Omens of Caesar ...
Deal Me a Championship
Once again, Hannibal was played in the pre-convention
slot as the Omens mini-con. This format has allowed this event
to continue to thrive, while giving players more time for other
favorites during the full WBC event hours. Though some have been
unable to attend due to this time slot, attendance has now risen
two years in a row under this format and recent players continue
to greatly favor continuance in the pre-con slot. The GM is on
record as being willing to yield the pre-con slot to any other
GM wanting it, but hasn't yet heard of any takers.
format remained the same as last year: five rounds of Swiss play
leading to a medal round among top players for the plaques. Our
attendance was bolstered not only by one extra player (44), but
we also played more games (92 in all), so the lack of a competing
demo of The Napoleonic Wars this time was felt. We had
14 newcomers joining 30 veterans (including two past champs and
the reigning WAM victor, each losing once in the first day).
Second edition (web) rules were allowed if both players agreed,
otherwise First edition (what's in the box, as clarified by official
AH errata) was the default. The room continued to be populated
by a good number of players who had never seen the second edition.
Most players opted to play first edition rather than to switch
gears from game to game.
The first day started off with an overwhelmingly Roman bias
which was reversed quickly in the second and third round. Carthage
won 59% of the first day's 56 games. Not surprisingly, it was
the veterans of past tournaments who were exploiting the Carthaginian
advantages (winning 65% when they were Carthage, while only winning
42% as Rome). Newcomers to the event won about at the same rate
with either side, 39% in all.
After round 4, the GM handed out his specialty awards. Last
year's Sad Sack Award has been officially renamed in honor of
its first recipient, John Pack. This year it became the John
"Pack It In" Memorial Award (subtitled: I came, I saw,
... got pummeled, and returned for more). The recipient was Charles
Hickok, who earned it by virtue of having Rome sacked on turn
5 during a game in which he had more siege die rolls against
Carthage than the Carthaginians had against Rome. For good measure,
he managed in this game and his next to rarely draw a decent
consul. And, yes, he came back to play and lose again. He won
a prize book, appropriately on an entirely unrelated topic. The
GM had a hard time not giving this Award to himself when his
only loss of the event came as a result of a turn 9 deal that
gave his Roman opponent (Craig Melton) both the Messenger Intercepted
and Philip (leaves alliance) cards, giving Rome the final four
card plays needed to take enough of Spain to win the province
count (but even then only because the stolen card was a 3-pt.
Forced March that could have been used to secure a large enough
province lead to weather the storm--turned instead to gain more
bottles of wine (Tuscan and Sicilian) were awarded to the best
Carthaginian and Roman players after four rounds. Chris Byrd,
4-0 as Carthage, easily sampled the Carthaginian vineyards. Roman
honors were hard to determine, with most Rome-leaning players
accumulating losses (no player won three times as Rome in the
first four rounds). In the end, the award went to the player
who knew when not to overbid for Carthage and still pull out
two wins with Rome: Keith Wixson. The Best Sack Award went to
Jim Heenehan, who managed to pull victory out of the helmet,
by sacking Carthage while losing 12-5 on the province count (almost
all of Italy was overrun by Hannibal). His opponent,s attempt
to sail Hannibal back to break the siege was stopped by the Roman
navy. For this, Heenehan was awarded a Latin-English Dictionary.
After four rounds, the only newcomer among the 12 players
with 3 or more wins was the longest-distance traveller, Ahmet
Ilpars (from Turkey). With tourney points as the tiebreaker to
determine the top 3-1 players, seven players still had a shot
at the Championship going into the fifth round (though most needed
help--namely knocking off Keith Wixson or Chris Byrd, both undefeated).
Melton's shot at Byrd was a close shave, but Byrd's Turn 9 Messenger
Intercepted card secured a Roman 10-8 victory (the only time
Byrd played as Rome). Derek Landel's shot at Wixson ground to
a 9-8 win by Wixson. Landel's five games were the closest margins
of victory/defeat of any player in the tournament. Thus, the
two undefeated players earned their births into the Medal Round
for the wood. James Pei, whose only loss was to Wixson, earned
a consolation game against Jim Eliason (whose only loss was to
A recordation error on one of Ilpars' victories (wrong player
was circled as winner--a player error) made for some confusion
in the tournament point count at the end. Ultimately, Eliason
and Ilpars would have been tied for fifth deep into the tiebreaking
system (but by the time I realized this, I had already awarded
Eliason the chance to play Pei for third)--I think I'd still
be looking up province counts if I hadn't already penalized Ilpars
a point for the recordation error (an error which was only caught
when I almost awarded Best Roman to his opponent). This was further
compounded by a bit of a language barrier which led to Ilpars'
absence at the start of the Medal Round, giving Melton a forfeit
victory for fifth. More distressing at the end of round 5 was
the realization that my own 4-1 record was going to lose out
to three players with 3-2 records, due to strength of schedule
points, once again keeping me out of the money. I was glad it
was me and not another player. Next year's system ought to be
changed to ranking players first by W-L records and then by tourney
points (which take into consideration wins by your opponents).
