Monday night got off to a perhaps surprising start, with Patrick Duffy, Gareth Williams and Eric Alexopoulus all posting wins as Austria with 5, 4 and 6 VP each while Francis Czawlytko posted the only Russian win on 6. France could only manage two wins, Andrew Charnesky with the most VP’s of the night with 8 and Herbert Sparks grinding out over a tight table at 3.
The two 3 player games went the way of the coalition, with John Emery delivering the only win for Britain at 4 VPs, whilst David Sherwood pushed Bruce Young to the lowest score of the night of -9VPs whilst sealing victory as Austria-Russia at 7 VP.
On Wednesday however the Empire Struck Back, with defending champion Rejan Tremblay scoring 10 PVs as France, followed by John Emery 8, Bill Burtless 6, and Brian Sutton 5. The only allied wins came from Rich Shipley 6, who’s Austria led a coalition to victory over Gareth William’s France who posted the lowest score of the night with -6, and from Thomas Boisvert as Britain on 5.
At this point we had had 45 different players and were looking good for the 50 we needed for five 5 player semis with the demo still to come. We had the highest Thursday attendance for a long time, up 50% on the previous year, and would finish with 55 distinct players, the highest since 2006, 30% up on last year, and with a near 25% increase in Tushy Time.
We had one demo game, where Melvin Casselberry guided Alex Nesanjuk’s Prussia to victory at 6 VP, followed by Steven Timpone as Russia 4, and Colin and Bob Laird as Austria and Britain at 3 and 2. Jesse Boomer was defeated as the French.
The other games were spread about with no one power dominating, Seth Gregor posting the best result of the Heats with 11 VP as France with Keith Wixson also delivering a win as the Emperor. Newcomer Peter Morzinski seized a win as Britain at 7 VP, driving Jim Lawler’s France to -10 and the lowest result of the night. Gareth Williams also delivered a win as Britain at 7, helped by capitulating Spain. Henry Russell and Michael Dauer both won as Russia on 5 VP.
So, onto the semis.
The 3rd coalition went exactly according to seed, with John Emery picking France and seizing a lead he seemed never in danger of losing despite the game going 5 turns. John ended with 13 victory points followed by Eric Alexopoulus’ Prussians at 2, Peter Morzinski’s British at 0, Bruce Young’s Russians at 0, and Rod Coffey’s Austrian at -5. The order of finish was the same as the nation picked
The fourth coalition also featured the two top seeds in first and second and went to some very odd places. France lunged for Vienna in a clear Capitulation telegraph but Austria did not play her reserve to prevent the flag. Russia opened with Malet’s and then moved into Moravia without launching a counterattack. Spain of course had Capitulation, and Russia, with a surplus of cards after having Spithead as well, began competing with Prussia for the Turks, leaving the Prussians with nothing to show for their turn.
After a very generous offer from France, with a subtext of you will be next if you don’t join me, Prussia joined the Imperial camp for Turn 2, joined by Austria in exchange for her keys back. Herbert looked to have the one card he needed in that situation by pulling Russian Winter, but it only lasted a few impulses. As promised France tied the border armies up whilst Austria and Prussia raced for keys and capitals.
By turn 3, with Russia out, the enlarged imperial camp focused their attention on freshly neutral Spain, Sweden and Turkey. With Austria giving the Prussians rights on Belgrade her attack was slow, and the Turks mostly built around their capital. Meanwhile Nappy took Gibraltar while Davout was able to slip across a Baltic cleared of Swedish ships, despite Fog of War, to get into Stockholm. Prussia might have done better but Blucher stalled at Belgrade, she lost ceded Sevastopol to a Turkish invasion, and burnt a resource to make sure of Spanish conquest. It was only at turn end that he realised the game should have ended last turn. David’s score would prove enough for 6th place and entry to the sand tribe along with the Fez from Fes. The game ended on Turn 3 with Gareth Williams French winning with 10 VP followed by David Sherwood’s Prussians at 6, Michael Day’’s Austrians at 2, Melvin Casselberry’s British at -2 and Herbert Sparks’ Russians at -3
Thomas Boisvert got off to a good start as France in the fifth coalition by taking out Austria, but after 4 turns, it would be 25th and last seed Bill Dickerson who would book his place in the final as a neutral Prussia on the tiebreak. Final scores were Bill Dickerson with Prussia winning at 3 VP followed by Thomas Boisvert’s France at 3, Bill Burtless’s Russia at 2, Henry Russell’s British at 0 and Steven Timpone’s Austria at -1.
The sixth coalition also saw Britain be picked first, and, like the fifth, this did not work out for them. Michael Dauer conquering them and powering to an 8 VP French total by the end of turn 2. Michael was followed by Prussian’s Patrick Duffy at 2, Russian’s Michael Rogozinski at 0, British’s Francis Czawlytko at 0, and Austrian’s Daniel Berger at -3.
The Seventh coalition did go Britain’s way, with defending champion Rejan Tremblay’s France going down to -8 at one point before recovering to -2 on turn 5 whilst Brian Sutton took the win as Britain at 9 VPs. Ed Rothenheber’s Prussians were second at 6 followed by Jim Savarick’s Austrians at 1, Andrew Charnesky’s Russians at 1, and the aforementioned French at -2
So, onto the final, which ended up drawing quite a crowd and we are indebted to Daniel Blumentritt for the write up.
To open the game, after ramming Davout over to Linz, France ran the combined fleet into Bordeaux and then Brest to end up with 5 French and 1 Spanish SQ there as the Brits missed 3 or 4 intercept rolls. The British responded by leaving 1 SQ each in the Channel and North Sea and putting all others in the Bay of Biscay, but didn't want to risk the 4x2 dice from the fortress guns going in. This left an opening for Spain to move the ships in Cadiz to the NATL and drop the unit in Dublin, but John had other plans. The Spanish fleet pulled a reverse-Armada, rounding Scotland in an attempt to join with the French SQ in Rotterdam and later move into the Channel to clear a path for Napoleon to cross. However, they lost the battle in the Channel and were unable to invade.
