Matilda Waltzes

As newcomer and transplanted Brit Matilda Bathurst gained some traction Wednesday night at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square, observer Chris Kelly turned to me and said, “If she waltzes to this board-top, the title writes itself.”

Chris and I fancy ourselves to be geniuses when it comes to titling these game summaries, and normally, we can appreciate each other’s references. This one had me stumped, though. I’m not well versed in Australian folk music, and “Walk on the Wild Side” is as deep into the Lou Reed weeds as I can go.

As both her neighbor on the board and a history major who specialized in Medieval civilization, I was thinking instead of the central figure in an English civil war. While victorious, that Matilda was never crowned, though, so Chris gets the nod.

Game No. 369, played June 13 at the Red Lion, ended by draw vote in Spring 1905 in the following center counts:

Austria (Jake Langenfeld): 3; 5.000 points.
England (Ali Adib): 4; 8.889 points.
France (Matilda Bathurst): 8; 35.556 points.
Germany (Jim O’Kelley): 5; 13.889 points.
Italy (Ravi Betzig): 5; 13.889 points.
Russia (Chad Carson): 4; 8.889 points.
Turkey (Nick McIntyre): 5; 13.889 points.

Matilda was recruited by Ali. Ravi and Nick, meanwhile, found us through Meetup. Matilda and Nick were playing for the first time. Ravi was playing his first face-to-face game. Throw in Chad, who was returning to the table for the first time since May of last year, and it was an exceptionally good recruiting night for the club.

The supply center chart is here. Find the current league standings here. And the updated Bar Room Brawl standings are here.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Jim O'Kelley

    This was a short, leisurely game, but it was a lot of fun. I’d like to call out Ali Adib for some clever play at my expense.

    In Fall 1902, as I was turning the tables on the E/F by taking — with Russia (Chad Carson) — two centers from Ali’s England, I decided to throw him a bone.

    I had persuaded Chad to ignore the threat to St. Pete from England’s A Finland and attack the North Sea with my support. He was already off to a strong start — his position certainly was better than mine — so I chose to alert Ali, through an intermediary, that St. Pete would be open.

    Ali took the dot to limit his losses to one center, disbanded his army in St. Petersburg, and promptly ratted me out to Chad. That killed the budding G/R and my momentum.

    On the final turn of the game, he turned the same trick. This time, France had two units on London but needed me to cut a British support from the North Sea. Matilda was sitting in Munich, though, so I was disinclined to help her. Plus, I needed all three of my fleets to recapture Denmark from Chad.

    So, I promised Ali that I wouldn’t interfere with his defense of London. In return, I asked him not to mess with my attack on Denmark. He agreed.

    And he kept his word … but he also demonstrated to Matilda that I couldn’t possibly cut his support [i]and[/i] retake Denmark. Since she couldn’t take London without my help, he suggested that she attack my Belgium instead.

    And then he didn’t bother to defend London. Instead, his North Sea fleet snagged Norway from Russia.

    Pretty sneaky stuff.

    1. Chris Kelly

      You really don’t need to be “well versed in Australian folk music” to recognize the phrase “waltzing Matilda” – like most people, I couldn’t name another Australian folk song even if you put a gun to my head. But maybe devoting a significant portion of your life to Diplomacy *and* medieval history has caused you to miss some aspects of otherwise common culture. 😉 (I probably just confused you by dragging in the Lou Reed angle, which is as obscure for normal folks as 12th-century AD English civil wars.)

  2. Bryan Pravel

    Sounds like a really fun game! Great to see some new players having success.

  3. Chris Kelly

    I came to the Red Lion as a prospective backup player, but Nick and Ravi’s arrival meant I didn’t have to play, so I settled happily into the role of observer/adviser (with help from Christian Kline), mostly helping Matilda weigh the negotiating pitches being made to her.

    When an established Dip player brings a newbie friend to a game, and they wind up on the same side of the board, the newbie will turn out to be one of two types. The boring type will be docile allies of the friend who brought them, partly out of perceived loyalty and partly because they’re not confident enough in their game knowledge to act on their own. The fun type of newbies grasp the spirit of Diplomacy more quickly, and can’t wait for the opportunity to stick it to the friend who invited them.

    Matilda was the fun type. As England, Ali talked her into an anti-German Maginot opening, but also moved to the Channel – he moved the fleet to Belgium in the fall, but may have intended that micro-aggression to make a later stab easier. Either way, when I was granted time to discuss French builds with Matilda at year’s end, I told her she would be within her rights to build F Brest just to deter Ali from trying another Channel move. And when I explained that putting her other build in Paris would imply she wanted to attack Germany (Jim), she said, “I want to work with him.” So then I said that building in Marseille would be seen as anti-Italian, but a fleet there could rapidly swing around to attack England… and her eyes lit up in delight.

    With the eastern half of the board sinking into an A/I vs. R/T slugfest, France’s change of alliances from England to Germany essentially determined the outcome of the game. Ali found himself fighting all three of his neighbors and decided (probably for personal as well as pragmatic reasons) to focus his defensive efforts on Jim and Chad (Russia), hoping persuasion alone would be enough to keep Matilda from taking his home supply centers. Once she decided not to let him off the hook, and as England/Germany/Russia kept wrangling rather than forming a common front, her board-top was a foregone conclusion (hence my comment to Jim at the top of this post). Germany abandoning Munich to fight a Russian land assault made France’s task even easier.

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