Prokes Brittania!

Tony Prokes topped Game No. 114, played today at Dan Burgess’ home in Downers Grove, and snagged Best England in the process. He’s the third person to hold that honor in four days.

Earlier this morning, it looked like the players were going to settle for a six-player variant, as we had been unable to find a replacement for the fifth person to drop from the game this week. Fortunately, Dan’s neighbor Chris Albert agreed to step in until I could spell him later in the day.

The game ended during the Fall 1911 turn. The center counts were:

Austria (Nathan Cockerill):4; 5.517 points.
England (Tony Prokes): 13; 58.276 points.
France (John Gramila): 0; 0.00 points.
Germany (Mike Morrison): 4; 5.517 points.
Italy (Dan Burgess): 5; 8.621 points.
Russia (Peter Lokken): 0; 0.00 points.
Turkey (Chris Albert; Jim O’Kelley in Spring 1905): 8; 0.00 points.

Chris had to leave after the 1904 turn. Per our house rules, neither he nor his replacement score points for the game, but Turkey’s square was factored into the sum. As a result, the scores for the game total less than 100. Although he didn’t score, we’re all grateful to Chris for filling in.

The supply center chart is here. Let’s hear from the players.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Mike Morrison

    This game saw a kernel of the genesis of a new variant of the classic children’s game, “Duck, Duck, Goose” (not sure who felt this was suitable for children, really), based upon the stodgy world-domination type board game from the 60s (as near as anyone can remember) whose name I’ve inconveniently forgotten.

    Perhaps a clue can be held in the pseudo-world dominatrixum’s preferred pronunciation of the variant: “Dip, Dip, Stab”… (a key hint I should have noted much earlier in my play).

    Nevertheless, much can be said about nothing, as I believe I’ve proven.

  2. Jim O'Kelley

    I’m not sure I can top that, but I’ll try.

    Chris Albert, Dan’s neighbor, rescued this game by agreeing to play until I could take over his position. That happened in Spring 1905. Chris handed me an empire that consisted of the home dots and Naples.

    He apparently had placed all his faith in Nate Cockerill’s Austria. Typical rookie mistake. That faith hadn’t waivered in Spring 1904, when Nate took Bulgaria. In the Fall, Nate didn’t walk into an undefended Constantinople, but neither did he support Chris into Greece, which was occupied by Dan Burgess’ Italy, or Moscow, which was occupied by Peter Lokken’s Russia. Instead, he recovered Rumania while supporting the Russian army there to Turkey’s Sevastopol, annihilating the Turkish army there.

    So, my first order of business was to recapture Bulgaria, and I repositioned my units to do that in the Fall, with Italian help. Meanwhile, I could have walked into Rome, but instead, Dan and I agreed to work together to prop up John Gramila’s France.

    Earlier in the game, John had been all over Tony Prokes’ England, apparently with the support of Mike Morrison’s Germany, but by the time I entered, Mike had flipped sides, and the tide was turning against France. Dan and I wanted to slow the E/G down while growing at Austria’s expense.

    We worked together well in the Balkan region. I helped him take Serbia, and I eventually annexed Rumania and Sevastopol. Our joint armada, however, ran into problems trying to prop up a reluctant France who was suspicious of our help. While covering himself against phantom attacks from us, he gradually lost ground to the E/G. When it was clear he didn’t want our help — he actually moved against Tunis, which Italy owned — I took Spain from him.

    Spain was a short-lived addition to the empire. The same year I took Rum and Sev, I also lost Spain and Naples, the former to Germany and the latter, by agreement, to Italy. That was 1907. I was at six, and Dan was at five but couldn’t build because Naples was actually the only home center he owned. The year before, he didn’t own any of them. I had Naples, Austria had Rome, and Germany had Venice.

    At this point, England and Germany had eight centers each, were set to overrun the Western Med, had units in Italy, and were threatening to break through the middle. For the Coalition of the Willing, as we called our Grand Alliance, the fight go prevent a collapse in the middle was desperate. I wasn’t sure we had the necessary unit mix to win, but we got our acts together, fought hard, and in 1909, Tony stabbed Mike.

    France had died in 1908, and England knocked off the Russian traitor in 1909. (He tried to support Russia’s A Moscow into Warsaw, which we defended, but he supported himself into Moscow at the same time, eliminating Peter.) With a vacancy in the Coalition, we happily welcomed Mike, and now, we were scrambling to stop a British solo.

    Tony had Tunis secured, at least temporarily, and plenty of German centers in play on his side of the line, so again, the situation was desperate. I took Moscow from England in 1910, but he gained two more centers from Germany to grow to 13.

    Mike also lost Munich to Austria by agreement. We needed Mike’s army in Munich to move to Burgundy to help defend Paris, but we also needed an army in Munich to threaten Kiel and Berlin, which England now owned. So we agreed to put Austria in Munich for that purpose.

