Big Ben clocks the competition

In our second or third season, Dan Burgess observed that he got his best results when he wasn’t expecting to play. Ben DiPaola will second that.

On Friday, Mike Morrison announced that he had to bail on Game No. 202, scheduled for Saturday at John Gramila’s home in Humboldt Park, due to a conflict. The first standby I called that night was DiPaola.

"If it could be filled by someone else, that would be good, but I can make it otherwise," he said reluctantly.


Peter Lokken found a recruit later in the evening, so we released DiPaola. But when Lokken’s recruit fell through Saturday morning, we again tapped DiPaola.

Always ready to help the club, DiPaola dropped what he was doing and made his way to Humboldt Park. He drew England for this troubles and turned in the best performance of his career. He grew every single year and jumped from 13 to 17 in 1909, threatening our club’s first solo since Season Six.

But the resistance organized by Nate Cockerill in Italy stopped him there and rolled him back to 15 the next year. The game then ended in Spring 1911 in the following center counts:

Austria (Ted McClelland): 2; 1.163 points.
England (Ben DiPaola): 15; 65.407 points.
France (Alexandra Varjan): 3; 2.616 points.
Germany (Lorenzo Davis): 0; 0.000 points.
Italy (Nate Cockerill): 9; 23.547 points.
Russia (Peter Lokken): 0; 0.000 points.
Turkey (John Gramila): 5; 7.267 points.

DiPaola’s rise to 17 is worth a look. You’ll find the center chart here. The chart also reveals that Gramila’s Turkey failed to build in 1901 and was down to one center by 1905 before rallying to finish at five.

Newcomer Lorenzo Davis, our latest Meetup recruit, wasn’t as fortunate. He was eliminated that year, along with Lokken. Lokken should hire Jacques Cousteau to go in search of his mojo. He’s posted four straight stinkers this year, after finishing second last season, holding down the top spot until the final day.

He continues to excel at recruiting, however. Alexandra Varjan is his latest. Her highwater mark was eight centers, which she held as late as 1907, before being knocked back to three over the final three years.

Ted McClelland similarly experienced the highs and lows of what looks to have been a pretty fluid game of Dip. He was the top dog in 1905 with 10 centers. He finished with two.

Okay, that’s enough from me. Let’s hear from the players.

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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 4 Comments

  1. Ted McClelland

    Why are you giving Nate credit for stopping Ben from soloing? It was Nate’s fault that Ben almost soloed.

    Nate and I were allied until Russia and Germany were eliminated, and Turkey was down to one center. I was getting ready to take Moscow from England. Then Nate decided the mid-game shakeout had arrived, and that I was holding him back by not handing him Trieste, and stabbed me.

    I was already playing two units down, because I had pieces in Vienna and Budapest to prevent Nate from taking Trieste — which he had been pestering me for every turn. That had prevented me from building out the turn before. Also, Nate doesn’t consider a game of Diplomacy complete unless he stabs an ally. So after the stab, I was unable to prevent England from sweeping down toward the Balkans.

    I was hoping Ben would solo, so the stab would result in everyone getting a zero.

    Unfortunately, we were drinking beer out of cans, so I was not able to spit in Nate’s drink.

  2. Jim O'Kelley

    That final sentence could have ended before the conjunction.

    My reporting was based on texts that I received from the field.

  3. Jim O'Kelley

    … I didn’t fact check Nate’s text about stopping the solo because I’m not that committed to this job.

  4. Nate Cockerill

    When I didn’t attack Rum when it was one Ben’s 17 so John could take it, helped plan Alex taking of Kiel and support it when it was one of Ben’s 17 simultaneously supporting her in Marseilles so Ben couldn’t take that center, attacking Spain in conjunction with her and taking Galicia to set up Warsaw in the last couple years .
    Therefore I’d say Jim’s statement is accurate.
    Game Report to follow.

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