WBC 2009

Britannia Tournament

OK folks, apparently everyone forgot how to play blue in the new game. While I was able to report that the new Britannia was quite balanced last year, this year it looked like the old Britannia! There were 6 Red wins, 5 Green, and 5 Yellow (or Purple if you prefer.) Meanwhile…there were only 2 Blue wins (and that includes the semi-finals)! Deep breath everyone, pull it back together and remember how to play those Angles

Now, in game news, Britannia has been reprinted, so folks can at last go out and get games again. And if you want it in German, French, Spanish or Hungarian, those are available too! So…back to the con.

For the prelim rounds, I went back to the high score awards this year, while keeping my favorite, Ethelraed the Unready. The Ewan McNay memorial award, ahem, rather the Red High Score award, went to, naturally, Ewan McNay, with a score of 324 (yes, it is mathematically possible)…perhaps I should just put his name on it next year. Next, Nick Benedict almost hit 300 with a 299 for Green High Score…again, mathematically possible. Next we had Rick Kirchner with the very respectable Yellow High Score of 244. Rounding it out, Jim Lawler pulled out the single Blue win in the heats to get the High Blue Score of 229 (Go Jim! As many folks know, Blue is my favorite color to play.)

Last, we had Llew Bardecki pulling a 180 in one of his heats to grab Ethelraed the Unready. But Llew kept coming back to better his score and coming in 2nd by 1 point put Llew into the semi-finals.

Now, before getting to the semi-final and final, I must memorialize one event of the heats. In an amazing show of solidarity, the peoples of England chose not to submit to Mark Smith’s Roman Legions. It started with the Welsh discovering modern weapons and beating up badly on the Romans. Then the Belgae decided that 3 spaces were plenty, so why bother to submit…and then the Brigantes toughed it out after killing off a stack of Romans with panache. All in all, a sad day for the legions.

There were 16 players in the semi-finals this year, with 9 winners and 7 2nd place finishers advancing. While the semi-finals were exciting, let us instead pass quickly to the final, where three of the players repeated their semi-final colors. We had Ewan McNay as Yellow (Purple), Matt O’Connor as Blue, and Rick Kirchner as Green. Barry Smith played Red.

The Roman invasion went reasonably well, although the Welsh were amazingly elusive, only losing one in 4 battles and in all the others running away. On the recoil though, Boudicca wiped out Essex in fine fashion, killing two legions and a fort. And to the north, the Brigantes came in force to Cheshire and destroyed another two legions and a fort in one fell dice roll.

With everyone submitted, the next few turns were quiet, a few forts killed here and there. The one anomaly was that one Belgae survived in Lindsey through offering not to attack the Romans, which the Romano-British later regretted as they lost a bolt-hole.

The Romano-British came on and thinned themselves taking out a couple of Jutes and went north, but only forced some Angles to retreat rather than killing them. The Romano-British, then restricted to only the north, and not able to reach Arthur, used some lawyerly talk with the Angles to secure a space for themselves in mid-England for the turn 7 scoring round by claiming to move south. Naturally, the Angles regretted that they didn’t specify that the Romano-British should move more than one space to the south.

The Saxon major invasion had little resistance and rolled ashore, killing the couple of lonely Romano-British who were left to the south. The Scot major was not as easy, with the Picts taking them out on the beaches. At the end, the Scots were left with just three units. Yellow (Purple) was saved, by a fortuitous deal with the Blue, and the overwhelming Picts left the small kingdom of the Scots alone.

Until turn 10 then, the Saxons looked quite large and took out everyone around them. But the Welsh and Angles kept nipping at them, and when the Danes came along for their raids they took out a couple more.

The Danish major invasion did have some empty spaces on the map, but empty or not, it didn’t matter as they rolled ashore and only lost one on the first round outnumbering the Saxons 13 to 9. Regrettably, the second round did not go as well with the Belgae taking out 2 Danes as they were assaulted in Lindsey. And to the South some reaching by the Danes into Essex was met in kind with two Saxons killing three Danes.

With the Danish invasion coming unhinged, the Saxons came back to take out some more Danes and became King…while building some Burhs just to add to the fun.

All of the fighting left the way empty for Yellow (Purple) to reestablish hegemony and make the final run to control the north of the country. That plan became somewhat touchy when the Dubliners went to attack the Danes and Angles and managed to lose a couple more Dubliners than they would have liked.

And so the stage was set for the final invasions. The Saxons spread out to maximize their growth, and incidentally become King again. The Norwegians rolled in to minimal opposition. They had so little to oppose them that they sent an expeditionary troop to knock out some Angles to the north in Lothian, wiping them out to a man. One Angle remained, trying to survive in Dunedin.

The Norman invasion had substantially more resistance as the Saxons all came south, leaving the Norwegians alone in their northern domination. The Normans took the southern shores and then stacked a huge force in Essex to overrun the 3 Saxons there. The battle went well and the Normans ended up with 30 points and two of their reinforcement areas.

On the final turn the Scots in Skye were targeted by the Caledonians and survived, but then fell as the Picts at last attacked them. And then the Picts turned around and survived as the Norse came back at them. Meanwhile, in an effort to protect their Danish brothers the Welsh moved into the lowlands to block moves against Svein as he came ashore. The highlight of the final turn came as the Normans realized that they had the kingship in their sights. They drove north, taking those last few territories to ensure that they relived history (and scored 10 points.)

But when the dust settled and the points were counted (and double counted) the quiet Green people, led by Rick Kirchner, had won the game. And a tight one it was too. Green came in at 227, Blue at 225, Yellow (Purple) at 223 and red trailed not far behind at 205. Congratulations to Rick and to all of the finalists.

This year, the extra prize awards for the finalists took a silly turn as they had a set of campy Viking movies to choose from. I think I’ll have to come up with something equally non-serious next year. Of course, Rick has the finest award of all, joining the roll of champions inscribed on the Britannia Plaque. Another year and we’ll need to retire the current plaque and start a new one. Twenty names for one plaque is quite enough.

The GM is looking forward to seeing you all again next year!