one crowded ocean ...
The icy waters of the North Atlantic proved once again to
be a very popular place as 126 hard-bitten naval commanders set
out for this year's title and thereby claimed the largest tournament
field at WBC 2001. As with previous years, the North Atlantic
proved to be as strange and mysterious as it is deadly.
of the highlights from the heats and semi-finals included:
- Pat Mirk capturing five (5) ships via fate cards
- The Bismarck rolling boxcars; to help take out the
Duke of York, Renown, and Trident
- John Coussis capturing the Gneisenau, Scharnhorst,
and the Bismarck with fate cards in the same game
- A massive battle that pitted the Tirpitz and Scharnhorst
agains the Rodney, Trinidad, and Hood. Ben Knight
rolled an eight (8) with the Tirptiz to tie the battle
and send it to a second round.
Before getting to the final game, there was one semi-final
that deserves special mention. Kevin Sudy, John Coussis, Pete
Stein, and Stephen Squibb were matched up in one of five semi-final
games. Stephen raced out to a 23-point lead after only four hands.
The game continued and despite the fact that two convoys went
through unplayed (and thus discarded) the game got tighter and
tighter. The 23 points that Stephen scored in the first four
hands turned out to be the only ones he would score that game.
In the end, John Coussis emerged with 25 points to win the game.
What really made this game intriguing was the fact that only
three points separated last place from the winner. Both Pete
Stein and Kevin Sudy ended the game with 22 points, making this
the tightest game (from first to last) of the tournament.
Pat Mirk, Henry Richardson III, Rob Winslow, John Coussis,
and Dewayne Curry were paired in the final match.
In sharp contrast to the past couple of years, there were
no early arctic convoys. The third hand saw a big combined battle
over convoy ONS202, ONS18. The Bogue and Victorious
squared off against the Scharnhorst and Bismarck.
Dewayne emerged victorious with the Victorious (sorry)
and took home 11 points, giving Rob the Bismarck for five
points. The next few hands saw a fairly even distribution of
points. Henry tried a couple of times to play “?”-valued
cards, but never could quite roll high enough to win convoys.
He was, however, building up a good spoils pile in front of him.
At the mid-way point, the visible (convoy) points were: Pat-10,
Dewayne-10, John-9, Rob-7, and Henry-0.
The second half of the game began with an Arctic convoy started
by John. After playing a strong sub card, John played the Arctic
Storm and took Rob out of the hand. No one else challenged John
and so he started the second half on a good note. Round 13 saw
a tied hand for a 1940 convoy that went around a second time.
The second time no one could challenge Pat, so he took the convoy
and all spoils for a six-point hand. The game remained tight
going in to the last five convoys. Hand 16 saw Henry select convoy
SC118 and call Surface leading the Duke of York. Despite
Rob pitching in on the Allied side, Dewayne, Pat, and John all
went German and John took the big convoy by rolling a 10 with
the Tirpitz. Dewayne started hand 18 by selecting SC48
and playing five points for the Germans. No one challenged him
except John who put out a Wolf Pack and a +1 bonus card. John
rolled a five (net six with the bonus) and took the convoy. Pat
began hand 19 as he chose SC122. Pat called sub and played 4
points for the Germans and also played the 2nd Happy Time Card.
John followed-up with a Wolf Pack and no one else was able to
challenge. It came down to the die roll and the GM continued
his display of bad manners with hot dice by rolling a five to
take the convoy. John selected the final convoy, ON166, called
sub, and put out a tremendous hand of Admiral Tovey, an Escort
Group, a +1 bonus, and the Wellington. Despite this show of strength,
no one else was looking for spoils as everyone else played German.
Dewayne wound up winning the hand, although it didn't move him
out of last place.
When the final scores were tallied, John had 34, Rob 32, Henry
26, Pat 25, and Dewayne 23. So, John Coussis took home the wood
he challenged the rest of us to win. This was John's second title
of the 2001 WBC, both in the events he GM'd. While no one really
had a serious problem with that, he had to absorb more than a
few good natured taunts.