2010 State of the Weasels Address

My Fellow Weasels:

This year will be a landmark one for the Weasels. In it, we’ll wrap up our fifth season, celebrate our 100th game, and bid on the 2012 World Diplomacy Championships. And that’s just August!

Here are the goals your Sneak established for the entire year:

Membership and Outreach
1. Attract at least 63 people to play in our club games.
That’s an increase of 10, or 18.9 percent.
2. Recruit at least 21 people who have yet to play with our group.
We recruited 23 in 2009, so this should be achievable. We’ve already recruited one new player for game No. 84, played Jan. 2.
3. Retain at least 35 of the 2009 players.
That’s a 66.7 percent retention rate, compared with only 40.3 percent in 2009, so we have our work cut out for us.
4. Reactivate at least seven Weasels who didn’t play in 2009.
This is an ambitious goal. We reactivated only one player in 2009. Our brief history has demonstrated that players who go a year or more without returning to the table usually don’t come back. But, we already have one former player scheduled to play at the Jan. 21 Guthrie’s game. All we need is six more!
5. Encourage at least 60 percent of our 2010 players to play in two or more games.
We hit 62.3 percent in 2009.
6. Encourage at least 50 percent of new 2010 players to play in two or more games.
This is an increase from last year’s mark of 43.5 percent.
7. Reach 35 paid-up members.
Another ambitious goal. We’re at 16 paid-up 2010 members right now, but we had 30 last year.
Club Games
1. Hold 24 club games, including our club’s 100th overall.
This should be a lay-up. We want to hold our 100th game at Weasel Pyle V this August at Eric Brown’s home. Our problem could be with ensuring that game 100 doesn’t occur earlier. 
2. Hold eight multi-board sessions.
Thom Comstock plans to hold one as part of March Madness, and Eric Brown will hold the Pyle in August. If Dan Burgess runs an undercard game with the Royale, that will be three. We’ll probably rely on Guthrie’s for the other five.
3. Hold at least three novice games.
The first one is scheduled for Guthrie’s on Jan. 21. We already have two novices and a rusty player signed up. Consider bringing a friend out to Guthrie’s on the 21st. This will be a great opportunity for beginners to learn the game in a fun, low-stress environment.
Club Tournaments and Events
1. Field at least six boards at CODCon.
We had seven boards last year, but this year, CODCon is the week before DipCon in San Francisco. We expect that to hurt attendance a bit.
2. Field 15 boards at Weasel Moot.
We had 14 last year. Let’s keep growing!
3. Continue working on 2012 North American Diplomacy Championship (to be submitted in 2011).
We could use help finding a venue because the Days Inn isn’t large enough. Who wants to help?
4. Bid on 2012 World Diplomacy Championship at the Hague.
The 2010 WDC will be Aug. 19-22 at the Hague. That’s where we’ll need to be to present our bid for 2012. (The 2011 WDC will be in Australia.)
Tournament Travel
1. Send at least four Weasels to the North American Diplomacy Championship in San Francisco.
Kevin O’Kelly and Christian MacDonald will lead the Weasels delegation. Who wants to join them? Dip Con is set for April 16-18.
2. Send at least one Weasel to the World Diplompacy Championship at the Hague.
WACCon Paris will be the weekend after WDC, Aug. 27-29. What I’d like to do is go to WDC, spend the week between traveling, attend WACCon and then head home. It would be nice to have someone to travel with, and if we were traveling with another couple, I think I could get my girlfriend to go. Anyone?
3. Encourage at least four Weasels to travel to tournaments for the first time.
We hit this mark last year, so we’re trying again. We want to continue to export players to national tournaments.
4. Get at least 10 Weasels to travel to tournaments.
In 2009, 13 Weasels traveled to tournaments, and we’re really proud of that number. Hopefully we can export at least 10 in 2010. DipCon, DixieCon, HuskyCon, Tempest and Carnage are great traveling opportunities. Origins and the Buckeye GameFest once again will be held in Columbus, Ohio, which is relatively close. The crew that ran the Diplomacy tournament at the National Block Party in Louisville the past few years plans to relocate to the PSC Gamefest in Lexington, Ky., in October. Like Columbus, Lexington is about six hours away by car.
So, those are our goals for 2010. With your help and participation, we know that 2010 will be another great year for the Weasels.

Jim O’Kelley
Prime Weasel

Join the discussion!

Find out more about an upcoming event or article, talk smack before a game, brag about your board top, or most likely, ask what on earth your fellow Weasels were thinking!

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Thom Comstock

    The varied internet options for publicizing the group seem to be doing well. Kudos!

    I am happy to see so many new and energetic players. More please. And more returning, lethargic players too especially on my boards.

    I re-propose (as I do every year) that The Sneak consider posting inexpensive ads in the Law School (and other schools) bulletins, as it seems Diplomacy appeals to a certain mindset.

    Also, consider a ‘profile’ for your college magazine indicating your success in the real world being a result of the fine education you received, your hard work, and your Diplomacy playing. šŸ˜†

    That’s for someone of (almost) Doug Moore’s stature . . . like Jim.


