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Doing 312 One Better

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All is fair in love, war, and Windy City Weasel diplomacy. Game 313 featured roommate conflict, stabbed girlfriends, 3 4 5 new players, and a first time player topping to board in a highly instructional (and highly amusing) bout. Using 18 minute timing (with adjudications off the clock),  newcomer (and new to Chicago) Mick Johnson raced to a 10 center board top as France when the draw ended it in 05. The final center counts were:

 

Austria (Jake Trotta): 7; 21.121 points.
England (Bryan Pravel): 1; 0.431 points.
France (Mick Johnson): 10; 43.103 points.
Germany (Brian Shelden): 6; 15.517 points.
Italy (Lena Bochukova): 6; 15.517 points.
Russia (Henry Minis): 3; 3.879 points.
Turkey (Tuba Sahiti): 1; 0.431 points.

 The supply center chart is here.

A quick overview of what went down: Mick did well to capitalize on early British mistakes (01 ended with France in the Channel, Germany in the North Sea, and England hung out to dry in Skag.) The east shifted from an early 1950s-esque "get the commies out" AI when both I and T built two fleets in 01. Italy won the affection (and support) of Austria against Turkey, but was then (poorly) stabbed, allowing an IT reunion in the late game to slow down Austria. Russia, with the gentle encouragement of Austria, went off to fight Germany, but could not break the German defenses. Germany, irritated at an Austrian conspiracy against his game, vetoed a draw in 03 to ensure Austria would not top the board. 

All in all, the game was a blast. Players also enjoyed Giordano’s pizza and wonderful views of the city from the Lakeshore East rooftop. For further detail on boyfriend stabbing girlfriend, roommate stabbing roommate, and Weasels stabbing Weasels, check the comments section.

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 5 Comments

  1. Bryan Pravel

    Going into game 313 I was excited. It was outdoors on a beautiful day on one of Chicago’s best rooftops. I knew that even if I happened to draw England and ended up with German and French armies on the island in 1902 (like that would ever happen!) I was going to have an enjoyable day just by the nature of the venue. There were also lots of new players. I enjoy seeing new players and believe sharing the hobby should be a goal for all club members. My goal was to have fun, represent the club and hobby as well as I could, and try to help the new players have as enjoyable time as possible.

    I wish I could say that this was the main reason I was looking forward to the game but it was not. The real reason I was excited about this game is that I knew Jake was playing with his girlfriend. Having played Diplomacy with a girlfriend, having seen my parents play each other, and having observed siblings play the game with their significant others, there was no way I was missing this game. The emotional conflict and levels of betrayal created by two people in a romantic relationship deciding to stab each other (and it *always* happens in the first game, even if it is contrived) are not possible in any other situation. I could not wait.

    We spent a few minutes going over the rules with the new players who were present while waiting on everyone to arrive. This gave me an appreciation for the work Jim does and how easy he makes it seem. It has been a while since I have explained the game to someone with no real strategy game experience and I certainly have never explained it to five new players in the same game. It was fun though. The players seemed to get the major concepts pretty quickly and were excited to play. With so many new players we couldn’t do the normal “newbies get France or Turkey” rule and went with random picks. I almost suggested putting Jake and Lena (the couple) in opposite theaters but then I remembered the main reason I was here and kept my mouth shut. Lena drew Italy and Jake drew Austria. This was going to be fantastic. It got better. Tuba (Lena’s roommate) completed the triangle and drew Turkey. I could see the struggle on the faces of the players from S1901. Poor Lena was forced to chose between roommate and boyfriend. Jake had to chose between girlfriend and girlfriend’s friend. Veteran Dan Burgess partnered up with Henry to play Russia so that would be a natural target but it was just a matter of time. Someone in that triangle was going to get stabbed. This was going to be fun.

    The west featured Mick as France, Brian Sheldon as Germany, and I drew England. I do not play England well. I think I am singlehandedly lowering the average results for England in this club. But I liked my chances with Mick. We were communicating well. He was new but clearly understood the basics. He didn’t seem overwhelmed. As a rule I don’t attack newbies until they attack me so I decided I would be as honest as I could, help answer Mick’s questions, giving pros and cons, letting Mick make his own decisions, and hoped he liked his chances working with me better than with Brian in Germany. I also am a believer in the wicked witches theory and believe that E/T both generally do better when their opposite corner power is also doing well (and that the inverse is also true) so I also wanted to help Tuba out. I couldn’t help directly but I wanted to be someone she felt comfortable bouncing ideas off of. I also had a hidden agenda. I wanted to encourage fireworks between Lena and Jake. Tuba doing well as Turkey could help make those fireworks happen.

