An Atypically Typical Night at Guthrie’s

I’m afraid the four new players who joined our ranks last night will be disappointed the next time they attend a Guthrie’s game. We don’t typically get to share the bar with 50 attractive members of a women’s group.

But one thing they ought to get used to seeing is Matt Sundstrom topping boards. As reigning Weasel of the Year last year, Sundstrom swept our two tournaments. When season 5 commenced, the club appropriately rose up and smacked him around, eliminating him in his first game and sending him home with four centers in his second.

Since then, Sundstrom has roared back with three straight board-topping performances to vault into second place on the young season. His latest was a fairly typical Sundstromesque perfomance. He played Germany and finished with 10 centers, one better than his French ally.

Meanwhile, on the other board …


When we last saw Alex Riedel, he had been eliminated from Game No. 5 and was filling in for a player in Game No. 4. In that game, he inherited a three-center Turkey in 1911 and finished the game five years later with 11 centers. That was March 12, 2006, at my home in Chicago.

Nearly four years later, we welcomed him back by giving him Russia, and he again responded by finishing at 11 centers after five years.

Despite the atypical crowd, it was a typically fun Guthrie’s evening and a banner night for the club: four new players, one reactivated player, and the chance to listen to Bull Weasel Paul Pignotti hold court. In addition to the four players, we also had five bystanders, one of whom may actually be recruitable.

Here are the game summaries.

Game No. 86, the Board of Bright-Eyed Novices, ended by DIAS draw vote during the Spring 1906 turn. The final center counts were:

Austria (Josh Kanto): 2; 28.57 points.
England (Paul Robinson): 2; 28.57 points.
France (Jeff Scheur): 6; 68.57 points.
Germany (John Gramila): 6; 68.57 points.
Italy (Sam Bassett): 4; 48.57 points.
Russia (Alex Riedel): 11; 140.57 points.
Turkey (Kevin Sexton): 3; 38.57 points.
Game No. 87, the Board of Jaded Veterans, ended by time limit after the Fall 1906 turn. The final center counts were:
Austria (Peter Yeargin): 8; 92 points.
England (Jim O’Kelley): 0; 4 points.
France (Adam Berey): 9; 102 points.
Germany (Matt Sundstrom): 10; 132 points.
Italy (Paul Pignotti): 6; 72 points.
Rusia (Chris Paxhia): 0; 6 points.
Turkey (Mike Morrison): 1; 22 points.

Click here to check out the supply center charts.

Next up is Game No. 88, which will be Jan. 30 at Pete McNamara’s home in Evanston. That one is full. Then it’s on to Gary Przybocki’s home in Montgomery on Feb. 20. And there are three events scheduled for March. The February and March games have plenty of openings. Check them out by following the Current Games Signup Lists link in the Main Menu.

Now, let’s hear from the players! Post your comments in the appropriately named Comments section.

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 13 Comments

  1. Jim O'Kelley

    I neglected to thank Sam Bassett, the lone regular on the novice board, for running that game and patiently explaining his adjudications to the new players. It’s always helpful to have a teacher be the teacher.

  2. Jim O'Kelley

    Not much to say about my game. It wasn’t one of my better efforts.

    From the outset, I made it clear to France (Adam) that I wanted to work with him against (Matt). I delivered that same message to Italy (Paul), who had said he would only interfere in the West if Germany and I agreed to go after France.

    And when Austria (Peter) asked my intentions, I said the same thing: “I’d like to vector toward Matt. I’d like to vector everyone toward Matt.”

    France and I discussed the Channel, and he said he’d prefer to leave it open. I agreed. Moves go in the box, and I did and he didn’t.

    France also arranged a bounce in Piedmont and moved Paris to Picardy, so he had two on Belgium. In the Fall, I told Italy that it would have been helpful to know about the arranged bounce.

    “Why?” He asked.

