Thursday night used to be reserved for must-see TV viewing. Shows like Seinfeld and Friends demanded our attention. But those shows are gone, and other great ones (the Big Bang Theory, Survivor) have moved to different nights. The hole they left was filled last night by a Diplomacy game in Logan Square, and it turns out that it’s much more entertaining to watch friends stab each other in the back around a custom board than trade quips around a coffee table.
Last night’s game, the one where we introduced two more players to the Weasels, was our first week-night house game, and according to host Peter Lokken, it was a rousing success. It ended by time limit (we used standard bar timing) after the Fall 1905 turn in the following center counts:
Austria (Chris Kelly): 9; 38.571 points.
England (Mike Whitty): 7; 23.333 points.
France (Jess Lawheed): 6; 17.143 points.
Germany (Peter Lokken): 5; 11.905 points.
Italy (Josh Heffernan): 3; 4.286 points.
Russia (Jason Ackerman): 3; 4.286 points.
Turkey (Jez Fordham): 1; 0.476 points.
It was also our first ever game featuring four players with first names that begin with J: Jess, Josh, Jason and Jez. Say that four times fast. (I have no idea whether that claim is true, and I’m not going to take the time to try to confirm it.)
Jess and Jason make eight new Weasels in just three games this season. We only recruited 21 in all of last year, so we’re off to a great start. Peter met Jason last November at Jeremiah Peterson’s MiahCon house con. As he’s wont to do, Peter talked up the Weasels, and Jason joined the Meetup group afterward. It took nearly a year, but in Peter’s game, Jason finally found one that fit his schedule, and he brought along his girlfriend, Jess. Hopefully we’ll see both at future games.
Special thanks to standby Mike Whitty, who jumped in immediately when a player dropped out at 5:15. Can’t overstate how important it is to have standbys like Mike, Ben DiPaola and Mike Morrison. This was our club’s 254th game, and so far, we’ve only played two with fewer than seven players. That’s a testament to our standbys.
Okay, you can check out the supply center chart here, and hopefully the players will contribute their thoughts. Next up for the Weasels is our first Red Wednesday game at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square. The Lion will open its doors to us on the second Wednesday of every month, starting on the 8th, clear through 2015. How about joining us for some dinner, a few drinks, and an evening of Diplomacy? The games will start at 6:30 and end no later than 11. We’d love to see you there.
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Anyone looking at the supply center count (or the board) after 1901 would probably be stunned to learn that by 1905, Austria & England would be the two strongest countries – and both on the upswing. England failed to take Norway due to a misorder, and an Italian army had taken Trieste with German support.
French units moving into Ruhr and the Mediterranean, though, caused Germany & Italy to back off Austria, and England was left free to recover and pursue a northern strategy. Russia fell under the combined hostility of England, Germany & Turkey, though Austria helped deny Turkey any of the spoils — which may have frustrated the Turk into losing interest and letting his country go into civil disorder.
Had the game continued, it likely would have ended in an Austrian solo victory. The remaining 4 centers in Turkey/Russia would likely have been taken easily by 1907, possibly with Venice & Moscow as well to add up to 15 centers.
With France tangled up in Italy, Germany besieged by England in Scandinavia, and a rogue German army having taken Paris & Brest, it’s hard to imagine those four players cooperating enough to build a last-ditch defense against the growing Red Menace. In fact, given the fleet-heavy forces of the Western trio, there simply may not have been enough armies on the board to keep Austria from dominating the continent.