    S1901 was surprisingly interesting. I told Brian and Dan/Henry that I was not going to attack Mick unless he attacked me so it was going to be me vs one of them. Dan said he liked the idea of working together against Germany and was willing to open to Silesia. Another theory I subscribe to is that opening to Silesia is almost never a good opening for Russia so of course I enthusiastically encouraged him to do that. Dan should know better. We agreed Russia would arrange a bounce with Germany in Sweden but instead would move to Baltic in F1901. I would take Norway with my fleet, Germany would have a unit stranded in Sweden, I would have an army in Denmark, and Russia would be able to force Berlin in 02. Mick as France was onboard with the plan and was moving to Burgundy. Brian was screwed. All I had to do was convince Tuba in Turkey to open to Constantinople instead of Armenia. I left S1901 negotiations feeling confident and opened standard.

    I don’t think I am as good at this game as I give myself credit for in most of my S1901 negotiations. Once again (3rd game in a row now?) I thought I knew what was going to happen and was incorrect. First, Mick did open to Burgundy as expected which was great, but he also went to the channel. He was hedging his bets. It was fine though. We talked through things and he agreed to move the fleet to Belgium. Russia opened to Silesia, France was in Burgundy, Germany was still in trouble. The bigger problem was that Jake had clearly done a more effective job negotiating with Tuba than I did. Tuba opened to Armenia and Austria slipped into Rumania. Russia was not going to get a southern build. He was desperate and I knew he was going to ask Germany to let him into Sweden. He confirmed this and said he could no longer move to Baltic. Sheldon said he was trying to convince France to Sea Lion but I did not get the impression that Mick was going to go for it. That is a pretty complex opening for a newbie and he saw that Germany had to worry about Silesia. We discussed the pros and cons of his position and I left feeling confident he was working with me. I was also pretty confident Russia was going to be bounced out of Sweden since he had opened to Silesia. I decided I would let Germany and France butt their heads together for a few years and since Tuba was attacking (a probably 4 build) Russia, I decided to get a jump start in Scandinavia. I slipped into Skagerrak, something no one was going to expect.

    I really need to stop trying to be clever. There is a reason the standard moves are standard. They just work better. F1901 featured a French army in Wales and a German fleet in the North Sea. I know the correct defense vs the Sea Lion, move NTH – HOL to keep Germany to one build and hang on for dear life while begging for help from your new best friend in Russia. The problem was that I didn’t believe the Sea Lion would happen. I think in this case Mick might have done a better job at figuring out the west than I did. Russia pulled Silesia back to defend against the A/R and arranged with Germany to take Sweden and get a build. Mick felt that without my support (I told him I was going for Scandinavia) he would be better off with Germany and made the right call. I compounded the issue by making the foolish decision to move to Skagerrak. It was just all around poor play on my part. Well done Mick and Brian Sheldon for getting me to go all in on the wrong alliance.

    After this my game was pretty much over. The only chance I had was to get Russian help and Dan left, which meant poor Henry was on his own vs. the (very awkward) alliance of A/I/T vs R. I decided at that point my new goal for the game was not for my own success, but to try and help others have fun. I worked with Henry to try and get him builds in Scandinavia (which also helped me remove German pressure). When I had a 50/50 choice between France and Germany I chose France in the hopes he might decide to stab Germany and I could join in. Newbies often are stab happy. This was not a horrible bet.

    Except that Mick did a good job seeing through this. He realized the value of the F/G and (correctly) decided he was better off continuing his alliance with Germany. For the next few turns I was relegated to just trying to stop the bleeding.

    The east was far more interesting. Jake was doing a fantastic job uniting the 3rd wheel A/I/T alliance (whether couples or roommates, *someone* was always the 3rd wheel in this relationship) with one exception. I think he may have forgotten to discuss builds. Lena built fleets as expected as the Italian in the alliance. The problem was that Tuba also built a fleets as Turkey. This was a good set of builds for Turkey independently, but not for the alliance and certainly not without a Russian ally. It also didn’t help that Dan Burgess left and Henry was far too nice to be the bogeyman man that Jake may have made Dan to be. It was fun for me to watch the realization on Lena and Tuba’s faces when they saw each other’s builds. They immediately picked up on the consequences. Lena was going to have to chose between working with her boyfriend or her roommate. By 1902 it was obvious Lena had made her choice. Love triumphed and as often happens when there are new relationships, the roommate became the 3rd wheel. It’s situations like these that make me love this game.

