We played it safe and retained the same schedule from previous years even though there is no more Pre-Con. The Virgin Queen tournament is a bit of an endurance test with both heats on the first Sunday. If you played through to the semifinals on Monday morning you may have experienced side effects such as dizziness, numbness in the extremities, blurred vision and loss of memory. At least that’s what they tell me, since I can’t remember. Fortunately, I took notes! Armies were destroyed, galleys were sunk, leaders were assassinated, and some people even played Virgin Queen.
Lots of new people appeared for the demo and 31 players reported for the first two heats on Sunday. Games in both heats were played for a maximum of three turns. Players picked their powers in random order. The most popular first pick was England followed by Ottomans; the least favorite was Spain.
England was a good choice (Ottomans, not so much). In the first heat, Eric Monte and Paul Grosser won with England while Kirk Harris, Chris Trimmer, and Matt Hannan all recorded Protestant wins (including two religious automatic victories). You’d think that, with an opening heat like that, players in the second heat would be drawn to these two powers but they did not succumb to the temptation. In Heat 2, the favored power to play was Spain. Wins in Heat 2 went to England (Matt Hannan), Spain (Jeff Heidman), and France (Eric Monte) with the Protestants coming in far, far behind.
Matt Hannan and Eric Monte both won two games and were given first choice of powers in the semifinals. All elimination round games were played for the full four turns of the Tournament Scenario. After already winning with England, Eric Monte decided not to fix something that wasn’t broke and chose England again. He was rewarded with his third victory of the tournament! The other two games were won by Jeff Heidman who achieved a religious automatic victory as the Protestants in the second turn and Seth Gregor who also won with the Protestants but did so the old-fashioned way: by getting 25 VPs after four grueling Turns.
The winners of the three semifinal games advanced to Round 3 along with the three players with the highest VP totals in those games. Eric Monte who already had two English wins got first pick of powers and went for the trifecta. Seth Gregor who won with the Protestants in the semis was given second choice and went Protestant again. Jeff Heidman was the only player to win with Spain and figured he could do it again with the third pick. Are we seeing a trend yet? After Jeff, Chris Trimmer chose the ever-popular Ottomans. Michael Kiefte made it to the Final totally winless but with enough VPs in the semis to secure a seat and was forced to make a difficult choice between the Holy Roman Empire and France. He chose the HRE and Justin Rice (also winless) was left with France.
The Ottomans struggled to gain victory points from piracy and at some point decided to swear off pirating altogether and just kill people instead. They declared war on the Protestants! They Spring Deployed all the way to the gates of Lyons after negotiating an alliance with Spain. Although the people of Lyons resisted, it was briefly entertaining to see the Ottomans and Protestants at war. Meanwhile, Spain retained both Venice and the Papacy throughout. In fact Venice was resolved only once and the Papacy was not resolved at all. The HRE attempted to assassinate Henry III which should have been a sure thing given his zero leadership rating but, amazingly, Henry survived to the great relief of the French (who need Henry in Paris to collect the Paris VP). William of Orange was not so lucky. Spain managed to assassinate him after an almost endless series of retools. In the greatest bluff ever, Leicester actually married Elizabeth I in the third Turn (Turn 5) just to bait Spain into attempting the English Catholic Rebellion while Walsingham lurked in the background. In a last-ditch effort to gain some marriage VPs, France betrothed Charles IX to Louise of Lorraine (who also happened to be French). However, Charles IX died for no particularly spectacular reason (i.e., Henry III was played and Charles IX died of natural causes…). The French VP total struggled throughout the game.
At the end of Turn 5, Jeff Heidman won with Spain at 28 VPs after cleaning up on Dutch Revolts and Enterprises of England. The final scores were:
1st place: Jeff Heidman (Spain) 28 VPs
2nd place: Chris Trimmer (Ottomans) 23 VPs
3rd place: Erik Monte (England) 21 VPs
4th place: Michael Kiefte (HRE) 20 VPs
5th place: Justin Rice (France) 18 VPs
6th place: Seth Gregor (Protestants) 13 VPs
Congratulations to Jeff for a fine win with a monstrous lead. Spain is a tough power to play against veteran players and requires some real skill. Also congratulations to both Erik Monte and Seth Gregor who are new to the game and managed to make their mark in the laurels list!
This is the fourth year that Virgin Queen has appeared at WBC. In that time we have logged 61 games. Victories by power thus far are as follows:
Ottomans: 9 (including two by military victory - but there were no wins this year)
Spain: 9 (including three by Gunpowder Plot and three by military victory)
England: 15 (all by VP with five additional wins this year)
France: 6 (all by VP)
HRE: 5 (all by VP but none this year)
Protestant: 17 (including five religious victories and six military victories)
There were no military victories this year. Both the Protestant and English powers remain strong. The HRE showed some promise with three victories in 2015, but there were none this year as everyone assumes that the HRE has picked the optimal religious preference at any given moment. It was surprising that the Ottomans had no victories this year despite their strong showing in previous tournaments but that may just be an anomaly. Meanwhile, the Protestants still lead in wins even without any military victories this year and despite having two clear natural enemies on the board: Spain and France.
We will likely be experimenting with a different schedule next year to make the Virgin Queen tournament a little less… challenging insofar as endurance is concerned. We saw a lot of new faces this year and we hope to see them again in 2017. Thanks to all who participated!
| Michael Kiefte [1st Year]