Standing Room Only ...
Not all Here I Stand
players took it as seriously as this color coordinated crew of
glue sniffers. None of these ladies actually entered the tournament
- or perhaps Ed closed the door when he saw them coming. From
left: name withheld for his own protection. Jeff Paull, Jesse
Boomer, Greg Schmittgens, Andy Maly and George Young.
In its third year at WBC, Here I Stand held up well,
matching its attendance from 2007. However more players returned
for a second heat and the semi-finals this year, allowing us
to increase our total number of games played from 14 to 17 and
hold onto our six-plaque status for yet another year. Demos were
held before both the Tuesday and Thursday heats; several people
wanted to immediately give the game a try and joined the directly
The first night there were 33 entrants, giving us five 6-player
games and one 3-player. Our recent tweaks to improve play balance
seemed to work right out of the gate: of the 6 games on Tuesday
night, five different powers won. Only the Ottomans (a popular
power, the first power chosen in the 2007 and 2008 Finals) ended
the night without a win. The most remarkable opening round game
saw David Long's French lose despite amassing a huge VP score
of 26 VP. In that same game Jeff Pattison recorded a Protestant
religious auto-win by converting 50 spaces. It was the first
time that feat had ever been accomplished in a tournament scenario,
and only the third time ever. Other winners of Tuesday night
games included Nick Benedict (1-turn Hapsburg win), Justin Rice
(England in the 3-player game), Phil Barcafer (2-turn Papal win),
Dave Cross (Protestant) and Ed Beach (France).
Thursday night was even better as we had a perfect 36 players
in attendance. Familiarity with the game has certainly improved
over the past few years; the GM was able to play out in the Ballroom
Lobby, only fielding the odd rules question every few hours.
Just like on Tuesday, we had one 1-turn game, two 2-turn games,
and three 3-turn games. Interesting pattern! Dave Cross was the
only winner in both heats, this time gaining a Papal victory.
Ed O'Connor was playing in a very strong table with a Heat
1 winner (Nick Benedict), the eventual tournament champion (Jeff
Burdett), and the GM/designer (Ed Beach). He still managed to
bluff us into thinking others held Copernicus and then play it
at the last minute for the win. Paul McCarthy, an opening heat
winner in 2007, missed out on a Turn 5 French win by failing
an exploration roll (a 7 or better on two dice would have given
him the win). He was hit hard the next turn and Charles Hickok
(England) claimed the victory. Other Heat 2 winners included
Eric Landes (Protestant), Ken Richards (France), and Barry Setser
The winners of Round 1 games joined the at-large players with
the highest total VP accumulation for the Friday morning semis.
In the first semi-final, Dave Cross pushed his record to 3-0,
winning with his third different power (Protestant, Papacy, Ottoman).
The second game featured a quick one-turn Papal knockout win
by Rick Byrens, despite a strong table that included four repeat
semi-finalists. (Rick however would be leaving before the Final
and couldn't continue). In the third semi, Jeff Burdett earned
his second win of the week as the Hapsburgs, bluffing the other
players into leaving his conquistador at sea claiming he could
replace him with an explorer using his final card. The fourth
semi-final was the closest of all, going the full three turns
and entering the final turn with five powers all tied for the
lead at 19 VP. Dan Hoffman's Papacy would probably have won (and
scored Master of Italy VP) except for a massive city state rebellion
in Florence. Rolling five dice, Jeff Pattison scored four hits
to wipe out a full 4-unit Florentine garrison. At the end of
the Action Phase, Kaarin Engelmann's English held the lead at
22 VP. Only a successful exploration by the French (needing a
10 on two dice) would stop her win. Rick Cambron made the roll,
went ahead and advanced to the Final.