    However, a Coalition of the Willing is only as strong as its weakest link. I felt Austria would be a much stronger link without a build to tempt his Balkan ambitions, so I took Warsaw from him to go to eight and keep him at four.

    In 1911, we positioned ourselves to take Tunis and possibly Berlin from England, while losing Spain in the process. I also moved one of my new armies to Bulgaria, putting two of my units on vacant Italian centers in Greece and Serbia. Italy was going to get Tunis, with my support, so I was considering whether to take one of those two dots from him when the fourth draw was proposed.

    The proposal on the previous turn was voted down twice. We knew this because we had no one to conduct the votes for us, so we used cards, which we then flopped to reveal the result. (I believe Peter and John were downstairs playing PS3 with my son, Kevin. Please don’t tell DCFS about this.) No one fessed up to those votes. I figured one was Tony, but the other had to be a member of the coalition. You can imagine the element of intrigue that added to the Fall negotiations. (Mike later admitted to playing one of the black cards. No one admitted to the other one, which could mean one of us mistakenly played it.)

    Anyway, I had already resolved to vote for all draws, since I wasn’t playing for score and therefore didn’t want to force the others to keep playing. This particular vote posed an interesting ethical dilemma, however.

    We were about to knock Tony down to 12, if not this turn, then certainly the next. Meanwhile, I had easy access to two centers. I was sitting on Best England, having wrested it from Matt Sundstrom at the Guthrie’s game on Nov. 10, and while I don’t have the math of Sum of Squares down yet, I was pretty sure that I could sufficiently depress Tony’s score if the game continued. But I had already made up my mind to play red cards, and I did again here, albeit hoping that someone else would play black. No one did, Tony took Best England from me, and the curtain closed on another entertaining game of Windy City Weasels Diplomacy.

    As a final note, I have been accused of a lot of dirty things over a Diplomacy board, but one thing I’ve never done, either on or off a board, is violate the sanctity of a Ro Sham Bo. Peter Lokken did exactly that in Fall 1906.

    On that turn, we couldn’t agree which one of us should get Austrian Rumania, so I proposed that we settle the question with a sham. He accepted the challenge and threw paper, which I beat with scissors. But instead of supporting my convoy to Rumania, the treacherous dog supported the Austrians to hold. Some people have no shame.

  3. Mike Morrison

    All right, I guess I should clear up some misconceptions that any late-comer might have had…

    (I’m not naming names, or pointing fingers, or calling anyone incompetent, Jim. Well, now that it’s out there, I guess I’ll use names.)

    While it’s true that the negotiations before Spring 1901, during which Lokken in Russia informed me he was moving Moscow north, and Gramila in France wanted Belgium to commit north did see me leaning towards an English attack, the moves in Spring 1901 told me not to continue that plan…

    Russia had moved Warsaw to Livonia while Austria (Cockerill) and Turkey (Chris, the new guy, a nice guy, fun to play with, but oh I wish he hadn’t given his position to Jim!) had moved to Rumania and Armenia.

    Our host, wonderful Dan Burgess, and I failed to negotiate on the first turn, (I still don’t believe that was 20 minutes!), and since he was Italy and I Germany, I could only wonder at our failure to DMZ Tyrolia, which meant the planned move to Ruhr was no longer an option.

    (I’ve lost Munich in 1901 before to a French-Italian lovefest, and had no desire to see that happen again.)

    Fall, 1901 saw England (Prokes, the title character) supporting a convoy from Edinburgh to Norway… Moscow to St. Pete had done its job, but the French fleet was in the Mid-Atlantic. So much for an early assault on England. I used fleet Holland to bounce Belgium. Munich went to Tyrolia again, for what reason I can’t even recall. It made it this time.

    I built Army Munich and Fleet Kiel. France and England had each only got one build, while Austria had built 3 armies… “Das ist nicht gut!” I was muttering to myself…

    Spring, 1902 saw another bounce in Belgium, while Denmark retreated to Kiel, Kiel sailed to Helgoland, Munich advanced to Ruhr, and Tyrolia decided it was time for a break back in Munich.

    Fall, 1902 I’d have taken Belgium with support if the German unit supported to go there had actually moved. The problem was the quality of the pen I was using. (Or perhaps it was the paper…) In any case, at the last minute, while writing orders, I switched to a new pen to rewrite the crossed out orders, and I mistakenly crossed out Ruhr’s order, thinking I’d given it to Munich. I can remember cursing the pen, and being gleefully told that that would be my fate as a writer.

    So my misorder allowed France to take Belgium to get two builds in 1902 when I got none… England, I believe, stayed at four…

    From Spring, 1903, I switched to a big, black marker, which helped me enormously… I must think about purchasing one of these to write my novel with.

