The Tides of History ...
This year's tournament had a couple
of potential problems even before it began. First, the first
round had been assigned for 8 PM, which meant that some boards
may run until 2 AM (or even later, if anybody decided to ignore
my pleadings that no "newcomers" to the game participate);
it was moved back to its usual 6 PM start, but with a warning
that there might not be enough tables in the room. Second, Hasbro
had released its revised (and "revised" is putting
it lightly) version a couple of weeks earlier, so there was the
chance that someone only familiar with this version would show
up; there were even sheets describing the differences in the
rules versions just in case. Fortunately for all concerned, there
were plenty of tables, and
everybody there was quite familiar with the "blue box"
version of the game.
of the length of the previous year's rounds, an experimental
"the attacker rolls all dice in combat" rule was suggested,
but far too many players preferred to have defenders roll their
own dice. As it turned out, the games ran fast this year even
with defenders rolling their own dice.
The only incident of note in the first
round came when someone called the GM over to note that their
Fujiwara and Japan Minor Empire cards had the correct starting
locations on them. Sure enough, there were apparently two sets
of event card printings, one with the start areas switched (as
mentioned in the errata) and one with them correct. The semi-final
round was similarly uneventful, after only 30 players showed
up, including the player who finished the first round in next-to-last
place. However, there would not be a repeat of 2000's "player
rising from the ashes" as all six finalists were among the
top 36 from the first round.
The final proved to be close throughout.
The early start may have taken its toll on Harald Henning, who
played Egypt in the first Epoch, placed three Armies in the Middle
East, and then realized that Sumeria had three there as well.
Later, in the third Epoch, Greg Crowe played the Romans with
Elite Troops, and when they expired, Fanatacism, but only managed
30 points. Despite this, Greg finished only six points behind
the winner...but in fifth place. Harald's Greeks from Epoch 2,
with help from difficult terrain, threw Mike Backstrom's Epoch
4 Arabs (with Fanatacism) back four times in Pindus. The luck
turned against Harald in Epoch 5 when Mongols played a Leader,
who promptly died on the first attack (which was a tie).
Finally, in the last turn, Harald started
with Russia and put up a respectable score of 196, even though
he lost five Armies in China. Melinda, needing 52, turned over
France, Civil Service, and Weaponry, but only managed 50. Allen
Kaplan was the last real threat, needing 56, and playing Britain,
Japan, and Weaponry. Although there were various point counts
made by the players, it seemed to come down to a final attack
on Southern Iberia with a +1 to the attack...and Allen rolled
a pair of ones to lose the attack and fall one point short -
a point he would have received had he occupied an open Australia
with his last unit. (This GM knows from personal experience
what that feels like...)
Unable to attend WBC 2002 I now turn
over the GM reigns to the next volunteer. Who will continue the