Naval War 2017 moved to a heat based tournament with 33 fleet commanders taking part in the 3 heats. Game table assignments in each heat would be made, thru card selection generating as many 6 player games as possible. Each heat winner would then move on to the semifinal round.
A total of 12 players signed in for heat 1. Table 1 only lasted 2 rounds with Mac Willingham emerging victorious. Mac scored 15 and 60 points in the 2 rounds to reach the 75 point threshold, with a DD card being decisive. Table 2 was a different matter altogether going 5 rounds with 12 fleet eliminations during the game. The winner with 92 points was Jeff Miller.
A total of 18 players signed in for heat 2, one at the last minute. Table 1 was another 5 round affair but only 3 eliminations occurred during the game. William Kendrick was the winner using a late 5th round DD to rack up 103 points. Table 2 this heat was a 2 round affair with veteran gamer John Sharp, using both DD’s, to score 71 points in round 2 to reach a winning total of 76. Table 3 went 4 rounds with 7 eliminations recorded. Last year’s champion Stephen Squibb, also using the two DD’s at the end, won with 92 points.
A total of 20 players signed in for heat 3 including your friendly GM. For the heat 3 games, two of 7 players and one of 6 were formed. Table 1 was a 7 player game that went 4 rounds with 11 eliminations. The DD’s and carrier play were important with Bill Place scoring 77 points for the win. Table 2 had 6 players, went 6 rounds and had 10 eliminations. All 6 players managed to cross the 75 point threshold in the end with the winner Patrick Mirk having the high score of 91. Tale 3 had the other 7 player game which went 5 rounds and had 7 fleet eliminations. The winner with 82 points was Jim Bodenheimer.
With only 8 heat winners qualifying for Saturday the GM decided to forgo the scheduled semifinal round and play only a final round. A note concerning this schedule change was placed on the NAVAL WAR kiosk Friday night. Saturday saw only 7 of the qualifiers appear for the final round.
The 7 finalists selected cards to determine seating order for the final table. Table positions were, in order, Bill Place, John Sharp, Mac Willingham, Patrick Mirk, Stephen Squibb, William Kendrick and Jim Bodenheimer. Seat position 1 would deal to begin round 1 of the final. The deal for subsequent rounds would be the leader, per standard game rules.
In Round 1, preliminary red card play saw Bill discard a 2 point additional damage. Mac adds Prince of Wales and places a 1 point minefield on Stephen. Patrick has a torpedo boat and sub which both miss. Stephen adds Littorio. William adds Ark Royal giving him 2 carriers. Jim discards a 2 point additional damage and has a sub that sinks Bismarck for 8 points. Game play starts and John adds Nelson. First blood is drawn by Patrick sinking Revenge for 4 points. William’s 2 Carriers miss their airstrikes and he receives a 1 point minefield. Bill sinks the Andrea Doria for 4 points. John now deploys the first destroyer squadron. Mac attacks the squadron with a 1 point salvo. Patrick and Stephen both play smoke and John receives a 2 point minefield from William. Jim draws a 2 point additional damage and Bill a 1 point additional damage. John now gets to use the destroyer against Mac sinking 3 ships, New Jersey, Prince of Wales, and Duke of York for 19 points. Patrick sinks the Hood for 5 points and Stephen sinks the West Virginia for 5 points. William then sinks Lutzow for 3 points and Jim sinks Mutsu for 6 points. This is followed by Bill sinking Ramillies for 4 points. William uses his carriers but misses again. Patrick has a torpedo boat miss but Stephen sinks ISE for 5 points. William, with only his 2 carriers left, misses both airstrikes again. Jim then proceeds to sink the Ark Royal for 3 points and Bill sinks Akagi for 3 points, eliminating William. John sinks Gneisenau for 5 points while Patrick completely repairs Iowa. John adds Conte Di Cavour which is immediately sunk by Mac for 4 points. Patrick sinks Nagato for6 points while Jim fully repairs Missouri. John adds Haruna while Patrick repairs IOWA again. Stephen plays a 1 point additional damage on Vittorio Veneto and Bill sinks Haruna for 5 points. Mac sinks Vittorio Veneto for 6 points with a 12.6 inch salvo. Stephen adds Kirishima and Bill adds Renown. Mac has a carrier but misses Musashi while Patrick places a 2 point minefield on Bill. Stephen now plays the second destroyer and Bill sweeps his minefield. The last card belongs to John, a repair. Scores at the end of Round 1 were John 24, Jim 17, Bill 16, Patrick 15, Stephen 10, Mac 10, and William -7.
