My family has been hosting HuskyCon at our home in Long Island, New York, for five years now as our contribution to the hobby (my mother helps a lot despite not playing at all). The event is entirely free — this includes lodging in our home, food all weekend and free drinks all weekend. My father covers the cost of everything from his own pocket. This creates a truly unique tournament experience that all of our patrons rave about.
Our goal at HuskyCon is not to create a highly competitive event. Instead, we emphasize the social aspect of the hobby and encourage newer and younger players to participate. People have commented the level of play is not like at DipCon or Dixie, but that is not what we are going for. Often, it is my belief, tournaments can be too serious and some of the fun of seeing old friends, ripping on each other, playing poker and drinking and eating together is lost. This year we chose a placement based scoring system instead of our traditional draw based system in order to promote shorter games. This gave people more time to socialize.
In the spirit of a truly family run event, we divided up the responsibilities as follows:
This year we hosted players from all over the country and the world:
|East Coast (25)||England (1)||Istanbul, Turkey (1)|
|Detroit (1)||Paris, France (2)||Seattle (1)|
|Milwaukee (1)||Canada (1)||Chicago (2)|
Next, here is a brief play by play of the weekend:
The weekend kicked off with the evening round, which quickly became an all night party. People that were eliminated early joined the other gamers who had come with no intention of playing Diplomacy. A variety of other board games were played as well as various games on my Graham's Nintendo Wii, which was a big hit throughout the weekend. Carl Ellis, a man who has never missed a HuskyCon, brought a lot of beer and Andy Bartalone (he's been to four out of five HuskyCons, and came to our pre HuskyCon tournament, DonnerCon) contributed a case of wine. There were of course various other things to eat and drink provided by the house.
The first night of HuskyCon was perhaps my favorite stab of the tournament. I was making a sandwich in the kitchen for myself when Bob and one or two other people asked if I could make them one. I said sure, no problem. Bob then proceeded to tell the rest of the house that I was making sandwiches and they should all run over to place orders. I ended up making a lot of sandwiches.
Part of what made the weekend so fantastic was the weather. In previous years it was very hot and humid which put everyone a little bit on edge. When you have 30 people staying in one house together, without much sleep, with a lot of drinking, and who are competing against each other, the smallest little catalyst can lead to a drastic change in ambiance. We were very lucky in that the weather was cool with a light breeze and sunny. Our home is on a cliff over looking Long Island Sound, which makes for some spectacular viewing. The weather was so nice that Jeremiah Peterson set up a tent in my backyard and camped outside Saturday night. Our French guests — Emmanuel du Pontavice, Laurent Joly and France-May Martel — Peter McNamara and myself went swimming periodically throughout the weekend from our dock.
Saturday's round started late, and it was set to start too early to begin with. Everyone had been up partying and 9am was just too early for a round to start. I had literally just put my head down after a 7am Starbucks run to end my night, when my brother woke me up to play in the Saturday round. I was exhausted, but still managed to top my board. I voted to end the game despite having a chance to solo and win the tournament. I did this because I was exhausted. The game was tremendously fun though. I had the pleasure of playing with Peter McNamara, Andrew Cassese, Benjamin Vazquez and Laurent Joly, all people I had never played with, and two old friends — Jon Hill and Bob Holt. In my opinion Bob is one of the most fun players to play with. We succeeded in driving Jon mad with paranoia. Jon and I worked well for most of the game with my Russia to his Turkey. I did at one point move to Black Sea after sitting in Sev for a LONG time for no other reason than I knew we had a half hour lunch break coming up, and I wanted to see him go crazy worrying about the game and not being able to talk about it. This worked like a charm, although may have led to his later stab of me.
The games finished in a reasonable amount of time — except for one lasting 11 hours. As usual we had a huge dinner. Some ate outside, some in the dining room, some in the kitchen. I guess you could say we all ate together. Saturday night of HuskyCon is usually marked by drinking excellent wine while eating fine cheese, and doing weird games. This year, my father sat at the wine and cheese table with about 10 other people. David Norman ran a double gunboat game. We had two games of gunboat going on at the same time on the same board! It was for all intents and purposes two completely different games with 14 players and two sets of pieces. They just decided to share one board since we have the giant 10-foot long board in the basement. There was a lot of drinking, silliness and joking around during the game but I think everyone except for Rick Desper enjoyed it (Rick played Russia and had Germany open to Bal, Sil and Pru).
