Naming the Alliances

I’ve done this a number of times in a number of places. I get to the point where I don’t really feel happy with some of the names. Some alliances don’t really need naming because they’re pretty remote possibilities, frankly, but I’m quite happy to keep plugging away at it.

A lot of alliances already have well known names in the Hobby. Some of these names I don’t like at all and I’ll explain why below.

If I’m honest, I tend not to use alliance names when I’m in a game. You never know just how deeply a player understands the Hobby, how deep they’ve dived into it. Talking about a a Faerie Alliance would just be confusing to some, when calling it the F/A/E alliance (France/Austria/England) is much more comprehensible. (What is perhaps less comprehensible is why this alliance would be in play in the first place, but that’s another matter.)

Anyway, just for fun, here are my names for every possible 2-way and 3-way alliance, with an explanation for each name.


2-way Alliances

England and…

  • France: The Entente Cordiale (or, more simply, the Entente). This is named after the pre-WWI agreement between these two powers formed against Germany. A nobrainer.
  • Italy: The Hadrian alliance. Named after the Roman emperor who is responsible for the building of the wall that was meant to keep barbarian raiders from Scotland crossing into Roman Britain.
  • Germany: The Saxon alliance. Saxons were one of a number of people who crossed from Germany (and other parts of northern Europe) to England during the time of the Roman empire and after. Traditionally in the Dip Hobby this is known as the “Anglo-Saxon” alliance.
  • Austria-Hungary: The Castlereagh alliance. Viscount Castlereagh was the British Foreign Secretary when the Napoleonic Wars ended. He was part of the partnership which saw the nebulous Concert of Europe formed.
  • Turkey: The Coven. England and Turkey are known as the “Witches” in Diplomacy, as they magically seem to survive well into a game of Diplomacy.
  • Russia: The Anglonaut. Due to the renown of the Juggernaut alliance – the Russo-Turkish alliance – any alliance with Russia, which doesn’t have it’s own name, tends to feature “-naut”. Having said that, it is not unknown for this suffix to be added to a 3-way alliance featuring Russia, Turkey and a third power.

France and…

  • Italy: The Gaulish alliance. Gaul was the name of France when it was occupied by the Roman Empire.
  • Germany: The Frankish alliance. The Franks were a people that moved from Germany into France during and after the Roman Empire. Charlemagne was a Frank. The Holy Roman Empire grew out of the empire that Charlemagne established, and covered much of Germany. In the Dip Hobby this is often known as the “Rhineland” alliance, a region on the border between France and Germany. However, this is a region that the two powers were often fighting over… not the ideal choice for an alliance, then.
  • Austria-Hungary: The Marie-Louise alliance. Marie-Louise, despite holding the title Duchess of Parma, in what is now Italy, was an Austrian Habsburg (or Hapsburg, if you perfer). She married Napoleon I, Emperor of the French. Yes, I was struggling.
  • Turkey: The Frangipani alliance. Yeh, I struggled with this one, too. The Frangipani cocktail can include flavours from Turkey, or – at least – from the Dalmatia area which was part of the Ottoman Empire for some time.
  • Russia: The Franconaut. As I said above, for Anglonaut. Occasionally known as the “Frogonaut” among English speakers, which comes from the English nickname for French people: Frogs. A little too defamatory for me.

Italy and…

  • Germany: The Brunswick Alliance. One of the names for deep, dark green is Brunswick green. Not sure why, frankly, but if you combine green and black, this is something like the colour you get. An alternative names is the “Pact of Steel”. I am going to admit that I don’t really like this name. It was the name of the alliance of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in WWII. Why use a WWII alliance name for a WWI alliance?
  • Austria-Hungary: The Adriatic Alliance. Names for the sea between Italy and Austria-Hungary. The common name for this alliance in the Hobby is the “Lepanto” alliance. The Lepanto, though, is the name for a number of openings that usually feature Italy and Austria working together… which makes is a good name for the alliance, I guess. But I dislike using names for openings as alliance names. There are many options for an alliance between Italy and Austria that don’t involve a Lepanto opening.
  • Turkey: The Unholy Alliance. Let’s face it, any alliance between a Catholic country and a Muslim country is almost unheard of! I have to admit that the Unholy Alliance is also connected to another alliance, the A/E/T 3-way alliance. But, well, I think it fits better to this one.
  • Russia: The Wintergreen. This is an established name for the alliance in the Dip Hobby and – for once(?) – I don’t see why I should change it. I’ve got to admit I’m not sure why it’s called this, except that it perhaps comes from the combination of the colours originally used for Russia (white) and Italy (green)…

Germany and…

  • Austria-Hungary: The Backdoor Alliance. I have started to prefer this to the traditional name of the “Dual Alliance”. Although the latter is contextually correct, being formed by the two powers in the late 19th century, the fact that this alliance is said to guard the ‘back doors’ of both Germany and Austria, it’s pretty descriptive.
  • Turkey: The Railroad Alliance. Germany and Turkey formed an alliance pre-WWI by which German engineers built a series of railways across Turkey.
  • Russia: The Teutonic Alliance. While there was a treaty between Germany and Russia pre-WWI, known as the “Reinsurance Treaty”, which was supposed to protect the two powers from attack by the other. It’s a clumsy name, though. The Teutonic Knights created what was effectively a domain of their own which became, eventually, East Prussia, in the area around Konisgberg, now known as Kaliningrad, part of a slice of administrative Russia between Lithuania and Poland on the Baltic Sea coast. I know, it’s a stretch, but a cool(ish) name for an alliance.

