Seeing double on Opening Night

Two boards. Two John Gramilas. Two hours into our Opening Night for the 10th season of Windy City Weasels Diplomacy, and I was seeing double. And by the time play ended at around 10:45 p.m., there were just two of my German pieces left on the board.

Ah well, while the game didn’t go so well for me, the night was a great success for the Weasels. We welcomed six new Weasels, four of whom were playing for the first time. We put the two experienced players on a board with five or our vets, and got that game started at around 6:45 while I sat down to explain the rules to the novices.

Once I got through our five-minute teaching guide (which curiously usually takes about 15 minutes) and answered various questions about the rules and the hobby, we started the second game with me, Ben DiPaola and Gramila pulling double duty rounding out the board.

Here’s how the boards went down:
Game No. 252
I didn’t get a chance to watch much of the Big Board, but I do recall checking in at the end of 1902 and seeing that newcomer Alex Kerwin was doing all right in England only to return a turn or two later and wonder what the hell had happened. The French were all over him.
Ali Adib, an Iranian who moved here recently from London, fared better as Italy in his first game with the Weasels. The top went to Scott Soren, the vet playing his second game with us.
Play ended by time limit after the Fall 1906 turn in the following center counts:
Austria (John Gramila): 6; 14.876 points.
England (Alex Kerwin): 0; 0.000 points.
France (Scott Soren): 9; 33.471 points.
Germany (Chris Kelly): 6; 14.876 points.
Italy (Ali Adib): 5; 10.331 points.
Russia (Chris Paxhia): 8; 26.446 points.
Turkey (Matt Sundstrom): 0; 0.000 points.
This game was noteworthy in that Sundstrom opted not to "Sundstrom," the name we’ve attached to the anti-Russian Turkish opening that he popularized in our club. Given the outcome, it may be a while before we see a Turk of his play any other opening.
Kelly, meanwhile, held the lead at nine centers as the final year of play dawned. However, as he said, "Everyone noticed."
Perhaps the players can fill in more of the details by commenting below. I was too busy with…
Game No. 253
The Little Board featured the four novices in the corners with the vets playing the central powers. We didn’t start until around 7:45, and we played at a leisurely pace.
At one point during Spring 1901 negotiations, I asked John Konwinski in France if we could demilitarize Burgundy. He suggested a bounce there.
"I really think I’m going to need to use Munich to bounce the Italians in Tyrolia," I told him.
And I was right. I didn’t, however, anticipate the Austrians moving to Bohemia. Since France plowed into Burgundy anyway, I figured I couldn’t risk angering the Russians by bouncing them in Sweden. When England convoyed to Belgium instead of Norway as we had discussed and France supported the Austrians into Muncih, not contesting Sweden looked like a good decision…until the Russians placed a fleet on the South Coast of St. Pete.
Earlier in the evening, I had taught four new players the game. Now, in a time-honored Diplomacy tradition, the three adjacent to me were ganging up to kill me. And they had plenty of help.
The game ended by time limit after the Fall 1904 turn in the following center counts:
Austria (Ben DiPaola): 0; 0.000 points.
England (Erik Derr): 6; 16.514 points.
France (John Konwinski): 8; 29.358 points.
Germany (Jim O’Kelley): 2; 1.835 points.
Italy (John Gramila): 5; 11.468 points.
Russia (Matt Gatt): 5; 11.468 points.
Turkey (Belva Miles; Matt Sundstrom in Spring 1904): 8; 0.000 points.
Ben and I were giving Belva all kinds of advice against Gramila, and we helped her carve out a really great position in the Balkans. Imagine our surprise when Sundstrom sauntered up after the Fall 1903 turn and said, "All right, I’m taking over for Turkey."
"Jesus," I said. "If I had known you were taking over, I wouldn’t have been helping her."
Fortunately for all of us, the game ended before Matt could wreak too much havoc. Per club rules, neither he nor Belva scores the position, but Turkey’s square is factored into the sum. Consequently, the points for this game total less than 100.
Despite her early departure, Belva seemed to have fun. On the event page in the Chicago Game Lovers Meetup, she wrote, "I had a great time! This was the best game day for beginners ever. Everyone was nice and helpful! Ladies come out! These guys are really GREAT!"
Maybe we’ll see her again. I’d be surprised if Konwinski didn’t come out again. A Chess player, he quickly grasped the tactics of the game, and he only lives about a mile from the Lion. Derr is more interested in Euro-style games, but he also picked up the game quickly. He lives in Palatine but works downtown. I’m going to send him info about Conception.
Matt Gatt, unfortunately, was just passing through. A Hawaiian, he shipped his car over and is currently driving around the mainland, meeting people and having a good time.

Okay, so a good start to Season 10. You can check out the supply center charts here.

We have lots of game scheduled, so if you missed out on Opening Night, sign up for another. We’re still looking for players for our outdoors game at the Chess Pavilion on Sept. 21. I’m really looking forward to that one and hope we can pull it off.
Tony Prokes will be running a game at Conception, so check that out if you’re in the suburbs (or willing to drive out there for a game).
Peter Lokken’s week-night, bar-style game in Logan Square on Oct. 2 is full, but standbys are always welcome. And by the way, Ali and Alex both live in Logan Square, so we’re starting to build a pretty good core of players there — along with Lokken, Josh Heffernan, and Gramila, who lives in nearby Humboldt Park — which likely will mean more house games on the west side in the future.
And as announced last week, the Red Lion will welcome us for Diplomacy on the second Wednesday of every month clear through 2015, so you can mark your calendars now. We’re calling these nights Red Wednesdays. Cool, huh?
All right, hope to see you at some of these events.

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 One Comment

  1. Jim O'Kelley

    So, as noted elsewhere, in addition to promoting Opening Night on our Meetup site, we also posted it on the site of the enormous Chicago Game Lovers group. Twelve people signed up from that group. I was hoping that half of them would actually come out. We got five, but at least a few of those five seem like pretty good prospects for us.

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