Say what you will about what qualities makes a great GM but one thing is for sure … Craig Yope has the After Action Report gig covered. One wonders how he manages such detail when others struggle to string three sentences together. No such problem here …
A new venue with a first heat that started at a new time on a new day, but ultimately the event concluded with the same old result.
Heat 1: 30 would-be conquerors arrived at the new arena ready to change the world. The 3 pm Monday start was well received and gave many participants a chance to play that they otherwise wouldn’t have had. Plus, it gave this GM a welcomed respite from the grind of the old schedule. Also, I feel that the earlier start lent to better play because, although we had five six-player games, only one took the full six hours to complete.
Game #1: Kevin Youells took an early first epoch lead with an Egypt/Hittites combo with Jeff King (Sumeria) close behind. Kevin extended the lead with an early scoring Chou Dynasty but then started coming back to the pack with an end of the third epoch play of the Sassanids. Christina Hancock closed on Kevin in the second epoch with the Persians only to receive the inevitable Hsiung-Nu pass. Meanwhile, Mike Shulze built up eastern dominance with an Indus Valley/Vedic City States duo that then worked nicely with Macedonia to bring him into second at the end of the third epoch. Kevin’s three pre-eminence markers were of little solace as he was wiped from the map before finally getting to play the Khmers. Most of that carnage was inflicted by Christina’s Byzantines and Mike’s Arabs, but Ted Drozd’s Guptas and Jeff King’s Tang had a hand in his annihilation. Shulze and Hancock maintain a 20+ point lead on most of the field after Epoch 5 but King crept back into contention with a good Chola turn. Christina catches back up and again ties Mike for the lead for the second consecutive turn in Epoch 6 even though she was handed the Incas/Aztecs. King’s Portugal kept him in the running. The last epoch saw Mike corralled with a Netherlands pass but Christina is able to score 43 points with the US in part due to five capitals and finally got a pre-eminence marker. Jeff slides into second with an early scoring Russia and Ted Drozd closes strong for fourth with a Spain/Manchu back to back finish.
Game #2: Jon Anderson’s Eastern Med confederation of Minoans and Hittites take a slight lead over Greg Crowe’s Sumerians and Craig Yope’s Egyptians. A tight second turn ends with the Crowe Persians leading over Yope’s Greek/Phoenician pairing and Ty Hansen’s Assyrians. Gregory Breza’s Macedonians are only outdone by Anderson’s Romans who propel him back into the lead. Such leads are fleeting though as he promptly received the Khmers but was able to weather the storm with good presence across the board. Overall, things tightened back up with Mark Smith’s Huns, Hansen’s T’ang, and Crowe’s Arabs catching them up to the leader after four epochs, yours truly with a good Byzantine draw. A crazy round of card draws allowed me to pick my own death, but I ended up with the Mongols. Paired with the Fujiwara minor empire this would seem to be a great thing, but many Mongol warriors died along the way to a middling score. Prior to that though Greg Crowe scored well with Franks on the heels of his Arabs. Anderson’s Chola, Smith’s Sung, and Hansen’s Seljuk Turks all did well to help them remain within five points of the lead. Crowe’s Ming continued his work of scoring well as did Hansen’s Timurids. Turn 5 leader Yope was then treated with the privilege of playing the Incas/Aztecs. While presence across the map helped me immensely, I will always revel more in the fact that I had saved a treachery card that was perfectly suited to this turn. The Aztecs were able to sack Mark Smith’s fortified Mayan capital. The look on his face when he came back from the bathroom was priceless! The big mover though in this epoch was Anderson’s Ottoman Turks with a 46-point pull. Hansen had a nice Russia turn for 47 points and Breza went next as the Machu with a 52-point turn building off of his Spanish holdings. Crowe powered into everywhere with French might for 49 points while Smith did much the same with Britain for 47. Anderson did well with the US for 36 points and Yope finished off the game with a Germany/Japan combo for 49 points. Greg Crowe pulled the last pre-eminence marker and it helped him tie Jon Anderson for the win based on Victory Points. The first tiebreaker in these cases is total empire strengths for the game. But in this case that was also a tie (65). The next thing to look at is the total of the pre-eminence markers and Jon with his three markers for 14 points outdid Greg and his two markers of nine points.
Game #3: Malinda Kyrkos’s first round ravages as the Indus Valley were aided by both Epoch 1 minors. Rob Brode’s Sumerians got him to second while Joe Angiolillo’s Egyptians garnered him an early third. Unconfirmed reports had the Phoenicians throwing in with the Greek City States to push Harald Henning into the lead after the second epoch. Brode’s Chou helped to keep him close to the lead while Kyrkos slipped to third with the Scythians. Jamie Tang went late in the second epoch with the Carthaginians and then went early in the third with the Macedonians to surge into the lead. Brode went next with the Maurya and was able to retain second place just two points behind Tang. Henning got Hsiung-Nued and only pulled 11 points. Kyrkos got stuck with the Celts and slid to last. The fourth epoch saw Tang hang onto first with the T’ang Dynasty! Brode continued to soldier on in second place with a good Gupta turn. Angiolillo was right behind Brode with a nice Goths turn. Henning rebounded well with a productive Byzantine play out. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention History of the World’s most colorful participant - Jennifer Visocnik - at this point, but things weren’t going her way in this game. Going last in three straight rounds and not scoring particularly well with either the Persians or the Arabs was not good. Epoch 5 had Henning back on top with a good Sung turn. Tang remained in the fight after dealing with the Vikings and making a push for the front was Visocnik with a really nice Seljuk Turks turn. One would think that Harald would soon court the Incas/Aztecs or at least the Mughals, but instead he had the Timurid Emirates and didn’t score that well. Brode’s Mongols, Visocnik’s Seljuk Turks, and Angiolillo’s Ming had taken their toll on his board presence. Speaking of the Ming, Angiolillo’s continuing presence from his back to back Goths and Franks in Europe along with far flung outposts courtesy of Mali and Fujiwara pay dividends when he goes early in Epoch 6. He ties for the lead with Visocnik who is the curious victim of the Incas/Aztecs. But help from the Safavids gives her a pleasant 33 points for her troubles. Tang is one point back after a productive Spanish jaunt around the globe. Brode holds close with Ottoman Turks and so does Kyrkos with the Portuguese. All players are grouped within nine points of the lead going into the last epoch. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall during this card draw sequence. Current co-leader Angiolillo got a usual empire stick with the Netherlands but Visocnik got the Manchu, which proved the right call since she didn’t have much board presence by this time. Kyrkos likely kept the Russians to capitalize on her Portugal presence and Brode got the French. The most interesting empire stick had to be Henning getting the US. Someone must have remembered that Harald is a past champion. It was probably Tang, who ended up with Germany. That and some help from Japan pushed her to a 48-point turn and her third pre-eminence marker. That was just icing on the cake as she won by the biggest percentage margin of the heat.
