hannibal: rome vs carthage [Updated October 2002]

HRC  6 prizes Beginners Swiss Continuous 
    Round 2 14 Round 3 19  OMENS Pre-Con
 Round 4 9  Round 5 14  Round 6 19    

   Salon A

Peter Reese, VA

2002 Champion

2nd: David Dockter, MN

3rd: Keith Wixson, NJ

4th: Ed Rothenheber, MD

5th: Craig Melton, VA

6th: Robert Hassard, NJ

Event History
1996    Thomas Drueding      58
1997    James Doughan      52
1998    Karsten Engelmann      52
1999    Jung Yueh     46
2000    James Pei     41
2001    Aaron Fuegi     35
2002    Peter Reese     41

AREA Ratings

GM: Stuart Tucker

Past Winners

Thomas Drueding - PA

James Doughan - PA

Karsten Englemann - VA

Jung Yueh - MA

James Pei - TX

Aaron Fuegi - MA

Peter Reese - VA

Omens of Caesar ...

Running the event as a pre-convention Mini-Con had a positive effect upon attendance this year. We reversed the long-term slow decline in entrants, and greatly increased the number of rounds played by each player. The lack of competing events certainly helped keep people in the later rounds of swiss play, but even the fifth round showed only a slight drop-off of players, despite the beginning of other WBC events during its time slot. Each round witnessed a few players skipping, but this was minimal. As a consequence, the five swiss rounds served their function well of giving entrants plenty of games, while clearly distinguishing the field's top six players for the sixth (medal) round.

Pre-registration for the event was 40, of which 36 showed at some point during the event. I know that one of our pre-registered no-shows was in the POG pre-con and then wanted to play in the demos of TNW. The other three no-shows represent the lowest rate I've ever witnessed in any convention event. That fact in itself makes the pre-convention Mini-Con concept seem viable for the future. We also had five walk-ons, including three players at the start of the event who went on to play four or five rounds each.

We had 27 players who never before had been in the HRC tourney--a welcome influx of new blood. The downside of this is that more than half of last year's entrants did NOT attend, including the defending champion (though it is not unusual for the defending champ to skip a year in this event). So, while we showed growth, it was at some cost to others who couldn't attend the pre-con. Surveys of attendees of the pre-con show very strong support for continuing this event in the pre-convention slot. However, I know that those who couldn't make it must be considered as well.

We have a "rule edition" split in our HRC community, which caused some of the absences, though clearly we had no choice but to continue to play using the published 1st edition rather than the web-available 2nd. More than half the
entrants arrived having not seen the 2nd Edition (which is available at http://pages.infinit.net/mykeul/hannibal_rules.htm). The 2nd Edition provides about a dozen changes, while greatly consolidating all of the clarifications/errata and GM interpretations that apply equally to the 1st Edition. All in all, the changes are not huge, so players of the 2nd Edition
didn't have much trouble adjusting.

Round 1 got started with 18 games, with matchups made according to AREA ratings and prior tourney results. The only returning champion, James Pei (,00), thus met some of his toughest competition in the early rounds--and surprisingly didn't fare well. Last year's fourth place player, Jim Heenehan knocked him off with a bare Roman 9-8 victory, after finally killing Hannibal in Cisalpine Gaul on Turn 9. This ensured that there would be no two-time champion for the first seven years. The third-seeded GM avoided a bye due to the arrival of a walk-on--Chris Hancock--who pushed him to the brink despite
bad strategy deals, but Tucker won a Carthaginian 9-9 victory after losing Hannibal on turn 7. In one of the more lopsided Round 1 games among the top-ranked players, Peter Reese used an intercepted messenger on turn 1 to pile up a 13-4 Carthaginian province advantage by Turn 4, leading to Jared Scarborough's resignation. Meanwhile, among the unranked players, POG GM David Dockter defeated sometime-WTP GM Terry Coleman by having Hannibal double envelop a big Roman army and then besiege Rome during the final two turns, finishing with a 11-6 Carthaginian victory.