    “It just would have,” I retorted. If I had known that, I might have been able to guess that he would be moving to the Channel or I could have tried to catch him in a lie about the fleet’s final destination. Maybe he tells me he’s taking Spa instead of Por. I know that’s unlikely because of the bounce in Pie. Or maybe I don’t glean anything from it, but that’s a useful piece of information that Italy could have shared without repercussion.

    Anyway, despite my general antipathy toward the German people, in our Spring 1901 negotiations, Matt had not ruled out the possibility of supporting me into Belgium. He wouldn’t commit in the Fall, but again, he didn’t rule it out, either, so I said I’d move my fleet there and he could support it if he wanted.

    I then talked to Russia (Chris). He wanted to ensure that I still intended to take Norway with a fleet. Given the French fleet in the Channel and my army’s position in Yorkshire, I had no intention of convoying across the North Sea to Norway, and I told him so.

    I asked him about Sweden.

    “Do you think you’re going to get it?”

    “I don’t know.”

    “Well, if you [i]don’t[/i] think you’re going to get it, you could move to Baltic, and I could convoy to Denmark. What do you think?”

    “I don’t know. I probably won’t know until the last minute what I’m going to do.”

    So, moving on, I figured I didn’t need to cover London. Norwegian was moving to Norway. I tried to find something productive to do with the other two units, like bounce Germany out of a center, but I figured he’d play it safe and order Ruh S Kie-Hol. I chose to convoy to Bel. Futile, but at least it doesn’t antagonize unnecessarily Germany (whom I would have loved to antagnoize if only I could have found someone half as willing). (Of course if Germany actually supported Nth-Bel, my convoy there might have upset him, but I deemed his support unlikely at this point.)

    France supported himself in, and Germany played an opening I’d seen him play before: Den-Ska, Kie-Den, Hol-Ruh.

    Two wasted moves for me, and sadly, not the last.

    I don’t know whether Germany told Russia that he was giving him Sweden, but if he did, again, that would have been helpful to know. I might have guessed Sea Lion and ordered Nth to Bel or Hol to bounce a move there (the latter would have accomplished its goal), or I might have sniffed out the actual German moves and bounced him out of Den or Hol. But as I said, instead, I wasted my moves.

    I build F Lon. France built F Bre and A Mar. Germany built A Mun and F Kie. Russia built A StP and something in the south.

    Germany now told me he was coming after me and attributed that decision to France’s aggressive opening. Fair enough.

    Russia wouldn’t tell me what he was planning with A StP, but his intentions were obvious.

    I talked with Austria and Italy about Munich, which was occupied but had no support.

    “It’s low-hanging fruit,” I said. “Go pluck it.”

    They were amused by the anaology but not iterested in helping me. Actually, Austria did indicate that his A Vie would be needed elsewhere and said Russia would have big problems soon, but Russia was a pest at best. I needed help with France and Germany.

    This turn, I wrote my only good set of orders: Yor-Wal, Lon-Eng, Nwy-Ska, Nth S Nwy-Ska.

    I annihilated the German fleet in Ska as Russia took Norway from Sweden with Germany following into Swe from Den. I’ve seen that from Matt before, too.

    A conversation with Russia either during that turn or the next was amusing.

    “Do you really think this is going to work out well for you?” I asked.

    “Well,” he said, “it’s Matt, so probably not.”

    The Kiel fleet was now in Denmark. Russia and I had a chance to retake Sweden and keep Germany even.

    “If you support Ska-Swe while I order Nth-Den, that’s guaranteed,” I said. “We both stay even. However, I’m willing to cut Den’s support, support you into Swe, [i]and [/i] let you move StP-Nwy.” That’s how much I hated the Germans. “Do you want to do that?”

    “No,” Chris said after much thought, “I’ll support you in.”

    Fine. I write Nth-Den, Ska-Swe … and Chris doesn’t support me.

    Two more wasted moves. If he had been honest with me, I could have done something else with those two units. I might have tried to attack Den with support, or I might have tried to maneuver into better defensive position.

