Last night’s Dip & Drinks in Downers Grove got off to a slow start due to a venue conflict. Our usual room at Emmett’s Alehouse was unavailable due to a Main Street restaurant crawl, so we were relegated to the dining room. Rather than disturb the other guests with a boisterous game of Diplomacy, we had a couple of drinks, ate, and then crashed Dan Burgess’ home. The Prime Weasel lives 5 minutes away and graciously permitted us to play in his basement.
So at about 7:30, an hour behind schedule, we drew blocks. We also agreed to limit the first turn to 10 minutes and allow only 1 minute for order writing. Those changes helped us get through six game years by the 11 p.m. deadline.
The game ended after the Fall 1906 turn in the following center counts:
Austria (Mike Morrison): 0; 0.000 points.
England (Amanda Baumgartner)1; 0.420 points.
France (Nate Cockerill): 7; 20.588 points.
Germany (Matt Sundstrom): 9; 34.034 points.
Italy (Erik Bergquist): 7; 20.588 points.
Russia (Jim O’Kelley): 3; 3.782 points.
Turkey (Peter Lokken): 7; 20.588 points.
For Sundstrom, the game represented his first board top of Season Seven in three games for score. Lokken had the best shot at catching him, but on the last turn, he declined to take an open Tunis from his Italian ally. As it turned out, Sundstrom guessed correctly against Baumgartner’s rogue fleet in Skaggerak to keep his Scandinavian centers intact and finish with nine. Had Baumgartner guessed correctly in Scandinavia and Lokken taken Tunis, he and Sundstrom would have shared the board top at eight. Lokken, however, was unwilling to steal from his ally for uncertain gain.
I’d like to know where that spirit was at the start of the game. From the beginning, the East was a powder keg and Turkey held the match. My Russia snuck into Galicia. Rather than "risk" growing to seven, I decided to use Galicia to support Ukraine to Rumania while ordering Sevastopol to bounce again in the Black Sea, by agreement. I felt pretty good when I submitted those orders. Not so much when Austria’s and Turkey’s were read. They worked together to keep me out of Rumania, so I got only one build, not enough to deter the British. Baumgartner took St. Pete in 1902.
Also that year, Italy flipped on Austria, while Russia and Turkey fought inconclusively over the Black Sea. In Spring 1903, Germany’s board-topping seven centers seemed to scare Austria, Italy and Russia into alliance. However, as Italy moved Venice to Tyrolia and Russia moved St. Pete to Barents and Moscow to St. Pete, Austria stabbed for Venice and Warsaw. He paid the price in the Fall as Italy, Russia and Turkey all hit back. Morrison finished the turn down one. The I/T solidified that turn, wiped out Austria by 1905, and held Russia in check.
In the West, beefy Nate Cockerill played the part of Morrison. He built two fleets and moved them to Lyon and the Channel while bouncing with Germany in Burgundy. In Spring 1903, he convoyed A Picardy to Wales…just as Germany was punching into Burgundy. Sundstrom walked into Paris in the Fall.
Germany’s attack saved Baumgartner temporarily, as Cockerill was forced to pull back to defend his homeland. He stopped Sundstrom’s advance, but the Germans gained Vienna in 1904 to grow to nine, three more than Italy and Turkey.
England and France rose up against Germany in 1905, beating him back to eight, but Cockerill helped himself to one of Baumgartner’s dots while Russia supported Germany into British Norway. By game’s end, France and Germany were back in bed together.
It was a fun game, and thanks again to Lokken, Morrison, Sundstrom and O’Kelley for driving out to the suburbs on short notice to ensure a good start to March Madness. The supply center chart is here. Perhaps some of the other players will share their thoughts.