Sundstrom rides fast Tsart to board top

Everything went Matt Sundstrom’s way in Spring 1901, as evidenced by the look on his face.

When the Germans opened to Holland instead of Denmark, the right side of Matt’s mouth curled slightly upward. As the Turk moved Ankara to Constantinople and Smyrna to Ankara, the other side joined in, forming a full-fledged smile. And when the Austrians ordered his Home Guard in Vienna to Trieste instead of Galicia, I swear you could see Matt’s teeth. Throw in Italy’s moves to Tyrolia and Venice, and Matt had to fight back the evil laughter.

Your average Russian player would feel pretty good about an opening like that. Matt is no average player.

He honored the Black Sea agreement by moving Sevastopol to Rumania, but he stole into Galicia. In the Fall, he picked up Sweden and Vienna for plus three.

An E/G checked him in Scandinavia the next two years, knocking him back to six, but by game’s end in Fall 1908, he had his first outright board top of the season at 14 centers. The final center counts in Game No. 232, played Saturday night at the Red Lion, were as follows:

Austria (Josh Heffernan): 0; 0.000 points.
England (Nathan Cockerill): 13; 44.010 points.
France (Nicky Neulist): 3; 2.344 points.
Germany (Mike Bartlein): 3; 2.344 points.
Italy (Keith Ammann): 1; 0.260 points.
Russia (Matt Sundstrom): 14; 51.042 points.
Turkey (Alex Amann): 0; 0.000 points.

The supply center chart is here. Hopefully the players will share their thoughts.

We had two special guests for this game. Alex Amann, the former TD of Boston Massacre and Carnage who is now living in San Francisco, was in town visiting friends, so we organized this game for him, just as we did last May. The other was Michael Bartlein of the Milwaukee Mafia. He actually drove down from Milwauke in a winter storm to play with us.

Nicky Neulist, meanwhile, is a friend of Alex’. Alex met her at the Red Lion for lunch and drinks, and she stuck around to check out the game. Matt taught her how to play, and she seemed intrigued, so we asked her to play. I was there for the first three years, and I heard her say several times that she wished she had discovered the game sooner. Hopefully we’ll see her again.

I wasn’t the only observer. Sahar Salameh, another one of Nate’s co-workers, was there as well to wacth and learn. I talked to her a bit about Diplomacy and high schools (all six of her brothers attended one that Kevin is considering), and she seems really interested in helping us field the Board of the Valkyries.

We also talked with four guys who were playing Axis and Allies in the back room. A couple of them had played Diplomacy before and took our information. One of them lives in Glencoe and suggested a bar in Winnetka that could be perfect for a future game.

So, this game that we organized on short notice could pay large dividends for the club.

Next up for the Weasels is our first ever game in Hyde Park, next Saturday at Matt Kade’s home. It’s full, but standbys are always welcome.

Join the discussion!

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 2 Comments

  1. Josh

    I’m quite surprised that Sundstrom topped the board. He is obviously a very strong player, and began the game in great position, but when I was knocked out of the game it looked like Russia had reached high tide.

    Germany and England were pushing into the Russian heartland, while Turkey was in great position to grow into the central Med and possibly stab Russia. I’m not surprised that France fell apart, it was a new player next to Nate. I would be interested to hear how Turkey collapsed so completely.

  2. Matt Sundstrom

    Things got tense between England and Germany once StP and Warsaw were lost to each of them respectively. Nate (England) was going to have trouble continuing to grow in Russia. Germany was a better target at that point. Germany had a similar problem and would have had to press into Austria for more growth. That would have left Nate behind him in a good position to stab. So neither of them really pressed the east. Nate did end up starting to attack Germany and France off and on for the next several years.

    At the time I had lost Warsaw and StP I started considering other options. Turkey needed one more year to get his gains from Italy and had to extend west to do that. I shifted F Rum to Black instead of bouncing Con in Bul in the spring. Ank became a freebie. At the same time, Italy convinced France to move against Turkey which included Ion-Eas. Turkey then had a lot to deal with for the next couple years. With EG backing off, I was able to keep most of my forces south and continue attacking Turkey. My stab was a one-dot stab at the time but I had position to follow up. The threat from France made it even more powerful. There was some guessing on a couple turns that generally went Russia’s way.

    I would have enjoyed RT going west all game. But the EG attack made that unviable. Alex said he would have attacked me the next year once he picked up an Italian dot or two. Made me feel better and it would have been the right thing for Turkey to do at that point.

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