    Young love was not why I came to this game though. What I really wanted to see was the moment that Jake and Lena *stopped* working together. I didn’t have a ton to talk about in the west and we had 18 minutes of negotiations so I spent most of my time offering advice in the east. My hope was that Henry and Tuba could form the Juggernaut and force Jake and Lena into a situation where they ran out of dots to keep growing and each other’s dots became more tempting. For the most part this worked out pretty well. In the early portion of the mid-game, there was a moment it was obvious Jake might try to steal a dot in Venice from Lena. It was a weak stab and in my opinion not timed very well. That turn Lena approached me and explained that Jake had suggested a set of moves to protect herself from a French invasion but she had doubts. She suggested a different set of moves that also protected Venice if Jake tried to stab. I strongly encouraged her to make the moves she suggested because if Jake did stab she protected herself and if he did not, it would create tension. Both were wins for me. Lena made the order and successfully bounced Austria out of Venice. She had sniffed out the stab and defended herself. The inevitable fireworks had happened. And it was Jake who had swung the first blow. I was happy.

    At this point the 3rd wheel alliance underwent another change. This time it was Jake in Austria who was the 3rd wheel. Tuba was not thrilled with the idea of forgiving Lena after she had sided with Jake against her, but I think she enjoyed the idea of ganging up on Jake. Now Jake was facing the wrath of two scorned women. I think I was down to two units but I didn’t care. I was having a blast. The soap opera in the east was so much fun.

    Henry was the surprising beneficiary of the conflict in the east and my rapid demise in the west. He kept claiming he didn’t feel like he knew what he was doing but he was in a fantastic mid game position as Russia. My personal survival strategy at this phase of the game was to encourage that Russian growth because it weakened Germany and made Sheldon a more attractive target for Mick in France. Around this same time Curtis arrived and paired up with Henry. I could be wrong here but my impression is that Henry did not trust Jake, but when Curtis arrived Jake started to have more influence on Russia. I think the pivotal turn for Russia was when they had three units on Berlin and could have forced their way in. This was what I had been pushing for over the past few turns. Jake also had been working on Mick and convinced him that once I was gone, Germany was going to move against him next. Mick let paranoia get the better of him and I did nothing to discourage that line of thinking. I offered to janissary for Mick and he flipped. I was down to two units, one in Norway and one in Edinburg (my Scottish ancestors would be proud) but I was expecting Sheldon to lose Munich and Berlin. I had a good relationship with Russia, a good relationship with France, and a legitimate shot at a 3rd build in the following year. I was going to get back into this game.

    When the orders were read my heart sunk. Silesia supported the Austrian army in Tyrolia to Munich instead of supporting himself to Berlin. Henry and Curtis didn’t realize their support in Baltic could be cut and allowed Jake to talk them into a support he did not need and the cost of a build they very much needed. Once again I had been out negotiated.

    After this any hope I had at coming back was over. Austria was in control of the board and there was a movement to stop him, but Russia never bought in. Instead of pressing against Austria, Curtis and Henry fought with Turkey who experienced a slow and boring death as Turkish players who can’t break out of the box often do.

    The end game featured some draw vote drama, Jake did his best to top the board, the rest of the board (except Russia) tried to stop that, and France did the best job of upsetting the least amount of players (except me but I couldn’t do anything about it) so Mick ended as the big winner with a very nice score and board top.

    Player Feedback:

    Austria: Jake you played a good game and managed the 3rd wheel alliance to your favor except that you got greedy and mis timed your stab. If you had waited another year you probably end up in a better position. I also think you made a mistake getting both Russia and France to support you to Munich. This is what united the board against you. I think you would have been better off getting Russia to take Berlin and supporting France to attack Germany. This frees you up to finish off whomever is weakest in Italy/Russia/or Turkey. Of course you had a shot at the board top and I finished at one center so what do I know? 🙂

    France: Welcome to the club Mick and congrats on the board top. You made some smart decisions, particularly in the early game. I think you should have stuck with Germany and moved against Italy sooner, but you had a great game and great score so there really isn’t much to improve on here. You just need a few games to understand the strategy a little better and you’ll do fine. I hope to see you at the Red Lion for a much faster paced game.

