We’re back with all the latest news from the North American hobby.
He Said, He Said: Diplomacy in the Bay Area
It started with a bounce in Piedmont, this game last Saturday at Mike Holy’s home in Menlo Park, California. Meanwhile, the Brits (Adam Silverman) stole into the Channel, while Germany (Edi Birsan) opened to Tyrolia, Russia (Brendan Hickey) moved Moscow to St. Petersburg, and Turkey (Peter McNamara) opened against Russia. It was your basic clusterf&#k.
Silverman pins the craziness on the Italian, Conrad Minshall.
“He told me that he had arranged a Piedmont bounce with France (Condy Creek),” Silverman says. That piece of information caused him to doubt the Western Triple he was planning.
“No one really believed the Triple would last,” Silverman continues, “but it seemed a reasonable way to play 1901. But I knew Condy wasn’t being on the level with me. France was supposed to grab Iberia with armies and send his fleet to the Western med. If he were bouncing in Piedmont, he couldn’t do that, so I decided the English Channel was a better bet.”
As a consequence, he lost his claim to Norway.
“I was forced to let Russia take Norway with the ‘agreement’ that he wouldn't build F StP(nc), and instead I just supported myself to Belgium,” Silverman says.
Russia gained Sweden and Norway to offset his failure to capture Rumania in the south, and he promptly plopped down a fleet on the North Coast. Meanwhile, France built a couple of fleets. The situation looked grim for England.
“Fortunately I had convinced Edi to build two armies, which made a defenseless France more appealing than me,” Silverman says.
“I know more about my corner of the board,” says McNamara, the Turk. In his view, the alliance structure in the East shifted from an A/T to an A/R to an eventual R/T.
“I don’t agree with that analysis,” says Hickey, the Russian, claiming that the alliances weren’t shifting so much as failing to congeal.
“Turkey and Austria (Holy) were faffing around with one another in the south while I was grabbing northern dots,” Hickey says. “Neither of them ever made a serious attempt to breach my paltry defenses.”
Warsaw was open for most of the game as Russia committed to a northern fleet-building strategy. At one point, he had three pointed at England.
“The A/T’s failure to dot me in 1903 did not mark the beginnings of an A/R,” Hickey says. “It was just a diplomatic failure between Austria and Turkey.”
Regardless of which viewpoint is correct, the only consistent alliance on the board was the E/G, notes Birsan. “Silverman and I rarely cooperate for an entire game.”
Germany seemingly was best positioned to take advantage of the opening chaos, but his window of opportunity closed in 1904 when Austria and Italy targeted Munich.
“That was rather critical to my game,” Birsan says. “Russia and Turkey were working together, and the Italians and Austrians decided to toss their three armies at Germany to grab Munich.”
The loss of Munich denied him a third build that year. Birsan feels the A/I attack changed the course of the game.
“I would have been able to clobber the Russians with the English in the North and East,” he says. “The A/I would have been freed to deal with the Turks. A German attack on Russia at that moment would have substantially altered the game in favor of the A/I.”
“Italy made a number of blunders,” concedes Minshall.
“I have seen this happen numerous times,” continues Birsan, who’s been playing competitive Diplomacy for more than 40 years. “Allies will overcommit to take a single center and bring in a new enemy who ties up more units than the original attack supports, thus bringing down their own house of cards and turning their attack from something of a gain to a survival effort to keep a unit alive while their entire home fronts are overrun.”
The R/T predictably pounded the A/I. Holy finished the game holed up in Kiel. Minshall had only two centers.
Russia’s Northern game peaked at Belgium, which he held briefly. A couple of tactical blunders eventually caused the tide to turn against him. As the game wound down, the Tsar faced the threat of a Turkish stab on his exposed southern front. The stab never materialized.
The game ended by time limit after Fall 1907 in the following center counts:
Austria (Mike Holy): 1
England (Adam Silverman): 7
France (Condy Creek): 1
Germany (Edi Birsan): 6
Italy (Conrad Minshall): 2
Russia (Brendan Hickey): 8
Turkey (Peter McNamara): 9
“I’m completing my transformation into a West Coast Care Bear from an East Coast Cutthroat,” says McNamara of his decision not to stab. The Australian transplant moved to the Bay Area from Boston last year.
“West Coast Care Bear?” asks Minshall, the beaten Pope. “Is there such a species? I didn't notice any.”
“If Turkey had stabbed me, I would have collapsed my line to Edi, who was only holding one home center,” Hickey remarks. “Adam would have rolled over Edi and beat Turkey in the solo race. If it was smart, Turkey would have hit me.”
“I doubt that a Turkish stab would've meant England rolling over Germany to a win,” disagrees Minshall.
“There could have been an interesting endgame situation where there may have been a huge Turkey and a resurgent England with my Germany in the middle,” Birsan says. “However the English did not have the armies to grab the center and the Turks were also too far away.”
“There was no way I could move against Edi,” concludes Silverman, with the last word. “I had no armies in the middle of the board to take up a stalemate position against Turkey. A fun game. Big thanks to Mike for hosting. I'm looking forward to the next one.”
So am I.
Banner Night for Weasels: the Next Generation
If last night at Guthrie's Tavern in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood was any indication, the future (of the Windy City Weasels) is all right. Twenty-three people turned out on a Wednesday night for an event we scheduled less than two weeks ago. The turnout resulted in our first ever three-board session at a bar event. And the three board-toppers all joined the Weasels within the past four months.