Game #4: The first epoch played out quietly with each power expanding in a very normal manner. Nick Palmer’s Egypt dominates the Middle East and North Africa to end the turn with the lead. Steve Scarangello’s Sumerians are just one point behind with Jeff Miller’s Indus Valley in third. Things stay tight through the second epoch as Kevin Breza adds the Chou expansion into India to his Shang control of China. Plus, he gets the Phoenicians to add their strength to the mix too. Unfortunately for him, Scarangello has a nice Persian turn to tie him for the lead after two turns. Paul McCarthy closes on the lead with a Greek City States play that must have made some odd friends far to the east to get presence in China and India. All players are still within six points of the lead as things move into the third epoch. Charles Drozd moves into the discussion with a Macedonian turn that controls the Middle East and Southern Europe. The next to play is Palmer and his Maurya score well. McCarthy’s Romans clean out the Macedonian scourge in Southern Europe scoring enough to end up tying Scarangello’s Sassanids. Miller did his best to knock down co-leader Breza by using his Han to wipe out any lasting vestiges of the earlier Chinese empires. Breza was only able to pull five points this epoch with his Hsiung-Nu. The fourth epoch saw some low scoring all around as the highest total was 26 points by the Miller’s Goths! Scarangello was finally able to win a pre-eminence marker with a 22 point turn playing the Khmers of all people. Palmer was solid with the Guptas and McCarthy held third but missed an opportunity for more with a lackluster Byzantine turn. Drozd started to make a move on the lead with a strong Franks turn that capitalized on the previous T’ang empire, control of North Africa, and some friends among the natives in North America. Palmer maintained contact too with the Sung, remnants of his earlier Indian empires, and allies in the New World and Nippon. Scarangello continued to lead though with the Seljuk Turks filling in the gaps of the continuing Persian/Sumerian dominance of the Middle East and North Africa. The sixth epoch then sees McCarthy pull into second with a strong Ottoman Turks turn that builds upon his earlier Holy Romans. Drozd stays close with Portugal and Miller catches up with Spain, but for a third straight epoch Scarangello gets the marker with a 31-point Incas/Aztecs turn. The seventh epoch begins with Palmer’s Manchu going to Northern Europe and Nippon instead of the usual China route. McCarthy’s Russia plays a more traditional turn and takes back Northern Europe but also goes into China for dominance. Breza’s Netherlands just doesn’t have the manpower to get him back into the conversation. Drozd’s France takes care of business trimming back the Scarangello board presence en route to a nice 42-point turn. The real blow though was delivered by Miller with the British (with a little help from the Japanese). The collection of cities and monuments procured during his territorial expansion led to a 55-point turn that was ultimately decisive in his taking the last pre-eminence marker and the game. Scarangello couldn’t pull enough points as the Germans to close the gap and allow his three markers to be of any help.
Game #5: Mike Fisher fires out of the blocks early with a Sumeria/Hittites turn that is just one point better than Christina Harley’s Egyptians. Patti Swift’s Minoans and Greg Romano’s Babylonians are right behind the leaders as capitals fall and the Sumerian monument changes ownership multiple times. Moving into the second epoch sees five of the six players remain within four points of the lead. Swift rides the Persians to the lead, with Romano’s Assyrians and John Parker’s Carthaginians just a point behind. Harley works a Chou/Phoenician combo to a position just two points off the lead. The third starts with Romano being “Celted” and scoring low. Chris Hancock has a chance to get back into the game with the Macedonians but the lack of presence in places like China and North Africa hamper his ability to score fully. Harley hangs in there with the Maurya and Fisher’s Sassanids keep him in second with a collection of cities and monuments. The lead after three though goes to Parker as his Han controls China and his Carthaginians continue to control North Africa. Also, it never hurts when the Romans fails to appear. Swift is able to use the Guptas to tighten things back up in the fourth epoch after being stuck with the Hsiung-Nu in the third. The shunning continues as Romano gets the Goths. After the Huns are a no-show, Hancock again struggles to make headway with the Byzantines. By this time Harley has been wiped from the board and has limited scoring opportunities with the T’ang. Fisher’s Arabs consolidated his hold around the Mediterranean bringing him into a tie for second with Swift one point off of the lead. But it is Parker’s Khmers that hold on for another day and claim the pre-eminence marker. As the fifth epoch begins, Hancock has the dubious honor of the Franks. His lack of board presence continues to hinder his scoring. Right then a Civil War card would have been nice to play in China or India. But sometimes you just don’t have a good draw. After the fun of “Guptamania”, Swift comes back to earth with the Vikings. Fisher’s Holy Romans regain some European presence after the Arabs are driven from Southern Europe for a solid turn that maintains his position in second place. Parker’s Chola keep him in the top spot as he builds upon his Han/Khmers remnants and collects a vast array of monuments. Romano finally has an eastern empire but the Seljuk Turks bring him limited returns, even with Fujiwara help. Harley then fires up the Mongol hordes to rampage across the world and giving her precious presence all over the board that she can use later. The sixth epoch sees Hancock finally in China with the Ming and a smattering of presence around the globe helping him to pull 32 points. Romano somehow ends up with the Incas/Aztecs and has limited success with peripheral holdings. Harley doubles down on her Mongol work and scores big to move into the lead. Parker stays right with her with a good Portugal turn while Swift with Spain positions herself strategically for the last turn. Fisher does good work in India to keep himself in the hunt eight points off the lead. The early seventh epoch sees Parker struggle to score with the Russians as the vast majority of his board presence has been wiped away. Everyone is still cognizant of the three pre-eminence markers sitting in front of him. Romano’s Manchu score 56 points as 17 of them come from the structures subtotal and dominance of China and India is supplemented by control of Nippon and presence everywhere except the Mediterranean basin. Swift adds Japan to her French juggernaut which then fills in the holes left by her Spanish conquistadors. The 50 points gained temporarily puts her in the lead. Hancock again has troubles as his Britain underperforms. Presence throughout the game really helps minimize times when you get a bad empire or have poor dice. Chris Hancock’s lack of presence in China for the first five epochs along with never being in North Africa is just an example of a need to gain something in as many places as possible throughout the game. Even though Harley was stuck with the US, she was able to score 34 points and slide into a tie with Swift at 171 victory points. Fisher finishes the fighting with dominance of Northern Europe and North America and the collecting of many cities and monuments. The last epoch tie denies Swift and Harley from gaining their second pre-eminence marker. With Parker 13 points off the lead, theoretically his three markers could be the top three totaling 16 points. Which would also mean that the two leaders could be stuck with the 3 point markers, setting up a three-way tie for the win. But once the markers were revealed, Swift won by two points over Harley and by four over Parker.
Heat #2: Wednesday evening came around with 32 participants showing up to play in the second heat. 14 players returned to contest another game while 18 late arrivals made this their first heat of 2016. This means we were working two 6-player games and four 5-player games. Again all but one game was able to conclude in less than the six hour time frame allotted for the heat. I think another factor that helped in keeping the games moving was the quality of the facility, which included nice tables and proper lighting.