Round 2 matched Heenehan against highly-ranked tourney veteran Craig Melton (who beat Charlie Hickok in the first round). Heenehan's Scipio Africanus invaded Africa on turn 7, suffered setbacks in turn 8, but with Marcellus' reinforcements defeated Hasdrubal and sacked Carthage on turn 9. GM Tucker again fought after an early death of Hannibal (turn 4) against Reese's Romans, but couldn't hold on to a 9-9 tie in turn 9 when his mid-turn truce was broken. Scarborough sent Pei down to an unprecedented consecutive defeat, with a Roman 10-8 victory in a game seeing the death of both Hannibal and Africanus. Dockter used a turn 6 Alps crossing to inflict two double envelopment disasters upon Dennis Culhane's Romans (including killing Africanus), securing a 12-5 victory. Nick Frydas drove Bill Dufton to a turn
6 resignation when Frydas' Mago pursued Africanus and killed him in battle on his turn of arrival. Doug Cooley's Carthaginians slipped a small army into Tarentum by using Bad Weather to forestall an attack and then playing Traitor in Tarentum. As it happened, Mago's 3 CU army later defeated Longus' 8 CUs anyway. Lane Newbury resigned when the death of Africanus left him no way to counter Hannibal's control of most of Italy.

Round 3 matched undefeated Keith Wixson against his second Day brother of the day. Michael and Warren were among the only two players with active HRC AREA ratings who hadn't played in the HRC tourney in the last three years. They made their presence known this year, both ending ranked in the upper half of the participants. Wixson survived them both, beating Michael in round 1 by killing Hannibal while he had two siege points against Rome, and beating Warren by killing Hannibal on turn 6, inducing resignation. Dockter continued his march toward the tournament's "Best Carthaginian" award with a 9-9 victory over Rob Hassard, by playing Truce on turn 9 to save a besieged Syracuse (with 2 points accumulated). Undefeated Chris Byrd handled Randall MacInnis by sailing Hannibal, Mago and 18 CUs (including 4 elephants) to
Sicily after intercepting a messenger in turn 8. Heenehan squared off with Reese in a tight game that came down to who got the Messenger and Syracuse cards from the turn 9 deal. Heenehan resigned upon seeing his weak hand and facing an 8-10 province count.

Thus, the first day ended, having seen Carthage win 27 out of 52 games. Bidding for side showed a bias toward Rome (winning bids averaging 1.5 PCs by pro-Romans, while pro-Carthaginian players had an average winning bid of 0.5). The second day saw Carthaginian winning bids increase slightly.

By the end of the tournament, 85 games were played, with Carthage winning 46 (54%)--18 by PC advantage (nine of which were ties). Rome was only sacked twice --once against John Pack, who also earned the Saddest Story Award. Pack managed to have Carthage sacked as well (by Varro, no less), and in one game ended with no CUs left. Carthage was sacked a total of six times, but Rome sued for peace due to lack of PCs six times. Nearly half of the games went the full nine turns, but 19 ended before the arrival of Africanus. Rome naturally did well in games seeing no Syracuse alliance (41% of the time) or when they re-took Syracuse early. An unrecovered Syracuse figured prominently in 21 of the Carthaginian wins. The Macedonian alliance did not correlate as well with the distribution of Roman and Carthaginian wins, though the GM will attest to having seen Philip only once in four games, contributing mightily to his own naval shipment problems. The early death of Hannibal helped Romans, but Carthage still won 30% of its games in which Hannibal died (typically Hannibal died two turns later in Carthaginian wins than in Roman wins). Africanus died in 26% of Carthaginian
wins, but Romans managed to win five of their games after his death. A favorable Messenger Intercepted ratio existed--with the winning side drawing it 69 times to only 55 times for the losing side.

Playing time was closely correlated with number of turns played. Full games averaged 4 hours and 5 minutes, with the 27 minute/turn average holding for most games lasting six or more turns. Fifteen of the games took the full amount of time alloted for the round, while only four of the 9-turn games finished in three hours or less. In short, the five-hour gaps between round starts worked well for most people, though the GM's game usually ran the limit, due to the number of rule questions levied.

