Clan Rising . . .
Ray Freeman and Tim Hall battled to
5th & 6th place laurels.
Somehow, I'm not seeing Mel Gibson.
Attendance held steady with totals similar to those of the
past five years with only slight defection to competing events
. . . but play was quick, quality and . . . bloody! Sadly, former
champs Barcafer and Seary were among the missing along with several
other contenders, but that of course left an opening for new
blood to ascend. In particular, the KGB based group in Alexandria,
VA has started accumulating laurels at a ferocious rate and we
will speak of them again.
The tourney generated 24 matches with 14 Scot victories and the
bidding reflected it. Over the years, there has been a progressive
downward trend in overall bidding, with a majority of bids at
S0 (12), six bids for the English above 0 (exactly one bid for
English of 2). With the latest edition of the rules, and the
"nerfing" of the Scottish blocks, there appears to
be a fairly equal board. It seems the weighting goes to having
fun with Wallace punishing English nobles.
There were several returning laurelists in the mix, including
defending champion Lyman Moquin (1), KGB's Fred Bauer (2) and
Ray Freeman (6) from last year. Going into Round 4, Lyman squared
off against rising force and KGB member Malcolm Smith, while
Fred's opponent, Phil Rennert, opted out to play in another event,
so usher in pinch hitter, Ron Draker, as the eliminator. Who,
it turns out, was aptly named, eliminating Fred with the English!
Consequently, the semi-final game between Lyman and Malcolm became
the de facto Final, and, it didn't seem like it was going to
be a real match. Lyman took the English with an E1 bid, but that
didn't seem to matter too much, as the King appeared more often
than not. Going into the last turn, the Scots never made it to
the magic "eight" nobles to actually get the French
or their King onto the board. And with a moderately good wintering,
Lyman finally got a "3" to take the initiative and
trap Wallace in the North.
For those of you that haven't played this game, "trapping"
Wallace is sort of a mixed bag. Yes, he can't run. But that means
that he HAS to fight. The resulting bloodbath sent the remnants
of the English army scattered across the northern half of the
board, but nearly every block of merit was packing one or two
pips. Going into the last round of the last turn, the English
AND the Scots each had seven nobles under control.
Malcolm's final card play sent the Norse block, with a single
pip, deep behind enemy lines to attack a single block in Mentieth
- who, unfortunately ALSO only had one pip and even MORE unfortunately
happened to be the Noble Lennox - who didn't know what hit him.
The Norse showed up, fired a single shot, and Lennox woke up
Scottish. Not only that, when Mentieth returned home to winter,
he also went Scot. He got a "twofer" and the 2011 crown.
The new Mulligan format worked well, but I think that next year
we will create a "loser" bracket to allow people to
continue to play competitively as others drop out - and to allow
more flexibility in letting those that missed the early games
enter with some shot at wood. Thanks again for playing - I laughed,
I cried, I died! And a big congrats to Malcolm ... savage Highlander
that he is.