February was the new Oktober last night at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square...for the German players, anyway. On both boards, they played like the evening was a festival and the other players' supply centers, beer.
We had fifteen show up for our monthly Red Wednesday event at the Red Lion (second Wednesday of every month. Plan to join us on March 8 and April 12!), including two who were specifically there to play only if needed. Chris Kelly won the coin toss to sit out, and games 329 and 330 started about 20 minutes apart. (Footnote: We had enough players to start Game No. 329 by 6:20, but since a couple of them were new, we delayed the start to give them a thorough introduction to Diplomacy.)
Game No. 329
This one started first and included a brand-new player, another playing for the first time since September 2015 and only the second time ever, as well as some grizzled vets from the earliest days of the club. It ended by time limit after the Fall 1906 turn in the following center counts:
For the second time in club history and first since July 2015, the Weasels fielded boards in two locations on the same day. The games took place yesterday on the New East Side and in Avondale.
Originally scheduled for Brian Shelden's condo on the swanky New East Side, Game No. 327 relocated to the bar Seven in his building due to construction in his unit. Readers will recall that Seven is the karaoke bar where we went after the welcome party for last summer's World Diplomacy Championship. Turns out it works pretty well for Dip, too.
The game ended by draw vote in Spring 1908. The final center counts were:
Nick Rohn, the Alpha Weasel beta and veteran of the club's second game back in November 2005, finally strolled into the Red Lion at about 7:15 last night, the heavy rain having doubled the duration of his commute from Parts Unknown. And still, the evening's second board didn't start.
Nick brushed the water off his jacket and sat down to join our wait for Kelsey Trotta. Jake and Ian's older sister had gone to the wrong Red Lion and was still en route.
Jake, meanwhile, anxiously vacillated between our table, where he feverishly worked his phone for status updates from his sister, and the Lion's back room to watch Game No. 325, which had started on time at 6:30. He was in the back room when a woman walked in at around 7:45, did the about face at the bar, and approached our table cautiously.
"Are you Kelsey?" I asked.
"No," she retorted. "I'm the Easter Bunny."
Six new Weasels helped funk up Game No. 324, played yesterday at Mick Johnson's Uptown apartment. Two of the newcomers hit their hallelujah (whoo), sharing the board-top, while two others tied for second.
Don't believe me? Just watch. The game ended by draw vote during the Spring 1907 turn in the following center counts:
Jake Trotta has been spicy hot lately. In last Wednesday's bonus game at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square, the resurgent Trotta bagged his third board-top (counting the Brawl Championship) in four tries, and this one was another whopper.
Game No. 323 ended by time limit after the Fall 1907 turn in the following center counts:
Tolkien warned us of Gudrun in a lay edited by his son, Christopher. And still, no one saw her coming.
Playing in her first face-to-face game ever, John Gramila's beloved turned their Humboldt Park home into a funeral pyre for their guests. Game No. 322, played today, ended during the Spring 1908 turn in the following center counts:
We fielded two boards Wednesday night at the Red Lion, our third two-board session in four tries so far this season. There were no pear trees, but we did pick up a new Weasel in Jake Trotta's Second City classmate Nicole Campbell and welcome back old friend Roland Cooke, who was in town on business. On a scale of one to five, I'd definitely give the evening five golden rings.
Game No. 320
Played in the Lion's back room, Game No. 320 ended by time limit after the Fall 1906 turn in the following center counts:
We had both been knocked out of the Royale and were enjoying cigars--my cigars--on the deck at Dan Burgess' home in Downers Grove, when Jake Trotta breathed a deep sigh.
"Jim," he lamented, "I haven't topped a board since CODCon."
Only one board at the Red Lion last night, but it included a first-time Weasel. Plus, three potential recruits came out to observe and decide whether they'd like to play in the future. At least two of them seemed interested. Brian Shelden and Bryan Pravel rounded out the evening's cheering section.
Game No. 318 ended by time limit after the Fall 1906 turn in the following center counts:
Austria (Jim O'Kelley): 2; 1.653 points.
England (David Spanos): 0; 0.000 points.
France (Jake Trotta): 7; 20.248 points.
Germany (Matt Sundstrom): 10; 41.322 points.
Italy (Currey Dorris): 4; 6.612 points.
Russia (Alan Garbarino): 3; 3.719 points.
Turkey (Pete McNamara): 8; 26.446 points.
Most of us were playing with election hangovers. The supply center chart is here. Players, what happened?
We are eight games into our 12th season of Windy City Weasels Diplomacy and have now played 317 league games total. Nevertheless, in Sunday's game at David Spanos' home in Lakeview, we managed a first for the club. You'll note in the photo above that the players include Captain Kirk and Sherlock Holmes. Not surprisingly, they both factored into the board top.
There was an Undercard game yesterday. We bill the Undercard as an opportunity to steal a march on the sharks occupied in the Royale. This Undercard, though, had its share of sharks, headlined by John Gramila, he of the Italian solo at Worlds and near miss of the top board.
But the board-top didn't go to Gramila or any of the other seasoned vets on the board. Instead, it went to Mick Johnson, who was playing his third game ever. The Undercard ended by draw vote in Spring 1910 in the following center counts:
Hasbro's 5th edition rules eliminate the Convoy Paradox once and for all. It's right there on page 17:
A Convoyed Attack Doesn’t Cut Certain Supports
A convoyed Army doesn’t cut the support of a unit supporting an attack against one of the Fleets necessary for the Army to convoy.
Of course, a fine bit of good that clear wording will do you if you leave the rulebook in your bag while giving a ruling. Sigh. Perhaps for only the second time in club history, we had a tricky convoy situation crop up last night at the Red Lion. And I got the ruling wrong.
All is fair in love, war, and Windy City Weasel diplomacy. Game 313 featured roommate conflict, stabbed girlfriends,
3 4 5 new players, and a first time player topping to board in a highly instructional (and highly amusing) bout. Using 18 minute timing (with adjudications off the clock), newcomer (and new to Chicago) Mick Johnson raced to a 10 center board top as France when the draw ended it in 05. The final center counts were:
Great opening night last night at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square for the 2017 Bar Room Brawl Series. We had 14 players on the nose, including five first-time Weasels. (Plus David St. John dropped in for a few minutes to say hello.)
We put the newcomers on a board with Matt Sundstrom and Brandon Fogel. Matt recruited two of them and Brandon, a third, plus Brandon taught and/or reviewed the rules for all five. The rest of us retired to Red Lion's back room, a space underutilized by us and with easy outdoor access. It was a beautiful late summer evening in Chicago, so there was a lot of negotiating outside.
Anyway, here are the game summaries.