Of course, all of this confusion could have been avoided if Melton
had stolen a cheaper card ... sigh.
In the Championship game, Wixson yielded Carthage to Byrd
for a bid of 1. Philip allied (permanently) with Carthage on
turn 3, avoiding a Messenger Intercepted that turn. Byrd used
Mago's naval ability ten times during the game, being pushed
out of Sardinia twice and Sicily once. Hannibal crossed the Alps
on turn 1 and built a huge force in Gallia Cisalpinia, never
taking another Italian province. Syracuse joined the war on turn
5, being sacked by Rome on turn 6. Carthage benefitted from the
Messenger on turn 7. The province count remained 9-9 into turn
9. Rome set a trap by pulling its army out of Sicily, luring
Mago in one last time from Africa. Africanus destroyed Mago.
Rome played Numidan Ally as second to last card, then used Bad
Weather to stop Hanno from
retaking the province. The game ended as a 9-8 Roman victory.
Rankings after five swiss rounds (W-L record and side propensity)
tourney pts., special awards:
1. Wixson, Keith (5-0, 3xCW), 65 pts., Award for Best Roman
2. Byrd, Chris (5-0, 4xCW), 61 pts., Award for Best Carthaginian
3. Pei, James (4-1, all Carthage), 54 pts.
4. Eliason, James (4-1, 3xRoman, 1xRW), 51 pts.
5. Ilpars, Ahmet (4-1, 3xCarthage, 2xRW), 50 pts. (including
1 pt. penalty for mismarked scoresheet)
6. Melton, Craig (3-2, 4xCarthage, 1xRW), 49 pts.
7. Cooley, Doug (3-2, 3xCarthage, 2xCW), 47 pts.
8. Landel, Derek (3-2, 3xRoman, 2xCW), 46 pts.
9. Tucker, Stuart (4-1, 4xCarthage, 1xRW), 45 pts.
10. MacInnis, Randall (3-2, 3xCarthage, 2xCW), 43 pts.
11. Roberts, Lance (3-2, 3xRoman, 2xRW), 42 pts.
12. Ussery, Michael (3-2, 3xCarthage, 2xCW), 41 pts.
13. Campbell, Josh (3-2, 4xCarthage, 1xRW), 40 pts.
14. Heenehan, Jim (3-2, 2xCW, 2xRL), 40 pts., Award for Best
15. Miller, Tim (3-1, 3xRW, 1xCL), 38 pts.
16. Mercer, Doug (3-0, all Carthage), 35 pts.
17. Frydas, Nick (2-2, 3xRoman, 1xCW), 34 pts.
18. Lee, Roderick (2-3, 3xRoman, 2xRW), 33 pts.
19. Reese, Peter (2-2, two each, 1xRW, 1xCW), 32 pts.
20. Hancock, Chris (2-2, all Roman), 31 pts.
21. Rinella, Michael (2-3, 4xRoman, 2xRW), 30 pts.
22. Mirk, Patrick (2-3, 3xRoman, 1xRW), 30 pts.
23. Morse, William (2-2, two each, 1xRW, 1xCW), 28 pts.
24. Freeman, Ray (2-2, 2xRW, 1xCL), 27 pts.
25. Hall, Tim (2-3, all Roman), 27 pts.
26. Scarborough, Jared (2-3, 3xRoman, 2xRW), 27 pts.
27. Hickok, Charles (1-3, all Roman), 24 pts., John "Pack
It In" Memorial Award
28. Lietz, Chuck (1-4, 3xRoman, 1xCW), 23 pts.
29. Dockter, David (1-3, 3xCarthage, 1xRL), 20 pts.
30. Coleman, Terry (1-4, all Carthage), 20 pts.
31. Sanchez, Roberto (1-3, two each, 1xRW), 19 pts.
32. Culhane, Dennis (1-2, all Roman), 18 pts.
33. Card, Peter (1-2, all Carthage), 18 pts.
34. Schoenberger, Stuart (1-4, 4xRoman, 1xRW), 18 pts.
35. Sinigaglio, Bruno (1-2, 2xCarthage, 1xCW), 17 pts.
36. Samuel, Ken (1-3, 3xRoman, 1xCW), 16 pts.
37. Hoffman, Daniel (1-2, 2xCarthage, 1xCW), 16 pts.
38. Dickson, Gary (1-1, all Roman), 15 pts.
39. Dickson, Steve (1-1, all Carthage), 14 pts.
40. Wetherell, John (1-2, 2xCarthage, 1xCW), 13 pts.
41. Giddings, Mark (0-2, both sides), 7 pts.
42. Leonhard, Robert (0-1, 1xCL), 4 pts.
43. Mericli, Kurt (0-2, both sides), 3 pts.
44. Newbury, Lane (0-2, all Roman), 2 pts.
Chris Byrd (left) and Keith Wixson
eye their hands in the championship game.
Wixson over Byrd for 1st place
Eliason over Pei for 3rd
Melton over Ilpars for fifth