by Jack McHugh
June 18th @ 0001hrs: I really must get to bed as soon as I finish defending Guadalcanal from the awful Japs in Taskforce 1942.
0300hrs: Look at the time! I gotta get up in three hours. And the stinkin’ Japs are still winning. I go to bed reluctantly.
0632hrs: Alarm clock goes off for the fourth time and I force myself out of bed.
0655hrs: You know it would be nice if I packed the night BEFORE a con, just for a change– but then I wouldn’t have to do all this cool, frantic packing the day of the con.
0710hrs: Finish wasting 10 minutes getting together a bunch of computer games to take to AtlantiCon. (More on this later.)
0715hrs: Go to the Marlane Diner and meet Tom Swider and our Canadian ride, Jerry Ritcey, from the Maritimes. Jerry is a rather handsome chap with a red hair, glasses, a beard and wimpy northern European skin–I mean he gets sunburned arms if he drives for a few hours without sunblock.
0730hrs: We eat our breakfast and explain to Jerry the concept that is Brad Wilson. Jerry appears confused, but we begin a few hours of scattered Brad jokes. Jerry begins to grasp the concept of ‘Bradness’.
0735hrs: Tom explains that you can’t register stuff for the auction at the con–but you must register it in advance. So I leave my games at home (more on this still later in the program).
0745hrs: Jerry foolishly misses the turn to my house. Geez, you’d think he’d never been there before or something!
0800hrs: We’re off to see the Wizard of Sacks! We are on our way. I bring one bag. Tom “Gamestore” Swider brings a huge suitcase AND a box of games, of course. Can’t take Little Tommie anywhere!
0830hrs: Jerry reveals that it isn’t against Canadian law to omit the word “eh” from the end of every sentence. Isn’t multi-cultralism wonderful?!
0900hrs: Jerry becomes confused by our mono colored currency and attempts to pay for a soda with a turnpike receipt. The clerk was not amused (but we were).
0930hrs: I am forced to listen to Jerry and Tom recreate every Simpsons episode from the last two seasons. I stop a Delaware State Trooper to borrow his gun but he refuses. Some rule or something the state has.
1000hrs: We are forced to take Tom down from the roof of the car when he begins to distract the other drivers.
1030hrs: We arrive at the hotel, in an AtlantiCon first, we actually get our room with no trouble. Still no sign of Brad.
1050hrs: After checking in we walk over to the convention center and I begin work on several blisters on my left foot that I develop over the weekend thanks to my sneakers.
1110hrs: We enter the convention center and discover lots of weird people. We realize we have stumbled on to the roleplayers by accident.
1120hrs: We discover Robert attempting to get a room full of Pax Britannia players to sing “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” in 3:4 time. He doesn’t succeed.
1200hrs: I begin my GMing of Republic of Rome by saying, “Setup the Early Republic and play.” Brad shows up to GM Kingmaker and shows off the Fred Davis redone map to Brad’s Philly Dip variant.
1230hrs: Steve Nicewarner appears with the faithful David Hershberger in tow. The rest of the CADs have wimped out, preferring AvalonCon. Dave offers to get me a brownie and I accept.
1300hrs: David offers to keep me “knee deep in brownies” if I will play 1830 while GMing Republic of Rome. Despite answering up to two rules questions an hour, I think I can find the time.
1400hrs: I float my first company and answer my first rules question.
1500hrs: I realize I am screwed in 1830 and answer a second rules question. Boy this GMing stuff is tough! Every hour on the hour, like clock work, a question!
1600hrs: Steve and Dave return with my sub from Subway (yeech, but I’m hungry). Steve and Brad go pickup five cases of beer.
1645hrs: Steve leaves to register his stuff for the auction. I got hosed! AlantiCon had a falling out with their usual auctioneer of over 10 years and got some new guys to run it.
1700hrs: The last ROR game breaks up and I decide to run the campaign game, from the Middle Republic next year. Little Tommie Swipder wins the first of two NYGB events by coming in second in ROR. (Tom also wins Brad’s Diplowinn.) Someone yells, “Fix!” but I tell Nicewarner to shut up.
1800hrs: As usual I’m drafted into Brad Wilson’s Diplowinn game. I am playing for Nicewarner who just will be out for a “few minutes.” Of course he said that 45 minutes ago when he left.
1930hrs: Nicewarner returns and I am not doing well playing Turkey without an England in the game. I turnover the position, with Russia being a greedy bastard, back to Steve. Steve trashes it, typical!
2000hrs: Junta, round 1, begins. This time I do actually give out my houserules and the games go fairly smoothly. There are four and a half cases of beer left.
2300hrs: The last Junta game (of two) breaks up. One is a close game and the other is a rebellion happy game. The rebellion players do much better or worse than the close game.
June 19th @ 0030hrs: We decide to go to our famous hangout, Fat Tuesdays, and get some of their alcoholic slurpies.
0100hrs: Our navigator Steve Nicewarner gets us lost and we find the place, as well as a bimbo palace that we don’t go into, down the street.
