Sunday, 31 October 2010 21:10

Halloween Eve Game ends in 2011 Season's first Solo

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Apparently hosting a game is still the best way to garner a board top here in the Windy City Weasels.  Peter Yeargin not only board topped, but also produced the club's first solo of the 2011 WCW Club season.  A big thanks to everyone who came together to play at the last second.  As of 5pm on Friday afternoon, we only had four confirmed players.  Nate Cockerill was able to play at the last second though and helped round out the board of seven.

Everyone had arrived by 10:45am and the stage was set for a wild and entertaining game marked by solid early play by all players involved and a 1902 season in which the only build came from England picking up a neutral Sweden.  All hell broke loose in 1903 and the fun and craziness didn't stop until the solo was completed in 1915.

End of game statements from as many players as have time would be great to hear as the dynamics on the board were in constant flux and at the same time, total stalemate at various points of the game.  I'll try to get an EoG statement in there tomorrow sometime.

In the meantime, here are the results and a link to the final center counts.

Austria (Mike Morrison): 0; 0 points.
England (Amanda Baumgartner): 0; 0 points.
France (Sam Bassett): 15; 0 points.
Germany (Nate Cockerill ): 0; 0 points.
Italy (Kevin O'Kelly): 0; 0 points.
Russia (Peter Yeargin): 18; 100 points.
Turkey (Aash Anand): 1; 0 points.
 
 
Supply center chart is here.  Let's hear from the players now.  This should be a good one.
Read 1148 times Last modified on Saturday, 13 November 2010 21:58

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# Nate Cockerill 2010-11-02 10:39
It is Amanda's fault Peter soloed.
# Dan Burgess 2010-11-02 10:42
Can the solo indeed be blamed on Amanda?

I have no idea what happened during this game, and I'm looking forward to finding out. But my guess would be that Sam Bassett voted against a draw in 1911.
# Peter Yeargin 2010-11-02 11:30
I'm going to work on my EoG on my flight this afternoon and hopefully have it posted tonight. I believe Nate is referring to it being Amanda's fault because she stabbed him at an opportune time when Nate's plan was to put it to me via convoying her army from Denmark to Livonia with his fleet in Baltic in 1903. Instead, Amanda chose to walk into an undefended Holland in the Fall and also picked up one more center off Nate, possibly in Denmark I believe in the Spring.

Can't really blame her for going from 5 to 7 in a stab. :)
# Peter Yeargin 2010-11-02 11:41
Another thing I've noticed after playing for the last couple of years is that solos always happen for a variety of reasons. I may write a separate article for this as it's probably a fascinating topic and one worth its own comments.

However, in my experience, solos are never anyone's fault. Solos happen primarily because of game dynamics and personalities and the winning player's ability to take advantage of these situations. If there is tension on the board, the best way to profit from it is to not be the cause OR the solution, but utilize the tension to find weaknesses and areas on the map where you can profit from the turmoil. Egg on the tension as long as it's under control and utilize it to your advantage.

If someone is helping someone else solo, it's very, very likely that they are just doing that to garner someone's support to give them dots...that is unless your name is Dave Maletsky and you've decided to make the game a "teaching moment". :) I'd say 99% of players aren't really trying to throw anyone a solo. They just want to make their way back into the game as a viable country.

Peter
# Andy Bartalone 2010-11-02 11:51
Quote:
However, in my experience, solos are never anyone's fault. Solos happen primarily because of game dynamics and personalities and the winning player's ability to take advantage of these situations.

...that is unless your name is Dave Maletsky and you've decided to make the game a "teaching moment". :)
I agree with Peter's assessment of why Solo's happen.

I think that Peter is being short-sighted in the *teaching moment* department......other names to add to that list......mine, Chris Martin, Andy Marshall, Matt Shields, Nathan Barnes, Mark Zoffel, Tom Kobrin.....just to name the ones off the top of my head.
# Peter Yeargin 2010-11-03 16:04
I remember Matt's endgame statement from Game 99. He called it "The view from Constantinople". From my experience in our club, it usually is the view from Constantinople and very rarely does it turn into "The view from Moscow". Happily for me, this was one of those games where a number of factors worked together for an interesting game and ultimately, a solo.

