We had another rousing year of competition for the Britannia tournament! We gained 3 players over our total from last year including folks who were here at the WBC for the first time! Let’s hope we get back to at least 32 next year!
As always, there were some interesting occurrences in the Heats. Rusty Schilb had a lone Belgae defending himself successfully himself in North Mercia! I’ve seen that in Lindsey, but in the middle of the board?! There was another interesting one in the third heat. There was a Pict/Scot war that left no Picts, and the Angles charging into the Scots. Given the suddenly empty northlands, the Caledonians wandered around wondering where everyone was. They were maxed out through the 15th turn!
The Romans had highs and lows in the heats. Matt O’Connor pulled off a high Roman score of 143, Chris Trimmer closely followed with 142, and Luca Allaria rounded the club with 140! But then there were the lows. In the first heat, three of the Roman players lost at least half of their Romans in the first round!
The Irish also had their high points. There were at least three games where the Irish maxed out. And that included one where they were incredibly significant in defending against the Danes.
And last, we had one tie! It’s happened before, but it’s rare. Chris Trimmer and Mark Smith won a game with blue and red at 217 points each.
To wind up the heats, we had Gary Moss winning the Green High Score plaque with 248, Ed O’Connor taking the Yellow with 249, and Ewan McNay taking Red and Blue with 249 and 301. Ed also claimed my favorite Ethelred the Unraed award, given to the semi-finalist with the lowest score in the heats, with a score of 188, a slight difference from his 249 high!
But wait, there was one more! In the last games of the heat, Matt and Mark, disappointed with the results of rolling their dice in the box, ended up rolling then, craps style against a corner of the room!
On to the Semifinal.
Due to some folks having conflicting Finals, we ended up with just two Semifinal games, thus advancing two winners and two second place finishers. They were some, interesting, games. One of which had Luca Allaria knocking his heading audibly on the wall.
Now on to the final!
Mark drew yellow, Matt pulled red, John blue, and Jon green.
Mark did a traditional Roman opening, only losing one to the Belgae before submission, which was followed by only losing one to the Brigantes. Boudicca then took five troops into South Mercia and proceeded to lose all her troops and die while killing no Romans. The lonely Belgae in Lindsey kept an eye out for the troops who never returned. Romans had to remove two legions as they got called back to the homeland. The Picts submitted in Skye, Moray, and Mar.
The Romans, blessed by the dice gods with an excess of legions, then went up to Caithness and the Hebrides, killing Caledonians and leaving the one remaining staring defiantly across the strait from the Orkneys. At that mortal insult to the northerners, Jon’s green faction then swore blood feud against Mark’s yellow faction. A détente emerged from that on the red/green axis which promised to unbalance the game.
The Saxons hit a fort in Norfolk, the Angles raided Bernicia.
After the Brigantes re-colonized Bernicia, the green/yellow feud expressed itself as the Jutes attacked the legions in Essex. They were largely unsuccessful, only killing one of two legions before losing their armies. The Angles attacked Lothian and Dunedin, taking both but losing three armies in the process. The Romans had a tournament high score of 144. The Irish struck the fort in Cumbria and stayed, side stepping the Welsh.
The Romano-British settled with two in the Downlands, four in Lindsey, and a communications line in North and South Mercia.
The Irish spent time looking for a place to live that didn’t include Wales, extending the red/green peace. They decided that the Romano-British in the Mercias were a fine target and raided them, losing only one in the process before returning to sea. The other Irishman headed south to Cheshire, clearing Cumbria for the Brigantes. The Saxons piled into the Downlands with Aelle, cleanly sweeping the Romano-British and then piled units around the Downs with Aelle staying there.
The Scots settled two in the emptied Hebrides. The lone Jute settled in Suffolk.
The Angles came ashore on turn seven into Dunedin, Lothian, and Bernicia. They missed a hit on the Brigantes and then starved a unit.
Arthur then ended with an impressive pile of four Romano-British in Lindsey to escort the cavalry, Arthur stayed in Lindsey, sending a cavalry unit to take out the Jute in Suffolk and settling in Norfolk. Urien, inspired by Arthur’s example, built a fort of four units in Strathclyde and otherwise ventured south to York and sent single units to Galloway and the Pennines.
The Irish settled in Avalon, Cumbria, and Cheshire.
The Scots came ashore and charged into Moray against the Picts killing one and watching the other retreat. The Picts were down to Alban and Mar. The lone Caledonian resettled in Caithness.
The Saxons took out the Romano-British outside of Lindsey.
A huge stack of Angles, with Ida, attacked Norfolk, killing two and losing two. The Angles then headed back across the Frisian to York and then down into North Mercia with Ida, taking out Brigantes and Saxons along the way.
The Romano-British kicked the Angles back out of Norfolk. The Brigantes sent a starving unit into Lothian, who, inspired by their hunger, killed two Angles to live there. At least temporarily. The Picts marched two into Dalriada, killing the Scot there. The Irish, with a surfeit of troops, sent four into York to kill the Angles there. The Saxons, also with a surfeit, took five against Ida in North Mercia and killed him, while also sending the Romano-British scurrying back into Lindsey from Norfolk.
