Sarah Sparks, the only lady in the
tournament, proved she could play with the boys by becoming the
first woman to earn laurels in the event.
"Honestly, the Welsh are just
peaceful farmers looking for a homeland." Ewan's Final opponents
and GM Jim Jordan iseem unconvinced.
'Twas the second year of the new edition of Britannia.
We've all played with the new game for a year, and we're
still learning. Play balance started to drift this year.
While last year in the preliminaries the wins per color
were very even, this year Green and Red reigned supreme. Green
has an amazing six victories, Red five, while Blue and Yellow
came in at a miserly two apiece.
High score honors showed again Ewan's ability to score prodigious
sums that might not be thought possible. Ewan had the high
Green and Red scores with 293 and 292 points respectively. Blue
and Yellow high scores were won more modestly by Rick Kirchner
with a 245 point blue game and Kevin Sudy with a 241 point yellow
game. It may be that next year I'll replace the high score
plaques with closest score plaques for each color. Just
to lend some suspense to who will win the awards. ;-)
Closest win honors in the three rounds were won by Ted Drozd
in the first round with a 223-218 win. Mike Fox took the
honors in Round 2 with a 235-221 win and Nick Benedict really
shaved a close one in the third round, 237-236 as green.
With 11 winners from the preliminaries and a couple not returning,
we had to settle for just three semi-final games. While
many of the usual suspects were present, we also had first timers
Sarah Sparks, Mike Fox, AJ Sudy and Christopher Trimmer. Welcome!
And also this year we welcomed one of our new semi-finalists
as a new player to the Final, Mike Fox. Mike won his heat
in fine fashion and then went on to come from behind in the semi-final
game with a huge Norman invasion into a virtually empty England.
Naturally, William was king.
In the Final, Mike went from having the last invasion to having
the first with the Romans. Ewan came out in fine fashion
with the Welsh declaring that he would hunker down to five spaces
and submit if not attacked, thus guaranteeing the maximum growth
for the Welsh by preserving his lowland areas clear of Roman
forts. Barry's foray with Boudicca managed to burn London
once again and also garnered the Sussex fort on an overrun. Meanwhile,
Nick's Brigantes huddled in the Pennines, Galloway, and Strathclyde,
waiting for the Romans to submit them.
Boudicca's reign was short, with the Roman's sending in four
legions to remove her from the game. Meanwhile, with the
way opened to the north, the Romans marched handily into Dalriada
on the second turn and stomped on a Pict. Naturally enough
then, the third turn started with the pogrom against the rest
of the Picts. Although the brave Picts destroyed one legion,
they also lost a unit and realized the inevitability of submitting.
Then Turns 4 and 5 and the Romans ran back to huddle in their
forts before the invasions began. The Angles helped their
Pict brethren by taking a fort out in far Mar. Meanwhile
the Irish kicked the Welsh out of their lowlands and the Saxons
washed up trying to take Wessex. The Jutes had a breathless
moment taking Kent, losing four armies in the process. The
Angles were not so lucky on their second foray, losing armies
while the fort held. Interestingly, the Scots were talked
into killing a couple of Brigantes, and did so, while only losing
So the Germanic people were quite weakened for their major
invasions. And naturally, the lone Jute in Kent was crushed
by the revenging Romano-British looking for good farmland. Otherwise,
the Romano-British took up their usual outposts in Lindsey and
the Downlands while leaving scouts out in Hwicce and North Mercia.
With the lack of armies, Nick's Saxon invasion was quiet,
the Jutes were killed handily in the Downlands and Kent and then
huddled up in the South with Aelle in Wessex. Barry's weakened
Angles made a deal with Nick's weakened Brigantes to haughtily
ignore each other and settled.
King Arthur came onto the board and decided that Avalon was
indeed arising from the mists and calling him home. So
he went there, killed the Saxons, and looked to be able to stay
there with wo cavalry and an army. King Arthur of course
signaled Turn 7 and thus the Irish need to look for a home. Nick
settled them in Devon after some cross nation dealing to allow
the Jutes to live in Kent for some unspecified amount of time.
The Scots came to the shores seeing Dalriada and Dunedin already
empty. They marched proudly into Skye, forgot their swords,
and had the Picts kill two of the armies. Thus left with
only five armies, they returned to sea, came back in with four
armies again and again lost two armies. With some justice
they then killed the Picts. But they had only a toehold
in Scotland with just three Scots. The Angles invasion
was similarly peaceful, except for the poor Romano-British killed
in Lindsey and North Mercia.
Although Arthur died in Turn 8, his magic lived on with the
Romano-British in Avalon expanding their kingdom to Hwicce. Ewan's
Welsh then discovered that Barry's Angles were not going to be
friendly about the little Welsh sightseeing tour of York, so
the Welsh abandoned the lowlands and came out with four Welsh
to kill some Angles in March. And thus the fighting started.
The Caledonians got their seventh man and marched into
Alban in revenge of the Welsh. Of course, when the Picts
promptly killed two Caledonians, the Caledonians decided that
the better part of valor was to return to defend Caithness and
to let the Welsh brethren fend for themselves.
