Jack, Ginger and Jim: A winning combination

Last night at Guthrie’s Tavern, a calorie-counting Jim O’Kelley switched his drink of choice to Jack & Gingers. The effect was immediate. Without the uncomfortable bloating brought on by heavy beer, O’Kelley was a much more nimble and agile* diplomat as he nudged and shoved and wheedled his way to a 14-center board top. The game ended by time limit after the Fall 1906 turn with the following center counts:

Austria (John Gramila): 0; 0.000 points.
England (Peter Lokken): 0; 0.000 points.
France (Tim O’Donnell): 4; 4.678 points.
Germany (Jim O’Kelley): 14; 57.310 points.
Italy (Chris Paxhia): 7; 14.327 points.
Russia (Nate Cockerill): 0; 0.000 points.
Turkey (Nathan Kos): 9; 23.684 points.

Gramila’s Austria opened to Bohemia. When he got there, he looked to his left and saw an empty Tyrolia, the Italians opting instead to move to Trieste and Venice, and he looked to his right and saw an empty Silesia, the Russians sending their armies to St. Pete and Ukraine. It got worse from there.

His 1903 exit was a heck of a way to mark his first anniverary with the club. He joined in Game No. 86, played Jan. 21, 2010, at Guthrie’s. At that time, none of us were aware that he was the vanguard of a wave of mostly young players (by our standards, at least) who would establish a new order in the club. This season, Gramila, Cockerill, Lokken and Aash Anand are not only topping the charts in games played, but they’ve also topped their share of boards. And all of them are part of the Royale dicussion.

But on this night, the Old Guard reversed the new order, aided by two new players who themselves may be part of the next wave. Kos paid his dues last night, and both he and O’Donnell seemed to take to the game. We’re likely to see them again.

The ebb and flow of players continues, and the club is thriving. It was a good night at Guthrie’s.

The supply center chart is here. Now let’s hear from the players!

* As your humble reporter writes this morning, he’s feeling anything but nimble and agile.

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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 10 Comments

  1. Jim O'Kelley

    Speaking of the Old Guard, it was good to see Jeremiah Peterson, who stopped by after work to watch the middle four years of the game.

    Peter Yeargin also joined us and served as the gamemaster for the first five years. It was helpful to have him on hand to check the new players’ orders each turn, although in Fall 1905, he missed one of Tim’s that helped me out. That one aside, though, he was a big help.

    Okay, enough from me. What do you guys think?

  2. John G

    Not much to say here, I was devoted to following through on my easy season statement to Jim that he wouldn’t and was totally crushed by an Italian move to Venice and Trieste.

    I made a couple mistakes that compounded my error. Rather than moving to Vienna from Bohemia, I moved to Tyrolia, with an eye on making progress into Italy, but with two Italian builds one of them is probably going to be an army, so I was much better off eliminating some retreat options and falling back to Venice.

    I also invited the Turk into Greece, seeing a RT developing (Turkish F Ank-Con, Russian F Sev-Rum) and thinking that if the Turk was looking like a serious powerhouse and built two fleets the Italian would be forced to prop me up/if the Turk was going to stab Russia, he would play nice and let me battle . But, I was wrong, and Nate the Big Stab moved into the Black Sea in the fall and I voluntarily gave up a build that could have saved me.

    Then in S02 Russia told the Turk he would support him into Serbia. He didn’t, of course, and instead walked into an open Bud, but Turkey tapping the Serbian S Alb-Tri meant that I lost my chance to pop the army in Tri.

  3. John G

    This is my fifth game in a row where I’ve been eliminated (I had one center in one, but basically).

  4. Aashirwad Viswanathan Anand

    Arm thy battle stations, one and all. The battle to preserve position on the top board has begun.

  5. Peter Lokken

    my whole game was a series of unforced errors…blah

  6. Peter Yeargin

    I gotta say it is always interesting being an innocent onlooker to Diplomacy games. You get to hear some funny quotes and accusations. Some are true, some aren’t so true. Some are a ruse. You people know who I’m talking about.

    It was funny…Jim seemed to be standing around the board for most of the first two or three game years waiting for somebody to talk to him. Normally, that’s not a good sign, but with Nate Cockerill growing to 8 so quickly and lying to nearly every single person on the board in the process, I guess Jim was just biding his time.

    Once he got Tim on board to help him finish off England and Nate was about to be knocked back down from 7 to 2 in a single game year, the writing was on the wall. Jim had just hit 8 supply centers by picking up London.

    As the players broke off to negotiate, I checked my watch (which read 9:45) and leaned over to Jeremiah and whispered, “it’s a good thing this is a Guthrie’s game. Jim has a pretty easy solo ahead of him.”

    His 8 didn’t include the fina two English centers in EDI and LVP. SWE was about to fall. STP and MOS made 13 as Jim already had WAR and was picking up MOS this game year. The other five came from all of the French dots plus Iberia. Marseilles was going to be the hardest to take, but if he picked up one more dot in the center, that wouldn’t be important.

    Jim grabbed three that next year. It should have been two except for my own error. The only reason he didn’t lose London was because I gaffed on checking one of Tim’s orders. He’d ordered F NTH-LON. I checked the board and saw LON was reachable and noticed a fleet in North. Unfortunately, the fleet wasn’t his…the French fleet occupying English Channel at the time.

    Jim proposed a draw at 11 which was vetoed by Nate and Peter Lokken, I believe. I left at that point, but it appears Jim picked up another 3 centers the final game year to finish at his 14. I’d be interested to know if the solo was forced at that point if not for the time limit.

    Anyone care to chime in?

  7. Jim O'Kelley

    If the game had continued, I’m pretty sure I could have taken all 34 centers. Unless the Jack & Gingers did me in first.

