Hail Barry at Long Last ...
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.
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
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
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
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