    Germany: Brian you were the better newbie whisperer. Well played. Some day we are going to end up in a place where we stick together as allies. Let’s make it happen.

    Italy: Lena you did a good job with a complicated country. Italy is my favorite power to play by far because you have so much influence on the rest of the board. I was impressed when you sniffed out Jake’s stab and was pleased you played independently and made your own decisions. Also, thanks for bringing the perfect amount of drama to the game. I have seen some couples have horrible fights over the game. You were upset and made Jake pay but did not overreact. It was a pleasure meeting you and the I/A love hate relationship made this game very fun for me.

    Russia: Henry, you sold yourself short. By the mid game despite what you said you had a pretty good grasp on the game and were making very good decisions. I do think you got the sort end of the stick through because you did not get as much intro as the girls did because you were partnering with Dan, and then Dan left. I apologize for that. Curtis, you didn’t get to play as much since you arrived late but I was pleased to see you making some good decisions towards the end of the game. Personally I think it was a mistake for you and Henry to attack Turkey and ally with Austria. I think you and Turkey both end up better off working together in this game but it seemed like you picked up on this towards the end of the game. I hope you come back and get a full game in!

    Turkey: I feel the wicked witches theory proved itself true again. Both of us ended up doing poorly this game, somewhat because we could not work together to keep Russia honest. I feel like you were on a bad position at first. Of *course* the couple was going to work together. I was impressed that you picked up on the strategic impact your fleet builds had in 1901. I also felt like you and Lena did a good job uniting the board against Jake after he stabbed. You just had the misfortune of Russia attacking you instead of joining the attack on Austria. If that had not happened you had a good chance for some growth. I am genuinely interested to hear more about the diplomacy you studied in school compared with the game. I am curious if it is possible to come up with more coalition arrangements than is the norm in this zero sum game.

    Overall, despite play that can only be described as “abysmal” on my part, the soap opera that was the 3rd wheel alliance made this game memorable. My takeaway is that I need to be more disciplined with my openings and not go all in on weak alliance bets, particularly in the early game. My other takeaway is that games with couples and roommates in the east are just plain fun.

  2. Pete McNamara

    This may be the best AAR of all time. I only wish Chris Martin was there to capture the drama on film.

  3. Dan Burgess

    I arrived on the 30th floor rooftop in great spirits. It was a delight to see Bryan, Jake, and Brian and meet Mick, Tuba, and Lena. It was especially delightful to learn that Tuba and Lena were from Kosovo and Bulgaria respectively, as my travels have not taken me to their homelands (yet) but I know a bit about those places. But neither of them had a distinguishable accent. Strange…

    I arrived “late” at 11:10am and parked in the 30-minute flashing zone on the street below, although Brian Shelden soon informed me that I was not tardy by “Weasel Standard Time”. Agreed. Anyhow with Henry arriving even later, I agreed to play the game and show him the ropes. Instead of pulling armies out of a hat, Jake wrote down numbers 1 through 7 on sheets of paper, presumably with corresponding country assignments. I don’t know more as I never saw a sheet of paper. When the powers were assigned, Jake was Austria, Lena was Italy, and Tuba was Turkey. During subsequent negotiations I learned that Lena (from Bulgaria) was his girlfriend and Tuba (from Kosovo) was Lena’s roommate. Being Russia, that was not good for me.

    On boards with new players, I prefer to work with them. So I identified the strongest player on the board (Brian Shelden) and tried to arrange a blitz against him. By then Henry was accompanying me on negotiations, but without even knowing any of the provinces (or how to write orders, presumably) he seemed dazed at my S1901 conversations. I tried to DMZ the Black Sea with Turkey, explaining my desire to go to Silesia, Ukraine, and Rumania. She seemed to shake her head accordingly. I had heard that F and T had agreed to DMZ Piedmont, so I told F that he should support himself to Burgundy, and that with me in Silesia we could talk about Munich in the Fall. I had nice talks with England about F1901 moves being GoB-Bal and Nth C Edi-Den. Italy balked at my Vie-Tyr suggestion, saying she “had plans” with Austria. This should have been a red flag. Then I talked with Austria and suggested Vie-Boh, and he (being the schemer that Jake is) nodded in enthusiastic agreement. Before writing orders, Henry and I had a final chat with Turkey, who expressed being on board with the original plan, but I could tell something was amiss.

