And another public handshake to Sendric for taking on the GM role for this variant, which certainly has been controversial. In any event, as the Turk, I thought start working with the southern areas of the map that were opened up to see what I could do in that area. England had its outpost in Egypt, which led to early discussions with both England and France. Unfortunately, I was not able to secure assistance into Egypt, so I turned to an attempt to work with the British to see if we could work together in the Med. But, as fate would have it, the Sun set on the British Empire. I took Egypt, but then Italy came along to threaten a blockade or worse.

Meanwhile, I thought it would be a great idea to work with both Russia and Austria to take on the Germans. Austria was complaining from the get-go about what a poor position and options he had, and Russia was trying to get me to go in with him to attack Austria. I did not think this was a good idea because a)it went against the proposal I had made; b) it was too much like Standard; and c) it would help Germany. For some time I thought it was merely Russia being stubborn. Based on Germany's EOG, it sounds like Russia wanted to be a German ally from the start. That would also account for a lot of the Russian "play" that appeared as if he was too indecisive or stubborn to commit.

I'm not sure why I let the Russian talk me into taking Sevastopol, but it was a tar pit of a trap that helped Russia be a pain in the ass throughout the game. In short, my Grand Strategy of a Russian-Austrian assault on Germany while I sweep the Med fizzled into a series of recriminations, second chances, and just plain frustration. Eventually Russia would go on to blame me for the entire debacle, especially with regard to his lack of growth. Well, if he was acting in concert with Germany and expected me to help him take down Austria before coming after me, I'm guilty.

Unfortunately, a key issue for Turkey is trying to keep the stopper on the south while protecting the home base. I was not able to develop enough units to do both, even though my position was fairly decent for some time. But Russia was able to get into Armenia and then into my nether regions; an ongoing source of mischief. I won't go into Austria's feelings, since he will certainly have more to say. Suffice to note that if this were NWO and he had nukes, Russia would be a giant crater.

By the time I was able to make Italy come to his senses (!) and realize the GF were not really serious about his participation, it was too late. Oh, I tried to mislead the French a bit earlier on, to at least attack Italy; he did, but later than I had wanted. Naturally, I could never really break the FG alliance. Austria had this idea we could split them by making one of them turn on the other, which was more of a forlorn hope. That will explain all of the rather odd orders over the past several years, as you saw us giving up one position after another, hoping the progress of one would incite the other. Well, we had nothing else that could be done, since the German and French positions were pretty solid, and the Russian was just a big tic getting under our armpits.

I'll agree the level of game play was not extraordinary. Even Germany seemed to almost stumble into victory, as opposed to a dramatic Drang Nach Osten. Not that David's play was at all bad, of course. After all, he did win. Even if we had not conceded, there was no way to stop him once he got into Russian territory.

Of course, I will admit to foolishness on my part in NOT stopping the long-range convoy when I could have. I had discussed it ahead of time with Austria and Italy, at least pointing out that likelihood of it being done. There was no other way to account for the movement of the German fleets at that point. Maybe I was just overawed at the scale. Or maybe I just screwed up my orders and did not move my fleet. Maybe it was both. But I think it shows quite decisively that once the opposition gets into your backyard down there, it can be a bitch to get him out. And by the time this was done, I had the Russian trying to snipe a center, and Turkish units in North Africa trying to hold the line with Italy. I just did not have enough units to deal with the situation as far as I could see. Had Russia not been around, I would have had no problems, whatsoever around the Red Sea. Well, that's the way it goes. So I have to tip my hat to the French as well for playing a good game, darn it.

And I will publicly apologize to Austria for trying over and over to get him to work things out with the Russian, who did not want to work things out. I suppose the two of us should have come out swinging through SEV and continued north. Honestly, I wanted it to succeed in part because of Germany's potential, but also because I did not want Austria and Russia coming after me! And I wanted to have some time and room to see how things could work in the Med, as I've said. In short, this was not my finest hour. As for Russia, you seem like a nice guy, Andrea, but your play sure made certain Turkey look like a turkey! Rob was a good ally, once he saw the light and came over to the right side, so to speak! If only he had seen the writing on the wall earlier, I think he could have made big progress against France and even Germany.