Going into the Final, the win totals by power were: Ottoman
2, Hapsburgs 2, English 2, French 3, Papacy 3, and Protestant
4. Improved balance to be sure! Dave Cross ignored these numbers
and chose the Ottoman, leaving the Hapsburgs to Jeff Burdett
for the fourth straight game. This proved unwise. First year
players Rick Cambron and Michael Rogazinski chose the Protestants
and French next. England was chosen last for the second straight
year, falling to AJ Sudy, our only returning finalist. Our lineup
(in order of choice) was thus:
1: Dave Cross (Ottoman)
2: Jeff Burdett (Hapsburgs)
3: Rick Cambron (Protestant)
4: Michael Rogazinski (French)
5: Justin Rice (Papacy)
6: AJ Sudy (England)
Here are the highlights of the three-turn Final
Hapsburgs ally with France; England allies with Protestant.
Henry VIII granted a divorce for two card draws; Anne Boleyn
gives birth to a healthy Edward VI.
Ottoman gains 2 piracy VP on the first card play, leading to
an unleashing of events against the Ottoman. We saw: both foreign
wars, Janissaries Rebel, Unsanitary Camp, and the Knights of
St. John. The Knights stole Copernicus from the Ottoman!
The Protestant took quick advantage of the Here I Stand
Home card's abilities, seizing Copernicus for 2 VP.
Three independent/minor keys fell (English take Edinburgh, French
take Milan & Metz). Trier also falls to a Protestant army.
Cartier explores the Great Lakes; DeSoto finds the St. Lawrence;
Chancellor sails down the Amazon.
Protestants bide their time, gaining 0 spaces over the turn.
VP at end of turn: Ott : 19, Hap:18, Eng: 18, Fra: 18, Pap:
Hapsburgs ally with France and Papacy; Papacy receives control
of Munster, Breslau and Regensburg.
France declares war on Genoa.
Hapsburgs attack Buda and put it under siege, but for the second
straight turn the camp there proves Unsanitary. What is with
the Danube water?
France plays Printing Press to besiege Genoa; this card is quickly
seized and used by the Protestant.
Hapsburgs use Treachery to take Buda.
France conquers Genoa, despite a Genoese alliance with the Papacy.
Protestants finish the English and French New Testaments, converting
8 of 12 spaces.
Hapsburgs siege Brandenburg to hold the Protestants back from
a win (they had gained 22 spaces this turn).
Spain conquers the Inca.
VP at end of turn: Ott: 17, Hap: 20, Eng: 20, Fra: 20, Pap:
14, Pro: 22.
The Hapsburg player was quite busy during the Turn 6 Diplomacy
Phase. He allies with the English, French, and Papacy, receives
squadrons from England and gives a card to the Papacy (to help
staunch the Protestant tide?) The French and Papacy also ally,
with the Papal fleet helping France for the turn. The Pope receives
a second card early in the turn through Diplomatic Overture.
Hapsburgs put Wittenberg under siege; it falls quickly.
Calvin is excommunicated; the Council of Trent also convenes
and restores Catholicism to parts of France.
The Counter Reformation picks up more steam: the Spanish Inquisition
arrives and burns all copies of the English Book of Common Prayer
(which was in the Protestant hand). Then, Farel is burnt at the
The English and French fight an inconclusive battle at Boulogne.
Stymied in north France, Henry VIII sails for Bordeaux. But his
invasion there is repulsed at great loss of English life.
Trier is the final electorate to fall to the Hapsburgs in the
The Hapsburgs send out a conquistador to try and conquer the
Loyola debates Olivetan and is stymied!
Entering the New World Phase, the English enjoy a 1-point lead.
But Pizarro sails for the Hapsburg. If he can roll a 6, Jeff
will conquer the Maya and win the game on the tiebreaker (higher
score at the beginning of the game - the Hapsburgs and English
had ended each of the previous turns tied). Pizarro succeeds,
giving Jeff the win in a very tight tournament finale. AJ, our
one returning finalist, moved up from a 6th place result in 2007
to 2nd this year.
VP at end of turn: Ott:19, Hap: 23, Eng: 23, Fra: 21, Pap:
17, Pro: 19.
