In a distant galaxy, far, far away
The only difference between running Princess Ryan's Star
Marines for kids and running it for teens and adults is that
in the later tourney the GM has to stand on a chair to see over
everyone's heads. Like their younger counterparts, the "big"
marines ran up against heavy Guard opposition. Nick Henning and
Jeff Ribeiro not only both won games as the Guards but also annihilated
their opponents right down to the last marine. Phil Barcafer
did not fare quite as well with the Guards, but he held on admirably.
In one particularly tense series of battles, the Marines were
forced to march backwards from Guard counterattacks. "We've
been over the line," Charles Davis said, pointing to the
fold in the board that marks the half-way point, "but we
Black Guard opposition (and play) was so good in the tourney
that in two of the games the Marines reached the Royal Suite
at the end of the board but were unable to break through to save
the princess. Although Saturday was a good day for the Guards,
it did not go all their way. Matt Fagan took the lead in the
tourney on round one by leading his Marine team to a stunning
victory. He rescued the princess and scored 85 points, the second
best score for any single player (Guard or Marine) in any single
game (including the juniors scores from the day before). His
second outing as a Guard, however, was not as spectacular --
he took out a number of marines, but not enough to stop them
from saving the princess. He did, however, come in sixth overall
at the end of the day.
Victory in tourney went to veteran Stephen Shedden (who was
wearing the "Princess Ryan's Star Marines 4th place 1997"
T-shirt he had made up after the 1997 con). Second place went
to defending champ, Paul Bolduc. Adam Gugliemeni, Jeff Ribeiro
and Nick Henning, each of whom began playing Princess Ryan
in juniors tournaments a few years ago, took third, fourth and
fifth places, respectively. Many other former juniors who graduated
to the senior level came to play in the tourney with the older
guys (and a few women). The tourney also included returning favorites
Abby Cocke and Christina Hancock. These two young women who,
widely regarded for their sportsmanship and good cheer -- especially
when teaching novice players -- are the same age as the real
Princess Ryan - my daughter.
Princess Ryan's Star Marines Junior results:
First Place: Jordan Flawd, PA
Second: Erica Kirchner, KY
Third: Matthew Beach, MD
Fourth: Ashley Collinson, MD
Fifth: James Kendrick, UK
Sixth: Alexandra Henning, CT
The bone-chilling scream of a nine year-old girl brought half
a dozen worried men running to the Chase room on Friday morning.
"What's wrong?" a breathless dad asked his daughter.
"Our starship blew up!"
Rebecca Dunn's explanation of her scream sums up the juniors
tournament for Princess Ryan's Star Marines. It was a
tough battle for the plucky, poorly armed marines, as the crafty
Black Guards held off their rescue efforts.
"Do you guys, like, have any GOOD weapons?" Alexandra
Henning pleaded as her compatriots fought a desperate, uphill
battle to save the princess. One of those compatriots, James
Kendrick from England, kept his team's spirits up in the face
of one disastrous skirmish after another. The cheerful Brit showed
his pluck by urging the marines ever onward.
"I don't want die!" Ashley Collinson implored when
her teammates asked her which direction they should go on the
path toward the Dark Citadel. Ashley, who took over the role
of doctor to check the health of the wounded marines sent to
sick bay, single-handedly killed more marines than the enemy
Black Guard player. "Darn it, guys, its not my fault,"
she explained, adding in true Star Trek fashion "I'm
just a nurse, not a doctor!"
Matthew Beach was so frustrated with the lack of progress
by the leader of his team of marines, he used the jagged piece
of metal to frag the commander and take charge himself -- and
helped lead his team to a bloody but glorious victory. Not all
the marine fights were disasters. Erica Kirchner, who in one
game as the Black Guards slaughtered a dozen marines, fought
her way as a marine to the prison cells in another game, where
she was heard shouting with glee "I know where the princess
The juniors had a good, loud time. Rebecca Dunn's scream (and
that of her sister, Ashley), were not the only noises that brought
adults running to the room. As tradition and the rules of the
tournament require, the marines can NOT land on the planet and
begin the game unless they sing the song of descent. The chorus
of that song, which must be shouted loudly and proudly, is "It's
Princess Ryan's Star Marines!"