Italy : The Green Machine

by Kathy Caruso

Don’t ever let anyone scare you into believing that Italy is impossible to  play. All it takes is some guts and some good alliances. 

As Italy, I like to make my presence known. I want the other players to see  that this is one Italian player who isn’t going to sit back and wait for  someone else to strike the first blow. On the opening move, let them know that  you are in control. 

Pre-Spring 1901 should be spent writing. Writing everyone–not just your  neighbors. You never know who will pass on a juicy bit of information to you.  I always try to stay as friendly as possible with France. I have seen nothing  but disaster for Italy when she involves herself in a war with France in 1901;  all they do is tie each other up, leaving the vultures to feed off their  unprotected centers. 

I am also a firm believer in trying to keep Austria around. Many Diplomacy  players will try to get an I/R/T alliance versus Austria. Not if I’m Italy.  When I play Italy, I feel that Turkey is the biggest threat to me. Once Turkey  gets out of the corner, it is all over for Italy. So a smart Italian will try  to get as much help from Austria as possible to eliminate the Turk. Once  Turkey is destroyed there is no longer a threat at your back door, and this  gives you lots of freedom. 

Of course, you must keep in mind that Italy must play the percentages. You  don’t want to ally with someone who doesn’t negotiate–you don’t play  alliances by ESP. You will also find that a player’s reputation may precede  him, and this can be used as an advantage. If the Austrian is a known NMRer,  you certainly don’t want him for an ally. There is too much of a possibility  that he will miss getting in his orders on a crucial turn, thereby damaging  both of your positions. As for me, when choosing an ally I like to go with  woman’s intuition, but somehow I doubt that piece of advice will be very  helpful to most of you reading this. 

I usually go with my standard opening of A Venice-Tyrolia, A Rome-Venice, and  F Naples-Ionian. If nothing else, it gets you lots of attention. If the French  player has opened to Burgundy, it also assures that you and he now have a  common enemy in the German. Or you can use this opening to go after an  uncooperative Austrian. I really feel that Italy must do everything possible  to get two builds in 1901. 

Italy should not be played with a laid-back approach. It should be played  aggressively. Like I always say–go for broke! You have nothing to lose and  everything to gain!