In the second round, John leads off and has no red cards. Mac plays a 2 point minefield on John and both Patrick and William must discard 1 point addition damage cards. William also plays a 1 point minefield on Jim while Bill adds Fuso to his fleet. John’s first play is the first destroyer and Mac adds North Carolina. Patrick adds West Virginia while Stephen has a torpedo boat that misses Bismarck. William adds Renown while Jim has a sub which misses Yamato. Bill adds New Jersey. With all players picking red cards, John now uses the destroyer sinking New Jersey and Rodney for 13 points. Mac sinks Conte de Cavour for 4 points and Patrick draws a sub and sinks Nagato for 6. Stephen adds Mississippi to his fleet. Jim sinks Nevada for 5 while Bill uses a carrier to sink Bismarck for 8. Mac sinks West Virginia for 5, Patrick sinks Warspite for 5, Stephen sinks Gneisenau for 5, and William sinks Ark Royal for 3 eliminating John. Jim sinks Graf Spee for 3 while Mac adds Washington. Stephen sinks Maryland for 5 and Jim uses his carrier but misses. Bill’s carrier sinks Yamato for 9 but Jim’s misses again. Patrick sinks Hood for 5 followed by Stephen sinking Akagi for 3, eliminating Jim. Bill uses a repair and William plays a 1 point additional damage on the damaged Prince of Wales. Bill adds Tirpitz while Patrick sinks Prince of Wales for 6. Stephen misses Tirpitz with his Carrier and Mac must discard a 2 point additional damage card. Stephen plays the second destroyer and William sinks Giulio Cesare for 4. Bill places smoke and Mac hits the destroyer with a 3 point salvo. Patrick now finishes off the destroyer and William places a 2 point minefield on Mac. Bill places a 1 point minefield on Stephen while Mac sweeps away his minefield. Patrick places smoke and Stephen uses his carrier one last time, missing Tirpitz as the round ends. Scores after round 2 were Patrick 37, Bill 33, John 27, Jim 25, Stephen 23, Mac 19, and William 0.
On to the third round where preliminary red card play sees Patrick start with no red cards. Stephen adds Prince of Wales and Lutzow then uses a sub but misses Yamato followed by placing a 2 point minefield on Patrick. William adds Texas and discards a 1 and 2 point additional damage. Bill has a sub but also misses Yamato. John has a torpedo boat and successfully sinks Yamato for 9points. Mac adds Hood and discards a 1 point additional damage. Patrick opens regular play with smoke while Stephen sinks Graf Spee for 3. William dumps a 4 point, 18 inch salvo and Jim sinks Scheer for 3. John plays the first destroyer of the round followed by Mac and Patrick each hitting the destroyer for 1 point each. Stephen draws a torpedo but it misses and William discards another 18 inch salvo, 3 points. Jim finishes off the destroyer and Mac sinks Gneisenau for 5. Patrick plays the second destroyer which is immediately attacked by Stephen with a 2 point salvo. William sinks Hiei for 5 and Bill finishes off the second destroyer. John sinks Repulse for 4 while Mac adds Andrea Doria and Patrick adds Negato. William with 2 carriers misses New Jersey twice. Jim sinks Lutzow for 3 and John places a 1 point additional damage on New Jersey while Mac adds a 2 pointer here. Patrick has a repair to remove all damage on the New Jersey and William strikes again with his carriers at New Jersey missing strikes 3 and 4. Patrick sinks Andrea Doria for 4 and William, again with his carriers, sinks New Jersey for7. Bill sinks Mutsu for 6 and William uses his carriers again to sink Nagato for 6, eliminating Patrick. Bill plays a 2 point minefield on Stephen while John sinks Missouri for 7. Stephen plays smoke while William’s carriers miss Roma. John plays smoke while Mac uses his carrier but misses. William adds Musashi, 18 inch. Jim sinks Maryland for 5, Bill sinks Kongo for 5, and John sinks California, also for 5. Mac air strikes Musashi but misses and Stephen plays a 1 point minefield on John. William adds ISE while Jim plays a 1 point minefield on Bill. Bill sinks Giulio Cesare for 4 and John discards a 1 point additional damage. Mac now sinks Musashi for 9 with his carrier and Stephen draws the last card. Scores after Round 3 were John 52, Bill 48, Jim 36, Mac 33, Patrick 31, Stephen 26, and William 18.
