Omens of Caesar ...
Deal Me a Championship
The Year of Rome's Revenge.
After years of Carthaginian dominance, Rome got its revenge
this year reversing the 57%-43% advantage Carthage has traditionally
maintained in the tournament. The turnaround was marked by the
overthrow of the old guard who had maintained this pro-Carthage
advantage as by the end of Round 3, only one of the top eight
seeded players remained undefeated with a chance for the gold.
The other three contendors were either rookies or lower seeded
players. Moreover, the one remaining seeded player was Tim Hall
who himself has been a strong Roman player. He backed up the
Roman rejuvenation with an early round, early turn sack of former
champion James Pei's Carthaginian capitol (also winning "Best
Sack of an Enemy's Capitol" in the process).
Yet, the entire tournament was won by Nick Anner (who also
earned Best Roman player going 3-0 as Rome and 2-0 as Carthage
as he went 5-0 to pick up 1st prize. He won despite losing Hannibal
a couple of times when playing Carthage - once on turn 6 (an
overconfident Scipio Africanus was later eliminated when he lost
a battle without a retreat spot). Nick's most interesting game
was his Round 4 encounter with rookie Derek Miller. Both were
3-0. Derek drew Carthage. As I checked the game from time-to-time,
I was startled to see Rome having half of Africa and Carthage
having most of Italy. Spain was up for grabs as well. One of
the weirdest games I had ever witnessed. "the World Turned
Upside Down," I thought. It came down to Nick winning a
close battle at a slight disadvantage in Apulia that eventually
led to a narrow province count win. Rome Triumphant!
Another interesting battle was fought the evening before by
James Miller Miller's Rome was hanging onto a narrow 10-8 province
lead into the final turn. Carthage got a bad break when it did
not draw a single "3" card thereby ensuring the mighty
Roman fleet would not be challenged in this make-or-break battle.
Carthage sent Hannibal to Ligeria hoping to lure Scipio Africanus
up there, decisively defeat him, and get into Italy to pick up
an extra province. Alas, Scipio defeated Hannibal in a nail biter
and, as Hannibal had no retreat was destroyed. Carthage flipped
over his cards as further play seemed futile. I was thinking
I had never seen such a critical battle fought on turn 9 in Ligeria
as I walked away to pack up my game. Yet, ten minutes later,
I learned that Carthage had pulled out the win after all! Classic
Punic perfidy as one of Carthage's revealed cards was a diplomacy
event that Miller overlooked in the flush of his recent victory
(and it being after midnight). Carthage then flipped Sardinia
and got a most unlikely win. The game won a prize for its most
Lyman Moquin retained his Best Carthage tie-breaker by nixing
Jim Heenehan's challenge by playing the last three cards as
Rome (thanks to Mr. Messenger) against Jim in Round 5 to turn
Jim's 10-8 Carthage lead into a 9-8-1 Roman victory. All Hail
As Acting Tournament Director for Day 1 for Stuart Tucker
(who was flying back from California even as Tim Hall's catapults
were braking down James' Pei's crenellated towers) , I can attest
to the event being great fun by all - especially those playing
Rome. Next year, I expect the veteran Carthaginian players will
be out for revenge.