A Most Gentlemanly Affair ...
Jeff Billings, Tedd Mullally and GM
Dave Bohnenberger fluctuate currencies.
Bruce Bernard, Romaine Jacques, Rob
Kilroy and Joe Burch play in Heat 2.
2010 marked the fourth consecutive year for Imperial
at WBC, and the third year of Century status for this Rio Grande-Eggertspiele
game with attendance holding more or less steady. The first heat
began in the small, hot, crowded, and noisy Strasburg room. The
plan was for 4-player games, if possible, but due to a lack of
available games (a constant problem with this event) players
had to be divided into five 5-player games. Since many voiced
a preference for the 5-player version, it perhaps turned out
for the best. The second heat was in spacious Ballroom B. Perhaps
due to the awkward time slot of 11am to 2 PM, only 15 players
appeared. It might be assumed that everyone else opted to eat
lunch instead! Again, the number of players worked out perfectly
for 5-player games.
The tournament preview stipulated a 16-player semi-final,
with the top-ranked second-place finishers from the preliminary
heats qualifying as alternates if necessary. As there were eight
games played during the prelims, this meant that all first- and
second-place finishers qualified for the semi-final. As a few
people qualified twice, and a few others fell victim to scheduling
conflicts, only three 4-player games were seated for the semi-final
round. It was decided that the Final would still be a four-player
game, and that the top runner-up (by percentage of winner's score)
would also advance.
The semis were played in the dreaded Strasburg room, which
was thankfully less crowded this time around. The games were
all briskly played, with Rob Kilroy, Romain Jacques and 2009
champ Blair Morgen winning their tables. Rob Seulowitz was the
top second-place finisher, edging out GM Dave Bohnenberger, who
finished fifth. Amusingly, Romain won despite my pleas that he
not do so, since he had stated that he would likely be unable
to attend the Final. A gentleman, he agreed to appear for the
Final anyway, sparing me the need to play on.
This Final was in the incredibly loud and crowded Kinderhook
room. Finals for Here I Stand and Dune were in
the same room at the same time, the latter drawing a large and
enthusiastic audience. Perhaps it would have been best if the
GM had found a new location, but this did not happen, and it
took a little while to get the game started as a result.
For those interested in how "The Pros" do it, here
is the opening distribution of bonds for the last round.
Blair: AH 1, Italian 1, French 3, UK 2, German 3. Romain:
AH 2, Italian 2, French 1, German 2, Russian 3. Rob S: AH 4,
Italian 4, UK 1, Russian 1. Rob K: French 2, UK 3, German 1,
This meant that Romain began the game with no Flags. However,
in the current fashion, the players chose to begin each nation's
first turn on "Investor". This resulted in a flurry
of early purchases and passing of Flags. After Turn 1, Rob K
was flagless and Blair controlled 4!
After a well-played and gentlemanly game, the scores were:
Blair Morgan, 193, Romain Jacques 122, Rob Seulowitz 107, and
Rob Kilroy 80. Congratulations to Blair for his second straight
championship for Imperial. As the 2007 and 2008 events were both
won by Patrick Maloney, only two people have ever won this event.
GM Notes: For the past two years, Imperial has been
scheduled as part of the "Euro" track, with scheduling
coordinated by Eric Freeman. I have begun to believe that, despite
the German designer and publisher, that Imperial does
not belong in the "Euro" track. There seems to be more
player overlap with Dune and several other classic multi-player
conflict-heavy games. I suggest that it be scheduled as such.
Also, many players mentioned a desire to play a newer version
of this game called Imperial 2030. I have never even seen
this game, so I was unable to allow it to be played. For this
and other reasons, this will be my last year of running Imperial.
Both Robert Barnes and Dennis Mishler have tentatively volunteered
to run the event in 2011. Regardless of who does the deed I will
be available to help in any way necessary.
Blair Morgen, Romain Jacques and Rob
Seulowitz engage in currency bourse with powers of the world.
The finalists engage in friendly negotiations
backed by the clenched fists of military might.