It was another fine year for Britannia in 2019. We again attracted new players and picked up 2 more folks than last year. And, for all of those of you who don’t have a copy of the game, there’s a new printing that was in Kickstarter during the tournament. It’s the same 2nd edition rules, but there are plastic armies instead of cardboard. Best yet, the Romans are purple again!
In addition, when you flip over the gameboard, you’ll find a two-player version of Britannia called Duel Britannia! I’ve been play testing it with Lew during the con this year to make sure the play balance is just right. I’m hoping to get a tournament going once it’s published.
Right, on to the heats. We had 16 games in the heats this year, a number we haven’t seen in quite a while. The win numbers were pretty even for the colors this year. Green and Yellow both had 5 wins, while Blue and Red each had 3. So what happened during the heats?
Well, have you ever heard the words “Irish grow 2”? And on turn 12? Well, that’s exactly what happened as Rusty Schilb’s Irish chased Mark Smith’s Welsh all over Wales. The Irish were maxed for most of the game and the Welsh were finally exterminated around turn 13 or 14. Of course, Mark’s Welsh had performed the amazing feat, earlier in the game, of taking out 6 Roman forts.
In a 3rd heat game, Ewan McNay’s Picts were eliminated within the first few turns. That, umm, inspired the Angles to become rather peripatetic. After garnering a fine initial score, they started wandering the byways of Britain, exterminating nations as they went. It believe it’s the first time I’ve seen Wales go Blue. Let’s just call that one an interesting game. Other players kept wandering by and looking upon the sight wonderingly.
And last from the heats…there was a lovely inadvertent bit of punniness from Rick Kirchner that was reported to me. With the Norse invasion tackling the Orkneys, the Caledonians, on the first roll, took out two Norse while not losing anything. Rick said, “That took the steam out of Ketil”.
But enough of that! So, our high score plaques turned out to be rather amusing this year. Blue and Red shared a high score of 305 and were won by Ewan McNay, and myself, Jim Jordan, respectively. Meanwhile, Sarah Sparks won the Green high score and John Henry the Yellow high score, with a shared score of 272. Mr. McNay, also, again with Blue, managed to pull in the Ethelraed Award with a low of 168. Hmm, 305, 168, well, it was a different pair of games.
We had 3 tight semi-finals this year. In the first, Barry Smith won with the biggest margin of the semifinals at 240 with a pair of 230 2nd place finishes. Randy Schilb won the next semi with an even tighter 233 to 228. And finally, the 3rd game delivered 2 semi-finalists to the final as Rusty Schilb won with 219 to my 218. One die roll here or there and the game changes. The complete spread in that game was 219-206.
And thus, for the final, we have, Barry Smith, Jim Jordan, Randy Schilb, and Rusty Schilb. For the final colors, Randy drew Green, Rusty Blue, Jim Red, and Barry drew his favorite Yellow.
The final started with Barry and Randy dickering, Barry rather vigorously, over the usual Welsh deal. With some discussion as to whether there was a usual Welsh deal. Randy wanted to be able to kill one fort. Barry declined and Randy didn’t want to make the deal, but thought about it, pondering the invasion as it was set up. Then, Randy decided to take the deal and the Romans proceeded. The Belgae took a toll of two Romans.
Barry submitted the Belgae in the usual Lindsey, North Mercia, Norfolk and Suffolk areas. His Romans then raced up against the Brigantes, going all the way to Lothian. The Brigantes did manage to kill two Romans along the way.
For the Belgae rebellion, Boudicca killed a fort and a legion in York, which was only lightly defended, unlike the forts to the south. The move to York then allowed the Brigantes to trap two legions and a fort in Cheshire with five armies. Although the Brigantes lost two, they killed the Romans.
Randy queried when he was supposed to submit, Barry claimed the deal was for the first turn. There was, again, a bit of discussion about usual deals, but the submission proceeded.
Meanwhile, Rusty put four Picts into Dunedin and then 1 each in Dalriada, Mar and Alban. The Romans promptly went north, rolled massively well, and killed the four Picts in Dunedin.
Thus, on turn 3, the three remaining Picts were handily submitted and the final Belgae was slain by three Romans. Randy had left Gwynedd open, and the Romans decided to build a fort there.
On turn 4, the Romans went on guard with ten legions. The Irish killed a fort in Avalon and the Angles killed one in Dunedin. Both were unguarded.
Then on turn 5, the Romans made slight adjustments to protect their high value targets. That included deploying two legions in Kent. There was still a bit of green-yellow friction. The Irish killed the fort in Gwynedd and left a colonist behind to claim the four settlement points. However, they brilliantly forgot to occupy the empty Avalon for four points. The Scots raided Skye against the Picts and lost one and left. The Saxons killed a legion and fort in Wessex, losing no one. The Jutes did the same in Sussex, losing one. The Angles headed to attack the unguarded forts in Lothian and Bernicia. Bernicia took one army with it. Lothian killed one of the two Angles on the first roll, but the Angle fought on 1-1 and killed the fort. Rusty had just three Angles left.
