Contrary to a recent spate of long house games, Game 90, played today at Gary Przybocki's home in Montgomery, ended in Spring 1906 in a tidy three-way draw. Peter Yeargin and Jim O'Kelley, playing England and Russia, respectively, shared the board top at 12 centers. Amanda Baumgarter finished with 10 as Austria.
The final center counts were:
The first stab of the day happened before the blocks were drawn when Thom Comstock managed to get lost on the way to Gary's. Fortunately Bert Schoose was standing by and agreed to be our seventh, at least until Thom arrived. When Thom finally arrived after the 1901 builds, he decided to sit out and watch and wait for other gaming later.
The second stab occurred in Fall 1901 when Amanda waltzed into an open Venice, surprising everyone but especially Bob.
And the biggest stab was in Fall 1902 when Peter, with help from me, took Denmark and Holland from Michael. I took Berlin from him the same season to knock his Germany down to two.
Austria and France worked over Italy in 1903, while England took Kiel from Germany and Brest from France. Meanwhile, Russia knocked Turkey down to two.
Germany, Italy and Turkey all were eliminated in 1904, with Russia jumping from eight to 11 and Austria going from seven to nine.
France, down to four centers, was eliminated in 1905, and after builds, Thom conducted a draw vote, which passed, much to the disappointment of the interested spectators. Each of us can explain for ourselves why we voted for the draw in our endgame statments, which hopefully will follow.
Also, I hope Thom will post some of the chatter he heard at the table. There were lots of funny comments, the best of which may have been Gary's desperate plea to Amanda: "You think you're the middle cookie in a triple Oreo cookie, but really, there are only two cookies, and you're part of the cream."
After Diplomacy, four of Gary's friends came over, and we played three games of Werewolf, which was fun. I followed that up with two games of Ra before heading for home. It was a fun day. Thanks to Gary for hosting! Also, it was great to get Bert and Michael Schoose back to the table. They hadn't played with us since June 2008.
Check out the supply center chart.
Eric Brown's top Italy only lasted seven days as Christian MacDonald sailed past him by a whopping 4 points to take this season's Best Italy to date. Peter Yeargin finished second with a 10 center France.
Super Bowl Sunday seemed like a great day to host a little Diplomacy prior to the big game, so I decided to throw the idea out to Jim who agreed completely. Judging by the comments post game, it may happen again next year. Game time was 10 am, and by 10:15, our last arriving participant, John Gramila, arrived via bicycle to begin the festivities.
The West looked interesting as I found myself in France with a relative newcomer in John Gramila in England and Mike Morrison in Germany. As per my normal response to newer players, I decided in my head I would be taking it easy to begin with on the newbie and try to play a neutral opening. A British fleet in the English channel in Spring 1901 changed that in a hurry and France spent the next 6 years trying to dig out of an early hole while keeping the sharks at bay.
Side note to self: Rethink this strategy.
Christian's Italy had its own plans which didn't include the West or France would have been early fodder. Indeed, if not for a critical tactical error on the part of Germany, France still would have been in serious jeopardy in 1902. However, Germany failed to support army Burgundy and promptly lost the spearhead into French territory in Spring of 1902, giving France a negotiation ploy with the English and ultimately causing the entire Western side of the board to turn into a six year quagmire.
Meanwhile, in the East, club points leader Adam Berey found himself in Turkey with the unpredictable Greg Duenow in Russia and Sam's Austria trying to maintain a streak of no eliminations and figure out how best not to be eliminated in a game for the 8th time in a row. Sadly, it was not to be, despite Sam's chidings of "I propose a draw" every single season from 1902 through 1907, the year he finally lost his last center. It was a valiant and spirited effort, probably thanks largely to the myriad of stats Jim posted on the club website over the last week or two.
Duenow blew up to seven centers quickly by 1903, but an unlikely and temporal alliance between the Germans and French for exactly one year, spelled his quick downward reversal as Germany armies moved to Prussia and Silesia, followed by Livonia and Prussia with a French army following closely behind to Silesia. Turkey also took the opportunity to grow to 7 during the onslaught.