  2. Jim O'Kelley

    Thanks, Thom. That’s a good suggestion, and one of these years, we’re going to embrace it! šŸ˜‰

    I think our biggest weakness, though, is not in attracting new players but keeping the ones we have. Only 29 of the 72 players from 2008 played again in 2009. That’s pathetic, and it begs the question why?

    Did they not like the game? Or us? Are we too hard on new people? Are we not welcoming enough? Too cliquish? Too competitive? Or were real-world conflicts the problem?

    I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to ask these people why they didn’t come back. Otherwise we’re left to speculate. I’ll add that to the growing list of things to do…

    In 2010, our goal is to retain 35 of our 53 players from 2009. That will require a substantial improvement over our 2009 retention rate.

    I’m hopeful, though. Thirty-three of our 2009 players played in two or more games; 21 in three or more. The 21, at least, should be easy to retain. They appear to be sold on the game and our club. Surely we can win back 14 more to meet our goal.

    By the way, when the dust has cleared from our three January house games, we will have already retained 15 players and recruited two. The Guthrie’s event on Jan. 21 should bring at least three more retentions, two recruits, and one reactivated player, so we’re off to a good start.

  3. Thom Comstock

    No doubt eventually it will be embraced. Mine is not to till or water, mine is to scatter seeds so the Sneak begins to believe they are theirs. The Sneak chose to seek non-profit status. Other great things going on.
    There was some open discussion at the Pyle about Guthrie’s games being weighted differently in value for scoring. The sneak chose not to do it. But, a sub-text that I read about Guthrie’s games is that the goal (originally) and mostly still isn’t entirely Diplomacy.
    My question would be, did the group provide enough varied (location, times) non-guthries games –I’m not saying yes or no. Everyone has a wedding, or birthday, or exam to attend at some point. So, while yes scheduling is an issue . . . given enough opportunities and personal invites . . . people make time for what they want to do.
    There is nothing wrong with playing 20+ diplomacy games a year, but it does leave considerably less time for other endeavors.

  4. Jim O'Kelley

    [quote]Mine is not to till or water, mine is to scatter seeds so the Sneak begins to believe they are theirs.[/quote]
    I think I can speak on behalf of my fellow Sneak members when I say that we appreciate ideas and suggestions, but we appreciate people who are willing to put their ideas and suggestions into motion even more. Those people tend to be in short supply.

    [quote]There was some open discussion at the Pyle about Guthrie’s games being weighted differently in value for scoring. The sneak chose not to do it. But, a sub-text that I read about Guthrie’s games is that the goal (originally) and mostly still isn’t entirely Diplomacy.[/quote]
    Regarding Guthrie’s games, the emphasis, for me anyway, is on the night out, but if you took away the Diplomacy, most of us wouldn’t be there. As far as weighting those games differently, there was a valid argument for that prior to season 4, when Weasel of the Year was based on average result.

    Back then, each game was worth one point. The winner got it all. If the game ended in a draw, then the participants in the draw split it equally. Guthrie’s games frequently end in five- and six-way draws, so playing in Guthrie’s games could, and did in many cases, hurt players’ average scores.

    However, we solved that problem by adopting the modified Whipping system starting with season 4 and by limiting scoring to each player’s three best games. Playing at Guthrie’s can no longer hurt your score.

    Next year, we’re considering another scoring change that I think will interest players and provide yet another motivation for signing up for games. Stay tuned for that.

    [quote]My question would be, did the group provide enough varied (location, times) non-guthries games[/quote]
    I’m sure we lose people because of the location of our games, but our options are limited. We can’t host games where we don’t have players who are willing to organize and host them.

    I think we’re doing a pretty good job, especially recently, of moving our venues around, though.

    You, Dan and I have the near Western burbs covered pretty well. Barry and Eric host games in the northwestern burbs every year. Peter and Christian have joined Greg to host games on both sides of the city. And now we have Ted, Pete and Matt hosting games from Rogers Park to Glenview. Plus Gary is going to host in the Aurora area next month, and Sam Bassett has volunteered to host in May, providing another city venue.

    The only area we’re not covering regularly is the south suburbs, where to date, we’ve only held one game — at Nick’s in December 2008.

    [quote]There is nothing wrong with playing 20+ diplomacy games a year, but it does leave considerably less time for other endeavors.[/quote]
    True, but my lament is that we couldn’t get 43 people who played with us in 2008 to play just once in 2009.

    On another note, do you feel like you and I are carrying this website right now?

  5. Thom Comstock

    [hide][quote]appreciate people …willing to put their ideas …into motion… Those people … {are]in short supply.[/quote]Authorize the money I’ll post the ads. And the Universal Flyer for the club I’ve pushed for 3 years. Once an insider, I know you like to have significant input.
    Low actives is 1 reason I burnt out. Drafted as treasurer before the sneak, a job I swore never to hold in any club.
    Early,I suggested a bank account, non-profit status, but was told to crawl before running. As part of tourney committee CODCon I-II ,WM I-II, travelled, posted flyers, recruited, schmoozed, hosted, played too many house games, acted as a replacement. Advocated for donations, dues, published rules, arrived on time. Turned some early belligerent players around. I go to Guthries for diplomacy. I appreciate promised start and finish times. I met several times for “weasel business.” If I went to drink, maybe I wouldn’t care when a game starts 3 hours late.[/hide]

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