For the second time in club history and first since July 2015, the Weasels fielded boards in two locations on the same day. The games took place yesterday on the New East Side and in Avondale.
Originally scheduled for Brian Shelden’s condo on the swanky New East Side, Game No. 327 relocated to the bar Seven in his building due to construction in his unit. Readers will recall that Seven is the karaoke bar where we went after the welcome party for last summer’s World Diplomacy Championship. Turns out it works pretty well for Dip, too.
The game ended by draw vote in Spring 1908. The final center counts were:
Austria (Chris Kelly): 0; 0.000 points.
England (Brian Shelden): 0; 0.000 points.
France (Ted McClelland): 10; 38.760 points.
Germany (Ian Miller): 8; 24.806 points.
Italy (Tim Schwartz): 3; 3.488 points.
Russia (Bryan Pravel): 7; 18.992 points.
Turkey (David Spanos): 6; 13.953 points.
The supply center chart is here. Hopefully the players will share the scoop by commenting below.
Meanwhile, Ali Adib organized the club’s first live digital game at his place in Avondale. He asked the players to bring smart phones, laptops or tablets, and used one of the online sites as an interface for entering moves and displaying the board.
Game No. 328 featured three first-time Weasels in Lucy Marcus, Paul Beinnel and Peter Buczak. The game ended by time limit after the Fall 1906 turn in the following center counts:
Austria (Mick Johnson): 5; 11.468 points.
England (Lucy Marcus): 9; 37.156 points.
France (Paul Beinnel): 2; 1.835 points.
Germany (Gus Spelman): 6; 16.514 points.
Italy (Jake Trotta): 2; 1.835 points.
Russia (Ali Adib): 2; 1.835 points.
Turkey (Peter Buczak): 8; 29.358 points.
The supply center chart is here. Again let’s hear from the players. How did the digital experiment go?
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Sometimes in Diplomacy, you just need a good bounce.
I love killing France. When I’ve played other western countries, I’ve organized three-way lynch mobs to attack France. In fact, in the elevator on the way up to the game, I joked to David, “Let’s kill France.” The exception, of course, is when I play France, as I did in this game. As the Spring ’01 negotiations began, England and Germany withdrew to a corner, leaving me the odd man at the table. Although I received promises of DMZ in Burgundy and the Channel, I was still wary. So I ordered Bre-MAO, Par-Bur, Mar-Bur, self-bouncing in Burgundy. Sure enough, Brian S. in England opened to the Channel. So in the fall, I ordered MAO-Bre, Par-Bre, Mar-Spa, self-bouncing in Brest and sacrificing a build to guarantee it was left open to build F Bre. I think this was the key move of the game for me, because it put me in a position to attack England, as part of an FG alliance that would last through the entire game. Ian and I teamed up to eliminate England, and then I made gains in the Mediterranean and he made gains in Scandinavia. There were plenty of times we could have stabbed each other. I was encouraged to stab Germany by the participants in the RT juggernaut, but declined. (I did benefit from the RT. Italy made a hostile move toward me, but retreated to deal with a threat from Turkey. Ultimately, he let me take Tunis and Naples because my fleets were holding back Turkey in the Med.)
I think one reason I board topped was that my alliance style of play suited the room. It wasn’t a game full of sharks. In Diplomacy, you play the players, not the board.
Postscript: I left my phone charger in the bar, and when I returned for it that evening, who should be sitting there but Brian Shelden, my antagonist in that afternoon’s game. He bought me a Macallan (the same whisky Chris Kelly drank during the game) and we had a nice chat. Someday, we agreed, we’ll work together. Someday.
[u][b]“Let’s get a room”[/b][/u]
Game 328, much like Mick Johnson’s above Fall 02 comment to me, was awkward both in and out of context. I suppose that’s what you’d expect out of five rookies just trying to find a way to get down. There was no stable alliance structure, neither theatre got resolved, and despite Munich being constantly surrounded for the latter half of the game, it never changed hands. It was a slow chaos, a grind that, somehow, rewarded the two most patient players on the board. It opened as an unplanned, untrusting Western Triple. It ended with a brilliant 3 dot stab of 3 players by the deserving board topper, Lucy.
Overall, very fun game. The players on the board have a lot of potential. I’ll focus on 3 key moments that made it the mess it was, then provide some individual coaching. Hoping to see more of these guys again.
[b]Panic in Piedmont: How the East fell[/b]
Austria (Mick) and I (Italy) opened with a Key Lepanto (Italy forgoes Tunis for the Aegean, walks to Serbia), securing Bulgaria in S02. S02 also saw France in Piedmont and West Med. I was out of position- only had one army back home and Tunis was my only guaranteed build.
