The second BPA Here I Stand PBeM tournament was the largest event in the game's history, either live or email and generated more than double the number of player starts in any previous tournament with players toeing the line 234 times.
The semi-final round advanced the five semi-final winners and one alternate. Advancing were Rob Mull, Jeremiah Peterson, Scott Burns, Kaarin Englemann, and Bryan Collars. Rob's brother, Larry, advanced by virtue of winning the tie breaker of highest VP scoring non-winner in the semi-final. Only Jeremiah and GM Bryan were prior laurelists in the game.
Unlike the preliminary rounds, the Final was played using the full campaign game. Power selection was decided in order of the highest VPs scored in the semi-final. The powers selected were Ottoman: Bryan; France:Jeremiah; Hapsburgs: Rob; Protestants: Kaarin; England: Scott; and Papacy: Larry in that order. The opening turns were typical of full campaign games as the Turks cautiously advanced in Hungary, while the rest jockeyed for position by snapping up the easily defeated independent keys and the Protestants successfully spreading the gospel throughout Germany. An unlikely Circumnavigation of the world by the French explorer Verranzano gave Jeremiah an early advantage. Turn 3 saw things shift radically as the Schmalkaldic League formed early, putting the Protestants and Hapsburgs at war while the Turks were bearing down on Buda with the large Hapsburg army biding its time in Vienna. Armageddon was forestalled though as multiple complimentary card plays by the Mull brothers dealt the Turk army a serious defeat that effectively removed them from the game. Meanwhile the others were guiding their powers through marriages, explorations, and religous publications and slowly gaining VPs. Turns 4-5 were once again jockeying turns as players tried to position themselves for the win. First came the Protestants only to be beaten back by the Pope and Hapsburgs. Then the Hapsburgs put Istanbul under siege, while the hapless Turks could just sit idly by and watch. Turn 6, saw very intensive, and at times contentious, diplomacy as the players feverously tried to stop the Hapsburg juggernaught while at the same time not allowing the French to benefit. After all the prayers had been answered that were going to be, it was neither the Hapsurgs nor the French who emerged victorious at game's end, but rather the Papacy who reigned supreme. Larry's Papacy deftly charted the last turn with timely religious actions coupled with outstanding dice that saw him rise quickly to the top of the VP track with 25 points. Jeremiah's French scored 24 and held off Rob's ever dangerous Hapsburgs with 23. Kaarin's Protestants scored 19, followed by Scott's English with 17, and Bryan's Turks brought up the rear with 16. So congrats to Larry Mull whose deft play, good humor, and lucky dice brought home the wood of the second BPA HIS PBeM tournament.
After 22 games, the field of 54 players was whittled down to the six laurelists. The Final of the first HIS BPA PBeM Tournament reached a satisfying conclusion in late Sept. 2008. Dan Gallagher's Turks were able to outwit, outlast, and secure five Pirating VPs to earn the first PBeM Tournament Championship. Dan's Turn 5 victory was an outstanding accomplishment given the strength of the other finalists. Key moments in Dan's march to victory in Turn 5 were the three key Piracy VPs the Turks earned to ensure the victory, the play of Servetus for an additonal VP and the straw stealing of two VPs when the Akinji Raiders snatched the Andrea Doria card from the Hapsburgs. Rob Seulowitz's Hapsburgs held the Turn 4 lead but deft diplomacy on his part shifted the bullseye squarely on the back of his rival, Dan's Turks. The diplomatic play in no way lessened Rob's chance at victory. However, Dan's cards, luck, and overall strategy won out and brought home the coveted wood. Spirited play by Mike Brophy's Papacy and Jeremiah Peterson's Protestants saw the religious battles sway back and forth. Mike's Pope eventually prevailed in this conflict with the untimely burning of one of the Protestant debaters. Meanwhile Steve Caler as the French and George Young as the English played a steady Tournament Final that saw them poised for a big Turn 6 that could have secured the victory, but alas it was not to be. The final results for all the participants wee thus: 1st - Dan Gallagher 24VPs (Turks), 2nd - Rob Seulowitz 21VPs (Hapsburgs), 3rd - Stever Caler 21VPs (French), 4th - Mike Brophy 18VPs (Papacy), 5th - George Young 18VPs (English), and 6th - Jeremiah Peterson 17VPs (Protestant).