As the saying goes, a tie is like kissing all three of your sisters. Last night’s game at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square was as tight as can be, with Clockwork Chris Kelly’s two-dot lead evaporating in the final year.
Game No. 385 ended by time limit after the Fall 1907 turn, naturally, in a blurry photo finish. The final center counts were:
Austria (Bryan Pravel): 7; 21.121 points.
England (Brandon Fogel): 7; 21.121 points.
France (Chris Kelly): 7; 21.121 points.
Germany (Brian MacWilliams): 6; 15.517 points.
Italy (Ted McClelland): 0; 0.000 points.
Russia (Ali Adib): 0; 0.000 points.
Turkey (Dan Perlman): 7; 21.121 points.
The supply center chart is here. The updated league standings are here. The Brawl standings are here.
For Bull Weasel Ali Adib, this first stop on his Royale victory tour did not go as planned. For Dan Perlman, meanwhile, it wasn’t a bad beginning to his Windy City Weasels playing career.
This Post Has 4 Comments
Looks like a fun board! Also, my quick look through the league historical data shows no one games that ended with this result.
Magnificent 7s, indeed.
Ha. After the “Welcome Back, Trotta” game, I did a quick site search this time to make sure I hadn’t used “Magnificent Sevens” before.
Yes, Jake – this was an extremely fun board! It seemed like alliances were shifting on almost every turn.
And my steady growth in the supply center chart before the final year is misleading – I was on the verge of being dismantled twice during the game, including the opening turn when ENG went to the Channel, GER tried to get into Burgundy, and ITA opened to Piedmont. All I could do was throw my head back and laugh.
By fall 1903, I was in Tunis as part of a Western triple. That’s the kind of game it was.
A little more detail about the game… as I mention above, I was attacked by all 3 of my neighbors on the first turn. Fortunately, I was trying out a French opening I don’t believe I’ve seen used before – and one designed to defend against this exact situation: Brest->MAO, Marseilles->Burgundy, and Paris->Gascony (the “Vineyard” opening). After a bounce in Burgundy, this opening provides maximum flexibility to cover Brest, Burgundy, or Marseilles or go to Spain and/or Portugal, in each case with either of 2 units.
Diplomatically, I pleaded separately with Brian (GER) and Ted (ITA) that if they continued coming after me, they would get little of the spoils and instead essentially hand Brandon (ENG) the game from the outset. (I don’t recall exactly what I said to Brandon, but I suspect it was something different than “If you don’t stop, you’ll win easily!”) Tactically, I opted to send Mar->Spa, with Gas->Mar to bounce an Italian attack in the hope that Brian would not hit Burgundy again, and MAO->Por, gambling that Brandon wouldn’t go after Brest. Each guess turned out right, and I not only survived the S01 onslaught but got 2 builds.
Even better, Germany didn’t build in Munich (and bounced England in Belgium), Russia built a second northern unit, and an apparent RT in the east meant Italy would have to turn back from attacking me. As this developed in 1902, with Brian enthusiastically going east to threaten Warsaw, Brandon suggested that we might as well form a Western triple. I agreed, but also warned Brian that at some point Brandon would try to team up with one of us against the other – and we needed to team up against him before that happened.
All went well for us in 1903, as we whittled down ITA and RUS (to the benefit of AUS and TUR). In particular, it helped me that Ted, as Italy, chose to continue fighting Austria rather than defend himself against my incursion. (From the beginning, he hadn’t wanted to spend the game bogged down as a 4-center Italy. So when his initial attack on me didn’t bear fruit, and I undermined his change of direction against Austria, he preferred to simply give in to an early demise.)
But in spring 1904, the flip I feared happened – ENG and GER moved aggressively in my direction, and it was desperation time again for France. I prepared to abandon my gains in Italy to stop ENG at all costs, and (along with Ali) pleaded with Brian that F04 was a now-or-never moment to stab Brandon before he gained unstoppable momentum. Happily, Brian agreed, and ENG lost 2 centers (Bel & StP) instead of gaining anything. As an added bonus, Ted failed to retreat from a Turkish attack into Tunis, which I had (probably unwisely) left open, so I retained a build even during a full-scale withdrawal.
Because Brandon cleverly removed the units that were the most threatening to me, though, suddenly I found myself willing to ally with him once more, helping him back into Belgium as a way to get his army out of Picardy. (So, for the record, the alliances were: S04->ENG/GER vs. FRA, F04->FRA/GER vs. ENG, and S05->ENG/FRA vs. GER 😀 )
That stabilized the West while I resumed advancing like (*cough*) clockwork in Italy, now fighting against Dan (TUR) for control of the mainland boot. Until spring 1906, when I spent too much time figuring out Italian tactics & heard the buzzer go off without having written my orders for armies in Paris and Burgundy (the latter of which I’d explicitly promised Brandon would support his unit in Belgium). Scribbling hurriedly, I wrote for Burgundy “S A Par” (because I’d just written “S A Bur” for Paris) instead of “S A Bel”, causing ENG to lose Belgium. Brandon justifiably reacted by throwing everything he had in my general direction, the results showing that it might have been a good plan even if I hadn’t accidentally betrayed him.
With AUS and TUR finally working together by that time as well, that meant all four of the surviving opponents were unified against me, so I spent 1907 trying to lose as few centers as possible, and it’s just a hilarious coincidence that it wound up with 4 players tying for the board top (though I did make some effort to ensure that any Italian centers I lost went to TUR rather than AUS). Had the game continued, I probably would have faced elimination yet again, and this time perhaps not survived.