Broken Expectations. . . .
Suzanne Tuch, George Seary's sparring
partner, is no soft touch.
Bob Basa tangles with fourtime champ
The expected Final arrived prematurely. Lyman (the defending
champ) ended up facing George (the previous four-time champ)
in Heat 3 of the preliminary's. . . . and for the first time
in six years, fourth time face to face, Lyman walked away with
a win as the English against George's almost unbeatable Scot
machine. Lyman enjoyed a good initial draw to get some armies
on the board and slow down the northern conversion and one very
effective turn of truce play - getting Bruce and Galloway for
"free". George just couldn't get the French Knights
on the board, but did an excellent "stuff" turn when
Lyman wintered and ended up losing Mentieth to a Wallace "sneak
retreat" - sending three English infantry blocks home due
to overstacking. However, next turn George's back was broken
when Moray got killed center board, and there just wasn't enough
Scots left to stop a rising English tide.The game went the distance,
but in the end the English had the most nobles. Lyman went 3-0,
George 2-1, but the loss proved fatal withoutt enough of a strength
of schedule to qualify for the elimination rounds.
In the semi's Lyman squared off against Mike Dauer, a 4th place
laurelist last year. Again, Lyman took the English, but paid
nothing for them, and with the King and the Hobelar's, moved
onto the board in Round 1 of Turn 1. They slammed into what they
thought was Wallace's band on Round 2. However, Wallace wasn't
there, just a ton of infantry, which, were wiped out early. Mike
hung in for a couple more turns, but he could never really get
any kind of momentum going after the initial setback.
Lyman and Fred Bauer were matched for the Final. Fred had
been playing the Scots all day, and Lyman the English in three
of four rounds. The two met at 0715 on Friday in Lampeter - the
ONLY two people awake in that enormous hall. With the Air conditioning
blowing enough to keep the place cool with a few hundred "gamer
size" people, to Lyman and his 0 bid English it felt as
cold as a Scottish winter. Lyman got a reasonable block draw
on Turn 1 to get some knights and an infantry on the board but,
once on the board, went North instead of through the Bruce "speed
bump". Bruce took that personally, and quite ambitiously,
went across the border to face the one block sitting there.
Thus was the first major drama - Bruce found a somewhat reluctant,
but skilled, Welsh infantry waiting for him. Everybody held their
breath, and the Welsh decided to stick around and fight. Three
battle rounds later, Bruce retreated back across the border slightly
injured, the Welsh down to a single pip, but England was safe
for one turn. The next round, Bruce went back into England to
finish off the Welsh - and did so, but Lyman's knights and infantry
went north. What Fred didn't know was that Lyman was packing
a truce card, and there were in fact only two rounds of the turn
left, not three and he was going to shut down the Wallace machine
to the north and ignore the Bruce problem for the time being.
The turn ended abruptly with the truce, leaving the Scots mostly
out of position, denied some prime recruiting grounds. On the
final play, Fred also played herald, leading to Argyle turning
to the Scots.
Turn 2 started off much like the first with Lyman sending some
tough armor over the border - and then the next turn slamming
into Argyle's castle while he was colluding with Moray. In one
of those battles, the English knights killed Moray and convinced
Argyle he was on the losing side ... setting the stage for a
bad Scottish turn. This led to Wallace wintering in Selkirk ...
never a good thing in general, and consequently dispatched the
next turn. The game ended on Turn 3, and Lyman had successfully
defended his title.
of the Scots 2010 Play By Email
The third Hammer of the Scots PBeM tournament is in
the books. This was the most challenging of the three tournaments
that I have run due to the death of my laptop towards the end
of the tourney. We started with 22 would be masters of Scotland
for this swiss event. Players actually bid blocks to be the Scots
that would be added to the English initial draw. Players used
Vassal or Above the Fields for their games. Many contests were
very close, coming down to the last noble.
The Scots held a 16-11 advantage over the course of the 27 games
played during the event. Our champion, a one-time WBC competitor,
provided four of the eleven English victories. Very few players
actually bid for sides and the two games in which there was a
bid, the Scots split with a bid of two.
Hank Burkhalter was our champion, edging four-time WBC champ
George Seary. The other laurelists were: Keith Wixson, Rob Taylor,
Suzanne Tuch and Ray Freeman in that order.