Blocks & Blades ...
The blocks outdrew the figures this
year as Ancients outdrew its sister game Battle Cry
for the first time.
GM Andy Lewis and ex-champ Tony Curtis
watch Ric Young roll to victory to become the newest CCA champ.
The first round was the pod system where we divided into four-player
groups and each player played all the others in their group in
the same scenario, Bagrades, with the best record in the group
advancing automatically. We did have one group of six and they
only played three of their five opponents. Side selection was
handled by players bidding victory banners; something with a
more known effect on the outcome than the things we tried the
last two years. Carthage improved on things considerably this
year as they went 31-18 (I had two games where neither player
listed which side they played). 15 of the games were decided
by one banner and 12 more were won by two banners. None of the
victory banner bids were the difference in the outcome as the
difference was always greater than the bid by more than one.
Last year, Carthage had gone 33-27.
As we had eight pods, we took the group winners only and advanced
to quarter-finals which were conducted as two-game matches, playing
both sides of a battle against the same opponent. The quarter-final
battle was Cynoscephalae from the 1st Expansion. Tony Curtis
and Rick Young won both games in their matches. Stephen Cuyler
and Eric Raymond split but Stephen's Romans were tougher -- allowing
him to advance. Bill O'Neal also advanced as he won the first
battle and had captured enough victory banners in the second
game to guarantee the win so his opponent offered surrender;
Bill has made the semis all four years.
The semi-finals followed the same two-game format using Ticinus
River from the base game. In one semi, Stephen Cuyler faced Bill
O'Neal, in an upstate New York match-up. Bill won as both sides
to earn a chance to be our first repeat champion. In the other
semi, Rick "Leaping Lemmings" Young took on former
champion Tony Curtis. Rick also won as both sides and so prevented
a Final pairing of two former champions.
The final battle was Ipsus from the1st Expansion. The
contests couldn't have been closer as it was a split decision
with Selecuus winning both battles by an 8-6 banner score so
we had to go to a tie breaker. Rick Young was victorious as he
only lost 57 blocks to Bill's 66.
We had a slight decrease in the number of players this year.
We are still drawing a large core following who are strong players
yet welcoming to newcomers. We stretched the players a little
further in their need to understand the game to win this year
in our scenario selection. We will push it a little further next
year so check the scenario selection early for more practice
time next year. The most interesting tidbit about the tournament
this year was that the numbers worked out so I could play this
year and with Ted Racier joining us for the first time, we had
six GMT designers/principals participating and none had been
arm twisted to play.