Bryan Pravel

Bryan Pravel

Monday, 28 January 2019 15:39

Weasel Moot XIII - A Weasel’s Dozen

The 13th edition of the Windy City Weasels' signature tournament, the Weasel Moot, will take place Saturday, April 27th and Sunday, April 28th. Tournament rules have been added as an attachment at the bottom of this post. 

Where to go
Weasel Moot XIII will be held in the community room of Brian Shelden's condo building: 400 E Randolph Street, Chicago. 

  • Public Transportation: Take the CTA to the Clark & Lake stop. Head east on Randolph street for approximately 1 mile along Millennium Park.
  • Car, Taxi, or Ride Share: Come to 400 E UPPER Randolph Street and park under the building.  Take a ticket & Brian has guest passes that he'll sell you for cost ($10).
Saturday, 14 April 2018 10:29

2018 CODCon Open Results

The 2018 CODCon Diplomacy Open is in the books! Twenty-one players began the ascent up the sweet Swiss Alpy mountaintop. Jim O'Kelley, the founding member of the Windy City Weasels, ended on top with a composite score of 143.1034.  Jim's solo was particularly impressive because it was on the top board during a timed round. It is also the second year in a row that Jim has soloed during the 3rd round of CODCon to clinch the tournament. 

Finishing in second place was the great lover of Armenia and long-time Weasel veteran Matt Sundstrom, who hauled in his entire 71.5084 points in the final round of the tournament. Matt did not solo on his board, but feedback from the other players suggests that Matt had a very good chance at soloing if the game had not finished due to time. An interesting note is that both Jim and Matt played in only two rounds. Third place was taken by Mr. 859-DIVORCE himself, long-time tournament veteran Eric Grinnell, with a score of 59.0759. 

In addition to the win, place, and show trophies, two special awards were given for distinctive play:

Monday, 12 February 2018 21:30

Weasel Moot XII

The 12th edition of the Windy City Weasels' signature tournament, the Weasel Moot, will take place Labor Day Weekend, Saturday, September 1st and Sunday, September 2nd.

Where to go
Weasel Moot XII will be held in the community room of Brian Shelden's condo building: 400 E Randolph Street, Chicago. 

CTA travellers should walk East from Clark & Lake along Millenium Park.

Drivers should come to 400 E UPPER Randolph Street and park under the building.  Take a ticket & Brian has guest passes that he'll sell you for cost ($10).

Monday, 12 February 2018 15:51

Diplomacy Basics

How to Play

Introduction to Diplomacy Powers

Diplomacy is an extremely balanced game. In the hands of an experienced player, every power has a chance to top the board. However, some powers are more difficult for newer players than others. Learning about the strengths and weaknesses of each power can help you in your negotiations and decision making. Always remember that you should play the other players, not the other powers. Your interactions and negotiations with other players will have far more impact on your success than which power you or your neighbors are playing. 


To an experienced player, which opening you choose can speak volumes about your intent in the opening portions of the game. Understanding which openings help achieve which goal, and perhaps more importantly, how the rest of the board is likely interpret the intent of your openings, are valuable skills to have. Always keep in mind that Diplomacy is not like chess. Negotiations and relationships are just as, if not more important than where you move your pieces. Your openings should always support your goals, not the other way around. 


Alliances in Diplomacy tend to be fluid. Any group of committed players can make any alliance work. However, there are some alliances that occur more naturally than others. These alliances occur so frequently, they have often been named. Familiarizing yourself with the more common alliances and the vocabulary used to describe them can help you negotiate more effectively.

Stalemate Lines

A stalemate line is a position on the board that prevents any further advance by the enemy. Stalemate lines are a pretty complex topic. Generally speaking, a newer player does not need to understand them in detail. What is important is that the new player know that these positions *do* exist, and that they become more meaningful the longer the game is played. In most Windy City Weasel bar games, there is not enough time for stalemate lines to become a meaningful part of the game. In house games, and particularly in tournament games, they become more meaningful because of the longer game length. If a veteran player starts talking to you about stalemate lines in the first few years of the game, be aware that they may be trying to use fancy vocabulary to influence your play to their advantage. If its been a few years, you might want to listen more closely, particularly if you are part of an alliance from one side of the board trying to hold back and alliance from the other side of the board. Here are a few resources where you can learn more about stalemate lines:

 Scoring Systems

The Diplomacy rulebook provides one victory outcome, controlling 18 or more supply centers, or "soloing." Because Diplomacy is such a balanced game, a "solo" is extremely unlikely. As a result, the Diplomacy community has invented scoring systems designed to evaluate games where no one "solos" so that we can play the game competitively. Many systems have been used over the years, all of which have pros and cons. The Windy City Weasels use a scoring system called "Sum of Squares" which we feel encourages the behaviors we value most, balance of power, fluid alliances, and backstabbing. Other scoring systems are designed to encourage different behaviors, or to incentivise those same behaviors a different way. If you only play with the Weasels, you really only need to learn our scoring system. If you ever play online or travel to play with other clubs or at tournaments, you should be aware they may not score their games the same way. Generally speaking, every scoring system will reward you for capturing more supply centers than your opponents.

