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The fortune cookies of war

Jim displays his dot count.

Jim displays his dot count, circa Fall 1905.

In Fall 1902, while the other players were writing their orders, I walked down the hall at John Gramila’s new pad in Logan Square (more on that in a moment) and fired off a pithy text to Jake Trotta: You suck at Diplomacy.

A moment later, I heard him laugh. And a couple of minutes after that, he laughed even harder.

The turn before, Jake and I both moved to set up potential long convoys. I moved Mid Atlantic to the North Atlantic and slid Brest to the Mid, setting up a convoy from Spain to a wide open Liverpool. Jake, though–despite Turk John Gramila having built his fleet in Constantinople instead of Smyrna, leaving the Eastern Mediterranean indefensible–attempted to move Ionian to the Aegean along with Naples to the Ionian. John bounced both. What else was F Con going to do?

Thus my amusing text. But as I hinted, Jake had the last laugh. The orders revealed my successful convoy to Liverpool…just as my German ally walked into Burgundy and my formerly peaceful  Italian neighbor moved Venice to Piedmont, Napes to the Tyrrhenian, and Ionian to Tunis. Who sucked at Diplomacy now?

Just as my fortunes changed, so, too, did the Turk’s, but for the better. Beset by all three neighbors from the outset, he turned the Italians around, eventually flipped the Russians, and rolled to his first board-top of the season. Jake, meanwhile, sucked at Diplomacy right into first place in the standings.

Game No. 291 ended by draw vote during the Spring 1908 turn in the following center counts:

Austria (Ali Adib): 0; 0.000 points.
England (David Spanos): 6; 14.286 points.
France (Jim O’Kelley): 0; 0.000 points.
Germany (Bryan Pravel): 4; 6.349 points.
Italy (Jake Trotta): 8; 25.397 points.
Russia (Jake Langenfeld): 6; 14.286 points.
Turkey (John Gramila): 10; 39.683 points.

The supply center chart is here. It only tells part of the game’s story and says nothing at all about John’s baking skills, the delicious Thai lunch, and the cigars. It was a fun day, even for those of us who sucked at Diplomacy.

Oh, and it turns out I misnamed the game, which was called Dip is the new Riot Fest. The joke was that Humboldt Park was gaining a Diplomacy game after having lost Riot Fest last year, but unbeknownst to me, John had moved. Oh, well, looks like Humboldt Park got the shaft again.

At least I wasn’t alone.

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