I’m back, and I’ll be honest: After a two-week hiatus, it was tough to get back into the swing of This Week. Still, I think I managed a decent issue. I hope you’ll agree. So, here’s the latest news from the North American hobby.
Dip in Unexpected Places
There’s an old joke about a guy with significant financial problems who’s considering suicide. Before he can do the deed, God comes to him in burning-bush form and tells him he’s going to win the lottery.
Every day for a week, the guy checks the paper and is disappointed to learn that he didn’t win. Finally, he confronts the bush.
“God,” he asks, “what gives? You said I was going to win the lottery.”
The bush bursts into flame, and the voice of God says, “Buy a ticket!”
Even a miracle worker needs something to work with, right?
There's a lesson there for would-be Diplomacy organizers. You can’t wait for players to fall into your lap. You have to look for them. You have to buy the ticket.
Canadian Mike Hall has bought lots of tickets over the years, and one of them may finally pay off. He has been keeping tabs on a local game group organized through BoardGameGeek. On Monday, he decided to attend their bi-weekly meetup, and when he showed up, he found five guys leaning over a familiar map of Europe. One of them was reviewing the rules for Diplomacy.
“Guys,” Hall said, “I know this game.”
“Great,” responded the guy with the rules. “You’re in charge.”
Two of them had played a long time ago; the other three were looking at the board for the first time. So, Hall went to work.
“I channeled a little Edi [Birsan],” Hall said. He set up the board, explained the rules, and demonstrated moves. The whole thing took about 10 minutes.
He volunteered to play Austria. Italy was neutral, per the rulebook variant. They started at 7:15 p.m. with five-minute negotiation phases.
“The new guys were intimidated at first and did not talk much,” Hall said.
By 1902, the other guys were getting into the game, so they extended the negotiation phases to 10 minutes.
“By 9 p.m.,” Hall said, “everyone was chatting, laughing, complaining and of course stabbing.”
They wrapped up after 1905 with the French player topping. The final center counts were:
Austria (Mike Hall): 8
England (Brian Cherry): 5
France (Nathan Pascoe): 9
Germany (Brad Martin): 2
Italy (CD): 0
Russia (Bill Burton): 5
Turkey (Chris Crowder): 5
Hall read the orders throughout the game and took time to carefully explain the adjudication.
“I was very liberal with the order writing and just pointed out how they should have been written,” he says.
The point, after all, was to ensure a good time so that the game would find its way back to the table soon. Hall thinks they’ll play again in September, and one of the guys has a friend in mind to round out the board.
“You have to start somewhere,” Hall says of his first game in North Bay and his first house game anywhere in some five years. “My start with the North Bay Group was a six-player game where I volunteered to play Austria!”
If there’s a game group near you, check it out. You never know what’s going to hit the table.
The Windy City Weasels will wrap up our seventh season of play this weekend at our annual Weasel Pyle event at Eric Brown’s mansion in bucolic Wayne. We’re expecting four boards, including one for new players.
In addition to the games, we’ll elect officers for our Sneak; award our Weasel of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and Best Country awards; and announce the bids for the Weasel Royale league championship game.
Less than 2 points separate Peter Lokken and Mike Morrison in the race for Weasel of the Year and top Royale seed. Unfortunately, Morrison is sidelined for the weekend. Lokken has a more comfortable leave over me and Nate Cockerill of about 17 points. Each player’s best three games comprise his composite score. Lokken’s low score is 39.56. Cockerill’s low is 37.5. Mine is 36.45. Cockerill and I need big board tops to challenge Lokken.
The race for the final Royale bid is tighter. Matt Sundstrom is currently in seventh. His low score is 31.68. Don Glass (low of 22.69) and Tony Prokes (25.4) are within 7.5 points. Canadian Ryan Whalen trails by about 26 points but has only scored two games.
The games will wrap up by 9 p.m. on Saturday. Watch the Weasels website, windycityweasels.org, for the results.
Baseball Imitates Dip
The New York Yankees closed the first half of the baseball season by drubbing their arch-rivals in Fenway Park. The Bombers took three of four from the Red Sox. The massacre was actually foreshadowed two weeks earlier at Pandemonium Books and Games in Cambridge.
Robert Premus, the lead organizer of the rising New York hobby, posted a 14-center board top and two solid seconds to win the Boston Massacre, played June 23-24. He narrowly edged defending champion Evil Phil Weissert of New Haven, Conn., who has been playing with the New Yorkers and will be hosting some of them for a game this Sunday. Paul Camina, the HuskyCon vet and another member of the New York hobby, placed sixth.
A total of 19 players participated in the six-board tournament. The top board was as follows:
1. Robert Premus
2. Phil Weissert
3. Eric Tillberg
4. Robert Rousse
5. Jack Latta
6. Paul Camina
7. Randy Lawrence-Hurt
The Best Country awards went to:
Austria: Robert Premus
England: Robert Premus
France: Phil Weissert
Germany: Phil Weissert
Italy: Robert Rousse
Russia: Jack Latta
Turkey: Robert Premus
The New Yorkers hope to host a rematch in September.
Calm before the Grand Prix Storm
The Grand Prix racers are enjoying the summer and catching their breath. They’ll need the rest to get through the gauntlet of events beginning Aug. 3. Take a look at the upcoming schedule:
Aug. 3-4: World Boardgaming Championships, Lancaster, Penn., www.boardgamers.org/wbc/schedule.htm.
Aug. 10-12: World Diplomacy Championship at Weasel Moot VI, Chicago, Ill., windycityweasels.org/wdc.
Aug. 17-19: HuskyCon X, Setauket, N.Y., huskycon.com.
That’s three tournaments in three weekends, including the two giants, WDC and Husky. The Grand Prix standings have not yet been updated to include the Boston Massacre, the sixth step of the circuit. Check out the standings through Dixie here.
Under One Month
The World Diplomacy Championship at Weasel Moot VI will tip off in less than one month. Make your plans to join us. Cheap flights are available on Southwest, which flies into Midway, the slightly preferred airport. The attendee list is up to 80, and we expect it to grow. This could be the largest North American Diplomacy event since Denver in 2003. Don’t miss out!
Check out windycityweasels.org/wdc for more information.
Here’s what’s going on in the hobby hotbeds. If we’ve missed your hobby, let us know!
See the second story. Learn more about the Weasels at www.windycityweasels.org.
Diplomacy World No. 118 came out last week. Check it out at www.diplomacyworld.net. Among other things, it includes an interesting article by Matt Shields about the impact of round structure on tournament play.
The Texas Yahoo group is here: games.groups.yahoo.com/group/texas-diplomacy.
Brent Waddington is planning to host a game on one of the last two weekends of the month. The PTKSers are comparing dates on their list, which you can join at ptks.org/community.php. The Potomac Tea & Knife Society’s website is ptks.org.
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
The New Yorkers are planning to play again on July 21. Some of them will trek to New Haven on Sunday to play with Evil Phil Weissert and his flying monkeys. 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.
Doug Moore is looking for a weekend to break in a couple of new players in Portland. Later August or September seems to be the preferred timeframe.
The Vancouver guys are planning to hold their first VanDipCon Sept. 21-23 at the Holiday Inn Vancouver. Check out the Facebook event page here.
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. And Chris Brand created a Meetup group for the region. It’s here, www.meetup.com/Pacific-Northwest-Diplomacy.
The Philadelphia Meetup group has settled on July 21 at Redcap’s Corner for its first game since June 2011. The fun will start at 1 p.m., and they need one more to round out the board. 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.
How about some fanfare? We’ve added a new city to the roundup. Check out the lead story.
That’s all for this week. See you next week!