Here are some of the more common scoring systems in the hobby today:

Advanced Strategy & Tactics  

Want to learn more? Check out the Wise Old Weasel Strategy Blog and Advanced Strategy & Tactics section for more articles and links! 

Here are a few other resources that Weasel veterans recommend. Keep in mind that many of the articles on these sites are older and written with Draw Based or C-Diplo style scoring systems in mind. The majority of the content will still apply, but there may be a few subtle differences between what these authors suggest and what applies in Weasel league and tournament play:

  • If you like Podcasts, The Diplomacy Podcast is a great resource. The hosts are tournament regulars and because this is a newer resource, their advice is pretty applicable to Weasel club and tournament play.
  • The Diplomacy Archive has a great collection of Diplomacy related articles that have been collected over the years. This site is a little easier to search than the online "Zines" that follow. 
  • The Diplomatic Pouch has a tremendous backlog of newsletters and strategy articles. Several club veterans had their start in competitive play through this website.  
  • Diplomacy World has been around for over 40 years and is considered by many one of the flagship publications of Diplomacy related materials. Reading the backlog of articles will expose you to the tremendous history of this hobby and the thoughts and opinions of some of the hobby's greatest members. 
Monday, 12 February 2018 12:52


  • The CODCon Open: Our oldest tournament by two months, the Open is held annually in April at the small CODCon gaming convention at the College of Dupage. Our focus at this tournament is on introducing tournament Diplomacy to our players, but we usually draw a traveler or two every year, and the event is part of the North American Grand Prix circuit. We held CODCon for the first time in April 2007.

  • Weasel Moot: Our signature tournament is Weasel Moot. This event tends to be more competitive than CODCon and usually draws players from both coasts and points in between. In recent years, as the event has grown in importance on the Grand Prix circuit -- the Weasel Moot champ went on to win the Grand Prix in 2010, 2011 and 2012 -- we've welcomed two to three boards' worth of travelers. Weasel Moot even hosted the World and North American Diplomacy Championships in 2012 and 2016. We held Weasel Moot for the first time in June 2007, and since then, the event has bounced all over the calendar. At various times, we've held it in July, August, September and November. The tournament champion holds the title of Alpha Weasel until the next year's Moot.
Monday, 12 February 2018 12:17

League Rules

League Play

  • Windy City Weasels Diplomacy League: Our league is the most active in North America. We average more than two games per month. We play games at members' homes, in bars, and other venues. We score all of our games using the Sum of Squares scoring system, and each player's best three scores count toward the season standings. Each season runs from September through August. The top dues-paying Weasel at the end of the Season wins our coveted Weasel of the Year title and also the top seed in the Weasel Royale club championship game. We also award Best Country awards to the top dues-paying member of each country, with the caveat that no player can win more than one Best Country award. In addition, we award Rookie of the Year to a newcomer each year. The winner of this award does not have to be a dues-paying member. We usually play our bar games on weeknights, starting at 6:30 p.m., typically. We use a fast clock and always end no later than 11 p.m. House games are usually on weekends and normally are open-ended.

  • Bar Room Brawl Series: In addition to counting as regular league games, we track bar games separately in a subset of our league called the Bar Room Brawl Series.  Again, each player's top three bar game scores count in the standings. At the end of the season, the top seven players, regardless of membership status, will be invited to compete in the Bar Room Brawl Championship Game.

  • Red Wednesdays: Starting in October 2014, the second Wednesday of every month will be Red Wednesday at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square. Join us for dinner, drinks and Diplomacy on Red Wednesday, the second Wednesday of every month!

  • Thunder Thursday: Starting in January 2018, the fourth Thursday of every month will be Thunder Thursday at the Scout in the South Loop. Honor the Norse god of thunder on the fourth Thursday of every month!
Monday, 12 February 2018 11:53

Windy City Weasels Code of Conduct

The Windy City Weasels are committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for everyone to experience the joys and agonies of Diplomacy. Diplomacy is a collective human endeavor. We may be competitive, manipulative, and even dastardly, but we are all here to have fun.

To that end, please observe the following:

  1. Be a human being. Treat everyone with the respect they deserve, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, or ability to play Diplomacy.
  2. Refrain from harassment of any kind. This includes unwanted physical contact, threats of violence, unwelcome sexual attention, and comments related to personal identity or appearance.
  3. Avoid becoming intoxicated to the point that you cannot play or are disturbing the ability of others to enjoy themselves.

Violations of the code of conduct should be reported as soon as possible to an official club representative, including the tournament director for tournaments, the host for house games, or the War Weasel or any other Sneak member. All communications will be strictly confidential. The club representative will mediate in good faith and take whatever action he or she deems appropriate to resolve the situation, including pausing a game, censuring players, or requiring players to leave the event without refund. The Sneak will review all reports of inappropriate behavior and take further action if needed, including suspension from future league or tournament play or expulsion from all club activities.

