Thursday, 09 March 2017 19:45

#Resist

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The Weasels dressed Wednesday up in red last night in honor of International Women's Day. A total of 15 players showed up for another Red Wednesday at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square , including Prime Weasel Brian Shelden, who was there strictly to play only if needed. (That's the dedication we've been looking for in a Prime Weasel. By comparison, recent occupants of the office have been, well, weasels.)

Both games started relatively close to on time, with the players divided roughly in the order they arrived at the bar.

Game No. 333

Game No. 333 featured three of the club's elder statesmen in the east and relative newcomers rounding out the rest of the board. One of those newcomers, Zane Blanton, was playing for just the second time ever. He guided France to a commanding, seemingly insurmountable two-center lead heading into the final year of the game. (Bar games are usually timed to end no later than 11 p.m.) His nice score turned into a monster result and near certain bid to the Weasel Royale club championship game (if he pays his dues) when, in yet another blow to the club's shrinking classicist wing, he was gifted four centers to finish with a massive six-center bulge. The final center counts were:

Austria (Pete McNamara: 3; 3.261 points.
England (Nicole Campbell): 2; 1.449 points.
France (Zane Blanton): 13; 61.232 points.
Germany (Sean Clarke): 3; 3.261 points.
Italy (Ian Trotta): 0; 0.000 points.
Russia (Matt Sundstrom): 7; 17.754 points.
Turkey (Jim O'Kelley): 6; 13.043 points.

The game was also notable for renewing the age-old debate, Can you Sundstrom the Sundstrom? On this night, the answer was just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Check out the supply center chart here.

 

Game No. 334

This one also went six years and also was topped by a Season 12 rookie. The final center counts were:

Austria (Jake Trotta): 0; 0.000 points.
England (Ali Adib): 0; 0.000 points.
France (Kevin Poemsch): 7; 19.600 points.
Germany (Brandon Fogel): 6; 14.400 points.
Italy (Chad Carson): 4; 6.400 points.
Russia (John Davis): 10; 40.000 points.
Turkey (Bryan Pravel): 7; 19.600 points.

All seven players in this one joined the club in the past three seasons.

Check out the supply center chart here.

Read 210 times Last modified on Friday, 14 April 2017 18:52

Comments   

# Jake Trotta 2017-03-10 17:18
My game can be summed up in one interaction with Chad, who was playing in his second game with the Weasels (and thus has no incentive to be playing the league standings). For context, I was being tripled up on, but could still be useful in determining who would top the east/ board top.
Me: Okay, so why should I do that? What’s your path to winning?
Chad: Yeah, I didn’t really think about that.
Me: Wait, so 1901, when you stabbed me for a center you offered to me and threw in with the RT, you didn’t have a plan to win?
Chad: No, the plan was to kill the guy who was leading the league. I didn’t think about much past that.


I’m all for killing the leader (except when the leader is me, then don’t do that), but COME ON don’t do it at the cost of your own game you guys!

This the part where I remind you that BRANDON IS STILL THE BIGGEST THREAT ON ANY BOARD AND STATISTICALLY WAY BETTER THAN ME.

Now, for the actual recap.
Game 334 was an interesting experience for me in terms of diplomacy philosophy. I have been ganged up on before, and I’ve been a janissary before, before I’ve never been ganged up on as Austria before. Russia broke DMZ Galicia in 01, Turkey got armies in Greece and Bul in 01, and Italy moved to Trieste, got bounced, and then moved to Tyrolia and Venice. When all of your centers are surrounded by 2 units at the end of 01, it’s bad news bears.

Once my centers started being peeled off, I started trying to janissary for people. But nobody was having it. I was being left to die, and no one wanted my help to make any sort of impact on the board. In S02, my three eastern neighbors were all chatting less than 3 feet from where I was chatting with Brandon (points for subtlety, guys). So as a gentleman, I chewed them all out for the strategic mistakes they were already making, logic being that it’s better to fall from a high horse than no horse at all.

This is what’s strange about diplomacy- it’s a zero sum game, but once you know you’re going to die from that game, your incentives change. It goes from “how can I win” to “what do I want to do by losing?” And honestly, I had a tough time picking incentives, partly because none of my theatremates were interested in my help.

Do I want to take on this tactical challenge and try to hang on as long as I can? No, that seems boring, and the fleet in Trieste makes that too hard.
Is there a club rival I can kill? No, Brandon is in Germany and that would be too much of a dick move (I did have many offers though).
Do I want to throw all my units at one dude? Everyone has pissed me off equally, so probably not.
Do I want to help someone? No, no one wants my help.
Do I want to start drinking early? No, I have to drive home. I will order a pie though.


Eventually, Bryan accepted my help, and we got him a couple dots and great position. I got tactically outguessed at a crucial moment, which may have ruined Bryan’s game. I had another opportunity to essentially throw the game to Bryan, but I decided that throwing games isn’t something that’s fun unless someone has really earned it. Bryan hadn’t earned it yet, but he had a chance to. I made it to my second read then went quietly (ok, not very quietly) into the pie/ night.

Pie was delicious, by the way.