This game very nearly didn't happen. The way everything came together is a hilarious story on its own. At 1pm on Friday afternoon, we were sitting at 4 confirmed players including myself and my hopes to host an impromptu club game seemed dim at best. Things started looking up as Aash Anand and Mike Morrison both chimed in to indicate their interest. Unfortunately, Amanda, one of my other three confirmed players, dropped me an e-mail to say she was having car problems and wouldn't be able to make it. Crap! We were up to six and now down to five. I offered a ride to Amanda, but she decided to work out another arrangement with a coworker to clean some cat cages I believe in a trade for a car for the day. Nice work, Amanda!

So, we're back to six, but I'm in desperate search for our last player to fill the board. Nate Cockerill had e-mailed me on Thursday to say he could possibly play, but he had a hard stop at 2pm. I e-mailed him about starting earlier at 9 or 10 along with everyone else, but also indicated my search was still on. Nate had a bunch of errands to run and preferred to avoid playing if possible. As the evening on Friday wore on, a continuous stream of No's poured in. Kevin had mentioned having a rough work week and not being home and possibly having someone else play for him on Saturday. With that and with Nate's time deadline at 2pm, I decided to call off the game at 9:30pm on Friday night. I blasted out an e-mail to all six players and let them know. I immediately heard from several indicating they definitely still wanted to play, even if we played something else. Kevin even indicated he'd still be up for playing.

I made an executive decision to go forward with the game. Nate was the only player of the group that hadn't responded to this stream of e-mails. I reached out to him directly over e-mail around 11pm to make sure he could still play for a bit. A start time had been set for 10:30. By 9 am, I still hadn't heard back from Nate and panic was setting in. This must be what Jim feels like when he's trying to organize a game by the skin of his teeth. Let me tell you, folks. This feeling absolutely sux…that feeling of knowing you have five people coming to your house in hopes of playing a game that requires a total of seven. I give Jim a lot of credit for organizing and how much stress he probably went through back in the day when he was first trying to get the club off the ground. This is just a small microcosm of what he must have experienced.

Now..a timeline for the evening and subsequent morning might be entertaining here:

Friday Evening -

12:00 pm - Sitting at 4 players, myself, Kevin, Amanda and Sam
12:15 pm - Amanda e-mails…car broken down, no ride, shit!
1:30 pm - Aash comments on game signup article to indicate he can play
1:45 pm - E-mail out to offer her a ride
2:00 pm - Mike sends me an e-mail and says he is in!
6:00 pm - Amanda e-mails, says she lives an hour outside the city and feels bad about the imposition..she will look for other options
6:30 pm - Amanda works out a ride somehow. Don't find out the specifics until the next morning when she walks through my door covered in cat fur!
7:00 pm - Blast out at least my fifth e-mail to the Yahoo Group begging for players
7:15 pm - E-mail the usual suspects or text them to see if anyone at all can make it - Subsequently receive around 8 No's for various legitimate reasons.
9:30 pm - No word from anyone….Nate is the 7th and has to quite at 2, Kevin has a hard stop at 6. I decide to call the game.
9:32 pm - Receive four e-mails from everyone saying they still want to play, game is on
10:00 pm - Send out e-mail to Nate asking if he can make it and letting him know he is our 7th. Not sure what my plan is, come 2pm when he would have to leave.
1:00 am - No word from Nate. I'm going to bed.

Saturday Morning -

9:00 am - Wake up, check e-mail, still nothing, panic sets in.
9:10 am - Text Jim to ask for Nate's Cell phone number
9:15 am - Text Nate to ask if he's coming
9:45 am - Still no word from Nate, call him and get voice mail. Leave a message
10:05 am - Sam shows up at my place as the first arrival
10:15 am - Kevin arrives
10:20 am - Aash and Mike arrive
10:25 am - Send him another text message.
10:30 am - Beginning to resign myself to defeat and starting to concoct my story for how to break it to everyone else
10:35 am - Call Nate on his cell again. He answers!! He's on his way and just looking for parking. Eureka!!!

Now to the actual game…by 10:50 or so, we were able to gather around the table and draw countries. I was second into the box and pulled out the white block. Continuing an inexplicable trend in my games with Aash, he managed to pull out the yellow block right after me. We've managed to be neighbors in an unrealistically large number of games together where we're on the same board.

