Since 2005

Fun traditions and fierce competition In the Chicagoland Area

An online resource for Diplomacy Strategies

using Sum of Squares Scoring


facts about us

Our Diplomacy league is the most active in North America. We average more than two league games per month in addition to Tournament play. 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. We are known for our fierce competition, strong traditions, upstanding character and trustworthiness, and the propensity for Turkey to open to Armenia.


Games Played


Times Turkey Opened to Armenia

Get out of the box

What up Weasels? I wrote an article for Diplomacy World that I figured I'd pass around. Please note that at the time of writing, i was winning the league standings. Dammit, Brandon...


For the full mag, click here. 



Get Out of the Box: 10 Ways to Take Your Game to the Next Level


First, I should introduce myself. I’m Jake Trotta, a new member of the hobby and the Minister of Public Information (or “Speaky Weasel”) for the Windy City Weasels. Our club goals are to grow the hobby and develop championship caliber players. Both objectives require players to learn and develop their game, so I’d like to share a bit about my own development in the hopes that it may help other future players (and Weasels) with theirs. After winning my first tournament, I went through a very difficult 6-month plateau in the hobby. I wanted to get better and tried to improve at the 3 aspects of the game (negotiation, strategy, tactics). I was reading articles, playing gunboat games, getting a lot of games in. But the results weren’t matching my effort level. I lost the league lead, got slammed at WDC, wasn’t enjoying the game as much, and was certainly less fun to play with. After getting eliminated first in our club title game, the Weasel Royale, I asked another player on the board where I was going wrong. “You’re just not having fun anymore,” he told me. That moment made me realize something—a fourth (and perhaps most important) dimension to the game. Attitude. What mentality am I bringing to the board? How is that impacting my negotiation? Strategy? Tactics? If I don’t establish a defined, constructive relationship between myself and the board, it is, by necessity, going to be very difficult to establish constructive relationships with my boardmates. That realization changed the way I evaluate the board, my game, and myself, sparking a rapid period of growth. The following are a set of 10 insights that helped break me out of that mental box.

1) You are the only common thread on every board you’ll ever play

Let’s start with a blindingly obvious one. There’s so much that is out of your control in a Diplomacy game— openings alone have thousands of possible combinations—but the one thing you do control is yourself. Fortunately, you are also going to be involved in every board you’ll ever play. This means your focus should always be on you, developing yourself for future games. On every board, your primary objective should obviously be to win. But after that, your goal should be to LEARN—what may feel like defeat today is the bedrock of tomorrow’s victory.

2) It’s Always Your Fault

There is a danger when we do not share the same opinion as someone to blame them for our troubles. If they don’t do it my way, they must be wrong. But that is a cop out. Wishing someone else was better at Diplomacy will never make me better at Diplomacy. Diplomacy is a game of collaboration. In order to collaborate, we need to win others over to our way of thinking, or find a means to make their way of thinking work for us. Therefore, no matter which route we tried to take, the failure is our fault. So blame yourself! If you weren’t able to get on the same page with another player, evaluate your own responsibility in that after the game. You can always improve your negotiation, but you’ll never get the chance if you’re not willing to meet the other person where they are. Don’t reject their stance—move yours to take advantage of it.

3) But, don’t blame yourself if you don’t win, cause Dip ain’t fair and winning ain’t everything

Diplomacy does not always, or perhaps not even often, reward the player who performed best. You can’t force a victory in a Diplomacy board. Even solos involve someone else messing up. So in the majority of games, the rest of the board has to agree on who the victor is. Since it is impossible to control the result of the game, there will be times where you played better than anyone on the board and don’t top, and times you top when your play didn’t merit victory. Your objective is to play well enough to win and improve. Better to commend yourself for strong play that gave you a shot to win than to celebrate a win you didn’t really earn.

Hit the jump for 7 (7!) more ways to elevate your game

Tagged under

You the (Spel)Man!

Gus Spelman, one of the many promising new recruits from Seasons 11 and 12, bagged his first board-top last night at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square. We suspect it won't be his last.

Game No. 347 ended by time limit after the Fall 1906 turn in the following center counts:



Featured this week: terrible, terrible puns. Yes, they're worse than usual.


A ROARing Finish

Our last game of the Bar Room Brawl is this evening, meaning that this is your last chance to qualify for the BAR ROOM BRAWL TITLE BOUT (and a chance at winning your name on Cockerill’s Orb)! Swing by the Red Lion at 6:30 for the festivities.


A raging election

It’s that time of year, folks. Sneak elections occur at the Pyle. Any paid up members can vote, any paid up members can run. 3 spots are open, we have 1 incumbent and a couple other candidates who have indicated interest. If you are interested in running for the Sneak, send an email to Jake, your Chief of Public Information, by 8/16. Also reach out if you have any questions.


Newsflash: Jim O’Kelley does not suck at Diplomacy

It seems reports of the club founder’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Jim dropped a sizeable German board top at last week’s reunion bar game, where we welcomed back ex-pat Christian MacDonald. After spending the majority of the season outside the Top 7, Jim’s top has secured him a place in the Royale and continues his momentum since winning CODCON.  This development is particularly painful to hear because we here at the Weekly Weasel had a joke prepared for Pyle had Jim failed to make the top 7.

“Jim said he needed to take a step back this year for his marriage, and he did an excellent job at that, missing the Weasel Royale for the first time.”

