the master again ...
Jacob Shor is one of four victims
of finalist James DuBose.
Attendance remained stable - a good sign in the era of fascination
with the cult of the new. With the 2nd edition published, there
were no game shortages, and nobody was turned away without a
After three rounds, five players remained unscathed with perfect
3-0 records, allowing eight to advance to the elimination rounds.
The Sekigahara tournament was again distinguished by
an unusual array of prizes. James DuBose won a statue of Toyotomi
Hideyoshi for winning the largest battles, averaging 85 impact
in his victorious confrontations. (Others won big battles, but
nobody came close to this monster figure.) Todd Treadway won
a samurai horseman for killing the most enemy leaders -- 7 in
his last three games. (There was a 3-way tie for this mark,
but Todd won the tiebreaker.) About 15 competitors won 'honor
prizes' for winning their third round game, regardless of the
outcome of their first two matches.
Leader selection was almost balanced between Tokugawa and
Ishida, with a slight preference for Tokugawa. The two sides
finished about equally in match play, as well, though several
players expressed a strong preference one way or the other.
In the semifinals, James Pei and Lyman Moquin fought an epic
battle that turned on a 5th-week clash at Gifu castle James won
with 47 impact to Lyman's 44. James DuBose defeated Tom Drueding
in a tough match, in the other semi. (Tom had earlier denied
defending champion Daniel Hoffman, breaking an epic 10 game winning
streak in tournament play. Daniel's 3-year WBC record is still
an intimidating 12-1.)
For the Final, Pei took Tokugawa (for a bid of zero) and DuBose
took Ishida. The early turns favored Pei, with Tokugawa winning
castles and resource areas in every turn (until the end). BuDose
carefully recruited a third gun unit into the Uesugi army and
held fast on the northern fringe the whole game.
Throughout the game, despite being down in cards and units,
DuBose tenaciously found ways to stay alive. When the final
turn arrived, he still had a shot to win the match. In the last
half of the concluding week, Pei led, as he had all game, but
DuBose would have the last shot to capture castles and resources.
Tokugawa forces gambled on a major battle at the Tokaido-Nakasendo
crossroads, hoping to catch Ishida in person, but he was not
to be found. That left the flanks open for opportunistic attacks,
and three such avenues were now wide open -- win all three and
DuBose would have a stunning comeback victory.
Two of the three battles were simple, but on the other, DuBose's
forces were vulnerable (he could launch a winning attack, but
not defend it against a loyalty challenge). At precisely the
right moment, Pei played such a loyalty challenge and reversed
the critical game-deciding battle. On the last turn of the game,
it had come down to a single victory point, and the deciding
battle down to a single card, but Pei held on to be the 2014
Sekigahara champion. For James DuBose, who played an
extraordinary tournament, an incredible comeback fell just short.
The GM (and designer) generously supported
the event with unique prizes beyond mere wood.
Walter MacEachern and Frank McNally
battle in the preliminaries. A total of 53 games were played
in the event.