"We're Doing Much Better Now.....
So desperate to save their sovereign were they that some of
Princess Ryan's Star Marines went into battle bare-handed, without
weapons and with predictable results. Other squads, frustrated
and thrown back time and time again by overwhelming numbers of
Black Guard defenders tried the old "do or die" attempt.
Few did, more died. But as they say in Princess Ryan's Star Marines:
"It's better that way!
Eighteen valiant players showed up at the WBC to save the princess
for whom the game is named. Each played two games, with scores
from the two rounds combined. Although Ashley Collinson took
a commanding lead with a near-record one-game score of 105 at
the end of round 1, a tough second game left her open to be overtaken
by David Brooke. His two-game total of 178 gave him undisputed
victory in the tournament and possession of the single
plaque awarded to this former (and hopefully once again someday)
Ashley, with 143 points, still managed to keep second place,
for which she was given a painted miniature marine courtesy of
the game designer's son, Campbell. Nick Henning, a former champion,
came in a close third at 130. Dan Hoffmann and Eugene Pappas
were right behind him, almost literally, with 127 each. As Dan
had won a game as the Black Guard, that was considered the tie
breaker for fourth place. Jon Gemmel was sixth with a very strong
Of the six games played, the Guard won twice. Dan Hoffman
faced the "Old Guard" of marine players including
that venerable veteran and noted "thwacker" Paul Bolduc
(a centurion winner of this event) and the ever charming and
devious some-time princess herself, Alex Henning. Not that age
or experience was much help, as 45 minutes into the game the
Marines were still on the beach.
"It's a good morning to be a guard!" quipped veteran
Chris Villeneuve, another member of that team so pounded by Dan's
guards. The defeat was of such epic proportions that when points
were counted Paul announced what he was sure was "an all
time low score" that, for the sake of all marines everywhere,
shall not be published. Suffice it to say that young Ms. Henning
was the only marine in the party NOT to have a negative score,
and she had all of eight points.
By contrast, Ashley Collinson and her marines could do no
wrong. Erika Kirchner, a lovely and sportsmanlike teenager who
has been playing since she was half her current age, managed
to kill 11 of the 24 marines and that was kill, not merely
capture or wound but her Black Guards just could not beat
Despite the occasional whine of "we did the math and
we can't win;" "five dead marines out of six
we're going DOWN," and the ever-popular "this SUCKS
for us," the marines managed to pull it off.
"They made the stupidest moves ever," Erika said
of her marine opponents, "but had the best luck ever. They
kept running out of weapons then finding ways to get more!"
Matthew Beach, another guard commander on round 1, found the
marines led by David Brooke, Eugene and Daniel Pappas and Jordan
Flawd just as tough as those Erika faced. Toughest of all of
his opponents, however, was his own sister Natalie.
At first things sounded grim, as those marines were heard
to call out "we kinda got clobbered here" and "whatta
ya mean there are FOUR colors!," to which another marine
responded "we got a lot of DUMB marines here." Still,
despite some initial trouble, things started to look up for them
about mid-board. Natalie's mid-game quip "we're doing much
better now" pretty much summed up the second half of the
In the second round, Karl Henning took the guards on one table.
Reports of four out of five marines dying while running the gauntlet
or in a special weapons attack were common in his game. Jon Gemmel's
stirring marine battle cry of "we're all gonna die anyway"
was matched only by the reply another team member made when asked
how they could face 108 points of guards in one fight. The reply
of "I suggest we lose" was ignored by a marine who
threw down the holographic card (that lets the marines escape
the fight) only to enter into another combat where 80 points
of guards appeared. To that, Ashley Collinson just shrugged "Oh
well, forget it, we're down."
In Paul Bolduc's second game, the marines fared much better.
As Erika Kirchner noted, when the front door to the palace was
closed by the Guards "we went down to the back doort hen
sniffed for the smell of perfume to save the princess."
Chris Villeneuve, who had been with Paul in the first game,
did not have any easier of a time in round 2. Teammate Matthew
Beach's questioning exclamation that "you're stunned and
you're still in charge?" proved more accurate a picture
of events than Alex Henning's hopeful "well, we're doing
so much better this game" Black Guard Nick Henning put up
a tremendous fight, and one so tough and hard that his sister
Alex and her fellow marines Paul, Chris, Matthew Beach and Alex
Bell had no option left but to attempt to board their mother
ship and attempt to crash into the prison to "save the princess."
It is, appropriately enough, called the "do or die"
option. You either "do" and win, or well, you "die"
and don't. But, as the marine motto exclaims with pride: "It's
Better That Way!"
Top Six Performances
First David Brooke 178 Points
Second Ashley Collinson 143 Points
Third Nick Henning 130 Points
Fourth Dan Hoffmann 127 Points* (Won With Black Guard)
Fifth Eugene Pappas 127 Points
Sixth Jon Gemmel 110 Points
18 pint-sized star marines
showed up for the Juniors version of Princess Ryan's Star
Marines, allowing Dan Collinson to gather genuine Junior
Wood as the hero. The other finalists were:
2nd - Kaleigh Jaeger
3rd - Sydney Engelstein
4th - Jacob Hebner
5th - Daniel Long
- all of whom fell just short of rescuing the princess. But
as everyone who plays Princess Ryan's Star Marines knows,
"It's better that way."