Game #1: Right out of the gate Chris Bauch has the Cannanites joining forces with the Sumerians to lead John Stevens’ Aryans/Hittites pairing by a point. Without any Assyrian interference arising, Stevens turns right around with the Chou to score well enough for the lead after two epochs. Mike Shulze’s Persians sweep across the Middle East and into India to end the turn a point behind Stevens. Bauch’s Carthaginians help him to stay close while Steve Scarangello gets a good turn from the Greek City States. The third epoch was a study in board position as multiple players had most of their presence cleared out before they had a chance to play. Joe Angiolillo’s Celts, Scarangello’s Maurya, and Chris Greenfield’s Sassanids all had little to work with by the time their turn arrived. And Shulze was in worse shape as he inherited the Hsiung-Nu for having done well with the Persians. Bauch was able to get Macedonia and score early building upon his Carthaginian forces but that only got him to second place. Stevens puts up 33 points with the Han by racking up cities and monuments on his way to controlling China and SE Asia. That kind of point production (and the fact that it gave him a second pre-eminence marker) will always draw attention. So in this instance, the perfect gift for Stevens was the Khmers. While waiting for that drama to play out, the rest of the epoch had to move forward. Scarangello got jammed with the Guptas on top of his Mauryans. Not good. Greenfield’s Huns had to work hard to just get the needed presence in Europe and India. Schulze’s Byzantines capture a bleep load of cities and monuments in a nice bounce back turn and end up tied with the next crap power huckleberry, Stevens and his ten-point scoring Khmers. But they both were nine points behind Bauch whose Goths benefited from no Roman empire destroying his Macedonians. That loomed large moving forward just as the absence of the Arabs in the fourth epoch did. The fifth epoch starts with a pretty good Franks turn for fifth place Greenfield followed by the sixth place Scarangello actually pulling his best score yet with the Vikings, but it was a scant 21 points! Now with some good news, Angiolillo hammers out a 38-point turn with a Holy Roman/Fujiwara turn that adds in the T’ang Dynasty expansion that hadn’t been disturbed. Then came Bauch with the Chola, but by this time his large money making presence in Europe and North Africa had mostly evaporated. After that was Stevens’ Sung, which again had to scramble to just get something coming off of the Khmers turn. Finally, the Seljuk Turks of Shulze adds dominance in China and India to his already powerful Byzantine holdings thanks to the aforementioned lack of Arab interference. The sixth epoch starts with another interesting twist based on the fact another monster empire - the Mongols - didn’t appear. Greenfield’s Ming profits from the fact that it can work on going south to get presence in SE Asia and dominance in India instead of cleaning up China. Bauch’s Timurids isn’t as lucky since he doesn’t have as much prior presence. Leader Shulze’s Incas/Aztecs still bring in 30 points and another pre-eminence marker partially because of his third straight turn of 14+ points in the structures sub area. Angiolillo is right behind him with a good Mughals turn. Scarangello’s Ottoman Turks and Stevens’ Spanish both have good turns but they are still trailing far behind. Finishing up, the seventh epoch starts with Scarangello’s Russia posting a very strong 41-point turn. A strong turn, but that’s just not enough when you start the epoch 31 points off the lead. Shulze then followed with a quality Manchu turn (35 points) that set a high bar for all that followed. Bauch also had a nice final turn with the Netherlands, but had too much ground to make up. Stevens’ French went on to dominate Northern Europe, Northern America, Africa, and control South America in a good attempt to pull the last marker. Next up was Greenfield’s Britain with help from Japan. While he was able to dominate all of Europe, South America, Africa, and control Nippon, he was lacking presence in various other key areas that could have changed the outcome of the final score. Plus, there were some instances of him not fully scoring capitals in multiple epochs. That too could have made the difference. Angiolillo had the last chance as Germany. He had started the turn only three points behind Shulze, but there was also the problem of Shulze having two pre-eminence markers to Angiolillo’s none. Joe did well but he came up one point shy of Shulze and two points from getting the needed marker. Shulze ends up padding his win with three markers and Stevens’ two allows him to slip past Angiolillo for second.
Game #2: Jon Anderson spreads the scoring wealth between the Shang and Hittites to take the first epoch lead. Craig Yope’s Sumerians and Nick Palmer’s Egyptians check in at second and third place respectively. The second epoch starts with Jim Lawler using his Assyrians to wreck the capitals of the Fertile Crescent and score well. Palmer’s Greeks and Anderson’s Scythians both score enough to keep them in the mix after two turns. Marc Visocnik’s Chou scores dominance in China to go with continuing Aryans dominance in India. Going in the other direction, Yope’s Vedic City States has little to work with after the demise of the Sumerians. But the big move of the second epoch comes from Christina Hancock’s Carthaginians who, working well with their Phoenician allies, make the Middle East and North Africa theirs. The third epoch begins with Yope’s Celts doing adequate work but they are overshadowed by Anderson’s Macedonians taking in 31 points. Visocnik gets another Chinese empire and does well enough with the Han to move into third place. Hancock’s great second turn meant it was now Hsiung-Nu time! That also meant her armies were the target of much love from the Macedonians. Lawler’s Romans are less than impressive but still enough to move him into second. By this point, Palmer’s Sassanids had little help left on the map to work with. The fourth epoch sees the pack tighten as Visocnik’s Guptas, Hancock’s Byzantines, and Lawler’s Khmers all conspire to put them at 68 or 69 victory points. Palmer works the Arabs for 28 points to get to a total of 63, but Anderson is able to coax 22 points out of the Goths and retain the lead. Moving into the fifth epoch, the card draw sequence sees the clear-cut last place player (me) ending up with the Vikings. The Norsemen made it their only mission in life to cross North America’s heartland on their way to sacking the Mayan capital. Lawler’s Holy Romans, Anderson’ Chola, and Hancock’s Sung all score mid-twenties to keep the chase pack together. The Seljuk Turks help Palmer to finally get his necessary presence in China and India to go with dominance in the Middle East, North Africa, both Europes, Eurasia, and the Fujiwara control of Nippon. Visocnik stays in contention too but misses a golden opportunity to challenge for the lead with the Mongols. The beginning of the sixth epoch sees Hancock’s Ming score similarly to her Sung and she stays within striking distance. Hancock’s Ming also gets in the way of Visocnik scoring back to back with the Mongols and Timurids. Even so, Visocnik scores enough to move just ahead of Hancock for second place. Anderson is held in check with a 21-point Incas/Aztecs turn that has him now in fourth. With little left on the board, Yope’s Ottoman Turks gives him his best turn of the game - a whole 26 points!!! Palmer then fires up Portugal to dominate Europe, North Africa, and North America as he cruises to another pre-eminence marker. Lawler doesn’t do all that well as Spain, but does pull enough to stick with the group that is hanging there waiting for a chance to get a big final empire. The seventh epoch starts with Yope’s Russia getting dominance in Northern Europe, China, and India as they end their drive south with a seaside dacha for the Tsar in Lower Indus. Then Anderson’s Manchu use some tricky navigation to gain dominance of India to go with their dominance in China. That work along with additional presence in Nippon and SE Asia help him score 30. Lawler actually does very well with the Netherlands garnering 13 points in structures for a total of 39 points. France doesn’t show itself on the world stage which gives free reign to Hancock’s Britain. Dominance in North Africa, Europe, North America, and Nippon, added to presence in pretty much every other area on the map yields a 52-point turn. That puts her in the lead with only Palmer having a real chance to catch her. Palmer though goes next with the US and has very little left on the board to go with his expansion in North America. It is a tough final avt that earns him only 21 points. Visocnik has a spotty German turn that earns 35 points and ultimately fourth place overall. Christina Hancock not only gains a second marker for leading after the seventh epoch, but more importantly her main rival Palmer was so decimated across the board that he couldn’t replace that point production. Anderson creeps into third place on the strength of his three early pre-eminence markers.
