Encore ... 15 Years in the Making
Mark Smith and Steve Simmons seek
to etch their names on the Britannia sword.
Ed O'Connor, Llew Bardecki and Chris
Trimmer are also on a quest for the sword.
James Stanard and Alex Bell combat
former champs Jordan and Kirchner.
The Britannia booty awaits
the victors. The sword is a perpetual trophy bearing the names
of past victors.
It was a delightfully rousing year Britannia folks!
As you can see, our participation increased and I'm now a firm
believer in a Monday heat. Please let me know if you feel differently.
We had some great heats, a couple notable moments came up.
Two that I noted in the third heat were about a couple of different
leaders. In one game, Boudicca had a traditional attack upon
Essex and took it down easily. She and her army then stood firm
when three legions attacked them. The three legions all died
and Boudicca went off quietly to retirement, denying the Romans
points for killing her. Fergus was not so fortunate in a different
game. Attacking through the mountains to Moray, Fergus left behind
a force in Skye to hold the retreat path. The battle in Skye
went first...and failed. Then Fergus attacked in Moray, 3 on
2 I believe it was. But a couple of kills by the Picts took away
the Scottish advantage. With no retreat left, Fergus was left
to attack again to win or die trying. Unfortunately for Fergus,
die trying won out.
Fortunately, there were no adjudications in the heats this
year, although one game went right down to the wire. I believe
that rounds 15 and 16 were played, with some encouragement, in
about 5 minutes all told. Let's not get to that much of a squeaker
Pleasingly, the usual balance of winning colors was maintained
during the heats. We had four wins each for Blue and Red (and
you all know how much I like it when Blue wins!) And three each
for Yellow and Green. The high scores for the heats started out
with a roar with Blue and Yellow high bars being set on Monday.
Barry Smith racked up a 243 Blue score while newcomer Robert
Malcomson put together a huge Yellow 259. The Blue score was
challenged in the second round by Nick Benedict with 240, but
despite three Blue wins in the second heat, Barry stayed on top.
In the second heat, Ewan McNay pulled out a massive Red score
of 297, easily grabbing honors there. Then, in the third heat,
Rick Kirchner pulled off a 255 Green, easily eclipsing the hefty,
but not high enough 240 by Chris Trimmer in the second heat.
My favorite Ethelraed the Unraedy award was a tie this year!
Both Barry Smith and John Henry claimed the honors with 191 points
each. I know one of these years the Ethelred will go to someone
scoring over 200, as the competition is evening out nicely.
For the semifinals, we had 11 winners and a high runner-up
running the gauntlet. With three semifinals being played, competition
was fierce for not only first, but also second place, as onerunner-up
would also advance. As it was, we finished with Ewan McNay, Robert
Malcolmson, and Barry Smith winning. Ewan declined his seat at
the Final in favor of another opportunity at the RoboRally
Final. Thus, we had two runners-up advancing. John Henry
from the game that Ewan won replaced him. The last finalist was
not so easily decided; Mark Smith and Rick Kirchner tied for
second. A quick roll of the dice gave Rick the right to advance.
So we were left with, Robert Malcolmson, Rick Kirchner, John
Henry and Barry Smith still standing.
Barry drew Yellow, Rick Green, Robert Red, and John Blue.
Barry's Romans quickly rolled into the lowlands of England, after
having made a deal with Rick's Welsh, and plowed through the
Belgae with only one loss. The Belgae refused to submit on the
initial invasion round anyway. Further persuasion convinced the
Belgae to submit rather than being eliminated, but only after
being reduced to North Mercia, Lindsey and Norfolk. The Romans
then decided to vacation with the Brigantes after all of the
fun they had with the Belgae. Again, there was but one loss for
the Romans, when they decided to go skiing in the Pennines and
fell down a bad slope.
Boudicca's rebellion was less than successful, taking four
into York to fight two legions and a fort. Her generals served
her poorly and none of the Romans were killed. Regrettably, the
Romans did not take this lightly, and killed three Belgae with
one roll of the dice. Boudicca's forces ran back into Lindsey
to reconsider their options. The Brigante's then decided to have
a conference to consider their options in Stratchclyde, and in
doing so, shrank down to three areas. The Romans, conveniently,
left Cumbria open for them to occupy again.
So, on Turn 2, there were still 14 Romans around and they
decided to be ambitious, going for all of their objectives at
once. Thus, the Romans adventured into Lindsey with four units,
knocked off the Belgae, submitted the Brigantes with another
couple of units, and then boldly sent seven units into the Picts
and rolled well. The Picts immediately submitted, setting up
very boring and quick Turns 2 and 3.
