Saturday, 16 October 2010 21:39

Lokken tops Game 110

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Peter Lokken topped his first board with the Weasels in Game No. 110, played today at John Gramila's home in Logan Square. The game ended in Spring 1909 in a six-way draw. The final center counts were:

Austria (Ted McClelland): 7; 21.121 points.
England (Dan Burgess): 3; 3.879 points.
France (Peter Lokken): 9; 34.914 points.
Germany (Sam Bassett): 8; 27.586 points.
Italy (John Gramila): 0; 0 points.
Russia (Christian Kline): 2; 1.724 points.
Turkey (Jim O'Kelley): 5; 10.776 points.

Check out the supply center chart here. Now let's hear from the players.

Next up for the Weasels is another Dip and Drinks event at Guthrie's Tavern on Oct. 21. We currently have two boards guaranteed and are pushing for a third. Make your plans to join us!

Read 1222 times Last modified on Thursday, 04 November 2010 15:39

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# Jim O'Kelley 2010-10-17 10:18
Observations from Game No. 110
1) If it looks like chili and tastes like chili ... it could be black bean soup, which it turns out I like. For an unadventurous eater like me, it's not a bad idea to eat first and ask questions later.

2) Henceforth, Sam Bassett shall be known to the club as F. Sam Bassett. Dan Burgess can tell you what the F stands for.

3) Speaking of Sam, he made a bid to name an opening after himself, much the same way that we've seen Matt Sundstrom claim both Smy-Arm and the French convoy to Portugal. Sam opened with Kie-Den, Ber-Pru and Mun-Sil. It didn't go well. He was blanked in 1901 and in trouble for the game's first few years, but eventually he emerged as a power by screwing Dan's England. However, I doubt that he'll employ the Bassett opening again any time soon. You shouldn't either.

4) For Ted McClelland, playing Austria, this game followed a familiar script. He carved out a decent position, then got jumped on by erstwhile allies, which prompted him to declare, "This is my last game." But then the script changed. Ted bent under the attack but did not break, and when the winds changed again, he took advantage to finish in third with seven centers.

5) Speaking of Ted, just because you successfully hold a center, don't let your dynamic defense lull you into a false sense of security. Ted had armies in Gre and Rum and wanted to prevent my A Bul from walking into Ser, so he ordered a self-standoff in Ser. He wrote the same moves for three or four turns in a row. But in addition to A Bul, I also had F Aeg, F Bla, and A Sev. Each time after the first, I considered ordering A Bul S Gre-Ser, F Aeg-Gre, A Sev-Rum, F Bla S Sev-Rum. If the game hadn't ended, I likely would have ordered that set in Fall 1909, as Germany and France had started fighting in Fall 1908, meaning I no longer needed Ted's armies as a bulwark against the West. Alas...

6) Don't just double- and triple-check your orders. Double- and triple-check your starting positions, as well. A misorder in Fall 1908 cost me the Ionian Sea. I had fleets in the Aegean and Eastern Med, but the latter, I had written down as F Smy. I then wrote Smy-Ion, Aeg S Smy-Ion, and failed to catch the mistake when I proofread the orders. If written correctly, the attack would have dislodged the French from the Ionian Sea. I had done a nice job of patiently working my way back into the game, but that misorder sucked the wind out of my sails. When the draw was proposed the next turn, I voted for it, not wanting to force the others to keep playing when I couldn't even get my orders right.

Game No. 110 was a fun one, and John and Celeste were great hosts. They baked bread for us and served a great soup and turkey. His home in Logan Square was easy to get to and had plenty of parking. John, thanks for hosting! I hope you'll do it again.
# Samuel Bassett 2010-10-17 10:35
I like the opening as a push for an FG. VEN - TYR was the death knell early in the game. Had Italy not gone to Tyr, I strongly believe that FG would have dominated the early game instead of FI.

