Battles for the Iberian Peninsula
Al Hurda and Jesse Boomer consider
the board in the semi-finals.
Dave Anderson, Mike Rogonizski,
Matt Burkins, and Scott Smith
The forces of Britain, Spain, and France clashed on eight
tables in the mulligan and first round of the tournament, a combination
that brought 13 new players to the table to face the veterans
of past campaigns. The tournament was rich with events of note,
including the beginning of a family dynasty in Wellington
and even a participant from Wellington, New Zealand. The cards
and dice continued to dismay and delight the players in each
We had two demos, and these encouraged five players to participate
in a Beginner's bracket. Upon seeing that only four players could
play the game, Mike Metcalf volunteered to learn among the experienced
players instead. The remaining four met to play and learn the
game, competing for best new player. Scott Smith led the southern
French army to a single point victory to be named best new player.
The winner of the tournament was presented with a shrink-wrapped
copy of Wellington to take home. In Scott's case, he already
owned the game and graciously presented the game to his ally
Michael Rogozinski, who had ably supported this victory playing
the northern French army. Meanwhile, at the tables around the
beginner's bracket, the initial engagements began to determine
who would man the semi-final matches on Wednesday.
Mulligan Round: Paved Road to the Semis
At the remaining four tables, 16 players fought the good fight
to liberate or subjugate Spain. For some, the march was less
lengthy than others. Michael Casselberry marched to an early
victory with his Armee du Nord. Smaller French forces were able
to beat the British up in 1812, driving Wellington's forces almost
into the sea through a near conquest of Portugal. The Peace roll
came up a 6, so the luck of the French was rewarded with a swift
At the next table, France dominated as well, capturing Portugal
in Turn 1. Al Hurda's Armee du Sud captured the most keys and
duchies to edge out Rejean Trembley by a lone victory point.
For Spain, the dice were not co-operating as the defenders rolled
35 dice but were rewarded with only one 6.
Next door, Melvin Casselberry's Armee du Nord crushed the
British, so that at the start of 1813 there were no British troops
other than Wellington on the board. Ably supported by Frank Morehouse,
the French victory was strong.
At the fourth table, returning champion Pete Reese and Tracey
Casselberry were able to deliver the first Allied victory of
the tournament. Pete's British led the march into France but
it was Tracey's Spanish who held the ground and, in the end,
won the day for the Allies by a single point.
The Casselberry family brings a lot of Wellington experience
to the table at the WBC, and in the Mulligan round, secured three
of the four victories.
First Round: First Blood
The following evening three quartets returned for another
go at a seat in the semi-finals. Although the event was scheduled
to run until 1:00 a.m. the next morning, swift steel and card
play brought all three to an early close.
Pete Reese led the victory for France at his table. Frank
Morehouse's Armee du Sud supported Pete's Armee du Nord to a
dominant victory for France. Holding Madrid and a large number
of keys, France was able to conquer Spain on a roll of a 6. When
the keys were counted, Pete had a lead, but Frank had earned
enough points in his two rounds to help secure his seat in the
Jesse Boomer's Armee du Nord and Larry Burman's Armee du Sud
took France to victory at Table 2, but Jesse had one more victory
point when the scores were tallied.
For the third game, it looked as though we would be one person
short. 2008 champ Henry Russell arrived belatedly to find all
tables already filled. Already victorious, Melvin Casselberry
agreed to play again, but even with the GM filling in, it would
only be a three-player game. Sarah Sparks, who had played two
games of Napoleonic Wars the night before, joined to complete
the table. Sarah hails from Wellington, New Zealand, perhaps
marking the first time in WBC history that someone from Wellington
played in the Wellington tournament. With Portuguese Unrest
in play near the beginning on 1812 and Wellington's forces wiped
out in a 6- and 5-heavy rout delivered from a lucky Marmount,
the Allies, down cards and facing an empty Portugal, conceded.
With the GM and Melvin Casselberry victorious, there were no
new winners from the table to advance. Nevertheless, all participants
quickly agreed to a second game, where Sarah's Spain and Melvin's
British drove the French back into France.
With two rounds complete, six winners had qualified. Two alternates
were chosen to rise from the ranks through victory points to
set the semi-final stage with two games.
Semi-Finals: Where Allies are Allies
One of the more difficult aspects of Wellington as
a game is that in most rounds, there is only one winner. With
two tables of four building the participants for the Final, the
victorious team of Allies or French from each team would advance.
There was a more genuine esprit de corps among the allies as
the semi-finals began with each player now truly expecting his
ally to fuel his advance for the first time.
At the first table, Rejean took Britain, Tracey Spain, Melvin
Armee du Nord, and Frank Armee du Sud. The allies took quite
a beating as the French routed Wellington and pushed the British
back into Portugal. But for the French, it is more than just
a game of defeating the game's namesake general. With strong
card play and favorable dice, the allies were able to push the
French back. As the game was called at the end of 1813, the victory
points favored the Allies, so Tracey and Rejean advanced.
At the second table, Pete took Britain, Jesse Spain, Michael
Armee du Nord, and Al Hurda Armee du Sud. Fortune favored the
French who did not lose a major battle until the end. War without
End prevented a peace roll and placed the Conquest of Spain roll
beyond the reach of France. In 1813, the Allies worked well together
to drive the French back, so as time was called, defending champ
Reese and Jesse advanced.
Round 3: The Battle for the Three Plaques
Since 2007, Wellington has been but a trial event,
but in 2011, it made the Century, so the first three places would
win wood. While this did not change the standard level of victory
point scrutiny between the opposing sides, it would heighten
the attention to how many victory points stood between allies.
In the dice roll to determine sides, defending champion Reese
turned the first choice into Britain. Jesse used the second highest
roll to become Peter's ally, Spain. Rejean chose Armee du Nord
leaving Tracey with Armee du Sud.
Britain began the march to Madrid, supported by Spain, but
after taking Ciudad Rodrigo, the dice abandoned the Allies. Rejean's
Armee du Nord lost Marmount early, but with support from the
south, successfully defended Madrid. Wellington went south to
see if he could remove the threat of Soult, but in a devastating
battle, was routed, making the future look very bright for the
French. Rejean's solid defense in the north and Tracey's nimble
moves with Soult in the south drove the conquest of Spain roll
to +3. Rejean rolled low, so the group moved on to the Peace
roll. A 6 brought a very swift victory for the French and Rejean's
first WBC title since his Armee du Nord outscored Tracey's Armee
du Sud 12.5 - 11. Peter took the bronze with Britain's 5 points
over Jesse's 2-point Spanish effort.
Wellington seems to have evolved in play over the past
few years. Where Britain and Spain often took victories before,
the French stood tall this year throughout. In the last three
years, the Final has resulted in quick French victories.
The Wellington field did not change numerically in 2011, but
half of the field was new to the tournament. It will be interesting
to see how many of those players will return to play again.
As GM for Wellington, I am constantly learning new
strategies in the tournament and am very grateful for the veteran
players who advise and coach new players, particularly Melvin
Casselberry. Melvin took a number of rookies under his wing this
year to show them the ropes of Napoleonic warfare on the Iberian
Peter Putnum, Tracey and Melvin
Casselberry and Rajean Tremblay.
Melvin Casselberry and Rejean
Tremblay oppose one another in the semi-final