Ben Hur ... scene 3
The 2002 Circus Minimus event was a blast, drawing
21 competitors to three heats of exciting play. The 21 is down
year's 38, but I attribute that to a foolish scheduling experiment
of mine where all the heats were at 7pm, and one was on
Tuesday to boot. This was my fault, and will not be repeated
in the future.
All in all, seven
games were played over the three qualifying heats, plus the final.
Players advanced to the final based upon the highest score they
achieved in any one race in the heats. This system worked well,
and will be retained for the future.
Heat 1 was on Tuesday night, and six players (including the
GM) played. After a hard fought race in which two charioteers
died (both by being run over by their fellow racers), the GM
(me) squeaked out a win by rolling a 6 for Hard Whipping my very
fatigued horses to finish one space ahead of Bob Myers.
Heat two featured three five-player games. In one of them,
Tom Meier edged out last year's champ Steve Shambeda in a very
rare race. The rarity was that no charioteer was killed and all
Chariots survived the race as well. The other race was more along
normal lines, as two charioteers were killed. This race was also
unique in that Kaarin Engelmann won the race riding in her THIRD
chariot of the race. She started in her own, then jumped into
an unmanned chariot (the driver had been killed previously) after
her initial one became damaged. After again being without chariot,
she then jumped from the median into yet
another chariot, which she rode to victory. In the third race,
Jon Shambeda bested Paul Bolduc with a close win at the end.
Heat three featured two five-player games. The first one was
one of the bloodiest Circus Minimus games ever played
at WBC. Only two charioteers survived the race, and only one
chariot. The winner was Greg Berry, who earned the nickname "Doctor
Death" by killing three charioteers. Steve Shambeda tried
to board Greg's chariot but missed, and ran across the line on
foot to claim second. In the second game, Joe Sposito won a very
tight race in a game that featured a three-way fight for a single
chariot (three charioteers fighting in one chariot).
The Final was a seven
player race that featured a lot of mayhem. Only three of the
seven charioteers survived the race as both Greg "Doctor
Death" Berry and Steve Shambeda each killed two of their
fellow racers. Ultimately it came down to a race between Greg
and Steve, where Greg prevailed by the smallest of margins. Paul
Bolduc finished third.
I would like to extend my thanks to everyone who played this
year, both for contributing to the success of this event and
for putting up with me (the GM). This was harder than it may
seem, as I was suffering from what was diagnosed after the convention
as a severe sinus infection (am still on medication for it) and
was effectively deaf during both heat 3 and the finals. Special
thanks go to Steve Shambeda, Bob Myers and Bill Navolis. These
experienced players were at tables with novices, and went out
of their way to help with the play of the game, sometimes to
their own detriment. Finally, my nomination for the Sportmanship
award went to Steve Shambeda (although any of the above individuals
are deserving). Steve probably cost himself the wood by pointing
out a rule to the other players that specifically disadvantaged
him (he was at the time not on a chariot).