Game #3: With what I can only assume was the Sumerians, Rex Lehmann started the first epoch well. He was matched by Nathan Barhorst’s Babylonia at seven victory points. But Alfred Schnabel bested both by one point with a Shang/Cannanites pairing. Hanging in there at six points was Patrick Neary playing the Indus Valley. The first pre-eminence marker though went to Rob Brode with a strong Egyptian turn of nine points. Moving into the second epoch had Schnabel turning right around and going again with the Vedic City States when the Aryans, Assyrians, and the Chou failed to materialize. Brode’s Greeks were then able to team up with the Egyptian remnants to push him to a second marker after two rounds. Lehmann’s Scythians move south and west to stake out presence in India and dominance in Southern Europe to compliment his continuing Middle Eastern dominance. Cleary’s Carthaginians gain him some much needed presence on the western half of the map but he now trails by 12 points. Barhorst’s Persians maintain his position in the Middle East and India, but move west into Southern Europe for dominance. Leader Brode gets the honor of going first with the Celts and is able to stay in the mix by ending the turn in second place. I dare say there wasn’t much left to Lehmann’s board presence by the time he got to his Macedonians which led to a lackluster score for them. Schnabel was again banished to Far East but did well while even finding a way to procure a presence in Northern Europe. Neary came next with his Roman legions to draw himself back into the fray. Barhorst finished off the festivities with a solid Sassanids that put him seven points off the lead. Schnabel gets this marker but Brode is still right there breathing down his neck. In the fourth epoch Neary adds the Gupta domination of India and SE Asia to his Roman numbers from Epoch 3. Brode’s Huns pick up a handful of cities while spreading his presence to all corners of the map, especially India and China where he hadn’t been yet. Barhorst’s Byzantines reassert his dominance of the western world on his way to the lead after four turns. Lehmann directs his Arab hordes to wrest back dominance of North Africa and the Middle East from Barhorst on their way to India. Schnabel’s good play earns him the Khmers, but he is able to survive with existing capitals and lingering dominance/control in China and SE Asia. The fifth epoch sees all three European empires come out. First is Brode with the Franks. He bulks up his European scoring and does well in the structures area with 12 points. Also, word makes it west that emissaries from Fujiwara have signed documents acknowledging their fealty to the Franks. Next is Barhorst with the Vikings which gets him some presence in North America, but scoring is down as his Byzantine power is much reduced. Neary’s Holy Roman Empire scores well as they maintain the glory of the earlier Romans with monuments galore. With another chapter in the same old story, Schnabel has the Sung. With a stranglehold on China and SE Asia, he branches out into India, Eurasia, and Nippon. Stories are written about trading posts established in North America. Lehmann finally gets a big empire to cash in as the Mongols gobble up lands full of cities and monuments. They even buy a vacation condo in the Andes. Brode is back in the lead and pulls his third chit, but Schnabel is two points back with Lehmann now in third. An interesting development to start the sixth epoch is the fact that Lehmann is able to come right back and play the Ming. So not only is he able to bump up multiple areas from presence to dominance (or gain additional areas of dominance), but he is able to pile up more cities and monuments to his collection. 20 points alone on top contributes to a 61-point turn. Most of Brode’s presence is in places that Lehmann’s one-two punch didn’t touch so adding that to the Timurids still gained him 36 points. Barhorst’s Ottoman Turks get him back into China and India while gaining him dominance in both halves of Europe. African tribesmen convert to Islam and join the cause. 35 points - not too shabby! Speaking of not too shabby, Neary pulls 35 points with Spain as he expands into the foreign lands of India, Africa, and the New World. In the broken record department, Schnabel has less success with the Mughals as older empires are ground under the hooves of the Mongols, the Ming, etc. Lehmann gets his first pre-eminence marker and leads by 17 as action moves into the final Epoch. The Russians of Barhorst add dominance of China and Eurasia (plus a few monuments) to his other holdings for a respectable 48-point turn. Neary has another seafaring power in the Netherlands, which really doesn’t allow for much more than a few extra points over his previous Spanish turn. But that still equates to a 41-point turn - one short of what Barhorst just did with Russia. Schnabel finally has an empire that isn’t from the Far East!!! But it wouldn’t feel right if his Britain didn’t have some help from out that way so Japan has joined the party. So with all his activities it is strange to ultimately see that he didn’t end up with at least some presence in China. Still a 52-point turn gets him back into the temporary lead with a hope that Lehmann doesn’t score well. Unfortunately, lingering presence in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East that the US normally doesn’t have by this stage of the game adds to the normal scoring spots for a 39-point finale. Brode’s Germany just didn’t have much to work with on the board and only pulled 25 points when all the dust cleared. Lehmann pulls another marker and finishes 18 points ahead of Schnabel. Even with three pre-eminence chits totaling 14 points, Brode ended up in third place a full 24 points back!
Game #4: Mike Fisher’s Sumerian/Cannanites duo ends the first epoch one point ahead of Greg Romano’s Egyptians. Romano then moved ahead in the second epoch with a nice Vedic City states turn, but all players close things up to within five points with Jennifer Visocnik’s Persians pulling her into second. Visocnik turns around and comes right back with the Celts to score 35 points. James Pei then scores 38 with the Macedonians to tie Visocnik at 61 points. Mark Smith joins the lead pack with a 36-point Roman turn. With only Romano’s Sassanids as a fly in the ointment, Smith is able to pull another 35 points with the Guptas now getting him some presence in China and SE Asia. Pei is able to stay close with a productive Huns turn, while good turns for Fisher and Romano only tie Visocnik - all 15 points back. In the fifth epoch, Fisher is able to go first with the Vikings to double dip plus some on his Arabs from Turn 4. But that still is three points shy of Pei’s Holy Roman Empire which continues the good work of the Macedonians and Huns. Smith is still able to score enough with Chola to squeak into second one point behind Pei. In the opening stages of the sixth epoch, Fisher does well enough with the Ming to grab second at 153 points. Pei is one point behind him after waiting all epoch to play his Mughals. Earlier, Visocnik got to 150 by building upon the Mongols with the Timurids. But the pre-eminence marker went to Smith at 161 points after his Spaniards spread across the globe. The seventh epoch sees a stellar Netherlands by Fisher for 50 points, 16 of that in the structures section. Such glory is fleeting though as Pei then hammers out a 57-point Britain to take the lead. Which again is nice until Smith is able to still pull 56 points with the US and put the game out of reach. His three pre-eminence markers only add insult to injury as he beats runner-up Pei by 16 points.
