Keep an eye on my similar AAR for ideas and inspiration. 1880 is indeed very enjoyable.
The year of 1881 started with good news: The Three Emperors Alliance Renewal, although I didn't see any alliance appearing on the diplomatic screen (F9). In this game I intend keep the Three Emperors Alliance strong and isolate France in Europe, although it seems as though I'll have to try to do it manually and withing time as the event hadn't created an alliance (I don't know if it's a bug). I have declared war on Dahomey as they refused to give me suply rights and I'll use this opportunity to train my colonial troops commanded by Herman von Wissman, I'll make sure they'll regret this mistake...
It is not a bug, although admittedly some events could be explained better. The game leaves you with the choice. For this event to fire you need to have already the alliance with Austria in place. But you have to do manually the one with Russia. Actually, you need to do both manually. The game leaves you some liberty to choose if you want to do that, although I would have written these events clearer to avoid such confusion.
the "Three Emperors Alliance" (GER-AUS-RUS) is DIFFERENT than the "Triple Alliance" (GER-AUS-ITA) that happens a few years later. But both of them have as prerequisite the defensive alliance with Austria. These events don't conclude said alliances, but act as reminders of the historical choices (and in some case give relations bonuses).