The first game to start was the shark board. By all accounts, it was a brutal affair. At various times, the Italians were in Marseilles, the Germans in Venice, and the Austrians in Berlin. The game ended by time limit after the Fall 1906 turn in the following center counts:
Austria (Matt Sundstrom): 6
England (Aaron Bernhardt): 1
France (Nate Cockerill): 6
Germany (Eamon Driscoll): 8
Italy (Christian Kline): 3
Russia (Peter Lokken): 4
Turkey (John Gramila): 6
The second game actually started an hour late because two of our players, Belgians both, missed their train. They wound up in Austria and Germany and immediately had to defend themselves against the wrath of the players they kept waiting.
The game ended by draw vote in Spring 1906 in the following center counts:
Austria (Simon Marcelis): 0
England (Ted McClelland): 7
France (Kevin Schiferle): 5
Germany (Herve De Theux): 3
Italy (Erik Bergquist): 2
Russia (Sam Bassett): 7
Turkey (Ryan Whalen): 10
For Whalen, it was his second board top in as many games with the Weasels. He shared the top in his first game at the Red Lion in December. He’s now in 10th place in the club’s seventh season. With another solid result, he could be the second Canadian to play in the Weasel Royale club championship. Christian MacDonald was the first.
We had five new Weasels play on the novice board, including three first-time players. They were joined by club vets Mike Morrison and Chris Paxhia. This game ended by time limit after the Fall 1905 turn. The final center counts were:
Austria (Mike Morrison): 1
England (Max Iniguez): 7
France (Jakub Mirski): 8
Germany (Mark Johnson): 3
Italy (Chris Paxhia): 6
Russia (Peter Papachronopoulos): 2
Turkey (Megan Klimek): 7
Mirski is a Polish national and was one of four international players on the night. The others were Whalen and Belgians Marcelis and De Theux. The Weasels are going international just in time for WDC.
We've now had 75 players participate in this season’s games. That's a record for us, shattering our previous high of 64, set last year. And we've played 31 games so far. Our record for games played in a season is 41, set last year. If players keep turning out like they did last night, we’ll shatter that mark, too.
The Weasels’ season typically ends in August. However this year, we’ll wrap up in July to clear August for WDC.
Read more about the Weasels and these games at www.windycityweasels.org.
Fact or Fool?
I haven’t had a chance to download the episode yet, but according to the website, episode 15 of DiplomacyCast is now out. Released on April Fool’s Day, the episode promises discussions about soloing, playing with one unit, making allies, the Grand Prix, and (of course) more. I’ll download it tonight.
Next up on the Grand Prix Circuit
The Grand Prix hiatus ends in 16 days, but who’s counting?
April 21-22:CODCon Open VI, Glen Ellyn, Ill., www.windycityweasels.com/codcon6.
May 5-6:BADAss Whipping, San Francisco, diplomacyblog.wordpress.com/whipping-2012/.
May 25-27:DixieCon, Chapel Hill, N.C., dixiecon.com.
Make your plans to attend one or more of these great events.
Preregistration Now Open for World Dip Con 2012
With the second of three instalments for the venue due on June 10, the Weasels would like to remind you that preregistration is now open for the 2012 DipCon and World DipCon at Weasel Moot VI. The event will be held Aug. 10-12 at the historic Congress Plaza Hotel in downtown Chicago. Preregistration will save you $10. For more information, please visit windycityweasels.org/wdc. Check us out on Facebook here. So far, 41 people have responded to the Facebook invite to say they’re coming. If you haven’t already received the invitation, feel free to join the event, and please invite any of your friends who may be interested.
Here’s what’s going on in the hobby hotbeds. If we’ve missed your hobby, let us know!
See the lead story. Peter McNamara created a great blog for the BADAss Whipping, which will be May 5-6 at the Hotel Tomo in San Francisco. Check it out at diplomacyblog.wordpress.com/whipping-2012/. The club’s Yahoo group is games.groups.yahoo.com/group/bayareadip. The BADAss website is bayareadiplomacy.org.
See the second story. The Weasels are gearing up for their sixth annual CODCon Open Diplomacy tournament at the College of Dupage in west suburban Glen Ellyn. Learn more about the Weasels at www.windycityweasels.org.
Issue 118 of Diplomacy World is now out. Check it out. Lead Editor Doug Kent is thinking about hosting a round or two of Diplomacy at TexiCon in Fort Worth, complete with awards if there’s sufficient interest. The Texas Yahoo group is here: games.groups.yahoo.com/group/texas-diplomacy.
Peter Yeargin will host another event at his place in Herndon on April 14. They’ve filled one board and are pushing for two. Check out the Potomac Tea & Knife Society’s website at ptks.org. You can subscribe to the group’s Diplist at ptks.org/community.php.
Nothing new to report. If you’re in the Detroit area, check out their Yahoo group at games.groups.yahoo.com/group/detroitdiplomacy.
Nothing new to report.
New York City
Follow the New Yorkers on Twitter @DiplomacyNYC. New York has a Yahoo group here, games.groups.yahoo.com/group/NYC-Diplomacy. In addition, there’s a Meetup group here, www.meetup.com/diplomacy-6, and a Google group here, groups.google.com/group/new-york-diplomacy.
Nothing new to report. The Pacific Northwest Diplomacy community has a Yahoo group here, games.groups.yahoo.com/group/Northwest_Diplomacy, but its Facebook page, the Greater Cascadia Diplomacy Consortium, is much more active. Check it out here.
Nothing new to report. The group’s Meetup page is here: www.meetup.com/Philadelphia-Diplomacy-Club.
Nothing new to report. Check out the group’s guild page at www.boardgamegeek.com/guild/1171.
See you next week!