Sympathy for the Don(vil)

Conversation with the Tsar, Spring 1906. My British armies are in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but I’m trailing board leader Don Glass, the Austrian, by two, and he has greater access to the three remaining Russian centers.

Me (playing England): Can you do anything to slow down Austria?
Russia (Josh Heffernan): I don’t want to slow down Austria.
Me: But we want to minimize his score.
Russia: I don’t know. He’s been talking all night about his lousy scores this year.
Me: We can let him top, but a shared board top would be better for us.

Russia: It would be better for you.
Me: Well, yah, but a lower score for the board-topper is good for all of us.
Russia: How are your other scores this year?
Me: I’ve got three seconds.
Russia: Well, you’re about to get a fourth.

It was that sort of night at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square as we played our 206th game in memory of Diplomacy’s designer, Allan B. Calhamer (we paused for a toast after 1905). By the end of the game, much of the board was on Team Don.

It wasn’t that way at the start. Despite a clear Juggernaut in the East, Nate "The Snake" Cockerill, playing Italy for the third straight game, slithered into Trieste in Fall 1902, knocking Don down to four. That same turn, however, Matt Sundstrom in Germany lashed out at three centers. He took two but also lost Munich to only grow by one. Nevertheless, that flash of German might persuaded Nate to back off Don.

Don took advantage of the reprieve. He steadied himself, picked up single dots in 1903 and 1904 to get to six, and then swallowed three in 1905.

Don was all smiles after that. "I know why Nate backed off," he told me. "He was more worried about you and Matt than me, so he gave me a break. And I’m running with it."

All the way to the board top. The game ended by time limit after Fall 1906 in the following center counts:

Austria (Don Glass): 10; 41.322 points.
England (Jim O’Kelley): 8; 26.446 points.
France (Brad LaPratt): 4; 6.612 points.
Germany (Matt Sundstrom): 3; 3.719 points.
Italy (Nate Cockerill): 7; 20.248 points.
Russia (Josh Heffernan): 2; 1.653 points.
Turkey (Chris Kelly): 0; 0.000 points.

Check out the supply center chart here.

LaPratt is our latest recruit from Meetup. He was playing for the first time ever (Glass taught him the rules while we were gathering), and he seemed to enjoy himself. Hopefully we’ll see him again.

Ted Phillips also stopped by to say hello. He’s scheduled to play again in the final March Madness game at the Lion on March 26.

Next up are games at Dan Burgess’ home in Downers Grove on Sunday and then Tony Prokes’ home in Des Plaines on March 16. We need players for both games, so how about signing up? Check out the March Madness schedule here.

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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!

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