The Sekigahara tournament once again filled the Foggy Goggle all day Monday. We set or approached records for players, matches, and hours played. Bids were roughly equal for both sides, with a slight preference shown for Tokugawa. While the most common bid was 1 block for Tokugawa, many players were seen to be indifferent to side.
The tournament consisted of five rounds of Swiss play. In the first and third rounds, a samurai statue was awarded to the player who defeated their opponent in the largest instant-victory battle, a battle which eliminated either Tokugawa, Ishida, or both. In the second round, a statue was given to the player who killed the most enemy leaders during the course of a successful game.
The fourth and fifth rounds, which were dedicated to the semifinal and final, the most successful daimyo was awarded and honor prizes for everyone else. Honor prizes, copies of the game or katana letter-openers, were offered to any who won a 4th or 5th round game while no longer in contention for the overall championship. Perseverance is honorable!
When three-time defending champion James Pei lost by a single victory point in the semifinal round, it was clear we'd have a new champion this year. In fact, both finalists won their semifinal by just a single point, returning finalist Dennis Mishler over Bruce Hodgins, and first-time finalist Jeromey Martin over James.
In the final, Dennis bid a single point for Tokugawa, and Jeromey accepted, taking Ishida.
Week one began with Ishida moving against the Date forces, and Tokugawa consolidating in Fukushima. Ishida invaded Miyazu and staged at Gifu castle.
The second week opened well for Ishida. His Uesugi army, which had advanced against Date, pounced on a Tokugawa contingent and soundly defeated it. Ishida also won narrowly in a second conflict at Okazaki castle, launching some impressive special attacks for this early stage of the game.
In the second half of the second week, Tokugawa stabilized both fronts. He used his Date force to overcome the Uesugi army that had beaten him in the north, and recruited three fresh units in Fukushima. When Ishida challenged the new Fukushima contingent, the defense barely held by a score of 10-10. Ishida's surprised remnants fell back to Gifu.
At this point, Dennis did not realize that among those Gifu units was Ishida Mitsunari himself and that Jeromey's game hung on the safety of that small group. Both players bid their best cards for initiative to start week 3, with Tokugawa winning using a loyalty challenge. He attacked the Gifu contingent, consolidating his Fukushima army with four additional blocks from down the road. The battle was won easily. At this point, Jeromey revealed the Ishida block to general amazement.
Dennis, with Tokugawa, won a shocking instant victory by capitalizing on a surprise turn of events in the center of the board. After losing the final in the prior two years, this time he brought home the trophy in style. Jeromey played exceptionally well, both in his semifinal upset victory and throughout the event. I've never seen a better final three games than we had this year.