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Bloody Valentine

July’s Red Wednesday was an entertaining, down-to-the-wire affair that saw four powers tied for the board-top entering 1905.  Newcomer Josh Valentine missed out on a lone board-top at the last moment thanks to a surprise gift of 4 supply centers from Kevin O’Kelly to Christian Kline.  The result pulls Christian up to 2nd place in the league standings.

All the moves can be found on Backstabbr.  Check out the livestream of the game, called by Chris Brand, Brandon Fogel, and Tanya Gill.  The stream features Chris Kelly leading the chat comments and postgame interviews with all the players.  Don’t miss Christian Kline thanking Kevin O’Kelly for gifting him a share of the board top while also blaming Kevin for costing him a better result.

Game #409, played on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, at Online in Interwebs, ended in a seven-way draw in 1906. This game is part of WCW League 15 (2020).
Austria(Jay Honnold)4 centers10.429 points
England(Kevin O'Kelley)2 centers8.429 points
France(Josh Valentine)9 centers25.929 points
Germany(Christian Kline)9 centers25.929 points
Italy(Eber Condrell)1 centers7.429 points
Russia(Wes Ketchum)6 centers12.429 points
Turkey(Maria Yakubovich)3 centers9.429 points
1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17

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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 One Comment

  1. Wes Ketchum

    What a crazy wonderful game (apologies for the length…)

    1901: Not the happiest to get Russia (was hoping to play in the west since I haven’t done that in a long time it seems), but ready to go with it. With Maria as a new player in Turkey, I immediately throw out any immediate attack there and pitch working together. She … smiles and opens to Armenia anyway, but in the fall things get worked out well and we successfully DMZ Black. Jay in Austria is non-committal about moves but seems very willing to work with me, and Eber in Italy would rather Lepanto … but is willing to go along with an all-out Austrian assault and moves into Trieste in S01 to prove it. I follow through and break a DMZ with Jay to get into Galicia in the fall.

    I hear what I want to hear in the west (Christian in Germany is 50-50 on letting me into Sweden, Kevin in England will put a fleet in Norway and wants no trouble) … which all falls apart once the fall moves are read and the west is clearly in a strong triple with Germany getting three builds. The blue and black walls will close in quick…

    In retrospect, I should have known the bounce was coming … I’m not sure what I could have done really (maybe engaged more with France … comments welcome!), but really allowed myself to focus on the east and allow the west to get the jump like they did.

    1902: Eber, Jay, and I immediately talk a defense, but Jay is clearly a bit miffed about 1901 and wants Trieste back first. Don’t blame him at all … (perhaps the move to Galicia would have been something to pull back too if I was imagining a western triple). I work hard to keep Maria on board with working together, and say I’ll do what I can to help against Austria but it won’t be able to be a whole lot. Luckily for me, Maria seems willing to keep working together and is a little slow in bringing the fleets out. Rumania stays posted in the south rather than venture north because I don’t trust quite trust Austria and I want to maintain leverage on Turkey just in case. Which, of course, has the consequence that I’m abandoning the north.

    I put up what defense I can, but Christian was uber-efficient in bringing force to (the) bear. I lose STP in the fall (no surprise), and in the winter I’m looking at an English army in STP, and German armies in Livonia, Prussia, and Silesia. I know Moscow and Warsaw are both going to be gone in 03 — even if Kevin decides to work with me and not push ahead, Christian’s armies have nothing else to do and will be able to nab both WAR and MOS since I stayed committed to the south.

    There was lots of discussion of this on the live stream, but it seemed clear to me to disband my northern fleet. It felt like a weak bargaining chip in any diplomacy in the north: England can probably hold STP for a while even if I’m attacking with Germany, and Germany can take WAR and then MOS even if I’m trying to interfere. Better to cut my losses and leave Germany’s fleets with nothing to do over there, and tell England in the spring how exposed Germany is now, but how he won’t be soon…

    1903: At this point I am trying so hard to help Maria break out and take Austrian centers, but she just seems unwilling to do so: there’s an overall lack of trust there, which I should have recognized and just talked about head-on to get some resolution one way or the other. Meanwhile … Christian built another fleet, and I plead my case with Kevin to stab him now. Kevin says he won’t because he’s been offered Moscow and why would he be unfriendly now. I tell him he should take Moscow AND stab Christian for Belgium in the west, (and I think I offer to then help him move into Warsaw so I can keep Moscow?), but that is declined. I tell Maria that I’m moving SEV to BLA so I have a retreat open.

    And so, in retreats, I’m faced with the option. Jay held an agreement and kept Galicia open for a retreat from Warsaw, so Moscow can choose between UKR and SEV. Kevin did not stab Christian, so I am not confident on any help in getting back WAR if I go to UKR. If I retreat to SEV, I can turn south and survive with a bit more power from Turkish dots.

    I do the latter, and followup in the fall with a convoy to Ankara, which gives me a very solid position to defend now. Kevin offers help from GAL to WAR, but I end up not taking it (which kinda upsets him … even though it wouldn’t have worked and I’m not sure he could have done something else?) and instead dot Jay for Budapest. Somehow, miraculously, I stay even at 4 centers in 1903, and I feel like I have at least a defensible position to survive to the end. On top of that, Kevin stabs Christian, and it looks like Germany is in trouble.