    A better player would have had their Spidey Sense go off at this point and change their orders to War-Gal, Mos-Ukr, and Sev-Bla. But I told Henry to write Mos-Sil, War-Ukr, and Sev-Rum. He had the two army orders backward, but being a rookie, our intended orders were allowed.

    My heart sank as Turkey ordered Ank-Bla, Smy-Arm, and Austria Vie-Bud and Bud-Rum. I then realized that I was up against a guy with his girlfriend to his right and her roommate to his left. At this point I cared more about my car being towed than the position on the board.

    With Henry listening we conducted F1901 negotiations in earnest, but after talking to the girls Jake (Austria) ended our conversation after about eight seconds. I realized that I would have zero chance at persuading that triumvirate to do my bidding. Ukr S Sev was uncuttable, and (thankfully) Germany agreed to let me into Sweden. So I told Germany I was backing off and moving Sil-Gal and told Henry to write those orders. Then I went to move my car, which had been in the 30-min zone for 1h10m. Thankfully it was there as I’d left it, and I relocated it to the garage at Shelden’s building, where he could get me out for free with a pass. (Something that should have been arranged beforehand, duh.)

    I walked through the pleasant early autumn air back to Jake’s building, went up to the 30th floor, and saw a Turkish army in Sevastopol. Apparently Henry’s orders had been written Ukr S Sil-Gal instead of Ukr S Sev. With four brand-new players on the board (counting Henry) any experienced player would know that Russia would support him/herself in Sevastopol in that situation so as not to lose the dot. But the adjudication had been done. I could not stand it anymore and departed to watch my Packers play football. Thankfully Brian’s garage has 30 minutes of free parking and I didn’t have to pay the 20 bucks to get out.

    Our club has standing protocols for new players playing with people who recruited them; we have used them for fathers bringing their teenage sons to play. In my opinion, this rule might have been appropriate so that Jake, his girlfriend, and her roommate weren’t placed in adjacent powers.

    I’m very glad to hear that Henry survived, Jake attempted to stab Lena (and failed), and that a new player was the board-topper. I do regret having departed suddenly, but at the moment, the circumstances of the game did not pass my smell test.

    I hope to see all of the players at future games, and also to meet Curtis.

  4. Brian Shelden

    It was an interesting game. Not since college have I had the pleasure of being on a board with 4 new players. (And I was one of them.)

    Notwithstanding Dan’s complements of my play, negotiating with new players has never been my strong suit. So it was an opportunity to try and hone that part of my game. I was pleased to have won the biding war for Mick’s (F) services, much to the detriment of Bryan Pravel (E).

    FWIW, the board assignment was my doing, and fully “7 blocks in a hat” random.

    I was unaware that there is a WCW assignment protocol for 4 new players…I’d seen us put a new player in E or T….but I didn’t realize it covered 4 players. Now having seen it, I’m glad it’s in writing for my and others’ reference going forward.

    The Fall 1901 adjudication was unfortunate. It was a hard one to resolve fairly for anyone. There were new-player errors on both the attack and defense of Sevastopol. We did the best we could.

    At lot of the conflicts would have been easier to resolve if we’d had a neutral 8th player around. We had draw votes later which suffered from this lack, too. I’m sorry you couldn’t stick around to either GM or heck, play Germany so I could GM/coach!

  5. Jake Trotta

    Before I begin, thanks to all the players for coming out. It was a great game, great learning experience, and I very much enjoyed myself as well as the process of recruiting for the club. The weather was gorgeous and a rooftop game was a great way to spend the last day of summer. Also shoutout to War Weasel Brandon Fogel. He designed a board for me that I had printed at Staples. It’s a beautiful 3 foot by 4 foot board. It was very helpful for newbies getting to know the map.

    Because we had so many new players, we randomized the draw. I was looking to recruit more than anything else, have fun, learn, work on some newbie whispering. On a board of weasels, I always play to win. On a board of pups, I was playing to do something fun and make sure the other vets didn’t get too big. I ended up between my girlfriend, Lena, and her roommate, Tuba. They’re both former Gov majors, much more likely to be sharks than needing to be carried. I have a rule that I don’t kill newbies before 03 if I can avoid it, so Dan in Russia was my first target. Sorry, Dan.

    In 01, I knew Italy and Turkey’s plan was to kill me after Russia died. I decided to give Lena Trieste in exchange for building two fleets. This was a little bit devious as I knew what she didn’t know-it would be very difficult for her to kill me with only one army near my borders. I both seemed like a generous and caring guy while also protecting my long term interests-that’s a W. Early on I established trust.

