kingmaker [Updated October 2002]

KGM  3 prizes Beginners Swiss Elim Scheduled 
   22   Rnd1 Heat1  10
 Rnd1 Heat2 9      
 Rnd1 Heat3  14 Round 2 20 Final    

  Rnd1 Heat1   Salon CD  Rnd1 Heat2  Derby  Rnd1 Heat3 Club   Round 2 Salon B

Sandy Wible, VA

2002 Champion

2nd: Michael Sims, IN

3rd: Justin Thompson, VA

4th: Bill Powers, VA

5th: Alan Witte, NJ

6th: Mike Hall, BC

Event History
1991    Heikki Thoen      24
1992    George Sauer III      11
1993    Chris Bodkin      28
1994    Paul Toro      24
1995    Charles Hickok      38
1996    Justin Thompson      36
1997    Jeff Clark      26
1998    Victor Guerrera      33
1999    Justin Thompson     26
2000    Sandy Wible     35
2001    George Sauer III     33
2002    Sandy Wible     24

AREA Ratings

GM: Justin Thompson

Past Winners

Heikki Thoen - QUE

George Sauer III - OH
1992, 2001

Chris Bodkin - IN

Paul Toro - DE

Charles Hickok - PA

Justin Thompson - VA
1996, 1999

Jeff Clark, AZ

Victor Guerrera - PA

Sandy Wible - VA

War of the Horticulturalists ...

The World Boardgame Championships every year has top Kingmaker players and gamesmanship as good as or better than anywhere else in the world. WBC 2002 not only was no exception, it was the best tournament in recent memory! What a wonderful week of great Kingmaker games!

Heat 1
The furor began Wednesday morning at 10am immediately following the BPA meeting. Fourteen players arrived for round one, which was best split into two 4-player and one 5-player games. As usual, the players were seeded using the Area ratings. Defending champion George Sauer was on the 5-player board, 2001 champion Sandy Wible and 2000 champion Justin Thompson on the other two. The games resolved with two of the past champions proven victorious once again; congratulations George and Sandy! In the third game, Bill Powers came from behind to defeat Justin Thompson on the final play of the last turn as he crowned Beaufort to have the sole King - what a photo finish!

Heat 2
On Thursday there were exactly six players for one six-player game. Long-time Kingmaker virtuoso Alan Witte killed Michael Coomes' noble, Stanley of Douglas, to win on the last play of the game. This allowed Alan to edge Justin on victory-point totals with a score of 82 to 80. An extremely close and hard-fought game!

Heat 3
Friday was a breather away from Kingmaker for all the players, with the final heat on Saturday at 2pm. As might be expected, there were several fresh faces, bringing the event up to 24 players for the tournament. In his first year at the WBC tournament, Jack Schultz whipped his six-player game in three hours flat. Quite a feat! However, although Jack won his game, he couldn't advance because of an early flight departure. On the other board, the six players had quite a few brutal battles. In the end, Michael Sims was victorious as he crowned the sole king on the last turn to score the win.

On to the final! This spectacular slugfest was one of the best Kingmaker games ever!
Often, the final is designed to be for six players. Heat game winners numbered only four people, since George Sauer and Jack Schultz couldn't play. Second-place heat players were then ranked, with Justin Thompson, Mike Hall and then Peter Martin. Both Mike and Peter didn't show until much later (to spectate and say hello), so the final ended up with Alan Witte, Sandy Wible, Justin Thompson, Michael Sims and Bill Powers.

From the start, it was evident this was going to be one heck of a fight! Alan's main noble was conveniently called north; this allowed Alan to lay siege to Newcastle, a town owned by Justin but having an heir. Alan won the siege and moved inside to pick up his prize, only to be hit with a plague before Alan had the opportunity to leave. Alan's forces were devastated, but he hung in there and regained decisive control over the game later in the evening.

The next turn, Justin had an army of five nobles moving through the midlands south in the direction of a likely prospect for heir: one powerful noble along with another four who had no title, office or troops. Suddenly, the powerful noble was called, leaving the remaining four hanging out to dry. Beginning his turn, Sandy's faction gazed out from their base in Oxford and observed Justin's band of assassins apparently touring the countryside. It was plainly unacceptable to suffer such thugs to live, so Sandy moved his forces out and rid the kingdom of their treacherous ways.

The game proceeded in this fashion. Players' fortunes swung this way and that, with every player suffering losses through battle or plague, and several heirs dying from the same. Several counties saw battle after battle, turn after turn, as one force would attack another, suffer losses or be stymied by bad weather, and then be counterattacked when another player took their turn.

This was a very balanced game for the most part. Michael decided fighting wasn't his bag as he moved north to take out a few castles. Sandy, Justin, Alan and Bill stayed south slugging it out till the bitter end. Sandy caught a break late as he was able to move into Bristol and be safe with the crowned Queen. Alan decided to move to London and hide for the last turn but was plagued for his trouble. Sandy called Parliament to divvy out some titles and offices, and then on the last turn, Justin convinced Michael to crown Justin's heir King so that the game could be decided by victory points:
Sandy Wible 117 Champion
Michael Sims 105 2nd
Justin Thompson 95 3rd
Bill Powers 80 4th
Alan Witte -22  5th

Justin is quoted as saying, "This was one of the most enjoyable tournaments I have ever been a part of!" In each heat, there was a very nice laser-engraved plaque given out for the top player. The winners were:
Sandy Wible 180 First Round
Alan Witte 82 Second Round
Frank Schultz 90 Third Round
There also was a custom plaque for the single player having the best three rounds, which went to Justin Thompson with a total of 267.
Thanks to all who played and best of luck at WBC 2003!

Sidebar: Comments from the Kingmaker
The two games I played in were definitely killer games. My style of gameplay is to dish it out, but to be willing to take my lumps also. I'm willing to risk a plague, and I'm willing to risk ambush attempts. I don't like refuge or hiding; I think they make for less interactive and less enjoyable games.

The heat in which I scored 180 was pretty straightforward. I didn't take a lot of risks, but I was able to make a couple of attacks which netted control of some towns and mercenaries. I didn't really suffer any losses, which is why I had such a huge score.
The final definitely was intense. I took some risks I ordinarily wouldn't: making attacks at 5:4 odds and things like that. At the end, I called Parliament mostly to waste time. I didn't want everybody to get two more turns - I was winning, so it was to my advantage to make it only one more turn for everyone.

I didn't want to freeze anyone out of Parliament because I know how demoralizing that is, so I gave goodies to everyone. I carefully counted points and figured it wasn't as much of a risk as it might have seemed; but even if it had backfired I would have done it. That gets back to my philosophy of not liking to do refuge and of being willing to risk a plague. That's part of the game to me; I'll play the odds - but if they go south, then que sera.

The best part of the game to me was when I was a part of a three-way battle down at Southhampton. Literally there was a battle three times a turn for four turns. I had no idea if I was going to survive that, but each turn it was worth the risk to keep attacking. The other players must have felt the same because they stayed too. Probably a once-in-100-games fluke of odds where risk-taking players were all willing to gamble and where the odds kept working out so it kept happening. All in all, a tremendously enjoyable game!

I'm not sure I'll play next year. I've won twice now so it's a good time to rest on my laurels. Still, I wish the best to all the other players and will probably drop by to cheer everyone on. Good luck all!

 GM      Justin Thompson  [3rd Year]   5550 Park Rd, Lot 77, Crozet, VA 22932   NA

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