Sinking Ships During the Great War ...
John Emery acquaints Randy Young with
the occupancy limits of his lifeboats.
Jim Jordan, Craig Melton and Kevin
Emery flirt with the photographer.
Our fourth year found a very competitive group of players ready
and anxious to see who would become the Kaiser's favorite captain.
Using the same format as the previous three years, they met in
four preliminary heats on Friday and Saturday organized as 3-player
games to determine who would advance to the elimination rounds
held later on Saturday.
This year featured more experienced players most likely due to
the release of the GMT version in 2009. The players attending
the demo were ready with many excellent questions. For the first
time, the newest version of the game dominated those in hand.
As in the previous tournaments, 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.
The qualifying semi-finalists played a single hand to determine
which four would advance to the Final. The players advancing
were defending champ John Emery, Kevin Emery (John's son), Nick
Kiswanto and Bryan Collars.
These four players then faced off in a complete 4-player game.
Previously, they played only single-hands in the heats and the
semi-finals, but now the finalists would fight it out in a game
composed of three complete hands. In this configuration, a single
lucky hand would not be enough to carry any player to victory.
The format for the Final 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.
Each player started with a formidable force of German ships:
John - theNürnberg, Kronprinz Wilhelm and Prinz Eitel Friedrich;
Kevin the Emden, Cormoran and Cap Trafalgar; Nick the Königsberg,
Berlin, and Greif; and Bryan the Dresden, Wolf, and Kaiser Wilhelm
The first hand was the closest in tournament history with only
eight points separating first from last. Kevin managed to win
the hand on his last play. 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.
Kevin also won the second hand closely followed by Bryan. Kevin's
back-to-back wins really put the pressure on his competitors.
Going into the final round, Kevin had a 3-point lead.
The last hand was very competitive with every play making a difference.
In the end, Kevin held onto the overall lead though Bryan won
the hand, enabling him to claim the title of the Kaiser's Pirate
and keep the championship wood in the family. Not only did it
return to the Emery household whence it came, but the odds for
a return trip to Greenville were high as Mafia members dominated
the scoring, taking five of the six laurel positions. Obviously,
they play some Kaiser's Pirates down in Greenville.
Throughout both days, the participants demonstrated great sportsmanship
as well as solid and clever play. The experienced players were
quick to show any new players the ropes (in fact one was kind
enough to create a series of notes for one of the new players)
and everyone seemed to have a great time. See you next year.
Bill Beckman and Stan Buck chase raiders
even as they are being chased.
Michael Ussery and the button man,
Greg Schmittgens, compare ships.