0130hrs: Fat Tuesday closes early! The assholes there throw us out. What jerks–next time I have to be sick in there!
0200hrs: We go back to the hotel and drink our own beer. I arrange to put it in Don Matheias’–that’s AtantiConese for Dan Mathias–room before he goes to sleep.
0300hrs: Watch Titan games breakout and also the weirdo roleplayers playing “In Cold Blood” a strange vampire game that has them running all over the hotel at all hours of the day and night.
0330hrs: Brad wimps out of the all night Kingmaker game because he has to get up at 8 am today. What a puss! We are down to four cases of beer.
0400hrs: Limp two blocks back to the hotel on my callouses, now my back and hip hurts from walking on my heel–what fun. Go to sleep.
0700hrs: Uncaring jerk Brad wakes me up with his wakeup call.
0800hrs: Uncaring jerk Tom wakes me up with his dressing noises.
01000hrs: Uncaring jerks Jerry and Steve wake me up with dressing noises.
1045hrs: I considerately wait for everyone to leave before I get out of bed, get dressed and leave our room.
1130hrs: Meet Steve Nicewarner at Burger King from Hell across the street from the Sheraton Hotel where the NYGB game room is. We decide that I should be Hobby Führer and not David Hood. We will take over the hobby with a coup at AvalonCon where I will arrest the CAD/AH rabble as well as David and Don Greenwood. (Don has no power the arrest is just for spite.)
1200hrs: Robert Sacks does his best ‘bird on amphetamines’ imitations as he begins to flail his arms to assign people to play in Diplomacy. (Scientists don’t understand why Robert does this but suspect it is some long dormant mating ritual.)
1230hrs: I am drafted into playing Diplomacy, although I was supposed to be a GM.
1245hrs: Although Dan Mathias is still GMing Shogun we begin. I draw Turkey
1300hrs: Austria informs me he won’t ally with me unless it is part of a triple with Russia. He says he doesn’t trust me (true, I am not making this up!)
1301hrs: I inform Germany, Russia and Italy that I am taking out Austria and ask who wants to share his dots. Italy and Russia agree that he must go.
1400hrs: We’re all attacking Austria and he’s tried to throw his dots to me, Russia and Austria. France and Germany are cleaning up in the West. England and France won’t talk so Dan, Germany, is in the drivers seat.
1500hrs: Austria is gone and Russia isn’t looking too good as England and Germany are moving on him. Italy and I are the strongest alliance on the board.
1600hrs: Dan finally chooses France over England–mostly due to his fleets in Cha and Iri. Russia is eliminated and nice four way is settling in.
1630hrs: I offer to attack Italy if Dan will give me Mos–thus he will have 10 centers and I 8 centers. He says no and whines about his defense line. Tom Swider says he should let me have Mos.
1645hrs: We submit a fourway to Robert who argues with us until Tom Swider says it is okay.
1700hrs: Go to dealer room. Not much their this year. No Crazy Igor. Good–his prices are crazy. He tries to sell EVERY used game for $40+, no matter how used it is or how many are in print.
1730hrs: I go to the TAHGC booth but Don isn’t there so I can’t give him a big wet kiss on the lips. Bummer.
1745hrs: Visit the Button Lady and check out the “Death to Barney” buttons.
1800hrs: Back to the Sheraton where we get together a dinner party for Fuddruckers.
1830hrs: The Nicewarner-Wilson alliance results in a rulebook 18 center win for Kevin Kozlowski. Way to go guys!
1855hrs: After waiting 45 minutes for the Courtemanches (Steve, Linda and baby Robert) to get their act together, Tom, me and my blisters set off for Fuddruckers.
1915hrs: We get there and meet Steve, Dave and some guy from DC. We order and eat. Dave is paranoid about the 1830 tourney–Tom, Steve and me want to make the Sacks’s hobby meeting.
2010hrs: We get to the hobby meeting, after fighting our way through the vampires, and Robert is in all his bureaucratic glory. We tell Robert that we don’t wish to bid for DipCon next year–we’ve already promised it to David Hood.
2030hrs: Robert wastes our time by whining about Chris Carrier. We decide to sign him up for the same room at DipCon as Larry Peery.
2100hrs: Robert says we’ve got to put in a bid because AtlantiCon wants us to–that’s a crock but we go along and agree to not support the bid.
2105hrs: In an attempt to see the bid fail, we decide to let Larry “Kiss of Death” Peery present it.
2110hrs: Robert launches an embarrassingly long tribute to me. I have to stop Robert from attempting to demand that David Hood turn over Dip World to me.
2200hrs: In a tearful scene, Fred C. Davis claims that my subzine has been good for his health by “raising my blood pressure” above that of the legally dead and while he won’t write in to me directly (Fred doubts he’s good enough) he declares his undying love for …And the Horse You Rode in on! Fred declares it the Greatest Subzine of All Time.
2230hrs: Robert declares me titular head of the Hobby according to the NYGB and wants me to take over the NYGB. I decline the latter and ask Robert to stay on as my vassel. He consents.