    1904: Jay is … actually, rather understanding, which I really appreciate. I tell him I won’t try to keep Budapest, and let him force me out. Maria is … not has happy, which I also appreciate. I apologize, and initially try a deal where I will convoy back over to Rumania if she will support Rumania to Serbia. I think this will work and open up us being able to work together. At the end of the spring negotiations I check in with her to make sure we’re still good and … I read straight through the ‘yes’ response. I switch to the guaranteed attack on CON in the last minute, which indeed was the right thing.

    Meanwhile, Both Christian and Kevin are willing to be friendly. Christian tells me he’ll move Galicia in a way that won’t mess with my movements in the spring … and so when I see it’s in Ukraine we have some straight talk in the fall about how that is indeed in a way that could have messed with my movements in the spring. The western triple has fully collapsed in the most chaotic fashion, and Kevin and I agree again to have him support me to Warsaw. In the end … I tell Kevin last minute that I don’t think it will work and I’m not taking it. In part because I don’t think it will work, and in part because I want to use GAL to cut any potential support from BUD, just in case Maria got Jay on her side. Then, stroke of luck, I’m kicked out of GAL but can retreat to WAR (which I almost didn’t see!), meanwhile Kevin is kicked out of MOS and retreats to STP rather than my open dot in SEV. Somehow, miraculously, I have a build.

    1905: Pause for a second. Germany, England, France, and Austria(!!) all have 6 centers to start the year. I somehow have 5, even though I only have half my home centers.

    I immediately thank Kevin, and we strike a deal where I won’t contest STP, and he’ll support me to MOS. Done! Meanwhile, Jay has a wall of armies that I so want going west. I pitch Jay on how enticing Germany looks, and how weak Germany is. He says he’s unsure whether he wants to go west or go south for more dots, and I just tell him I’ll follow his lead and am happy to help him, but I’m just keeping to myself. Towards the end of spring, we chat again, and I tell him I’m moving WAR to PRU just so I can maybe give him support to BER if he gets into SIL (I know that Christian in MOS will retreat to WAR and so I’ll be conflicted on whether to give that support, but it’s still an option).

    I’m pretty happy the diploming worked: in the fall, Jay’s armies are all west except one brought down to Serbia, and things are looking much safer for me. He initially asks for support into Berlin in exchange for supporting me to Bulgaria, and after a little hesitation (because I want to take back WAR…) I tell him I’m willing to do it if he wants it. He thinks about it and in the end says he doesn’t need the support, but will still support me to BUL if I’ll support him to GRE in the fall. I say yes but … I’m seeing that I can grab BUD, and if Turkey is on my side, there’s a chance I can swap myself in for Jay in the contest for the board top. Also, I really don’t want to just beat down a new player to one center in 1906. I dot Jay for Budapest (again), get back into WAR, and in winter get one build (only one open home center! I stupidly supported PRU to WAR rather than the other way…), and I’m tied for a board top at 7 with France.

    1906: But … there’s no way I can hold it. In part because of course Jay will be running back to seek revenge (and I’m too paranoid about Kevin, Christian, and Jay working together to punish me to interrupt Jay’s move back). In part because France is in great position to take Italian centers. And in part because I’m only playing with 6 units, and because I’ve just been clawing my way back they are way out of position. I try again to get Maria on board against Austria, but no luck, and I get kicked out of CON (though retreat to AEG means I guarantee SMY and it’s even). Jay gets Budapest back because I was too worried about protecting WAR in the spring, and I end in a respectable third place at 6 centers.

    Given the low point where I was in a summer of 2 dots, getting back to 6 was a pretty good outcome.

    Maria (Turkey) — thanks for joining and playing and I hope you had a great time! I’m truly sad I stabbed you like I did, but you were a great sport about it and I’m glad we were able to trade barbs back and forth from there. Hope to play again soon!

    Jay (Austria) — very good game: you were on the ropes after 01 but you came back really strong. I actually feel pretty torn about the stab at the end: I would have been happy seeing you top the board, but I just couldn’t throw away a chance especially and dismantle Turkey in the end. Sorry :/ I’m definitely looking forward to next time when we can actually work together well.

    Eber (Italy) — glad you somehow survived, and thanks for just taking the brunt and keeping at it. I can imagine that it was not the most fun game as it went on for you, but you kept up a real solid defense despite it all. It’s a shame the triple happened … you and I could have really run with this one if the west hadn’t gotten things sorted out.

    Kevin (England) — was great to play with you for the first time! I still think stabbing Christian even a season earlier would have made all the difference, but I’m still glad we were mostly able to work it out in the end. Well, other than the fact that we did all that work to take dots from Christian and then you just gave handed them back to him at the end…

    Christian (Germany) — a pleasure as usual, and very well played. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that many armies moving so well at me at all at once in 02 before. Not an undeserved share of the board top.

    Josh (France) — we didn’t talk nearly as much as we should have (my fault). I think my game would have gone better had we really established a rapport: if only for me to have a much cleaner insight as to what was going on in the west. That said, you played a great game, and managed to get nearly insurmountable position by the last year: we were tied for the top, but it was so clear how much better you were taking the lead. You read the overall strategy super well: very well done. Hope to play again soon!

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