Mike Morrison celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by turning the West green. His Italy romped to a 10-center board top in a game that ended in Spring 1906. His 10 centers: Home, Tunis, France, Iberia and Liverpool.
Here’s the supply center chart.
Mollenkopf was playing in his first game with the Weasels, but he’s no stranger to Diplomacy. He’s played in six DixieCon tournaments in Chapel Hill, N.C., the first time as a 14-year-old. He recently graduated from UNC and relocated to the Chicago area last June. We’ve been trying to get him to a game ever since.
In his first game, he made his mark by engineering a successful Russian convoy to Ankara in Fall 1901. Turkey crumbled quickly, and O’Kelley’s Russia was halfway to the magic number by the end of 1902.
In the West, Morrison and McClelland ran an effective G/I. They took Marseilles in 1901 to keep France at four, keeping pace with England and Germany, who bounced over Denmark and left Belgium open.
In 1903, McClelland opted to patch things up with England to slow down the nine-center Russia with three northern fleets. Consequently, Italy was able to grab the final thre French dots and take Liverpool.
Morrison played an excellent game. Here’s an example of his craftiness. In Spring 1905, Mollenkopf was trying to put A/R in Munich and Berlin, respectively. He needed someone to cut Germany’s support from Burgundy, so he talked first with Morrison, who was loosely allied to the A/R. Mike wanted to order Mar-Gas to reinforce his position, and he also preferred to order F Mid to support his army in Brest, which was bordered by British units in the Channel and Picardy and a French army in Paris.
Tyler and I were able to persuade Mike to risk Brest for the positional advantage of getting into the Irish Sea, but he wasn’t wild about Mar-Bur. Chris Davis in Paris, though, was happy to help. He agreed to cut the support from Burgundy, freeing Mike to move to Gascony, or so we thought.
All these negotiations were happening at the board while England and Germany negotiated elsewhere. (There’s a ton of "elsewhere" at Ted’s aparment, by the way. Big place.) When the moves were read, Tyler and I, and I think even Chris, marveled at Mike’s cunning.
Had he wanted to push, Mike probably could have reached 14 centers with the entire board awash in the Italian colors (red, white and green). Instead, he settled for the early draw and a rare quick game. We stuck around for a good hour to rehash the game and drink beer, and then Tyler, Mike and I headed out to Chief O’Neills to catch Matt Sundstrom and Baal Tinne. It was a fun day.
How about some endgame statements?
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Alternate headlines for this game:
* Mollenkopf Cocktail. I’ll file this one away for Tyler’s first board top.
* Aashes to Aashes. This one was really tempting, but I went with the St. Patrick’s Day theme instead.
I will drink the Mollenkopf Cocktail – for I have tiger blood in my veins.
As Germany, my number one goal was preventing an England-France alliance. I know how effective that is because I’ve used to destroy Germany twice this season. So Mike Morrison and I agreed that he would go to Piedmont, while I went to Burgundy. Then I supported Mike into Marseilles.
England seemed to want to ally with France, since he bounced me out of Denmark in the fall. But he made it clear that he’d work with whoever looked like the survivor of the Germany-France duel. In the south, Mike continued to grind away at France, taking Spain and Portugal.
Meanwhile, Jim O’Kelley’s Russia and Tyler Mollenkopf’s Austria eliminated Turkey shockingly early. In Spring 1903, Russia was at nine centers, and controlled Norway and Sweden. So England and I teamed up to knock Jim out of Scandinavia. A few players criticized me for switching directions, and not pressing the attack against France and England, but doing so would have left my northern and eastern flanks wide open to an expanding Russia. Jim gave his word that he wasn’t interested in attacking me, but he had a fleet in St. P (sc) and an army in Warsaw.
My decision did allow Mike to take all of France. Austria and Russia attacked me in 1904. It was inevitable, because they had nowhere else to expand after carving up Turkey. They couldn’t move through the Med because they only had two fleets combined to Italy’s three.
Turkey’s early exit was definitely to my disadvantage.
Still, I finished with five centers after Mike agreed to an early draw. In my four previous games as Germany, I was eliminated three times and topped the board against rookie opposition. So I think I did OK with a country I haven’t played well in the past. I see it as an another sign that my game has progressed since my first two seasons.
A side note: we drank a lot of beer. I think that’s one reason the game deteriorated. It definitely made my play sloppier. No more Dip and drinks for me.
[quote]Jim gave his word that he wasn’t interested in attacking me, but he had a fleet in St. P (sc) and an army in Warsaw. [/quote]
Just to clarify, I built F StP(sc) in 1901 and subsequently moved it to Bothnia and then Sweden, as F Swe moved to Nwy. In 1902, I built F StP(nc).
