Jim O'Kelley

Jim O'Kelley

Saturday, 16 June 2018 00:06

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:

Sunday, 03 June 2018 07:55

The Wind and the O'Kell(e)ys

With his second board-top in as many outings, Kevin O'Kelly proved yet again that you only need one "e" to spell evil. Big Kevin played masterfully, pitting his neighbors against one another, always offering just enough help to keep them blowing into his sails without ever sending a favorable wind their way. By 1906, he had navigated his way to a dominant position in the middle of the board. Tired of fighting the choppy sea, the other players yielded in Spring 1907.

Game No. 368, played yesterday at Jim O'Kelley's home in Little Italy, ended by draw vote in the following center counts:

Thursday, 10 May 2018 13:26

Those who can, teach

Game No. 367, played last night at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square, started late thanks to Bandon Fogel's extended teaching session with an interested beginner. The real lesson soon followed as the two-time defending Weasel of the Year and reigning Bull Weasel gave the other players a master course in taking what the board offers. The lesson ended by time limit after the Fall 1906 turn in the following center counts:

Thursday, 12 April 2018 10:00

The Sting of the Scorpion

The club squeezed in a final tune-up before this weekend's CODCon Open last night at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square. Christian "The Scorpion" Kline's zero-sum brand of Diplomacy was in mid-season form, and thanks to a solid position atop the map and a defeatist neighbor with long-term memory issues, he topped the board with a big final year. 

Game No. 366 ended by time limit after the Fall 1906 turn in the following center counts:

Monday, 09 April 2018 20:13

Once more unto the data breach

Ali Adib hosted another boardless game at his place in Avondale last Saturday (April 7). Game No. 365 went five game-years, with old vet Matt Sundstrom, the club's most decorated player, proving that he's got the right stuff in any reality. 

The final center counts were:

Sunday, 08 April 2018 18:53

CODCon Cometh

The field is forming for this weekend's CODCon Open at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, the 12th installment of the event that put Chicago back on tournament Diplomacy's map. Among the players vying for this year's title will be three former champions with a combined five titles, two former runners-up, and one former third-place finisher.

The first two rounds will be Saturday, April 14, with the third and final round on Sunday the 15th. In a break from tradition, all three rounds will count for score.

The following players have confirmed:

Friday, 30 March 2018 10:09

Opening Daze

Normally the pitchers are ahead of the hitters at this time of year. Try telling that to Chicago's mighty offenses.

The Cubs officially opened baseball's marathon in Miami, spoiling the home team's opener by putting eight runs on the board. The Sox, who opened in Kansas City, started poorly, giving up four runs in the first. But they exploded the second time through the lineup. The good guys belted six home runs and scored the game's next 14 runs.

Both offenses looked really good...until Kevin O'Kelly told them to hold his beer.

Thursday, 15 March 2018 08:58

"You've come to the wrong place."

Late in Game No. 363, played last night at the Red Lion in Lincoln Square, newcomer Dan Kolen stood at the board, his hand on his forehead. Since 2011, he had played about a dozen games online with old friends now scattered around the country, but this was his first foray into face-to-face Diplomacy.

"I'm looking for an ally," he implored, as he assessed his crumbling Austrian empire, now completely encircled by barbarians. "I'm looking for a friend!"

"Well," replied one of the guys he had met earlier that evening, "you've come to the wrong place." 

Sunday, 11 March 2018 20:53

The Pravel Paradigm

Bryan Pravel posted one of his prototypical board-tops yesterday in Game No. 362, played at Mick Johnson's place in Uptown: not big, but big enough.

The game, which featured three new players, ended by time limit after the Fall 1906 turn in the following center counts:

Saturday, 24 February 2018 14:04

The Paulist Father

Paul Pignotti was one of the great characters of the club's early days. The Hammer of the Old Guard burst onto the Windy City Weasels Diplomacy scene at Season 1's Weasel Pyle.

He was brash, intense, and seething with testosterone and menace. In fact, he once grew a full beard over the course of a house game.

To know him was to love him, but getting to know him was like an organic chemistry class--the process weeded out a lot of hopefuls.

And then he had kids.

Fatherhood mellowed Paul and also cut into his hobby time. The frequency of his trips down from Wisconsin diminished. When he did show up, his play style and general demeanor were more relaxed, even happy-go-lucky. Occasionally, his eyes would flicker with rage, but for the most part, Paul the father treated the hobby as a getaway, not a battleground.

But every now and then, the Hammer will pounce on a board and cripple it for life. Such was the case in Game No. 361, played February 11 at Pete McNamara's home in Evanston. The game ended by time limit after the Fall 1908 turn in the following center counts:

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