Saturday, 01 February 2020 12:09

Hood in the hood

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League Game #396 was played Jan 8, 2020, at the Red Lion.  Here are the final center counts:

Austria (David Hood): 2; 1.639 points.
England (Christian Kline): 5; 10.246 points.
France (Chris Kelly): 6; 14.754 points.
Germany (Cori Neslund): 5; 10.246 points.
Italy (Brandon Fogel): 12; 59.016 points.
Russia (Mike Morrison): 1; 0.410 points.
Turkey (Adam Baker): 3; 3.69 points.

Newly appointed Speaky Weasel, Mike Morrison, was on the scene with the following eyewitness report:

Saturday, 01 February 2020 10:59

No Turkeys at This Pyle

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Season 14 concluded with a Pyle held just before Thanksgiving, as we shift our season to coincide with the calendar year.  This was also the first Pyle to be held at our favorite watering hole, the Red Lion.  This year's edition saw Clockwork Chris Kelly complete his late charge up the standings to claim his first Weasel of the Year.  Chris topped his last three boards to claim the title.  Cori Neslund won the Amanda Baumgartner Rookie of the Year award.  

Here's how the games went down:

Friday, 11 October 2019 16:20

The Bell Tolls for Chris

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Old Clockwork Chris Kelly tolled 11 times at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square on Wednesday night, both turning in another board-topping performance as England and also getting the club back on schedule after a slow September. Game No. 393 ended by time limit after the Fall 1905 turn in the following center counts:

Sunday, 18 August 2019 10:06

Friends in need

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Our 14th season is winding down, which means we've been doing this a long time. And like any old show, we occasionally recycle story lines.

On Wednesday, it was the one about the last-minute cancellation that would have ruined the game if not for a timely text from a friend. Fortunately, rising star Cori Neslund was able to talk Bennett Kalsevic into driving out to the Red Lion in Lincoln Square to learn a game called Diplomacy. 

By 7:30 p.m., Game 392 was finally under way.  The players quickly made up for lost time. There was a brawl in the Western Mediterranean; an Austrian fleet build in 1901; R/T conflict; a Western Triple; the demise of the league leader; and, eventually, some impressive dot-jockeying in the final year of the game. Time was called after the Fall 1905 turn. The final center counts were:

Saturday, 27 July 2019 09:33

Fare Thee Well, Our Bull Weasel

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On July 24, the club gathered once again at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square over the familiar map of Europe, this time to bid farewell to our Bull Weasel. And after the shellacking he administered in Game No. 391, you wouldn't blame anyone for a fleeting thought of "Good riddance."

However, while the Weasel waters may be a bit safer now, we all need to be thinking, "How in the world will we replace Ali Adib?" 

Sunday, 07 July 2019 19:58

Just Deserts

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It looked like the club's first game at Relo's Board Game and Dessert Cafe in Little Italy was destined to be a six-player variant. But then a bystander who happens to be a student of European military history bailed us out  and topped the board for her trouble. 

Game No. 390, played at Relo's on Taylor Street in Little Italy on June 24, ended by draw vote during the Fall 1906 turn in the following center counts:

Wednesday, 05 June 2019 22:24

Jake takes over league lead

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Jake Trotta bounced back from a sub-par (by his lofty standards) performance in Game No. 388 to top Game No. 389, played on Memorial Day at David Spanos' home. He's now in first place for the season.

Billed as David's sendoff--he's leaving town to attend graduate school--the game didn't go so well for the host. Spanos started strong as Russia, gaining two builds in 1901, but stalled there and eventually lost four dots in 1905. Trotta, meanwhile, cruised to his second outright board-top of the season. He shared another one, so that's 2.5 tops in four games.