We’ll be here all week, folks. For a recap and other jokes straight from the comedy cemetery, hit up the recap here.

Tagged under

Always a Weasel

Over the years, two boards' worth of dedicated, active players have stabbed the club by leaving town. Some are now playing with other clubs, others show up on the tournament circuit now and again. None of them are former Weasels. No, we call them ex-pats, because our club will always be their home. 

Last night, we welcomed back Christian MacDonald, who now lives in Vancouver. MacDonald joined the Weasels late in our third season and quickly took the club by storm. In our fourth season, the first one that featured a league with running standings, he finished third. He also ran for and was elected to the charter Sneak that year, tied for second in games played, and won the first tournament he ever attended (the Buckeye Game Fest).

MacDonald is a good guy, a great player, and a visionary. While serving on the Sneak, he drafted a statement that still serves as an excellent guide for what the North American hobby could and should be. So when he moved away in 2011, it stung.

Tagged under

Walk off?

Reigning Weasel of the Year Brandon Fogel knocked a batting-practice fastball out of the park earlier this month on Red Wednesday at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square to snatch the league lead from rival Jake Trotta. Fogel drew a Germany bordered by inexperienced players, and he teed off on them, posting the largest non-solo score in the club's Sum of Squares era, a whopping 82.571. With only two scheduled dates remaining--August 9 at the Red Lion and the Weasel Pyle on September 2--this ballgame appears to be over.

Played July 12, Game No. 345 ended by time limit after the Fall 1906 turn in the following center counts:

Moot XI Results

Moot XI is in the books!  Mike French, a traveling Weasel from St. Louis, took the title with a composite score of 114.876.  Mike's tournament included a solo as Austria in Round 1, only the second Austrian solo in tournament history and 20th solo overall (only the ninth in tournaments that were not also World Diplomacy Championships).  Mike's solo was especially remarkable in that it was accomplished with no fleets (believe your eyes by clicking here).

Finishing in second place was Eric Grinnell, who made a spirited charge in the final round, closing the gap to under 4 points with 1 year to play.  Third place was taken by Alpha Weasel θ John Gramila (winner of Weasel Moot VIII). 


June, the start of sundress/ wedding season, is fittingly named after the Roman goddess Juno. Juno was the goddess of marriage, but really, she was the goddess of jealousy. She’d stroll out of her Mount Olympus high rise, see all these nymphs (in the classical sense) in their sundresses holding hands with their boyfriends (or her husband Zeus/ Jupiter), and be filled with envy. That envy inspired her to turn people into cows, start wars, or send literal Furies after her enemies. Really, there are only two kinds of stories in Roman Mythology: ones where Juno aggressively seeks vengeance, and ones where she does not.

Passive Juno allowed the continent we push blocks around to be named after her husband’s slam piece.

Aggressive Juno orchestrated the fall of Troy.

You know what they say about Italians- they learn best from their mothers. This, Weasels, is where we share our wisdom.


Image result for juno goddess

A disappointed, passive Juno surveying her four center Italy, about to be squeezed in 1908. 


Now like Juno, Italy doesn’t have to be constantly aggressive, but it must be jealous. Italy’s great challenge is getting stuck on 4 centers, home and Tunis, until the end of time. In fact, Italy only gets out of the gate, which our stats department defines as reaching 7 centers, in 33% of games, worst of the seven powers. But a strong Italy, with its variety of weapons and targets, brings havoc across Europe.

Italy is uniquely positioned between the theatres and at the edge of the stalemate line, if you count Tunis. Early game involves a fun variety of openings and establishment in one theatre, midgame requires a strategic maintenance of tempo and unit mix, the end game a vast kaleidoscope of solo possibilities.



Drop a comment for how you best (or least best) play Italy. Brandon and Jim both had some solid results last year they could perhaps speak to. I find that Chris Kelly often does well on the boot, consistently hitting 7+ as the Italian. Perhaps Bull Weasel and Turkey superfan Matt “the Sundstrom” Sundstrom could share some thoughts on how Italy can best annoy Turkey, its biggest threat? Not to forget subprime Weasel John Gramila soloed with Italy at the 2016 WDC.

Hit the jump for stats department report on Italy, best club results, and Jake’s most recommended Italian articles.

Your dues-paying Weasels

Say hello to your dues-paying members for Season 12. It's not too late to join the list and gain eligibility for Season 12 awards, plus the right to vote in the upcoming Sneak election. You can pay your dues--$25, $10 for students--right here. Dues pay for the website, our Meetup site, the annual club and Royale awards, and more. We appreciate your support!

Den of Records

This article is the closest thing we have to a Hall of Fame, or a Den of Records, to keep with the Weasel theme.

League Play:
Game No. 5, March 12, 2006: Marc Peters, Turkey
Game No. 8, August 12, 2006: Christian Kline, England
Game No. 15, January 6, 2007: Jim O'Kelley, England
Game No. 17, February 10, 2007: Eric Brown, Turkey
Game No. 77, October 25, 2009: Adam Berey, Russia
Game No. 99, May 22, 2010: Matt Sundstrom, Turkey
Game No. 112, October 30, 2010: Peter Yeargin, Russia
Game No. 143, July 3, 2011: John Gramila, England
Game No. 222, September 25, 2013: Nate Cockerill, England (The Mythical Bar Game Solo!)

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