Deja Vu on the Open Waves
All but one of the six Preliminary Round games was completed
in the three-hour time limit. The tardy contest was adjudicated
and the winner advanced to the Final. Others found the path
to the Final equally contested. Evan Hitchings won by a mere
VP to advance. Ben Knight won his qualifying game by a margin
of only two points. One Preliminary game spread the wealth with
little defense being played and saw all five players score over
a hundred points, a first in the15-year history of this event.
The opening round of the Final consisted of the usual fire
protection and getting rid of red cards before they did damage
to one's own fleet. Mike Windle could not overcome the handicap
of having the lowest rated fleet in the game and suffering three
active fires on the Dreadnought. He did however remain an active
player by helping other players score VPs by the strategic placement
of two Break the Lines at different points during the game. In
the end he managed to sink only three vessels.
Bill Powers likewise used a couple Break the Lines to assist
others in scoring points. Evan had his share of bad luck with
Running Aground, the other players sinking his fleet, and an
Admiralty Orders which sent his only remaining ship back to port.
Before this all happened however, he did manage to sink a few
ships which reduced the sting of the -15 VP penalty for failing
to field a fleet at sea. Eventually he went on to capture two
prizes, but failed to return them to port before the game ended.
Ben advanced slowly through the ranks to capture third place.
He managed to sink a number of small ships, but was hampered
in his quest by a Break The Line which left him vulnerable to
Powers and Fowble. Bill Place had the first successful boarding
attempt versus Evan as his first attack. He added a second prize
later, then successfully ran a Windle four-ship blockade to gain
22 VPs. However, it was not enough. Wade Fowble got the first
prize back for 18 VPs and thereby became the leader from the
very start. It was a position he did not relinquish for the
remainder of the game as he sunk an additional 49 points of ships
in just the first deck. He added two more prizes worth 42 points
late in the second deck to win the game with 109 VPs. Bill Place
took second with 79 followed by Ben Knight (72), Evan Hitchings
(60), Bill Powers (53), and Mike Windle (36) respectively.