My Kingdom for an Alternate ...
Two of the three ladies in the field
graced this game. Imperial is not a wargame but an economic
game in which wars play a part.
As predicted, Imperial enjoyed
a 26% increase in attendance in its sophomore year at WBC.
After finding an audience as a successful vendor-sponsored
Trial in 2007, Imperial returned as a Century event in
2008 and promptly improved its numbers.
The tournament format was similar to the previous effort,
with two heats and the standard HMW advancement criteria to advance
players to a semi-final round. After much pleading by many players
in 2007, I decided to allow the use of the "advanced"
setup in which players purchase their starting bonds instead
of having them distributed randomly. This was the default method
used in all rounds. In the preliminary heats, a few tables with
a preponderance of newer players used the "basic" setup
with no problem. Despite complaints by a few players, the Investor
card was used in all rounds. I am unsure if the game would reliably
finish in the allotted time using the alternate method, which
I see as more of a variant anyway.
The heats actually drew better, with 48 different players
taking part. This bodes well for the future of the event. One
problem was a lack of available copies of the game for the first
heat, forcing me to opt for five-player games instead of the
planned four-player format. The problem would have been even
worse if it hadn't been for a copy available for sign-out from
the BPA game library. Still, this reduced the number of heat
winners and alternates eligible to advance to the semis.
The preliminary heats ran fairly smoothly, with all games
finishing within the allotted time. During one heat, the influx
of a large number of players for the subsequently-scheduled Ticket
to Ride tournament helped hurry along players. A small disappointment
occurred in the first heat, when two tables experienced disagreements
over play. It is an extremely difficult position for a GM when
he is asked to decide which of two players is telling the truth.
While some games have an easy method for players to know when
a turn is truly over, such as the passing of the dice, Imperial
really does not. This problem is compounded by the fact that
players do not really have "turns", the nations do.
Before the second heat I made a point of urging clarity of purpose
and good sportsmanship and there
were no further problems.
my assurances that there would be fewer than the required 16
heat winners to advance to the semi-final round, very few potential
alternates appeared at the appointed time. Even with the inclusion
of myself (the LAST eligible alternate), only 14 players were
available. So instead of the four-table semi-final I had planned,
there were only three. The winners of each of these games advanced
to the Final, along with the runner-up with the highest percentage
of the winner's score.
The second chance finalist was Romain Jacques, who joined
semi-final winners Jeff Bowers, Greg Berry and Patrick Maloney.
Patrick was the defending champion. His wife Heather was also
a 2008 semi-finalist, but did not qualify to advance, eliminating
any chance of marital discord in the Final.
The Final was an extremely cordial affair, with all players
showing skill and sportsmanship in equal measure. For those curious
as to how The Experts do it, here are the initial bond purchases
for each player:
Jeff: Austria 4, Great Britain 1, France 2, Germany 3
Patrick: Russia 3, France 1, Italy 1, Great Britain 2, Austria
2, Germany 2
Greg: Great Britain 3, Italy 3, France 3, Austria 1
Romain: Britain 4, Italy 4, Russia 2.
The first moves for each nation were:
Austria: Investor, Italy: Investor, France: Investor, Great
Britain: Factory, Germany: Factory, Russia, Investor.
This continued a trend I noted in the earlier rounds in which
good players tend to start a nation's rondel marker nearer to
the tax space, trying to expand quickly and take a smaller bonus
before an investor round can result in their losing control of
The briskly-played game saw Germany reach the 25-space of
the scoring track, and Patrick Maloney successfully defended
his championship. The scores were: Maloney 178, Bowers159, Berry143,
and Jacques 143. Greg squeaked ahead of Romain for third, winning
the tie-breaker by having more shares in Germany than Romain.
I would like to thank Greg Berry for providing a very interesting
"Asia" map for Imperial that was presented to
Patrick as a special prize.
|Euro Quest 2007 Laurelists
Peter Eirich, MD
Bill Duke, MD
Rob Kircher, RI
John Weber, MD
Helen Powell, MD