Game No. 389 ended after 1905 in the following center counts:

Friday, 10 May 2019 13:18

The duel for Gu

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You'll find our first reference to the classic war movie Platoon in the write-up for Game No. 124, played way back in January 2011. We've used it quite a bit since then because many of our bar games play out the same way: New player shows up, ends up in France or Turkey adjacent to a couple of regulars who--for personal or club-cultural reasons--try really hard to work with him or her. The dynamic casts the new player in the role of Charlie Sheen's Chris Taylor as Sergeants Barnes and Elias battle for his soul. 

Wednesday night at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square, the understudy for Charles Sheen was Gu Qiu, who found us on Meetup. He drew France. His closest neighbors? Two-thirds of the soloists at last month's Weasel Moot, Cori Neslund in England and Jake Trotta in Germany. Readers will decide for themselves who was Elias and who, Barnes. Much like the movie, though, in the end, neither won the game.

Instead, it was Carlos Trevino in Turkey, playing his first league game in more than 2 1/2 years, riding an on-again-off-again alliance with Brandon Fogel's Austria to the board-top. The game ended by time limit after the Fall 1905 turn in the following center counts:

Wednesday, 01 May 2019 09:38

Moot XIII, Round 2, Board 3

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Go back to Weasel Moot XIII results

Round 2, Board 3

The game ended by solo in Winter, 1908.

Austria:
Tony Prokes
(5)
10.000  
England:
Mike Morrison
(0)
0  
France:
Zachary Moore
(10)
40.000
 
Germany:
Erik van Mechelen
(8)
25.600  
Italy:
Jake Trotta
(6)
14.400  
Russia:
Tyler Waaler
(5)
10.000  
Turkey:
Matthias Moore
(0)
100  
After zero points in the first game I was glad to draw Germany. Early on, I decided it would be reasonable to offer Russia Tyler Sweden to gain a friend whilst I decided how to play the west. Having made this decision, why not go for 3 builds? After all, I wanted a big result, and was willing to risk looking big in 1901 as it might give me leverage with either France or England in 1902, depending on what they desired to do. At some point in Fall 1901 negotiations, however, with my fleet in Holland and France's (Zachary) in the English Channel, we agreed to put my fleet in the North Sea and his army into Belgium. That was the beginning of a good relationship for us. This game ended reasonably early, as Italy Jake locked up the Med, with Zachary board topping in a 5-way draw on 10, myself on 8 after a blunder failing to hold Warsaw against Tyler's well-coordinated attack.

Regrets: Not more decisively moving against Russia-at one point I might have taken Warsaw and StP in the same or consecutive years, but played too slow. Another was the good but delicate relationship with Zachary, who kept two units adjacent London, which he nicely informed me he would take in the game's final year. Obviously I'd have rather board-topped but it was my first non-0 result, so it was okay considering several things definitely went my way.

Gotta love any game that draws by 1906. This will be a quick AAR because the game was quick. I knew I was likely to be targeted, so my goal was to hopefully pick up 20-30 points and support someone else to a board top.

EARLY GAME

The east had a strange dynamic… Russia and Turkey were both newer players, Austria was on two boards, and I was leading the tournament, but in the hardest country to kill quickly. My initial thought was making it easy on Austria and pitch a long-term key where Russia would hopefully join in. That was largely successful. Russia could have exploded as he had no real enemies in the early game, but ended up staying at 7 from 02-04.

The west resolved extremely quickly – England jumped off his dots in 1903, if I remember correctly. That gave a strong FG rapid tempo across the line… tempo I did not see quickly enough.

MIDGAME

I’ve played three kinds of games as Italy. The first kind is where you face a western triple and it’s not fun unless you break it. The second kind is where I remember not to leave the Ionian and tend to have a pretty good game. The third kind is where I waltz out of the Ionian like an idiot, my tempo gets stalled, and I end up with a mediocre score. This game was the third kind of game.

France got the jump on me, swiping Tunis in 04 just as I was about to build. That proved the difference in this game and likely the tournament. If I build there, I have enough ammunition to take hold France off and grow in the east. Kudos to Zach on a well-timed move.