Stats, Trivia & Misconceptions
Question: Which power did people most want to play?
If a power is selected first in a game, I am assigning it a score
of "1". The power picked last gets a "6".
Based on this scoring, for the whole tournament, the results
were as follows (with the 2007 number in parentheses):
Ottoman 2.0 (2.6)
Hapsburgs 3.2 (4.1)
England 3.5 (3.2)
France 4.3 (3.1)
Papacy 4.8 (4.6)
Protestant 2.6 (3.4)
So the Ottomans were the most sought after power; the Papacy
the least preferred. The Hapsburgs moved up from 5th choice in
2007 to the third highest choice this year (maybe because they
won four of 14 games last year)? Will the affinity for the Ottoman
and Hapsburgs drop next year once people realize they only won
two games each in 2008? The new natural enemies rule didn't seem
to hurt the popularity of these powers.
Question: Did choosing early lead to victory?
For the entire tournament, the winning player chose third on
average (the numerical average was 2.8 in 2007, but rose to 3.1
this year). So getting to play a power of your choosing was helpful,
but not an overwhelming advantage. And less of a help this year
than in earlier years (probably because of our improved play
Question: Did earning a higher seed and choosing early in the
semis and Final help?
It has in previous years, but not in 2008.
In the first two rounds (when selection order was random), the
numerical choice average of the winners was 3.0. In the later
rounds when players chose their power based on their seed, this
number rose to 3.2. Rick Byrens semi-final win with the Papacy
(the final pick at the table) definitely held this average down.
And he did it in a single turn!
Question: Did the player choosing last ever win?
Yes, Rick Byrens did this as the Papacy (see above) and Ed Beach
did as France in an opening heat game. But no player choosing
5th won a game this year!
The breakdown of wins by selection position over the 17 games
were as follows:
First choice: 4
Second choice: 3
Third choice: 4
Fourth choice: 4
Fifth choice: 0
Sixth choice: 2
Sometimes the shirt sez it all ...
The finalists plot as Lampeter Hall
I Stand PBeM Tournament 2008 Results
After 22 games, the field of 54 players was whittled down
to the six laurelists. The Final of the first HIS BPA PBeM Tournament
reached a satisfying conclusion in late Sept. 2008. Dan
Gallagher's Turks were able to outwit, outlast, and secure five
Pirating VPs to earn the first PBeM Tournament Championship.
Dan's Turn 5 victory was an outstanding accomplishment given
the strength of the other finalists. Key moments in Dan's
march to victory in Turn 5 were the three key Piracy VPs the
Turks earned to ensure the victory, the play of Servetus for
an additonal VP and the straw stealing of two VPs when the
Akinji Raiders snatched the Andrea Doria card from the Hapsburgs.
Rob Seulowitz's Hapsburgs held the Turn 4 lead but deft
diplomacy on his part shifted the bullseye squarely on the back
of his rival, Dan's Turks. The diplomatic play in no way
lessened Rob's chance at victory. However, Dan's cards,
luck, and overall strategy won out and brought home the coveted
wood. Spirited play by Mike Brophy's Papacy and Jeremiah
Peterson's Protestants saw the religious battles sway back and
forth. Mike's Pope eventually prevailed in this conflict
with the untimely burning of one of the Protestant debaters.
Meanwhile Steve Caler as the French and George Young as the English
played a steady Tournament Final that saw them poised for a big
Turn 6 that could have secured the victory, but alas it was not
to be. The final results for all the participants wee thus:
1st - Dan Gallagher 24VPs (Turks), 2nd - Rob Seulowitz 21VPs
(Hapsburgs), 3rd - Stever Caler 21VPs (French), 4th - Mike Brophy
18VPs (Papacy), 5th - George Young 18VPs (English), and 6th -
Jeremiah Peterson 17VPs (Protestant).
The 2nd HIS BPA PBeM Tournament is already in the planning
stages and should kick off early in 2009. Check the BPA newsletter
and calendar for an announcement soon.