David Metzger and Jim Eliason,
holders of many WBC plaques, failed to advance out of the first
David Metzger (left) engages Bill
Burch in the opening round. David's large plaque collection got
no larger as Bill advanced.
Fire in the Sky
was played at the World Boardgaming Championships for the first
time in 2006 and we had 20 players in our debut. For a first
appearance, the interest was very gratifying to see. I had
decided to use the Short Campaign game scenario playing only
Turns 2 through 5 for the tournament with some additions to prevent
any "end of the world" strategies. The Allies
won if the victory point total was 17 or less, and the Japanese
won if it was 18 or more. Standard victory point rules applied.
I also give points to the Japanese for eliminating USN Aircraft
Carrier units and the Allies got points for low Japanese oil
stocks. Play time ran about 2-3 hours for each game.
In the first round, there were ten comparative veterans of
the game and ten who were giving it a go for the first time. Thankfully,
all the vets were more than happy to give a brief tutorial to
the new players of the game. I did run a demo of the game
just before but ran out of time before the entire game was covered. The
willingness for old timers to show off the game filled in this
After this was completed, competitive play began.
We were left with six players at this point. Each game
offered a unique tension. Peter Muenker defeated Ken Dunn
on an oversight. Ken had an autovictory in his grasp but
neglected to save enough transport points to send in the final
coup de grace and couldn't send in an air unit after a hard fought
battle of Fiji. Bill Burch defeated Gary Phillips in a game
that saw a bad luck opening by Gary's Japanese and Bill doing
a great job thereafter of sealing every avenue to a Japanese
victory. Andrew Wright outlasted Paul McGuane in the most
attritional struggle of the three.
The next round offered one game between Andrew Wright and
Peter Muenker. I had felt that Burch's play had been the
strongest and I gave him the bye. Peter's Allies managed
to win a narrow victory against Andrew but he had to leave anyway
so this set up a Andrew Wright versus Bill Burch Final.
Bill continued his strong Allied play while Andrew's play
continued to improve with each passing game. Andrew conserved
his oil well and looked at the board for his knockout attempt
on Turn 5. Andrew decided to go into the teeth of the Allied
defense and launched a massive attack on Port Moresby. Andrew
hoped to lure out the American carriers and defeat them. In
the end, Andrew's luck didn't hold out and Bill fended off the
attack and took the championship.
My personal thanks to all that played. This was my first
GM experience and watching players grown in skill and ability
in the game as the rounds went on was a joy to see. I hope
to see you guys all next year with an added year's experience!