In His House At R’lyeh Dead Cthulhu Waits Dreaming

The Squid is Russia’s third most popular opening but is only used 7.8% of the time, making it 23rd overall. If ever there was a squid that the rest of the Diplomacy board should fervently wish to be left to dream then this is it.

Most popular of the Northern openings by Russia, it is one of the strongest starts in the game and has only limited vulnerability to all but a combined Austria-Turkey (or insane German) attack. So many players ask the question “Should I open North?” without having any paradigm in which to answer the question: what are you trying to achieve? What benefit does the army have in the South over the North? Who are you allied with? Where are you fighting?

Once an understanding of these questions is reached the move to St Petersburg starts to look more and more reasonable. The bounce in Black Sea protects Sevastopol against treachery, and a move to Galicia means Ukraine can easily cover Warsaw. Rumania may be at risk, but this is not unique to this opening.

England will be annoyed, but so what? England will be annoyed when you build in StP anyhow, or will simply attack you as being weak if you put no second unit in the North. And Germany and France are certain to be positively influenced by your opening, as are your Southern Neighbours.


Whether this opening is better or worse than the closely related Octopus is a matter of personal taste, but the family of openings involving A Mos – StP are simply too good not to have a deep understanding of. As a new player you could do far worse than making this your default opening as Russia – it has challenges and requires universal engagement, but there is no better way to learn the game and the strengths of the opening give you every chance to have a successful game.

Alexandru Averescu

Their Direction For The War Could Not Have Been Worse

Alexandru Averescu (1859-1938) was a Rumanian general and three time Prime Minister. Initially building his reputation through violently putting down a peasant revolt, he was widely credited for the “successful” defence of Moldavia early in the First World War. While he won a number of significant battles, military historians have suggested he won all the wrong ones and at too high a cost, leading to the above description of his military strategy for Rumania.

One of the reasons for this was his close ties to the central powers he was fighting against, ties which he maintained through the conquering of Rumania and the subsequent liberation. In power he was prone to totalitarianism and extreme nationalism, was often associated with corrupt ministers and ex-generals, and yet still maintained the image of the victorious general in the eyes of the people. A schemer who considered himself a master politician, he was repeatedly used as a pawn in both Rumanian internal politics and in European affairs in general. In hindsight, the people of Rumania were supporting a smooth talking, but ultimately incompetent, facist.

Their Direction Of The War Could Not Have Been Worse

The Ukrainian System is Russia’s second most popular opening and is 18th overall. The reason for this is a complete mystery.

A presumptive alliance with Turkey is required in order to leave the Black Sea neutral, but that means the placement of a fleet in Rumania is a major disadvantage. Meanwhile, if that alliance doesn’t eventuate, the threat of Turkey being in both Black Sea and Armenia is game-ending.

A high risk opening without any discernible reward, the opening is best avoided in general play with better options to achieve the same intent (including substituting F Sev h or A Mos – Sev) available.

Leo Tolstoy

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.

Tolstoy_by_Repin_1901_cropped_rotated.jpgLeo Tolstoy (1852-1910), whose full title was in fact Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, is widely considered to be the greatest Russian writer of all time. Most famous for his novels (which included “War And Peace” and “Anna Karenina”) but also a prolific essayist and short story writer, his most famous writings draw upon his childhood experiences of the Crimean War.

After experiencing the archetypal mid-life crisis, he took to an unusual moralistic pacifism, whose overtones of anarchic thought put him starkly at odds with his beloved wife and with the revolutionary forces that were to overcome his beloved homeland soon after his death. His pacifism inspired Ghandi and Martin Luther King, while his novels inspired writers throughout the world; Tolstoy is a truly giant figure of literature and political thought in the 19th Century.

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 2.06.07 pm.pngThe Southern Defence is Russia’s most popular opening – a defensive and conservative opening that will surprise no-one, instead playing a waiting game to observe how the rest of the board develops. This is extended into 1902, with further defensive and conservative Fall moves allowing Russia to quietly grow to five or six units without offending anyone. It’s boring; it’s safe; it’s predictable – this last being the great weakness of the opening, as it allows the other powers to control the strategies of the openings. On the other side, the range of continuations is impressive and includes aggressive moves as well as more traditional “slow” moves.