In a season dominated by the club's New Guard--in terms of games played and boards topped--it was the vaunted Old Guard that crested the ridge on the final day of play yesterday at our 11th Weasel Pyle in Wayne. Carrying the colors were Eric Brown, Christian Kline and Matt Sundstrom, veterans of our first, third and ninth games, respectively.
Last night's final Red Wednesday of the season was, paradoxically, as typical as it was atypical. On the one hand, Brandon Fogel ran his board-topping total to a gaudy 6.5. He now has a real shot at tying, if not breaking, Peter Lokken's longstanding record of 7.5 board tops in a season. That one has held since the 2010-11 season.
On the other hand, we had two new recruits, which is something of a rarity in this down year for new blood. But even more significant, both were female, which is as unusual as it is welcome. Not for lack of effort, our progress at diversifying the player base has been inconsistent at best.
In addition to the backstabbing, players in Game No. 306, played Saturday at Pete McNamara's home in Evanston, were treated to ribs and brisket courtesy of grillmaster Pete.
"The barbecue turned this one up to 11," remarked Bryan Pravel, who, having now played in 13 club games, all since January, is something of an authority on the Weasels scene.
Could the club now have a third host extraordinaire to rival Messrs. Brown and Burgess?
As for the game, depsite being a house game with a generous 11 hours allotted for play, it ended by draw vote during the Spring 1906 turn in the following center counts:
Surely a better title exists for the recap of yesterday's Undercard game at the Weasel Royale club championship, but as your faithful correspondent had his hands full trying to win the Royale, this one will have to do.
The Kevins are for the two Kevin O'Kell(e)ys, who for the first time ever played on the same board. That would have been far more enteraining for onlookers Sam Bassett and Warren "Goz" Goesle if more people referred to the other players by name instead of country. Alas.
Double alas, the game went much better for Kevin the Elder. On the car ride to Dan Burgess' home in Downers Grove--where, for the eighth straight year, the Royale took place--Kevin the Younger confessed that he had been watching the HBO series Oz.
We were rehashing Game No. 282 in Peter Lokken's backyard in Logan Square. I had just been accused of sabotaging a Key Lepanto back in Fall 1901 and was explaining what actually happened. I was eloquent, perhaps, but unconvincing, apparently, because Geoff Serednesky shut me down with the quote of the night.
"Jim," he said, "the game's over. You can stop lying."
The Packers sacked Jay Cutler twice today. Rome fared slightly better. The Turks only got it once.
Brian Beck's football-themed house game today in Morton Grove was a hit (the good kind, not the kind that leaves you laid out!). Our second game of the season and 281st overall ended by time limit after the Fall 1906 turn in the following center counts:
We were about 45 minutes into the debrief of Game No. 280, our first match of Season 11, when longtime Weasel Christian Kline dropped the ennui word.
"You were part of that Eastern ennui," he said to Jake Trotta, one of last season's recruits. "No one wanted to do anything. People trusted each other."
Then he paused and shook his head. "Why can't I ever be next to the guys who trust people?"
Brandon Fogel has now shared or topped outright five of the last six boards he's played. His convincing top in the penultimate Red Wednesday of the season earlier this week ran his league-leading top count to 5.5. In club history, that's second only to Peter Lokken's 7.5 tops in Season 6.
Wednesday's game ended by time limit after the Fall 1906 turn in the following center counts:
What do you do when five rounds and 52 boards of Diplomacy just isn't quite enough to slake your thirst for the game? Why, you back it up with a bar game, that's what you do.
On June 29, just three days after the smoke cleared on WDC, we gathered at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square with some of our out-of-town guests for one final act of Diplomacy. Game No. 304, our fourth league game of the busy month of June, ended by time limit after the Fall 1907 turn in the following center counts:
Not surprisingly, the final tune-up before WDC went to someone named Bryan. There were, after all, three of them in the game.
Game No. 303, played yesterday at Pete McNamara's home in Evanston, went the distance, ending by time limit after the Fall 1912 turn in a five-way draw. The final center counts were:
Brandon Fogel topped his second straight board Wednesday at the Red Lion, increasing his lead in the standings. He also took over first place in the Bar Room Brawl. The game was the fourth straight in which Fogel finished with at least a share of the board-top.
Game No. 302 ended by draw vote during the Spring 1907 turn in the following center counts:
On Saturday, three of our veterans held a WDC primer for four of our newer players at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square. The event featured a Q&A about the upcoming World Diplomacy Championship at Weasel Moot X (June 24-26), followed by a game using tournament timing and the tournament rule set.
During the Q&A, the vets answered questions and shared their wisdom, but in the game that followed, it was the new guys who did the teaching. The game--which counted toward the league standings but not in the Bar Room Brawl--ended by draw vote during the Spring 1910 turn in the following center counts:
I fear your humble scribe is ill equipped to tell the tale of Wednesday night's Diplomacy game at the Red Lion. Game No. 300 was worthy of Homer.
Perhaps, after more than 10 1/2 years and 300 games of Dip, we're finally starting to get it, because once again, we played a time-limited game in which three players had a chance to top on the final turn, and two others had long shots. It truly was a game for the ages.