In Kent, Nick's Saxons very kindly helped the Jutes from this
mortal coil. Then Barry's Angles settled themselves into
the task of fending off the attack by the Welsh, putting six
Angles into March. The Angle diplomats also worked furiously
to attempt to convince the Romano-British to go south instead
of north, given that the Angle attack on the Welsh left the rest
of their lands bereft of armies. The battle was might with
an Angle and two Welsh losing their lives on the first roll of
the dice. So the Welsh retreated to Clwyd.
By Turn 9, Avalon was populated by Irish and losing it's appeal
to the Romano-British, so they marched into North Mercia while
maintaining their hold on Hwicce. At this point though,
the Saxons and Angles became tired of the Romano-British and
agreed which of them each got to slaughter, which they did. A
fortified border settled down to smolder uneasily between Barry's
northern Angles and Nick's southern Saxons. The massively
populated land of England was not looking promising for the coming
The border flared on Turn 10 though, with Nick's Saxons being
over-populated and looking for a place to go. They decided
that attacking Barry's huge Angles was pointless and sent a small
expeditionary force into Gwent. The attack was quickly
turned back, much to the relief of Ewan's beleaguered Welsh.
Turn 11 opening, Ewan's infuriated Welsh decided to lash out
in return, although it was Barry's Angles that felt their anger
as they were kicked out of Cheshire and March by the inspired
Welsh armies. Undoubtedly the Welsh heard the pleas of
their Dane brothers who were looking bleakly at a heavily populated
shoreline. When Nick's Norsemen came ashore it became evident
that the inspiration of Ewan's green armies had spread far and
wide, with the Caledonians killing three Norse armies and limiting
Nick's Norse to taking only the Hebrides and huddling up in fear
of anyone kicking them back off their lonely island. So
the Danes attacked Lothian and Bernicia, losing three armies.
A noble effort and the Angles were much weaker, but was
Nick's Norse did manage a small comeback in Turn 12, managing
to visit the Orkneys. But with the Norse expeditionary
forces so weakened, they decided that a visit was sufficient
and went back to hold their Hebrides fastness. Ewan then
had to puzzle out what to do with his Danes. They were
coming ashore into the English equivalent of the Maginot Line.
But Ewan's Danes had no Belgium to walk through.
The Danes took York, but also went with a southern strategy
aiming to establish a Lindsey-Norfolk-Suffolk homeland. But
with Nick's Saxons threatening retribution, the Danes turned
north on their second phase. Lindsey was theirs, but the
rest of Ewan's Danes were scattered. And so Nick's Saxons
spread out all over southern England, grabbing King while they
could. Barry's Angles, knowing their time had ended, hunkered
down in the Pennines to plan for the future. And then Ewan
and Nick argued over how much the Saxons were going to grow in
Turn 13, and now Mike was able to get back into the game with
the Dubliner invasion. With the other powers butchering
each other, the Dubliners dropped Olaf and four armies in York,
hoping to hold it. And they did with the Angles deciding
that their fortresses were quite fine where they were and the
Danes working hard to maintain their hold on Lindsey and a middle
Mike's Dubliners then looked for a place to hide on Turn 14
while everyone else looked for a place to defend against the
coming storm of Mike's Norwegians and Barry's Normans. The
Dubliners decided that hiding was out of the question and settled
in Lothian, Bernicia, Cheshire, Cumbria and Gwent. The
strength through diversity approach!
With kingship looking hopeless for Cnut, Ewan's Dane's faced
single combat battles in six areas. The dice fell heavily
for each battle but the attempt ended in Sussex with the armies
destroying each other, the same result in South Mercia slammed
the door on Cnut. When the defeated Cnut and his expeditionary
forces left England there were only five lonely Danes left.
Northern England was extremely empty by Turn 15. Mike's
Norwegians were contested only by a lonely Angle in Cheshire.
Naturally, that speed bump didn't last long, and the Norwegians
peacefully settled in Barry's fine Angle Pennine fortresses after
kicking the Angles out. For Barry's Normans it was a different
story. The Saxon shield wall was alive and well and Harold
was piled high with armies in the Downlands. The Normans
bravely killed many Saxons, but at a terrible cost, losing all
but one cavalry and three infantry. Their hold upon the
new kingdom was tenuous and William was nervous.
The game ended in exhaustion. With the intensity of
the combat on the board, there were few armies left. A
few sallies were made though, the Norwegians attempted to knock
the Brigantes out of the Strathclyde homeland, but failed, running
to save the life of their king after being savaged by the Brigantes.
The Saxons, seeing in William a tasty and ill defended target,
removed him from the game, that last daring move put Red in second
place, but as the game wound to it's end, the stunning conclusion
put Mike Fox's Yellow in the winning spot with 233 points, Nick's
Red in second with 229, Ewan's green in 3rd with 217 and Barry's
Blue in last with 204. The conclusion was all the more
stunning for the Final being Mike's fourth game of Britannia.
As I had gone to England this year for vacation, in addition
to the usual plaques and the inscription of the winner on the
Britannia plate, the top four also took home a guidebook
from the Hastings battlefield and Mike, as winner, took home
a book about the THREE battles of 1066, Stamford Bridge, York,
and Hastings. I'll have to see what I can do to top those
honors next year.