2001 A Gaming Odyssey
French A bre r OTB, French F Spa(sc) r OTB;
Turkish A ser r RUM
Austria (Andy Lischett) Remove A gre. Has As BOH, SER; Fs AEG, ALB.
England (Mike Mazzer) Build EDI, LPL. Has A BEL; Fs BRE, DEN, EDI, IRI, LPL, NTH.
France (Woody Arnawoodian) Remove A pic. Has F NAO.
Germany (Jim O’Kelley) Remove A ruh, F hol. Has As KIE, MUN; F BAL.
Italy (Gary Coughlan) Build A VEN, F NAP. Has As MAR, PAR, TYA, VEN; Fs MAO, NAP, SPA(sc).
Russia (Bob Olsen) Build A MOS. Has As BER, BUD, GAL, MOS, PRU, WAR; Fs SMY, SWE.
Turkey (Jim Burgess) Build A ANK. Has As ANK, RUM; Fs BUL(ec), CON.
BBC LONDON: "In a moment, the Prime Minister will be giving his annual Christmas address to the nation ... ah yes, here he is, stepping to the podium now, smiling, waving to the adoring crowd ((canned crowd cheering noises)). He is adjusting the microphone, putting on his pince-nez ... and now, the PM.”
"Buon giorno, e Buon Natale a tutti ... er, excuse me one moment ((aside "Bloody 'ell, I told the Italian minister to write me bloody speach in the Kings Hinglish ... 'ere, I'll 'ave to wing it then.)) Greetings all of the Eurpean Community, and a very Merry Christmas to all of yuz. To our friends in Italy, thanks mate for the loverly Smoked Brest of Antelope – werry tasty indeed! To me ol' bloke, the Tsar, the Danish pastry made me old missus weep wiv delight, cheers mate! 'Ope you found Berlin to your liking. To our old chums in France – what’s left of yer that is – 'ope you last the winter all right. To our Heinie chums – 'ere
now, don't take it so 'ard. Them Russians hain't such a bad lot. To the new Harchduke – 'ope yer get yer e-mail up before yer out. To our WOG friends in Turkey – ‘let's do lunch’, as they say in LA. And to all the rest from Saugus to Constantinople – A Werry Merry Christmas – don't get too snoggered in the new year.”
FRANCE to ITALY & ENGLAND: Nice stabs. I think the best I've ever seen. Thanks for doing it before Christmas. I saved on the nice gifts I was planning to send you.
ENGLAND to WOODY: Forgive me for taunting you, I actually wasn't – I was simply asking a factual question, "Are you dead yet". Not knowing whether Gary had delivered on his promise at the time, I genuinely didn't know. But really, don't you wish you had sided with me when you had the opportunity? You still would have been skewered in '03 most likely, but you wouldn't have had to be bombarded with Coughlan's e-mails in the meantime. And in your wildest, most drug-induced fantasies, why in Olsen's name would you believe that I would have met you in a fair fight? You might have had a chance to win! Duh!
ENGLAND to GERMANY: That last bit goes for you as well. Why did I lie to you? Because I was viciously stabbing you. I'm sorry, I haven't played this game in over 15 years. Back then, there was lying, cheating, cruelty, double-dealing, back-stabbing and cold-blooded murder – all the things that make life worth while. I take it it is a much kinder and gentler Diplomacy nowadays?
GM to ENGLAND: I stand by my earlier prediction that Chum is every bit the future old fart that you are now. I said it before, I’ll say it again, I’ve seen the man drool! He could be a contendah!
ENGLAND to GM: You miss the point. (If you part your hair differently you'll see it.) Chum's drooling is self-induced by massive amounts of mint juleps. The rest of us drool involuntarily. He had to go.
GM to DROOLING OLD FART: Look, you really want proof? Ask him where he got the nickname “Chum”. Then ask him who gave it to him, and ask how long it took him to figure out what it really meant.
GM to CHUMSTER: Hey, just defending your right to be included in this august company.
ENGLAND to THE NEW ARCHDUKE: I hope you received your instructions with your game start. You are required to produce at least one song parody and/or one poem (preferably a takeoff on Edgar Allan Poe) with each season's press.
GM to MAZZERMAN: You are so bad. Look, rather wallow in mockery and satire and poorly rendered semantics, why don’t you give Andy something helpful, maybe bring him up to speed.l
ENGLAND to NEW ARCHDUKE: The story so far ...
Once upon a time, Don Williams, a firm advocate of the slogan "Hire the handicapped, they're fun to watch", known sadist and depraved urban planner – who invented such atrocities as the "No right turn on red" sign carefully hidden behind a tree to increase town revenue – got it upon himself to induce aging, mentally incompetent, drooling, incontinent hobby old farts to come back into the hobby for one last fling to celebrate the Third Millenium and the first game of same – while getting off on watching us make fools of ourselves. He made one mistake, bringing in a young, active and competent player, Chum O'Kelley – with tragic results. Chum was ambushed by three (or was it four?) geriatric cases who clubbed him to death with their colostomy bags and drowned him in their drool. It wasn't a pretty sight. Woody, who was brain dead even when he was young, told me that he was moving into the Channel -- and when I remembered that that was right next to my home centers I moved there as well. Woody apparently forgot what he told me and, much to Williams' glee, did not go there after all, leaving me in the Channel. Having nothing better to do, I waged war with France with the help of Italy until Italy forgot who he was fighting and ended up supporting France. Finally, last season, Gary remembered and attacked France while I stabbed Germany because ... well I forget why but it seemed like a good idea at the time. Then your predecessor got in a war with Turkey – I can't remember why – and that other feller in Russia – well everyone forgot that he was there and he kind of snuck into nine centers. So now I'm allied with ... uh ... consarn it, I had it on the tip of my tongue and ... uh ... what was I saying?
SAUGUS to EUROPE: And as they say, “Not with a bang, but a whimper … “ Andy, believe at your own peril. To the rest of you, I encourage you all to send press and enjoy the spirit of the way Diplomacy was intended to be.
GM to ODYSSEY: And so our game’s namesake year is gone, replaced by 2002. It’s been a tumultuous and troubled start in some ways – an odyssey, in fact, that I hadn’t anticipated -- but it’s also been great to make the reacquaintance of Gary and Bob, Woody and Mike, and to maintain my Hobby friendships with Flash, Andy, Chum, and Boob. May the New Year find you happy, healthy, safe, and prosperous.
As I mentioned some months ago, I am opening another game, Red Tape. It will be open to government workers only, federal down to municipal. If you or someone you know is interested, please let me know.
A WET PET PEEVE:
As you know, Southern California left to its own devices would, in fact, be a vast desert. Great aqueducts traverse the state north to south and transport vast quantities of water from the snowmelt which comes from the western Sierra Nevadas. Special public water districts have been formed over the years to deal with the treatment and distribution of this “state water project” (as it is so … dryly named) water. The local one here is called the Castaic Lake Water Agency. I get their meeting agendas (occupational hazard), which are often so obtuse as to be meaningless … they appear to be written to confound the public and cloud what is being done … or even what is being debated. This year, I collected all the agendas they sent me. This public agency held 12 regular meetings in 2001, and held 30 more “special meetings” in the same period. A quorum (six board members) is required to hold a meeting, as is clerical staff and attorney. Members and staff are paid for each meeting Forty-two meetings? This water company’s business smells more like sewage treatment.