For his next feat, perhaps Beefy Nate Cockerill will capture a leprechaun. Or tame a unicorn. After posting the elusive Bar-Game Solo last night at the Red Lion, the sky is pretty much the limit for a man whose magic is bigger than any myth.
When I left the Lion after the Spring 1903 turn, Cockerill was off to a good start in this first game of the 2014 Bar Room Brawl Series, but so was the Turk, a rusty Pete McNamara of the regular variety of McNamaras (as opposed to the Australian variety). I’m not sure anyone foresaw a solo at that point. But in the Fall, Beefy grew to 10 from six. A brief setback in 1904 was merely a speed bump as he rolled to the solo from there.
Take a look at the supply center chart here. It may be the only evidence you’ll ever see that the Bar-Game Solo exists. Well, the chart and Cockerill’s likely Best England award for Season Nine. (We’re only two games in, and it looks like the rest of us are now playing for the other six Best Country awards and spots in the 2014 Brawl Championship Game. Sigh.)
The final center counts were:
Austria (David St. John): 6; 0.000 points.
England (Nathan Cockerill): 18; 100.000 points.
France (Ted Phillips): 1; 0.000 points.
Germany (Don Glass): 0; 0.000 points.
Italy (Ben DiPaola): 3; 0.000 points.
Russia (Matt Kade): 4; 0.000 points.
Turkey (Pete McNamara): 2; 0.000 points.
Hopefully the players will chip in with some commentary, as I’m sure those of us who weren’t there would like a more complete recap. In the meantime, the next scheduled game is the Undercard game at the Weasel Royale on Oct. 26. We have plenty of openings in that one, so why don’t you sign up. And watch the site for more game openings. We hope to post some soon.
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Nate’s solo ended a 79-game solo drought. John Gramila posted the last one, also as England in Game No. 143, played July 3, 2011. That was our longest drought.
Adam Berey snapped the next longest drought at 60 games when he soloed as Russia in Game No. 77, played Oct. 25, 2009. Berey’s was the club’s fifth solo and first since Eric Brown’s solo as Turkey in Game No. 17, played February 10, 2007.
Nate’s solo is the ninth in league history. The other soloists are Marc Peters as Turkey in Game No. 5; Christian Kline as England in Game No. 8; Jim O’Kelley as England in Game No. 15; Matt Sundstrom as Turkey in Game No. 99; and Peter Yeargin as Russia in Game No. 112. (You can find all this info here: [url]http://windycityweasels.org/records[/url].)
In the second to the last game year, with dot counts standing around 13 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 3 (approximate), there was a draw proposed. France was at 6 and I was at 5. I vetoed the draw mostly to save time, and because I thought that I was likely to get a better score after another year.
Well, I could not have anticipated how France would reacted to my veto. His orders were to intentionally vacate all of his centers, allowing England to occupy four out of the five centers he needed for the solo completely unopposed. Needless to say I was shocked. There was nothing I could do tactically to prevent England from taking centers at any point in the game, especially not during the crucial last year.
If I had foreseen France’s play as even the remotest of outside possibilities, I might have tried to negotiate to avoid it. Whatever his reasons, France’s orders were legitimate, so the result is legitimate. I can’t say I understand why France did it, and I can’t say I don’t have strong feelings on the matter. But there you have it. Come to your own judgments and conclusions I guess.
Welcome to the thrown solo as revenge. If I’m not getting a result, no one is. Can be frighteningly effective and happens around here every once in a while.
At least Nate’s accomplishment makes sense now…:)
OK I know that these comments are a little belated, but I wanted to add my two cents to this. For my own part in the east, the three of us could never get our act together. Turkey seemed to want to play Austria and myself off of each other, which basically led to the three of us stuck in the mud. Meanwhile, Italy was a wildcard, and once France turned the corner into the Mediterranean, there was no convincing the Italian to change course at any point. Maybe if we could have convinced him to stop attacking France, then the leadership in Paris might have been more likely to turn and defend against England when it was obvious that it had to be done.
A lot of important things happened the last two years in this game. For one, none of us were able to convince Ted, as France, that he absolutely had to turn against Nate before it was too late. However, the French weren’t willing to break their successful alliance with England, and continued east even as it seemed obvious that a stab by England was coming. The stab came, predictably, in 1905 as England grabbed 4 French centers, which were offset by, among other things, France taking Vienna. At this point, a draw was called for. Publicly, Nate said that we would take the draw. But before the cards were taken out, David, as the Austrian, publicly stated that he was going to decline the draw, as he wanted to get another center out of the game (it was obvious that France could not hold Vienna, which may have even be destroyed by the time the rejected draw happened; I can’t remember). At the time of the draw vote, France was still in second place, despite the stab, but clearly was going to lose more ground in the coming years. So the French response was basically, “Screw you, Austria,” who would be moving up to 6 while France was guaranteed to drop a few centers. My feeling at the time was that Austria PUBLICLY denying the request was the biggest, single action that took Nate from a board top at 13 to a solo victory. This was confirmed in my post-game discussion with Ted, who said that if the draw was rejected in a private vote, he would have assumed Nate had vetoed the draw, and would have moved to prevent the solo. Instead, Ted decided to make sure Austria didn’t improve his score at France’s expense. France walked out of all of his centers in the fall, throwing the game to the Germans.
