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:
Help break in Brian Shelden's apartment and the new season of Windy City Weasels Diplomacy with a rare Friday evening game of Diplomacy.
In a season dominated by the club's New Guard--in terms of games played and boards topped--it was the vaunted Old Guard that crested the ridge on the final day of play yesterday at our 11th Weasel Pyle in Wayne. Carrying the colors were Eric Brown, Christian Kline and Matt Sundstrom, veterans of our first, third and ninth games, respectively.
One of the knocks on Diplomacy is that it's a game that ruins friendships. Nonsense. For me, Diplomacy has forged friendships.
This week, though, I did lose two of my Diplomacy friends, not to the game, but to cancer. On Monday, Mark "Faz" Fassio, one of the inspirations for this club, finally lost his four-year fight.
Now, we've just learned that earlier today, our friend and former Prime Weasel Nate Cockerill lost his battle. Here's a photo of Nate (right) with Matt Sundstrom during happier times at a Weasel Pyle a few years ago.
After 15 games with 41 players participating, the 2016 Bar Room Brawl Series is over. The top seven finishers will compete for the Brawl championship at the Red Lion on November 16, beginning at 6 p.m. The Brawlers are:
Last night's final Red Wednesday of the season was, paradoxically, as typical as it was atypical. On the one hand, Brandon Fogel ran his board-topping total to a gaudy 6.5. He now has a real shot at tying, if not breaking, Peter Lokken's longstanding record of 7.5 board tops in a season. That one has held since the 2010-11 season.
On the other hand, we had two new recruits, which is something of a rarity in this down year for new blood. But even more significant, both were female, which is as unusual as it is welcome. Not for lack of effort, our progress at diversifying the player base has been inconsistent at best.