For just the ninth time in 28 games this season, we gathered around a Diplomacy board without Prime Weasel Nate Cockerill. And it was only a last-minute schedule change at work that knocked Nate out of the game. His short-notice replacement was trusty standby Ben DiPaola.
Ted McClelland was the last to arrive at Josh Heffernan's sprawling apartment on the boulevard in Logan Square, having bicycled all the way there from Rogers Park. So we plucked blocks and started playing at about 12:30, just half an hour after the scheduled start.
A funny thing happened at our "Dude?!? It's Tuesday!" game last night at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square. Two of the players, including a mysterious Meetup recruit, turned out to be women.
Kiya Krivickas marched in right about 6:30, confidently sat down in the middle of our group of five guys, and announced that she was there to play Diplomacy.
"Have you played before?" I asked, a natural ice-breaker given the occasion.
Prime Weasel Nate Cockerill wanted to work in one last tune-up for this weekend's World Diplomacy Championship at DixieCon, so he scheduled a bar game at the Red Lion for the eve of the long road trip to Chapel Hill. Predictably, his choice of dates knocked out the rest of us who will be attending WDC (me, Dan Burgess, John Gramila and Matt Sundstrom), but you don't get to be the Prime Weasel by being a Carebear.
Being a Carebear can, however, get you a shared board top with your Western ally, and that's how Game No. 246 went down last night.
The contest ended by time limit after the Fall 1906 turn in the following center counts:
Last Saturday, six of the club's most interesting men and one interesting kid gathered at the Sundstrom home in Glenview to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a game of Diplomacy. As it turned out, the game was far less interesting than they were, so during the Fall 1905 turn, the players unanimously agreed to end it in favor of starting a new one.
The final center counts in the abbreviated Game No. 244 were:
David St. John has style, and style is everything.
After topping his first board with the Weasels last night at the Red Lion, St. John bought a round of drinks, then mounted his motorcycle and peeled off in a cloud of dust. If I could do it all over again, that's the exclamation point I would put on my first Weasels board top. ... I'd be riding a Harley instead of a Honda, but still, the man knows how to make an exit.
Our seventh annual March Madness campaign closed last Saturday with a fifth and final game at Matt Sundstrom's home in Glenview. Game No. 242 was a taut affair with four lead changes and four players finishing within two centers of one another. When the buzzer sounded in Spring 1907, Tony Prokes had topped his club-leading third board of the season. The final center counts were:
Yesterday's season-ending Weasel Pyle in Wayne had just about everything you could ask for: A thrilling race for the Weasel of the Year award, redemption on the second-chance board, patio trivia, significant jockeying among the top seven, at least a thousand rounds of bbs and pellets, a zip line, a powerful rendition of the club's Battle Hymn, and a surprise visit from one of the club's most colorful characters from the early years. Did I miss anything?
Two-time Weasel of the Year Matt Sundstrom turned in his best performance of the year in Season Eight's penultimate game, racking up 50 points with a 12-center German board top. With the haul, he regained possession of the season's Best Germany award and vaulted past Nate Cockerill into first place in the standings. Heading into the Pyle, he leads Cockerill by about 7 points.
Its very name inspires fear across Europe. The hint of its formation can solidfy two other pairs, for when the Russian-Turkish alliance starts to roll, it flattens everyone in its path.
In Game No. 216, played last Saturday at Peter Lokken's home in Old Town, Russia and Turkey looked more like Jughead and Archie than the feared alliance. When the game ended by draw vote in Spring 1908, there was nothing left of them but stains on the board.
Join us for our club's happiest tradition, the eighth annual season-ending Weasel Pyle at Eric Brown's beautiful home in bucolic Wayne. We'll field three or four boards of Diplomacy, hand out the Season Eight awards, announce the Weasel Royale bids, elect a couple of suckers to the Sneak, and strike up the regimental choir. Don't miss it!
The latest addition to my family room is a set of coasters from the Game of Thrones*. Each one represents one of the great houses of Westeros, displaying the family's sigil and words. The Stark coaster, for example, says, "Winter is coming." The Lannisters', "Hear me roar." During the Fall 1901 turn of Game No. 215, which was played today at my house in Little Italy, my son Kevin gave our family its words. Or so we thought.