Das Prokes: Tony takes the Undercard

Tony Prokes was disappointed with his performance in last year’s Undercard game at the Weasel Royale.

"I need to get better," he said, while we were kibitzing afterward.

"I don’t think we’re getting worse," I responded. I had performed poorly in the Royale. "There’s just a lot of good players in the club now, and we’re all going to have good games and bad games."

Exactly one year to the day, Prokes had himself a good game, topping our fifth annual Undercard game with a nine-center Germany. The game ended by draw vote in Spring 1907 in the following center counts:


Austria (Kevin O’Kelly): 8; 24.615 points.
England (Mike Morrison): 1; 0.385 points.
France (Pete McNamara): 7; 18.846 points.
Germany (Tony Prokes): 9; 31.154 points.
Italy (Ted Phillips): 8; 24.615 points.
Russia (Chris Albert/Kevin O’Kelley/Brad Harrington): 0; 0.000 points.
Turkey (Ulysses Peterson): 1; 0.385 points.

Check out the supply center chart here. Hopefully the players will chip in with commentary. In the meantime, a couple of thoughts on this game.

First, we all know that Dan Burgess prefers serving his guests to stabbing their backs. He upped his passion for hosting a notch this year by flat-out refusing to play in the Undercard. So, we scrambled to find a seventh. Fortunately, Burgess was able to persuade his neighbor Chris Albert to play. Albert, however, had plans for the late afternoon, so our plan was to replace him with the first casualty from the Royale.

Early on, that looked like it would be Matt Sundstrom, whose Turkey on the big board was down to 2 in 1902. Word of Sundstrom’s coming spread through the Undercard board and actually influenced play on the board. Albert had carved out a decent Russian position. His neighbors didn’t want Sundstrom to inherit it, so they turned on him.

Sundstrom rebounded, and eventually young Kevin O’Kelley worked his way downstairs as the Royale’s first casualty. He played only one turn before his ride arrived. Then Brad Harrington, the Royale’s second victim, took over. None of them will score the position, which doesn’t matter anyway because their Russia was eliminated. Albert will be the official player of record.

Secondly, in the first three years of the Undercard, the board-topper went on to qualify for the next year’s Royale. Mark Weiskircher broke that streak last year because the Undercard was the only game he played. Nevertheless, the word apparently is out about the Undercard being a road to the Royale. This year’s Undercard included four players who have played in the Royale before. O’Kelly was there in 2008 and 2012; Morrison, in 2009 and 2012; McNamara, in 2010; and Prokes, in 2011.

There’s a pretty good chance Tony Prokes will be at Dan’s house a year from now. Whether he’ll be playing in the Royale or the Undercard remains to be seen.


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