The Opening Moves For Turkey
(Or How To Gobble Up A Decent Empire)
by Simon Franklin
Of the seven articles that I plan to write, this one is
probably the easiest to do. In my opinion Turkey is the best power on the board
(O.K - I know I’ll get twenty letters saying ‘rubbish’, but nonetheless,
for these four reasons I believe that of all the Great Powers, Turkey has the
best chance of surviving, doing very well, and perhaps even winning).
(1) Turkey has only two immediate adversaries, Russia and
Austria - compare this with England (3), Austria (4), Russia (4) and France (3)
and you will see that apart from measly Italy, Turkey has the least to worry
about in terms of enemies (this also saves on stamps).
(2) Turkey has only five provinces - Constantinople,
Ankara, Smyrna, Armenia and Syria. Therefore there is less to defend, so less
units are needed.
(3) Turkeys supply centres are all self-supporting - i.e.
any one touches the other two. Only Austria and Germany share this distinction.
(4) Turkey is almost invulnerable to army attacks, being
touched by only two land areas.
So if one accepts that Turkey should be strong, then how
should one use that strength - aggressively or passively? These two options are
summed up in the openings that follow - really the only four openings that a
Turkish player should consider.
A(Con) - Bul; A(Smy) - Con; F(Ank) - Bla
This is the most common opening by far - it is not really
aggressive, and it enables one to form alliances with anybody. Russia may be
disgruntled at the Black Sea move, but as he moves there 55% of the time, he
will probably have bounced you out anyway. This is not an obvious anti-Russian
move, and it protects Ankara against a (very rare) Armenia move. I quite like
this opening. It has no real disadvantages and if the Black Sea move succeeds
then it is a very powerful opening indeed.
A(Con) – Bul; A(Smy) – Arm; F(Ank) – Bla
This is my favourite - the anti-Russian opening. The
immediate advantage is an enormous attack on Russia, hopefully culminating in
the eventual taking of Sevastopol and Rumania. I once witnessed a game (still am
witnessing it.) in. which the Turk played this opening and the Russian, went to
the Black Sea and Galicia with A(Mos) - StP. Unfortunately, Austria played the
Southern Hedgehog... The Fall 1901 positions were: Russian A(Ukr); Russian F(Bla)
with Turkish A(Sev), F(Con) and Austrian A(Rum)! The obvious disadvantage of
this move is that you have to have an Austrian ally, having totally committed
yourself to a war against Russia. This one is not for cautious players, but it
is great fun.
A(Con) – Bul; A(Smy)-Ank; F(Ank) – Con
I don’t like this one, but I see its advantages. You gain
the Russians trust by not moving into the Black Sea, and you still get one build
from Bulgaria. This, of course, is played when you want Smyrna free for
building, It could be the prelude to A(Smy) moving to Armenia after the builds,
but it will usually mean that one is planning a fleet in Smyrna, probably to
contest Greece. This is obviously as non-commital an opening as (1) and if you
are a cautious player, this is the one for you.
A(Con) – Bul; A(Smy) Hold; F(Ank) – Con
This is rather better than (3), but still very passive. It
aims to build a fleet in Constantinople or Ankara after F(Coni) has moved to the
Aegean. You then transport A(Smy) to Greece - supported by A(Bul). A rather slow
way of doing things, but good if you have a strong Italian alliance to help you
against Austria and you don’t want to annoy Brother Russia.
So, perhaps a quick summary of the aims of these four
(1) To consolidate your position, and let Russia know that
you’re no weakling, aiming for gradual expansion, probably by sea-power as a
fleet in Smyrna is really the only sensible build (although now I think about
it, (1) could transform into (2) by building A(Smy)!). A non-committal opening.
(2) A Russian Blitz. Allied with Austria, a very good
opening indeed, aiming at Sevastopol and Rumania. Quite a risky opening, but it
pays great dividends if it comes off.
(3) and (4) Quiet, passive openings, maybe turning into a
Blitz in l902,with (3) being a Blitz on Russia and (4) a Blitz against Austria
To conclude, a Turkish player is someone that you try to
ally with. He will always ally with Austria or Russia against the other, and on
the rare occasion when Austria and Russia ally, Turkey can usually hold them off
long enough for the alliance to crumble. A Turkish player can afford to make
demands and get his own way because of the strength of his position. All-in-all,
Turkey’s an Ace power Happy Gobbling.
Reprinted from Vienna No.1 (June 1984)