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O’Kelley, Comstock Top Boards as March Madness Rolls on

Jim O’Kelley and Thom Comstock topped boards 93 and 94, respectively, which were played Saturday at Thom Comstock’s home in Oak Park. The event was another banner multi-board session for the Weasels, as we welcomed four new members to the group — including three beginners — and welcomed back another. (Plus we collected dues from three more people!)

Game No. 93 ended in Spring 1907 in a six-way DIAS draw. The final center counts were:

Austria (Christian MacDonald): 2; 30 points.
England (Gabe Rohn): 0; 3 points.
France (Dave Martin): 8; 90 points.
Germany (Jim O’Kelley): 10; 130 points.
Italy (Jina Dunn): 5; 60 points.
Russia (Kurt Kugelberg): 3; 40 points.
Turkey (Kevin O’Kelly): 6; 70 points.
 
Dave and Jina were playing for the first time ever, and Kurt was playing for the the first time with the group.
 
Game No. 94 ended in Spring 1908, also in a six-way DIAS draw. The final center counts were:
 
Austria (Christian Kline): 4; 50 points.
England (Thom Comstock): 9; 118 points.
France (Andy Lischett): 8; 90 points.
Germany (Zeke Dunn): 0
Italy (Tony Prokes): 2; 30 points.
Russia (Nick Rohn): 5; 60 points.
Turkey (Matt Sundstrom): 6; 70 points.
 
Zeke was playing for the first time ever. Interestingly, this game featured four of the club’s oldest members in Andy and Nick, who both joined the club in Game No. 2, and Christian and Thom, who joined in Game No. 3.
 
Check out the supply center charts here.
 
Next up: March Madness wraps up at Guthrie’s Tavern on Thursday with another two-board session. Then it’s on to our fourth annual CODCon Open, April 10-11 at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn. See you there!

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 6 Comments

  1. Greg Duenow

    Game 94 looked brutal. Not so nice to put the new guy on that board, hehehe.

  2. Kevin O'Kelly

    In Game 93, we had two new players to Diplomacy in France and Italy. In having new neighbors “fighting” in different spheres, I think it was easy for each to see what was going on at home and on the other side of the board.

    I was placed in Turkey and opened aggressively towards Russia. Over the game, Russia’s growth was stalled for too long to be strong up north and by the time he got revenge in the south for me taking SEV in 1902, the A/I/R/T line was already forming. Austria opened with six after asking if it was OK. I was fine with that, as long as there was some way to keep him in check. Russia and I didn’t get along as well as I would have liked to contain Austria (mostly my fault), but the west seemed threatened by a large Austria even though I don’t think Austria grew any larger than he was in Spring 1902.

    My game changed on two turns. First, after seeing Austria grow to 6, Italy built an army in Rome to provide protection for Venice. She had successfully convoyed an army to Tunis and a second fleet in the seas would have been difficult to work around. Thankfully she never built the second fleet until the last turn.

    The second game changer was in Spring 1904. I pleaded with Italy and Russia to keep Austria alive to help fight the growing German and French forces. Each had grown at least 1 for the first three years, and both were sitting on 8 I believe. Italy and Russia were still skeptical of Austria’s big growth in the 1901. Going into the order writing, I decided that if Russia wouldn’t fight Germany in the north, then I might as well just join their bandwagon and attack Austria in the south. Rumania was Austrian and available. I was able to talk Italy into giving her at least one center (which happened), but I forgot to confirm with Russia. Russia didn’t follow through and sided with Austria in the Spring. However, when Germany surrounded Scandanavia and threatened to take 2 Russian centers, Russia needed a secure ally, and that’s when Christian was reduced from 5 to 2. I don’t know what would have happened if Russia had gone to GAL in Spring 1904 rather than take SEV back from me (which I was willing to relinquish once I got into Austria), but I feel as if I could have had two centers that year, keeping Russia at 0 and Italy would have grown. In that case, we probably get to a 4-way draw with each of us having a few more centers. Or one of the western powers could have stabbed an opened the game up. But who knows…

    I think both new players enjoyed the game. They both got to see the open aspects of the beginning and then the forming of alliances at the end when the line needed to be built.

