George, Braveheart and the Blocks
Repeat, in a different way. That is the best summation of
this years tournament. George Seary successfully defended his
title, but with an entirely different strategy from the one that
won for him last year. He did it by not only being the first
person to bid for the Scots, but by doing it in all five games
and winning all of them.
Each game, he consolidated
his position in the north, ignored any attacks on his isolated
southern nobles, then slowly rolled his way down south. None
of his games were blow-outs. His total margin of victory for
all five games was only ten, but it was still enough for him
to run the table and walk away with his second championship Hammer
The tournament again saw most players bidding to play the
English. As was the case last year, the English won the majority
of games, in many cases entirely eliminating the Scots. Runner-up
Ric Manns' first two games exemplified this, as he cleared the
board twice, once against past champion Lyman Moquin.
After three rounds of Swiss play, in which most players stayed
for all three rounds regardless of record, four advanced to direct
elimination. Seary, with a 3-0 record, took on Ray Freeman, who
stood at 2-0-1. Manns, at 2-1, faced tundefeated Alfred Smith.
Both games finished with identical noble counts, but Seary had
ten Scots, while Manns had ten English. This set the stage for
a promising Final.
Seary again bid for and won the Scots. The Scots had a good
first year, as Wallace marched around, convincing several nobles,
by virtue of defeating them in one round of battle, to join the
revolt. Turn 2 saw more of the same up north, while Edward showed
up in the levy and got Bruce and Galloway to join the English.
Seary got to eight nobles by the end of the second turn and the
French Knights went into the pool. Turn 3 was bittersweet for
the English. While handing the Scots a harsh defeat, Edward I
was killed by virtue of the Norse slipping behind him and cutting
off his retreat. Turn 4 was rather uneventful, as both sides
licked their wounds and worked to strengthen their holdings.
At the start of turn 5, the noble count was even and the Scots
had a hand full of Event cards. Normally, this would be a bad
thing, but Seary, who had drawn the French Knights out of the
pool, brought in King Balliol. While this move cost him several
nobles, it gave him the one-two punch of Wallace and the King.
Meanwhile, Manns, who drew Edward II in the Levy, pressed
the attack. They fought a huge battle in Fife, with Wallace barely
hanging on to win. Still, the Scots hand, full of events, allowed
the English to press the Scots north. The press continued in
Turn 6, as Seary was busy trying to get back the rebellious nobles.
Turn 7 almost saw Balliol die, which would have ended the
game , but he barely won another battle in Fife which cost the
English a lot of their infantry. The next turn saw a stalemate
settling in as the two sides battled between Fife and Mentieth.
The English got a lot of their infantry back onto the board in
The last turn started with the noble count even. The English
had a good levy and moved north to try to take the noble they
would need to break the tie. Wallace went west and grabbed Argyll,
giving Seary a 9-6 edge. Seary then tried to cut off Edward II
by again sneaking the Norse behind English lines. It not only
did not work, but allowed Manns to grab control of Lennox. It
was even going into the last card, but Seary was able to retake
Lennox with Wallace while King Balliol, still struggling to retake
the nobles who had revolted against him, was able to get Ross
back to the Scot side. The game ended with Seary controlling
nine nobles to Manns' five.
of the Scots Play By Email
PBeM Tournament commenced October 1st, 2004: The first
PBeM tourney of Hammer of the Scots is in the books.
31 players vied for the dominance of the Scottish Nobles in a
five-round swiss tourney using the 2.0 rules. Players bid
to play the English by bidding the number of years to play without
Edward I. Games were played on a website that handled the
cards and the random draws of the blocks. There were 52
games played and the English won 28. There were three draws
and 21 wins by the Scots. Hank Burkhalter remained undefeated
in the battle of the unbeatens by edging Rick Young in the final
The final standings were 1st - Hank Burkhalter,
2nd - Rick Young, 3rd - Chris Byrd, 4th - Jeff Mullet, 5th
- Suzanne Tuch and 6th - George Seary.