  8. Jim O'Kelley

    Dan Lester, an outstanding player from London, once described my Germany as a big lady in a grocery store. “You’re just taking a little bit of everything.” Last Wednesday at Guthrie’s, the big lady was back.

    As Peter Yeargin observed above, there were long stretches of the early game when I was standing at the table alone. Nevertheless, each turn when the moves were read, my fingerprints were all over them.

    When a surprise did come my way—In Spring 1902, for example, when England moved to Skag and France ordered F Bel-Nth and A Pic-Bel–I was able to talk my way out of trouble. I supported Skag into Russia’s Sweden (Yes, I gave it to him), and talked France out of taking Holland, which I didn’t bother to defend. Meanwhile, I took Warsaw to go to six centers.

    Despite losing Sweden and Warsaw, Nate Cockerill grew to seven because he was cleaning up everywhere else.

    I used to be somebody in this hobby, but we have a lot of new players in the club, and none of them give a shit. In this game, I was playing in Nate’s shadow, which didn’t hurt at all. Because he had riled up the rest of the board—even newcomer Tim O’Donnell in France was trying to figure out how to get in on the anti-Russian action—Nate tolerated my presence in Warsaw and never once tried to retake it.

    I got on well with Tim in France. In our opening negotiations, he said he wanted to play aggressively, so I talked to him about opening to the Channel and supporting me into the North Sea in the Fall. Peter Lokken in England then proceeded to monopolize most of his time, but Tim still moved to the Channel.

    I couldn’t get him to follow through on the Sea Lion, though. He clearly didn’t relish his spot in the middle of an E/G tug-of-war.

    “This is like Platoon,” I said. “You’re Charlie Sheen, and England and I are battling for your soul.”

    “So, he’s Willem Dafoe?” Tim asked.

    “No,” I replied. “I’m Willem Dafoe. He’s Tom Berenger.”

    In our negotiations the next few turns, Tim would frequently mutter, “I’m in a den with a couple of wolves.”

    England wanted him to move the Channel to the Mid Atlantic Ocean. I talked him into taking Belgium with the fleet, supported by A Picardy. That at least kept his fleet in the theater.

    I took Sweden from England in 1903, and in 1904, France piled on.

    The Fall turn was critical. England’s three units were poorly placed: A Yor, F Edi and another Fleet somewhere in Scandinavia. Maybe Norway. I had the North Sea, a supporting fleet in Helgoland, and an army in Holland, ready to be convoyed to the island. France had fleets in the Channel and the NAO.

    I approached France, and he started the conversation with, “You want me to support you into London.” It was a statement, not a question.

    “Well,” I said, “that’s what I want, but the only way to guarantee you a build is for you to move against Lon and Lvp.”

    “With my fleets?” He asked.

    “Yes,” I said. “With your fleets. That guarantees that you take one of those centers. However, if you support me into London, we have a shot at taking both. But again, the only way that you take one for sure is if you attack both.”

    “I’ll support you in,” he said. And he did, while England bounced him out of Liverpool. Italy also retook Tunis from him.

    So now, I was up to eight and leading the board. Russia was still at seven, despite dealing with a hornet’s nest in the southeast. And France was down to six.

    Tim removed his fleet in the NAO. During our negotiations, I asked him why he removed that fleet. I told him that I was still committed to my promise of giving him two of the three British home dots. He said that he felt like he was too strung out and that he would prefer that I take all of England. Where has Tim been all my life, I thought.

    But I should have known it was too good to be true. He moved his two remaining fleets in my direction, along with an army to Burgundy.

    By now, however, my war machine was in full throttle. I picked up Lvp, Edi and Mos in 1905, while also helping England take Norway from Russia. I hadn’t expected to take Moscow. I had been moving there every turn since Fall 1903 to pin the Russian army there. Nate somehow forgot that and moved to the Ukraine in Spring 1905, allowing me to walk in. That coincided with my support for England’s attack on Nwy.

    In talking with Nate, I said, “Look, you can be mad about the attack on Norway, although I just wanted to get England out of the way so I can take Edi, and I’m happy to support you back in now. But you can’t be upset about Moscow. You knew I was moving there.”

    “I hoped you wouldn’t this turn,” Nate replied. “Will you walk out?”

    “Yes,” I said, “and I’ll help you retake Norway.”

    But I didn’t do either, and as Peter Yeargin and I noted earlier, his mistake cost France London, so I went up plus three to 11. Russia, meanwhile, lost three other centers in addition to Moscow and Norway to go from seven to two. Ouch. I wasn’t paying too much attention to the southeast, so I’m not quite sure how that happened.

    In 1905, I finally moved against France, which I justified by his failed attack on London and his other moves in my direction. I took Belgium in the Fall.

    In the Spring, England walked Norway to St. Pete, and I convoyed Denmark in behind him. But I made a mistake here. I supported that move with Sweden instead of moving to Bothnia. So in the Fall, I had to take St. Pete from Moscow, to ensure its success. If I had been in Bothnia, I could have used that piece and Norway to take St. Pete, which would have freed Moscow to support Russia into Turkish Sevastopol. That would have given me a 14-8 lead, which would have scored better than 14-9.

    But that’s a quibble. I’m happy with my performance and the result, and it was overdue, breaking a run of three mediocre performances in the previous 12 days. The next night at Ballydoyle wouldn’t go quite as well, but for one night at least, it was nice to have a shopping cart full of centers.

  9. Nate Cockerill

    I threw the game for Jim. No more being nice to new players i.e. The kid playing Turkey.

  10. Jim O'Kelley

    “No more being nice to new players,” he says, as he picks his teeth with a rib from a new player in Game 120.

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