In our first seven-plus years and 199 games of play, our club established a number of ironclad truisms. For example:
- Never be the last player to stab Paul Pignotti.
- Kevin O’Kelly is a loose cannon.
- If Greg Duenow sends you a link, don’t click it.
- Nate Cockerill doesn’t roll to board tops, he oozes to them.
- When playing with Ted McClelland, keep your friends close and your drink covered.
- If Christian Kline is on your board, cancel your dinner plans.
- Never get involved in a land war in Asia or a drinking contest with Eric Brown.
- On John Gramila time, our club has logged only 5 1/2 years and 125 games.
- The only thing Dan Burgess loves more than hosting is the Western Triple.
- Never stand between Don Glass and his burger.
- If you’re ovulating, don’t play on a board with Nick Rohn or Chris Davis.
- Diplomacy’s magic numbers are seven, the number of players it takes to fill a board; 18, the number of centers it takes to win; and 40, the number of ounces it takes to incapacitate Peter Lokken.
- If you can’t identify the shark on your board, it’s Pete McNamara.
- Given a choice of four standard openings, Mike Morrison will always pick the one not listed.
- Sooner or later, Amanda Baumgartner will nut you.
- Good Tony Prokes is trapped in an alternate universe.
- And Matt Sundstrom and Jim O’Kelley will never work together.
But like a hundred-year event, every 200 games or so, one of those truisms proves false. Such was the case with the last one last night in our 200th game at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square.
O’Kelley and Sundstrom shocked the Diplomacy world and themselves not only by working together in an actual offensive alliance but also by ignoring numerous stab opportunities. Sundstrom set the pace and earned the board top in a game that ended by time limit after Fall 1906 in the following center counts:
Austria (Jim O’Kelley): 8; 23.529 points.
England (Nate Cockerill): 6; 13.235 points.
France (Laura Kliman): 7; 18.015 points.
Germany (Mike Morrison): 1; 0.368 points.
Italy (Don Glass): 1; 0.368 points.
Russia (Matt Sundstrom): 11; 44.485 points.
Turkey (Peter Lokken): 0; 0.000 points.
The supply center chart is here. Hopefully the players will chime in with their comments. Several promised to do so last night as we rehashed the game well into the wee hours.
It was a fun night and another landmark for the Weasels. In addition to the seven players, we had two observers: A Meetup guy named Ted who lives close to the Lion, has played Dip online for a number of years, and seems a great prospect for our club, and a friend of Lokken’s and Laura’s who clearly had nothing better to do.
The march to our 300th game begins Dec. 30 at Sundstrom’s home in Glenview. That game is currently full, but if there’s sufficient interest, we could field a second board. We also have games scheduled for Jan. 12 at Gramila’s home in Logan Square and Feb. 2 at McClelland’s home in Rogers Park. We’ll schedule more bar games soon. Watch the website.
I’m not sure we’ll reach 300 games as quickly as we got to 200, and 400 seems a long, long way off. But if you find yourself on that 400th board, heed these words: Expect the unexpected.
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Additional evidence of the magnitude of last night’s alliance with Matt is that my game-long alliance with Don doesn’t even rate a mention!
About 1:15 or so, four of us placed our guesses on the month and year that we’d play our 300th. We wagered a round of drinks, which doesn’t make a lot of sense right now. Nevertheless, here are our guesses, for posterity and to help us settle the bet at some future date:
* Mike Morrison: Dec. 2014
* Matt Sundstrom: July 2015
* Nate Cockerill: Jan. 2016
* Jim O’Kelley: June 2016
I saw a glimpse of good Tony Prokes during our last game. John Gramila was “late,” and so Dan Burgess was playing Turkey until he arrived. (He never did.) We were planning to attack Turkey, but Tony said it would be a shame if Gramila rode his bike all the way to Downers Grove only to inherit a country with one or two centers. I was so appalled by this show of compassion for another player that I promptly stabbed him.
A quick word on game 200. Random draw put me in russia, Jim in Austria, Peter in Turkey and Nate in England. Mike Morrison in Germany was welcome relatively speaking. I figured I needed to survive the southeast triangle and not get poached in the north. Made for a very standard opening. The west looked very much like a triple and I was told I’d get bounced out of Sweden. Made for an unusual fall ’01 move: Gob-Bal, War-Sil. Took Rum with the fleet so as to keep Black vacant and basically guarantee the dot. Turkey left Bla open as agreed but only had Ank for a build. Jim proposed we annihilate Bul in the spring and take Munich. Seemed like a win-win and it was. I didn’t see Turkey having much of a play except to go north. Better to hit him quickly as he did move to Bla in spring ’02. From there, I wasn’t going to be the one to mess up the alliance (because I am usually the one to stab Jim). AR did well from there. I was fortunate in that Turkey focused on Austria by 1904 rather than split his defense. Meantime, Nate was trying to take a little of Germany and StP on a couple of occasions. I lost patience after the second attempt against me and made a play for Norway. Germany was happy to help and stay alive.
Congrats to everyone and especially Jim on reaching 200.