New season, old wars

Season 13 got off to a late start Wednesday at the Red Lion, and a couple of players went to great lengths to make it happen. Literally.

Isaac Cumberledge traveled by train and el from distant Huntley just to play Dip with the Weasels. Recently relocated from Ohio, he learned about the club on and braved the three-hour round-trip commute to join us for Red Wednesday. That’s commitment.

Don’t blame Brian Murdock for thinking Ike’s a piker, though. He came all the way from Seattle! Known to WAC alumni simply as Murdock, he was  tagging along with his wife for a conference in town and bumped into Jim O’Kelley while wandering around Lincoln Park Wednesday morning. The chance encounter led to an invitation to round out our first board of Season 13.

So, after three false starts, Season 13 finally opened with Game No. 354. It ended by time limit after the Fall 1906 turn in the following center counts:

Austria (Brandon Fogel): 4; 6.504 points.
England (Isaac Cumberledge): 0; 0.000 points.
France (Christian Kline): 11; 49.187 points.
Germany (Brian Murdock): 2; 1.626 points.
Italy (Jim O’Kelley): 4; 6.504 points.
Russia (Ali Adib): 8; 26.016 points.
Turkey (Chris Kelly): 5; 10.163 points.

While the players in the East fought old wars, Kline took advantage of the clean slate in the West. The old scorpion stung both newcomers en route to a commanding board-top.

The supply center chart is here. Players, how about some endgame statements?

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 13 Comments

  1. Jake Trotta

    A shocking development for our first game… a dominant Kline board top in France.

    Also, shout out to Jim for tracking Bel, Channel, Sweden, Black, Gal, and Rum and the end of 01 (in addition to our usual and customary openers). It is part of a new WEASTATS initiative that should pay dividends in a couple years.

    1. Chris Kelly

      This is a really useful thing to track. Thanks, Jim!

  2. Chris Kelly

    The unfortunate results for the long-distance visitors in England/Germany affected the eastern theatre as well as the west. By coincidence, I was Turkey & Brandon was Austria, as we had been a few months earlier in [url=]Game 346[/url] — where I regrettably aborted what could have been an effective A/T alliance that he proposed. So I was motivated to try and make it work this time, and we got off to an effective start with me slipping into Sevastopol to build 2 (anti-Italian) fleets in 1901.

    The fleets (in combination with Austrian armies) were enough to make gradual progress against Italy, but to gain ground vs. Russia as well, we needed either Germany or England to apply pressure in the north, and that didn’t happen. Germany briefly sent an army to Silesia, but Ali was able to persuade it to attack Galicia & then withdraw without even bothering to defend Warsaw. And when gains in Scandinavia enabled Russia to actually build an additional army in Warsaw instead, there was no way for AUS/TUR to break the logjam on that front.

    As a result, in F04, realizing that the current alliances would at best result in AUS/TUR picking off a couple more Italian centers while FRA scored a runaway board-top, I made a post-negotiation decision to stab AUS for Serbia while hopefully also gaining Rome with the support-cutting help that both AUS & FRA had offered during talks.

    Alas, Christian also had a post-negotiation epiphany, recognizing that he was better off propping up Italy than helping Turkey take one of its centers. So I was left with Brandon deriding me for a pointless 1-dot stab — and understandably so, since while I was taking a risky gamble with my own prospects for a possible breakout, I was indisputably attaching an anvil to his. But without more resistance from ENG/GER to France and Russia, we were stuck as also-rans either way.

  3. Brandon Fogel

    It won’t surprise anyone that I disagree with the logic behind your stab. In F04, you had a fleet in Rom and ION, meaning that, once Italy was crippled, you could have pestered France directly (with my help from Pie). With the game ending in 1906, I think you’re probably able to pull either Spa or Mar, but even if not, we still would have forced him to defend those centers, slowing him down in the north. Plus you would have picked up Rom/Nap/Tun, giving you at least 9 (assuming you get one of Ser/Rum/Sev; more if you stab me at the right time).

    The biggest problem with the stab at that moment was that Italy was still viable. He and I were able to push you back fairly easily.

    You were hoping that Russia would help you against me, but he had little incentive to do so, especially since I was offering him your dots and also offering to give him some of my dots on the last turn (which would have happened had Germany not forced him to defend War). And even if he did join forces with you, it seems a bad switch for you. We may not have been making progress against Russia, but at least we were keeping him in check in the south.

    I was genuinely willing to play second fiddle to you in the alliance, and I believe that showed in my actions.

    Jake likes to call me the BTOAB, but I think I’m deserving of a different title, as this game demonstrates: the BAOAB, Best Ally on Any Board.

    1. Chris Kelly

      [quote name=”Brandon Fogel”]I was genuinely willing to play second fiddle to you in the alliance, and I believe that showed in my actions.