Round 4 opening red card play gives first player John additional ships Duke of York and ISE. Mac adds Shokaku, discards a 1 point additional damage, and misses with a torpedo boat. Patrick, William and Jim have no red to start and Stephen discards a 1 point additional damage. Bill pitches a 2 point additional damage and adds Hood to his fleet. First blood in regular play sees Patrick sink Caio Dulio for 4 followed by William sinking Duke of York for 6 using a Musashi salvo. Bill places a 2 point minefield on John which he immediately sweeps. Patrick dumps an 18 inch salvo. William sinks Scheer and Jim sinks Lutzow for 3 points each. John places a 1 point minefield on Bill and Mac sinks Maryland for 5. Patrick discards another 18 inch salvo and Stephen takes an airstrike with his carrier but misses. Jim plays the first destroyer card and Bill and John immediately use a 2 point salvo each to sink it. Stephen sinks the Hood for 5 while William places a 2 point minefield on John. Jim sinks Conte Di Cavour for 4 and Bill sinks Nevada for 5. John sweeps his minefield and Mac strikes with his carrier but misses. Stephen adds Littorio and William draws a sub and misses. Jim also draws a sub and sinks Musasahi for 9. Mac sinks Gneisenau for 5, William sinks ISE for 5, and John uses his carrier but misses New Jersey. Patrick discards another 18 inch while Stephen’s carrier misses. William places a 1 point minefield on John and Bill adds Valiant. John’s carriers miss and Mac sinks Akagi for 3, eliminating John. Patrick sinks Repulse for 4 and Stephen uses his carrier to sink New Jersey for 7. Bill sinks Graf Spee for 3 while Mac has another carrier strike fail. Patrick adds Fuso, Stephen’s carrier misses, and William draws a torpedo boat that misses. Bill draws and discards a 1 point additional damage followed by Mac playing the second destroyer. Patrick plays smoke and Stephen uses his carrier but misses. William hits the destroyer with a 2 point salvo while Jim and Bill both play smoke. Mac now uses the destroyer against Stephen, sinking all 5 of his ships, Washington, Roma, Vittorio Veneto, Giulio Cesare and Enterprise, for 25 points. William sinks Warspite for 5 while Jim uses his carrier to sink Pennsylvania for 5. Mac takes a carrier strike that misses and Patrick draws the last card a 2 point additional damage. Scores after Round 4 were Mac 71, Jim 57, Bill 56, John 42, Patrick 39, William 37, and Stephen 28.
On to Round 5 where initial red card play sees Mac discard a 2 point additional damage and Patrick has none. Stephen adds South Dakota and uses a sub to sink New Jersey for 7. William places a 1 point minefield on Mac while Bill adds Missouri and North Carolina and misses Prince of Wales with a torpedo boat. John discards a 1 point additional damage and misses Prince of Wales with a torpedo. Regular card play sees Patrick sink Renown for 4, William sinks Caio Duilio for 4, and Jim place a 2 point minefield on Bill. John adds Tirpitz while Mac plays the first destroyer. Patrick hits the destroyer for 1 point and Stephen plays smoke. William uses a 3 point salvo to sink the destroyer but Bill misses Musashi with a carrier. John sinks Missouri for 7, William sinks Mississippi for 5, and Jim misses Prince of Wales with a sub. Bill’s carrier again misses Musashi. John sinks Kongo for 5 and Patrick adds Scharnhorst. Stephen’s carrier misses while John sinks Hyuga for 5, Patrick sinks Nevada for 5, and William sinks Haruna for 5. Bill places smoke while John sinks Ramillies for 4. Stephen’s carrier misses Tirpitz but Jim sinks Prince of Wales for 6, eliminating Mac. Bill places a 2 point minefield on John while Patrick plays smoke. Stephen sinks Graf Spee for 3, Jim sinks Andrea Doria for 4, Bill sinks Fuso for 5, and Stephen adds Scheer. Bill and John each play a 1 point additional damage on Jim’s Nelson. Jim now repairs Nelson, removing all 3 damage cards. Stephen uses his carrier but misses Tirpitz while William adds Conte Di Cavour. Jim repairs NELSON again and John places a 1 point minefield on Jim. Patrick adds Lutzow while Stephen’s carrier attacks again, missing Tirpitz. William sinks Pennsylvania for 5 and Jim sweeps away the mines. Bill’s carrier also misses Tirpitz while Patrick sinks Mutsu for 6. Stephen’s carrier misses Tirpitz yet again, William sinks Lutzow for 3, and Jim picks the last card. After Round 5, scores were Jim 67, John 63, Mac 61, Bill 61, William 59, Patrick 54, and Stephen 38.
