Our second year at Seven Springs! I would say the venue is holding up and now we’re signed up for 10 more years. Sadly, in Britannia, we did fall a little in our numbers, so, tell your friends! Britannia is a great game! On the positive side, we had a large number of new folks playing this year, as well as some new folks coming back after a few years of not playing. And that was great to see.
In our three heats this year, we had a total of 11 games. So what happened in those heats? Well, we had one game with a Scottish Bretwalda. Yeah, don’t ask. Speaking of Yellow, in the heats, we maintained a nice even balance of color wins in the first 2 heats. Then, in the 3rd heat, we had 1 Green win and 3 Yellow! So, our final totals were 2 wins each for Blue, Green and Red, and 5 wins for Yellow! Of course, some of that Yellow slant may have come from one person, Randy Schilb, playing Yellow in 3 games in the heats, and winning 2 of the 3. And he posted an amusing set of scores, 232, 234 and 236.
Our closest game winners in the three heats were Kurt Kramer in the first, with a super tight 244/243 win as Blue. In the second heat, Llew Bardecki had a not so close win of 233/221 as Yellow (another Yellow score in the 230’s you’ll note.) And in the final heat, it was Ed O’Connor at 222/220 as Yellow, in a game that saw only 8 points that separated 1st and 4th place. So kudos to Ed’s opponents as well, Barry Smith, Randy Schilb (yes, a game where Randy did not play Yellow), and Rich Curtin.
Now, the high scores in the heats. Mark Smith took Red with a tidy score of 271. Randy Schilb pulled out Yellow with a score of 236. Ewan, just shy of 300, won with Blue at 298. And finally Scott Pfeiffer took Green with a very nice 262.
My favorite prize for the heats, Ethelraed the Unraed, for the lowest score by a semi-finalist, was hotly contested this year! Rick Kirchner narrowly beat Ed O’Connor to the prize with a score of 192 versus Ed’s 193. One of these years that low score is going to cross 200.
We had an exciting semifinal round of three games which meant the highest 2nd place finisher would also advance to the final. With all three games having first and second separated by a maximum of three points along with one tie for second, we had to wait until all three games were finished to determine the finalists! The winners were Ewan McNay, Rick Kirchner and Jim Jordan. High second place was garnered by Scott Pfeiffer (228/226) with Matt O’Connor as 1st alternate (236/233). Ewan decided to play in the Merchant of Venus semifinals, so Matt advanced.
On to the final! Matt drew Yellow, Scott Blue, Rick Green and Jim Red. Now let the purple prose flow!
Matt’s Romans come ashore in a standard setup after his emissaries made the usual deal with Rick’s Welsh to run to the hills. The Romans quickly submitted the Belgae, losing only two legions. The Romans then surged all the way up to Lothian.
Scott sent Boudicca to Essex with 4, leaving supply centers behind in Norfolk and Lindsey. Although one legion was quickly eliminated, the Belgae then lost two. The battle came down to Boudicca and 1 vs the fort. They destroyed each other on the last roll.
After that drama, it was quiet the rest of the Romans rounds. The Angles burned Dunedin on turn 4. On turn 5, with Essex empty, the Jutes gambled, left one in Essex and took just 3 into Kent. The Gamble was rewarded taking out the legion and the fort in one roll worked splendidly with the Jutes only lost one!
Turn 6 opened with the RBs putting 3 in the Downlands, 2 in Lindsey, and 2 killing the terrified Jute left over in Essex. The Welsh kicked a lost Irishman out of Wales, but lost 1 in the process. The Irish, to help the Saxons, tried to kill a Romano-British, but lost one themselves instead. The Scots tried to kill two Picts, but lost 2 instead, killing none. The Saxons headed into the Downlands with 4 and Aelle, and quickly lost 2, leaving Aelle poorly defended from Arthur. It was a bad stretch for those raiding parties. Turn 6 closed with the Angles threatening the Brigantes in Galloway as James had screwed up by not putting 2 Brigantes in Galloway. So, not wanting to lose Galloway, Jim submitted a turn early.
Turn 7 opened with the Picts maxed out and the discussions with the Scots started. The Irish managed to get into Cornwall. Then the Scots invaded. They came on with 2 and Fergus in Dalriada and 4 in Skye. They lost 1 in each battle, leaving a rather threadbare Scottish kingdom. In a noble gesture, the last two Jutes declined to kill Arthur with his 2 cavalry. Then came the Angle major invasion. The Angles were not so gentle with Arthur, taking 7 in to kill him with one roll. The retreat blocking attack into Lindsey did not go as well and the Angles retreated. But on the 2nd round, Ida went in to clean up Lindsey handily.
