There's A Reason It's called The
If the 19 games played had anything in common at all it was that
in almost every contest someone did something strange, unique
or just plain outlandishly gutsy - and rarely with predictable
Take the old Nelsonian adage that "only a fool attacks
a stone fort in a wooden ship." That came true in one game,
where the entire British Navy boldly sailed into a Spanish port
- and was completely annihilated, handing the French a sort of
"Rule Francaise." The French hammered this advantage
home not only by invading England, but by playing the Guerre
du Course card when the British did not have so much as a single
ship to go off hunting the commerce raiders.
Then again, in another contest, the reverse happened. Yet
another intrepid British admiral threw caution to the winds and
tried the exact same tactic. He caught the entire Franco-Spanish
Navy at anchor, and sank the lot of them. His reign of the sea
was so great that he was able, with impunity, to move a Swedish
Army from the Baltic to Barcelona over the course of several
impulses - perhaps the first instance in the history of the game
of a Swedish amphibious invasion in the Med.
Let us not forget the other grand Scandinavian adventures
of the convention - notably the Danish defense of eastern Austria
from the Turks. The Ottomans for their part in other games were
frequently seen in Italy, southern France and at the gates of
Moscow and at least once marching arm in arm with the Danes in
invading Holy Mother Russia.
Despite occasional disasters such as the "Little Big
Horn on the Danube" that overtook one ill-fated Napoleonic
foray into Austria, overall honors in the convention went to
the French, who won nine times. The British took five contests,
the Russians four and the Austrians one. Although no Prussian
victories were recorded, the sons of Blucher did come in second
six times, and on at least two tables had the die roll for victory
had the game ended.
The Russians played bride's maid eight times. Austria finished
second three times, and the British did so twice.
At the end of the two heats, a contest of a different sort
developed between two clubs: the fabled "Greenville Mafia"
and the rather less coherent (er, organized) "Baltimore"
boys -- a true band of old friends. Organizing the semifinals
was much like doing a seating chart at a wedding, as both the
Greenville and Baltimore boys did not want to compete directly
with their fellow club members. Of the five tables in the semis,
the Greenville club won two and the Baltimore band the other
two. The win on the fifth table went to Ed Rothenberg who, not
necessarily coincidentally, was an independent who belonged to
First Honors and wood went to Ed, who won as Russia in the
final. Sixth was awarded to Scott Pfeiffer, whose fine showing
had made him the first alternate, had one of the finalists been
unable to play. Brian Mountford, who despite or perhaps because
of his difficulties in playing Prussia and coming in last in
his semifinal round, deserves special mention, as receiving the
most votes for "Sportsmanship."