Feeling blue ...
John Henry, Jim Jordan and Bernard
Beckerman contest Britannia.
David Fritsch and Jeffrey Martin at
work in the heats.
Ok folks, apparently everyone forgot how to play blue in the
new game. While I was able to report that the new
Britannia was quite balanced in 2008, this year it looked
like the old Britannia! There were six Red
wins, five Green, and five Yellow (or Purple if you prefer.) Meanwhile
there were only two Blue wins (and that includes the semi-finals)! Deep
breath everyone, pull it back together and remember how to play
Now, in game news, Britannia has been reprinted, so
folks can at last go out and get games again. And
if you want it in German, French, Spanish or Hungarian, those
are available too! So back to the con.
For the prelim rounds, I went back to the high score awards
this year, while keeping my favorite, Ethelraed the
Unready. The Ewan McNay memorial award, ahem, rather
the Red High Score award, went to, naturally, Ewan McNay, with
a score of 324 (yes, it is mathematically possible). Perhaps
I should just put his name on it next year. Next,
Nick Benedict almost hit 300 with a 299 for Green High Score
- again, mathematically possible. Next, we had Rick
Kirchner with the very respectable Yellow High Score of 244. Rounding
it out, Jim Lawler pulled out the single Blue win in the heats
to get the High Blue Score of 229 (Go Jim! As many
folks know, Blue is my favorite color to play.)
Last, we had Llew Bardecki pulling a 180 in one of his heats
to grab Ethelraed the Unready. But Llew kept coming
back to better his score and coming in 2nd by a point put
Llew into the semi-finals.
Now, before getting to the playoff rounds, I must memorialize
one event of the heats. In an amazing show of solidarity,
the peoples of England chose not to submit to Mark Smith's Roman
Legions. It started with the Welsh discovering modern
weapons and beating up badly on the Romans. Then the
Belgae decided that three spaces were plenty, so why
bother to submit and then the Brigantes toughed it out after
killing off a stack of Romans with panache. All in
all, a sad day for the legions.
There were 16 players in the semi-finals this year, with nine
winners and seven runners-up advancing. While the
semi-finals were exciting in their own right, let us pass quickly
to the Final, where three of the players repeated their semi-final
colors. We had Ewan McNay as Yellow (Purple), Matt
O'Connor as Blue, and Rick Kirchner as Green. Barry
Smith played Red.
The Roman invasion went reasonably well, although the Welsh
were amazingly elusive, only losing one of four battles and running
away in all the others. On the recoil though, Boudicca
wiped out Essex in fine fashion, killing two legions and a fort. And
to the north, the Brigantes came in force to Cheshire and destroyed
another two legions and a fort in one fell die roll.
With everyone submitted, the next few turns were quiet, a
few forts killed here and there. The one anomaly was
that one Belgae survived in Lindsey through offering not to attack
the Romans, which the Romano-British later regretted as they
lost a bolt-hole.
The Romano-British came on and thinned themselves taking out
a couple of Jutes and went north, but only forced some Angles
to retreat rather than killing them. The Romano-British,
then restricted to only the north, and not able to reach Arthur,
used some lawyerly talk with the Angles to secure a space for
themselves in mid-England for the Turn 7 scoring round by claiming
to move south. Naturally, the Angles regretted that
they didn't specify that the Romano-British should move more
than one space to the south.
The Saxon major invasion had little resistance and rolled
ashore, killing the couple of lonely Romano-British who were
left to the south. The Scot major was not as easy,
with the Picts taking them out on the beaches. At
the end, the Scots were left with just three units. Yellow
(Purple) was saved, by a fortuitous deal with the Blue, and the
overwhelming Picts left the small kingdom of the Scots alone.
Until Turn 10 then, the Saxons looked quite large and took
out everyone around them. But the Welsh and Angles
kept nipping at them, and when the Danes came along for their
raids they took out a couple more.
The Danish major invasion did have some empty spaces on the
map, but empty or not, it didn't matter as they rolled ashore
and only lost one on the first round outnumbering the Saxons
13 to 9. Regrettably, the second round did not go
as well with the Belgae taking out two Danes as they were assaulted
in Lindsey. And to the South some reaching by the Danes
into Essex was met in kind with two Saxons killing three Danes.
With the Danish invasion coming unhinged, the Saxons came
back to take out some more Danes and became King while building
some Burhs just to add to the fun.
All of the fighting left the way empty for Yellow (Purple)
to reestablish hegemony and make the final run to control the
north of the country. That plan became somewhat touchy
when the Dubliners went to attack the Danes and Angles and managed
to lose a couple more Dubliners than they would have liked.
And so the stage was set for the final invasions. The
Saxons spread out to maximize their growth, and incidentally
become King again. The Norwegians rolled in to minimal
opposition. They had so little to oppose them that
they sent an expeditionary troop to knock out some Angles to
the north in Lothian, wiping them out to a man. One
Angle remained, trying to survive in Dunedin.
The Norman invasion had substantially more resistance as the
Saxons all came south, leaving the Norwegians alone in their
northern domination. The Normans took the southern
shores and then stacked a huge force in Essex to overrun the
three Saxons there. The battle went well and the Normans
ended up with 30 points and two of their reinforcement areas.
On the final turn, the Scots in Skye were targeted by the
Caledonians and survived, but then fell as the Picts at last
attacked them. And then the Picts turned around and
survived as the Norse came back at them. Meanwhile,
in an effort to protect their Danish brothers the Welsh moved
into the lowlands to block moves against Svein as he came ashore. The
highlight of the final turn came as the Normans realized that
they had the kingship in their sights. They drove
north, taking those last few territories to ensure that they
relived history (and scored 10 points.)
But when the dust settled and the points were counted (and
double counted) the quiet Green people, led by Rick Kirchner,
had won the game. And a tight one it was too. Green
came in at 227, Blue at 225, Yellow (Purple) at 223 and red trailed
not far behind at 205. Congratulations to Rick and
to all of the finalists - former laurelists all.
This year, the extra prize awards for the finalists took a
silly turn as they had a set of campy Viking movies to choose
from. I think I'll have to come up with something
equally non-serious next year. Of course, Rick has
the finest award of all, joining the roll of champions inscribed
on the Britannia Plate. Another year and we'll
need to retire the current plaque and start a new one. Twenty
names for one plaque is quite enough.
The GM is looking forward to seeing you all again next year!
Chris Trimmer, Michael Isgur, Scott
Pfieffer and Mark Smith vie.
GM Jim Jordan (center) records the
finalists' every move.