    So, I was now down to three while Germany and France each gained one (Swe and Por). Russia, meanwhile, took Nwy from me but lost four other centers to end the year at three.

    And although I had given Germany a golden opportunity to reassess his flawed strategy and build two armies, he chose to rebuild the fleet I sank.

    In 1903, I tried to employ an aggressive defense, but I made a bad guess in the Spring that would cost me Lvp and Edi in the Fall. I actually could have saved Lvp, but I assumed that France would go with the guaranteed attack of NAT S Iri-Lvp. Instead, he went the other way. My fleet in Eng could have cut Iri’s support.

    France also had a fleet in the Mid, but I knew he’d cover Brest. Instead of defending against certain doom, I chose to slip into the Mid in hopes of finding a safe harbor in 1904.

    I pulled my home units off the board, leaving London undefended, but Mid couldn’t find a home. France took London in the Fall, and that was it for me.

    There you go. Leave it to me to write a lot about nothing.

  3. Matt Sundstrom

    For the record, Jim and I have worked together. It was my first game in the club where he was Germany to my Austria at Eric Brown’s house.

    It sounds like Jim was after me from the get-go. I hadn’t made any firm decisions until I saw France move to the Channel in Spring 01. That was a pretty good sign of France’s intentions. That prompted me to let Russia have Sweden in exchange for his help (or at least neutrality) in the north. If he went from Sweden to Norway in 1902, we should have had at least three fleets on the North Sea in the fall. Russia made the move, but England’s move to destroy my fleet in Skag set that back a bit. It all worked out by 1903. Jim shifted south while France positioned to take Liverpool. Edinburgh opened up and Lvp couldn’t be stopped.

    While this was happening, Russia got hit hard. I was happy with the GR arrangement up to that point: Chris stays south and we don’t do too much in the north. Austria was the big gainer in attacking Russia, so there was talk of knocking him down a bit. I moved Mun-Tyr in spring ’04 to be helpful to either Austria or Italy. IRT were supposed to attack Austria in fall ’04, but Italy stabbed Turkey instead for a good gain. I poached Vienna and looked pretty silly doing it. My best option was then to help finish off Russia as it looked like the endgame would be FG vs. AI.

    The endgame didn’t quite materialize that way. Italy stabbed Austria and France went after me. There would have been a shift to AG vs. FI, but time ran out.

    In retrospect, I may have been better off to stab France in 1904. Russia didn’t want any trouble with me and I could have had Belgium and London. I didn’t consider it seriously until the game was over and Adam had turned on me. Probably becuase the alliance seemed very solid to me. Adam needed to be further south sooner for FG to work in his favor, but that was slowed down by the English fleet in MAO. Italy got into a defensible position and France looked for greener pastures. Mental note taken…

    I enjoyed the game (except for the vectoring everyone toward Matt part, but I figured that would happen). It was nice to see so many new players as well.

  4. Jim O'Kelley

    [quote]For the record, Jim and I have worked together.[/quote]
    I challenge your record.

    A quick check of Laurent’s World Diplomacy Database reveals that we’ve played together 20 times. In my recollection, the only time we worked together toward the same objective for an extended period was the first round at Worlds last summer.

    By the end of that game, we were both floundering and another player was threatening to throw a solo. We cooperated both tactically and strategically, and ultimately successfully, to prevent that from happening.

    Among the other 18 games not counting Thursday’s, there have been many that found us in separate theaters and out of each other’s hair. But in every game that we’ve shared a theater except one, I’ve given you the opportunity to work with me. And except for that one time at Barry Johnson’s home a couple of years ago when I piled on your beleaguered Russia, you always have attacked me first.

    So, having at last concluded that the well is empty, I am now reduced to trying to vector people at you. Not because of your outstanding success in the club — although that would be a perfectly acceptable reason — but because I know you won’t work with me.

