss of a home center won't result in the loss of a unit (thanks to the Russian Emergency Measures Rule), it will take effort to get rid of the invader — and other countries may well take advantage. A vengeful and dying Germany can use that army in Moscow to offer to support the British into St Petersburg, or the Turks into Sevastopol, before it is corralled and destroyed. It's a huge headache, with no easy cure.

Russia is fortunate that the outbreak of hostilities between Italy and Austria makes it less likely that Austria will take this opportunity to stab Russia. However, there's still Britain. I think there's a serious danger that the Prime Minister could use this opportunity to sweep Russia out of his hard-won conquests in Germany and Scandinavia while the Tsar is trying to contain the damage at home.

The Italian move on Austria also complicates the war with Turkey. The chances of Russia slipping into Ankara without help from a friendly unit in Constantinople are remote, and the Tsar also needs to choose between using the fleet in Rumania to his Austrian ally in Bulgaria, or to cover Sevastopol against a possible Turkish thrust.

Turkey: F Bla – Bul (fails), F Con s Italian A Trp – Mac (cut).

Comments: Thanks to Italy's sudden change of direction, Turkey may just survive another year. Who knows? He may even survive longer than Germany.


Austria-Hungary: The dislodged A Mac can retreat to Bos or OTB.
Italy: The dislodged A Swi can retreat to Als, Pie or OTB.

Commentator Summary

The new war between Austria and Italy was completely unexpected (by me, anyway — obviously both Austria and Italy knew it was coming!), and changes the situation considerably. As I say above, I think it's bad for both of the main participants. Neither of them seems likely to make much progress against the other, and it diverts their forces from other fronts where they could hope to make gains. However, in the long run it has the potential to be worse for Italy than for Austria.

It's an ill wind that blows nobody some good, and other powers could certainly gain from this new conflict. I think the main beneficiaries are Britain, and especially France. This sudden Italian switch from West to East removes the pressure that was building on France's Mediterranean front, and in fact opens up those paths of expansion to French forces. And Britain has the potential to tip the balance: if he aids Austria and France against Italy, the Italian collapse will be relatively swift. Both Austria and Italy should be competing for British support.

Germany and Turkey are clearly still at the bottom of the heap, although it's now more of a toss-up as to which of the two is worse off. However, the advance of a German army into the Russian heartland means that Russia may be on the way to joining them.

So I think that Britain is once again on top, followed by France. Austria and Italy are still in decent shape, but their war isn't good for either of them. Russia is facing a problem, while Germany and Turkey are getting closer and closer to the exit.

Summer 1902 Retreats

Summer 1902

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Baltimore Times-Herald (Summer 1902 edition)

  • News You Can Use? Britain, France and Russia are said to be in talks to renew their Triple Entente for another three years.  Great Britain and Russia said to be at odds.
  • Mission Accomplished.  President Roosevelt announces the end of the Philippine-American War. Estimates for the civilian deaths range from 250,000 to 1 million.  President declares America’s civilizing mission intact and unimpaired.
  • It Never Rains But It Pours.  Contingents of the Austro-Hungarian army sent to the city of Agram to restore the peace after clashes between Serbs and Croats.
  • You Don’t Have to Read It to Review It.  Maxim Gorki publishes new novel, Lower Depths.  Lenin sends congratulations from Zurich, praises author’s deep insights into the prospects for the Romanov dynasty.  Czarist censors said to be pondering their response.

Nicolas Winthrop reporting from Odessa


Austria-Hungary: The dislodged A Mac retreats to Bos.
Italy: The dislodged A Swi retreats to Pie.


No surprises here. An Italian retreat to Alsace would have been unexpected: under different circumstances it could be an interesting choice, but with Italy under attack, the retreat to Piedmont only makes sense.

Fall 1902

Fall 1902

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Dateline: Paris -- The President explained today that our recent involvement in the Austrian attack on Italian Switzerland was the unfortunate result of a mis-translation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Apparently, a communication from Rome offering free pizza and wine to French troops on the border was incorrectly interpreted as "we will drive you into the Atlantic, put Drano in your douche, and desecrate your graves." The Ministry has apologized for the error.

Baltimore Times-Herald (Fall 1902 edition)

  • Noted Author Found Dead.  The body of Emile Zola, famous radical author and critic of French policy, has been discovered in his Paris apartment.  Foul play by French security forces suspected.  Zola had recently criticized the Anglo-French alliance as committing France to being Britain’s “bum boy” in perpetuity.  Government ministers were allegedly not amused.
  • Remorse or Something More Sinister?  Friedrich A. Krupp, prominent arms manufacturer, is reported to have committed suicide.  The tidy German is said to have shot himself twice in the head and then neatly wiped clean his revolver.  Sinister figures were seen in the neighborhood just prior to his death.  "Dirty foreigners everywhere, trampling the flower beds and peeking in the windows," complains irate neighbor.
  • Kaiser Plans a Whirlwind Tour.  The Kaiser is reported to have made a long anticipated trip to Moscow to address Russian notables and discuss the possibility of replacing the current Tsar with a more suitable candidate.  From there the Kaiser plans to move on to Vienna to discuss art and politics with Gustav Klimt before reforming the mess Franz Joseph has made of the Hapsburg Empire.  "Pretty uniforms and shiny daggers are no substitute for good personal hygiene," the Kaiser is reputed to have told a dock worker in Kiel when asked how Germany could triumph against the odds she currently faces.