Turn 8 was largely uneventful until 7 Saxons went into North Mercia to kill 3 Angles with one roll. That led to a Red Bretwalda.
On turn 9, Red and Green agreed to a deal between the Saxons/Irish and Jutes to leave the Irish in Cornwall while Jutes stayed in Kent. So the Irish went storming, with 1, into Cumbria instead of bothering the Welsh anymore. It was a good storm, the Irish won.
Turn 10 saw the still very large Picts, with nowhere else enticing to go, take 3 Picts into Strathclyde. Jim’s poor Brigantes lost.
On to turn 11 and fortress England where the Danes saw a shore stacked with 2 all the way around. But, the braves Danes raided anyway. They lost 4. Ouch!
Finally, on Turn 12, the Jutes were eliminated. It was a brawl where no one could find each other as it took 36 rolls between the two sides to get the 2 hits needed to kill them. No Saxons were lost in the brawl. Meanwhile, the Danes came ashore and did rather better than in their raiding. They killed 4 Saxons losing none. They also took out 2 Angles in York before stomping on the Brigante in the Pennines.
The Dubliners roared ashore on Turn 13. But they found almost no one there. The 1 Angle in Cumbria and the 1 in Cheshire were quickly dispatched at the expense of 1 Dubliner.
On turn 14, the Welsh decided it was time to help out the Danes. So they headed out of their hills and took 3 Saxon spaces while killing 3 Saxons. With that bold assistance, the Danes just managed to eke out a Kingship. Meanwhile, far to the north, the Norsemen killed off the last two Caledonians in Caithness. And, the Dubliners, looking for a place to go, decided that Dyfed and Gwent in Wales looked very pretty and went to vacation there. They successfully took both, but only had 1 left over to hold Gwent. The Danish fortunes on turn 14 turned around swiftly as the Saxons kicked the Danes back out of Sussex and Kent in southern England and earned themselves a Saxon Kingship.
Turn 15 opened the final days, with the Welsh easily knocking the Dubliners out of Wales, losing no Welshmen in the process. Getting 6’s on each of their first rolls tended to help that result. The remaining Welsh in England tried to dash back to the safety of the homeland ahead of the Norwegians without much luck. Too much ale in the taverns perhaps? The Dane dash for safety in the Pennines did work. The Norwegians were concerned about the green presence and killed the Danes in the Pennines and Norfolk. Well, 1 in Norfolk did manage to retreat to Lindsey. But the Norwegians lost one in each battle. Still, only the 1 Angle in Bernicia was left to take out. Harald decided to build a fine castle in the Pennines ordering 3 Norwegians into Bernicia and they killed the Angle with no losses. The last 3 Angles bravely strode back into Lothian to take out 3 Dubliners. And they did it in fine style with one swing and a roll of 6-5-6. The Dubliners hit none. So the Angles lost 1 to starvation, not a bad trade. The Norman invasion, in the face of a hefty pile of Saxons, did not do as well. The Saxons managed to get rid of 5 Norman infantry and 1 cavalry making it look very dicey for William.
Turn 16 proves that case. Svein goes to kill William, who is protected by only 2 cav. William loses 1, kills 2 and William retreats to South Mercia leaving a strange looking board with Kings clustered all around. Harold and 4 in the Downlands, William and his cavalry in South Mercia, and Svein and 2 in Essex. The Norwegians decided to just spread out and kill the Welsh in Cheshire and March, and the Dane in Lindsey. Harald is left with 1 in Lindsey. Harold boldly heads to Lindsey and kills Harald, but he’s down to 1 Saxon. William then attacks Svein with 1 cavalry and an infantry. Svein dies but the cavalry also dies. A cavalry in Suffolk wins against the lone Dane there. Finally, in a dramatic denouement, the Normans attack with 2 infantry into Sussex against 1 Saxon. In a stunning feat of arms and die rolling, the Saxon wins! The Saxons are King! Of course, England is virtually empty.
But even with a final Saxon kingship, Matt’s Yellow hangs on for victory, scoring 234. Jim’s Red comes in at 231, Rick’s Green at 219 and Scott’s Blue not far behind with 207. A delightfully tight scoring game that was played well and courteously by everyone!
Congratulations to Matt O’Connor on his 2nd victory in a row! Now we know who has a target painted on his back for next year! Great to see you all and bring your friends along next year. See you then!