The first Red Bretwalda was declared. It was destined to be a long reign.
The Romano-British went back to Norfolk for an even battle and the Saxons ran, surely to come back with more troops. The Brigantes took two more Angles off the board in Lothian. The Scots and Picts negotiated turning over Moray to the Picts in exchange for leaving Skye empty. Two more Angles in Bernicia fell to the fearsome Irish army. Then the last of the Romano-British fell to a wave of Saxons. The last Angles, in Dunedin, were starving and sent a lone unit to Strathclyde, who quickly died. England was completely red. The Caledonians wandered over to the Hebrides as the Scots went to the Orkneys.
The reign of the Red Bretwalda continued.
The last of the Angles fell to the Brigantes. The Scots marched back to Dalriada, killing the lone Pict. The Saxons grew to 19 units. I do not see any Burhs in the Saxon future.
The Red Bretwalda planned for turning the role to kingship.
The last Caledonian suicided into Skye, taking out a Scot in the process, leaving the area empty.
The Norse went into the empty Hebrides and attacked the Scots in the Orkneys but lost two. They then withdrew and attacked the lone Scot in Caithness, missing there as well, but the Scot retreated. The Danes declined to raid the crowded red coast.
The Norsemen marched into Skye and Caithness, leaving only the Scots in the Orkneys.
And then, the reign of the Saxon Kings proceeded, with the 20th Saxon coming on the board.
Turns 12 and 13
The Brigantes, lacking anything else to do in England, took out the Scot in Dalriada. A starving Pict killed the lone Brigante in Dunedin.
The Danish major finally broke the red wall, heading into York, Cheshire, Cumbria, Lothian, and the Pennines. The Irish were wiped out on this first phase of the invasion. The Danes then took out a single Saxon in March to ensure there was no starvation.
The Dubliners invaded Galloway and then went into Strathclyde and Dunedin, taking each and leaving the Brigantes in Dalriada and Lothian. The Danes struck the Brigantes in Lothian and the Dubliners in Dunedin and Galloway. They lost in Lothian but took Dunedin with a couple of losses.
The entire north of England, from Cheshire and York up, was now a Danish empire.
The Saxon Kings continued.
Thirteen turns finished in two hours, fueled by the green/yellow feud.
The last of the Scots fell to the Norsemen as they marched into the Orkneys.
The Dubliners marched into Galloway and died trying to take the province, unfortunately, the troops at sea were forgotten, but the game had moved on. The Danes and Cnut, fiercely hunting, killed the surrounded Brigantes in Lothian and took out the last Dubliner in Strathclyde.
The Saxons, hunting another King, took York from the Danes, ensuring their continued reign.
The Norsemen sat in Hebrides, Orkney, Caithness, Skye, and Dalriada. The Danes fortified Bernicia and abandoned Strathclyde and Dunedin. The Norwegians lost three to a tough Saxon defense in York. They then took Cheshire from the Danes and went to the Pennines to take out the Danes. The Dane retreated to Bernicia. Only twenty-four points for the Norwegians.
The Saxons contracted south, stacking four and Harold in the Downlands. They had three each in Essex, Wessex, and Sussex, with one in Kent.
The Normans pondered their dilemma. They ended up overrunning Kent with two and piled into Essex, putting two infantry and a cavalry into Wessex. The cavalry and an infantry in Kent were wiped out by the lone Saxon, the cavalry having missed hitting five times. Kent stood empty with the mutual annihilation. Two Saxons died in Essex, one retreating to South Mercia. In Wessex, two troops died on each side, leaving a cavalry there. The Normans sent two infantry into Suffolk against a Saxon and won. They then sent everyone else into the Downlands, where the Saxons promptly killed two cavalry. On the second throw, William died.
For the turn 15 special reinforcements, there were three Norwegian reinforcements, FOUR! Saxon reinforcements. Never seen that before. There were none for the Normans with only two infantry left in Suffolk and no leader.
On the last turn, the Welsh had their first battle as they ventured to York, raiding it a bit late, to take out Norwegians.
The Picts wonderingly wandered into an empty Dalriada. They then successfully fended off an attack by two Norsemen. The Danes determinedly went after the Norwegians. Four Danes and Svein killed Harald in the Pennines and wiped out the Norwegians in Cheshire with a single roll.
Six Saxons went into Suffolk and were glad to have Harold along as they rolled six fours to take out the last of the Normans.
The game lasted a very short two hours and forty minutes.
Matt O’Connor’s red side won with 325 points! Mark’s yellow side had 196, Jon’s green men scored 187, and John’s poor blues ended with 117.
And thus the 2023 tournament ended. And the Britannia sword is now filled with 10 plaques, so next year, Matt O’Connor’s name shall appear on the next memorial of Britannia victories!