The Great Turkey Shoot

by Bruce Foster


A (Con) has to go to Bulgaria. Anything else is an aberration. As for F(Ank)… well, neither Russia nor Turkey can afford to let the other into the Black Sea – if neither go there then every other player will scream “Juggernaut!” and Russia won’t get Sweden or Norway while his chances of Rumania are slim; Turkey will find himself up against a determined Austro-Italian combine, with perhaps a French Fleet to help. So I can see no reasonable alternative to F(Ank) – Black Sea, almost certainly resulting in a stand-off. This leaves the A(Smy) with options to stand (silly and non-productive), go to Armenia, or go to Constantinople. A(Smy) – Armenia, coupled with F (Ank) -BLA is an attack on Russia, while A (Smy) – Constantinople is as near non-committal as Turkey can be, but Austria via the Balkans is the target, with possibly Italy or Russia next on the menu. 

Friends And Enemies

Russia is the Big Brother on the northern frontier, Turkey cannot afford to take any chances with Russia, who once the Austrian problem is solved or in temporary abeyance, will look for any excuse to engineer a second fleet south and put the knife in. Likewise the competent Turkey will be on the lookout for an opportune moment to build a second fleet or via Rumania and Armenia attack Sevastapol. Austria is unequivocally an enemy – if not in the first year or so, then surely by 1903/04. The Balkans are the only route by which Turkey can speedily dispatch his armies to the front. Italy knows full well that he is the barrier to westward naval expansion, and he must be on his guard to prevent Turkey from occupying the Ionian Sea with Fleets from the Aegean, Greece or Eastern Med iterranean Sea to support the move. However, Turkey and Italy can and often do maintain cordial relations to the end in most games where neither is eliminated in the early stages, and one must re member that Turkey and Italy have better than average survival rates in recorded postal play. However, an outright win for either is unlikely without dismemberment of the other. 

Long-Term Goals

Turkey’s chances of a win (statistics from records of postal play on both sides of the Atlantic) are worse than every other country’s except Italy. Therefore when playing Turkey I personally admit that unless most other players die, move to Timbuktoo or marry Bo Derek, I go for a draw, with Turkey occupying as many Supply Centres as possible. I believe that on the rare occasions when Turkey is eliminated early, it is because of hasty and premature expansion. Turkey’s isolation and difficult route out are huge disadvantages in trying for a win, but priceless assets in hanging on for a draw. This is in my opinion the next best thing to a win, because it means NOBODY has done better (Definition of a Draw : some GM’s wrongly say, in a stalemate situation, that the player whose country has the most Supply Centres is the winner, even where they own less then 18. The Rules quite clearly state that control of 18 Supply Centres is the victory criterion, and it therefore follows that if no one player is able to gain control of 18 Supply Centres then ALL surviving players partake in the draw. A 2-way draw is better than a 3-way draw and so on, and in the most unlikely event of a 7-way draw, then that must be better than coming second). 

Reprinted from Vienna No.1 (June 1984)