Barry’s Romano-British started turn 6 with four in the Downlands. They also killed the one Jute left behind in Sussex. The Irish killed a Romano-Brit in Hwicce. The Scots visited Skye and this time they managed to kill a Pict, but they lost another Scot doing it. During their invasion, the Saxons had to assault the Downlands twice to kill the Romano-Brits, losing 4 Saxons in the process. They lost another Saxon taking care of the Romano-British in Sussex. Seeing the weakness of the Saxons, the Jutes occupied Kent and Suffolk and negotiated for a stay of execution in Kent. The Angles kicked the Brigantes out of Lothian, losing one in the process.
Barry’s Scots invaded on Turn 7 and took Skye, Dalriada and Dunedin, leaving Fergus in Skye. Rusty’s Picts and Barry’s Scots agreed to leave each other alone in their home areas. The Irish put one in Cheshire and four in Cornwall, exchanging one army with the Welsh in Cornwall before the Welsh retired. Rusty’s Angles had many choices. They went for Arthur with seven armies and killed him with one amazing roll, losing only one army.
On Turn 8, Barry’s Scots take Strathclyde. Given that, Rusty’s Angles were able to make a deal with the Brigantes to submit. That did leave the Angles free to fight in Dunedin with the Scots and move a bit south.
Turn 9 opened with Welsh ducking in and out of an empty York from March. The Brigantes took Stratchclyde back, killing two Scots. There were only three Scots left. Adding insult to injury, the Caledonians killed the Scot in Skye. The Saxons and the Angles squabbled over North Mercia but with Oswiu and three, the Angles made the final argument, killing two Saxons. That ensured that there was no Bretwalda.,/p>
A quiet turn 10 ended with an Angle Bretwalda after more squabbling between the Saxons and Angles, who didn’t seem to realize there were Danes on the horizon.
On turn 11 Randy’s greens started aggressive maneuvers with the Welsh attacking Angles in Cheshire and York. Then the Danes stormed on, only losing one in their raids. The Saxons were down to nine after the Danish raids. Rusty’s Angles were also down to nine after the Danish raids. Meanwhile, the Norsemen, while having a very successful assault on Caithness, lost two while attacking Orkney.,/p>
At the beginning of turn 12, we realized that the Angles were firmly in the way of the Danes. They had a defense centered around Lindsey and stretching from Suffolk to the Pennines. Barry’s Dubliners raided the Brigantes in Cumbria and chased them into Lothian. The Norsemen, needing to come ashore, saw an opportunity in Skye with one opposing Caledonian. Tragically, they lost four of the six attacking Skye and the Hebrides. Randy’s Danes had a reasonably successful invasion, garnering thirty-four points and occupying the area around Lindsey, excepting Norfolk, which was held by the Angles. In the process, they cut the Angles down to Norfolk and the Pennines. They lost numerous Danes in the process though and the Saxons spread themselves out to take king at the end of the turn.
With turn 13, the Picts took advantage of the weakened Scots and Brigantes to occupy Dunedin in addition to their home areas. Barry’s Dubliners then plowed into Cumbria, Cheshire and March, but were pushed back to just Hiwcce by the Danes. Randy’s Danes were not so successful against Rusty’s Angles in Norfolk. They sent five units in and lost 3. The Saxons were equally unsuccessful against the Danes. They attacked North Mercia with Edgar and three Saxons who missed the Danes. The Danes killed two in that battle and then one more in another. On this turn, Jim whined mightily about his die rolls.
Turn 14 saw Randy’s Welsh venturing out to England in force to help Cnut. The Dubliners went around the Pennines to Lothian and Bernicia, seeking farmland. Cnut came onto a weak board, with a number of singleton Saxon areas which were promptly attacked. Cnut became King before leaving a relatively empty England to head home.
Turn 15, and this turn, it was Rusty’s dice that turned stone cold as the Dubliners went to Pennines and killed the Angles there. Then Randy’s Danes completed the coup de grace for the Angles by this time successfully attacking Norfolk. Randy’s Danes now found themselves in the way of the Norwegian invasion. They occupied all of the Norwegian areas plus Lindsey and Norfolk. On the first round of the invasion, the Danes killed none of the Norwegians and lost four Danes. Barry’s Norwegians then decided their bolthole would be Lindsey. They exchanged armies and the Danes retreated into a pile of 5 in Norfolk. Rusty’s Normans faced a mixed force of Jutes and Saxons on the English shore with double stacks of Saxons in Sussex and Wessex, Harold commanding from the Downlands, and a double stack of Jutes in Essex. A single Jute held Kent and a single Saxon Avalon. Unfortunately, Rusty’s Normans lost a number of units on the invasion, although they oversaw the demise of the Jutes. They still managed to hold for reinforcements, although lightly, Wessex, Essex and South Mercia. William put on a bold face, defending himself in South Mercia.
Turn 16 saw Barry’s Dubliners and Norwegians firmly in control of the north of England. Randy’s Welsh headed back into Wales to cover their point areas, although the Irish still remained in Cornwall. The Danes decided that William in South Mercia was too tempting a target and fought a mighty battle, killing him. The Saxons had few troops left and simply spread into three areas to garner points. The south was thus deeply fragmented. Barry thus raised up Harald as the new King of England.
The game ended with a close first-second as Jim pulled out a victory with Red at 240 points to Randy’s Greens coming in at 237. Rusty’s Blues took him into third place with a well-played 221 points with Barry’s Yellows not far behind at 217.
Thanks to all of the new players who tried out Britannia this year, sometimes multiple times! And it was great to have so many of the usual cadre playing as well. Let’s hope we can crack the 32 player count next year!