Sinking Ships During the Great
How'd you like to share a lifeboat
with these three black hearts? Ken Richards, Scott Pfeiffer and
Andy Lewis attempt to set each other adrift.
Bob Titran seems to be enjoying his
patrol of the shipping lanes despite remaining empty handed in
his never ending pursuit of laurels.
third year found a very competitive group of players ready and
anxious to see who would emerge as the scourge of the sea lanes.
Using the same format as the previous two years, they met in
four preliminary rounds on Thursday and Friday set in 3-player
games to determine who would advance to the semi-finals and Final
This year saw quite a few more inexperienced players due to the
recent release of the new GMT version. An enthusiastic group
of 30 players attended the demo, and had many excellent questions.
Lots of folks arrived with their shiny new boxes in hand ready
to break out the card decks for the very first time.
As in previous years, the basic game system was used with the
addition of two of the published optional rules: 6.4 Tournament
Balance and 6.8 Additional Damage. The Tournament Balance rule
assures that each player's initial German force contains at least
one warship of equal capability as the opposing players. It also
keeps some of the weaker German raiders out of the initial deal.
That way each player starts with a German force of roughly equal
strength. The Additional Damage rule helps to move play along
by marking damage for every hit. Typically a ship may only absorb
a single damage hit.
This year, 18 players advanced to the semi-finals on Saturday.
They played in six 3-player hands to determine four finalists.
Those advancing were John Emery, Eric Ritter, Tim Rogers and
Roberto Sanchez, two of which were first-time players.
These four faced off in a complete 4-player game. They had played
only single-hands in the preliminary rounds and semi-finals,
but now the finalists would sail the seas in games composed of
three complete hands. In this configuration, a single lucky hand
would not be enough to carry them to victory. The format for
the final game retained the structure of the previous rounds
with the addition of four additional optional Rules: 6.1 Coal
Pile, 6.2 Sails, 6.3 Wölfchen, and 6.7 Warship and Raider
Retention. These additional options added more tension to an
already challenging situation.
They each started with a powerful and well balanced force of
German ships: John - the Emden, Möwe, and Berlin;
Eric the Königsberg, Prinz Eitel Friedrichand Wolf; Tim
the Dresden, Cap Trafalgar and Leopard; and Roberto
the Nürnberg, Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse and Kronprinz
Eric ran away with the first round almost doubling the score
of his nearest competitor. However, the game's scoring system
awards 4-round points for winning a four-player hand, thereby
keeping all players in the game. There is only a 3-round point
spread between the players for each hand.
John, who placed second in the first round, came on strong in
the second round to edge Eric in a very close competition between
all four players. Going into the final round, Eric and John were
tied with Tim and Roberto poised to act as the spoiler. The last
round was again very competitive with play going back-and-forth
throughout the hand. With every play making an impact, it came
down to the last few cards. In the end, John emerged as the overall
victor, claiming the title of the Kaiser's Pirate.
Over the three days, all of the participants demonstrated great
interest, as well as a lot of skill and sportsmanship. The experienced
players were quick to show the new hands the ropes and everyone
appeared to have a great time. See you next year.
Designer Jim Day provided scale model
miniature nautical props to enhance the mood.
John Emery on course for his first
well, in this event anyway.