With 34 players playing in round 4, the tournament continued strong into the second day, making the tournament point tie-breaking system quite valid (based on strength of opponents during the swiss rounds). We entered the day with four undefeated players (Reese, Byrd, Wixson, Dockter) and 13 players in striking range just one win behind them. Wixson outbid Reese for Rome, only to witness both the Syracuse and Philip cards played in turn 2. Reese profited from the
Messenger Intercepted in turn 3 and drove Wixson to resignation by turn 6. Dockter's Carthaginians never got Syracuse in his game against Byrd, but managed to hold onto a 9-9 victory in a game involving no pivotal battle results (though both Hannibal and Africanus escaped alive from battles lost to double envelopments). GM Tucker's attempt to avoid a losing record fell apart against Hank Burkhalter when Hanno Counseled Carthage for the final four turns of the game, and Hasdrubal lost the rest of the army at sea on turn 8, thus securing Tucker 27th, the worst rank among the 20 HRC tourney
veterans present this year.

Round 5 began with two 4-0 records and eight 3-1 players, ensuring that a player had to have no more than one loss in order to make it to the medal round in which the top six players would play for prizes (first against second, third against fourth, fifth against sixth). The announced format of the tournament meant that the two undefeated players faced each other in Round 5, with the potential that they would face each other again in the medal round for the Wood (depending upon the successes of their prior opponents and the resulting impact upon the tie-breaker points for the players with 4-1 records). However, the tie-breaker points were very close among most of the top ten players, so neither Reese nor Dockter could afford to coast in this round if they wanted to ensure a shot at the Wood. Wixson gained a medal berth the quickest by sacking Carthage in under two hours to defeat Chris Hancock (whose only other loss was to the GM). Melton next won,
forcing Roman Chris Byrd's resignation on turn 8 (after Hannibal had died at sea). Ed Rothenheber gained a medal round slot by defeating Nick Frydas 9-9 in a game neither wanted to play as Rome. Robert Hassard gained the sixth and final entry into the medal round by conquering Sicily with Hannibal and turning back Africanus' attempts to take Sicily and Africa, thus inducing Randall MacInnis' resignation on turn 8. In one of the longest games of the round, Reese suffered through numerous successes by Dockter's Mago, but ultimately won the game by invading Spain and sinking Hannibal's fleet, gaining a berth in the championship game.

Tournament tie-breaker points rated the five players with 4-1 records closely in the following order: Dockter, Wixson, Rothenheber, Melton and Hassard. Thus, Reese faced Dockter again in the final. Had Reese lost to Dockter in Round 5, the championship game instead would have been Dockter against Wixson, due to Reese's opponents having fewer wins than Wixson's. Heenehan earned the most points among non-medalists, earning seventh, followed by MacInnis, Byrd, Coleman, Frydas and Burkhalter. Hassard conceded the fifth-place plaque to Melton. Wixson's Africanus annihilated Rothenheber's
Hasdrubal in Spain, while Mago was counseled by Hanno in Africa, leaving Spain to fall. Rothenheber resigned in turn 6, giving Wixson the third-place plaque.

The battle for first was a rematch between Peter Reese and David Dockter. Despite Reese being the Best Roman and Dockter the Best Carthaginian of the swiss rounds, neither player wished to push the other out of their comfort zone too far by trying to play the other position. Reese's nominal 0 bid for Carthage yielded to Dockter's bid of 1. On turn 1, Dockter's Hannibal was hit by Epidemic as well as full attrition when crossing the Alps. On turn 2, in a battle in which Hannibal was
overmatched, Peter paused to point out that David could accept defeat to a Probe rather than risk a more damaging defeat later in the battle (which certainly would have killed Hannibal). David, obviously tired from the lengthy tournament, would have missed the opportunity without the alert from his kind opponent. (It is good to see that this repeat matchup didn't turn
into a blood feud.) Hannibal slipped back over the Alps with only 1 CU. Dockter also decided against playing the Syracuse card this early in the game. On turn 3, Reese intercepted a messenger, stealing Dockter's Minor Campaign. On turn 4, Dockter again demurred when offered the Syracusan alliance (sadly to never receive the opportunity again). Marcellus survived a double envelopment loss to Hannibal in Africa on turn 5. By the end of turn 6, Africa was swept of Roman PCs. At the start of turn 7, Carthage was down 8-10 in provinces, while Rome had 37 CUs and Carthage had 25. Fortunately,
Marcellus was removed by Cato. Hannibal re-invaded Gaul, securing a 9-9 count by the end of turn 8. Reese sent Africanus into Spain on turn 9 to try to win a province. In the end, the game came down to a battle between Africanus and
Hasdrubal for possession of the battlefield and therefore control of the winning province. The battle went down to the final BC play, as Africanus won, giving Reese the HRC championship game by a 10-8 count.