Turn 4 the Germans came on and the Saxons visited the swamp.
Regrettably, they got lost in the swamps of Lindsey and one of
their armies died when they ran into a Roman fort. The rest of
the Germans declined to have any adventures after the example
of the Saxon misadventuress.
Turn 5 and the Germans found some friends and decided to get
frisky. The Saxons went into Suffolk and their dice were persuasive,
killing the legion and the fort with one roll. Naturally, the
Jutes went to Kent to explore the farmland and successfully set
up a small homestead with one army and sending one army back
to sea. Using the highway opened by the Saxons, the Angles went
into the unguarded forts in South and North Mercia and easily
burned them to the ground.
For Turn 6, the Romano-British went into hiding in their hills
and swamp, with one in the Pennines, two in Lindsey and four
in the Downlands. One lonely farmer of the Romano-British was
sitting out in Hwicce wondering where all of his friends had
gone. Well, that one farmer was attacked by eight Saxons. With
Aelle. Needless to say, he died, but proudly took a Saxon with
him. The Saxons then headed into Devon after hearing the word
that the mysterious King Arthur was looking to pay a visit to
Aelle. The Angles then had to land and decided that the Romano-British
really didn't need to be in the Pennines. Four Angles were sufficient
to find the Romano-British and exterminate them.
Given the lack of attacks on the Downlands and Lindsey, the
Romano-British had six armies left and had to take some time
to consider their options. Then they just decided on inaction.
It was amusing having the Saxons and Romano-British carefully
ignoring each other.
With Turn 7 the Irish decided to party in Wales again, going
to Gwynedd and Dyfed, and making Wales look rather red. The Scots,
on their invasion, decided that the Picts were anathema and kicked
them back down to just Mar. The Saxons did take out one of the
Romano-British, but Arthur was destined to die of old age. The
Angles, angered by the excursions of the Scottish into the Pictish
homeland, decided to send Ida on a royal visit to Scotland, killing
two Scots in each of Dalriada and Skye.
Meanwhile, to the south, the Saxons decided that they really
liked southern Wales and decided to do a little landgrab in Cornwall.
Wales was really not looking very green.
The Romano-British woke up for Turn 8 and decided to support
their friends the Scots and plow into the Angles in the south.
Meanwhile, the Welsh decided to start dealing with some of their
...internal issues and attacked the Saxons in Devon and the Irish
in Dyfed. Regrettably, only the Dyfed attack was successful.
There were minimal movements the rest of the turn, but a huge
number of Angles took out another Scot while heading south and
leaving only one lonely Scot behind
With the Irish having taken Powys on Turn 8, the Welsh went
back in on Turn 9 and were at last somewhat successful, kicking
the Irish out. Turn 9 also saw the demise of the Romano British
at long last, at the hands of the Brigantes, who didn't have
anything else to do while respecting their peace with the Angles.
Alas, Turn 10 marked the demise of the Scots as the burgeoning
Brigantes found nowhere else to go and incidentally brushed the
one lonely Scot aside.
On Turn 11, the Norseman came ashore and kicked the Caledonians,
who had earlier taken advantage of the Angles heading south,
out of the Hebrides and Skye. The Danes then raided the shore
of the English Channel from the massive but thinly settled Saxons
as well as Norfolk. The Saxons and Angles, clearly terrified
of the rumors of the Danes coming, contracted down to their cores.
Unfortunately for the Brigantes, that meant that they happened
to be in the way of the Angle contraction.
Turn 12 saw the Caledonians adventuring back into Skye to
knock on some Norse doors. They decisively kicked Ketil back
to the Hebrides.
For the Danish invasion, York, Lindsey, March, North Mercia,
Norfolk and Suffolk were all empty, but with massive armies ringing
the empty areas. So the Danes headed south to soften up the Saxons
in Kent, Essex and South Mercia. The Angles breathed a sigh of
relief. The Saxons melted away only causing the fierce Danes
a couple of casualties. The remaining ten Danes then settled
back around Lindsey with Ivar and Halfdan building themselves
a fine place to stay in the swamp. In retaliation, Alfred took
five armies to wipe out the two Danes in Essex.
Turn 13, the Caledonians triumphantly walked back into Hebrides
and smacked the Norseman out. It was a long and drawn out battle
though, with neither side finding a hit on the dice. Eventually,
Lew Pulsipher was brought in to issue magic words while the dice
were rolled. After Quetzalcoatl, Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl
were tried, a cry of abra-cadabra finally helped to deliver the
roll of 6 for the Caledonians.
