The preliminary heats filled eight games, including a 2-player match between Peter Reese and Melvin Casselberry (won by Reese) when a foursome couldn’t be found. Wellington is designed for four players but with only two sides. Two players partner to play the French Armies of the North and South, whereas the other two players partner as the Spanish and the British. The two sides battle each other for supremacy; each side cooperates to beat the other, but in the end, the player with the most Victory Points (VPs) wins the game. Our semifinals are slightly different. Eight players advance to the semis and four continue to the Final. Thus, the two winning partnerships in the semifinals both advance to the Final regardless of points.
In the first semifinal, Pat Duffy and Rejean Tremblay were able to defeat the French led by Eric Alexopoulous and Henry Russell. In the other bracket, Peter Reese and Mike Rogozinski bested Jesse Boomer and Bill Pettus. Rogozinski, who could count the number of Wellington games he had played on one hand, joined a list of several novice players who have been able to make the Final over the years.
In the Final, Peter Reese and Pat Duffy teamed up as Britain and Spain, respectively. Mike Rogozinski took the northern French while Rejean Tremblay commanded the southern French. Of course in the Final, “team” becomes a bit misleading.
Play began with Britain failing to siege San Sebastian, stalling any chance for an initial advance. Rejean Tremblay, playing the always unpredictable southern French, decided to gamble and use Soult, France’s best leader, to invade Portugal. This move serves two purposes. First, it can force an aggressive British player to return to Portugal to defend what is, for game purposes, its homeland. Second, France can attain a sudden death victory by taking all victory point spaces in Portugal while holding Madrid. Tremblay had this in mind. He easily took the fortress in Elvas and moved on to a lightly defended Lisbon. All seemed to be going well for the French, but Britain had a rare two-space intercept card, which allowed Wellington to intercept into Lisbon and force a large battle. The dice shined on the British, who rolled a spectacular 16 hits with 31 dice and annihilated Soult’s army.
The French debacle completely changed the complexion of the game. Once the aggressor, France now had to struggle to hold what it had. Britain, having used several cards, was in a poor position to press its advantage in Lisbon, but Spain, taking advantage of Soult’s disaster, was able to take all of France’s VP spaces in southern Spain. Pat was also able to retain Spain’s fortress in Valencia, which is an important gateway for Spanish forces to gain access to northern Spain.
Turn 2 saw the French falling back into northern Spain to defend their homeland. Britain took the key space of Madrid and began to press north while the Spanish did likewise on Britain’s right flank. By turn’s end, France held only two VP spaces in Spain and had few troops left to defend them. France had no chance. At the same time, Britain, having had to spend so much to defend Portugal, had not gained sufficient VP spaces to win either. Although Britain would surely be on the winning side and had caused the lion’s share of the French demise, it seemed impossible that its overall performance would best Spain so all agreed to end the game at the end of the turn, leaving Spain and Pat Duffy as the overall winner.
On a personal note, your GM had to do some research to discover when the last time was that he had won a WBC tourney. Sadly, the answer was never. He was 0 for the millennia. I can’t wait until 2033 when I will be due to win again!