The bleeding of players for this year’s Weasel Pyle started on Wednesday, when Milwaukee Mafiaman Michael Bartlein bowed out due to logistical problems. By Friday, we were hemorrhaging.
Ryan Whalen dropped out due to illness. Eamon Driscoll had car problems. Newcomers Laura Kliman and Dave Koob made other plans.
It continued Saturday morning, with Sam Bassett dropping out due to illness and Jakub Mirski cancelling as well.
That left us at 21 even, with extra Pete McNamara volunteering to show up at 1 p.m. if needed.
By 11 a.m., 14 of us were assembled in the spacious dining room at Brown Manor in Wayne. Rather than wait for the late seven, we decided to start two boards and let the latecomers play together. That promised to be a board of death, as the late players were Peter Lokken, Nate Cockerill, John Gramila, Paul Pignotti, Matt Sundstrom, Christian Kline and Ulysses Peterson.
The rest of us thanked our lucky stars as the Diplomacy Tournament Manager seeded the first two boards, which started at 11:20 or so. As it turns out, the hemorrhaging hadn’t stopped with Mirski. Gramila and Peterson overslept, and Kline bowed out due to a family emergency.
Fortunately, Cockerill showed up with Jeremiah Peterson in tow, so we were able to twist his arm into playing. The third board started a little after 1 p.m. when McNamara arrived, and we tapped John Ritz, who was down to one center on the first board, to round it out.
Tony Verges, a friend of Eric’s showed up around that time and shadowed me on my board to learn the game. Around 3 or so, after the first board ended, we started a second-chance board, with Verges playing as well.
So on the day, we had 21 unique players playing on four boards.
The first was Game No. 190, which was played in the dining room. It ended in Spring 1906 in the following center counts:
England (Kyle Weiskircher): 10; 37.879 points.
France (Dan Burgess): 7; 18.561 points.
Germany (Carlos Otero): 1; 0.379 points.
Italy (Don Glass): 1; 0.379 points.
Russia (John Ritz): 0; 0.000 points.
Turkey (Tony Ardolino): 8; 24.242 points.
The game was Weiskircher’s sixth with the Weasels and his first board top. He just graduated from high school and is headed to the University of Illinois in the fall. Father Mark is justifiably proud of his son’s academic and athletic accomplishments, and on this day, he beamed over his son’s diplomatic achievement as well.
Things didn’t go quite so well for Mark in Game No. 191, which was played in the two-story library. It ended in Spring 1910 in the following center counts:
England (Eric Brown): 6; 9.730 points.
France (Erik Bergquist): 0; 0.000 points.
Germany (Amanda Baumgartner): 0; 0.000 points.
Italy (Aash Anand): 10; 27.027 points.
Russia (Jim O’Kelley): 15; 60.811 points.
Turkey (Mike Whitty): 0; 0.000 points.
Heading into the Pyle, Lokken had a mere two-point lead on Mike Morrison for the Weasel of the Year award and top seed in the Weasel Royale. Morrison was knocked out of the Pyle by a family illness, however. Lokken was more comfortabley ahead of me and Nate Cockerill. His lead was about 17 points. Since only the best three games count for score, Cockerill and I each needed a huge board top to catch him. I got mine, and also grabbed Best Russia, with this performance, but would it be enough…
Game No. 192, the latecomers board, was played in the spacious kitchen. It ended in Spring 1908 in the following center counts:
England (John Ritz): 9; 33.750 points.
France (Paul Pignotti): 6; 15.000 points.
Germany (Pete McNamara): 0; 0.000 points.
Italy (Jeremiah Peterson): 0; 0.000 points.
Russia (Peter Lokken): 7; 20.417 points.
Turkey (Nate Cockerill): 5; 10.417 points.
Lokken and Cockerill failed to pad their scores, which put me in first place with only the second-chance game remaining. And speaking of second chances, Ritz found redemption on this board, topping against a tough field after being pulped in Game No. 190. The board top probably made for a happier drive home to Madison, Wisc., for Ritz.
We were back in the dining room for the second-chance board, Game No. 193. It also went till Spring 1908 and provided one last scare to my ambitions for a first Weasel of the Year title. The final center counts were:
England (Don Glass): 9; 21.429 points.
France (Carlos Otero): 4; 4.233 points.
Germany (Mike Whitty): 0; 0.000 points.
Italy (Kyle Weiskircher): 5; 6.614 points.
Russia (Kevin O’Kelly): 16; 67.725 points.
Turkey (Erik Bergquist): 0; 0.000 points.
O’Kelly had played only one game heading into the Pyle and had 30.2 points. As he threatened to solo, I worried that he’d come out of nowhere to steal the title from me. But then I did the math and realized that even with a solo, he’d still fall short at about 148 points. That allowed me to breathe a little easier. Instead of Weasel of the Year, he only stole Best Russia from me.
However, he racked up about 86 point on the day to force his way into the Royale field, finishing fifth.
Check out the supply center charts for the four games here.
Thanks to our generous host, Eric, each player received a commemorative Rosewood pen marking the occasion. In addition we awarded Best Country pens for the day’s play. These went to:
The day ended with a rousing rendition of the Weasel battle song by the regimental chorus, accompanied by a late-arriving Ulysses Peterson on the grand piano.
Special thanks again to Eric and his wife, Muyleng, for opening their home to us to celebrate another great year of Windy City Weasels Diplomacy. For many of us, the Weasel Pyle is our favorite, and certainly happiest, tradition, and we couldn’t do it without the Browns.
Now, we all turn our attention to the World Diplomacy Championship at Weasel Moot VI, Aug. 10-12 at the Congress Plaza Hotel downtown. We’re all looking forward to sharing our fun brand of Diplomacy with the rest of the world. It’s going to be a great time.