leader off the starboard bow ...
Naval War is an old "beer and pretzels" multiplayer
game of deceptive simplicity. Five tables totaling 29 players
competed for wood in 2002.
Table 1 ended up a battle to the finish between Luke Warren
and John Coussis. They went into the final round two points
apart. After the last salvo, Warren had won by a single point.
At Table 2, Steve Scott held a two-point lead over Randall
McInnis after the second deck. Kevin Rohrer, down by nine, put
on a strong effort in the third deck, "winning" the
round with 32 points, but Scott sunk 30 points of ships to win
the table and advance, 86 to 78.
Table 3 was Tim Schwarz' lake. Despite having his entire
fleet sunk early on for a -10 point penalty, he easily won his
table, going to the finals with 88 points, 48 ahead of second
place Nick Evinger.
Table 4 saw the sea awash with oil as experienced players
took turns playing "kill the leader." Not one player
escaped at least one total fleet wipeout in the three rounds,
and Tim Evinger saw his fleet erased three times. Ben Knight
used a huge final round score of 64 points to win the table handily
by 106 to 68 over runnerup James Bell.
Table 5 produced a seesaw battle between James Fleckenstein
and Philip Shea. Shea, down four points after the first deck,
made a surprise move in the second deck while the pack concentrated
its fire on leader Fleckenstein. Shea came up three points short,
and when the group's fire shifted his way, Fleckenstein scored
67 points to come from last to first. Sean Conroy bagged 49
points to take second at 97, advancing as the best runnerup.
(Table 1's Coussis dropped out.)
The finals took five decks. Fleckenstein led the pack by
one at 57 after the third deck and paid the price. Warren made
his move in the fourth deck, but came up short at 68, with Knight
just one behind. In the final deck, Knight's draw gave him two
carriers and little firepower; he got annihilated for 1
point net. Warren, as leader, got mined repeatedly, and netted
11 points to finish at 79. Fleckenstein again surged from last
to first, sinking 29 points of ships to total 84, winning his
second Naval War championship, the first repeat champion
in this game's history.