Nicolas Winthrop reporting from Prague.


Austria-Hungary: A Bos – Mac, A Boh – Tyr [fails], A Bul – Rum, A Swi s French A Mar – Pie, A Ser s A Bul – Rum, A Tri s A Boh – Tyr.

Comments: Did I say that it was unlikely that Austria would stab Russia? Oops. So much for my crystal ball...

Anticipating an attack on Bulgaria, Austria turns on Russia in an effort to keep his supply center count up. At least, that's one interpretation. As it turns out, this was not necessary — the Italian attack on Bulgaria was unsupported, and Austria could have held the center simply by staying put. Of course, it may also have been negotiated as part of joint Austro-British(-German) operations against the Tsar. Either way, the Emperor had better hope that Britain decides to push Russia hard in 1903, or this betrayal may come back to haunt him. Fortunately, that already seems to be underway with Britain's stab of the Russian position in the North. Even though it was botched, it indicates that the Tsar will be preoccupied for some time to come.

Austria hasn't grown, but hasn't lost ground either. The unnecessary loss of Bulgaria is unfortunate, but that Italian army is surrounded, so the K&K should regain the territory in 1903. By restoring Munich to Germany, Austria has probably closed down that front for the time being, and left it for the Russians to deal with. In the south, Turkey seems far more concerned with home defense than with helping the Italians. And France has advanced on Italian positions — the resulting pressure should help Austria push Italian forces back, especially with Britain confronting Italy in the Eastern Mediterranean as well.

I think next year will be an important one for Austria. If all goes well, he may cement his position as an important power in the midgame — and given that he seems to have solid relationships with both Britain and France, I think he's well on his way.

Britain: F Bel s A Net hold, F Ska s German F Bal – Swe [invalid], F Aeg s F Eas – Ion, F Eas – Ion [fails], F Mid – Egy, F Nth s German A Kie – Den [invalid], A Net s German A Col – Kie [invalid].

Comments: Another sub-optimal Fall season for the Prime Minister. He stabs both Russia and Italy, but ineffectively — Germany fails to take advantage of the generous British supports in the North, while the Royal Navy's move to the Ionian is stymied by a strong Italian defense.

Germany's refusal to trust Britain is understandable, but doubtless frustrating. Where Prime Minister Wayne had evidently hoped to cripple Russia and set Germany up to retake Berlin in 1903, Britain now faces a more difficult war, against a Russia whose strength in units is only slightly below Britain's own. Fortunately, the Austrian invasion of Rumania and German move to Moscow mean that Russia is still weakened:just not as much as the British probably hoped. Well, perhaps the Royal Navy can pick up some of the centers that Britain tried to give to Germany this turn.

In any case, Britain appears to be committed to the alliances with France and Austria. The other partners may be less so: French self-bounce in Brest indicates some mistrust there. Still, if they all stick together, they should be able to handle the still-viable powers of Italy and Russia, while keeping Germany and Turkey weak. Britain appears to be on the inside of a winning coalition — at least for now.

France: A Pic – Bre [fails], F Spa (wc) – Por, A Bur s Austro-Hungarian A Swi hold, A Alg – Sou, F Mor – Alg, A Mar – Pie, A Gas – Bre [fails].

Comments: France moves strongly against Italy, setting up for what could be a strong advance in 1903. However, the self-bounce in Brest makes it look like he doesn't trust Britain. If he expected a build, I might suspect it was intended to leave Brest open for a new fleet. As it is, it just looks like he feared a British stab into the center. And the move back from Spain to Portugal also looks mistrusting. Is the President setting up for a stab? Or was he just being cautious, in case Britain decided to act against him? Perhaps we'll see in the Spring.

In spite of not growing this year, I think France's position is relatively strong. His neighbors are all occupied: Britain has just attacked Italy and Russia, Germany is still dealing with a Russian invasion, and he should make concrete progress against Italy in 1903. France's diplomatic relations with Austria appear to be excellent. All in all, I think that things are looking good for France.

I do wonder what he'll do in 1903, however. The defensive nature of the bounce in Brest, coupled with the move to Portugal, makes me wonder whether he may intervene to help Russia against the new British attack.

Germany: A Mun – Ber [fails], F Bal s A Mun – Ber [cut], A Col – Mun [fails], A Kie s A Mun – Ber [cut], A Lvn – Mos.

Comments: His mistrust of Britain is well founded: but I imagine the Kaiser may regret not taking advantage of the British supports into Denmark and Sweden, which would have improved his situation considerably. As it is, his attack on Berlin gains nothing.

