Saturday, 25 March 2017 21:55

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An early-morning cancellation sent the club's organizers into a frenzy today. We were on the verge, for the second time in two months, of fielding boards in two different locations, but now we were faced with having to pull the plug on one of them. In one location, we can play two boards with 12 or 13 players, but two locations requires 14 players to pull it off. 

So a few of us beat the bushes in a desperate search for a 14th while Prime Weasel Brian Shelden simultaneously scrambled to line up an alternative--hosting both boards in the hospitality room of his condo building. In the end, both efforts proved successful. We got a total of 14 players to show up at Brian's building for Games No. 336 and 337. And for once, the guys who drew the red blocks were glad they did.

Game No. 336

This one ended by draw vote during the Spring 1907 turn in the following center counts:

Austria (Jake Trotta): 13; 59.091 points.
England (Chris Kelly): 4; 5.594 points.
France (Zein Zoulfikar): 7; 17.133 points.
Germany (Michael McIntrye): 6; 12.587 points.
Italy (Zane Blanton): 0; 0.000 points.
Russia (Matt Sundstrom): 4; 5.594 points.
Turkey (Alf Lang): 0; 0.000 points.

Zein Zoulfikar and Alf Lang both were playing for the first time.

Game No. 337

This one ended by time limit after the Fall 1908 turn in the following center counts:

Austria (Brandon Fogel): 16; 67.016 points.
England (Gus Spelman): 6; 9.424 points.
France (Ali Adib): 0; 0.000 points.
Germany (Chad Carson): 3; 2.356 points.
Italy (Jake Langenfeld): 9; 21.204 points.
Russia (Brian Shelden): 0; 0.000 points.
Turkey (John Davis): 0; 0.000 points.

The supply center charts are here. Players, how did it go?

Read 624 times Last modified on Sunday, 26 March 2017 15:42

Comments   

+1 # Chris Martin 2017-03-26 10:32
16 Center Austria is niiiiiice. Would he have had 18 if not for the time?
# Jim O'Kelley 2017-03-26 11:42
I wasn't there, but I'd say almost certainly.
+1 # Brandon Fogel 2017-03-26 15:04
Likely but not guaranteed. I needed to pick up Rom and Nap, and I was only going to be building a fleet for the first time when the game ended. Also, Italy was getting a build, likely A Rom. And I needed to do that before the northerners figured out how to get Ber away from me. But I could have flooded the boot with armies and likely gotten a third boat in the water the next year, so I'd say the chances were pretty good.
# Jake Trotta 2017-03-29 11:01
First, hats off to Brandon, whose result is the Best Austrian result in club history. It was pretty amusing- Brandon was delighted to see that I got Austria, and when he drew Austria on the second board an hour later, I told him “well that’s some poetic justice.”
We both ended up doing well. I briefly owned best Austria on the season (for about 3 hours), but Brandon has truly climbed every mountain- Sister Margaretta would be proud.

The West

Chris Kelly in England, Michael (second game) in Germany, Zein (rookie and my college buddy) in France. Let me tell you-this theatre was a mess. No one got above 7. England got Tunis and West Med by invitation while France stayed level at 5 until receiving Belgium by Germany invitation late in the midgame.

Super short version of what wrong for them- they couldn’t get Scandinavia figured out (which is just about the easiest way to mess up the west). England and Germany traded swipes of Denmark and Norway. Russia eventually swiped Kiel with a fleet.

Two things became clear pretty early: this theatre was an absolute disaster, and someone from the east was going to win BIGLY.

The East

I had one of those games where it’s better to be lucky than good. In Italy, we had Zane, the relative newcomer who had two monster tops in his first two tries (and had a shot at catching me in the standings with one more good result.) Russia was Matt Sundstrom, Turkey was a rookie (and friend of Matt’s) Alf.

01 was a bit tenuous, as it always is for Austria. Matt and I would both vie for the hearts of the new player (and both knew that), but neither of us seemed to win that discussion. Turkey and I had a couple deals that were set up but never outright agreed to. The big win- I convinced Italy to set up for a Lepanto (and head to Piedmont) in the fall. That scared the shit out of France, causing a F-Mar build.

Turkey built an army instead of a fleet and had just taken the black sea. This provided the window for Matt and I to work together, as Turkey couldn’t do much to help either of us. Matt moved War-Sil in S02, I swiped Venice from Italy, and Matt and I coordinated a simultaneous Bul/ Rum takedown. In two years, the East was down to two players.

The rest of the game was pretty simple. Matt had trouble in the east, I had trouble killing Italy, and AR whittled down Turkey. One crucial move was setting up Italy for a second stab, regaining his trust by arranging a Tunis-Venice swap (which failed), then following with a swipe of Naples and Venice while England walked into Tunis. It was the first time in Zane’s young career that he was a victim of a big stab, and I was happy to provide that valuable learning experience. That put me to 10.

In the second to last year, Turkey ended up with a fleet in black and luckily guessed right, walking into Rum, which killed Matt’s momentum. That gave me a window to stab Matt for 2 and position, which I took.

I vetoed a draw in the spring at 13, thinking I had a solo shot (I did not-was a couple years early). Kudos to the west for getting their shit together. I accepted a draw in the fall in an interesting position- if the game continued another year, I would’ve gone down, but I could’ve risked playing the fall and having a chance at 14.

Big lesson I learned in this one is get your 18th before you go for the solo. Much easier to consolidate behind your lines than to have to tactically force your way past people, even if they’re newbies. Once I made the stab, I wasn’t facing Matt Sundstrom, Chris Kelly, and two rookies- I was facing four Matt Sundstroms.

Player Feedback
Austria (Me): Did well enough to take advantage of what was in front of me. Made a couple quality stabs. Strategy was good, but not great. My 4th best result, but did not feel like the 4th best game I ever played. Again, better to be lucky than good.
England (Chris): Admired your patience in letting the new players play the game and figured things out. The “England in Tunis by 04” thing was really interesting.
France (Zein): Good start, seemed to get the hang of it as you went on. Looking forward to playing on a few more boards with you dude.
Germany (Michael): Thought you played pretty well. Germany is TOUGH, especially without early tempo, but I thought you steered it well and did a good job playing defense and hanging around. A lesser player would have seen Matt roll right through him.
Italy (Zane): Italy is a tough country, and it is damn near impossible if Austria decides he wants to kill you. That almost never happens, but because Turkey wasn’t a threat to me, I was able to hit you without fearing the impact on my other flank. That’s just bad luck. The second stab was much more the type that you’d expect. As I said after the game, welcome to the hobby, you’re a good player, and it was an honor to make the first cut.
Russia (Matt): Love playing with you because it forces me to get better. Learned a lot from watching you play this one… and you telling me when I’m making poor decisions. Every time we’ve allied together (to my memory), one of us has gone one to top the board.
Turkey (Alf): Great meeting you! You’ve got a great demeanor for the game. Unfortunate that your build hamstrung you, but great defense afterwards and hope to play with you again soon.

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