Opening negotiations started well with me and Aash as we both agreed to leave Black open and look towards a quick juggernaut start. I had spoken to Mike and we'd already agreed to leave Galicia open. My plans had now changed and I was going for Gal.

Mike changed our plans completely when he came up to both of us and started screaming, "Rat, Rat, Rat!" Aash and I looked at each other with the same confused look on our faces. After about the 10th time of Mike screaming "Let's do a Rat," I figured out he meant an R-A-T. I decided to let Mike keep screaming RAT, RAT, RAT though as I found it extremely hilarious.

Aash and I gave him a courtesy nod and then discussed it after he left. Mike offered to head straight west and work with us. If he was willing to do that, we both surmised there was no real reason to look a gift horse in the mouth. I immediately planned a northern move. If I was going to do that, I needed to check to see if Nate and Sam were in for killing England fast. I was going to ask Nate if I could have Sweden if I headed north and worked with him on Amanda. I thought I'd broach the subject slowly though and see what kind of reaction I got from him.

Me: "So what are you thinking about Sweden?"
Nate: "You can have it, I'm going to concentrate West."
Me: "Really? That's good to hear. I'll definitely plan on building a unit up north for you to help out against Amanda. Do you have any preference on an army or fleet Stp(nc)?"
Nate: "Nope, not really"

Cool…sounds like Sweden was mine. Sam also agreed to an early attack on Amanda in 1902. I was feeling pretty good at this point. My only fly in the ointment was Aash and our history up to this point. It had not been good and we had not managed to work together at all. I was pretty much banking on the Sundstrom, but I figured I would give Aash a little trust and maybe make something of an alliance. To my pleasant surprise, he did what he said, moving to Con with the fleet. I headed to Ukraine and Stp with Moscow.

Elsewhere, Mike managed to guess right and bounce Kevin's move of Ven-Tyl, Rom-Ven by taking Vie-Tyl. This proved to be the undoing of Kevin's game as he never really made any progress and only built via Tunis for the rest of the game. Sam went to Pic and Spain along with MAO. Nate, apparently determined to mix this game up, took Munich to Burgundy, to Sam's chagrin.

Nate was still in good spirits and giving me overtures about Sweden being mine. Amanda wasn't too happy with my opening, but I promised I wouldn't bounce her in Norway if she didn't want to support the move. I assumed it wouldn't make a difference. I was still hoping she would take it with the fleet. I think we can all read the writing on the wall at this point. Nate OF COURSE bounced me in Sweden and Amanda convoyed to StP with support. I, being true to my word (sort of), took Stp to Finland and picked up Rumania.

On the other side of the board, Sam gave Nate Belgium to avoid further penetrations into French territory and picked up his standard Iberia builds. Mike also picked up Ser/Gre and we were off. Looking at the board, I was determined to work with Nate still. Amanda wasn't going anywhere near me with my army in Finland, F GoB and a StP build of some sort, I surmised. The south was safe and it didn't look like I had any immediate problems with Mike and Aash. I built Stp(nc) and decided to turtle up and hopefully offer some sort of support for Nate in 1902. Nate's three builds had me scared and I knew I needed those units going somewhere that was not Silesia, Prussia and Baltic.

I tried to get Nate to commit to some sort of attack on Amanda, but at this point, it was pretty obvious he was hell bent on attacking me. I decided to offer Amanda support into Sweden. She probably saw the same thing I did in the fact that she was going nowhere on me and any immediate dots for her were going to come out of Scandinavia. She accepted the support and I also took GoB to Baltic to hopefully bounce Nate. He went for Sweden and chose to go for Baltic unsupported and met with a bounce in Baltic and Amanda picking up Sweden. Turns out, that was the only build for anyone as everyone else was stagnant.

Sam swung around to the Med and it was looking more and more like a Western Triple. However, having talked to both Sam and Amanda, I didn't think it was legit. Nate supported himself into Baltic in Spring of 1903 and moved to Silesia. I believe the plan he had worked out with Amanda was to convoy her army to Livonia in the Fall from Sweden. Instead, Amanda (I believe) took Denmark and also used North Sea to walk into Holland, much to Nate's angst.

