Sunday, 18 August 2019 10:06

Friends in need Featured

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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:

Austria (Chris Kelly): 9; 34.322 points.
England (Cori Neslund): 9; 34.322 points.
France (Dan Perlman): 5; 10.593 points.
Germany (Brandon Fogel): 6; 15.254 points.
Italy (Christian Kline): 2; 1.695 points.
Russia (Jake Trotta): 0; 0.000 points.
Turkey (Bennett Kalsevic): 3; 3.814 points.

The supply center chart is here. Find the league standings, as we steam toward the Pyle on Aug. 25, here. And the Brawl standings are here.

Read 949 times Last modified on Sunday, 18 August 2019 10:26

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# Chris Kelly 2019-09-02 22:04
Nicely written summary! An amusing note - this game was the fourth in a row (in a 4-month period) that I’ve randomly drawn Austria. A quick calculation suggests that the likelihood of this happening is 0.04 percent (notwithstanding the possibility that I’ve accidentally invoked some obscure Diplomacy-related curse that will follow me indefinitely).

A cynic might say that the odds of my achieving a shared board-top in a game with Brandon, Jake, Christian, and Cori — not to mention as Austria in the face of a Western triple — were similarly minuscule. But maybe it was just a matter of the fourth time being the charm, after two eliminations and a modest third-place finish.

Either way, it was enjoyable to build F Trieste in 1901, and have it feel like the right move. It happened because faced with a new player in Turkey, Christian (as Italy) decided it wouldn’t be fair to go after her with a Lepanto — so instead, he would go aggressively west. And it was fortuitous that he did, as France (Dan) opened even more aggressively east, taking Spain & Portugal with armies so his fleet could wheel into the Western Mediterranean in F01.

What this meant for me was that I’d be on my own facing both Russia (Jake) and Turkey (Bennett), who seemed to be working closely together. Luckily, if the Western triple was depriving me of a likely Italian ally in the south, it was also putting so much pressure on Russia from the north that a second fleet to keep Turkey bottled up seemed like it would be more valuable than a fourth army.

That guess turned out to be correct. In the spirit of cooperating with a new player, I was willing to support Bennett into Rumania in exchange for getting it when she moved on to Sevastopol... but when she asked to also be allowed into the Aegean Sea, I decided not to trust her with *that* much leverage and used the knowledge that she would attack (rather than supporting Russia) to take Rumania for myself.

Meanwhile, England (Cori) and Germany (Brandon) came down so hard on Russia that Jake supported me into Warsaw in Spring 1903 just to slow the German invasion - even though I’d just taken Rumania from him the preceding year. (In fairness, I probably was the closest thing he had to a friend at that point. Sometimes that’s the way it goes in this game, even when you’re as good as Jake is.)

I continued to grow in 1903 and 1904, but I was also stretched thin trying to cover a front line that stretched from Venice (where I was invited in to help Italy against France) across Austria’s northern border and then south to the Black and Ionian Seas (defending against Germany, England, and Turkey... and, ultimately, France as well). So I was honestly shocked when players told me I had a chance to top the board - in addition to feeling besieged on all sides, I was thoroughly convinced that Cori could walk into as many German centers as she wanted at any time, given Brandon’s apparently full commitment to attacking me rather than protecting himself from a stab.

As a result, I was very lazy diplomatically (and somewhat tactically as well) in the final year, overlooking possibilities that could have gotten me a solo board top. I’ll have to keep myself aware in the future for such late-game opportunities, even if I think they’re unlikely.

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