britannia   

Updated Nov. 23 2012

2012 WBC Report     

 2013 Status: pending 2013 GM commitment

Barry Smith, NY

2012 Champion

Event History
1991    Richard Curtin      39
1992    Duane Wagner      53
1993    Brett Mingo      91
1994    Scott Pfeiffer      73
1995    Randy Schib      69
1996    Scott Pfeiffer      55
1997    David Gantt      52
1998    Jim Jordan      49
1999    Scott Pfeiffer     46
2000    Ewan McNay     62
2001    Mark Smith     42
2002    Ewan McNay     42
2003    Nick Benedict     48
2004    Nick Benedict     34
2005    Richard Curtin     34
2006    Ewan McNay     45
2007     Mike Fox     35
2008    Ewan McNay     37 
2009    Rick Kirchner     37
2010    Randy Schilb     49
2011    Ewan McNay     41
2012     Barry Smith     33

 Laurels

Rank  Name               From  Last  Total
  1.  Ewan McNay          CT    12    353
  2.  Nick Benedict       PA    07    192
  3.  James Jordan        MD    11    156
  4.  Barry Smith         NY    12    117
  5.  Randy Schilb        MO    12    104
  6.  Rick Kirchner       KY    12     84
  7.  Scott Pfeiffer      SC    11     83
  8.  Mark Smith          KY    08     82
  9.  David Gantt         SC    03     70
 10.  Richard Curtin      NY    09     64
 11.  David Yoon          NY    06     41
 12.  Mike Fox            IL    07     40
 13.  Llew Bardecki       on    06     40
 14.  Jonathan Squibb     PA    00     40
 15.  Bruce Young         SC    02     36
 16.  Matthew O'Connor    NJ    09     28
 17.  John Morris         MD    08     24
 18.  Ralph Gleaton       SC    04     24
 19.  Gregory Hultgren    CA    11     20
 20.  Micah Hultgren      CA    11     20
 21.  Chris Trimmer       TX    10     20
 22.  Richard Jones       uk    02     18
 23.  Thomas Morris       MD    12     15
 24.  Sarah Sparks        nz    09     12
 25.  Jonathan Price      NJ    00     12
 26.  Michael Coomes      OH    12     10
 27.  Rajean Tremblay     on    10     10
 28.  Mike Mullins        MD    05      8
 29.  Brett Mingo         MD    02      6
 30.  John Strand         CO    03      5
 31.  James Tyne          OH    05      4
 32.  John Emery          SC    04      4

2012 Laurelists                                             Repeating Laurelists: 

Randy Schilb, MO
2nd

Rick Kirchner, KY
3rd

Thomas Morris, MD
4th

Michael Coomes, OH
5th

Ewan McNay, NY
6th

Past Winners

Richard Curtin, NY
1991, 2005

Duane Wagner, NJ
1992

Brett Mingo, MD
1993

Scott Pfeiffer, SC
1994, 1996, 1999

Randy Schilb, MD
1995, 2010

David Gantt, SC
1997

Jim Jordan, MD
1998

Ewan McNay, CT
00, 02, 06, 08, 11

Mark Smith, KY
2001

Nick Benedict, CA
2003-04

Mike Fox, IL
2007

Rick Kirchner, KY
2009

Barry Smith, NY
2012
   

Gregory Hultgren, Ewan McNay, John Henry and David Anderson in a peliminary heat.

A pair of two-time champs, Nick Benedict and Randy Schilb, show George Galuschak how its done.

 Gregory Hultgren, Jim Jordan, Adam Nesmith and Mike Mullins sweat their way through a qualifier.

 Jim Jordan, Mark and Barry Smith in semifinal action with Barry advancing to the big game.

Hail Barry at Long Last ...

As always, it was a great year for Britannia at the WBC. Although the Britannia Plate is now officially retired, Ewan McNay, as the 2011 champion, was first to have his name engraved on the Britannia Sword. I hope that the tradition may continue long enough to put as many names on the sword as there are on the plate.