In conclusion, there was a lot of blame to go around. For my part, I contributed to Don’s early demise as Germany, and then ultimately couldn’t hold anything that I had gained (Berlin, Sweden) and this went to England. Without that, Nate probably never solos in 6 years. However, in 1902, it seemed like a good chance to get a jump on Germany when I thought I had an ally in the south. Another huge factor was the mess in the south. Austria seemed willing to work with me, but I thought I had an ally in Turkey, and had a chance to jump all over the Balkans in the early going. Turkey had other plans, and kept supporting Austria. If Turkey had been willing to work with me, or if I had followed through on allying with Austria, there would have been a unified eastern front that probably would have led to a 4-player game with E/F meeting the eastern powers in the middle. Turkey finally changed his tune and played a team game, but it was too late, as neither Austria nor I particularly trusted him by this point. Austria certainly shares a large part of the blame for publicly rejecting the draw, and getting Nate off the hook for going for the solo. And of course France played the kingmaker by walking out of all his centers in 1906. Overall, a very well-played game by Cockerill, and a flawed game of varying degrees played by the rest of us.
I thought about Matt’s comments, and again about the (admittedly few) games I’ve played at the club so far. I wanted to add a thought I had about the balance of the game and the strengths and weaknesses of England.
It seems to me that the shorter time frame and definitive ending time give England some pretty decisive advantages that are not present in the years-on-end flow of a postal or online game that goes on indefinitely. Or rather, the disadvantages that England suffers in those games disappear when the game can go no longer than 1908. Or maybe both.
[i]A very early attack on England is difficult to mount.[/i]
I recently played a game online where Russia and Germany managed to build a breathtaking six northern fleets, all headed for the British shores. England survived until 1909, clinging to Liverpool with the aid of France, who for most of the early game was content to plug the English channel, hold a line against Germany (whom he had provoked by swiping Belgium in ’02), and take half of the Italian centers with Austria’s help. Add to this natural defensive advantage that England is a very desirable early ally to both France and Germany, and the bleakness of prospects for taking on England as an enemy, even a shared enemy among all three countries who can build fleets on the North coast of Europe, and the balance of the game seems to get thrown off a little.
[i]If 18 centers are not the goal, then England and France do not need to fight.[/i]
An 18-center solo is nearly impossible for England without a few French centers, and even harder without rounding Gibraltar and getting a fleet or two in the Med. In the full game, this is a major source of trouble for England, and plays hugely into prospective alliances. In the short game, this becomes a non-issue. Two out of the three games I played at the club so far involved an unbreakable England/France alliance. From now on, I intend to treat this with more suspicion than the Russia/Turkey Juggernaut. I have played in enough online games as both France and England to know that a competent pair with complete trust can rip its way to Munich, Berlin, and St Petersburg in very short order, and hold a stalemate line against any combination of southern powers. Once committed, there is no chance to convert the draw position to a solo win with a decisive stab. Take away the 18 center goal, and all of the disadvantages inherent to the France/England alliance vanish. If six to eight centers is a very good board, and ten is a top, then France and England can be mutually assured almost every time.
Maybe this analysis can be expanded, and maybe there are advantages natural to England that disappear in the short game, or disadvantages that are exacerbated. The way I see it though, overall England’s position on the board both tactically and diplomatically is unnaturally strong when the finish line is set for 1907.
I went into this game after the draw deciding to work with Ted due to being unable to get things going in a couple of our previous outings. We decided to take out Germany. Year one I got Norway and Belgium with an army. The Russian got in on the party too as I believe he was bounced out of Sweden in 01.
In 02 I took Den and put Russia in Sweden while supporting France into Ruhr. The following year Holland, Kiel and St.Pete sneaking one from the Russians. France took Munich and Berlin with my support. I stabbed France for three and regained St.Pete growing by four.
At this point a draw was called and as you’ve read above you realize why publicly vetoing a draw isn’t always the best idea. I would’ve taken the draw with such a high score and the distance between myself and the other players I would’ve had a score of 69.2. With France now enraged with Austria for deciding to play for 2nd place Ted wasn’t about to try and stop my attack but even with the remaining French dots that I could reach I still needed and took Warsaw for the 18th.
It was exhilarating to solo as I had done it only once previously thirteen years ago in 2000 at the World Championship in Baltimore. Ted was a great ally. Pete played Austria and Russia back and forth nearly the entire game and that kept any cohesive threat from forming. In hindsight yes they probably should’ve teamed up to take out Turkey but Mr. DiPaola had gone rogue and was giving Austria some fits as well.
My score shores up a spot in the Royale (perhaps) and the Brawl for sure this year so if anyone needs an ally in a bar game soon I’m your man.