I chose that build because I thought we were working together against England. In Fall 1901, he bounced you out of Denmark. In Spring 1902, he tried to keep you out again, but I supported you in. In Fall 1902, he attacked Denmark, expecting my support. I took Norway from him instead, and you kept Denmark.
Also, in Fall 1902, I had an army in Livonia. That and the two fleets were my only northern units. I promised you that I wouldn’t build in Warsaw if I got a build, but I had to cover Warsaw that turn because Austria was in Galicia, and he had just taken Rumania from me. (He gave it back though, and I managed to pick up another Turkish center and Norway to grow to nine.)
[quote]Austria and Russia attacked me in 1904. It was inevitable, because they had nowhere else to expand after carving up Turkey.[/quote]
We attacked you after you attacked me in 1903. Prior to that, Tyler and I had several conversations about what to do with our spare armies. We opted to set up bounces in order to give you space to keep fighting against E and F.
An attack against you wasn’t inevitable. We could have gone after each other. Because my middle was soft, I felt like Tyler had the upper hand in our alliance, so I was reluctant to attack him without help from Italy. Mike and I talked about that in Spring 1901 but never seriously again. I think Tyler was reluctant to attack me because Italy always seemed to have enough units nearby to launch an attack on him.
All that said, my quick growth definitely warranted some response from you, but I think it was a mistake for you to give up on a successful campaign in the West in favor of preempting an attack that wasn’t imminent.
For my part, it was probably a mistake to build F StP(nc). I actually hate that build because it’s so inflexible. I think it’s useful only when Russia has broken out. And it may have been a mistake to grab Norway as well. I probably should have supported England into Denmark to rebalance the West.
[quote]A side note: we drank a lot of beer. I think that’s one reason the game deteriorated. It definitely made my play sloppier. No more Dip and drinks for me.[/quote]
Yah, but we had a lot of fun, and that’s why we play, right?
In other news, Peter Lokken continued his descent into Hobodom.
Last month at Cinner’s, while waiting for late-arriving players, I noticed someone darken the doorway. At first glance, I thought it was a homeless guy, but when he came in, I realized it was a bundled up Peter Lokken.
Flash forward to yesterday. By the end of the game, he had stripped down to a stained undershirt and was drinking a 40-ouncer. In fairness to him, the 40 was a Fat Tire and it was really, really hot in Ted’s apartment. But still…
Looking over my moves, my big mistake was ordering A Bur-Gas in F ’02. That allowed Italy to take Spain, by cutting France’s support, but it cost me Belgium. I should have ordered A Bur S Bel. That would have knocked England down to three centers. Dumb. I said I was a better player. I didn’t say I’m a GOOD player yet.
[quote]That and the two fleets were my only northern units.[/quote]
In the interest of accuracy, I realized I also had an army in Moscow. I had three units in Turkey; the three northern fleets, but only one inside the Baltic region; and armies in Sev, Mos and War when 1903 dawned.
Of course, while you moved against me in Scandinavia, I ordered Mos-Ukr, supported by Sev; bounced with you by agreement in Silesia; and attempted to annihilate the British fleet in Skag. In Fall 1903, I started reacting to your attack.
After first round negotiations leaving me with virtually everyone asking me to Lepanto (which I probably would have, though with Turkey chiming in, one gets a bit suspicious, no?), Austria and Germany both revealed changes to their earlier plans which led me into the dreaded 11% Alpine Chicken–Ven-Pied, Rom-Ven, fleet south, Agar’s review of the opening “Is the Alpine Chicken A Tasty Bird” at http://www.diplom.org/~diparch/resources/strategy/articles/alpine.htm
I’d had fairly bad luck with this opening the last few times I’ve played it, but since the Bohemian Crusher has been outdone by the rash of Austrian advances to Bohemia in Spring 01 (about as popular as Turkey’s opening to Syria in the Spring from what I can see, but I’ve no real statistics to back me at this point), and the Lepanto had been ruled out for me already by its own popularity, I decided to go with the Chicken–pictured here: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_SnP4_s0sqvg/S6AOJ_xrkbI/AAAAAAAAACU/6N7_AovJQ-g/s1600-h/alpinecasserole2.JPG)
I was saved from being a victim of my own midgame shakeout by Jim’s case of beer and two key misorders of armies into the Tyrrhenean Sea.
When the draw vote came, the count was clearly misread. I’m sure Jim voted against that draw. I’m not complaining.
Best 80s movie actually made in the 80s? Less than Zero. Oh, I think I’m confusing best and worst again. The best was The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. Or several other movies that were actually made in the 60s.