Still, he should be heartened that Britain did follow through on the supports in the first place. It indicates that even as a minor power, his support is worth something. And with new wars breaking out between the members of the coalition that was pressing him as recently as last year, Germany finally has choices. It would take considerable skill to make a complete comeback, but it does give Germany a chance of survival for the immediate future. And survival is always the first step to greater things...

Italy: A Mac – Bul, A Pie – Mil [fails, dislodged], F Gre s F Ion, F Ion hold, A Mil – Tyr [fails], A Ven s A Mil – Tyr.

Comments: Italy manages to stay even (through luck, but that counts!), prevents Austria from gaining a threatening position in Tyrolia, and keeps the Royal Navy out of the Ionian Sea. However, the noose is tightening, and Italy cannot possibly withstand this pressure on all fronts for any great length of time. Already it appears that he will have to choose between defending the Tyrrhenian Sea, Tripolitania, Greece, and the Ionian. Other such choices will soon follow: Italy just can't cover all his bases. I expect that 1903 will be a bad year for him.

Russia: F Den – Kie [fails], A Arm – Sev [fails], F Rum – Sev [fails, dislodged, destroyed], A Sil – Mun [fails], A Ber – Kie [fails], F GoB – Bal [fails]

Comments: The expected disaster of Germany's capture of Moscow is compounded by treachery from the Tsar's erstwhile Austrian and British allies. Luckily, Britain's attempt to work with Germany came to nothing: otherwise Russia's situation would be dire. As it is, it's still not good.

In terms of units, Russia is still tied for second with France thanks to the Russian Emergency Measures rule. However, positionally the Russian situation is terrible. And diplomatically, the Tsar appears to be isolated. He needs to mend some fences with Germany and Turkey, and plead with France for help against the British menace. It would be particularly helpful if Russia and Germany can get disentangled from each other: but that doesn't seem likely unless both Tsar and Kaiser work hard to make it happen.

Turkey: F Bla – Ank [fails], F Con – Ank [fail].

Comments: Defending against a possible Russian attack that doesn't materialize. Italy may be moderately dismayed if he was expecting support into Bulgaria, but as that move succeeded anyway, that's a minor concern.

As for Germany, the outbreak of new wars between former members of the hostile coalition is good news for Turkey. The Sultan has the opportunity to make new alliances that could help him survive. Any road back will be difficult, but at least there's hope.


italy: The dislodged A Pie can retreat to Rom, or OTB.

SUPPLY CENTERS (as of Winter '01):

Austria-Hungary (6-2+2=6): Vie, Bud, Tri, Ser, -Mun--Bul-
, +Rum+, +Swi+ Britain (7+1=8): Lon, Edi, Lvp, Egy, Bel, Nwy, Dam, +Net+
France (7): Par, Bre, Mar, Alg, Mor, Spa, +Por+
Germany (5-3+1=3): Col, Kie, +Mun+, -Den-, -Net-, -Ber-
Italy (6+1-1=6): Rom, Mil, Nap, Trp, Gre, -Swi-, +Bul+
Russia (5+1=6): StP, Sev, War, Rum, Swe, -Rum-, -Mos-, +Ber+, +Den+
Turkey (4-2=2): Con, Ank

Commentator Summary

An extremely exciting year! The shifts of alliance have been dramatic. I expect that there will be more negotiation this time than in previous Winters.

On the one side, it looks like a strong Austria-Britain-France coaltion has formed. All three of these countries are currently in good shape, in spite of setbacks, and seem likely to expand further in 1903. The other four countries have severe problems, and the ABF may be a winning grouping. However, I'm not sure how committed the French are to their British counterparts. There are indications of possible friction: we'll see whether they come to anything in the next year.

Russia and Italy have taken some serious blows. They are under attack, their forces are overcommitted, and they have little hope of rescue. They are each still viable at present, but the coming year doesn't look good for either of them.

Germany and Turkey have new hope. It's unlikely that either of them will leap to the top of the pack in the near future, but their chances of survival are now better. They have choices to make, where before they could only hang on and defend.

I'll be very interested to see what happens in the coming year. In particular, will France remain loyal to ABF? Will GIRT coordinate to oppose ABF, as I think they must? If so, they could game the system by disbanding the German army in Moscow, but letting Germany keep the center: that effectively gives a German-Russian alliance an extra unit. However, that would require re-establishing an enormous amount of trust between the two powers, and the short time between Fall and Winter may not be enough.

Winter 1902

Winter 1902

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Italy: The dislodged A Pie retreats to Rom.


Britain: Builds A Lon.
Germany: Disbands A Mos.
Russia: Builds A War and A Sev.


And... we have a fight on our hands! The removal of the German Army Moscow indicates that the Russians and Germans evidently managed to resolve their differences in the face of the threats they each face. That alone is bad news for Britain and Austria. If Italy and Turkey are also working with them, this could be a real fight. And France could still change sides...

Very exciting! I'm eager to see what 1903 has in store.

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