    I also knew Tuba to be a very logical person (she took the LSAT the day before), so I gave her the game theory pitch on the Sundstrom opening. I wasn’t sure if she bought it, but was able to reinforce the long term I/A/T benefits to her. This had a secondary benefit-as someone who opens to Arm more often than not, I wanted to play it out from Austria’s perspective. After a bounce in spring, Turkey supported me into Rum in the fall while she picked up Sev for herself. I’d also convinced Lena to take Serbia instead of staying in Trieste. I/A/T all got two builds, Russia was crippled, and there was key lepanto that neither I nor T recognized? Pretty successful opening year.

    Then both T and I built two fleets (they hadn’t coordinated). I was overjoyed at this. Even for rookies, the “you have 3 armies between you, I have 4, you’re not going to be able to kill me” pitch worked. Lena seemed more interested in working together than Tuba, so I decided to let her grow first in the alliance, supporting her into Bul while swinging around for the Lepanto. Meanwhile, Henry had taken over for Dan and needed a buddy. I supported him back into Sev and convinced him to turn west against Germany.

    Fall 03 was where the magic happened. Despite cavernous openings in Italy, I had told Lena in 02 “I will not stab you unless you give me a strong reason to.” I wasn’t going to stab her for dots, it needed to be a lesson-teaching sort of thing. This is my policy with most new players-a big score isn’t worth driving someone away from the hobby. But if you give me a reason to get a big score that I think you’ll understand, well, we’re in business.

    We were all set to trade Bul for Con, I was in the Aegean, things were great. I saw a potential stab where I could take Serb, Bul, and Venice all at once, but didn’t really consider it. Then with less than a minute left on the negotiating clock in fall 03, I asked her if she was having fun, and she said “Yeah, but I kinda want to stop playing.”

    I stabbed for two reasons there. One is within the board, we had an absolutely perfect position for an AI. Russia was small and janissarying, Turkey was dying, France was going north. If I’m going to do a long term alliance, I want an enthusiastic partner who is fired up about crushing our opponents in two years. I want a Frodo to my Sam, not a Bert to my Ernie.
    Second, don’t ever say you don’t want to play anymore. Especially in 03. There are ways you can say that without saying it directly. For example, “I’m happy to take a draw here.” And you sure as hell don’t tell your ally who has been letting you grow first that you’re ready to stop. I stabbed.
    Unfortunately, I stabbed wrong. I went for 4 instead of a guaranteed 3 (which, unless you’re Russia, makes absolutely no sense.) Lena ended up staying level because of a disband in Serbia, and I only could build 2. She and Tuba wised up real quick and did a good job hurting me tactically. I also royally pissed off Brian Shelden in the process. Our prime weasel gets pretty upset if you dot him for giggles, as I’ve learned a few times now.

    As a result, Brian decided to ensure his ally, Mick, would top the board. I vetoed a draw in 04 because I had an opportunity to gain a couple centers with a little luck, but made a tactical mistake that prevented that. I ended the game with no friends and in second place.

    Player Feedback
    Austria-I had a lot of fun, learned a few things, and made 2 key mistakes that ending up costing me a big score. Real good practice. Solid B-level performance, but most importantly everyone had fun.
    England-OMG your 01 was hilarious. Nothing further.
    France-Very, very, very impressed with Mick’s play. Only saw 1 tactical mistake the whole game. Sharp negotiator right from the start-could not pull one over on him to cause chaos in the west. Very excited to see Mick on another board.
    Germany-Brian I don’t feel like I could figure you out, particularly when you’d get upset. Now I feel like I’m starting to understand how you see the game. I think those views are common amongst the traveling community, so while it is not so fun to be taught lessons in the moment, that has been very valuable for me.
    Italy-It was a lot of fun playing with Lena. Lena did a good job snuffing out intent in others and definitely has some potential. She also understood why I stabbed, and has since talked about how much more fun it would be to stab me if we played again. She’ll be back at some point.
    Russia-the Dan/ Henry/ Curtis troika improved each year. Henry didn’t give himself enough credit-he learned what was going on pretty quick and did well to go from 0-60 (didn’t get the full training.) Curtis seemed to really enjoy the game and may be back soon.
    Turkey-Very good job on the opening. The only mistake Tuba made was not being willing to work with me after building 2 fleets. Did a great job tag teaming with Lena once I got big.

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