sailing, sailing ...
Not a conventional tournament
- players may play duels ...
or multi-commander fleet actions.
More new players enlisted as midshipmen than in previous years,
joined by veterans and a couple of old salts playing in the WBC
tournament for the first time.
The new format allowed players in both Wednesday's and Friday's
heats to warm up with single ship duels before tackling two ship
squadron combat. Each scenario featured different ships from
the previous. All scenarios were played with metal miniatures
provided by the GM.
Many of the new
players set sail on Wednesday after the standing-room-only demo.
Rookies Daniel Pappas and Bart Brunschein each earned a win against
players with much more experience.
Verity Hitchings proved that her three-win hat trick in 2005
was no fluke, with an early win over Keith Hunsinger who had
been playing the game since before Verity was born.
Frequent champion Bill Rohrbeck squared off with his old sparring
partner, GM Tim Hitchings, for one of their traditional long
range minuets, ending in a draw.
Wednesday's heat ended with Bill Thomson and Bill Rohrbeck
battling to a draw in a squadron match that, combined with three
earlier wins, earned Thomson a berth in the semi-finals.
Friday's heat was won by Rohrbeck, with Hunsinger securing
a wild card berth in the semi-finals. The determination of the
remaining wild card berth awaited the result of Saturday's fleet
The fleet action saw a modified reenactment of the 1809 British
attack on the French at Basque Roads, near Rochefort.
French admiral Hunsinger directed his subordinates to anchor
on either side of the island of Aix, the better to guard three
transports sheltered alee.
British admiral Rohrbeck led the Brits in a headlong assault
with ships of the line, a fireship, and a small squadron of boats
armed with Congreve rockets (red glare included).
The British advance quickly went awry with navigational errors
leading to ships running aground on rocks and shoals.
Nevertheless, Rohrbeck's flagship and the ships of George
Deutsch skillfully closed the gap upwind of the island and commenced
to trade broadsides with the French, costing Napoleon one of
Downwind, the British received the timely reinforcement of
a squadron commanded by Paul Risner who engaged Dave Cross and
The British rockets proved ineffectual but made for a nice
The French line commanded by the steady hands of Keith Hunsinger,
Tim Hitchings, and Benoit Groulx (the only French player actually
French) turned back the British with heavy casualties. As the
Brits sought to withdraw and redeploy, Hitchings counterattacked
with a ship of the line onto which French regulars had been transferred.
This "melee monster" was able to capture a British
ship of the line.
George Deutsch's skillful ship handling and well-aimed broadsides
enabled him to inflict enough damage to snag the remaining semi-final
berth as a wild card.
The semi-finals saw Bill Thomson square off against Keith
Hunsinger and perennial champion Bill Rohrbeck against George
Due to a collision and fouling in Thomson's line, the crews
of all three of Hunsinger's ships were able to board one of Thomson's
before he could bring another ship to bear. One of Hunsinger's
crews died to the last man in the boarding duel. Thomson's win
proved a Pyrrhic victory when Hunsinger's other ship took both
of Thomson's in one melee.
Having drawn in an earlier heat, Rohrbeck and Deutsch approached
each other cautiously in their semi-final with their respective
fleets of American 74 gun ships of the line. With neither initially
gaining an edge in the movement phase of the action, it came
down to a firepower duel as the players exchanged broadsides.
All ships took heavy damage, with Bill eventually prevailing
over George on the strength of his fleet maneuver, which allowed
him to frequently concentrate his fire on one of George's ships
(alas, not always the same ship), causing one to eventually strike,
while George fired one on one.
The Final was a rematch of 2005's head-to-head between perpetual
challenger Keith Hunsinger and defending champion Rohrbeck with
multi-ship squadrons. However, instead of last year's "never
mind maneuvering; go right at 'em" strategy, Hunsinger matched
Rohrbeck's game of cat and mouse. The only problem was that
both players wanted to be the cat!
When it became obvious that a decision was not likely to be
reached before midnight, sometime in 2008, the GM consented to
allow the veterans to settle their differences with a single
ship face-off. After several turns of telling broadsides, Bill
got the better of Keith to keep the crown for the fifth time.