As the evening wore on, I taught the French players how to play baseball on the Nintendo Wii. Emmanuel succeeded in smashing the ceiling lamp while trying to use an overhead smash to hit the ball (in all fairness we had been playing tennis right before and we were pretty drunk). There were a variety of other games being played.
On the front porch we had my brother's Turkish nargile (water pipe) going for a while with strawberry flavored tobacco in it. This was also popular and drew a devoted group.
Unfortunately this round had to be timed, which it turns out does not work that well with our scoring system. David Norman got denied what was most definitely going to be a solo — and therefore the tournament — because of the time limit. There was more gaming, more eating, more drinking, more swimming, plenty of napping, and of course the awards. Dave Maletsky won for the second time — and if anyone is going to win HuskyCon twice, it should be Dave. Topping two of his three boards, and finishing second on the third was more than enough for Dave to win. One of our French guests, Emmanuel took second place (this amazes me, because he and I didn't sleep for three days), and third place went to Chris Mann. Last year's champion, Jonathan Hill took fourth place.
As is customary with HuskyCon, many guests stayed until Monday. The same wonderful ambiance continued all through Sunday and into Monday.
"…the social atmosphere which you provided was great for meeting new people and having an all-around great time. I appreciated the low cost of the trip since I'm a student and I will try to make it out again next year and bring some friends along too. It was relaxing and easy-going and everyone, especially the hosts were very nice and accommodating. Food was great, drink was great, people were great. Honestly, I don't think I would change a thing."
— Grant Smith
"…this venue and these hosts make this week-end unparalleled in sheer enjoyment. Gracious hosting and good Diplomacy is to be had just by getting there. It is hosted complete with sleeping space and food."
"[HuskyCon is] the best thing going in Diplomacy."
— Buz Eddy
"I strongly enjoyed the fact that this was not an 'all-Diplomacy' tournament."
— France-May Martel
"I had a great time. My game on Saturday… was a very good game, both from a tactics as well as a diplomatic standpoint. My overall experience with the Con itself was very positive."
— Glenn Habibi
"Sleeping arrangements: worked well for me. I was very happy.
Food: kicked ass, and the wine was even better."
— Erica Alemdar
"This Event is as good as it gets, just as she is. Comes the ?revolution, and we all have a full week off whenever we like, we can ?talk about it's getting three untimed rounds. In the meantime, it's the socializing, the tipsy gunboat, poker & Puerto Rico, Burgers & beer ?& Woodrings' breakfasts… Compression wouldn't improve it."
— Carl Ellis
"First I want to say thank you to All the Woodrings, including the fury ones for having us at their house and having a wonderful event. Despite my travel arrangements getting there, [HuskyCon] was the most fun I've had at a Diplomacy event. …Saturday evening was "The Bomb" it was a lot of fun. There were a lot of people there that were not strictly speaking Diplomacy players. I think that you shouldn't change it. For what agony was included for shorter timed event on Sunday was more than made up for by the general amiability and good will on Saturday evening. My vote is for Saturday evening to stay the same, it does nothing but add to the charm of the event."
— Robert Rousse
"Conrad… it was a blast.
I had so much fun… it was scary how much fun I had.
I finished 28th and it still might be the best tourney of the year… I just didnít care about my placement… it was too much fun."
— Andy Bartalone
I was in a haze of exhaustion for most of the weekend. My family and myself did our best to be good hosts, and I feel it paid off. Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun. This year, my mother made a strong effort to make comfortable sleeping places for everyone. This was a tremendous effort and I think a lot of the tournament's success is due to her hard work the week before HuskyCon. Except for Bob who passed out on the hard wood floor next to a sleeping bag, I think everyone was quite comfortable.
You can find pictures of the event here:
I've also written about it in my personal blog:
And finally, you can find the results and a whole lot more on the HuskyCon web site:
I am tremendously pleased with the success of this event and I am looking forward to doing my part to run next year's HuskyCon. I am confident that next year's will top even this past year's event, and I invite all of you, regardless of where in the world you are, to come and spend the weekend with us. I promise, it will be fun.
Lastly, a special thanks to our HuskyCon veterans who have supported us year after year and who have been strong advocates of HuskyCon: Alex Amann, Bob Holt, Carl Ellis, Dave Maletsky, Melissa Call, Glenn Habibi, Adam Sigal, and Andy Bartalone.
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