A critical misorder on Turkey's part gave Christian an opening in 1906 and allowed Italy to gain a slight positional advantage which he used to slowly gobble up Turkish centers. Meanwhile, in the West, France finally made some headway, picking up a couple of critical centers and finally building his 2nd and 3rd fleets in 1907. Yes, France had a single fleet for most of the first six years of the game.
Super Bowl time crunch was upon the players and the game only lasted a few more years as France and Italy solidified their position and slowly trudged forward. Play still existed in the game, but all players seemed ready for the game to end, and so it did with a draw vote in 1910.
Final standings are below and supply center chart can be downloaded here:
Great game, interesting in all areas. As happened the previous week, no stalemate lines ever came close to materializing, and a dynamic and interesting game was the result. Thanks to all who came out for the game and also for the Super Bowl.
John Gramila was good enough to grab Best England from Sam Bassett in Game No. 102, played yesterday at Sam's home in Chicago's Near North neighborhood, but he was stopped two short of the magic 18. The game ended after the Fall 1913 turn with the following center counts:
I'd like to publicly thank John and Kurt for answering our call for replacement players and also Matt Sundstrom for graciously stepping aside when we thought we'd found a third. That player couldn't make it, however, so I was called in as an emergency replacement. Sorry, Matt. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. I won't ever ask you to sit out again.
We selected powers in reverse order of our standing in the club. Kurt took France; John, England; Ted, Germany; Nate, Russia; Sam, Turkey; Pete, Italy; and me, Austria. The game was really interesting, at least for the first eight years. I had to leave after that. But during those years, we saw Italy twice build three times and once remove three. England also built three times.
We knocked Russia out of the game in 1908, and at that point, with the consent of all the players, we turned over my Austria to Nate so that I could rejoin my plans in progress. Our House Rules actually forbid that, but no one had a problem with it, and we all felt that it was better than the alternatives of playing with Austria in Civil Disorder or turning it over to a reluctant Ashley Bassett, who was a trooper, by the way, as we occupied her home for some 12 hours.
Hopefully the players will post endgame statements. The game was fun, and there was a lot of play remaining when I left.
Here's the supply center chart.
Founding Weasels Jim O'Kelley and Eric Brown took the top two spots with a rare but effective I/R alliance in game No. 88, played Jan. 30 at Pete McNamara's home in Evanston.
This was my 40th game with the club, and the opening was one of the wildest I've seen. In the West, France (May Ling Chong) sort of oscillated among her neighbors, never sticking with a strategy for long. England (Pete McNamara) kept grabbing dots and building fleets. And Germany (Peter Yeargin) learned that logic doesn't always apply.
The East, meanwhile, featured intense scrambling by Italy (Eric Brown) and Turkey (Paul Pignotti), including a game-changing turn in Fall 1902 when Paul nearly wriggled out of the noose by persuading Eric--whose Lepanto had been discouraged by a French onslaught--to turn on Austria (Amanda Baumgartner).
The players in both hemispheres, with brief exceptions, concentrated in their hemispheres, and as a result, the stalemate line never became a factor. Italy and Russia (Jim O'Kelley) crossed it decisively in 1907 and 1908.
It was an enjoyable game. Of course, it's easy to say that when you have a good result, but the opening, when at times, everyone's future was in doubt, really was thrilling. It's that excitement that keeps many of us, myself included, coming back for more.
The game ended by time limit after the Fall 1910 turn. The final center counts were:
I hope the players will contribute endgame statements in the comments section below. Remember to log in first; when you don't log in, the system limits your character count.
You can check out the supply center chart here. The club standings also have been updated. Click Club Standings in the Links menu. O'Kelley vaulted past McNamara and Yeargin into fourth place, and Brown hit seventh with only two results.
We lost our guest of honor for Saturday's game at Pete McNamara's home in Evanston. Edwin Turnage of South Carolina will be in town for his daughter's graduation from Navy Boot Camp. He hopes to drop by for a cameo, but even a skilled diplomat like Edwin couldn't weasel out of his family obligations for the day.
So, Edwin's loss is your opportunity. The game will start promptly at 3 p.m. (a rare Saturday evening game) and will end no later than 11 p.m. It should be a fun time. If you want to play, comment below.