Toeing the toga party line

Someone on Facebook suggested that we wear togas to last night’s Ides of March game at the Red Lion. In keeping with the spirit of the day, if not the style, we chose to do the talking with our knives rather than our knees. (Most will agree that the choice was wise.)

Old Julius was stabbed 23 times that day in 44 B.C. No one got it quite that bad last night–possibly because the game ended by a rare bar-game draw vote in Spring 1905 with more than an hour of play left on the clock–but there were plenty of wild stabbings to go around. Game No. 298 was a short, brutish affair. The final center counts were:


Austria (David Spanos): 5; 13.021 points.
England (Jake Trotta): 4; 8.333 points.
France (Chris Kelly): 8; 33.333 points.
Germany (Christian Kline): 2; 2.083 points.
Italy (Mike Morrison): 5; 13.021 points.
Russia (Jim O’Kelley): 7; 25.521 points.
Turkey (Bryan Pravel): 3; 4.688 points.

The supply center chart is here.

The game marked Kelly’s second straight board-top. He’s now in fifth place on the season and tied with Kline for the topping lead at two.

Okay, let’s hear from the players.

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 3 Comments

  1. Jake Trotta

    First, some positive news-just found out my brother got a strategy internship with Blue Cross for this summer, which means we’ll have another bar game regular. And that these bar games will be filled with not just club rivalry, but sibling rivalry.

    TLDR at the bottom.

    298 was a bit of an off game for me. I drew England, which was a surprise, and was wedged between 3 extremely successful veterans between Jim (Russia), Chris (France), and Christian (Germany). Chris and I have a history of butting heads on accident. I wanted to work with Chris, but also knew Christian was a strong player and could be a useful ally, particularly strategically.

    Spring 01 negotiations went ok. Christian wanted me to move to Channel, which I was pretty tempted by. Chris said “hey let’s go get Christian next year,” but seemed very conservative in his approach. I felt Christian was more committed, but I was torn because I didn’t want to lie to Chris in spring of 01. I tried to convince Jim to go to Silesia and he seemed open to it. Knowing that there was a chance of Jim moving to Silesia, I opened traditionally, trying to keep my options open.

    Despite having the DMZ, Jim did not open to Silesia. I told him that he lacked courage, but let it go and then tried to decide what to do next. It seemed like both Christian and Chris were open to giving me Belgium. I attempted to convoy, and sent the fleet to Norway. Christian lied and bounced me there, claiming “blatant self interest.” Which, frankly, I respected.

    The next year, I still couldn’t decide how to proceed. I picked up Sweden without support, but left Norway open. Jim moved to Baltic, Christian moved to Skag and had a fleet in Den, and the whole Scandinavia thing was a big damn mess. The next events, in some order I don’t remember, were I got Denmark with Russian help, Christian kicked me out of the North Sea, and Chris got Belgium, then Holland.

    Christian Kline either board tops or causes an intense panic that leads to a grand alliance. I’ve never seen him finish mid-board or play an unemotional game. Makes for great theatre. Out of this particular grand alliance, I surrendered a dot to slow down Jim, and then the draw happened with France at 8 and Russia at 7. If it sounds anticlimactic, it’s because it was!

    Player Feedback
    Bryan-As always, great playing with you. Even though we were on opposite sides of the board, it was fun to be Witchbros.
    David-did we talk? I don’t remember talking. We both had our own stuff to worry about. Next time.
    Mike-Same as David, except we spoke in spring 01 and I changed my mind. Also your trolling sense of humor is seriously the best.
    Jim-Fun playing with you, you definitely had me beat in Scandinavia. Congratulations on raising your score by 0.7 points… but you still lack courage.
    Christian- From above-“Christian Kline either board tops or causes an intense panic that leads to a grand alliance. I’ve never seen him finish mid-board or play an unemotional game. Makes for great theatre.”
    Chris-You played very well and I struggled to get a good read on you. Thought your strategic choices were sound. Definitely deserved the board top.
    ******TLDR/ KEY TAKEAWAYS********
    Where I broke down in this game was not having a long term strategy, which led to a bunch of mentally draining and time consuming tactical situations. I hadn’t played England since the Undercard game, at which I had a good many beers over the course of the day, so I’m not terribly surprised that didn’t remember how I like to play England. Plus, without a solid long term strategy, my diplomacy suffered as I was less able to provide clever ideas. Indecision was really my downfall.

    I do have feedback on the Sum of Squares system. Chris played a great game and not to take away from that, but an issue I have with SOS is that a 13-12 or 10-9 board top can be worth identical to a 8-7 board top. Is 8-7 more dominant than 13-12? I don’t really think so. I think the 13-12 guy deserves a little more credit than the 8-7 guy.

    An alternative might be to do sum of squares, but then add a point for each center you own at the end of game. That way 13 center guy ends up with a score of 43, while 8 center guy gets 38. Feels a bit more reflective of both game performance and board dominance.

    It also might disincentivize dot tossing and meta-gaming while still maintaining the Sum of Squares benefits. Just an idea.

  2. Chris Kelly

    [quote]… an issue I have with SOS is that a 13-12 or 10-9 board top can be worth identical to a 8-7 board top. Is 8-7 more dominant than 13-12? I don’t really think so.[/quote]
    I think this particular game was an exceptionally dominant 8-center board top. But I might be biased.

  3. Chris Kelly

    More seriously, though I don’t think there was anything dominant about my actual play in this game, my position at the end was extremely favorable. Not only was I the only power that grew in 1904, the next two largest powers (Russia/Austria) had just started fighting each other, England & Germany were tangled up in Scandinavia, and Italy couldn’t turn its full attention to me without sacrificing Greece to Austria or Turkey. Just by taking advantage of the disarray — and lack of opposing fleets — on the board, I could quite possibly have put myself in position for a solo win, given unlimited playing time.

    Jake’s comments about Christian were very revealing, IMO. Mr. Kline is as persuasive a negotiator as anyone I’ve ever played with, with the passion of his pitches underscored by powerful tactical suggestions. But pushing so hard for me and Jake to fight each other, while positioning himself to take advantage in both directions, wound up backfiring badly.

    I had told Christian all along that I would move to the English Channel in Spring 1902 after building a fleet in Brest (which I was “forced” to do by having to cover Marseille with an army in Fall 1901). But he apparently encouraged Jake to go there as well, while moving a German army to Burgundy and sending his fleets north to Skaggerak & Denmark to threaten Scandinavia.

    Because Jake & I bounced in the Channel, neither of us had an advantage over the other — and as a result, little incentive to keep butting heads. And with German units in France and bordering British-held Norway, we had plenty of motivation to work together against the common threat. Oh, and even worse, Jim (as Russia) decided to repay Christian for bouncing him out of Sweden in Fall ’01 by sliding down to the Baltic, adjacent to a wide-open Berlin.

    If Christian had made sure that either Jake or I got *into* the Channel, instead of bouncing, we would have had little choice but to fight each other (his desired result). And even despite the bounce, if he had moved from Munich to Kiel instead of Burgundy, I would have stayed allied with him while he potentially fended off the Russian surprise attack. Instead, he wound up with 3 enemies, and no allies.

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