Sinking Ships During the Great
Bryan Collars and Eric Ritter are
Stan Buck, Wayne Morrison, RJ Gleaton
and Michael Ussery
The Future Belongs to the Young ... or is that the Present?
Only one thing was certain heading into the 2013 tournament:
we would have a new champion. James Day, the game's designer
and defending champion, found himself unable to attend WBC this
year, leaving the field wide open.
for Jim's absence, it was a good year for the tournament. We
had more people playing more games more often, we saw a good
number of new faces, and we had a full house for elimination
rounds. Overall, the revised tournament format, which limited
semifinalists to 16 and seeded them first by wins and then by
overall points through three rounds seemed to work. Still, data
I've collected over the past two years suggest that the increased
competition at a 4-player table doesn't fully compensate for
the increased availability of points at that same table, so next
year's seeding will include some sort of point-leveling between
3- and 4-player games. This GM greatly appreciated both the eagerness
of the new players and the patience of more experienced competitors.
KPR is a game of good card play and lucky dice where
even the best plan can come to naught. We saw this in the first
heat, for example, when Matt Baccho, the only KPR Centurion,
successfully hid the damaged Nurnberg in an Island Refuge and
then failed his repair rolls for the next four turns, leaving
that ship unavailable to hunt merchantmen (and score points!).
Competition was fierce throughout the heats, and we ended
with 14 individual winners and a couple additional doughty players
qualifying for the semis. There, caution (and the desire not
to set the table for the next player) seemed the order of the
day -- three of the four semifinals were amongst the lowest scoring
games of the tournament, despite at least one player at most
tables running out of German ships -- a situation that, admittedly,
limits your score but tends to increase someone else's by quite
In the end, despite thw presence of at least five former finalists,
the Final was crewed by four new to the tournament, including
13-year-old RJ Gleaton, who had advanced into the semis as first
alternate. As is tradition, the Final was a full three-round
game, assigning round points at the end of each deck. The first
play of the game was a card draw by RJ, after which the other
players decided to go for early points. Ben Collinson, Sr., drew
first blood, and both Fair Seas cards were played in the first
turn. James Kramer invested heavily in German ships, only to
have four of his raiders hampered by a Rendezvous Missed. Still,
James managed to take the round, followed by Ben, Mike Horn and
James chose to sacrifice two cards on the first deal of Round
2 to keep his two best raiders, the Wolf and the Berlin. None
of the others kept more than one. RJ experienced the highs and
lows of the game in this round, opening by sinking three merchantmen
with mines but then having his warship, the Karlsruhe, damaged
by each of his opponents before it finally went down. RJ kept
the lead, for the round, followed by James. The second round
ended with James leading with seven round points, followed by
RJ and Ben at five, and Mike with four.
Again, James sacrificed two cards to keep the Wolf and Berlin
in the third round. This time, though, the strategy may have
hurt him as he struggled to get points while the other three
players actively avoided giving him extra chances to score. Mike,
who'd been at the bottom, came out gunning and sank two German
ships and an AMC to reach 74 points before anyone else had more
than 15, and the chase began. RJ finally managed to intercept
and sink the Wolf, and then, after Ben damaged Mike's Nurnberg,
James missed the shot and RJ sank it to become a serious threat.
The round ended with Mike in the lead, followed by RJ, Ben, and
then James in a very distant fourth having managed to sink only
one merchantman the entire round. The game ended in a three-way
tie for first with RJ taking the victory on the most-victory-awards
tie-breaker. Ben was the hard luck fourth, ending just one round
point below the others.
Mafia members Gus Collars and Bill
Beckman raid the high seas often.
GM Tim Rogers oversees his finalists.