The new version published by Fantasy
Games Unlimited has freed the game from "out of Print"
status and revitalized the tournament with new blood.
Finalists pose for posterity with
designer Lew Pulsipher (2nd from right).
In the third year of its rebirth, apparently we've learned
to play the new edition of Britannia, and it's quite balanced.
Or this year was a fluke. In any case, with 15 wins in the preliminary
heats, there were four wins each for Yellow, Green, and Red,
while Blue trailed slightly with three.
Three awards were offered this year in the preliminary heats.
Stepping away from the usual high score awards, a single award
was presented for highest score, the William the Conqueror. Ewan,
in his quest for an ever higher score, managed to pull in around
300 points in Green, Red and Blue to become the Conqueror.
The second award offered, Cnut the Great, Conqueror of the
Waves, was given for siezing an unusual chance. Duane Wagner
garnered this award with his intrepid snatching of Lindsey!!
by the Welsh so that they could later pop into York for a quick
visit and 12 points.
The third award, and my perennial favorite, Ethelraed the
Unready, for the lowest score by a semi-finalist, was also garnered
by Duane. Sometimes the dice are not with you persistently throughout
the entire game.
We only had three semi-final games last year as a number of
winners did not return. However, we garnered a few more players
this year and managed to easily reach the16 needed to play our
usual four semi-final games. Alas, our biggest issue was finding
four boards. We're eagerly awaiting the reprinting of Britannia
in time for next year!
The semi-finals were manned by many of the usual suspects,
and that was reflected in the winners for the most part as Ewan
McNay, Jim Jordan, and Mark Smith won their way to the Final.
A surprise winner (at least he surprised himself), John Morris
joined the crew as well when a knife fight between the other
players in his game gave him an opening to take control.
And so the Final was set. The card draw gave Ewan Red, John
Blue, Jim Green and Mark Yellow. The game opening move actually
happened offboard as Ewan and John agreed to a peace deal dividing
England between the Angles and Saxons.
The Romans did rather well to start and Mark did a great job
of controlling Boudicca's revolt. In the prelims, the Romans
averaged 115, Mark pulled in 136, making it up to Pict land handily.
Meanwhile, the Belgae, who had averaged 22 points in the prelims,
scored only 10 points.
Meanwhile, in the north, things were not going well for the
Caledonians ... a shooting war erupted with the Picts, and the
Caledonians seemed unable to win a single die roll. Thus, by
the time the Romans had swept back to their homeland, the Caledonians
were huddled only in the Orkneys.
And then the invaders rolled onto the board. The splendid
preparation by the Romans did not translate into their descendants
the Romano-British doing well. The Romano's were swept off the
board almost immediately, although they did manage to take some
Saxons with them. The Saxons alliance with the Angles saved them
though as the Blue hoards, with few Brigantes to oppose them,
stopped north of the demarcation line.
In Wales at this time, the Welsh were having Irish problems
compounded by their inability, like their brothers in spirit
the Caledonians, to roll a winning battle. So the Irish grabbed
southern Wales and held at least part of it for the duration.
The game then settled into détente for a few turns
as the Angles and Saxons filled England and prepared for the
coming of the Danes and Dubliners. A dismaying full board seemed
to face the mid-game invaders, but the Angles and Saxons both
withdrew in the face of the Danish force at their shores. With
too many opponents on the board, the Danes also cut a deal with
the Saxons. This one to maintain a kingdom around Lindsey and
The Dubliners came aboard then and, seeing a Red victory in
the offing, dove into the Brigantes and south into the Saxons,
seeking to even the game. They made inroads and the Brigantes
exited while the Saxons took sufficient hits to allow the Danes
to claw out a kingship with Cnut on Turn 14.
Nonetheless, a surfeit of peace in the mid-game did not bode
well for the Norwegians and the Normans. By the time they arrived,
there were still far too many units around for them to have an
easy time of it. Kings fell left and right as the game closed,
and no one had dominance with a very balkanized board telling
In the end, Ewan pulled out a narrow Red win with 224 points,
while Green and Blue tied with 213 each (a tie unbeknownst at
the end of the game but discovered when it was noticed that the
green player and score keeper, had forgotten to record the 12
point visit to York earlier in the game), and Yellow came in
with 196 points. All in all, a well played and exciting game.
With much play acting on the part of certain players that Lew
spent some time wondering over in later emails.
It was extra awards from England again this year, but rather
than from Hastings, the finalists took home books from the other
end of the timeline in Britannia. Readings from the reputed
location of the isle of Avalon and speculations on Arthur went
along with the plaques. And Ewan garnered a record, and much
coveted, fourth spot on the shiny Britannia Plate.
The GM is looking forward to seeing you all again next year!