      Jake likes to call me the BTOAB, but I think I’m deserving of a different title, as this game demonstrates: the BAOAB, Best Ally on Any Board.[/quote]
      Our interpretations of the board situation differ, but you were absolutely an excellent ally in this game. As was Christian Kline in the previous game I played (at the Pyle).

      I’m not sure what’s happening to this club.

      1. Jake Trotta

        [quote name=”Chris Kelly”][quote name=”Brandon Fogel”]
        I’m not sure what’s happening to this club.[/quote]

        Would you rather steal lunch money from three poor kids or one rich kid?

    2. Jake Trotta

      [quote name=”Brandon Fogel”]
      Jake likes to call me the BTOAB, but I think I’m deserving of a different title, as this game demonstrates: the BAOAB, Best Ally on Any Board.[/quote]

      I believe the club had 82 people last year who consider themselves BAOAB.

      Except maybe Kline.

      1. Chris Kelly

        I recall hearing Jim O’Kelley once admit that he “might not have the Good Housekeeping seal of approval” as an ally.

        IIRC, the context was that he was still a better option than Christian Kline.

        1. Jim O'Kelley

          Just to be clear, [i]Good Housekeeping[/i] considers a good ally to be someone who stands by you through thin as well as thick. I just think that’s a great real-life quality but not such a great trait for Diplomacy.

          And to be clear again, to me, thin is not necessarily when your ally is having a hard time. It’s when the alliance no longer seems to be the best approach for my game. I’ll give up on an alliance when I think there’s a better way to advance my game.

          I’ve also said that when there are interlopers in our sphere, there’s no one better to have behind you than me. So at least there’s that, for the record.

  4. Jim O'Kelley

    [u][b]Clowning Around[/b][/u]
    When Turkey builds two fleets in 1901, it doesn’t scream A/T to me. Maybe it should, but it doesn’t.

    At least not in the same way that a placid Black Sea screams Juggernaut or a quiet Galicia screams–well, maybe suggests–an A/R.

    I haven’t read [i]It [/i]or watched either of the two movie versions, so I haven’t developed a healthy skepticism of sewer-dwelling clowns*. Nor do I usually give much thought to AT.

    It’s such an uncommon alliance, mostly because in a long game, it tends to put Austria in the uncomfortable position of being hemmed in on three sides by the ally behind him. In a shorter bar game, that danger may diminish, but Turkey still has the advantage of being able to risk a hasty stab. The game is unlikely to develop to a point where he regrets a poor one.

    Of course, I’m a big believer that the best alliance is the one you can get and good communication and coordination can offset inherent positional imbalances, but when Turkey built those two fleets–after Austria (Brandon Fogel) Hedge-hogged as I moved to Piedmont and Venice, and then bounced me out of Venice again as Piedmont pivoted to Tyrolia–the last thing on my mind was an A/T.

    My initial reaction was to order Naples to Ionian and stand down against Austria. But a conversation with the Turk (Chris Kelly) put a healthy fear of the A/T in me.

    Me: I opened against Brandon (the two-time defending Weasel of the Year and freshly minted Bull Weasel). Why did you build two fleets?

    Chris: I’m sorry, man. That was the deal, and I haven’t worked with Brandon in a while. I’d like to give it a try.

    Plan? Working with Brandon? What madness was this? And why had I been so clueless?

    I was now viewing Austria’s support of Sevastopol to Rumania in the fall as Armenia walked to Sevastopol through a new lens. An alliance that had been concealed by the fog of war was now crystal clear.

    So, I crossed out Naples to Ionian and wrote Naples to Apulia instead and ordered Tunis to the Ionian. My game was now about slowing down the A/T for as long as possible.

    Had it not been for that brief conversation with a forthright Chris Kelly, my mediocre result likely would have been a dismal one.

    Finally, I’ll comment on my initial choice to attack Brandon. I’ve written that an Italian who attacks Austria ought to expect an R/T to form. Russia (Ali Adib) and Turkey were much more interested in fighting each other than working with me. I hoped my moves would change that. They didn’t.

    I still think it’s best to assume that by attacking Austria, you’ll forge R/T cooperation, but that assumption should be for strategic planning purposes only. If Austria falls, you could be next. How are you going to deal with that? [i]Can [/i]you deal with that?

    I attacked Austria in hopes of finding a partner. That’s a poor strategy.

    * I am skeptical of clowns in general, but that has much more to do with growing up in the real world at a time when John Wayne Gacy was preying on kids than with any of the fiction I’ve read or watched.

    1. Chris Kelly

      [quote name=”Jim O’Kelley”]Chris: I’m sorry, man. That was the deal, and I haven’t worked with Brandon in a while. I’d like to give it a try.[/quote]
      What horrifies me here is, did I really say, “I’m sorry, man”? I’ve been out of California for seven years, and hoped it was out of my system.

      1. Jim O'Kelley

        Scout’s honor, those were your exact words.

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