britannia   

Updated Nov. 23, 2013

2013 WBC Report  

 2014 Status: pending 2014 GM commitment

Jim Jordan, MD

2013 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
2013    Jim Jordan     32

 

 Laurels

Rank  Name               From  Last  Total
  1.  Ewan McNay          CT    12    353
  2.  Nick Benedict       PA    13    200
  3.  James Jordan        MD    13    196
  4.  Randy Schilb        MO    13    120
  5.  Barry Smith         NY    12    117
  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.  Matthew O'Connor    NJ    13     52
 12.  David Yoon          NY    06     41
 13.  Mike Fox            IL    07     40
 14.  Llew Bardecki       on    06     40
 15.  Jonathan Squibb     PA    00     40
 16.  Bruce Young         SC    02     36
 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.  Wooly Farrow        PA    13     12
 25.  Mike A. Mullins     MD    13     12
 26.  Sarah Sparks        nz    09     12
 27.  Jonathan Price      NJ    00     12
 28.  Michael Coomes      OH    12     10
 29.  Rajean Tremblay     on    10     10
 30.  Brett Mingo         MD    02      6
 31.  John Strand         CO    03      5
 32.  James Tyne          OH    05      4
 33.  John Emery          SC    04      4

2013 Laurelists                                                 Repeating Laurelists: 

Matt O'Conner, NJ
2nd

Randy Schilb, MO
3rd

Wooly Farrow, PA
4th

Nick Benedict, CA
5th

Mike Mullins, MD
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, 2013

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
   

Llew Bardecki, Ewan McNay, Derek Landel and Daniel Farrow in the first heat.

Defending champ Barry Smith, Gregory Hultgren, Gus McDonald and Matt O'Connor.

Two-time champ Nick Benedict, Eric Tolentino, Todd Carter and Edward O'Connor.

 Former champs Jim Jordan and Ewan McNay with Gus McDonald and unknown fourth.

Encore ... 15 Years in the Making

Time once more to wax histrionic for the yearly narration of the WBC Britannia Tournament. Sadly, the younger generation was largely absent this year, as attendance sunk to a new low, but the usual suspects continued to emerge. As with last year, the competition was extremely tight. It's getting harder and harder to manage a three hundred point game and everyone has a laser like focus on keeping the leaders in line. I am quite proud to see it. Balance and finesse are what Britannia is all about. Oh, and manipulating your opponents like crazy!

Before launching into the heats, let me first thank Ewan McNay and Randy Schilb. While serving as my assistant GMs, they also volunteered to play dual games during the heats so that I wouldn't have to. Two of the three heats were one shy of an even multiple of four, but we got everyone playing! Go team!

It was another year without any one-point wins, although there were tight games nonetheless, including one adjudicated game that had to be resolved by a dice roll. The closest win awards this year were taken by Greg Hultgren in the first heat at 241/222 with Red. The second heat went to Nick Benedict with a 237/222 with Green. I took the third heat with the closest win of the preliminaries at 251/248 with Blue as Ewan gave a very strong run for it despite playing two games!

The color finishes in the heats tilted towards Red and Yellow this year, with both scoring four wins. Blue and Green followed with three and two respectively. Adding the semifinals into the mix though resulted in a spread of four wins apiece for the 16 games. I believe that's the first time that's ever happened. And then Green claimed the Final. But I get ahead of myself.

Before I launch into that story though, I will present the high score awards and a couple of memorable items from the heats.

In the heats, first, Mark Smith sitting watching in amazement as his Picts and Angle both evaporated by about Turn 10. He was left with just waiting for those Normans to arrive. And, apparently, this was the year where, if your name was O'Connor, skill and favorable dice gods met, and the wins rolled in. Between Matt and Ed, they won five games in the heats and the semifinal, with Ed being the only player to sweep the three heats!

