Well, I don't have much to add - but thought pitch my two cents.

First, I am frightfully embarrassed by my NMR. I do believe it's my first ever -- and totally inexcusable since France was dutifully whipping the stalemate conversation and really being a first-rate ally. If it's any excuse, I was on my way to a gaming weekend where I was immersed in 7 player Cthulhu Wars among other gems....

But I digress.

Thanks to everyone for the friendly midgame welcome. No one really tried to yank my chain with some harebrained account of what went before or sought to promise sun moon and stars. This isn't my first mid-game rodeo, so I was prepared for more of that -- and it was nice not to hear that. France, in particular, gave a solid honest assessment of things and that pretty much sold me on the stalemate strategy. I felt like I brought some value to the table with a little shuttle diplomacy between Russia and England -- but the Tsar threw that away for the dubious promise of a northern pizza franchise. Sigh.

After that, it was pretty much the fat lady singing -- just glad my last turn blunder didn't blow things up.

I will say I was somewhat surprised that A/I didn't make more of a play to turn me. The Archduke, to his credit, made an overture, but his partner wasn't on board, so I saw no reason to roll the dice. And, as is clearly evident in every assessment of things, the A/I was so strong as to undercut any argument that a junior-junior partner could have any role.

From a classic Dip perspective, I do find the DIAS unsatisfying and while it would have been nice to see the Key Lepanto unfold as elegantly as everyone has described, if the ultimate outcome of such a pretty strategy is still a 5 way DIAS, then I wonder if what happened here was analogous to building a Lamborghini and then only driving it in second gear...