Instead, I had to stab Austria to stay level and double back to cover my home centers.

ENDGAME

I realized that if the FG continued making progress, a solo was likely… which is a worst-case scenario when you’re leading the tournament. I mostly negotiated over the board, and FAR formed a grand alliance to hold them back. Once FG realized they were stopped, a draw went through, and I picked up 15 points.

PLAYER FEEDBACK

Tony (Austria): Always a blast my man, thanks for holding on in the grand alliance.

Mike (England): We didn’t have a lot of opportunity to speak in this one, but I hope you had fun.

Zach (France): Very well timed on both of your stabs in this game… well deserved W and huge in winning the tournament.

Erik (Germany): On all three of your boards, you were in contention to win. Well played to have the strong alliance that you did – you read Zach much better than I did in this game. I never sensed much willingness to move on France together. I actually think you made the correct call there – if board dynamics play out differently, you likely take home a big score. Though, had you tipped me off about the move to Tunis, you would have had an easier path forward than France did – unsure if you were aware though.

Jake (Italy): How many times do we have to teach you this lesson, old man?

Tyler (Russia): Dude, really great playing with you. You’re obviously a very bright guy with big ideas. You did well to read the situation early in the east, and had you picked up a little more tempo in the west, you’re likely a strong contender to top this board. Showed a lot of good fundamentals in this one.

Mathias (Turkey): Not super fun when you’re the target, but really little you can do when 3 people want you dead. Best of luck on future boards.

A:Tony Prokes
E:Mike Morrison
F:Zachary Moore
G:Erik van Mechelen
I:Jake Trotta
R:Tyler Waaler
T:Matthias Moore

Go back to Weasel Moot XIII results 

Wednesday, 01 May 2019 09:38

Moot XIII, Round 2, Board 2

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Go back to Weasel Moot XIII results

Round 2, Board 2

The game ended by draw vote in Spring, 1908.

Austria:
Chris Kelly
(8)
28.829  
England:
Dave Maletsky
(4)
7.207  
France:
Matt Sundstrom
(7)
22.072
 
Germany:
Brandon Fogel
(2)
1.802  
Italy:
Brian Shelden
(8)
28.829  
Russia:
Tony Prokes
(5)
11.261  
Turkey:
Dan Perlman
(0)
0  

This was one of those games that Jake Trotta likes to tweak me about - where I stay mostly below the radar, then slink steadily towards a modest, usually shared board-top. A superficial, one-sentence summary might be that as Italy and Austria, respectively, Brian Shelden and I recognized that it was in our mutual interest to stick together, did so for several years, and finally benefited from feuds between the other players.

But there were nuances. Brian taking Trieste in 1901 was not something I agreed to - and though we patched things up by funneling the offending army to Greece in 1902, he moved an additional army to Tyrolia, and it might only have been France’s exploratory southern foray that same year which kept Brian from further shenanigans.

Other factors that played in our favor:
— Turkey (Dan P.) having its fleets bottled up in Ankara and Constantinople made it literally helpless against a joint Austrian/Italian naval attack... so Brian & I had every incentive to stick with it.
— France (Matt S.) going south in 1902, combined with a lack of clear conflict elsewhere in the West, made Russia (Tony Prokes) fear a Western triple enough to stay neutral (and eventually join in) as Austria & Italy got the upper hand on Turkey.
— When France reversed field from Italy toward England in 1903, England (Dave Maletsky) apparently bought his survival by agreeing to work with France and Russia against Germany (Brandon, who can perhaps comment more about the dynamics at work there).
— Seeing his holdings being whittled away in 1905-06, Brandon refused to agree to a draw until France was no longer topping the board, then worked with Brian and I to ensure that happened.

A:Chris Kelly
E:Dave Maletsky
F:Matt Sundstrom
G:Brandon Fogel
I:Brian Shelden
R:Tony Prokes
T:Dan Perlman

Go back to Weasel Moot XIII results 

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