Game #5: Kurt Kramer rockets out to a lead, doubling the score of second place, with an Egyptian/Hittites juggernaut. Bill Morgal (Indus Valley) and Raphael Philibert-Larivee (Minoans) are a distant second and third. Raphael then leads off the second epoch with a Chou turn that vaults him into second. But going to the top is Morgal with a Greek/Phoenician tag team that scores 27 points. By this point, Kramer doesn’t have much left for his Scythians to add to so he slips to third just behind Raphael. 5-player games can lead to some crazy card draws and this game had one at this time. Kramer ends up with the Celts which doesn’t help much and drops him further back. But he is still ahead of Joe Collinson, who has a decent turn with the Macedonians but is lagging behind based on his earlier “dogs” the Aryans and Carthage. That though was infinitely more preferable than the trifecta of terrible that Kevin Youells was cursed to have for the first three epochs - Babylon, Assyria, and the Hsiung-Nu! Raphael finally gains the lead with the Romans and their 35 points. Morgal is seven points back after his play of the Mughals. Collinson continues his charge towards the front with a decent scoring Gupta turn along with Youells who follows suit as his Arabs doubling his total empire strength and overall score. But the lead went back to Morgal as his Byzantines put him one point ahead of Raphael’s Khmers. The beginning of the fifth epoch sees Morgal drawing in a diminished point total with the Franks as Middle Eastern and Southern European holdings are erased by the Arab onslaught. This is clearly shown by Youells scoring 36 points, with his Vikings building upon said Arab gains. Collinson maintains a slight advantage over Youells with another solid scoring turn playing the Chola. In the continuing back and forth nature of this game, Raphael regained the lead with Sung dominance over China, India, and SE Asia. The sixth epoch sees Collinson continuing to rack up consistent 30 point turns as the Ming start things off. Morgal is just ahead of him with a similar scoring turn from his Mughals. Raphael matches with a 29-point Incas/Aztecs turn that keeps him close to the lead, but it is Youells scoring 54 with the Spanish that finally breaks the pattern of pre-eminence markers for either Morgal or Raphael. The seventh epoch starts with Morgal pounding out 45 points with Russia to set the early bar at 177. Raphael isn’t so fortunate, scoring only 25 points with the Netherlands and ending 11 points short of that number. In between them in order and score was Collinson with his 41-point Manchu turn for a 171 finish. Youells was able to coast to the last marker on the basis of a 37-point US turn getting him to a total of 186. After chits were revealed, Youells retained his lead over second place Morgal. Raphael was able to slip back into third ahead of Collinson in the final tally.
Game #6: John Parker’s Babylonian/Hittites alliance just beat Ed O’Connor’s Sumeria for the lead after one epoch. Chris Trimmer is right there after his Minoans capitalize on no Egyptian empire arising. Parker continues to do well with the Chou Dynasty running his total to 27 points, but Trimmer ups the carnage with his Carthaginians to take the pre-eminence marker for Epoch 2. The third epoch sees Trimmer turning right around and scoring even more with the Celts as they add onto the Carthage lands. Daniel Blumentritt’s Macedonians and Jonathan Cotton’s Romans both score 36 points to tie them for second just five points behind Trimmer. The fourth has Blumentritt scoring a bit less with the Guptas as his Macedonian presence has been trimmed by the Romans. Still, he is in third place not far behind Trimmer and Cotton. Both were able to score well even though they played later in the epoch, especially Cotton with the Khmers. The Arabs of O’Connor seemed unable to cause their usual damage to the Roman legacy. Cotton turned right around to start the fifth by scoring 41 points with the Franks. Northern and Southern Europe dominance added to what he had just scored with the Khmers launched him into the lead. Trimmer didn’t do anywhere as well with the Holy Roman Empire but managed to still stay in second. O’Connor leaps to third with a 40-point Seljuk Turks turn, but Blumentritt is only able to pull 25 with the Mongols. In the sixth epoch, Cotton again goes first with the Timurid Emirates. But this time his vast presence has been shredded by the Vikings/Holy Romans in the west and the Seljuk Turks/Mongols in the East. Still he is only four points off the lead. That is held by O’Connor after his Portuguese pull 49 points for a total of 156 and his first pre-eminence marker. Blumentritt’s Spain hauls in 38 points to barely beat Trimmer’s Mughals for third. The final epoch sees Cotton sputter to the finish with a decent Russian campaign while Parker tries vainly to catch up with a fairly good Manchu turn. Blumentritt has a nice 42-point go with the Netherlands but there isn’t much you can do with only six armies. The big story here is that neither France nor Britain makes an appearance. As such, O’Connor is able to do quite nicely with the US still getting 43 points and another chit. Trimmer finishes strong with a 49-point Germany turn and puts himself in a position ten points behind O’Connor. But even with three pre-eminence markers, his 15 bonus points isn’t enough as O’Connor has nine bonus points to seal the win. Cotton is able to sneak into third by a point based on his one marker worth three points.
Semifinals: The two heats produced ten winners, of which nine appeared to play in the semis. That meant nine more alternates advanced to fill three tables.
Game #1: The first epoch has most players scoring four or five points but Christina Harley’s Egyptians profit from the lack of a Sumerian presence to score nine. That though isn’t enough to outshine Greg Romano’s Indus Valley/Hittites powerhouse that gains total control of both the Middle East and India for 14 points and the first pre-eminence marker. The second turn has Christina jumping to the top with her Greek City States with Jeff Miller just one point back after finishing the turn with his Persians. Romano stays close with the Vedic City States. Harley retains the lead after three epochs with a decent Han turn. Romano is four points back after playing his third straight Indian empire. Christina Hancock edges out Miller for third with a 28 point Macedonian play. Unfortunately for everyone else, Harley’s board presence hadn’t been dented. So when she started the fourth epoch with the Goths, things were looking good - 36 points good! Miller did well with the Byzantines but still ended up 11 points back in second. Try as they might to bring her back to the pack, Harley still scored 23 points with the Vikings and claimed a fourth straight pre-eminence marker. Miller with the Sung and Hancock with the Mongols had closed the gap to eight points. Time was running out and things had to been done. The four followers tightened their contest up as the sixth epoch unfolded. Miller’s Timurids and Hancock’s Ottomans both scored 32 points to remain tied with each other and remain tied for second. Yope’s Spanish brought him back into the fight just one point behind them. Earlier Romano had done well enough to be five behind Miller and Hancock. But once again they all failed to derail the Harley Express as her Mughals pulled 33 points and another chit! The final card draw sequence was a bit hairy with four players right there together just ten plus points off the lead. And once the last place player kept his card, all thought that Britain was out of play. But that was not the case and one of the hounds was given a chance to go for the gold. Rex Lehmann’s Russia had a fruitful 41-point start to the festivities followed by a 43-point Manchu turn for Miller. His 182 total points set the mark for Romano’s French to beat. Romano did his best to maximize his play but it wasn’t enough to pass Miller. But it was a beautiful thing to see that what he needed to accomplish for his own good was also perfectly aligned with the “Get Harley” campaign being advocated by others around the board. And what France didn’t get, Hancock’s Britain did! Japan joined the party as she dominated the world, with 22 points in the structures section of the score sheet and 64 points overall. By the time that Harley fired up the US, she was barely hanging on across the map and did little to help herself on her turn. When the markers were revealed Harley had 20 bonus points, but after the seventh epoch had ended she was 31 points off the lead. Hancock cruised to a 15-point win over the other Christina with Miller another 10 points back.