Because of France’s aggression, I decided units and survival were more important than friendship. I tried to stab Mick for Trieste and Greece simultaneously, only got Trieste out of it, and had thus neutered Austria without killing him. At the same time, Germany moved on Warsaw while England took STP.
This made the east an entanglement on nonviable powers- Russia at 4, all in the south. Turkey at 3. Italy at 6, but having just failed a stab and with France now in Tusc and Pie. Austria fragmented with 2 home, Greece, and Bul.
[b]How the West was Lost[/b]
Now that board scenario-essentially a western triple with the east in disarray- screams for a brilliant game for somebody in the west. But they lost nearly all of their tempo in 03. France overcommitted south, sending his two fleets into West and GOL, leaving a perfect EG opportunity (the north sea was miraculously DMZ’d). England swam into the channel and took Brest… while also moving into position on Scandinavia. Meanwhile, Germany took STP from England (somewhat by accident-they tried to walk out in the fall but were rebuffed by a Turkish bounce in Moscow.)
France now began a slow but steady decline (with some Italian assistance). But instead of England and Germany carving up French and Russian dots, they now had to worry about each other. West=mess.
[b]One Stab to Rule Them All[/b]
While Mr. Patient in Turkey began tidying up the East, England made a brilliant move that would secure her victory. In S05, she had supported Italy into Spain in exchange for support into Portugal in the fall. Relevant position:
France- Mar, Port, Burg, Ruhr
England- MAO, A-Brest, F-Bel, F-ECH.
Italy-Pie, Spain (SC), GOL
England made two simultaneous deals- agreeing with France to take Spain instead of Portugal in exchange for a support cut of Kiel. This would net her Holland and Spain while allowing France to keep Portugal and Paris.
Meanwhile, the deal with Italy was moving to Paris to force the unit in Burgundy to choose-save Paris or Marseilles.
Having successfully convinced Italy not to protect Spain and France not to cover Paris, she took both, while taking Holland to boot.
A pure moment of Weasel Brilliance.
Wish I had done it myself-and that’s why I helped her hold Spain in 1906, ensuring she held the board top.
Austria (Mick): I’m going to write in Wise Old Weasel: Austria about how much I hate the Key Lepanto for Austria. It is, in my mind, the alliance of least preference. Outside of that, you played well, and had I not helped Turkey after your half-stab, you had a shot at the top.
England (Lucy): The 1905 stab showed killer instinct. That instinct is the difference between good and great diplomacy players. Earned the board top, very well played (especially for a first timer), and hope to see you around more boards.
France (Paul): First, your mentality towards the game is refreshing… and gave me a lot of headaches. That is about as good a compliment as I can give someone on a diplomacy board. When you were in Piedmont, you had two options: attack me or do the work around in Tyrolia and Burgundy. Either one could have landed you a monster game. By choosing neither/ patience, you gave the rest of the west time to move on you (and time to convince me to do so!) My advice here: pick a horse and ride it.
The other bit of advice I’d pass along- it is often said that diplomacy is first about negotiation, then strategy, then tactics. Even if you are not working directly with an ally (as was the case with France and Germany in the early game), they need a role to play and to feel like you’re helping them-otherwise your just a future target. Throwing England or Germany a bone earlier probably buys you the time you need to take my dots.
Here’s a simpler way of thinking about it-there’s no such thing as a non-aggression pact. You’re either helping each other (directly or indirectly) or you ain’t.
Germany (Gus): Boy, you’re a real snake oil salesman (again, this is a compliment). As mentioned in my comment to Paul, this game is about negotiation, then strategy, then tactics. You’ve got a tremendously high ceiling in terms of negotiation.
Your mistakes this game were strategic-you’ve got to play the country you’re handed. Germany has tremendous potential for early growth on its own, that growth can be sustained with a good ally. If you work with England a year sooner on stabbing France, you’re off to the races. Looking forward to seeing you on more boards.
Italy (Jake): Being Italy to a Western Triple is not fun. Doing it with a key is even less fun. Doing a key against a triple when Russia gets hamstrung is even less fun. Not a great performance on my end-strategy and tactics were great, negotiation was poor to allow the game to become so much of a mess.
Russia (Ali): Thanks for hosting! It was a great time. I don’t really have any comments on your game- you kinda got screwed.
Turkey (Peter): Very impressed by your play. Even though you got jumped, you turtled well, and instead of taking dots, you negotiated for them. Did well to put yourself in a position to top, if the game continues you probably run away with it.