This situation was seen by all men of state and the people, and they understood that he was psychologically disturbed.

Boston StranglerThe Boston Strangler is a far less exciting opening than the name suggests. Occurring in an inexplicably high 4.7%, this is the 29th most popular opening in the game and fifth most common for Turkey, it’s fair to say it’s a hopeless opening that consigns Turkey to a defensive position, and a weak one at that.

Ostensibly testing the trustworthiness of the Russian, all the opening accomplishes is a horrific tactical bottleneck and wasted units while opening opportunities for Austria and Russia to quickly establish a dominant attacking position – even without Italian help. With no strategic options and a weak tactical set-up, there is very little to recommend this opening.

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Sultan Suleiman I

“Everyone Aims At The Same Meaning, But Many Are The Versions Of The Story.”

Suleiman Bin Selim Khan (1494 – 1566), known as “The Magnificent” and “The Lawgiver” was the longest reigning Ottoman ruler and oversaw the heights of the Turkish empire. Responsible for conquering most of Eastern Europe and North Africa and solidifying the Ottoman holdings in the Middle East, he is famous for both his military achievements and his domestic governance.

Responsible for the codification of Turkish law that remained largely unchanged for 400 years and the creation and institutionalisation of educational and artistic ideals, he re-established Constantinople as a global cultural city and is responsible for much of the most spectacular architecture of Turkey, Syria, and Damascus.

His military conquests, which led him to the gates of Vienna, terrified Christian Europe, but he was in fact quite fair in dealing with Christians and Jews within his empire. As great as his military accomplishments were, it was his ability to govern vast and newly acquired territories that made him not just Suleiman the Conqueror, but Suleiman the Magnificent.

Sultan Mehmed II

“Either I conquer Istanbul or Istanbul conquers me.”

Mehmed Bin Murad Khan (1432 – 1481), known as Sultan Mehmed II or most commonly as Mehmed The Conqueror was the Ottoman ruler for over 30 years during which time he brought an end to the Byzantine Empire by formally conquering and taking possession of Constantinope and then as far west as Bosnia. He is to this day considered a hero of Turkish history, with many landmarks and parts of Istanbul names in his honour.

While his victory in Constantinople is most famous it was a foregone conclusion, while his extensive victories throughout South-eastern Europe were remarkable, even leading to captures in Italy prior to his untimely death, thought by historians to have been by poison. Christians went over the top in celebration at news of his death.

With four wives and an uncountable number of concubines (both male and female) it is fair to say that Mehmed was both a lover and a fighter. This didn’t stop him from codifying a constitution and establishing dozens of mosques in Constantinople while establishing it as his seat of power. Demonised by Christian historians but adored by his subjects, Mehmed is one of the most interesting and important leaders in World history.

W.E.B. Du Bois

“Great, Ugly Whirlwinds Of Hatred And Blood And Cruelty”

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868-1963) (known as W.E.B. Du Boiswas an American historian and civil rights activist who rose to prominence due to his significant role in fighting for equal rights for Black Americans.

To say he was controversial would be an understatement. Variously described as an anarchist, communist, pacifist, war-monger, class enemy, nazi, treasonous dog, and worthless academic, he certainly elicited a response from the establishment regarding their hypocrisys. An example of this was his quote on the Crimean War that was pointedly directed at elements within the United States.

Despite his controversies and extreme positions on many issues, Du Bois undoubtedly advanced the cause of equality in the United States and around the world. His legacy of extreme partisanship will undoubtedly be discussed for many years to come.

Everyone Aims At The Same Meaning, But Many Are The Versions Of The Story

The Dardanelles Opening is the fourth most popular opening for Turkey and is 22nd overall. There’s only trivial difference between this and the more popular Bosphorus Opening.

If Diplomacy was a game of brute force alliance against brute force alliance rather than one that placed a premium on holistic thinking then this would be a very popular opening.

It’s not, so it isn’t. If Russia stabs then this is a worse opening than the Bosphorus, while if they don’t and the masterplan of this opening comes together than the rest of the board will rapidly team up to present a massive coalition to stop the very real threat of two countries behaving as if they were just one power.

What does this mean for it’s usefulness? It’s probably good for Russia/Turkey against five other players who don’t know what they’re doing. That’s pretty rare, but it’s even rarer that in this circumstance Russia and Turkey wouldn’t want to settle the matter from the outset. Stick to the Bosphorus, unless you have a need for variety.

Either I Conquer Istanbul Or Istanbul Conquers Me

The Bosphorus Openings is the third most popular opening for Turkey and is 20th overall. In the tradition of Turkish openings, it is an aggressive statement of intent to attack with the target in this case being Italy.

I have personal fond memories of this opening as it allowed me to get eight centres as Russia in 1901, an anecdote that highlights the risk of allowing Russia into the Black Sea unopposed.

The other problem, the triggering of a vendetta with Italy, is also substantial. While this happens a lot of the time in any case, the fear of the Russia/Turkey Juggernaut that this opening inspires amongst good players makes it hard to get the jump on your opposition as well as reducing the likelihood of help to arrive from the west. The only positive outcome for the Russia/Turkey alliance is very much Russia friendly.

This is risky, and aggressive, and against good players it is likely to fail. On the flip side, against weak opposition this is a brutal and powerful opening.

Great, Ugly Whirlwinds Of Hatred And Blood And Cruelty

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 12.25.58 amThe Crimean Crusher, which is inexplicably only Turkey’s second most popular opening, is one of the most effective and brutal openings in the game. Even if the move to the Black Sea bounces, the attack is still solid and Russia is going to be crippled – lock this in as the strongest first move assault in the game of Diplomacy.

Of course, there are challenges to be found in the opening – you are going all in on Austria or Italy being on side or you’ll likely see fleets in the Eastern Mediterranean very quickly. They’ll also need to move fast of the real winner from the opening may turn out to be England or Germany, as Russia moves all their units to defend against the evil Turk.

None of this should give you a moment’s pause for thought if Russia is your target. Richard Sharp puts it best: if Russia agrees to leave the Black Sea empty he’s either lying (kill him) or incompetent (kill him). Only when Russia looks you in the eye and says “I’m moving to the Black Sea” should this opening not be your first choice as Turkey.