Round 6 would be the final round. Initial red card play had Jim adding Prince of Wales and discarding a 1 point additional damage. Bill adds Andrea Doria and Hyuga, discards a 1 point additional damage, misses Yamato with a sub but had a second sub which sinks Yamato for 9. John places a pair of 2 point minefields, one on Jim and one on Bill, and discards a 2 point additional damage. Mac adds Bismarck while Patrick has a torpedo boat that misses Musashi and places a 1 point minefield on John. Stephen discards a 1 point additional damage and William has no red cards to start. Jim draws first blood in the round sinking Kirishima for 5, Bill sinks Gneisenau for 5, Patrick sinks Renown for 4, William sinks ISE for 5, Jim sinks Hyuga for 5, Bill sinks Revenge for 4, John sinks Andrea Doria for 4, Mac sinks Giulio Cesare for 4, and Patrick sinks Scheer for 3 for a bloody start to the final turn. Stephen uses his carrier but misses Musashi. William’s carriers also attack and sink Musashi for 9, eliminating Bill. Mac adds Roma while Patrick takes a carrier airstrike missing Washington. Stephen’s carrier now sinks Bismarck for 8 and William adds Nelson. John makes repairs while Patrick draws a torpedo boat and sinks Prince of Wales for 6. Stephen’s airstrike misses and William sinks Washington for 6. Jim sweeps his minefield and John sinks Lutzow for 3. Stephen misses another airstrike while William sinks Scharnhorst for 5. Patrick and Stephen both fail on airstrikes and Jim plays smoke to protect his only ship. John adds New Jersey while Patrick and Stephen again have airstrikes miss. William sinks Littorio for 6 and John plays the first destroyer. Mac hits the destroyer with a 1 point salvo and Patrick sinks Warspite for 5. Stephen places a 1 point minefield on John while William attacks the destroyer with a 1 point salvo. Jim finishes off the destroyer followed by Mac playing the second destroyer. Patrick attacks the destroyer with a 2 point salvo and Stephen adds Repulse. William hits the destroyer with a 1 point salvo then Jim finished off the second destroyer. Patrick plays a 2 point additional damage on California allowing Stephen to sink it for 5, eliminating Jim. William uses his carrier to sink New Jersey for 7 while Stephen and William both have carrier misses followed by Patrick drawing the last card, smoke. Bill and Jim both sank enough ships to win the game but both suffered elimination and the 10 point penalty. Without the use of a destroyer squadron this round William Kendrick sank 38 points worth of ships becoming the 2017 Naval War champion. Final Scores were William 97, Patrick 72, John 70, Bill 69, Jim 67, Mac 65, and Stephen 51.
In closing, the change to a heat based format was well liked by most of the players polled. Several indicated that they were playing in Naval War now because they could not make the old Saturday only format. Indeed the tournament had a small gain in participation over last year with 33 players entered. Destroyer Squadron cards played a major role in deciding several heat games, but William managed to come back from a negative start to win, without the use of a single Destroyer Squadron card. All in all, even without a semifinal round, I was very pleased with how the tournament progressed this year. Thank you to all of the players in the tournament. As of this report I plan to continue using the heat format for WBC 2018, if Naval War is there.