    (Oh, sure, it hurt a little to hear the other guys laughing about my “second-grade writing”, and use of a “crayon”, but I’ve dealt with my share of bullies. A good kick in the crotch when they’re not expecting it, Jim, that’s all they need! That, or to be cheated at Rock, Paper, Scissors. It’s not a real game, you know–there are no dice.)

    Although, truth be told, while the big,black marker may have improved my confidence while writing orders, I continued to make mistakes, like in Spring 1906 when I ordered Marseilles to support Tyrolia to Venice. I neither had a unit in Marseilles, nor does Marseilles border Venice! (I did, however, have a unit in Piedmont. Marseilles was simply where that unit wanted to be, I suppose.)

    In Fall, 1906, I captured Paris, Brest, Portugal, and Venice, but I had enemy armies on the gates of Berlin (Russian and Austrian in Prussia and Silesia), and England grabbed Holland and France Belgium.

    Well, from here on out, Jim’s lies are as good as mine, so might as well read the previous post (the one you skipped to get to this one) to see how he cheats at cards as well.

  4. Tony Prokes

    A couple of good reviews have been added to this list already, but I’ll see what I can add.

    The game itself was on shaky ground as we were not sure if we had a seventh player or not. But thankfully Chris (Dan’s neighbor) said that he would play until Jim was able to show up and take over. Thanks Chris!

    We chose countries by preference, in which Dan and I had almost the exact same preference list and had to draw to determine who would play England or Italy. Luckily for me I ended up with England and not Italy.

    Open negotiations started out pretty normally but by the end of 1902 it was pretty obvious that John as France had it out for me, even admitting to me that I was his target. With Turkey and AH solid, Italy and France Solid, that left Germany and I to convince Russia to form a Northern Triple and start to draw the stalemate line and pushing France back South.

    The thing that had the table abuzz was that Jim was going to be taking over for Chris after about 3 hours of play. All of us new that this would have a major impact on the dynamics of the table and alliances. When Jim joined us in 1905 I had managed to crawl out from under the heel of France who at one time actually had an army in London, Fleet in English Channel, Fleet in the Irish Sea, and Fleet in the North Atlantic. It was with Mike’s and Peter’s help that I was able to accomplish this. While this was impressive, bear in mind that Dan as Italy at one time had 4 Supply Centers… none of them were in Italy.

    Mike and I were able to eradicate the French in 1908 and started to focus on the South and had started to win over Peter in Russia again. English and German fleets made it all the way down to Tunis, Gulf of Lyon, and the Western Med. In 1909, I figured it was time for me to make my move.

    In the Spring of 1909 I did a stab of Russia followed by a stab of Germany in 1910, eliminating Russia from the game and preventing Germany from collecting and even losing several centers. I was in position to take over France, Spain and Portugal from Germany. It was at this time that the remaining countries were fully against me.

    In 1911, I realized that I may have made an error in stabbing Mike in Germany too soon, especially since I was not in position to keep a stalemate line. Mike was able to limp along with the assistance of AH/Italy/Turkey.

    We played the spring of 1911 and a vote for a draw actually passed in the beginning of the Fall 1911 turn. It is interesting to note that we had three draw votes, one in the Fall 1911 (passed), one in Spring 1911 (failed), and one in 1910 (failed). Of those I only voted for the 1910 vote to fail… this was because due to the way the alliances were shaking out there was no way for me to be able to maintain 13 and Turkey (though not able to score any points) was actually in a very strong position to start moving up and soloing himself. The only thing that prevented it was Jim’s honesty in voting for every draw as he had promised he would do at the beginning of the game since he couldn’t score any victory points.

    I can’t speak for what discussions took place at the end of the game within the ‘coalition’, but I do know that I tried to talk to several of them and interject some doubt between them, but none of them would have anything to do with what I said. I think it would have been very different had Jim been playing for points, as there is no way Italy and AH would have left the Balkan states empty with Turkey still in the game.

    All in all I’m very happy with how the game turned out for me, and I think it was well played by all. Dan you did an exceptional job of winning your country back, Nate you were able to push hard against Russia while having Italy on your backside taking Trieste. Peter, you held on for the longest time against a strong A/T and we had a great three way alliance in Norway/Sweeden/Denmark to allow the three of us to concentrate South. Mike, despite a couple of misorders we had the stalemate line and were pushing… I got greedy, otherwise I think we would have gotten further. John, you had me surrounded.. unfortunately I was able to convince Germany to help me because of your tight alliance with Italy. If it wasn’t for the fact that I owed Mike for helping save England, I would have backed you up. Chris, I hope you were able to get a good feel for the game and will play the full session next time, Jim had a stable country to walk into. Jim, you were able to rally the southern countries against me and I felt you were the glue of the coalition… I hate you. 😉

    See you all at the tables next time for a resounding game of Dip, Dip Stab!

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