The 2017 tournament of Hannibal was hampered by the time slot change needed to accommodate the GM who had a family wedding to attend. Attendance was accordingly down to 34 compared to 51 in 2016. In 2018, the event should be returning to its usual first Saturday-Sunday slot. Nonetheless, the field was strong, boasting five prior champions, and an average AREA rating of 5220 for the entire field. Half of the 47 matches were close games into the final turn. Carthage was only sacked once. Rome won 25 times and Carthage 22 times. The average bid for sides was 1.25 for Carthage, with the highest bid at 3 for Carthage. Average playing time for games going the distance was 4 hours, with one-third exceeding that length. Eight games ended early on resignations, six in favor of Rome and three due to the early death of Hannibal. Hannibal died a total of 12 times but Carthage played onwards in nine of those, winning once. Scipio Africanus died five times. The side that Intercepted Messengers the most, won 58% of the time. Philip and Syracuse joined Carthage 40% of the time. Syracuse was sacked in two-thirds of those cases. Syracuse joined on turn 9 twice. We only had one tournament rookie this year, but he won before drifting off to another event.
Using AREA Rankings plus last year’s top three finishers, the top 12 players present were placed in seeded brackets to spread them out and have them avoid playing any rookies in the first round. As it turned out, the tough field rudely met the top seeds such that only four of them had a shot at a prize in the final round. The fickle finger of fate also played out some bad omens throughout the tourney. Other than rookies and top seeds, everybody else draws a number placing them in the brackets. This is their first “omen” of the event. For #3 seed Larry Luongo it was déjà vu, as he drew a first round game against former champ, Aaron Fuegi, for the second year in a row. This year Fuegi benefitted from a turn 8 Syracuse and turn 9 Messenger to pull out a 10-8 victory as Carthage. Roderick Lee’s bad omen was an air transport delay that left him arriving late to find the only opponent available was the GM, the #10 seed. A hard-fought series of battles in Sardinia, Sicily, and Syracuse left the latter sacked on turn 8 but Rod’s Romans down on the province count, with the Cato card ending his hope of breaking the turn 9 tie. Andy Latto ground down Paul Gaberson’s Roman holdings to gain a resignation in turn 5. Bjorn von Knorring’s Romans seized Iberia early and had Numidian Allies repeatedly to win 12-5 against Tim Miller. Seed #4, Keith Wixson’s Mago drove Africanus into the sea on turn 9 and uses Truce to prevent Michael Day from using his Messenger-induced 3-card advantage to break the tie. Seed #11, Randy MacInnis as Carthage, suffered a particularly bad turn 9 Intercepted Messenger that stole the Syracuse card, which was then was used to sail to Sardinia to gain Brian Conlon’s Rome a 10-8 victory. Seed #8 Randy Pippus survived largely due to using Diplomacy in Etruria instead of Sicily, which then left him with the Sicily Revolt as his only card to break a truce to fight to win 10-8 over Tom Boisvert. Charles Hickok daringly sailed Hannibal against the Roman fleet. Hannibal was lost at sea and Charles resigned to Matthew O’Connor on turn 6. Nathan Wagner’s Carthage gained Syracuse on turn 4 and fought off repeated Roman expeditions to hold it and gain a 10-8 victory over John Boisvert.
Round 2 found von Knorring’s Hannibal driven from Italy on turn 6 by Wagner, who went on to win 11-7. Seed #2, Chris Byrd survived unfavorable Messengers to pull out a slender victory over Fuegi. Bill Banks similarly could not engineer a victory against Mike Sosa, despite 3 favorable Messengers. Pippus’s Carthage fought to a stalemate against Conlon, using Truce to win under a 9-9 tie. Latto’s Hannibal fought 4 battles with Wixson’s Africanus, killing him on turn 7, but still needed a turn 9 Messenger and Syracuse to pull out a 9-9 victory. Tucker used Syracuse and Truce in turn 4 to sail Hannibal safely to the island, where he secured Sicily for the remainder of the game, gaining Bob Woodson’s resignation upon seeing a bad turn 9 deal.
In Round 3, Michael Day’s reward for having the highest strength of schedule among 1-1 players was to face top-seeded James Pei, who had arrived via first-round bye and a second-round forfeit victory. Day drew 3 Messengers and Pei’s Hannibal died on turn 6, while Varro gained the initiative in battle 3 times to turn a major battle, leaving Day to win 10-8. Latto’s Rome killed Wagner’s Hannibal on turn 7 and despite unfavorable Messengers, squeaked out a 9-8 victory. Sosa’s Carthage played a turn 9 Syracuse hoping the Truce would seal a 9-9 tie, only to find that Pippus was able to flip Numidia to win 10-8. Tucker’s Carthage raised Byrd’s eyebrows when he sacked Massilia with the Siege Train on turn 4, but Byrd countered the Island strategy with Africanus driving Hasdrubal out of Sardinia on turn 7. Hannibal’s forays across the Alps in turns 8 and 9 were countered well, Byrd leaving 2 CUs in all the necessary places to avoid overruns that would have left Hannibal running free, thereby gaining a 10-8 victory.
In Round 4, Byrd outbid Pippus for Carthage, and embarked on a naval strategy. Pippus countered with an African campaign stymied by Hanno, leading to the death of Africanus on turn 8 and a 9-9 count for Byrd’s victory. Day played Rome with a bid of 0 against Latto and proceeded to run short of Roman troops. Day’s Scipio fought numerous battles against a surrounded Hannibal, but failed to win and had to resign in turn 6 with few CUs remaining. Among those with only one loss and still in the hunt for high prizes, Tucker defeated Gordon Deane through crucial battle victories with Marharbal’s Cavalry and Gisco gaining initiative to hold Iberia. Wagner defeated Bill Banks by sacking Carthage on turn 9. Wixson defeated Sosa by taking both Numidias and having Fabius kill Hannibal at Praeneste in turn 2, leading to resignation after only 1 hour of play.
This left only two undefeated players for the final round. Byrd played Carthage with a bid of two, which Latto used to flip a port in Western Numidia. Hannibal crossed the Alps in turn 1. On turn 2, Hannibal fails 3 initiative rolls and loses a battle, fleeing to Gallia. Several attempts to take Sardinia by Diplomacy or force failed, with Mago’s reinforcements never arriving due to bad weather and the Roman fleet. On turn 4, Hannibal crosses the Alps back into Gallia Cisalpina, again suffering high attrition. Roman campaigns corner him, ultimately killing Hannibal, who failed too many initiatives. With the CU count 30-10 against Carthage, Byrd resigned, his loss dropping him into third place. Congratulations go to Andy Latto for surviving many tough opponents with exciting victories, ending 5-0 and becoming our latest first-time Hannibal Champion. Playing for consolation prizes, Wagner’s Carthaginians defeated Wixson to gain second place, kicking Wixson to sixth for yet another coveted Sand Plaque. Tucker’s Carthaginians defeated Pippus to claim fourth place. Day’s Romans defeated Deane to claim fifth place.
|Hannibal in the Foggy Goggle
|Bruno turns to the CDG Dark Side
|Two Great Hannibal Players, Stuart Tucker
and Chris Byrd, battle it out
|Andy Latto, the 2017 Hannibal Champion,
against 2nd place Nathan Wagner in the finals