At the same time, in the South, Mike wasn't making much progress and neither was Aash. It appeared that Sam was in the Med to prop up Kevin and Mike had hit a brick wall thanks to Sam's support of Venice from Piedmont. Mike needed a build, but so did Aash. I also was in desperate straights with the apparent EG working on me. I was able to convince both Mike and Aash that a build in Warsaw was the most important to get of the three and they agreed to give me Bulgaria while Mike gave Aash Greece to keep him even.

Funny quote from Mike…circa 1915 - "That's the last time I say "I think Peter needs a build" in 1903."

With the Med blocked, 1904 saw Aash and I both work to pick up dots off Mike as he was going nowhere and neither were we without going through him to pick up some units. Sam also picked up Belgium and one more, possibly Munich, while Nate moved into Austria to pick up Vienna, I think. 1905 was Nate's last year as he moved into Ukraine on me and decided to use his last dying breath to help Mike into my Rumania with his two remaining units. I asked him why he was still attacking me, considering Amanda and Sam had both stabbed him while I had only been defending as best I could against him. He kind of shrugged with a sly grin on his face and said something to the order of "nothing better to do." Considering Moscow was wide open and he could have walked into it rather than helping Mike into Rumania with two, I was at least happy to only be losing one. I also picked up two centers elsewhere on the board, walking into Berlin and grabbing Sweden from Amanda.

Sam finally could hold back no longer as he gave up propping up Kevin and grabbed Rome and Naples to pick up another two centers. Kevin wasn't particularly happy about it, but I don't think anyone could blame Sam, considering he was in TyrSea, Tunis, Gulf, and Piedmont for 2 game years without walking into undefended Italian dots.

Elsewhere, Amanda and I basically spent the better part of 3 game years swapping Sweden and making plans to work together. I think I was earnest in my attempts and from my memory, it always seemed like she was the one waffling back and forth. This continued until Sam swung his fleets around into MAO and NAO and convoyed his army from North Africa directly into Liverpool. Amanda saw it coming and used Helgoland and North to convoy Kiel back to Yorkshire and effectively stagnate Sam's attack with a single dot. This was a crucial turning point in the game. I had emphatically suggested the move to Amanda for two reasons:

1. It was a solid defensive maneuver and Sam was already licking his chops thinking Amanda had no good way to stop him from picking up two of his home centers that year.
2. It got Amanda out of Kiel.

At the time, I was sitting in Berlin and Denmark with Armies and a fleet in Baltic. The convoy let me pick up Kiel that year to goto 9, but Sam continued growing and picking up dots as he grabbed Liverpool and Munich to grow to 12. I was very concerned about a French solo, but looking at the board, I also knew Sam's 13th dot was going to be at least a year away and I had position on him. I picked up 3 dots the following year in Vienna, Norway and inexplicably, London thanks to a dislodged fleet and an undefended London, while Sam remained at 12.

I had seriously overextended myself at this point though and Sam knew it and so did the rest of the board. He was able to take London back a year later, while Kevin, despite my overtures to the contrary, helped Sam pick Venice and grow to 15 while I dropped 2 back to 11. I remember chastising Kevin about helping Sam solo and isn't it our duty to stop people from soloing for the good of the club, etc. He didn't really buy it, nor care, and I'm not sure I was really selling it particularly well either. Sam had 15, but 16, 17 and 18 were a long way away as long as I could muster a solid defense with Turkey. I proposed a draw vote. We had had about 4 draw votes up until this point and I had vetoed them all. Apparently several others had been as well. I think Sam voted for a couple of those draws, but this particular one, he vetoed secretly we would find out later. It's tough to vote for a draw when you're sitting at 15 centers for anyone. His main problem was like I mentioned above though…he had 15, but two of them were set to fall that year (Munich and one other one I don't remember).

Sam's lines around Italy and the middle of the board were weak at best. He didn't have enough fleets to hold both the south AND the north. Aash had a good five fleets pushing against him in Ionian and I had another five fleets up north. Meanwhile, his armies were arrayed in Belgium, Munich and Burgundy while I was in Tyrolia, Silesia, Berlin, Kiel and Helgoland. He also couldn't hold the North Sea.