Austria-Hungary and…

  • Turkey: The Austurk Alliance. The word Ozturk pretty much means ‘core Turk’. Not much use here, I admit, but it’s not a huge jump to combine the names of Austria and Turkey… especially when there’s no other name that jumps out at you.
  • Russia: The Peppermint. Again, I’m not really sure where this comes from, except perhaps the combination of the colours used in the original game for Russia (white) and Austria (dark red) are combined to represent peppermints (probably in the US?)

Turkey and Russia: The Juggernaut. A common name for this alliance in the Hobby, so named because it is renowned for sweeping across the board.

3-way Alliances

England, France and…

  • Italy: The Spaghetti Western. Well, why not? It’s on the west of the board, and involves Italy.
  • Germany: The Western Triple. A very well-known name for this alliance, although it is also sometimes known as the “Northern Triple”, a name I use elsewhere.
  • Austria-Hungary: The Faerie alliance. Named by using the initial letters of each power – F, A, E. Weak, but there you go; it’s not an alliance that is likely to be used at the start of a game, anyway.
  • Turkey: The Crimean alliance. England, France and the Ottoman Empire formed an alliance against Russia in the Crimean War.
  • Russia: The Triple Entente. The name for the same alliance pre-WWI.

England, Italy and…

  • Germany: The Guillotine. I named this alliance because, if it forms, France is dead.
  • Austria-Hungary: The Drücken alliance. German for ‘press’ or ‘squeeze’ – something that happens to Germany if this alliance forms.
  • Turkey: The Maritime Triple. These three powers are likely to be the ones that look to build fleets.
  • Russia: The United Church Triple. The three powers that represent the three main strands of the Christian high church – Protestantism, Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

England, Germany and…

  • Austria-Hungary: The Germanic Triple. German speakers are, of course, in Germany and Austria. England, named after the Angles, another people from Germany that settled in England.
  • Turkey: The Cauldron alliance. Again, this relates to England and Turkey being known as the ‘Witches’ in Diplomacy. With the addition of Germany, the whole board gets mixed together in *cough* a cauldron.
  • Russia: The Northern Triple. The three northern-most powers in Dip, so, well, why not?

England, Austria-Hungary and…

  • Turkey: The Feast alliance. Uses F, A & E combined with other letters and because it’s likely to be eaten up. I know, kind of condemns it from the start, but pretty accurate anyway.
  • Russia: The Spearmint alliance. Simply because it includes the Peppermint alliance (A/R) and England.

England/Turkey/Russia: The Battilus alliance. The Battilus class of ships are some of the largest in the world, the sea-faring equivalent of the Juggernaut. With England, a maritime power, joining the Juggernaut (the R/T alliance)…

France, Italy and…

  • Germany: The Swiss Star. A name often used in the Hobby for this alliance, as it encircles Switzerland.
  • Austria-Hungary: The Oktoberfest. As this alliance puts Munich, in Germany, in grave danger, and Munich is often associated with the Oktoberfest in Germany, with the three powers free to party in Germany…
  • Turkey: The Mediterranean Triple: These three powers can dominate the Mediterranean between them, after all.
  • Russia: The Firtree Alliance. Again, this relates to the I/A alliance being the Wintergreen. Take F, I & R and you get fir, the name of a tree that is green in winter.

France, Germany and…

  • Austria-Hungary: The Roman Ruin alliance. So named because Italy is in grave danger from this one.
  • Turkey: The Grafter alliance. Simply taken from the a word formed by taking F, G & T and adding letters – and because it’s a hard alliance to make work.
  • Russia: The German Ocean Triple. The ‘German Ocean’ is another name for the North Sea. As these three powers often combine by getting Germany into the North Sea to attack England, makes some kind of sense.

France, Austria-Hungary and…

  • Turkey: The Pasta la Vista. An unapologetic perversion of hasta la vista, as Italy is gone bye-bye if this alliance forms.
  • Russia: The Farside alliance. Formed by combining the initial letters – F, A & R – and because the alliance spans the board.

France/Turkey/Russia: The Mastodon. The largest land mammal ever. If this alliance forms, it is much the biggest threat to the board.

Italy, Germany and…

  • Austria-Hungary: The Central Triple. As it is formed from the three central powers. A common name in the Hobby.
  • Turkey: The Ingot alliance: It incorporates the initials I, G & T… and with Turkey being a gold colour it seems to fit somewhat. *sigh*
  • Russia: The Viennese Waltz. Simply because these three powers will dance all over Austria.

Italy, Austria-Hungary and…

  • Turkey: The Tia Maria. Tia uses the initials T, I & A and, well, Tia Maria is a well know liqueur, so…
  • Russia: The Gobbler. Taking the nickname for a turkey and given that Turkey gets gobbled up by this triple…

Italy/Turkey/Russia: The Vienna Sandwich. Austria is sandwiched between these three powers.

Germany, Austria-Hungary and..

  • Turkey: The Caged Bear. The three powers can push east and crack Russia open.
  • Russia: The Dreikaiserbund. The League of the Three Emperors, an alliance formed by Bismarck in 1870s and ’80s.

Germany/Turkey/Russia: The Sickle alliance. Something of a curved shape, similar-ish to the shape of a sickle, and linked to Communist Russia’s symbol.

Austria-Hungary/Turkey/Russia: The Eastern Triple. Simply, it involves the eastern-most powers on the board.

Published by Mal Arky

I'm a Diplomacy nut... if you haven't guessed. I write about the game Diplomacy, mainly as played online on websites, such as Playdiplomacy, webDiplomacy and Backstabbr. I write books on Diplomacy, too. First one to be published soon!

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