Breathing room in war is all too
"Sing the rage of Tim Swartz that cost all other Hellas
players countless losses, hurling down to the House of Death
so many sturdy souls, great fighters' souls, but made their bodies
carrion, feasts for the dogs and birds"
2004 tournament more than doubled the size of the previous rendition
with 20 participants playing in 20 hard-fought battles throughout
five rounds. Players were guaranteed to advance only through
a win in their game. Four games had to be adjudicated throughout
the tournament with all adjudicated winners and only one adjudicated
loser advancing into the next round. One highly controversial
semi-final round bye was granted, which was the only bye granted
in the tournament. Players were matched up immediately after
finishing their previous round in order to avoid necessitated
adjudication because of time.
The games played this year truly showed, as noted in the Illiad,
that "[t]he god of war is impartial: he hand out death to
the man who hands out death." Many games finished well under
the 45 minute timed rounds, with the most notable going to Bill
Place who destroyed Scott Cornett in under ten minutes. Nonetheless,
Bill "knew full well the tide of battle had turned but still
stood firm" as he lost in his very next game to Tim Swartz
in the final.
For the first round, there was an advantage to playing yellow
and going first as 80% (eight of ten) of the Yellow players won
their first matches. In later rounds, this result was reversed,
as 70% (seven of ten) won playing Tan. The best strategy still
appears to be growth through conquering your opponent and rarely
taking voyages. By fighting it out early, "more men come
through alive --- soldiers break and run [and then its] good-bye
glory, good-bye all defenses!" Many late-round games showed
marginal growth throughout the early tournament and of the adjudicated
games, only five voyage cards on average per game had been played
As a side note, Dave Metzger, last year's champ, although
losing by adjudication in the quarter-final round this year,
walked away with the Dorian the Dolphin prize for controlling
all six spaces around the center dolphin tile at the end of his
blowout 10 cities to 1 win over the GM in the first round.
Depending on next year's competition numbers, expect to see
a three-way round robin if there are again three players in the
semi-finals. Further, all rules clarifications will come straight
from resources available on the internet, including boardgamegeek.com.
Printouts will be available at the tournament. Depending on future
interest, the single elimination continuous format for play seems
to be the most popular and next year's scheduled time will be
very close to that of the 2004 WBC.