    And Jim (as Germany) was true to his word that Sweeden is a Russian province. In game 93, he allowed Russia to have Sweeden knowing full well that Russia would not claim Rumania. So, kudos to Jim for that and for his board top.

    See everyone at CODCon.

  3. Thom Comstock

    GAME 94: First, thanks to everyone who came out and played. I hope everyone enjoyed themselves and that the space worked. Next time, if you are up for it we’ll just play one board of Diplomacy!
    14 Diplomacy Players and 8 other gamers showed up. 2 Boards of Diplomacy
    Transamerica, PowerGrid, Winning Circle, Hive, Battlestar Galactica, 2 Robo Rally games, Kingdoms, Cards, Cash N Guns.

    GAME 94: I try to be a decent host, but I find it hard to multi-task hosting and playing Diplomacy. My Diplomacy usually suffers.

    I was England, and the newest player on the board was Germany. I proposed a Western Triple and explained that some don’t believe in it, and that often Germany is the one who suffers if it falls apart early/midgame.

    I gave a brief run down on my interpretation of the skills, and techniques of the players/powers to France, Italy, and especially Germany.

    I respectfully and warmly referred to Christian Kline’s abilities suggesting that he is very Charismatic and even though most see it coming, people let themselves get stabbed in the chest (not the back) by him. I kindly and jokingly referred to his Diplomacy Game Play as a “used car salesman” in that everyone knows his reputation, but people still keep buying cars from him (his Diplomacy strategy).

    Honestly, I did not manipulate Germany. He claimed that we 3 had agreed to give him Holland, and Belgium to England or France. WHEN in fact I had proposed England get Holland, and Belgium go to France.

    Germany seemed to fall under the influence of Austria initially, but Russia seemed to turn his attention. By that time, my options were go against Russia or go against Germany. Initially, I moved against Russia, then I started taking German dots, then I started taking back Russian dots and pushing the German fleet into Russian dots.

    The game had a lot of play. But I was content.

    Overall, my goals for the day were met (though perhaps some would find them unworthy goals).

    A. To have two Diplomacy Boards, and other games present and have fun. I hope and think everyone did.

    B. Get new players to play.

    C. Score something.

    D. Get a board top if possible (though this really fell into my lap, not because of Germany, but in part certainly, and France’s willingness to sacrifice dots to end the game)

    E. Have one solid alliance. I think I had two, but in the end, I betrayed Russia . . . and France took 6 years to ‘trust’ me.

    F. Keep up and get March Madness boards.

    G. Have a buddy swing by and see that Diplomacy does exist, and that he would like it. So, one more recruit in the wings. . . he finally saw the game, and read the five minute rules, and distracted me not on purpose . . .

  4. Thom Comstock

    I overheard negotiations from Game 93.

    Between Kevin and his friend Dave I think.

    I really enjoyed Dave’s negotiations with Kevin, strong, decisive, and humourous from the sidelines.

    I hope everyone comes back to the diplomacy table, and talks up the game.

    Best,
    T

  5. Jim O'Kelley

    I was in Florida Monday through Wednesday for my dad’s 80th birthday, so I haven’t had a chance to comment on Game 93. I’ll write something short to get it in before a new game fills my head this evening.

    Although I topped the board, Game 93 wasn’t a satisfying one for me. That’s because the board started to congeal into a stalemate line in Spring 1905. It was my jump from seven in 1903 to nine in 1904 (I took Norway and Sweden from Russia [rusty newcomer Kurt Kugelberg] in the Fall) that initiated the stalemate process, so most of my postgame analysis has been focused on what I might have done differently to keep the game fluid.

    I was indeed worried about Austria’s (Christian MacDonald) three army builds in 1901. If I were him, I would have sent at least one unit north in conjunction with Italy (new player Jina Dunn) in order to get past the stalemate line. That concern caused me to rotate A’s Ruh and Mun (fresh build) to Mun and Sil, and then to subsequently meddle in Eastern affairs while France (new player Dave Martin) and I eliminated England (Gabe Rohn, son of the Alpha Weasel beta) with Russia’s help.

