Drawing on two demonstrations, this year's tournament made
many converts, with seven four-player games in two heats. Two
of the games in the first heat were very tight, with first and
second separated by a single point. In fact, at the most closely
contested table, only four points separated first from third.
That third place finisher returned in the second heat for the
most decisive win of the tournament.
Balancing the benefits
of the personality and more powerful mercenaries against their
costs was a continual challenge. The winners were evenly split
in their recruiting, with two gambling on the most negative points
in their games, two conservatively taking the least, and three
in the middle. Last-place finishers were also split, with one
recruiting the fewest cards of the table, two recruiting the
most, and four recruiting an average card point total for that
Winners were more united in their use of trade routes. Trade
was the major factor in four wins, and provided nearly half of
Darin Morley's points. In the other camp, Bill Boynton eschewed
trade entirely, choosing instead to dominate the land and sea.
For him and Jeff King, plunder played a marginal part in wins
that would have gone the same way without it. Plunder hardly
factored into any games. One would think that all those blocks
sitting in the ocean would be more attractive, but apparently
the fleets guarding them were a sufficient deterrent.
The persistence of the initially established territories was
likewise borne out in the game results. In three games, the player
who was most successful at the land-grab proved the winner. Conversely,
in three games, the player who acquired the least real estate
at the outset limped into last place. Apparently, it is far easier
to take over neutral territory than that patrolled by elephants.
The second scoring round proved crucial. In four games, the
eventual winner carved out a commanding land and trade presence
in the midgame that could not be whittled away entirely by the
end. Only one winner markedly improved his board position between
the second and third scoring rounds.
Due to schedule conflicts, only five of the seven heat winners
appeared for the semifinals, so instead they played a Final.
There were several players whose only experience came at this
and possibly last year's tournaments. Despite constant battering,
experience proved key as last year's champion & GM, Jeff
King, was again crowned the Emperor of the Ancient World. He
employed a midweight recruiting strategy and trade routes that
were on a par with the rest of the table.
The hardfought Final had several high and lowlights. Participants
began with three northern and two southern armies. Jeff King
repeatedly flushed cards searching for the perfect recruits.
This had no effect on Brittania's ferocious druids as they rebuffed
five initial expansion attempts, finally falling when Jeff switched
to diplomacy. Darin Morley stretched out the trade routes that
had availed him so well in his heat. Tom Wisner was the first
naval power, but his rowboats soon fell to Scott Cameron's +7
galleys. Naval supremacy wasn't enough though, and Scott repeatedly
lost the Eastern Med to Joe Collinson's suave diplomats before
he reinforced it. The -3 points per battleship along with maintaining
a strong army meant double the cost of anyone else and put Scott
into second overall.
Joe Collinson wanted to make good use of his Engineer and
felt paranoid about his non-entity of an army. Losing his homeland
spurred him into
building more forts than everyone else put together. Sadly, his
end score showed the complete ineffectiveness of the Great Wall
Those of us who enjoy this best of both worlds Euro wargame
hope to see even more players next year. The GM thanks all those
who entered and the previous GMs who assisted. In addition, she
wants to recognize Rich Shipley, who settled rules questions
and took notes at the final. She would appreciate contact information
for the designer, Martin Wallace, if anyone has it.