The high score awards were fiercely competitive this year and the high scores keep falling as folks get a better feel for balancing out the games. There were definitely no 300-point winners this time around! This year we had our highest of the high scores in Red, as frequently happens, with Greg Hultgren posting a 274 in the second heat. Green was next on the list with a 271 by yours truly also in the second heat. Moving on down, we had Ewan McNay pulling together 260 points with Yellow. And coming up at the bottom, as usual, the Blue high score, also by your GM, came in at 251 points.

The Ethelraed the Unraedy award went to Barry Smith with a score of 183 with Blue in a game where Red won with a score of 241 points. Barry's Angles ran into strong opposition followed by his Normans being crushed and only hanging onto one space at the end of the game.

And now we arrive at the Final. We only had three semifinal games this year, so the three winners and the closest runner-up would advance. The three winners were Matt O'Connor, winning handily in a crazy game with Greg and Ewan taking each other out. Randy Schilb was next, squeezing out a bare five-point victory over Nick Benedict. And last was Woolly Farrow, edging out your GM by four points in a tight game with Rick Kirchner another two points behind.

The cards came out and Matt drew Yellow, I had Green, Randy Red, and Woolly Blue. We immediately started out at a blistering pace. Matt's Romans invaded in fine form and with little opposition. My Welsh ran for the hills and submitted. Meanwhile, the Belgae were squeezed back to their usual corner and the Romans were heading up to take out a couple of initial Brigantes. The Brigantes did sting the Romans as did the Belgae, but it was just those two Romans lost in the initial drive.

Boudicca's Belgae did a nice job with their rebellion, scoring 20 points in the first round taking out two more legions and a fort, but not seriously denting the Roman drive. The Brigantes attempted to takeout some Romans, but only succeeded in losing several armies for their efforts before retiring to await their fate. Boudicca's rebellion was then crushed with little effort by the Romans, losing only one more legion for their troubles. One lone Belgae was left in Lindsey to cause trouble later. Meanwhile, the Brigantes were quickly deciding that submission was the best policy. The Romans were delayed enough though that even though they easily submitted the Picts, they did so leaving the Picts with five areas to inhabit.

A couple of uneventful turns later, the Romans wrapped up with 142 points for a tidy invasion and Matt's Romano British positioned themselves in the Downlands and a scattering of other areas as usual.

Randy's Saxons rolled in on Turn 6 and went after the R-Bs with more than the usual panache. The Romano-British were almost entirely eliminated during the invasion except for a couple of holdouts in Lindsey. Meanwhile the Saxons lost a few of their warriors and spread out to occupy the lowlands, making a deal with my Jutes to graciously allow them to stay in Kent until Turn 7. The Brigantes and the Irish were both in reasonable shape waiting for Woolly's Angles to come aboard.
Matt's Scots came aboard Turn 7 to stiff resistance from the Picts and only managed to hold the west coast of Scotland. Meanwhile the Picts maintained a strong position in the rest of Scotland not occupied by the Caledonians. Woolly's Angle invasion fared rather better than the Scots, pulling in a decent 26 points while submitting the Brigantes and establishing a stable base in the north of England without overreaching.

The usual quick 8th and 9th turns were only notable for the complete lack of Bretwaldas as the opposing sides carefully counted territories. In addition, my Welsh were denied York by Woolly's Angles, who maintained their numbers by not dueling heavily with Randy's Saxons. Turn 10's scoring round kept the same equilibrium with the only points of note coming when the Matt's Scots did manage to even up the territory count in Scotland and grab Dunedin for equal points with Woolly's Picts. And so we moved into the late game with everyone in the running and lots of on par numbers.

Turn 11 was none too kind to my Green's. Randy's Norse came ashore and barely noticed as they brushed aside my Caledonian's from their island homes. Caithness was the only holdout. To add insult to injury, my "mighty" Danes came ashore to raid and were slaughtered on the beaches. After losing half their numbers, they managed to score only two raiding points. The prospects for a massive Danish invasion were small indeed.