    When we sit down at the table and we share a theater, I’m coming after you because I have no choice. I declare that here for all of our readers (okay, both of our readers) to hear so that they’ll know when I say, “I want to attack Matt,” I really mean, “I want to attack Matt.”

    One of these days, we’ll share a theater with someone who either a) has some pride, b) has some shame, or c) has a combination of both. If that player also has some balls, we’ll eliminate you.

    Until that day, my games with you where we share a theater will probably look a lot like Thursday’s game. So be it. I’m done wasting time trying to work with you.

  5. Greg Duenow

    Not that Jim has held this in too long or anything….

  6. Mike Morrison

    Both Jim (England) and Matt (Germany) were fine telling me (as Turkey) that they’d work together in Spring ’01… this came after I initially went to Jim lobbying for a WT. I could see the AIR hitting the fan already…

    I probably could have lobbied them harder in later turns, to no avail. If the vacuum in the Russian north didn’t bring solidarity between them, dot dot dot.

  7. Mike Morrison

    Uh… not that I claimed I was England. I think Jim would have seen through that ruse.

    (This made more sense before I found the edit button. Where’s the delete?)

  8. Matt Sundstrom

    Sorry my comment about working together hit a nerve. I was poking fun at it. Must not have come across that way (one more reason to not like EOGs). Whether or not it’s as extreme as you laid out, I know the record is poor. I won’t mention it again unless you’d like to discuss it in some other forum. I’d prefer not to have this kind of discussion in cyberspace.


  9. Jim O'Kelley

    [quote]I won’t mention it again unless you’d like to discuss it in some other forum. I’d prefer not to have this kind of discussion in cyberspace.[/quote]
    You’re right. I should have responded to you directly instead of here for all to see.

    [quote]I initially went to Jim lobbying for a WT.[/quote]
    That’s right, and I believe I told you firmly that I wasn’t interested in a Triple. I did say that E/G cooperation against Russia could possibly happen. That wasn’t my first choice, but I didn’t rule it out.

  10. Mike Morrison

    [quote]That’s right, and I believe I told you firmly that I wasn’t interested in a Triple. I did say that E/G cooperation against Russia could possibly happen. That wasn’t my first choice, but I didn’t rule it out.[/quote]

    Roughly speaking, I agree… although I’m pretty sure you didn’t completely rule out a triple (at least verbally to me), it was lower on your list of possibilities than working with Germany against Russia and France. Which was when I scurried to Matt asking if he’d work with you on those nations. There was time enough in the Spring for me to relay a “Cool” from him to you. Then France was in the Channel and all such negotiation appeared to cease.

  11. Thom Comstock

    I’d quote but can’t quite figure it out without lots of cutting and pasting. Thought it was easier.

    NO, I disagree. It is exactly what I want to see in EOG’s. And it is exactly what we always end up getting, because any EOG is subjective no matter what some would like to pretend. As much as we attempt to be objective, it remains one isolated perspective that contains spin.

    Plus I love (yes, I am both S&M) seeing our top players quibble. The Gods are human. šŸ˜‰

    I fully expect to be ignored or alternatively smacked down. But, it is worth it . . . šŸ˜›

  12. Jim O'Kelley

    [quote]I’d quote but can’t quite figure it out without lots of cutting and pasting.[/quote]
    a) Quoting is pretty easy. Just copy what you want to quote, open the comment box, and click the quote bubble (third icon from the right). A window will pop up, and you just paste in the passage you copied.

    b) I’m not sure because you didn’t use quotes, but I think I agree with you while also disagreeing with my last post. I didn’t respond to Matt’s post in anger. I read and reread it like five times before I hit Send. I wish I had toned it down, though.

    c) To be worthwhile at all, endgame statements should be written from each player’s perspective, but players should be true to their perspective and not intentionally try to spin their statements.

  13. Matt Sundstrom

    I didn’t ever mean anything personally, but I’m beginning to understand how you felt. Got to slog through it. My next EOG will be expansive. Metagaming needs a forum.

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