Earlier this evening, I was at the Red Lion to welcome Roland Cooke to town. (Patrick and Meghan joined me. I’m not stupid.) Roland, the British ex-pat living in Houston, was with us last weekend for #UltimateWAC in Seattle. There, he mentioned that he’d be in town all week on business, so we promptly organized a game for him, and it filled in a record 12 hours. Look forward to the recap next week. The lineup is here.
Can’t wait till next week for WAC coverage? Then search for #UltimateWAC on Facebook or Twitter, and you’ll find plenty of dispatches from the front. While we didn’t quite cause the hashtag to trend, quite a few of us were using it all weekend. Also, be sure to check out Tournament Director Matt Shields’ poignant recap at the Facebook event page.
WAC has always been the tournament gold standard as far as I’m concerned, but this year’s final act really raised the price of gold. The organizers have pointed to us as the new standard-bearers for their style of tournament, but we’ve got some work to do if we want to assume that mantle.
We can start in April at our eighth annual CODCon Open Diplomacy tournament. It will be early this year. The three-round tournament will be April 5-6, 2014, at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn. It’s not necessary to play in all three rounds–although we hope you will–and it only takes one round to qualify for awards, of which there will be plenty: plaques for first through third place and best play of each country, prizes for fourth through seventh, and maybe some special awards.
CODCon is the Chicago area’s longest-running Diplomacy tournament. It’s a fun event, and the con offers some great people watching. I hope you’ll join us this year.
You can find more information about our tournament, including the schedule, here. Learn more about the CODCon convention here. When you decide to come, be sure to respond on Meetup here.
…and so is March Madness
We’ll announce the March Madness schedule in next week’s issue. So far, we’ve got a game at the Concentric gaming convention in Itasca on March 8 and a game at Peter Lokken’s new home in Logan Square on another weekend. Matt Sundstrom is also willing for hosting a game in Glenview, so we just need to work out the dates and determine whether Tony Prokes or someone else will host the traditional St. Patrick’s Day weekend game (which Italy has topped three years running) and line up a couple of bar games. Watch for the announcement next week.
…and Weasel Moot
Though we’re still working on the where and the when. Watch for an announcement soon.
- Feb. 5 at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square, starting at 6:30 p.m. until no later than 11. Have seven. Standbys welcome.
- Feb. 19 at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square, starting at 6:30 p.m. until no later than 11. Have four.
Sign up for games at the website, on Meetup, or by emailing your faithful War Weasel (which is now Dan Burgess, firstname.lastname@example.org).
- April 5-6: The eighth annual CODCon Open Diplomacy tournament at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn.
Eventually we’ll get around to mailing our annual e-appeal for 2014 dues. In the meantime, feel free to use the PayPal link we set up for 2013 to pay your 2014 dues. We’re still charging $25, $10 if you’re a student. Thirteen people already have paid their dues. Thanks, Guys! Remember, your dues pay for our website, the Meetup site, our annual club awards, and the awards for both the Royale and the Brawl, among other things.
That’s all for this week.
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I’ll post a brief comment about WAC too. Like Jim, I’m paying a dear price. Caleb didn’t give me a stiff-arm, just his cold that he’d built up since I left… and then he gave it to my wife. So two thirds of my household is sick. No fun… but the weekend was.
Jim arrived earlier in the day on Thursday, Nate was supposed to join him them, but after a missed flight, he joined just in time for the WAC farewell dinner and roast. John Grimila (sp) (and former Weasel Adam Berey) was also at the roast by the time I arrived. I arrived in balmy Seattle just before the event started and the weekend began. People said that the weekend weather was the best they had to date this winter, a win for us.
For those that haven’t traveled to a Diplomacy tournament, or haven’t stuck around to chat with traveling players between rounds at Weasel Moot or CODCon, the same stories are told over and over again. The reason… they are pretty funny. We’ve all done things that we may regret later, both on the Diplomacy board or when drinking, and those two combined together make for good stories. Those stories found their way into the roast and I’m sure we can pass along some of those memorable moments at our future tournaments, including words from our own Jim O’Kelley and Nate Cockerill.
After an underground tour of Seattle on Friday afternoon, the final WAC began. We started with a group photo and the first ever Fantasy Diplomacy draft. 16 diplomacy players joined for the first year of Grand Prix Fantasy Diplomacy. Edi Birsan was taken first by Nate, followed by Chris Martin and Buffalo before I took former Weasel Peter Yeargin. My other two picks were myself (there is a bonus for getting 0 points in a tournament, something which I am highly capable of) and Mike Hall. Jim O’Kelley took our own John Gramila and Matt Sundstrom. I forgot his third, but I think it is someone that does well at Dixie, the site of this year’s World Dip Con. Updates to the Fantasy standings will be heard on DiplomacyCast. You can follow the cast on iTunes.
And as luck would have it, I drew Peter in my first round game as Russia to my Turkey. Peter and I had allied well as those two powers on two occasions I believe and with some other good players on the board, I figured it was a solid alliance. In the first round, the WAC organizers tried to normalize the boards in Round 1 (both playing against players one wouldn’t normally see and splitting up new players and experienced players). Then like our club, we drew powers and again as luck would have it, on the 8 boards, only one Austria had played tournament Dip before, and that player wasn’t on our board. Peter and I made pretty quick work of the Austria, he went his own way and I went mine. I had a chance to stab him, two chances… but didn’t cash in because I didn’t think there was enough room on the other side of the board to really grow from the stab. After talking with the board after the game and throughout the weekend, I made a mistake on the second chance. Sadly, that was the last chance at a big round the rest of the weekend.