2300hrs: We begin the infamous all night Kingmaker game. Myself, Brad, Nicewarner and Tony Somebody, sit down to play. We are down to three cases of beer.
2305hrs: Fred appears and again declares his love of this subzine. However he has an attack of Alzheimers and gets the name wrong, calling it …And the Horse You Put in the Stables! For some reason Brad gets upset and hides under the table. Brad passes me a note asking me to ask Fred if he’s angry at Brad. In another attack of senility, Fred says no, just me and stumbles out. I tell Brad, the big wuss, he can come out–big bad Fred is gone.
June 20th @ 0000hrs: A good card draw gives me the Welsh guy and some titled nobles. I manage to pick up the Queen–or “the bitch” as the players refer to Her Majesty, Queen Margaret.
0100hrs: I believe I have consumed several beers to this point, but I’ve lost count. The room is very hot as the hotel staff believes that air conditioning is optional after midnight. We are down to two cases of beer.
0130hrs: I lose the bitch to Steve, but he soon loses her while laying siege to a castle. Smooth move, CAD breath.
0200hrs: Kevin is a newcomer to the game and I explain why he doesn’t want to kill Beaufort since he is the last Royal air in the Royal family and Tony wins if Kevin’s air dies. Kevin buys it.
0215hrs: Brad finally gets Lord Stanley off the Isle of Man and he gets called right back by a peasant revolt. Great laughs all around as Brad fumes.
0300hrs: After chasing Kevin all over England and putting up with numerous vacillating nobles; Tony finally kills Kevin, who leaves to get ready for round two of Dip the next day.
0330hrs: Although Tony has had the Chancellor of England card we now have our first parliament of the game. As I have no votes I stay in Wales and chase babes.
0345: A role player from “In Cold Blood” runs in says, “Have you guys seen the guy with the green hair?” and leaves, when despite our inebriation, we say no. I’m determined to keep drinking until I see someone with green hair.
0400hrs: Steve and Brad take major hits as their stacks are called all over the board.
0430hrs: Completely demoralized by my superior luck play, Tony launches a suicide attack on my stack with his crowned heir, the Prince of Wales. I outnumber him so it is a big ninja attack. It fails and I win. We are down to one case of beer.
0445hrs: On the walk back to the hotel Brad and Steve have “recrimination phase” where they blame the everyone else within a 10 mile radius of the game for Kevin’s win in Diplomacy and agree it was not their fault. Yeah, right, give me a break!
0500hrs: Limp back into our room and sleep for two hours.
0730hrs: Wake up to find Tom Swider in the bathroom and Jerry awake. Damned cheap hotel clock-radio didn’t work. I don’t know why they bolt it to the nightstand–it isn’t worth taking.
0745hrs: I get into the bathroom with 5 minutes to shower, pack and get to the NYGB gameroom for an 8 am second round of Junta.
0750hrs: Nicewarner jumps in the bed Jerry and I slept in seconds after it is empty with some pathetic excuse about being cold.
0810hrs: Get to the gameroom with hangover that makes me wish I were dead. Fortunately the Junta round 2 is, as only three players show up and we need six.
0820hrs: After the dry heaves while worshipping at the porcelain god, I turn down Robert’s attempt to drag me into another Dip game.
0900hrs: After getting a soda I fall asleep on the game room floor.
1100hrs: I move to couch in lobby on second floor next to our gameroom. I still have the hangover from hell.
1500hrs: I am awakened and told we are leaving. My hangover is gone.
1510hrs: Brad and I wait for Tom and Jerry to find the car.
1520hrs: Brad and I decide the cartoon cat and mouse would be more efficient than our fellow Con attendees.
1530hrs: Tom and Jerry announce the car is on the fifth parking level.
1535hrs: I successful bid 5 bucks for the front seat of Jerry’s car.
1540hrs: We are on 95 North. I try and talk Jerry in to getting the Maritimes to join America. We’d bill them as “the New Jersey of New England.” Jerry doesn’t like it.
1630hrs: Jerry and I spend a half hour “crushing their heads” of drivers we find annoying. (See the show “Kids in the Hall” for more on this.)
1645hrs: Tom and I make a blood pact to go to AvalonCon and tell the truth about Don Greenwood, JFK and J. Edgar Hoover, in that order, at the hobby meeting.
1700hrs: We arrive at Nifty Fifties where Brad attempts to bully Jerry and myself into believing that socialized medicine is wrong. He also declares “case close” which we ignore and tell him he is wrong–as usual.
1730hrs: Brad and Jerry argue over the existence of God. Jerry reveals he’s an atheist and Brad reveals he’s God.
1800hrs: We get to my house and we all stop in for a drink of water. Tom falls asleep in a chair.
1830hrs: Tom, Jerry and Brad leave for Tom’s place. Jerry will continue to drive home tomorrow while Brad will take the train home to Chicago. Tom and I get to go to work–oh joy!
Reprinted from Diplomacy World No.72