Player Feedback
Austria (Me): That’s the last time I DMZ Galicia as A without stalking R up to the deadline. Other than that, well-played. Even in death, the yellow jersey is quite becoming on you.
England (Ali): Forgetting to pull kinda ruined your game, but I’m not totally sure it would have mattered, as England could have just walked to LVP otherwise.
France (Kevin): Wasn’t around long enough to really know how you did, but great meeting you, and always build a fleet as france.
Germany (Brandon): club’s best player and biggest threat on any board.
Italy (Chad): First, you’ve got the right demeanor for the game. I was impressed by your play, but what impressed me most was your understanding and desire of the need to learn more about the game. I had a bit of slow learning curve, but once you accustom yourself to the Ways of the Weasel, you’re going to be off and running. Looking forward to many, many more boards.
Russia (John): Brilliantly, brilliantly played. You made the right choice in violating the DMZ when Italy and Turkey came up to you at the deadline and said “it’s a gangbang.” You made the right choice in saying no to my janissary offers as well. Very strong strategy there- accepting quick centers from me would’ve made you a target, and you were going to get my centers eventually anyways. I don’t think you made a single strategic mistake. Once you have a little more tactical experience, you’re going to be a top player.
Turkey (Bryan): good negotiating in getting two newer players to attack the club leader. Put yourself in a position to win.
# Brandon Fogel 2017-03-20 09:42
#334 was a pretty wide-open game that featured some quality play by relative newcomers to the group. In the end, John was rewarded for steadiness and a good read on the board’s balance of power. Kevin, playing in only his second game, was also impressive for his late game tactics and some unorthodox but effective strategic decision making.

As with Jake, my game turned on a decision by Chad, this one in F05. It involved Kevin, and the three of us talked about it quite a bit after the game. I think the episode illustrates an important aspect of the game, so I’ll say more about it below. In short, they made a good deal, but one that neither should have honored.

First, Jake’s AAR, part of a persistent campaign to paint me as a bigger threat than he is. Jake currently has a 38 point lead in the league standings. He’s topped more boards than anyone this season. He recently won the Bar Room Brawl championship, and in a couple weeks he’ll look to defend his Codcon title. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, my friend, and your head is weighty, indeed.

Now, #334. I landed in the west with a fellow New Guarder, Ali (England), and Kevin (France), playing in only his second game. The theater boiled down to a competition between Ali and me for Kevin’s allegiance, as Ali and I weren’t interested in ganging up on a newcomer. Neither Ali nor Kevin opened to the Channel, and then, after getting Bel, Kevin built 3 armies. In other words, I lost the competition for Kevin’s allegiance.

France building 3 armies in 01 is an unusual occurrence, for good reason. It’s difficult to utilize all 5 armies right away. I suppose the Mar army could go to Pie as part of an end-around against Germany, but even then you’d still have an army wasted behind the lines. Without that you have 2 armies wasted behind the lines. If you’re all in on the EF, as Kevin later said he was, a good option would be to build 2 armies and bank the extra build.

That said, the other game across the bar, #333, also featured France building 3 armies in 01, and that was parlayed into a monster board top. And Kevin had a decent result here. So perhaps my wisdom isn’t so wise.

In any case, my prospects looked grim. Kevin, despite fervent diploming on my part, was clearly dedicated to the EF, and I couldn’t punish him for it. But I could punish Ali. I offered to support John (Russia) against Ali in the north, and he readily accepted. As often happens to England in the EF, Ali overcommitted his forces against me and was eventually stabbed by Kevin, who (predictably) hadn’t gotten beyond Burgundy or Belgium. By 1905, Ali was down to 1 unit, Russia had three fleets in the north, and I was at 6, poised to take Bel and make a play for the board top.

That was when Chad intervened. Kevin had finally moved one of his armies into Pie, while Chad had an army sitting in Tyl. I don’t recall if the Italian army had been in Tyl continuously for years, but I do know one had been there frequently throughout the game. I had gotten used to Chad assuring me I had nothing to worry about. Chad had no unit in Ven in F05, and he worried about Kevin taking a shot at it. So he made a deal with Kevin: I’ll support you into Mun if you move the Pie army back to Mar. It seems like a good deal on its face, since both get something important out of it.

But think what happens if they make the deal and don’t honor it, while the other one does. Kevin could have had Mun *and* Ven, plus Mar open for a fleet build. It’d be a bold play for the board top. Chad, on the other hand, would get the Pie army to move out without strengthening his neighbor. He isn’t making a play for the board top at that point, but his overall position isn’t as strong to begin with.

Let’s call that a “good double deal” — one that’s good to make but bad to honor. This was, I think, a good opportunity for a double deal for both Kevin and Chad.

In this case, they both followed through on the deal, and the net result was that Kevin got the leg up on me. In fine Weasel fashion, Chad supported me back into Mun the following year, and I would have ended at 7 in a 3-way tie for second place, except that I threw a dot to John in Russia to ensure he topped the board. As it turned out, everything broke his way in the final turn and the thrown dot wasn’t needed, but that wasn’t clear going in.

A final word about John’s play this game. He handled the east very well, no small feat with top-10 players in Austria (Jake) and Turkey (Bryan). In fact, the timing of his stab of Bryan was perfect and, while not a fatal stab, it was good enough to get the upper hand. And he kept involved just enough in the west to keep the alliance structure to his liking. An impressive strategic performance from a guy playing in only his third game.

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