Any attempt to abuse the code of conduct in order to gain advantage in any game will not be tolerated. This code of conduct applies at any club event, on the board and off.

The War Weasel (Brandon Fogel) and the Sneak (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) may be contacted at any time for any reason. All communications will be strictly confidential.

The CODCon Open, the event that put tournament Diplomacy back on Chicago's map, returns for a 12th installment, April 14-15 at the College of DuPage in west suburban Glen Ellyn. We will be using a central clock with drop dead timing and Swiss Pairings to seed our boards. To reach the sweet Swiss Alpy mountaintop, you have to beat the best!

When: April 14-15, 2018.
Where: College of DuPage's Student Resource Center, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, IL 60137. Room SRC1004. Directions can be found here or on the CODCon official website at
Thursday, 12 January 2017 10:52

Membership & Dues

Dues for the 2020 year are now due. Your support is essential to the continued success of the Windy City Weasels.

As a dues-paying member, you'll: Dues are essential to the Windy City Weasels' continued success. As a dues-paying member, you'll: 

Wednesday, 14 December 2016 05:51

A 5 Minute Diplomacy Guide


A Five-Minute Teaching Guide.


Players: there are 7 players in the game, one for each of the major powers in Europe in 1901: 



Turns are divided: Spring and Fall with the game starting in Spring 1901.


Players discuss their plans for their pieces privately at the beginning of the Spring and Fall moves.


You are not bound by anything you say or do with another player.


Players secretly write down their orders for their pieces and then they are revealed and adjudicated simultaneously.


Abbreviations in order writing are listed on the conference map with S for Support and C for Convoy.   When writing a support for a piece to move you have write where the target piece is moving to.


There is no discussion when players have to retreat or make adjustments to their positions.


The map is divided into different named spaces.


Spaces can be all water, all land or coastal.


Split Coasts exist in St. Petersburg, Bulgaria and Spain. A fleet in those spaces must be on one coast or another.


There are 34 supply centers on the map (stars/dots) scattered in 60+ named spaces.


To win you need 18 supply centers at the end of a Fall move.


Players start with 3 or 4 supply centers; these are your home centers in one of 7 Great Powers.


Two piece types are: Army and Fleet.


For every supply center you own at the end of the Fall you may have one piece on the board.


If you are short of pieces you build new ones in unoccupied home centers.


If you have more pieces than supply centers you must reduce your pieces to equal the number of supply centers.


Each piece has equal strength so it moves with a force of 1 plus 1 for each of its supports.


An Army may move or give support for another piece to move into or hold an adjacent land or coastal province.


A Fleet may move or give support for another piece to move into or hold an adjacent water or coastal province.


Only one piece may be in a space at any time.


You may move all or some of your pieces each turn.


Your piece may only do one thing in any turn:




to an adjacent space or be convoyed from a coastal province to a coastal province Fleets in split coasts may only move to adjacent coastal or water spaces.


to defend another adjacent piece in place if you could have moved there and it is not moving.


a specific piece to attack another space that your unit could move to; fleets in split coasts may only support moves into a space that they could have moved on.


if a fleet, you can assist in convoying an army.


(also called Stand) in place doing nothing.


A piece moves only one space at a time to an adjacent space unless you are an Army being convoyed.


No switching. Units ordered to each other's space do NOT switch positions unless one is being convoyed.


When giving support you are adding your force to the mover on, or the holder of, a space.


You may support other people’s pieces.


Bounce: if units of equal support try to move to an unoccupied space then they BOUNCE and no one gets in.


Supports are CUT by a piece moving on the supporter from other than the space that the support is directed at. 


To force someone out of a space requires that you have greater force than the piece that is holding the space plus all of its supports to Hold. A move with one support and a hold with one support bounce. 


Cut supports do not count for the determination of who has the most force.


A convoy is a move of an army in a coastal province to another by a fleet or a chain of fleets in adjacent water spaces


A fleet in a coastal province may not convoy.


You cannot dislodge or cut support of one of your own units. No ‘friendly fire.’


Units forced out of their space are dislodged and must retreat to an adjacent space.


You may not retreat to a space that was the site of a Bounce.


You may not retreat via a convoy.


If you cannot retreat or decide not to retreat, the piece is disbanded.


A piece that is dislodged has no effect on the space from which the mover came that dislodged it.


A convoying fleet that is dislodged disrupts the convoy and the convoy does not take place.


Oddities: Kiel and Constantinople have a single coast due to their waterways (Kiel Canal/Bosphorus). Denmark is a coastal province that connects with Sweden so armies can go between them but does not divide itself or the Swedish coast in two. As a coastal province you may not convoy through Denmark, Kiel or Constantinople.


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