Thank you very much for GMing the game, Brad! It's good to have games going on as much as possible and I appreciate you stepping into the breach, one again. And you've inspired me to get off my Player's Butt and sit down on my GM Butt. So I think I'll try and get a game of 1900 up and going. As for Days of Thunder...well, there were some moments when the dark clouds moved across the skies, bringing thunder and lightning to some of us now and then. As Italy, my aim is always to do more than merely survive the first few years, waiting for the inevitable Turkish March. And I'm not against unusual alliances if they help me out. But I did start with a somewhat traditional set of approaches to Austria and Russia, seeking comfort and mutual support. Austria played coy and Russia put me off a bit, most likely hoping to seal a deal with Turkey, instead. But I opened aggressively, to let people know Italy Means Business. I assured Germany that I was really interested in Austrian Pretzels. Now, I will point out here that, while Germany was friendly enough, he did not engage very much. And it went down from there. Into 1902, Russia continued to stall. Austria was still playing the field, worried about a RT alliance, so I thought. Turkey was being friendly and I thought things were going to go right into the Dumpster about then. I believe it was 1902 when France prompted me to go after France, that he had a deal going with England to do an attack on Germany and Russia. Nobody in the East was seriously taking me up on my small plans, so I signed up with France and attacked Munich. And it succeeded! Russia was pissed that Italy would get involved in Western affairs, which I thought was an interesting point of view, given his reluctance to treat Italy seriously.

From where I stood, Austria was getting double-teamed by RT, playing Good Leader-Bad Leader. And Austria seemed to be getting worn down. I got temporarily kicked out of Munich, which was expected. Austria was getting worn down. Turkey came gunning for me, but I had good control of the Ionian. Clearly, though, Turkey was preparing to put a fleet into Greece. I got bounced the first time, but in the fall, I got in. I THINK at that point, Turkey was considering a more friendly approach, since he saw that I was not going to let him come slamming through the Med. I was pressing him to mutually divide the Balkans and go after the Russian. As everybody knows, Austria hung around for several years, mostly as a stone to keep throwing under the Russian's foot and give him a pain. This went on for several years and was great fun.

I was also part of the EFI Collective, taking out Germany and moving on Russia. For my own part, I was hoping to get England to turn on the French, but he was not ready to do that. I was finding that succession the East was not going to be my path to Glory any time soon. The best I could hope for there was to get Turkey really invested in Russia, so he would become a target for England and France.

Meanwhile, Turkey and I did start working together, but not very seriously until XXXX. Until then, we kept probing each other's lines, hoping to find a way in. The RT Alliance kept reducing the Austrian's footprint. And in the West, I was helping France move across northern Germany, not realizing what was to shortly come.

But the French attempt to go solo was clearly the turning point in the game. It was thrilling as well as maddening, as he picked Italy to stab. Well, not completely true; he also stabbed England. But France, I think, bore the brunt of the attacks. This stab acted as a trigger and helped solidify a relationship with the Turk, who joined the 2nd Triumvirate with England. It was audacious of Sendric to go for the stab; and his position, flanking my western and northern borders was very good. Too bad for Italy. But if I was France, I would have gone for England first and kept Italy as a good buffer. Instead, he put himself in a sandwiched position that ultimately closed in on him. But Sendric was a good close-in fighter and it took quite some time to eliminate him. France made one or two attempts to change courses, but I was not feeling that charitable; and my position against Turkey was rather vulnerable. So I stood with England and Turkey.
It was decided among the three of us to have a DIAS after France was eliminated. I really didn't want to do that, but being in between two big powers was the same recipe for disaster. I did cajole Bob and Guy about one of them trying for a solo, but they declined. Perhaps the gas was gone in the game. But I had no shot and that was about it.

Aside from the adventurous play of France, the game, itself, was rather tame. I just didn't get any gas flowing. I wanted to expand Italy as quickly as possible, but for some reason, other players had different opinions. Still, I think Italy building an alliance with Turkey is always noteworthy, if highly unusual. So, my thanks to Sendric for some needed spice in the game. Sorry I couldn't help you win, though. :) And great appreciation to Bob, as England. He held the seas and the North and France was not going to get there. I know Bob was unsure the relationship between Turkey and Italy, but really, it was not designed to attack England. We had no means of doing it, anyway. And my great thanks to Guy, who is always a hoot to game with. He's one of the crazies who lives down in Florida, you know. Also, a thanks to Colin, who struggled as Austria, but maintained a positive attitude, so important in Diplomacy. He was hampered, I think, by his lack of experience and the double-team con job of Freeman and Guy. It's a wonder he lasted as long as he did, with those scalawags.

Okay, that's it. I have to force myself to finish watching the Vikings play the otherwise bad Bears (1-6) and go on to lose. I can't believe how badly the Vikings are playing after such a great start to the Season. I think they replaced THOSE guys with the Vikings from last year.