I just read France's comments. Very accurate reporting! It is a nice idea to make notes every turn. My opening was as standard as they go. Indeed I intended a Lepanto. So why didn't I?
Austria started with a safety first opening, where you want him to go for Greece. Turkey opened anti-Russian, and he wasn't the only one. So a "juggernaut" R/T didn't seem very realistic. Furthermore, Turkey decided to build an army, not a fleet. And finally, France decided to build a fleet in Marseilles. France had three new builds; he didn't need to build in Marseilles. Why didn't he wait a year and build it in Brest if he wanted peace with me?
French response: Good point. I suppose I'd have sent a better message to you if I'd chosen not to build that F Mar. But I really wanted to hammer England early (no offense to the Englishman) and wanted to set up Mar-Spa/sc-MAO. I took a risk that you'd overlook the build and it didn't pay off. Next time, I'll probably waive the build and try to squeeze it into Brest the following year.To me this didn't look like the most ideal start for a Lepanto. And then I was surfing the net and found some articles from Scott Kauzerlich on playing Italy. In short, this is his advice: "shore up the west, plug that gap at Gibraltar, and then turn to those bickering eastern neighbors with terrible vengeance, all while ensuring that no one power gets too huge in the West". So I headed west.
At first, this strategy seemed to fall in place pretty well. England was also battling France, and France would need fleets on both front lines. Austria offered peace to Turkey (so much for Lepanto aspirations from that side) and that A/T alliance could have a promising start with the southern SC's of Russia. My turning west could be an encouragement for the two to do so. But then Austria sailed into Venice. This was unbalancing both of us. And I bet England wasn't happy with this development either. I had no choice but to take my units home. Turkey came out fine of course. By the time Austria and I had rearranged our units, Turkey was already stronger than both of us together. I tried to slow Turkey down and waited for support from France. And waited, and waited....
Losing Tunis wasn't very important from a strategical point of view. Or was it? Parking an army there is not going to influence the battle over the Ionian. It showed Turkey's eagerness to convoy, and I am happy to have prevented the first two landings in Apulia.
After 1907 I had only two fleets left. Of course I could sit still and lose them one at a time. I decided to move to the awfully empty west for my only chance on more. But France defended her coasts just in time, and I ended up losing my fleets one at a time anyway. By 1910 Italy was down and out. My apologies to the Italians.
Once again, thanks for the game!