Chris Martin, winner of the 2011 Nor’easter Diplomacy circuit and the 2011 North American championship, posted the following write-up of the weekend at Carnage in Wonderland to Diplist. Permission to repost has been granted.
Follow the “read more” link for the full article, including some kind words about Carnage itself.
“We really had a good thing going, you know?” offered Brent Waddington after the second round of diplomacy at the Carnage Accords, the site of this year’s North American Diplomacy Championship, known as ‘Dipcon.’ The event was held at the Lake Morey Resort in Vermont, approximately 90 minutes from Manchester, NH. Brent, Chris and thirty-four other diplomacy players had traveled from around the country to attend the event, where over three rounds on Friday, Saturday morning, and Saturday evening, thirteen games of diplomacy were played.
Playing in the bar of the Lake Morey resort was not the distraction it might have been for Brent, as the bar would remain closed until several hours after the game ended. “As England, I didn’t mind that Chris’s Germany was ahead of me in dots – at one point I had five, he had ten – but I caught up quickly and he even gave me Brest, so we were even at nine apiece. After we killed Buffalo’s (Andy Bartalone) France, and I got my fleets into the med, I thought we had everything sewn up,” Brent recalled. In a different game, Brent’s analysis might have been more accurate, but in this case he neglected to consider the fact that the German/English alliance faced a 14-center Turkey played by the daughter of Central USA’s strongest non-Chicago based player, Chris Mazza. Marguerite Mazza, playing in her second tournament, had eliminated Austria and Italy, and it was not long before Russia’s last center was taken as well. “All along, Chris told me that we would go for a 1st/2nd place draw, which would be a great result for me. We just needed to take a few more centers from Marguerite to make that happen . . .”
The stunning view offered to the diplomacy players from the bay windows overlooking the lake in no way distracted Brent from focusing on the task at hand. With 6 fleets in the med, a fleet in St. Petersburg (nc) and armies in Moscow and London, he felt secure. He concluded that no stab from Martin’s 9 center Germany could stick – Martin only had two German fleets, safely in the Gulf of Bothnia and the Baltic Sea, and his armies were in Russia and the Galicia/ Bohemia/ Tyrolia line. Waddington owned England, Spain, Portugal, Marseilles, Norway, St.Pete, and Moscow – with Tunis assured to fall. But when Germany acquired Vienna and took Moscow, and Marguerite successfully defended Tunis, Brent was suddenly looking at two more German Fleets, and no builds of his own.
“In hindsight, maybe that should have been the moment that I started to suspect Chris’s motives. On the other hand, you have to remember that he told me we were going to take a draw!” With nothing stopping the German fleet now in Denmark from moving to the North Sea that spring, Brent approached the former World Champion and asked him what was going on. “I’m just making sure you stick with the plan and that I get first place,” Chris replied. “You’re going to be able to grow a lot faster than me from the Italian dots, and we agreed I was going to have the most centers. Don’t worry; I’ll just sit there in the North Sea.”
In the fall, after taking Edinburgh, StPete, Norway, and Trieste, Brent once again approached his game-long partner. “Chris! Seriously?” He began. “What happened to ‘she’s only playing in her second tournament, we want her to have a good experience?’ What about the draw? I’ll take third place – you have fifteen centers now, you’re topping the board, we can just end it now.”
“You know, Brent, you’re right, we could do that.” Chris considered the situation. “But I think I am going to have to try to take the solo.”
“That’s so dirty. I can’t believe it. Really?” Brent was completely nonplussed.
“Yes, I know. Dirty. It is true, and I feel bad about it, but there it is – I thought we’d both be growing pretty equally, but now . . . it just doesn’t make sense any more to take the draw. If you had captured Tunis and built another unit at home, well, I wouldn’t be able to do this, right? It was just a bad break that she defended that way, and you didn’t make sure of it by attacking from the Western Mediterranean instead of the Tyrrhenian Sea.”
They walked back to the board, and orders were read, and Chris got to 18. Hands were shaken, and congratulations offered. It was to be the only solo victory of the weekend, though Peter Yeargin and Andy Bartalone both looked for chances to develop in their Saturday night games.
Afterwards, Brent reflected: “I just didn’t think that was the game we were playing. She, I mean, come on! It was only her second tournament. He, it was, I mean. Dirty. It was just dirty.”
Asked for comment, Chris Martin noted that “Brent actually played a very good game – in the past he’s had a tendency to get yanked around by other people’s diplomacy, and in this case he stayed focused and got to a really strong position. At the end of the game, he only made a few minor mistakes that allowed me to get the one step I needed on him. His failing to take Tunis was pretty key – you use the TYS to cut the Ionian, and it’s a lock, right? Then he builds another unit at home, and it doesn’t matter that I took Moscow so much. But that’s just a minor part of what was a very strong game on Brent’s part. Ninety percent of the time that kind of patience and strong alliance play is going to get you a good result.”
Alex Amman ran a strong tournament, and the central clock ensured that all games moved at a good clip. The Carnage staff were unfailingly gracious to the diplomacy players, and host a top-notch event which was extremely well suited to hosting a major diplomacy event. In the end, the solo victory netted Martin the North American Championship, the Nor’easter circuit, and ensured that no one could pass him in points for the 2011 Grand Prix.