Although we had a smaller crowd than usual, I was quite pleased with the mix. Most of the usual veterans appeared, but we also had a number of new players. The demo continues to work well and I want to issue thanks to all of the veterans for coaching the new players. In addition, we had four of the next generation with us, all of whom played in at least two heats. I hope the trend continues.

I can definitely say that the competition is getting tougher. Folks were working hard for the high score plaques. Well, there was one blowout high score, with a 313-point game giving Greg Hultgren the Red high score honors. Chris Trimmer took the Yellow prize with a 243 score in a tightly played game. I pulled in the rest with Blue (266) and Green (271).

Unlike last year, 1-point wins were few and far between. So while there were a number of low point spreads only Ewan McNay, in Heat 1 captured a closest win plaque with a score of 235/234. Meanwhile, ex-champ Randy Schilb was clearly understood to be a danger in Heats 2 and 3 as he garnered the close win plaques for both heats with 239/236 and 242/228 scores. That's the first year that one person has captured two of the close wins. Of course, for Randy, getting any win at all in that third heat seemed unlikely when he was reduced to three Romans at one point. It seems that Rome had decided to defund the British garrison a little earlier than usual.

My favorite award, Ethelred the Unraedy, went to one of the troop of next generation players. Thomas Morris, who had a score of 186, clearly showed that to be a case of bad luck with the dice given his performance in the semifinals.

Before we move to the semifinals, a note on color balance. I was quite pleased last year when we seemed to be moving toward a more balanced spread of color wins following 2010, when Yellow won 10 of the 19 heats. This year, Yellow had rather the opposite problem. In the heats, there were six Red wins, four Blue, three Green and only two Yellow. The semis and the Final, did even things out a bit for the other colors, taking the balance to six Red wins, five Blue, five Green, but still just three Yellow.

The semis were the usual close runs, with attention paid very closely to runner-up finishes. Only one note for your amusement from the semis: Barry Smith, with Svein and three Danes attacked Mark Smith's Harald with three Norwegians. One die roll later it was an empty space, probably full of smoke arising from the blast of the dice. Anyway, in the end we had Thomas Morris, Barry Smith, Rick Kirchner and Randy Schilb reaching the Final.

First, I like to extend many thanks to Barry Smith for his detailed notes. I was making notes myself, but I was also playtesting a potential new set of rules for Britannia. It will be interesting to watch as the rules develop and Lew Pulsipher, the game designer, looks for a new publisher for the game.

With the usual random selection, the Final colors went to Thomas as Blue, Rick as Red, Randy as Yellow (staying in character with the Romans) and Barry as Green.

Randy's Romans had a fairly easy time of it, starting with the usual Welsh withdrawal to five spaces so that the Romans could cruise on by. By the way, have I mentioned how much Lew hates the Welsh withdrawal? Anyway, with the Romans cruising along they managed to submit the Brigantes with only three areas. The Welsh got a break from that interaction as a Roman and a Brigante in March killed each other, so the Welsh promptly invested in some new real estate. The Picts were then submitted on Turn 3 and the raids began.

Bad breaks for the Saxons and Jutes left the Saxons down two and the Jutes getting Kent but losing all but one. The Angles also lost one to raiding, but did take down the fort in Mar in the process. But none of that was the real news of the last turns of Roman rule.

Rather, it was the dance occurring in the north. Thomas's Picts agreed not to cross the Moray/Skye line with the Caledonians. So the Caledonians left one behind in the Orkneys for a better defensive position. So a hungry Picts promptly boats up to the Orkney's, not technically crossing the line and breaking the agreement. Yes, we can say that Thomas is a player to be watched! Nice move. Or it almost was. The luck was interesting though and the Pict and the Caledonian eliminated each other. Then, of course, the Scots dropped a couple of interlopers onto the island. Ah well.

So the Romano-British get two in the Downlands and four in Lindsey. Perhaps they were looking to balance the game between the Angles and the Saxons. In any case, between Jutes in Kent, the RBs in Downlands, and the Welsh deciding that the Saxons were anathema, the Saxons were mauled as they came ashore. After their major invasion there were all of six Saxons left. Not auspicious for Red. On the other hand, the Jutes wangled an agreement to live in Kent until Turn 10.