Game #2: Steve Scarangello’s Sumerians controlled the Middle East to take an early lead but Chris Trimmer is eventually able to tie him with his Indus/Hittites combo at nine points. Patti Swift’s Egyptians and Jon Anderson’s Babylonians each pull seven points to set up a tie for third. Jeff King puts together a strong Vedic City States turn to compliment his Shang Dynasty and moves into third just a point ahead of Trimmer and his Scythians. Swift is able to nicely dovetail the Greek City States with her prior Egyptian holdings and take second place outright. But the lead shifts to Anderson on the strength of a structures rich Persian turn. Mark Smith sets a nice target for the third epoch by pulling 38 points with the Macedonians for a total of 55. A target that is immediately bested by Swift and her Maurya by a point. Trimmer hangs in there with a good Han Dynasty turn but is still a point behind Anderson for third after he survives the Hsiung-Nu experience. The fourth epoch has a bit of a scoring flip for Trimmer and Smith as the former gets a nice score from the Huns that helps him catch Smith and his T’ang at 78 points. The real action though is at the top where Anderson comes back with the Arabs to score 33 points. Swift is able to put together a solid turn with another Indian empire as the Guptas get her enough to tie Anderson at 82. Pre-eminence marker denied!!! Early in the fifth epoch, Trimmer and Smith play out very similarly scoring turns as the Franks and Vikings to stay neck and neck. They squeeze ahead of Swift and her Holy Romans as she can’t procure dominance anywhere on the map. Anderson is able to weather the early turn storm by not really having any presence in the west where the action was churning. His Chola scored enough to get him the lead and his second chit. The sixth epoch starts with Trimmer’s Timurids scoring well as he fills in the gaps of his worldwide presence. Anderson is right there tied with him for second after maintaining with the Mughals. Swift keeps herself in the mix with a strong Ottoman Turks play, but the lead goes to Smith as his Portuguese spread his influence across the map. The seventh epoch finds Trimmer’s Russians crushing a 43-point turn to put him in the early lead. In what surely was an attempt to limit Smith’s ability to score he was given the Netherlands, but he still pulled 38 points with his aforementioned Portuguese presence. The lack of the British Empire and the French armies seemingly expanding into the fringes/backwaters of the world allowed Anderson to still pull 42 points with the US. That put him one shy of Trimmer for the last pre-eminence marker. That left only Swift and her German hordes to challenge for the last chit. The lack of or the inability to gain presence in China may just have been the difference in who won this game as Swift ended the epoch two points off the lead. In what was by far the closest semifinal game, Anderson won with 190 points, Trimmer and Smith tied for second at 185, and Swift trailed with 184. As such, all four were slotted to advance.
Game #3: This game started with a rare Sumerian/Hittites/Cannanites triple play that marked Jamie Tang as a clear leader to be targeted. Following in her wake five points back is John Parker’s Egyptians and then tied for third is Kevin Youells (Egypt) and Ted Drozd (Indus Valley). Tang does well enough with the Chou to tie Drozd’s Greek City States for second, but they are one point behind as Youells was able to clean up the Fertile Crescent with his Assyrian domination. As the third epoch starts, Tang tries to stay relevant with Celts but slips back to fourth place. Parker has a good turn as the Mauryans to close up on the lead while the top scorer of the epoch is Mike Shulze’s Han Dynasty for 30 points. The lead though goes to Drozd and his “sassy” Sasanids gaining him his first pre-eminence marker. The fourth epoch has Shulze continuing to be frustrated in his bid for a marker as his Guptas place him one point off the lead. Once again Tang is saddled with the T’ang but ends up two points off the lead. So she has that going for her. The leaders are able to stay up front as all empires in this epoch didn’t score well. There were plenty of reasons for that, though they had players coming from different directions. Parker’s Huns didn’t have much board presence to work with and didn’t leave much after they were done. Speaking of nothing to work with, Youells’ Goths went early in the turn but the only thing on the map at that time for him was Hsiung-Nu presence in China. At least leader Drozd had something left once his Khmers got to go. That mostly was because the Romans didn’t make an appearance. With that piece of luck, he collected a second pre-eminence marker. The fifth epoch starts with Shulze falling off of the pace with a subpar Franks turn that sees diminishing board presence hurting him. Parker and Nick Palmer catch up to Shulze at this time but lose a chance to make more headway as they squander Seljuk Turks and Mongols empires respectively. Tang has another strong turn with the Sung Dynasty to claim second and keep pace with Drozd. He has the Chola but also gains help from Fujiwara and various North America tribes. Look out, that makes three markers in a row! In the sixth epoch, clearly the Anti-Drozd forces had done their damage (even if they didn’t score well for it) because his Timurid Emirates had a lot less to bank upon when scoring. Palmer bangs out a powerful 43-point turn to shoot into second but the lead is now in the hands of Tang as her Portuguese makes sure she has good board presence moving forward. Drozd goes first in the seventh epoch as the Manchu and is limited to 37 points, finishing with 162. Palmer makes a bid for glory by posting a 51-point turn that sees French troops everywhere except for Nippon. His 179 points was going to be hard to beat. Interestingly, the US went to Youells. Maybe people thought his 34-point Incas/Aztecs turn made him a threat. Or maybe Tang already had a card. Whatever the thinking, he was able to pull 43 points. He was just too far back for just about any empire to matter. The game really came down to how well Tang could do with the Germans. She had two pre-eminence markers while Palmer had none. He needed her to score roughly 35 points to have a chance, but she proceeded to score 36 points in just the Area section of the score sheet on her way to a 48-point turn. Her 15 bonus points from three markers added to her 180 points gave her a 16-point win.
Final: The Final was an interesting affair from the start because two qualifiers didn’t show. One, Chris Trimmer, was finishing up his work in War of the Ring, while three-game winner Christina Hancock was just missing in action! Unfortunately for them, the show must go on. So the two other semifinals winners, Jon Anderson and Jamie Tang, were joined by Mark Smith and Patti Swift, plus the two alternates: Christina Harley and Ted Drozd. With that adjustment, the action commenced.
- Sumeria fails to form leaving an opening for later empires.
