Squibb Wins Inaugural Tournament!
John Company (JC) had a smashing debut as a sponsored event at 2023 WBC!
There were 32 new players in the initial 2 heats, and more attended the excellent demo given by Jeromey Martin. We were able to have a 4 table Semifinal round, and a 5 player Final. All games were played with the 5 turn 1710 scenario, in which players seek to extract as much money and power from Company operations knowing that it will likely fail before the end of the game. Indeed, over 13 total games, the Company failed in all but 2. Often one or more players actively seek to tank the Company when they feel like their position is most advantageous, but there is always a risk. After tallying final VP’s, a “Company Failed” card is drawn which will change those VP’s (sometimes drastically), and the 1st place player may plunge to last.
Herewith ye shall find a most serviceable summary of the final contest, as extracted from a diary of Mr. William Hawkins, late of the East India Company.
The final game took place in the Laurel room, cozily nestled alongside a rowdy game of “Kremlin.” There were five gentlefolks engaged, namely:
- Mr. James Griffith, of the esteemed Benyon family
- Mr. Tom Blessing, of the revered Hastings lineage
- Mr. Jon Squibb, of the noble Sykes clan
- Mr. Jeromey Martin, of the respected Larkins family
- Mr. Frank McNally, of the distinguished Walsh family
Their initial positions on the board were the result of fortune's whimsy. Noteworthy was that Mr. McNally assumed the mantle of Chairman, whilst Mr. Blessing led Parliament as the Prime Minister. Mr. Squibb found himself with three shares in the Company, whilst Mr. McNally had at his disposal three officers, ready to marshal the armies.
The opening turn was a resounding success for the Company, with Bombay and Bengal falling to the strategic prowess of Commanders Martin and McNally, respectively. Moreover, all three trading zones flourished, free of unrest. In India, a populist leader worked assiduously towards a stronger Mughal Empire. Meanwhile, Parliament approved a law to address the Writer graft, with potential implications for the income streams of the families involved.
Turn two saw fortunes fluctuate wildly, with trading endeavors faltering in two out of three Presidencies. This necessitated emergency loans, but Chairman McNally, with acute foresight, petitioned the Crown for protection, thus safeguarding the Company's finances. On the military front, the Bengal Army, under Commander McNally, dispatched a formidable force of nine regiments and officers against the reinforced Mughal Empire, emerging victorious. The incredible loot, amounting to sixteen pounds, became a subject of much envy and intrigue in London. Despite Mr. McNally's prudence and success as Chairman, an emboldened and aggrieved Parliament sought to assign blame for trading failures - they impeached him and he was denied the possibility of retirement.
In the third turn, the Company found renewed stability under the guidance of a new Chairman, embarking on a successful trading venture that lined the coffers of both the Company and the shareholders. They profited to the tune of forty-three pounds, with enough left over after expenses for two rounds of dividends. The East India Company's influence seemed unassailable until a series of unfortunate events occurred, shaking its very foundation. Rebellions erupted in Bombay, Delhi, and Madras, successfully expelling the Company from two of the three regions and dealing a savage blow to the Company’s reputation. Mr. Blessing’s family lost seven trophies in the fighting as well, staining his reputation for generations to come. Despite record trade profits, the Company's standing was left precariously hanging by a thread at the close of the turn.
The fourth turn presented a challenging tightrope walk, with the Company on the verge of collapse. The families decided on a bold 'all or nothing' strategy, managing to successfully complete six orders through Bombay - money poured in and they easily paid expenses and dividends. Yet, their triumph was short-lived as events in India turned the tide against them, as is so often the case. The final blow came when Hyderabad rebelled, causing the Company's standing to drop to zero and heralding the end of the game.
In the end, the victory points were tallied for retirements, power, marriages, and workshops, and Mr. McNally found himself on the brink of victory with eleven points. However, the final 'Company Failed' card was drawn to assign blame for the collapse, and Fates’ fingers pointed squarely at the military. Unfortunately for Mr. McNally, he had invested heavily in the military and lost 3 points, leaving Mr. Jon Squibb as the inaugural winner of John Company at WBC. Notably, Mr. Squibb’s 10 points were all gained at the beginning of Turn 4 due to a series of successful retirements. My heartiest congratulations to Mr. Squibb for this commendable achievement!
Final scores: Mr. Squibb - 10VP, Mr. McNally - 8VP (secured tiebreak with most windows), Mr. Blessing - 8VP, Mr. Martin - 7VP, and Mr. Griffith - 4VP
Some thoughts for future tournaments:
- The 1710 scenario works very well for new players, and should remain the standard for initial Heats, but we may change the semifinals and finals to the 1758 scenario. This is also a 5 turn scenario, but you have the possibility of individual player firms competing with the Company. Player firms do add an extra layer of complexity but are quite manageable even with new players.
- We will probably continue as a “C” coached game and appoint an experienced player to each table to work through the steps and provide guidance.
- The tie breaker for advancement to semis and finals will remain “percent of first place” rather than total VP. JC is definitely a game that could end early with good strategy, and I don’t want to penalize those who played a short game well and kept the leader within striking distance.
I will be changing the game specific tie breaker. As written in the rules, ties are broken by number of windows first, and then in Prime Minister order. PM order is far too random for my tastes, and I will tinker with alternatives including total power, cash at the end, military trophies, position prior to Company Failed card, etc.