one crowded ocean ...
proved to be another exciting year in the North Atlantic as 126
of the WBC's finest ventured out into the harsh seas to take
part in the Atlantic Storm tournament. As in previous
years, there were four preliminary heats followed by a semi-final
round and a final, five-player game.
There was no shortage of strange happenings in the frigid
waters during the preliminary and semi-final rounds. Here are
a few samples:
- Daniel Hoffman taking the Bismarck and Tirpitz
in the same round
- Charles Stucker making a dominant play of a sub card, three
bonus cards, and the 2nd Happy Time only to be wiped out of the
hand by an Atlantic Storm
- Lee Rodrigues leading a hand with the Tirpitz. Everyone
went against him, but Lee had the last laugh as he rolled a 12
with the Tirpitz to take 13 VPs in one shot.
- James Pei only managing to score 3 points in his semi-final
- Marty Sample being denied a place in the final game by John
Elliott's one in six chance with the die.
When the semi-final round ended, John Elliott, Rob Mull, and
Robert Barnes joined repeat finalists Pat Mirk and RobWinslow
in the five-player final game. (In the interest of clarity, I'll
be referring to everyone by last name since there were three
people named Rob/Robert in the final. No offense is intended.)
This year's final began with an Arctic Convoy (PQ17). It went
around the first time and wound up in a tie. It was eventually
won by Barnes with help from Mirk, Mull, and Elliott. However,
there were not enough spoils to go around and Elliott was the
odd-man out. Round 4 saw another Arctic Convoy (PQ13) go around
twice. Elliott took the prize by playing the Bismarck.
Barnes, however, had played the Belchen and calmly put
the Bismarck into his hand for later use.
Round seven saw a tight battle over SC87. Winslow led the
hand with some German Play. Mirk played the Ultra card in order
to play last. Mull played Allied and then took Elliott out of
the hand with the Atlantic Storm card. Mirk put up a couple more
Allied points to complete the Mull/Mirk tag-team for SC87.
Round 8 saw the juicy SC42 convoy head out. Barnes, knowing
that the Rodney had already been sunk, led the surface
battle with the Bismarck. Only Elliott offered any challenge
as he played the Gneisenau, hoping that Barnes would roll
poorly. Unfortunately for Elliott, Barnes tossed the dice to
a tally of 9, and took the convoy.
Round 12 marked the half-way point in the game (as there were
two tied convoys early on). SC26 was up for grabs and Winslow
took it unchallenged as no one had any German strength to offer.
At the midpoint of the game, the visible (convoy) scores were
Mirk 15, Barnes 11, Mull 4, Winslow 2, and Elliott 1.
Barnes got the second half of the game started by choosing
convoy SC121 and playing the Westmark wolfpack which is fated
against SC121 as well as the 2nd Happy Time. Both Mirk and Elliott
tried to slide in with German cards, but Barnes rolled well enough
to take the convoy.
Mirk thought he was in a strong position in round 14 as he
chose PQ18 and had the KG26 card (which is fated against PQ18).
Unfortunately, the Arctic Storm found its way to Mirk and he
was left with nothing. Mull wound up taking the convoy with a
strong Allied play.
As it got to round 18, Barnes, Mirk, and Elliott were pulling
away from Winslow and Mull. However, neither were ready to pack
it in just yet. Barnes called for a surface battle over convoy
SC130. He played Admiral Tovey, Duke of York, and the
B-17 for a 7-point allied play. Mirk also played Allied, but
in the end it was Winslow's play of the King George V
and the Azores (for 8 points) that took the prize away from Barnes.
Round 19 saw a newly shuffled force deck deal the King
George V right back to Mirk. He played it in the surface
fight over HG53. Mull played Ultra to see what else would happen.
Elliott discarded and Winslow tossed out a weak 1-point German
card. Barnes followed up with the Bismarck and then Mull
put out 1 allied point. Barnes rolled a 9 with the Bismarck
to not only win the convoy, but the King George V as well
as he only had to give the 1-point card to Winslow.
Round 20 saw a bit of controversy in a strong surface battle
over convoy ON67. After Mull's play of the Tirpitz ,Elliott
followed up with Admiral Tovey, Duke of York, and Rueben
James. Barnes put out the Hudson and then the "fun"
began. Mirk continually tried to get Elliott to make a deal over
who would get what if Mirk played allied. A long back and forth
ensued (with much commentary from the other players) until finally
Elliott gave in. Mirk played the Hood and was given the
convoy while Elliott took the Tirpitz.
The final convoy was HX79. Winslow was the round leader and
called a combined action and promptly discarded his entire hand
(indicative of his luck during the game). Barnes followed with
only 4 points for the Germans and due to HX79 being a 1940 convoy,
no one else could play anything. Thus giving Barnes the last
five VP's of the game.
Those five points proved to be decisive as when the final
scores were tallied, Barnes came out on top with 36 points. Mirk
finished 2nd with 32, and Elliott's 28 were good enough for 3rd.
Winslow and Mull never really could get it going as they only
managed 14 and 13 points respectively.
So, congratulations to Robert Barnes on winning a very demanding
Atlantic Storm tournament. I hope everyone had as much
fun playing as I had in running this great event.