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.
A new Bar Room Brawl series will kick off next month at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square. Join us September 14 for the first Red Wednesday of Season 12!
In addition to the backstabbing, players in Game No. 306, played Saturday at Pete McNamara's home in Evanston, were treated to ribs and brisket courtesy of grillmaster Pete.
"The barbecue turned this one up to 11," remarked Bryan Pravel, who, having now played in 13 club games, all since January, is something of an authority on the Weasels scene.
Could the club now have a third host extraordinaire to rival Messrs. Brown and Burgess?
As for the game, depsite being a house game with a generous 11 hours allotted for play, it ended by draw vote during the Spring 1906 turn in the following center counts:
This one goes to 11.
Our club's happiest tradition returns for an 11th installment. Join us for the season-ending Weasel Pyle at Castle Brown in bucolic Wayne. The exact address will be provided to attendees.
We expect at least three boards of Diplomacy. Plus we'll present our season awards, announce the Weasel Royale club championship bids, elect the Ninth Sneak, and strike the Regimental Choir. Don't miss it!
With one scheduled event remaining in the 2016 Bar Room Brawl Series, the back end of the championship game field remains wide open.
Brandon Fogel posted another big board top in the penultimate Red Wednesday match, running his lead to a seemingly insurmountable 146.639 points. Christian Kline in second (99.571) and Jake Trotta in third (97.726) also look safe. Brian Shelden in fourth (81.450) is probably in as well. But after then, it gets a bit dicier, especially if we field two boards on August 10.
Jim O'Kelley is in fifth with 79.898 points; David Spanos holds down he sixth spot at 72.930; and the low-hanging fruit is Matt Sundstrom at 71.600.