In the beginning, Italy and I decided on a mutual non-aggression pact with him going west and myself going east. Italy really wanted me to go after Turkey while I really preferred to attack Russia. After the opening moves I was still undecided despite the fact that Russia's opening was rather anti-Austrian. Two things led me to ally with the Bear. The first was the press that I received from Turkey told me that if I didn't ally with him I would be eliminated in short order. When I suggested that due to the no-press status between our two countries that there was still room for negotiation, Turkey reiterated his assertion that I would not survive without his help. I didn't like his strong-arm approach to negotiating and was worried that I would become a puppet of his if things went wrong.
The other thing that tipped the scales was that Russia's initial broadcast press was delayed. Had I read that inflammatory message before making a deal with him, the deal would not have been made.
After my Fall 1901 "stab" of Turkey I was kind of happy to be out of touch with him as I know he was not pleased. His vow to throw his dots to Russia was blunted by Russia's initial willingness to share them.
The real credit for Russia's victory should go to Germany. After he moved into Tyrolia in Fall 1902, he started telling me that he wanted to attack Italy and, according to Italy, that he wanted to attack me. We were passing this info. along to Russia who decided to attack Germany the following Spring. Instead of moving against Italy (and me) he should have guarded his eastern boarder. (Isn't hindsight wonderful?)
My biggest blunder in the game was not attacking Italy in Fall 1903. Turkey was almost dead and I could have established myself in Italy and kept pace with Russia's northern conquest. The extra units would have allowed me to be able to watch my weak eastern flank, also. Unfortunately for me, I decided to honor my agreement with Vittorio until it was too late.
Had our positions been reversed, I [as Russia] also would have stabbed Austria despite assurances of holding out for a 2-way draw. Coupled with Germany's full scale retreat and my delay in westward growth, Russia would have had to stop dead in his tracks for a few years to allow me to catch up. After the Russian stab, I decided not to fight back since the final result would have been the same anyway with Germany was playing Kingmaker.
France & Turkey, I hope that you didn't take my ribbing too personally. You were both in difficult positions and did the best you could. Turkey, I would have liked to have seen some broadcast press from you even though there was no strategic or tactical advantage to be gained. England, thanks for taking over the position and keeping the game alive.
Also, did any bounce press get exchanged? I know that my 25 words to Turkey were never reciprocated so I gave up after two tries. All in all, I liked the format although there were times when I really wanted to know what England or Germany were thinking and we were not adjacent.
Well, I'm off to get the summary and see who all of you really are.