The Body Has Been Buried
|The Final Final: The starting Generals were: Rob Seulowitz (ASP):
Perdiccas and Antigonus; Dan "Mad Dog" Dolan II
(HORSE): Craterus and Peithon; Doug "Megadiadochus"
Smith (LION): Lysimaches and Antipater; Ahmet "Satrap
of Sakarya" Ilpars (STAR): Ptolemy and Leonatus [USURPER]
Our four finalists: Soon-to-be five-time
champion Doug Smith, Ahmet "the mad Turk" Ilpars, Dan
"A Dolan is always a dangerous opponent -- often to himself
" - Dolan, and our esteemed GM and benefactor Rob Seulowitz
whose legendary wisdom rivals that of Herodotus himself.
Personally, I blame Ross Jones.
Due to Ross' unexcused and cowardly absence, Perennial Champion
Doug Smith was able to cruise to a third consecutive (and
fifth lifetime) Successors title with nary a bead of sweat
darkening his high, wide forehead. Fortunately, this would be
the last ever title claimed by Mr Smith -- at least for the Avalon
Hill version of the game we have loved for lo the last 12 years,
which has been officially retired now that GMT has republished
the game. The new edition is substantially different - more of
a re-boot than a re-issue -- and I strongly encourage players
who have only played the original to learn the new game before
next-year's WBC. Fortunately, there is already a beautiful VASSAL
module available for it (see the "Links" section at
the end of this report), and an online tournament will be announced
2008 saw an all-time low attendance of only 12 unique players,
but that was only to be expected given the timing of the re-issue,
which was originally expected to be out in early July.
Winner: Francis Czawlytko (Crowned Heracles)
Francis returned after a two-year hiatus and whipped the sharks
at his table (myself, Mark Giddings and Craig Melton)
with a well-timed play of "Treachery" to steal Heracles
at the end of Turn 3.
Winner: Doug Smith (Turn 5)
In the best-fought game of the qualifiers, Doug shook off challenges
from Phil Rodrigues and the always dangerous Ahmet
Ilpars to pull out the win. Special kudos to Frank McNally,
who was nearly wiped off the map on Turn 4 but made a strong
recovery on Turn 5 to get back into the game. Most gratifyingly,
in its last year of regulation play, the "Salvation in the
11th Hour" card drew blood, killing Phil's Cassander in
Egypt at the start of Turn 5 to give Doug an escape from certain
doom. (Note: The "Salvation" card does not exist in
the new game but that doesn't mean it won't find its way back
into this tourney!)
Winner: Dan Dolan the Lesser (Crowned Heracles)
Dan elbowed his way into his second consecutive Final appearance
against previous finalists Phil Rodrigues and Craig
Winner: Rob Seulowitz (Adjudication)
Ahmet Ilpars held the Silver Shields and snuck Peithon
into Babylon to grab the body, but got sandwiched by my Generals
(Peridiccas and Eumenes) and paid the ultimate price for his
Francis was unable to play in the Final, allowing Ahmet Ilpars
(as the 1st Alternate) to take his place.
Dan allowed Ahmet to go first, expecting him to collect Heracles
while he planned to move Craterus West to take Phoenicia
and Cyprus for their fleets. Instead, Ahmet immediately
sent Leonatus to begin the siege of Rhodes and attacked
Dan at Tyre: Craterus won the battle against Ptolemy but
at the cost of his life. Elsewhere, I cunningly fed Hemlock to
Cleopatra who, as fate would have it, Doug intended to marry
off to Lysimachus on his next cardplay. Dan also looted Ecbatana
-- on the next two turns, Babylon and Susa would likewise be
Ahmet unsheathed his sword, tossed away his "Champion"
marker (why do we even give him one?) and sailed off to Macedonia
to defeat Antipater at the gates of Pella. Doug had to
abandon Asia Minor to swing Lysimachus back to Macedonia,
which emboldened me to bring the body out West. Originally intending
to spike it in Damascus quickly, Dolan declined to let
me visit his City and brought Peithon and a large army over to
greet the funeral procession, so Antigonus turned toward Celanae.
Rob [to Doug]: "Are you un-assing Phrygia?"
Doug: "I got things going on"
Lysimachus defeated Leonatus at Larissa, rescuing his
position but leaving a token force to delay my funeral train.
I had a slight Legitamacy lead over Doug, and hoped to snag a
pair of Royals he had thoughtlessly left vulnerable to an attack,
but he managed to avoid them out of harm's way. Had he not done
so, I would have had the force and cards to attempt the funeral
in Pella. Sigh. Instead, Antigonus slipped in to Heraclea
to bury the body before the dread Lysimachus could return East
and take it.
I ended the turn by stealing Heracles with "Treachery"
-- Turn 3 would make or break my game.
Armed with the third "Treasure City Looted" card and
the arrival of the Silver Shields, I once again made my way West.
I needed to take Phrygia to get "King of Asia" and
the Win, but Lysimachus had a huge honking army. Eventually our
two armies would clash in Celenae to decide the game --
if I won, Phrygia would fall and the game would be mine. Despite
careful maneuvering to draw him into a space of my choosing,
we ended up with my 21 SP to his 25. In the end, he won the battle
by one pip, killing Antigonus and condemning Heracles to the
Day Care Center in the Sky.
Meanwhile, Dan was on the verge of subjugating Egypt,
allowing Ahmet to maintain control through the end of the Turn
so that he would have the fleet strength to invade Greece
at the start of Turn 4.
Having taken my best shot, my only hope now was that Ahmet could
get his Rhodesian Army to Greece before Doug could seal the Automatic
VP Victory. By now, Doug held all of Europe, the Hellespont and
parts of Asia Minor, and was tied for the largest fleet. If Ahmet
could capture Athens, Doug would be dropped to third place and
I might be able to sneak in the win with Alexander or, if Dan
took points off me in the West, hold out for Turn 5.
Sadly, it was at this point that Dan's recessive mad-dog Dolan
genes came to the fore: He launched a narrow-odds assault on
Rhodes which he won but which took Ahmet completely out
of the game. In addition, the Rhodean fleet was dispersed in
the failed naval interception that allowed Dan's army to land,
so Dan was left with only 2 fleet points against Doug's 4, and
was not able to move north into Asia Minor or Greece. With his
southern flank safe, Doug was able to concentrate his forces
in Asia Minor, with more than enough scrubs scattered around
to protect his VP from Unrest and Barbarians. I made a last-ditch
effort to take points from him and lost: Doug held his 24 VP
for the round and was named the Winner.
And so it comes to an end, the 12-year struggle for Alexander's
legacy. Next year we hope to see a surge in interest as the new
game reaches out to both new players and veterans. Once again,
my thanks to all the great players who have made this event the
center of my WBC experience since my very first trip to Hunt
Valley in the Pleistocene age, particularly bygone GMs Jeff
Paull, John Firer and Ralph "Harry Potter" Gleaton.
Next year "Successors" returns in a new form -- look
for the WBC Preview page and the "Successors (3rd Edition)"
folder at ConsimWorld to provide more information on the changes.
Poor Peithon has no escape!
Olympias and the Pips perform to
capacity crowds in Rhodes
page at GMT: Includes downloadable version of the rule book
and this excellent VASSAL
(3rd Edition) page at Board Game Geek
(3rd Edition) folder at ConSimWorld