The Diplomacy highlight of my weekend was after we finished Round 1. A few games ended at about the same time as mine and we were getting ready to call it a night when someone suggested a game of Wilsonian Diplomacy. Wilsonian is where players can negotiate around the table for a short amount of time (we picked 3 minutes). My board list reads like a hall of fame: 2 former world champions (Andrew Goff, twice and Doug Moore), 2 former Grand Prix champions (Jim O’Kelley and Peter Yeargin), the future DipCon and WAC champion Dan Lester and Nathan Barnes, who has probably won something but don’t know off the top of my head. I drew Turkey against Goff’s Russia, O’Kelley’s Austria and Barnes’s Italy. The initial discuss was to crush me in the corner. I pleaded with Jim to save me… that went nowhere. So I just tried to defend tactically and it worked. i outguessed someone and defended better than expected and that won Goff. He supported me a few more times and eventually supported me into MUN at the end of 1904. Yes, MUN. But that wasn’t the further home center owned… Goff opened from WAR to SIL to BOH to TYR to PIE to MAR to BUR (although he didn’t expect to make it, meaning he walked out of MAR in Fall 1903) back to MAR and then to SPA at the end of 1904. All times unopposed and without support. The game ended at 3:30am with lots and lots of laughs.
Round 2 started at 9am Saturday morning and had me as England and pitted me against Buffalo as Germany, Peter McNamara (AUS) as Italy, Dan Burgess as Turkey and Andrew Goff as Austria. France opened to to Iberia with his armies and took his fleet to WMS, then built two more fleets, leaving no armies back home to defend. Buffalo allowed my convoy to Belgium and we rolled him from there. Dan had a nice alliance with Goff and Peter in the east. Russia didn’t play a smart opening. He held on for a while, but wasn’t a factor. The game progressed with Goff’s Austrian army making Brest and his Austrian fleet making the MAO. Buffalo made some good decisions to stand out those two units and reinforced the line. It was pretty locked, but there was plenty of play. Dan had two really good chances to stab and probably fatally cripple Goff, but never did. His patience gave him a board top and everyone on the board seemed happy to call it a game and get some lunch.
I drew Germany on Saturday night against two local players in England and France. i had played against England the last time I was at WAC and had a very good alliance. I don’t remember if he remembered me, but I made sure to subtly hint that we had worked well together the last time. I hadn’t played against France, but after E/F allied I asked why she chose to work with England and against me. She said she didn’t trust me because of my dad. I was pretty certain she had never met any of my family, so I asked how she knew my dad. Confused, she asked, “Aren’t you Jim O’Kelley’s son?” Uhm, no. I felt good that I looked young enough to be Jim’s son, but hated the curse of my last name in the hobby. I explained to her that Jim had an extra E in his last name and that it stood for evil. I think she felt bad, but oh well, it was what it was. England made a nice stab of France a few years later and with Doug Moore in the corner as Turkey, he asked if I would help him out in advancing on Doug’s line. I accepted his support into MUN in Spring 1905, and that’s where I stayed for the next 7 years, at 1 center. There was a rookie in Russia and he learned a lot by playing the game. It ended with 16-11-4-2-1, but could have been different if France didn’t have to leave. After the stab, she worked with Turkey. No solos were truly possible, although Doug argued that England had a chance if he played it right. But that was years and years and years down the road.
Finally, after that long round on Saturday night and a bad night of sleep, I was looking forward to a round in which I could just go all out from the beginning. I drew Italy against John Gramila as Austria, Alex Amann in Russia, Alex Maslow in Turkey, Roland Cooke in Germany, Andy Hull in France (for the second time on my board this weekend) and the legendary Manus Hand in England. Andy and Roland went straight after Manus and with John’s and my plan to crush Turkey quickly, I moved most of my units west. Andy knew it was coming and was prepared for my attack. John told me that our plan against Turkey had to be modified a bit. After little sleep and an unfortunate weekend of play, I had it. I had two options, a slow grind against France which I wouldn’t gain much, maybe one, or stab Austria for a guaranteed one and try to work furiously with Turkey so that I could grab multiple Austrian centers. The decision was wrong, as John and I would chat about numerous times throughout the rest of the game. Pulling back from France did well, we were peaceful for the rest of the game. But Austria was upset at my stab and fought back. We both were going nowhere, so John said, “Look, let’s just put this behind us and get moving to take the centers we were going to take in the first place.” or something like that. He was right and he proved why he was right… he went to top the board and with that result ended up in 7th for the tournament. A job well done.
I won best Pirate, John got 7th and Jim won’t the WAC Con award for being well, an awesome traveler and Diplomat. I think we had a great time. Many late nights and many fun games make for a fun weekend. WAC was a special tournament. Of the few that I traveled to, I feel like it had the highest quality of play. The hospitality and amenities are unmatched. The hosts make it fun. I only went to WAC twice, but will miss it. Thanks for the memories.
My third draft pick was Graham Woodring. I like my team.
A highlight of the Wilsonian game was when Dan Lester called a crusade against Peter. Good stuff.
And nice report, Son.