- Patti: Minor Empire Hittites gives her control of the Middle East. Egypt proceeds to control North Africa and then expands into the Balkans.
- Jon:The Minoans land forces in Levant and then fortify their island capital.
- Jamie: Indus Valley troops spread east into Western Ghats and then turn west to occupy the Persian Salt Desert.
- Ted: Babylon crosses the mountains into Zagros and then sacks the Hittites capital for Middle Eastern Control.
- Christina: Shang Dynasty expands southeast to the coast for China control.
- Mark: The Aryans have easy avenues of expansion into China, India, and the Middle East courtesy of the Sumerian absence. It doesn’t hurt to gain the Cannanites as an ally.
The initial card draw was a real pass fest with only Mark getting an obvious clunker thanks to Jon. Patti was the only player to keep her draw. Her Egypt went well with the Hittites and went even better once the Sumerians didn’t appear. She jumped out to a large lead with the rest in a gaggle far behind.
Patti 15, Ted 7, Jamie 7, Mark 6, Christina 5, Jon 5
- Christina: Assyria takes over the Babylonian capital and then marches eastward to sack the Indus Valley capital. Heavy casualties were recorded as excess population was fed into the war machine.
- The Chou forces actually lose the Battle of Muye and never gain power in China.
- Patti: The Vedic City States armies are seriously mauled while fighting through the forests of Western Deccan on her way to Eastern Ghats.
- Ted: Before the Greek City States begin, a civil war erupts in the decadent lands of Egypt. Two lands successfully join the Greek confederacy. The Greeks move north to clean out most of Southern Europe and then cross over into Western Anatolia. A final amphibious assault into Levant fails.
- Jon: Both the Etruscans and the Phoenicians join the Scythian party. Unfortunately, the Phoenicians break upon the walls of the fortified Assyrian capital. The Scythians struggle to enter into Eastern Anatolia and eventually move south to finally take the empty Assyrian capital.
- Jamie: Major floods strike in the Upper Tigris and the Upper Indus wiping the land clean. Carthaginian forces march relentlessly across North Africa and into the Arabian Peninsula. Then turning to the sea, they attack Morea and move north into Pindus. They then construct massive walls around their capital.
- Mark: Persian might is unleashed in a drive to the shores of the Mediterranean and the capture of the Phoenician capital. But things got a lot tougher when they turned east. The swamps of the Lower Indus and the forests of Western Deccan were a much tougher set of nuts to crack.
Patti went early enough in the epoch to still have a lot of presence in the west to compliment her eastern empire. She was given the Vedic by Ted since Ted had a card and Christina, Mark, and Jamie had all kept their draws. She now had two markers and a substantial lead heading into the third epoch.
Patti: 37, Christina: 23, Ted: 23, Jamie: 22, Mark: 21, Jon: 19
- Patti: Pestilence rages in the Persian capital and the adjacent Hindu Kush. The Celts control Northern Europe and then push south into Italy and SE Europe.
- Mark: Whispers arrive from across the waters about new friends called the Mayans. Meanwhile, the Macedonians drive south to Crete but lose their beloved leader in the battle for the fortified Minoan capital. The new general turns north to land in Danubia and then campaigns across Eurasia to take the Shang capital.
- Fears over the earlier pestilence in Western India keep Chandragupta Maurya in his palace and off the world stage.
- Jon: His Han Dynasty moves south along the coast and then turns west into Irrawaddy. From there he crosses into India and shoots along the east coast. Finally he goes west along the Great Wall down into the Tarim Basin.
- Christina: Word filters north that the Kush have arisen. Rumors claim that the Plague had hit the Han capital but emissaries of the king assure everyone that it’s not true. With the door into China locked up tight, the Hsiung-Nu see a better way forward by heading southwest into the empty Persian capital and the likewise Hindu Kush.
- Ted: Their crowded cities and new weapons combine to fuel Roman expansion into Pindus to crush the fortified Macedonian capital. They finish off their drive to Crete and then jump over to Western Anatolia gaining control of Southern Europe in the process. Changing gears, they then land in Egypt and move north to Levant. The final move is to control North Africa by going west and taking the Carthaginian capital.
- Jamie: Aboriginal allies abound in Australia. In other news, barbarian hordes swarm out of the Alps and take Northern Gaul. The Sassanids thrust north through Asia Minor and then fortify Western Anatolia and their capital in Zagros.
In true big dog fashion, Mark’s Macedonians and Ted’s Romans (which they drew and kept) scored well while all the rest had dismal turns. Patti had much of her presence wiped off the map before she went and the Celts certainly didn’t do much to replace said losses. But she was able to stay near the front because of her big lead going into the third epoch. Christina, Jamie, and Jon were just looking to survive at this point.
Mark 55, Ted 52, Patti 51, Jamie 38, Christina 38, Jon 36
- Patti: Gains a mountain retreat in the Southern Andes. The Guptas gain naval help in the South China Sea but really concentrate on ground movement. Excursions to Western Deccan and Eastern Ghats gain dominance of India. Then across the Bay of Bengal they go to begin their control of SE Asia with victories in the Malayan Peninsula, Mekong, and Irrawaddy. Lastly, they poke into China at Si-Kyang.
- Goths? Goths? We don’t need no stinkin’ Goths!!!!
- Jon: Jihading Huns stampede their way into Northern Europe and then into Southern Europe all the way to Rome. (If not the Goths, then why not the Huns?) Then they turn south to take the Persian Plateau.
- Jamie: Massive earthquakes rock the Shatts Plateau and Eastern Deccan. Byzantine armies march north up the Danube and down the Rhine all the way to the North Sea. They then cleared out the eastern half of Southern Europe. Constantinople gets fortified.
- Christina: Anglo-Saxons aren’t very keen to mix it up with the Byzantine garrisons in Europe so they choose instead to sail to Ireland and the Scottish Highlands. The T’ang Dynasty on the other hand is looking for a fight! They pop out through Si-Kyang to the Mekong and then head north to take the Han capital. Continuing south they take Irrawaddy and the Malayan Peninsula for SE Asian control. Their “mojo” must have departed them though because they failed to force their way into India and they couldn’t take the resource territory of Chekiang. They bunker down in their capital and Irrawaddy.
- Ted: With the power of Siegecraft, the Arabs crush all before them as they come to control the Middle East and North Africa. Their rampaging ends with a mutual annihilation attack at the walls of the Byzantine capital. Walls go up around Mecca and in the Persian Plateau.
- Mark: Unrest in the aging Byzantine Empire erupts into civil war but only the rebels in Morea are successful in their bid for freedom. The Khmers pay a bloody price to get presence in China.
Leader Mark is brought back to the pack with a lackluster Khmers turn. Ted doesn’t score well with the Arabs simply because his Roman legions are scoured from earth. Jamie and Jon do the heavy lifting when it comes to cleaning out the Romans and Macedonians but are still trailing the leaders by ten points. Patti is able to slide back into a tie for the lead with a relatively good turn with the Guptas. Everyone was working hard to keep things close.
