20 people showed up to conquer or save England for/from the Viking heathen hordes this year. The GM also played in the Mulligan round as an Eliminator due to an odd number being present for that round.
This year featured a First Sunday evening mulligan, with the main rounds being contested on the Second Saturday.
There were 7 games in the mulligan round (including the one which the GM participated). The results were 4 English victories to 3 Viking victories (although two of the English victories were auto-victories in Turns 2 and 3 respectively). GM and AGM opinion is that the English are favored, especially so if the Viking play is not experienced.
The first round saw 7 new players, 2 returning losers, and 1 player who won in the Mulligan (which kept the numbers even for that round and 5 more games were played
Out of a potential 10 entrants into Round 2, only 7 elected to play (the dangers of a main tournament so far separated from the Mulligan), so 3 games were played in the 2nd round /QF, with David Schnieder getting a bye.
The 3 Round 2 Quarterfinal games resulted in 2 Viking wins (1 very narrow), and 1 narrow English win. To this point, through 15 games, only one had gone beyond the minimum 5 rounds.
The Semis were set, with David Schneider facing off against Christopher Frey, and Brian Scilzo and Andrew Bechard facing off.
The semifinals featured Christopher Frey’s Vikings vs David Schneider’s English, and Andrew Bichard as the Viking vs Brian Scilzo as the English.
Andrew prevailed in his semi taking 13 cities by the end of Round 5 when the treaty cards were out. They both agreed that Andrew’s Vikings were red-hot, hitting everything.
Christopher resigned ½ way through Round 5, when both of his cubes had been drawn and the Vikings held only 9 shires and had very few forces left. With two moves David would have no issue in capturing a large number of shires, and he only needed one.
Andrew won the right to bid first. He ended up with the Vikings for a bid of 3 (number of rerolls of individual battle dice)
David put his extra reinforcements in London and 3 shires to south and West (2 each)
Round 1 – Andrew invaded in the South, taking London and Winchester on his initial move. Berserkers moved 2nd, and Andrew took Celcy and Canterbury, playing very aggressively even knowing that the English had two turns coming, and his leader, Halfdan only had one unit remaining.
Round 2 – The English cubes are drawn again (Green and then Blue – so David had four moves in a row. The Thegn retake both shires held by the Vikings and kill Halfdan. With his 2nd move he shuffles troops south.
Ivar the Boneless is drawn and once again invades London. Andrew continues his aggressive play, taking three cities while inflicting and losing many casualties.
At the end of Rd 2, the Viking hold 3 cities - (Ivar in Oxford with 2 Norsemen and 1 berserker), Winchester with 2 Norsemen and London with 3 Norsemen. The English are rather thin as well.,/p>
Round 3 – The Housecarls (Blue) are drawn first. David attacks all three Viking held cities, playing Alfred’s Gambit to use the Fyrd on the offensive. He takes Winchester and London, but Ivar survives in Oxford with a sole Berserker.
The Berserkers (Red) go second, and Bjorn Ironside invades London with a new army and takes it and Winchester, although it is costly.
The Thegn (Green) are up third, and although David does not have many troops, he has a shot at both leaders and once again wiping Andrew from the board (which would seal victory, as the next card up would be reinforcements with nowhere to go, leading to an Auto-victory.) One of the Viking leaders is killed, but the other gets a Command result with his last Berserker and goes to London and the Vikings win that battle.
The Norsemen go last in the round and retake Oxford. End of the Round – Vikings only hold two cities (London and Oxford).
Round 4 – Andrew’s Norsemen go first, and the reinforcements all go to the one leader, who takes Ceclcy and Winchester. He now controls 4 cities. Andrew continues to play very aggressively, controlling the big reinforcement cities, but he has come close to being wiped out several times.
The Thegn (Green are next). David uses the Religious conversion card to replace a Norse in Canterbury with a Thegn, retaking it. He then moves a large block of Thegn only to attack Bjorn Ironside in Winchester.
Bjorn wins the battle, but Bjorn only has two Norse remaining (3 Norse total on map, no Berserkers).
This means although the Berserkers go last in the Round, there are none to include in an army, so Andrew cannot do anything.
Andrew was also forced to play his 2nd treaty card this round.
At the end of Round 4, with only two cities, 1 leader, and 3 total Norse on the map, Andrew resigns, as he realizes he cannot gain 7 cities with only 1 more leader to come on the map, and David having Alfred available for the Round as well.
So David repeats as Champion (he was the 2019 Champion). The final featured very aggressive play on the part of both participants, which left low numbers of forces on the board.