Assuming that Germany can get two builds (Den, War), and that Turkey plays the way it does most games, Germany *should* be able to get the lion's share of Russian centers (and start on a stalemate line in circa 1904.)

Ditto on hosts John and Celeste. Homemade food is awesome.
# Ted McClelland 2010-10-18 10:31
I was not happy to draw the red block. In both my previous games as Austria, I was eliminated by 1906. But I got a lucky break when Jim O'Kelley drew yellow. The strongest player in the room was playing the most dangerous country. So it was not difficult to convince Italy (John Gramila) and Russia (Christian Kline) that containing Turkey should be their first priority. That allowed me to avoid Austria's usual fate as an easy meal for the other Eastern powers.

John wanted to try to a Key Lepanto, but I demurred, because a) I didn't want him in Trieste, and b) I didn't think Jim and Christian would fall for it. Sam Bassett's Germany opened to Prussia and Silesia. Italy opened to Tyrolia. Not want to see my Russian ally attacked, and not wanting Italy in Tyrolia, I persuaded France (Peter Lokken) to support Italy's attack on Munich, using the argument that a greater Italy meant a lesser Turkey.

Our AIR against Turkey never gelled, mainly because of mutual mistrust. In 1904, Christian promised to support me into Constantinople after he vacated Rumania to go to the Black Sea. It didn't sound plausible -- I didn't believe he'd simply walk out of a supply center -- so I attacked Rumania and went to Galicia. Christian actually did what he'd promised, though, and he paid me back for my treachery with attacks on Serbia and Greece, supported by Turkey and Italy. This was the turn when I threw my notebook across the room and vowed never to play again.

Russia's counterattack left him in terrible position. His army in Serbia and his fleet in Bulgaria were cut off from the rest of his units. Italy and I rejoined forces to throw him out of the Balkans.

As I recall, Jim spent most of the game sitting on the couch, watching us fight, patiently waiting for his chance to grow. Finally, he took Bulgaria, then Sevastopol. Meanwhile, Sam had recovered from his foolhardy opening to become an 8-center Germany. He was harrassing me in the North. France was harrassing Italy in the West. As Italy went down, I took Greece. Then, on the last turn, John supported me into Venice, just to deny Peter a few points in the standings.

I finished with seven centers. I think it was my best game of Diplomacy yet. I've had more SCs as Turkey, but a 7-center Austria is a bigger achievement than a 10-center Turkey. Plus, I felt I accounted for the personalities in the room. Christian and Jim were the veteran Weasels in the game, so the newer players naturally wanted to keep them in check. And Christian and Jim seemed to have their own rivalry going on. Also, I stabbed both my allies, so I'm getting over my bad habit of being "loyal to a fault," as Jim put it. Then they stabbed me, but I was able to work with them again afterwards, so I'm getting over expecting everyone to be honest all the time.

Afterwards, Dan, Sam, Peter and I went to the Goose Island Brewing Co., where Dan bought me a free drink after I told the story of how I stabbed Peter Yeargin. (If you don't believe it, there's a photo on this site.)

I will play again. And I won't make the same moves four times in a row.
# Dan Burgess 2010-10-18 12:38
Saturday was a fun day and I had a blast visiting with everyone, as well as playing.

In a brief recap of the game: early on, Sam (Germany) was agreeable to taking on Russia, so he did his crazy opening, and I positioned myself to convoy my army to Norway via the Norwegian Sea, and was also able to land in Holland unopposed.

Sam and I tried to get Peter (France) to agree to a Western Triple, but earning his trust seemed impossible. He made some kind of deal with John (Italy) and they were solid together for a number of years. I gained SCs in Scandinavia, Sam recovered, and finally after a few years I talked Peter into going south against Italy, and at the time Jim was down to 3 or 4 SCs, so I thought the time was right to do the Triple. Which would have worked out well except for Sam Bassett!