Then the Angle invasion rolled ashore. Unfortunately for them, there was a mountain of Brigantes in Strathclyde. Thus distracted by the attractive nuisance of the Brigantes and the threat of those hordes releasing on them, the Angles are stuck to the north. The Scots, meanwhile, come ashore and take Caithness, Skye and Dalriada, while the perhaps over focused Caledonians go back and kick them out of the Orkneys.

Naturally, with the distraction to the north, the Welsh easily waltz through a thin Angle screen to raid York on Turn 8. Meanwhile, just because they can, four other Welsh do a little dance with the Irish in Cornwall and Wales becomes entirely Green again. The Scots also take Dunedin, but it's practically a sideshow to the bold Welsh moves. Amazingly, the Angles do manage Bretwalda on Turn 9, followed by a quiet and quick couple of turns.

Turn 11 found things starting to heat up again of course. Rick's Red Norsemen stomped all over the Caledonians, taking both islands and wiping out one of Barry's Green nations. Later that turn, the Saxons also finally kicked the Jutes out of Kent, ending another Green nation. Of course, Barry's Danes snorted at that minor setback and easily raided all their areas with NO losses. Thomas decided that the snooty Danes weren't worth defending against, but that getting King was a great thing. So, nearly maxed Angles make king for the Angles on Turn 11.

Ivar and Halfdan roll through the Angles and anyone else in their way on Turn 12, losing only three units in the process to establish a perfect Dane Kingdom! That is to say, Danes with a strong position in Lindsey and all the surrounding territories filled with lots of nice Dane armies.

On Turn 13, Randy's Dubliners opt for York, but the Danish score and unit count is still strong, setting the tone for the endgame. Cnut is easily King on Turn 14, just having to reduce the six Saxon areas to four. Then the menacing armies of Normans and Norwegians assemble on the Saxon, Angle and Dane shores looking threatening.

It didn't look great for the Normans to start. here were two stacks all along the shield wall. The Danes held out in Kent, killing a Norman cavalry and infantry. But still, the Normans surrounded the Downlands, excepting Avalon, on Tturn 15, getting a decent set of reinforcements.

Then on Turn 16 it got bloody... William started with one cavalry and one infantry in Essex. Svein the terminator moved in with four Danes and killed William. Of course, Svein managed to lose three Danes in the process, so it didn't look pretty for his defense. So, Harald comes along and kills Svein. Naturally, just to continue the merry go round, Harold comes out of the Downlands and pounces on Harald, naturally Harald dies, (I guess Harald got lost looking for the Stamford Bridge.) In any case, Harold's forces also manage to take three extra areas. The stage is set for a Saxon King!

Sadly, Thomas's Normans take back one Saxon area in a 1-1 battle, and the Dubliners, amusing enough, prevent Harold from becoming King. As we pull aside the curtains on all those deaths in Essex, we see Barry Smith as the winner, scoring 241 points as Green. Randy Schilb pulls into second with the Yellows at 233, Rick Kirchner's Reds claim third with 223 and Thomas's Blues pull out a respectable 215.

Congratulations to Barry whose name will finally grace a Britannia plaque. Not only was it Barry's first BRI title, but his first title of any kind in the past ten years.

Now, as to what's happening with Britannia. As many of you know, the last two printings of Britannia, what we all call Brit2, have been published by Fantasy Flight Games. They have now sold out and declined to print more. The publishing rights have reverted to Lew Pulsipher, the game designer. Lew's looking around for a new publisher and having active discussions.

Meanwhile, there's a running discussion on whether there should be new rules for what will undoubtedly be called Brit3. If you want to follow along, check out the Eurobrit Yahoo group. You can also try out a playtest as Pekka Marjola has generously provided an addition to his great online site supporting Britannia to let the playtests run. Come on out and join the fun and I'll see you next year for more Britannia.

With the silver plate retired, the new tradition is the Britannia sword which will soon be adorned with a Barry Smith nameplate.

Our finalists included a 13-year veteran, two former champs and a bold newcomer. Can you guess which one he is?

 GM      James M. Jordan  [14th Year]  NA
    jmj@ieee.org   NA

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