My intent going in was to try to follow Lady Razor’s game plan but I was quick to discover neither Turkey nor Italy were overly communicative with me. I had initially thought we would all just make quick work out of Austria and I could make an arrangement with at least one of them to prepare for a mid-game battle against what I assumed was likely a solid alliance of FG, but I couldn’t seem to get the right conversation going with either nation. Italy was extremely non-commital to anything and Turkey I felt may be less experienced as I struggled to get him to catch on with tactical suggestions . In my first round I had requested Turkey to cut Serbia with Bulgaria while supporting his Aeg fleet into Bulgaria with Const support as this would bounce against any potential attacks against Bulgaria, but I ultimately failed to adequately convey the mechanics of why this was foolproof and risk free to him. He would resist and I would concede the pitch out of fear of coming on too strong in my first entry to the game, this would end up costing me my easy recovery of Rum and would mark the first loss of momentum for the Juggernaut. Was not a great start and I had growing concerns about the practicality of this alliance. Meanwhile elsewhere Italy was both attacking Austria in Trieste while simultaneously helping Austria advance against Turkey. I wasn’t really sure what meant in terms of Italy’s intentions but given he wasn’t talking to me I could only assume Italy didn’t consider me as interchangeable in his previous relationship with Lady Razor and didn’t intend to carry on that path anymore. I was never really able to get a good conversation with him about it, but word was he was concerned FGR were going to be an ongoing triple and he didn’t wish to help enable my growth.
I had a lot of early conversations with Austria (Legendary Tactics) and due to what seemed to be a lack of options in the south I entertained possibly doing something with him. He tends to be more diplomatically aggressive than my tastes so I was hoping if I had to team with him it would be along with Italy to help keep him honest, but in the absence of that dialog with Italy I would write off that option and try to carry on with Turkey.
In the Spring I would try again with similar tactical suggestions with Turkey to help get back Rum in a safe manner. He would agree to give the assist this time we successfully got the center back, but again the explanation of moves were misunderstood and this time it would be Turkey’s center in Bulgaria that would be lost. This eventually came back to haunt me as Turkey assumed I had just been reckless in my requests of him and frustrations of lack of progress would begin to grow.
Elsewhere on the board efforts of RGF against England were going extremely efficiently and “what next” conversations started to materialize from both Germany and France. With the Juggernaut seeming to be stalled out and less intimidating I started to become a more viable mid-game ally option for both Germany and France who I started seemed to have an aura of competitiveness towards each other.
Turkey surprisingly managed to get back into Bulgaria come Fall, but this would soon appear to be an arrangement with the southern nations as Turkey would use the build to put a fleet into Ankara which was clearly anti-Russia.
Turkey’s turn on me would be followed by ultimatums from Austria and Turkey for me to attack Germany for them under threat of further southern aggression. I felt this a flawed threat as their aggressive positioning against me made it almost impossible to comfortably move anywhere and this began the start of a tedious north vs south war. Italy had also launched an attack on France signalling the cohesiveness of the TAI alliance which caused all northern mid-game alliance negotiations to get put on hold forcing FGR to carry on their alliance in a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. This year England would lose its last center and be eliminated.