I quickly proposed a plan to Aash. Sam had Fleets in Greece, Albania, Aegean, EMed and Con with armies in Trieste and Serbia. Sam's fleets were in Tun, TyS, Apu, Adriatic. Clearly Aash couldn't break through Sam in Ionian, but Sam's weak spot was Adriatic and Venice. I proposed a double support of Albania to Trieste while Sam backed his armies out of Tri and Ser and moved Gre to Alb. This would allow us to dislodge Adriatic and destroy it, while also giving Aash the numbers to retake Ionian and start convoying armies into Italy. This worked to perfection.

Sam proposed a draw vote again in the Fall when he saw his position a little more closely, but i think Aash voted it down. He was interested in picking up a couple of more dots to grow to 10 and wanted to do that before voting for a draw. I also had no intentions of voting for a draw at this point as I saw two dots to grow to 13 and I had very good positioning in the North. I also was more than happy to help Aash pick up any two dots he wanted, so long as they kept him off my lines a little longer.

I was also able to take North Sea in the Fall while also supporting my central forces to Holland, Kiel and Berlin, respectively. Sam also inadvertently dislodged my fleet in Norwegian, giving it an open Spring retreat to Clyde and a walk into Liverpool in the Fall for an unexpected 14th dot.

I could see the last three dots in a number of places at this point. I only owned one dot in England, Belgium was still English and Aash's line in the South was tenuous at best. With the new builds, I dropped down two more armies and a fleet Stp(nc).

Sam and I jostled position the next two years while Aash turned back on me as best he could to limit the damage. Unfortunately for him, he had seven units and five of them were fleets. Only one was in Con and the rest were stuck in Smy, Aeg, EMed and Bul(sc). Over the next two years, I was able to eliminate his two armies while working position in the North. Sam outguessed me a couple of times to slow me down, but ultimately, he didn't have the fleets up north or the armies in the middle to stop the final push.

I lost Sweden in the Fall of 1915 thanks to one of Sam's good guesses, but also picked up Greece, Bulgaria and London for 18.

It was a fun game and quite a grind at the end. All three of us, Sam, Aash and myself, were pretty brain dead by the end of it and had to take several breaks the final three years to make it through.

Good game to all. I'm curious to know how the negotiations were going on elsewhere around the board…especially with E, F and G.

-Peter
# Amanda Baumgartner 2010-11-03 19:49
First of all, I convoyed to Norway in 1901, not StP.

This was a rather difficult game for me, as I never made a consistent ally. This was more my fault than anyone else. After I stabbed Nate to go from 5 to 7 in 1903, my game started to decline. I wasn't willing to cede any of Scandinavia to Peter in order to solidify an alliance, because I was never in much of a position to take many other dots. Sam eventually swung north to hit my mainland, Peter took advantage of that distraction to take Scandinavia, and I was out of the game.
# Pete McNamara 2010-11-04 16:36
Great report. I really enjoyed reading and how the game came together.
# Greg Duenow 2010-11-05 23:05
Peter can you give me a synopsis?
# Mike Morrison 2010-11-12 13:39
Let me be the first to apologize to Kevin for the bounce in Tyrolia in Spring 1901. (Well, I guess Peter might have hidden an apology in his EOG somewhere...)

We'd immediately concocted the Italian/Austrian attack on Germany as the best opening, but I became concerned that it was simply cover for Italy to get two on Trieste while I had an idiot dangling in Bohemia.

(One of my own idiots, not a German unit... I suppose I should thank Nate now for not going to Bohemia with Munich. Do those two touch?)

It also seemed possible that I could gain brownie points with the fierce Juggernaut to my east with an offer of, "See, he can't take Tunis with an army, all thanks to me!"

Well, I suppose if he'd succeeded in moving Rome to Venice, he still wouldn't have convoyed to Tunis, unless I had put my fleet in the Adriatic. Oh, snap! That's what we should have done! I can see it now!

Anyway, it was an enjoyable game, although I really think we should consider designing a circular board for ergonomic reasons.

A really large, circular board, that we can all stand within and look outwards at, while Peter stands in the center, with easy access to our backsides, so we're not hunched over the table while awaiting our stabs.

(Although, to be honest, Peter may have solo-ed by just sitting back and watching everyone else stabbing each other ineffectually... I'm not really sure.)

It'll also be easier to play duck, duck, goose with the new board.
# Mike Morrison 2010-11-12 13:45
Quoting Mike Morrison:
It'll also be easier to play duck, duck, goose with the new board.


This is the kind of comment we're talking about.

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