My plan in Africa: Given the likelihood that the smaller nations would try to band together to kick out myself and probably France, I thought I would poke around and see if I could split that up a little bit. My goal was to find a willing partner in one of the native African nations that I could prop up while they took over the region. I would then grow my colony to about 3 or 4 centers while hopefully getting a game-long ally and coalition partner. Sadly, there were no takers, though I probably should have reached out to more of them (namely Tunisia who I never spoke to once, and perhaps Nigeria who I didn't really talk to much until later).
Congo: Congo and I spoke a lot in the first year, and I really enjoyed how communicative he was. I told him my plan, and that I wanted him to be that player. Unfortunately, he was reluctant to commit. He told me that there was an anti-China coalition growing in Africa, and that he didn't want to upset anyone in the area by working with me. He did, however, agree to keep me informed of what was going on. His information proved less than useful, though, since it was stuff I already knew or could figure out pretty easily on my own. Talking to a few other nations, it seemed to me that no one really trusted him and that he was playing both sides. Had he committed to my plan, I wouldn't have stabbed him. He didn't, and I felt he was merely biding his time until he could take me on directly, so I decided to get rid of him. France was kind enough to help me with that.
Egypt: My relationship with Egypt proved critical to my growth in Africa. If he had decided to attack me early on, things would have been much more difficult. That's why I sought peace with him early on. He was fearful that I would attack him, though, so he too was unwilling to commit to my plan. I wanted Egypt to head west into Tunisia and Europe, but he wouldn't commit to that either, and he ended up stabbing France. This created major tension between myself, France and Egypt for the rest of the game as I tried desperately to keep the peace. For the record, I put in a lot of effort in keeping Egypt safe, including during the whole plan to nuke the UK. More on that later. I will say, though, that if the rest of Africa was more secure, I could have been talked into attacking Egypt alongside Dario. It seemed to me that Trevor was more at fault for the tension in the area than Dario, so I would have sided with Dario if war was unavoidable.
France: Having found no takers in my original plan, I ended up working with Dario almost by default. This obviously worked out quite well, and we were allies throughout the game. Once I got nuked, Dario was kind enough not to stab me, though that was as much out of loyalty as for selfish reasons, I think. Ironically, I still would have voted for him even if he had stabbed me.
UK: Rob D and I spoke quite a bit early on. I pitched the idea of winning with a BBB alliance alongside France. France was interested, and I think would have committed had things progressed that way. Of course, we all had other options as well, and trying to win as a BBB is not something you wanted to broadcast. UK started to grow, and after helping Canada and Mexico strike at the US, he decided to hit Canada. I actually disagreed with this attack. Sure, Canada could have threatened the Atlantic, and perhaps in time, he would have. However, I felt Canada was focused on taking down the US, so why turn his attention elsewhere? I also really wanted him to help me with Russia. Since we were supposedly in an alliance, I felt that him hitting Russia would further that cause, and he could always claim he was helping Sweden out (since he would be hitting on that side of Russia). He refused. He also sent me a message later indicating the BBB was his idea. This were clues to me that wasn't really interested in such a coalition, and therefore not really my ally. Given his clear association with Argentina and OL, there were just too many indicators, and that's when I decided to talk to Dario about nuking him.
The nuking of UK: As Dario already pointed out, Israel was the sacrificial lamb in the set-up to taking down UK. Israel had stopped talking to me, and was starting to drive into Asia, so I had zero problems with this. Also, it helped drive home the idea that were with UK in the anti-Middle East assault. Obviously this was false. In the season leading up to the strike, I actually tried to steer UK's nukes towards Turkey. He didn't bite, and insisted that he hit Egypt. If I pushed any harder, I feared he would have grown suspicious so I decided to drop it. Later, I got the brilliant idea to point him at Mexico. I indicated to him that Mexico was planning a strike against him in the hopes that he would hit Mexico instead, thus sparing Egypt. He said he would look into it, and he did, but of course no one would confirm it so he went ahead and hit Egypt. Sorry, Trevor, I really did try here. Ironically, an hour after I planted that seed with UK, Mexico emailed me and said "hey, let's nuke UK together". At first, I thought maybe he was just playing me, but after a few emails it became clear that he was serious. So, I found out where he was hitting, and passed that along to Dario so we could plan around it. I never even told Fred about Dario's involvement, just in case. During the planning stages, I didn't want anyone to know. Dario asked me about telling Mike (DPR), and I agreed as long as he was sure. In hindsight, I probably should have told Turkey and Egypt, but it seemed like Turkey and UK Rob were talking quite a bit, and I didn't want that slipping out.
Turkey: Which brings me to Turkey. We talked a lot throughout the game, and I think we were basically allies. He didn't want to attack Russia, though, and he protected Israel. Maybe I should have tried harder to work with that crew, but they seemed so isolated that it was hard to get a read on them. I wish I had more to say here, because I felt like Turkey and I talked a lot. In the end, though, it didn't seem to amount to much.
Kazakhstan: Dave's assessment of Kaz in his GM EOG is spot on. He was very enthusiastic, and I hope he plays in the next one. Kaz is a difficult position, and I think he did pretty well. His downfall came when he attacked Pakistan. I have to admit, it was me who convinced him to do that. I told him I would protect him. I did not expect the attack on him to come so quickly or so decisively. I didn't have the resources at that point to help him, so I felt pretty guilty the rest of the game. That's why you found his unit taking up residence in Chinese SC's later. Sorry. Alex. I wish things had worked out better for you.
India/Pakistan: Lumping these two together because it seemed they more or less acted together. From the beginning, India was trying to gather an alliance against me, apparently that's because it's just what you do in this game. I, for one, do not subscribe to convention, and couldn't tell you what convention is most of the time. Regardless, I wanted to take him out early too, so I guess we were bound to be enemies from the start. Then we became allies in the sense that he would feed me his credits. Then he forgot to build, and that all went to hell, and he eventually started to give away his centers and I stopped caring.
Vietnam: I wanted to work with Vietnam from the beginning, and for the most part we did. I managed to squash an early anti-China alliance, but then Vietnam got it going again, all the while claiming he was just playing Russia. I found this irritating so when OL stabbed him, I wasn't saddened. I did manage to get a credit out of him, though, which was fun. I think if Javelin had just allied with me and didn't play games with Russia, this would have worked out pretty well. Instead, he got himself eliminated.