Ted 72, Patti 72, Mark 71, Jon 62, Jamie 61, Christina 60
Let’s be Frank - they weren’t invited.
- Jamie: Viking adventurers cross to the ocean to dominate the Great Lakes and the Great Plains. Other warriors turn east to ride across Eurasia and scale the Great Wall into China.
- Patti: As North America migrants are driven out by the Vikings, they coalesce into pockets of resistance in the South and West Indies. Expert Mountain Troops are the spearhead for a Holy Roman drive through Danubia, down into the Balkans and Morea. She finishes off Northern European dominance with a victory in the Lower Rhine.
- Christina: War drums are heard as Mali arises. Bloodied Crusaders take over Palestine and then expand into Egypt. The Chola take to the seas for expansion into Sumatra and Ceylon. Then ground forces march north into Eastern Deccan and the Ganges Valley.
- Ted: The Jewish Revolt throws off the Crusaders yoke. Far to the east Fujiwara appears to dominate Nippon and fortify its island capital. The Sung Dynasty struggles in its quest to dominate China but finally does on its way to taking the Khmers capital.
- Jon: Sub-Saharan migrants gather in Central Africa and Madagascar. The Seljuk Turks, pockets full of civil service coins, push their way across the mountains of the Hindu Kush. They wreak havoc across Northern India and then turn west for a march to Levant.
- Mark: The Mongols make their first move to control Nippon and take the Fujiwara capital through treacherous means. Their conquest is further aided by superior weaponry. This is put to great use as they turn south into China for domination there and a presence in SE Asia. The final phase of carnage is to race across the steppe to Central Europe.
Ted is able to take the lead on the strength of continued control of the Middle East and dominance of North Africa paired with his new found eastern holding in China, SE Asia, and Nippon. Mark stays close with his Mongols but Patti is starting to fade after the Holy Romans don’t offer her enough to get back into places like China and the Middle East. Jon and Christina score well on this turn but are still lagging 15 points off the lead. And Jamie really had a tough turn with the Vikings. Reviewing the card draw for this epoch shows an interesting set of choices, especially the one that gives the Vikings to Jamie and eventually allows Mark to draw his own fate. I know where I would have sent the Vikings!
Ted 104, Mark 98, Patti 92, Christina 89, Jon 88, Jamie 77
Mark: With his Ming troops highly trained in Forest and Straits warfare, the avoidance of the Mongols starts with a SE Asian adventure through the East Indies, Sumatra, and the Malayan Peninsula. That then was the springboard for dominance of India.
- Christina: The Timurids have trouble getting over the mountains butting their heads against a fortified Persian Plateau and then more issues arise in taking the Hindu Kush. They eventually end with dominance in India after a mutual annihilation in the Indus Valley.
- Ted: Needed presence in SE Asia comes in the form of the Thai Kingdom. The Aztecs choose to stand pat and fortify their capital. The Incas want more but end up only killing themselves to take out the Tiahuanaco people.
- Jamie: Reallocation coins in the hands of a Leader are the driving force behind the Ottoman Turks as they push into Southern Europe, Northern Europe, the Middle East, and finally into India.
- Patti: The Black Plague strikes in isolated pockets of China and SE Asia but curiously ignores the Mongols and the Ming. Lucky dice, anyone? The Portuguese armies, wielding strange new boom sticks, stay close to home to clean up the western half of Southern Europe and take Gaul.
- The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain. And because of that, they got stuck in the mud. No bueno.
- Jon: The lands cleared by the Black Plague allows the Mughals to move easily across Northern India and into Irrawaddy. From there they turn north to take the majority of China.
Mark was able to double dip on his Mongol expansion by turning right around with the Ming. The situation is even more interesting because he drew that empire. The card draw sequence saw most players keep what they drew with only Jon and Ted trading cards. So Mark gets his second pre-eminence marker and stretches his lead to 15 over Ted who seems to be going in the wrong direction. Jamie had the only other high scoring empire this turn but was so far back that it only brought her back to the chase group.
Mark 137, Ted 122, Christina 115, Jon 112, Patti 112, Jamie 110
- Christina: Sparking Tsarist leadership matched up with advanced weaponry allows the armies of Russia to fight through Danubia and the Balkans on their way to capturing the Ottoman capital. A thrust westward into the eastern regions of Northern Europe assures dominance there. Just as taking Eastern Steppe give her dominance in Eurasia.
- No Manchu, boo hoo!!! Hey, there’s no crying in History of the World. Whining and complaining are allowed.
- Ted: Again strong leadership is evident as the Netherlands take the Portuguese capital and land in South Africa, but it was found to be lacking in a failed amphibious attack upon the Chola capital in Eastern Ghats.
- Jon: With Reallocation and Naval Power France marches across Northern Europe to the Baltic Seaboard. They drop into North America, South America, Australia, and Nippon to gain precious presence while pushing south into Dalmatia, Pindus, and Morea for dominance of Southern Europe. He goes on a fort building spree putting structures in Northern Gaul, the Baltic Seaboard, Honshu, and the French capital.
- Jamie: Reallocation and elite troops are what Britain brings to the party. Unfortunately (or unwisely), the elite troops are immediately lost attacking across the straits into the Northern Gaul fortifications. After many coins are burned, the French capital is taken. British troops drop into South America for dominance and follow that with an amphibious attack into the North American Southland to gain dominance there. She drops into the Congo Basin for African presence but has to fight into Hokaido for Nippon presence. Another amphib into Ceylon gets her presence in India while she takes both Sumatra and the East Indies to gain dominance of SE Asia. Her last gasp ends in a mutual killing in Central Africa trying to gain African dominance.
- Mark: The United States uses Naval Power (and lucky dice?) to make tough attacks into Eastern Ghats, the Great Plains of China, and Australia just a bit easier. These victories are augmented by a southern campaign to gain dominance in South America.
- Patti: German Elite Troops allow them to successfully amphib into Albion and Western Gaul. Then Moscow falls but Rome holds again the Kaiser’s naval attack. She finishes with a drop in for presence in East Africa.
Jamie gives it a gallant try to catch Mark but all his tough attacks across the Pacific go his way. She needed most, if not all, of them to fail and only then would she had a chance to tie him. He had two pre-eminence markers in hand and gaining the last one just salted the game away. Jon came roaring back with a very nice France play but again too little, too late. Ted was knocked down so far that the finishing combo of Incas/Aztecs and then the Netherlands gave him too few armies to get back in the mix. Patti started strong but had a string of empires in the mid game that just didn’t score for her. Then her Portuguese turn was prosecuted in a manner that didn’t give her the needed presence across the board that would have worked with most of the seventh epoch powers - like her Germany. Christina garners the elusive sand plaque for a game in which she just never got much to work with as evidenced by a total empire strength of just 51.
Congratulations to Mark Smith for winning back to back titles and puts an even larger target on his expansive back side. I enjoyed the new venue and the new schedule—especially the Monday afternoon heat. Next year the event will be run by Ty Hansen and I know he will do a great job. I hope you give him your full support.