The issue was that pharazon was visiting, hence I was busy with IRL social life*, and the visit originally was planned to be over by then. Instead it only just ended yesterday. So I am now free and foresee no further time constraints. Bring on the Spring 1901...
*Social life, n. The state of being drunk, high, or recovering from one of those conditions.
It appears to me that we still have only half the requisite number of people saying yes. Should we start advertising in channel?
Granted there is a variant ruleset for six players that doesn't use Italy, and if everyone is down for that I say we should go for it, because getting stuck with Italy is even worse than getting stuck with Austria. At least with Austria if you get hosed you generally die fast, whereas the perennial fate of Italy is a slow lingering failure to either succeed OR die.