Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit
Share on email

The Wise Old Weasel Presents! The Juggernaut

black and white cartoon weasels drinking champagne

In which the wise old weasel discusses the merits and limitations of the Juggernaut alliance

Hroom, hm, gather round my friends. Today we discuss that cavalcade communion, that steamroller support, that bulldozer bond that is known by most as… the Juggernaut! I hope you find the conversation engaging and will join in the tradition of wise old weasels sharing their hard earned knowledge with fellow weasels. 

This is a series of posts designed to encourage conversation among Weasels and lovers of the game Diplomacy alike. It is designed to discuss some of the more common alliances seen in Windy City Weasel club games, online games, and at tournaments. To help focus conversation, a single post has been created for each alliance structure. 

I feel safe in saying that there are probably a number of you out there who believe a Russo-Turkish alliance (hereafter simply R/T) is the strongest alliance on the Diplomacy map. I'm sure we all agree that a compelling argument can be made to support such a position.

Barron Powell

Overview

The Juggernaut (also known as the “Steamroller” or the “R/T”) is an alliance between Russia and Turkey. Diplomacy elder statesman Richard Sharp describes the advantages of this alliance saying “Freed of the threat of attack from Turkey, Russia at once becomes as powerful as any two other countries; freed of the need to attack the mighty northern neighbour, Turkey has only one direction to go in, and can throw everything into the westward drive with single-minded violence“.  Wikibooks describes the Juggernaut as one of Diplomacy’s “Cadillac Alliances.” The blog Chestnut Diplomacy points out that “The Russian-Turkish alliance, operating at full steam, has incredibly important ramifications for the future of the entire board.” Clearly the Juggernaut is one of the most natural, most well known, and most feared alliances in the game of Diplomacy.

As [the Juggernaut] advances, with Turkey building fleets and Russia armies, the two do not get tangled and can proceed evenly to the endgame.

Fred Townsend

Merits

Tom Easton does a very good job summarizing the advantages of the Central Triple alliance in his article “Red, Green, and Black: The Central Triple“. He lists the following advantages:

  1.  It leaves everyone’s back free and enables them to throw everything they have against the corner powers.
  2. It enables all three powers to expand in different directions (Germany can expand into the Low countries, France, England or Scandinavia, Austria can take Russia and or Turkey, Italy can take France and the Iberian peninsula.
  3. It is not an alliance readily apparent to the other players. It is likely that Italy will be fighting alongside either Germany in France or Austria in Turkey, but the other power will be on the other side of the board, seemingly unconnected.
He summarizes the primary strength of the alliance by stating  “The arrangement of the board enables the AIG powers to have influence over strategic development of the board.”

The risk is that many games may end in a three-way, but it is unlikely that all of the corner powers will be completely eliminated by the time the alliance finally breaks up, one of the minnows could be used to stir things up.

Limitations

No alliance structure exists without some downsides. Again, we’ll refer to Tom Easton for the disadvantages of the Central Triple. 

“The risk is that many games may end in a three-way, but it is unlikely that all of the corner powers will be completely eliminated by the time the alliance finally breaks up, one of the minnows could be used to stir things up. Also there is less likelihood of a stalemate forming with England and Turkey not part of the picture. A good diplomat and tactician should be able to turn the three-way into a win.”

In my experience, a well executed and committed Central Triple will usually finish in a 3 way draw. Within Tribute scoring, this could lead to some jockeying for the board top and whoever wins will likely have a very nice score. As Tom points out, it’s more likely that at some point in the mid-game, one of the alliance members will ally with one of the remaining corner powers to make a move and the game will end in a 4 way draw. 

The answer is to use your enemies against themselves. Align with two of the outsiders. I know it sounds simple but it really is. The best powers to ally with are France and Russia. Why? Because the middle countries can squeeze those two countries once the Witches are disposed of. France is caught between Italy and Germany and Russia between Austria, Germany and Italian gains in Turkey.

Summary

In summary, the Central Triple is not an alliance structure that commonly reaches the end of the game. Despite this weakness, it is a fantastic way for the central powers to gain some of the security offered to the “edge” powers at the start of the game. It’s greatest advantage is that the Central Powers can manipulate the rest of the board extremely effectively. I’ve found this alliance to be most effective as the game moves from the early to midgame phase. 

Hrm, Hroom. These are merely the thoughts of one old weasel. What say the rest of you? Can you share advice or regale us with tales of playing the Central Triple alliance? 

Join the discussion!

Find out more about an upcoming event or article, talk smack before a game, brag about your board top, or most likely, ask what on earth your fellow Weasels were thinking!

Leave a Reply

White article icon

More Articles.

Weasel takes Husky

First off, let me say thank you to the Woodrings for hosting 60+ people in their home this weekend.  I’m not sure how they managed

Read More »