The Christian Paradox

At one point last night at the Red Lion, Ali Adib threw up his hands in disgust and said to his fellow Easterners, "We’re obviously doing something wrong. None of us is gaining centers!"

It was that kind of night as we played Game No. 276, the final match of the 2015 Bar Room Brawl Series. Play ended by time limit after the Fall 1907 turn in the following center counts:

Austria (Brandon Fogel): 6; 17.476 points.
England (Christian Kline): 0; 0.000 points.
France (Brian Beck): 8; 31.068 points.
Germany (Jim O’Kelley): 7; 23.786 points.
Italy (David Spanos): 4; 7.767 points.
Russia (Ali Adib): 5; 12.136 points.
Turkey (Sam Bassett): 4; 7.767 points.

The supply center chart is here. As you can see, it was a close game and largely because no one was able to get much traction.

The West was more dynamic than the East. I won’t write at length about the game, but I do want to explain the title of this article.

Two poor choices in 1901 cost me Munich. The following year, I lost Holland to Christian, retook Munich from Brian, and helped Ali take Norway as I took Sweden by agreement, thus gaining a center and pulling even with my treacherous neighbors.

So, I had wiped out the head start I had given them, but now I was faced with a dilemma. Christian opened negotiations in 1903 by asking me to help him retake Norway. In exchange, he would move against France. However, if I failed to help him, he promised, he’d ensure that France topped the board.

What to do? I needed a Western ally, but working with England meant leaving a British army in Holland. Holland along with Denmark are key to Germany’s viability. You need those two centers if you want any chance at being a player.

Work with England and I’m a junior partner at best. Fight England and I likely guarantee France easy access to the centers he needs to top the board. Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

I played to seize the Low Countries. Christian made good on his threat.

In all my years of playing Dip, I think I’ve only seen the Convoy Paradox once. The Christian Paradox, on the other hand, is an old friend.

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