The Dubliners came aboard to no opposition and made a deal
with the Danes to allow them to stay in York, in exchange for
peace. Nonetheless, Olaf stayed in York as a bit of insurance.
That freed the Danes to pile seven armies on to the four Saxon
armies and Alfred in Essex. With an even trade of armies, the
Saxons ran away. Edgar and the Saxons then decided to take the
Angles out of Hwicce rather than chancing the monster army of
the Danes. Then the Angles came down into Cumbria with four armies
to knock the Dubliners out of one of their big point areas.
On Turn 14, the Brigantes decided that they weren't going
to get Strathclyde back, so they might as well help protect the
Norsemen and went into Skye. The Caledonians ran back out of
Hebrides and kicked them out. The last Norseman looked out with
desperation from his abode in the Orkneys. The three new Dubliners
coming on decided to head into Galloway and Bernicia and successfully
took both. For the Danish King run, the Danes decided that they
must have a true King battle and went after 4 Saxon armies and
Edgar with five armies and Cnut, Cnut won. The Danes then handily
took down the Saxon burhs in Kent and Sussex. Kent went down
easily, but Sussex started with misses all around. More magic,
well, non-words, more of a verbal...frankly folks, I'm not even
sure how to describe it, from Lew helped to squeeze a 6 from
the dice. Making himself king, Cnut then swiftly left. The Saxons
re-occupied three areas and the Angles decided to start their
softening campaign against the south to help out the Normans
with an excursion in force into the Downlands, successfully turning
it blue and leaving supply line guardians in Hwicce and March.
Yes, on Turn 15, an amazing 11 Angles were still on the board.
(Ahem, the side conversation on bad juju versus DoomStar was
also entertaining. Lew and his games...) OK, but that didn't
last long as the Dubliners went into Cumbria and Lothian, killing
off one of the Angles and knocking another back into Strathclyde.
The Norwegians looked to have an easy time of it, with only March
occupied of their scoring areas. However, an army of nine Norwegians
and Harald, while taking out the three Angles in March, were
rocked back on their heels as the Angles also killed three. So
the Norwegians retired to the north.
The Saxons decided that a retirement home in Gwent was a good
idea and walked in with three armies, killing another of the
already battered Welsh, who were down to Powys, Dyfed, Gwynedd
and Clwyd. The Angles, wishing to further soften the resistance
in the south, took their five southern armies into the four Danes
in Suffolk. But they were bloodily repulsed when they missed
completely and the Danes hit three times. The remaining two Angles
retired to North Mercia to lick their wounds.
The Normans were then virtually unopposed and took an army
of William, four cavalry and two regulars into the stack of four
Danes in Suffolk. They were more successful than the Angles,
killing them with the loss of just one cavalry.
On Turn 16, the Welsh crouched in Powys, Dyfed and Gwynedd,
hoping to keep them. The Caledonians finally made it back to
the Orkneys, killing off the last Norseman, but leaving Caithness
for the Picts to occupy. The Dubliners piled into the remains
of the northern Angles in Strathclyde and Galloway, handily killing
them off. The Danes, with only Lindsey and Norfolk left, were
in a quandary as to where to hide away from the maxed out Normans.
For points, the Danes put a unit into empty Cornwall, but decided
not to hide Svein, instead simply killing off the Norman in Essex
and leaving only a guard of two Danes for Svein, just waiting
for the Norman revenge.
The also maxed out Norwegians, with four Norwegians coming
to reinforce from the sea, decided to kill off a couple of Saxons
in March and a Norman in Hwicce taking both out easily. Harald
meanwhile headed to his country home in Lothian. The couple of
Angles left in the south tried to take out a Norwegian, but swiftly
became one Angle as they were repulsed.
And that left the Normans to spread out while taking out Svein
and also heading into Norfolk. Taking only three knights in to
kill Svein, two hits on each side left William with just one
cavalry left. In Norfolk and Hwicce the Norman battles ended
in mutual destruction.
With all of the battling back and forth it was a close and
low scoring game as the totals were counted. Only 10 points separated
first and fourth. So a couple of die rolls one way or the other
could easily have upended the finishing order. Barry Smith's
Yellow's took fourth with 194, John Henry's Blues were third
with 196, Rick Kirchner's Green's ended with 202, and newcomer
(first WBC) Robert Malcolmson's Red's won the game with 204.
Robert will thus be the fourth winner on the Britannia
sword when we all come back next year.
My thanks to everyone for another great tournament and I hope
to see all of you playing again next year!
GM Jim Jordan with his finalists and
designer Dr Lew Pulsipher (second from right).