Legions of Blocks ...
Andy Finkel (left) in the process
of taking 2nd place laurels back to Britain.
Dan Dolan (left) vs JR Tracy
with nary an elk or squad leader in sight.
The inaugural event for this third game in Richard Borg's
series (Memoir '44 and Battle Cry are the others)
saw players gather to play the first round in 4-player groups
where each player played the other three in their group in the
same scenario and the best in the group advanced to the second
round. The scenario for the first round was the epic battle of
Cannae. Side selection was handled by plays bidding Command cards
they were willing to give their opponent which would increase
both their hand size and their Command Value. The players were
advised at the start that the designer thought the scenario was
a 0 or 1 card bid to play Carthage. In the end, Carthage won
37 of the 54 games. When Carthage won, they won by an average
score of 7 to 3.75 while Rome won 7 to 5. The average bid was
one card to play Carthage but there was no correlation between
cards bid and who won. Rome won several games receiving no cards
and lost one of the three matches where they got two cards.
With nine group winners automatically advancing to the second
round, we also took seven runner-ups which worked well as it
meant that all groups where two people tied with 2-1 records
to lead the group were able to advance. The second round was
another group stage where the 16 players were broken down into
4-layer groups again. This time the scenario was Zama. The designers
handicap call was a bid of 1 to 2 cards to play Rome. The average
bid for the 24 games was 1.25 cards. However, again the cards
bid didn't guarantee victory. Carthage won some games receiving
no cards and lost some where they got two cards. The numbers
were closer with Rome winning 14 of the 24 games. The average
wins were Rome 8-4.25 and Carthage 8-5. Only the winner of each
group advanced. One group was so closely contested that it may
have been possible to have a three-way tie for the win with all
the tie-breakers the same. However, the luck gods relented and
Tony Curtis' Carthaginians came storming back to take the battle
from Allen Kaplan's Romans and the group. Allen Kaplan does get
an honorable mention for having the most unique set; it was a
painted and mounted miniature set.
The semi-finals were two games against the same opponent in
the same battle, Castulo, switching sides. In one match-up, Andy
Finkel faced Bill O'Neal. The Romans won both plays but Andy's
were quicker only losing five victory banners while Bill lost
seven. The other semi saw Tony Curtis win both sides against
Rob March to advance.
A very friendly Final ensued as both parties agreed to an
hour and a half break before starting the Final; Andy to make
his scheduled dinner with his wife and Tony to help me cart our
goodies to the vendor booth. The Final was so friendly that they
were able to set-up and play the battle, Baecula, twice in an
hour. I normally see players get tighter and slower when they
get to last round. I'm glad the players were able to relax and
enjoy the experience. Tony won both games and the tournament.
Actually, Tony went undefeated by winning all ten games; the
other three semi-finalists had lost one game during the first
round and two of them had also lost a game during Round 2.
I want to thank all the players. The tournament flowed very
smoothly. I only had to call time on a few games and I did not
see any of the players purposely delaying. If I'd known it was
going to be so easy to run, I would have arranged some pick-up
games in the tournament room. Look for next year's tournament
to use new scenarios and not just as a free handout like the
Truceless War ones this year.