    Gabe played a pretty good game for only his third effort, but he made one critical mistake. He told France he intended to take the English Channel without gathering adequate intelligence on Russia’s intentions. France bounced him in the Channel while Russia opened with Mos-StP. Russia bounced England out of Norway in the Fall, and without a build, England’s fate was sealed.

    Anyway, with England gone and the East still a mess. I had three choices for 1904:

    1) Turn on France, who seemed committed to our allinace and was ready to slam into Italy.

    2) Poach Norway and Sweden from Russia.

    3) Continue to play nice with my F/R allies while stirring the Eastern pot.

    I chose option 2. Austria was down to five and surrounded by I/R/T foes. I figured by hitting Russia while France turned on Italy, we’d give Christian a fighting chance in the East, which would keep things stirred up there.

    But my attack on Russia came too late to save Christian, and he dropped from five to two centers that year. In the Fall, he even chose to forego my support into Russian Warsaw in favor of attacking me in Silesia (or Munich, I forget which).

    Chrisitan kept A’s Boh and Tyo on the board, and the race to forge a stalemate line was on.

    So, in hindsight, I think option 3 was my best bet. Norway and Sweden likely were there for the taking whenever I wanted them. I should have tried to get past the stalemate line by working with Italy and Russia to take out Austria.

    Another mistake I made in this game was that I forgot to coach the new players on their builds. Italy’s build of A Rom in 1901 eliminated any chance of an A/I attack against Turkey (Kevin O’Kelly). And France built A Bre instead of F Mar in 1902. That slowed down his 1904 push into the Mediterranean and made it easier for the East to stalemate him.

    Still a fun game, but not as wide open as my previous three. I’ll take the blame for that.

  6. Jim O'Kelley

    I’m posting this for the techologically challenged Andy Lischett. šŸ™‚ He wrote it for his [i]Cheesecake[/i] Diplomacy zine. [i]Cheesecake[/i] is, I believe, the second longest running Diplomacy zine in existence. Andy has been publishing for more than 30 years.
    —-
    [b]WAR OF THE WEASELS[/b]

    On March 20 I played Diplomacy with The Windy City Weasels and did well as France even though the game ended in a 6-way draw.

    In 1901 I took Belgium, Portugal and Spain, for 6 centers. In 1902 I voluntarily stayed at 6 to foster an alliance with England (Thom Comstock, the host) and lull Germany (Zeke Dunn, a first-time player) into attacking Russia.

    In 1903 England and I stabbed Germany earning me Berlin and Munich, for 8 centers. Italy (Tony Prokes) and Austria (Christian Kline) were attacking Turkey (Matt Sundstrom), and Italy left himself vulnerable to me. In 1904 I handed Berlin over to England* and dropped to 7.

    In 1905 I lost Munich to Russia but took Tunis, Naples and Rome from Italy. In 1906 I retook Munich, getting to 10 for me, 10 for England.

    At this point England asked if Iā€™d vote for a 6-way draw at the end of 1907 and allow him to take one more center than myself. He explained that The Windy City Weasels score points for each game and accumulate the scores of all games, kind of like a never-ending tournament system. The other players were setting up a stalemate line to force a 6-way draw (Weasel rules use Draws Include All Survivors), and England would like to get the extra points for being the largest power at the end.

    I agreed because heā€™d been a great ally, and AIRT could stop us, and I didnā€™t care about points.

    In 1907 I lost Naples and Rome, putting me at 8, and England lost Moscow, for 9. England then called for a draw and everyone publicly agreed but it was secretly vetoed (another rule). I removed two idle units next to England and, after moving into Vienna in Spring 1908, again called for a draw vote, inviting England to take as many French centers as heā€™d like if the draw failed, as long as we could sustain our stalemate line.

    The draw passed and the game was over. It was an enjoyable game with good players and I played better than I normally do, with only one stupid mistake. Okay, maybe two. Maybe England and I should have asked AIRT to kill off an ally-of-their-choice, making it a 5-way draw. They might have gone for it – they are a greedy bunch – but maybe not – they are a suspicious bunch.

    * Actually, I agreed to leave it and England gave it to Russia.

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