Medal Round:
Reese over Dockter for first
Wixson over Rothenheber for third
Melton over Hassard for fifth

Rankings after five swiss rounds (W-L record and side propensity) tourney pts., awards:
1. Reese, Peter (5-0, 3xRW), 64 pts., Best Roman
2. Dockter, David (4-1, Carthage exclusively), 56 pts., Best Carthaginian
3. Wixson, Keith (4-1, 3xRW), 55 pts.
4. Rothenheber, Ed (4-1, 3xCW), 54 pts.
5. Melton, Craig (4-1, Carthage exclusively), 52 pts.
6. Hassard, Robert (4-1, split evenly, 1 RL), 51 pts.
7. Heenehan, Jim (3-2, all RW, CL), 47 pts.
8. MacInnis, Randall (3-2, Roman exclusively), 46 pts.
9. Byrd, Chris (3-2, all CW, RL), 45 pts.
10. Coleman, Terry (3-2, all CW, RL), 43 pts.
11. Frydas, Nick (3-2, 2xRW), 42 pts.
12. Burkhalter, Hank (3-2, 2xRW), 42 pts.
13. Pei (3-2, Carthage exclusively), 41 pts.
14. Hancock (3-2, 2xRW), 41 pts.
15. Dragonetti (3-2, all CW), 40 pts.
16. Day, Michael (3-2, 2xCW), 40 pts., Best Sacking of Rome (turn 3)
17. Scarborough (2-3, 1 RW, 1 Bye), 37 pts.
18. Ussery (2-3, 2xRW), 33 pts.
19. Day, Warren (2-3, 2xCW), 33 pts.
20. Sinigaglio, Bruno (2-3, all RW, 1 CL), 33 pts.
21. Landel (2-2, one each), 30 pts.
22. Dufton (2-3, Roman exclusively), 29 pts.
23. Mirk (2-3, one each), 29 pts.
24. Eliason (2-2, all CW, RL), 28 pts.
25. Hickok (2-1, one win each), 26 pts.
26. Cooley (2-2, Carthage exclusively), 26 pts.
27. Tucker (1-3, Carthage exclusively), 23 pts.
28. Morse (1-4, 1 CW), 21 pts.
29. Mericli (1-3, 1 CW), 18 pts.
30. Culhane (1-2, 1 RW), 17 pts., Best Sacking of Carthage (turn 3/4, by Varro/Flaminius)
31. Anner (1-2, 1 CW), 17 pts.
32. Brooks (1-2, 1 Bye, Roman exclusively), 17 pts.
33. Pack (1-3, 1 RW), 14 pts., Saddest Story
34. Card (1-0 as Roman), 11 pts.
35. Miller (1-0 as Roman), 10 pts.
36. Samuel (0-4, Roman exclusively), 8 pts.
37 Newbury (0-4, 3xRL), 6 pts.
38. Wigdor (0-2 as Carthage), 5 pts.
39. Lentz (0-1 as Roman), 3 pts.
40. Shaw (0-1 as Roman), 3 pts.
41. Sinigaglio, Buddy (0-1 as Carthaginian), 1 pt

 GM      Stuart Tucker  [1st Year]   NA 
    econedit@aol.com   NA

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