One way to think of the Machiavelli powers is as a set of four groups of two. Generally, there is significant conflict the two powers in each group, although when differences are put aside each pair can act as a strong team. Indeed, it is the very strength available to that consolidated position that makes absorption of the other part of each group so tempting, and war so likely. Of course, there is much more to one's opening than this, but before one learns to multiply, one learns to add. Before one learns how to conquer Florence with Turkey, one needs to know how to do it with the Papacy.
Alliance is made difficult by the division of the Turkish home area to two corners of the board, making guarding against a stab sometimes troublesome. If you're playing Turkey, watch out for famine or plague in Tunis -- you can lose your most lucrative city quickly if you only have one unit in the west and it gets killed there. Since Turkish units can't go anywhere else without going by Neopolitan home cities, Naples also worries about a Turkish stab.
Still, I've won games on both sides of an N/T alliance, and have have used an early N/T war to good effect as well. Just don't leave yourself too open, and be careful not to use your borrowing too early. While both powers have good long term chances if played carefully, getting too badly hurt in the early war can leave you vulnerable to players from other areas like Venice, France, or the Papacy. In fact, France can be invited in as kingmaker and take the kingdom if the battle is ugly enough and he has time to bring up enough force.
From Milan's point of view, the key here is to convince France that the sea is the way to go. A joint assault on Austria may appear tempting, but it just increases your long term vulnerability unless you have such a combination of luck and skill as to get the entire Austrian home area for yourself -- and even then you may be in trouble. If France gets the whole clump of neutral centers while you're taking Austria, France may still outclass you, especially with Venice as a neighbor with a wide border. So get France to go to sea, and make sure that Montferrat is yours and that you cover your french border adequately. France can do well at sea, and needs to maintain a sea presence as a screen if nothing else, so this is not an unreasonable thing to ask of him.
The Papacy can be a big help as well in tying up Venetian forces, but is slower to cause real damage to Venice in most cases. His fleet in Ancona can limit Venetian logistical options at the beginning by bouncing in UAS a while, and he'll usually do this for his own defensive reasons. No one wants Venice too close to them. But the Pope has a lot of trouble taking more than Ferrara from Venice (who usually secures Ferrara at the start).
Venice, of course, wants to be on good relations with as many neighbors as possible, while eating the others. If the other players allow it, Austria makes an excellent target, providing Venice with a corner from which to work, with an excellent position for an assault on Milan if he chooses, with security for some neutrals, and with an excuse to build up forces. Venice can't be killed ever if he is careful, since his capital only borders one sea zone, and a garrison there cannot be defeated by conventional means, while requiring twice as much as a normal unit to disband. Of course, sometimes Venice will choose to be less than careful for a little while for the purposes of saving money, but if he has time he can always withdraw to the isle and live there comfortably off his variable rolls. If Venice has an elite professional garrison at home, he isn't going to be destroyed until the game is basically over anyway.
Of course, it is possible V/A will make peace, and in this case, Austria should insist on at least two of the neutrals available (Trent, Croatia, Carniola). Sure, Milan has some claim to Trent, but compared to his other concerns it's usually in his best interest to back Austria's claim. Even if at peace with Venice, I don't think Austria should attack Milan -- in this case the general wisdom from standard Diplomacy about A/I wars applies. In fact, there's not much for Austria to do in this case except keep an eye open for a good chance to invade France or send a risky expedition down to Turkey. The latter is likely to do more harm than good most of the time, unless an N/T alliance is in evidence.
This can not only kill Florence if he moves out of Pisa, but gives the Pope control of the home area since it takes Pistoia as well. Sure, the Pope sacrifices a lot of leverage over Ferrara/Mantua, but who cares? He instantly jumps ahead of even Venice in income.
Can you say "Early Leader Syndrome"? Well, yes, this could be a problem, but only if the board remains in a position to respond. If the Pope lays the proper diplomatic groundwork, he can hold off the reaction long enough to pay that debt. Of course, if Florence knows what is up, he can take precautions. Such as the oft-ignored Pisa Hold order. Or the more expensive large counterbribe to Florence or Arezzo. Florence has the advantage of a compact and wealthy nation -- if the Pope tries the knockout and fails, the Pope is in deep trouble. Florence can use some money to regain some lost territory and remove the Pope's means to pay the crushing debt.
Because of this, trying for the knockout is a dangerous move if Florence suspects anything. And a good Florence always suspects something. So the Pope and Florence will usually talk to each other friendly for a while, take precautions, and then one will jump on the other if they perceive a weakness.
Sometimes they actually manage to work together. Usually this involves the Pope helping check Venetian growth and trying to get the neutral block to the north, while Florence works to rule the seas. If they resist the temptation to fight long enough, th strategic importance of the units that the other is deploying actually decreases the chance of a stab. Since P/L are in the middle, such units sometimes hold the balance of power; and since a P/L alliance generally tends to provide a balance of power, this means that the pair can reach a point where even the ability to quickly swallow the other is unimportant since such an attack would help someone else more than it would help the person doing the swallowing.
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