Jake Trotta bounced back from a sub-par (by his lofty standards) performance in Game No. 388 to top Game No. 389, played on Memorial Day at David Spanos' home. He's now in first place for the season.
Billed as David's sendoff--he's leaving town to attend graduate school--the game didn't go so well for the host. Spanos started strong as Russia, gaining two builds in 1901, but stalled there and eventually lost four dots in 1905. Trotta, meanwhile, cruised to his second outright board-top of the season. He shared another one, so that's 2.5 tops in four games.
Game No. 389 ended after 1905 in the following center counts:
WACCon, the Diplomacy hobby's most sophisticated and, in my opinion, best tournament folded its tents after hosting the North American Diplomacy Championship in 2014. Dubbed Ultimate WAC, the send-off featured a roast complete with an Elvis impersonator. It was an epic weekend, even by the impossibly high standards of the WAC team: Mark Zoffel, whose membership in Seattle's posh downtown Washington Athletic Club grants us access to the venue and whose generosity keeps the cost reasonable for attendees; Nathan Barnes, the hobby's greatest showman; and Matt Shields, a Portland resident whose Tournament Director credentials are so impeccable that the Seattle team drafted him long ago to run their events.
Sadly, Ultimate WAC, as the moniker suggests, was the end of an era. ... Until now.
You'll find our first reference to the classic war movie Platoon in the write-up for Game No. 124, played way back in January 2011. We've used it quite a bit since then because many of our bar games play out the same way: New player shows up, ends up in France or Turkey adjacent to a couple of regulars who--for personal or club-cultural reasons--try really hard to work with him or her. The dynamic casts the new player in the role of Charlie Sheen's Chris Taylor as Sergeants Barnes and Elias battle for his soul.
Wednesday night at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square, the understudy for Charles Sheen was Gu Qiu, who found us on Meetup. He drew France. His closest neighbors? Two-thirds of the soloists at last month's Weasel Moot, Cori Neslund in England and Jake Trotta in Germany. Readers will decide for themselves who was Elias and who, Barnes. Much like the movie, though, in the end, neither won the game.
Instead, it was Carlos Trevino in Turkey, playing his first league game in more than 2 1/2 years, riding an on-again-off-again alliance with Brandon Fogel's Austria to the board-top. The game ended by time limit after the Fall 1905 turn in the following center counts:
Man can have his dog; all Turkey needs is the Western Triple. A game-long Triple last Wednesday at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square helped three-time defending Weasel of the Year Brandon Fogel secure a shared board-top and reclaim his familiar spot atop the league. Fogel has only played in three games this season but has at least shared the board-top in all of them.
Game No. 387 ended by time limit after the Fall 1906 turn in the following center counts:
War broke out at the Chicago Cultural Center yesterday as we introduced three new players to Windy City Weasels Diplomacy. Game No. 386 ended by time limit after the Fall 1907 turn in the following center counts:
As the saying goes, a tie is like kissing all three of your sisters. Last night's game at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square was as tight as can be, with Clockwork Chris Kelly's two-dot lead evaporating in the final year.
Game No. 385 ended by time limit after the Fall 1907 turn, naturally, in a blurry photo finish. The final center counts were:
Meanwhile, in the equally hard fought, if shorter and colder, Undercard game, Johnny Mercado, playing in just his third game with the club and first since last April, earned the board-top. This game was played on Bryan Pravel's back porch, an intimate space heated meagerly by space heaters. Game No. 384, the Undercard at the 2018 Weasel Royale championship game, was played on March 3, 2019. It ended by draw vote during the Fall 1908 turn in the following center counts:
Last-minute sub Ali Adib won the hard-fought 2018 Weasel Royale club championship game, which was finally played yesterday at Bryan Pravel's home in West Town. The game ended by draw vote during the Spring 1913 turn in the following center counts:
Jake Trotta has stepped back his play considerably since barnstorming through the league over a 2 1/2 year stretch. The Young Wolverine burst onto the scene in July 2015. Through February 2018, he played 44 league games and captured three major titles, including the Bar Room Brawl championship twice.
A five-month hiatus followed, and since then, only an occasional game.
Still, every now and then, he'll pounce on a board and cripple it for life. Such was the case on Sunday in Game No. 383, another boardless affair at Ali Adib's home in Avondale. The game ended after the Fall 1907 turn in the following center counts:
We're six months into our 14th season, and for those of us who have been here since the beginning, it can be difficult to recall which wave of players the current surge represents. We've had many over the years.
Last Wednesday at the Red Lion in the Lincoln Square, the club played its 382nd game, a contest pitting players from three distinct waves: Don Glass and Ted McClelland, vets who joined the club in our fourth season; Brandon Fogel and David Spanos, the vanguard of the New Guard, who joined in Season 10, along with Bryan Pravel, who started playing with us the next year; and two members of the current wave, Brian MacWilliams, playing in his second club game--and second game ever--and Braden Lenz, who joined us in Season 13.
For most of the evening, it was the newcomers' night. MacWilliams was holding his own in the East, and Lenz led everyone as Germany--no easy feat considering that one of his Western neighbors was three-time defending Weasel of the Year Brandon Fogel.