So here we were on Turn 12 with a bunch of relatively even scores: Yellow 168, Green128, Red 103 and Blue at 122. All scores were depressed since the Bretwalda and King possibilities had been avoided by the Blue-Red détente. My Greens looked a bit low with the whacking the Danes and Caledonians got, but there were plenty of Welsh. Randy's Reds had huge Saxons and the Brigantes and Norse had strong forces left, but the Irish had been wiped out.

There was minimal maneuvering pre-Danes other than some Welsh aggression. The Saxons and Angles had already pulled back to their defensive postures. The Danes came on in modest fashion, sticking firmly to the plan of establishing a center around Lindsey. Given their limited numbers, the 24 points scored weren't bad given that there were only about nine Danes left. At least Lindsey, Norfolk, Suffolk and North Mercia were occupied, along with a loner in York.

With the Saxons at hefty numbers though, they easily took the King points for Turn 12 and looked set up to score big the following turn.

With the Dubliners coming on and the Norse raiders still looking for points, Turn 13 continued relatively static. The Dubliners rolled in and dented the Angles and, given the weakness of the Danes, decided that York looked like a good deal. Sadly for them, the Angles took back Cumbria. To make matters worse for Matt's Yellows, the Scots lost another territory to the Norse. Meanwhile, the Saxons continued to use their numbers to their advantage, taking another Kingship and a very tidy 39 points for the turn. The Angles had been severely tested and managed only 14 points, while the Welsh scored 20, as many as as the Caledonians and Danes together.

Turn 14 the Danes got some of their own back as Cnut managed to somehow pull off the Kingship in the face of a lot of Saxons. Of course, the Saxons then turned around and took the Kingship right back.

Turn 15, the board was a bit thin for all the King conflicts so Matt's Norwegians and Woolly's Normans looked to do fairly well. But the 65 points scored by Randy's Reds on Turn 13, plus the Kingship on Turn 14 made Red appear to be the front-runner, influencing the actions of the board. The Norwegians came on with a very standard turn, losing a couple, but easily bagging their 28 points and forting up in Bernicia.

The Normans had a harder time of it. Even though the Saxon had been dealt with severely by the Danes, there were still a lot of them. The Normans came on and started losing troops right away. They decided to take the conservative approach then and went west through Avalon, only netting 18 points for Turn 15. It was a death tango with the Saxons though with both sides losing significant numbers and Harold looking vulnerable going into Turn 16.

And with Turn 16, the tide started turning Green. The Welsh rolled out of Wales and secured most of England just the other side of their border. The Caledonians actually managed to take a space from the Picts on pure luck and the Danes spread out and sacrificed to their gods for mercy. The Picts and Scots were down then, with the Scots and Picts each in two areas but the Norse looking good. And then they mutually annihilated in Skye with the Scots.

In the last blows of the game, the big scores of Randy's Reds in the early endgame proved their undoing. We were cruising along at warp speed, looking to finish in just above three hours and the adrenalin and weariness were telling. The Brigantes were destroyed by the Dubliners as Matt looked at Randy's Reds as his chief opponent, and the Saxons were taken out to a man by the last of the Normans.

With the points counted, your GM won with a Green score of 234, Matt's Yellow were just a nose behind at 232, Randy's Reds had 204, and Woolly's Blues trailed at 192. And all played in three and a quarter hours. Meaning it took me a tad less than 15 years to win my second BRI title.

Thanks to everyone who played. It was another wonderful tournament and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone next year.

Now, what's up with Britannia? Lew still has the publishing rights, and is working through, with lots of enthusiastic commentary from the community, the next evolution of Britannia. It looks like there may be a couple of versions, one targeted for the more casual gamer, and one that looks to continue the Britannia tradition of a lengthier game. The discussions and play testing are still going on, so we'll see what happens next year.

Rick Kirchner, Edward O'Connor, Travis Nesmith and John Henry

The finalists pose after a memorable game.
 GM      James M. Jordan  [15th Year]  NA
    jmj@ieee.org   NA

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