We began play at about 2:20 p.m. with the following line-up:
Austria: Greg Duenow
England: Thom Comstock
France: Eric Brown
Germany: Jim O'Kelley
Italy: Chris Davis
Russia: Dan Burgess
Turkey: Christian Kline
Yah, that's right. For the fourth time in five games, I drew
And I almost stabbed Eric in Spring 1901. Italy and I had talked
about moving to Piedmont and Burgundy, respectively, but England
seemed more interested in a Western Triple and France insisted on
moving to Burgundy himself. Then Italy mentioned that France had
also requested a bounce in Piedmont, a fact that France confirmed.
Without any possibility of gaining surprise, I wanted no part of a
war with France. I let France take Burgundy and moved to Ruhr in
order to prevent England from taking Belgium uncontested.
Now, I wasn't the only player stuck with the same country as last
time. For Dan, last time was at that very first meeting in
September. Then, he was also Russia to my Germany. And we fought the
This time, I was determined to give G/R relations a better chance. I
opened to Denmark, as I almost always do, but I really didn't want
to bounce Russia out of Sweden. The Turks made my decision a little
easier by seizing the Black Sea and Armenia, and Austria assured me
that he and Turkey would take either Rumania or Sevastopol from
Russia. So, I let Russia have Sweden.
And I'll be damned if he didn't manage to hold both Rumania and
Sevastopol for two builds—armies in Mos and StP. So much for
peaceful relations with Russia!
France and I agreed to a bounce in Belgium, meanwhile, while
England, who was still talking up the Western Triple, convoyed to
Norway and, if memory serves, moved to the Barents Sea.
I forget the particulars in the East, but Austria somehow managed
only one build. I think he used Serbia to cover Trieste, which Italy
tried to grab, while Turkey ordered Bulgaria to Greece, bouncing him
out of that center.
France built F Brest and I built F Berlin. I think England built F
Edinburgh. Then, as England continued to press against Russia,
France stabbed him, taking the English Channel. I focused on Sweden,
which Russia defended by moving A St. Petersburg to Finland.
I helped France take Belgium in the Fall, in order to placate him.
Austria picked up Greece, and they were the only two to build.
At this point, I felt I was in a precarious position. I was
committed to a war with Russia that I hadn't even wanted, and both
Warsaw and Sweden were well defended. In addition, Italy had poked
his nose into Tyrolia. Meanwhile, France had fleets in the Irish Sea
and the Channel. It appeared that England was going to collapse
quickly, with France getting all of the pieces.
So, I made peace with Russia. I offered to help him take Norway and
said I would back off of Warsaw. Then, as Russia took Norway and
sent A Ukraine to Sevastopol, I seized Sweden and put a second army
on Warsaw, which I took in the Fall.
I also managed to slip into Tyrolia in the Spring, and after an
intense negotiation with Austria, who had an army in Trieste, I
really thought I was going to pick up Venice for three builds.
Instead of supporting me into Venice, however, the Austrian
supported Venice into Tyrolia. The bastard. And England tried to
stop his bleeding by taking my undefended Holland. So instead of
plus three, I was only plus one. France gained Liverpool for another
Turkey, meanwhile, was the big loser in the East. Italy, playing a
classic Lepanto, captured Smyrna in the Fall while Austria took
In 1904, the A/I started sending armies into the no-man's land, but
I held them back, while retaking Holland and grabbing another
Russian dot—I think it was Norway—to pull even with France, who had
gained London for eight centers.
Both Witches fell in 1905, with France taking Edinburgh and Russia
taking Ankara. I grabbed St. Petersburg to stay even with France,
who had committed to a Mediterranean campaign.
France picked up Tunis in 1906. No one else grew. (Are you seeing a
theme here?) In 1907, he took Venice, I think, while I nabbed
Moscow. France had 11, I was at 10, Austria had been stuck on seven
since 1904, and Italy and Russia were down to three each.
I actually had two builds coming, having lost A Tyrolia to an
Austrian/Italian attack. Around this time, both Austria and Russia
started talking to me about the possibility of a French solo. I was
listening, and I was able to convince Austria to back off me in
order to allow me to better defend myself against France.
I built F Berlin with my second build, and I started shuffling
forces to establish a defensive position against France. I never
intended to stab Eric, due largely to the club bylaw, but I didn't
want him to stab me, either. I was keenly aware that I was named Jim
and not Eric, having been called Jim (or some variation thereof)
every day of my life.
My alliance with France was strong enough to withstand the
reallocation of my units. In 1908, we worked to set up a bounce
dynamic in the North Sea. Eric captured another dot that year and
again was the only player to grow. I think he took Venice from
Austria, but I could be mistaken.
In 1909, external forces caused the game to change. With a tip of
the cap to Pulp Fiction, I like to refer to this change as the
As Russia took Smyrna from Italy and hunkered down in Turkey, hoping
to weasel his way into a four-way draw, and as Austria conspired
with France to eliminate Italy, Greg's girlfriend came home. And
while she humored us, she obviously would have preferred that we
were not there.
Greg and I had been talking about a three-way for several turns, but
in 1909, he shifted to a four-way with Russia. He wanted a quick
resolution so that he could spend the rest of his evening with his
girlfriend instead of us.
Sensing his resolve weakening, Eric and I saw an opportunity for a
conceded two-way. In Spring 1910, I vetoed a four-way draw proposal,
and then we voted anonymously on a three-way excluding Russia. (As a
side note, the look on Greg's face was priceless when I asked if I
could borrow his girlfriend. We needed her to handle the draw vote!)
That also failed. Eric admitted to casting a dissenting vote.
That Spring, at France's urging, I sent my armies south against
Austria, just as he attempted to support Russia back into
Sevastopol. In Fall 1910, under intense pressure from German armies
to the north, French armies to the west, French fleets to the South,
and his girlfriend on the couch, Greg caved. The two-way draw passed
The final center counts were:
We played for about seven hours. And no one stabbed Eric.
Here's the supply center chart.