Christian (Russia) had been whittled down to 4 SCs, and then 3, when Sam turned on me. I disbanded my western fleets, and Peter might have either helped me against Sam (one can hope) or turned on me and finished me off.

In any event, the game finished after 1908, and I was glad to have survived.

John and Celeste were great hosts -- I feel like I've been upstaged, as I've never offered roasted chicken or home-baked bread to Weasels at my home games! I gotta up my game.
# Samuel Bassett 2010-10-18 18:52
@ Ted: For the record, I was positioning against a French attack (which did occur.)

@ Dan: I thought that I had acquired a new title before my name? Rhymes with "ducking"...?
# John G 2010-10-18 22:56
Thanks for coming out, everyone! I had a great time.

I was the only elimination, but I was happy with my play. Austria and I worked out a deal from the start and I felt comfortable moving into Tyrolia S01. Then, when Sam went BTW East against Russia, I saw a big opportunity. With a little help from my friends I convinced France to support me into Munich. Things started to go wrong when I tried to hold Munich. One of my tactics was telling Germany that I would support him into Vienna if he moved to Bohemia (which I didn't actually see happening, and I eventually supported myself to hold in Munich, so it was a dumb move to ask him). When Sam made the move, Austria got nervous and tried to take Venice and didn't follow a move into the Eastern Med with a move into the Adriatic. That would have made it a guessing game on Jim, but because I only had one unit on him I decided then and there to flip to Turkey's side and was eventually able to pop Austria's fleet and pick up Greece. In retrospect, that was a bad decision, because it took me a year and I was only able to the very turn Austria moved out of Tyrolia and against Russia. It was a bad, bad, bad single dot stab.

Another mistake was accepting support into Bulgeria in the spring of '04/05. I strongly suspected Russia and Turkey wouldn't let me keep it, but I went along with it anyway. They didn't let me have it, and following adr-bul with ion-adr was disastrous when France decided to convoy to Naf. I think, I should had seen it coming because France had held against England for a couple turns and just built a fleet Mar.

I think the best move of the game was Jim's S02 convoy out of Bulgeria to Armenia (which would have worked even better if Russia was trying to sneak in), leaving Austria to walk into Bul and guaranteeing that we weren't able to take another center off him that year.

In some ways I was really happy with the move to Tyrolia, it really allows you the opportunity to make the West a mess for a long time. But the benefits to Italy of having that mess can be questionable, expecially if you're not able to mop up your neightbor ASAP. With the move, Italy benefits from either by giving France opportunities in Germany or by helping Germany to survive thereby creating the opportunity to move against a distracted France/not having to worry about France, but I wasn't willing to move West the whole game. Had my alliance with Austria been a little more solid and trusting, I think it would have turned out better for me, expecially considering the pressure Russia was under in the North.
# John G 2010-10-18 22:57
And Ted, you threw your notebook across the room at my chest.
# John G 2010-10-18 22:59
Oh, and I'm working on a turn by turn map of the game, but it's incredibly slow going because I keep screwing up orders. I should have it done tomorrow night.
# Ted McClelland 2010-10-19 08:44
John:

I wasn't aiming at your chest, although after reading your comment, maybe I should have been!

Sam told me about the promise of support to Vienna. I don't think he actually believed it, but he wanted to sow dissension between the two of us -- which he did. I wasn't happy about the army in Tyrolia to begin with, and I started to suspect that you were setting me up.

My biggest regret in the game is that I didn't walk into Venice in F '03. Then you wouldn't have had enough pieces to stab me -- and I wouldn't have thrown my notebook across the room. But maybe it was good that I did, because my notebook inspired Jim's post today, which taught me some valuable Diplomacy concepts. Did I leave the notebook at your house? We should preserve it as Weasel memorabilia.
# Christian MacDonald 2010-10-23 07:55
"Did I leave the notebook at your house? We should preserve it as Weasel memorabilia."

Ah yes. The famed "Notebook that changed everything".

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