So France pacted Denmark and kept pressing in against the Russian-Austrian alliance and ended up in Stalemates in Linz/Vienna and Venice/Dalmatia. Then things got crazy as almost every single draw/steal a card came into play. Especially odd was that Russia let Britain know that the Russians had Spithead and Nore, prompting Britain to use Council of Dresden to try and swap for the card. Instead Britain ended up with The Emperor Commands. Then the Coalition made a deal whereby Britain would give Parliament to Austria and Russia would play Spithead on Britain, effectively letting Britain give 1 card each to both of their Allies and getting Spithead out of the deck so the French couldn't use it later. In exchange Austria and Russia both agreed they would burn cards at the end of the turn and let England have their full draw.
Meanwhile Prussia pacted the Ottoman Turks and started working on Sweden while doing virtually no building. I wondered if this would lead France to invade Prussia on Turn 2, but the Austro-Russian armies took back Venice and Milan in consecutive battles where the French rolled 0 combined 6's on 25 combined dice and had almost all units in the area destroyed, making any attack on Prussia unlikely. France got both areas plus Salzburg back with Napoleon's final card of the turn but had to roll a lot of attrition to do so. Just before this, Denmark had moved out to capture Riga from the Russians, and the British responded by invading Copenhagen and taking it. Denmark was conquered in the interphase. France was ahead but didn't get to roll.
On Turn 2 Brian decided that he couldn't win without Admiralty so he built all his remaining squadrons. Prussia grabbed Sweden and started building with all 3 of his nations. France couldn't gain in the East but picked up Gibraltar and Naples. Russia picked up a key or two on the Austria/France border and actually had a 1/6th chance at the win on the Peace Roll, but didn't get it.
On turn 3 the British went into Brest with the full 11 squadrons and annihilated the huge Imperial naval stack while losing 3 squadrons of his own, allowing him to spread back out and use Admiralty. Wellington built up in Spain and gave Soult a lot of trouble as France was starting to be outnumbered in Central Europe by the combined forces of Austria and Russia. Still-neutral Prussia built up more and grabbed the remnants of Denmark, giving him 3 Pacts + 1 Resource and a 1/6th shot at the win if he burned a card. However, he figured that he had to join the war next turn and would need all his cards to do so. He thought long and hard about joining both sides but finally went with the Coalition, partially because it would let him pull 10 Turkish units/leaders across Austria into his territory, 5 with Blucher, and 5 with the Turks' deployment. He also believed with 4 VP already, the 2 keys on the border in the Low Countries would be all he needed to win.
So turn 4 saw Napoleon playing clean up in Spain and dancing around with Wellington while two big Austro-Russian stacks pressed forward into Zurich/Nassau and Milan/Rome while the Prussian-Danish-Swedish-Turkish army groups grabbed Brussels and Picardy. France had a huge stack in Paris plus Massena with 6 units in Orleans. Napoleon was still down in Spain cleaning up guys behind Wellington, who crossed the border into Langueduc but was out of CP and was beaten to Lyon and Toulouse by a flying column of Austrians.
It ended up with Austria, Russia, and Prussia all at 6 VP, with Britain at 3 VP and France way behind. But Bri.
It was down to Prussia, Sweden, Denmark, and France with 1 card each once all reserves were burned and Prussia had 3 options to get that 7th VP.
- Slam the Prussians, Danes, and Turks from Picardy into Paris and hope to win 23:31 or 23:38 if Massena intercepted, then if they win, move in the 10 Swedish dice from Brussels to reinforce against a counterattack.
- End run into Orleans and hope to rout Massena.
- End run into Brest and hope Blucher and 6 units could take it in one attempt.
They chose option 1 and used a Danish response to halt Massena's intercept, won the 23:31 battle, but could only move the Swedish AG to Picardy, although they then flagged Paris and could give all keys in a conquest to their Prussian allies masters. Napoleon rushed up, grabbed Massena's force plus all the survivors from the Paris battle, and attacked at 41:28 once the Swedes made the intercept roll into Paris, but Prussia won that battle as well and then got the 2/3rds conquest roll they needed to win the game. The final Laurelists, in order, were Champion Michael Dauer, Gareth Williams, Brian Sutton, Bill Dickerson, John Emery, and David Sherwood.
I’d like to thank all those who participated, especially the assistant GM team of Phil, Henry, & Francis. We had a good mix of old hands and new faces and I’d like to continue to build on that, in the meantime, here are some stats given that I am no longer limited by any need to have this fit in the yearbook.
The best results of 2017 from 5 player games only were
- John Emery – France – 13 – Semi (best France)
- Rejan Tremblay – France – 10 – Heat
- Gareth Williams – France – 10 – Semi
- Brian Sutton – Britain – 9 – Semi (Best Britain)
- Andrew Charnesky – France – 8 – Heat
- Michael Dauer – France – 8 – Semi
- Michael Dauer – Prussia – 7 – Final (Best Prussia)
- Francis Czawlytko – Russia – 6 – Heat (Best Russian)
- Eric Alexopoulus – Austria – 6 – Heat (Best Austrian)
- Rich Shipley – Austria – 6 – Heat (Best Austrian)
- Bill Burtless – France – 6 – Heat
- Alex Nesenjuk – Prussia – 6 - Heat
Lifetime achievement at WBC (not counting WAM, Waterloo, or PBEM)
Most laurel appearances:
- John Emery 8
- Lane Hess 5
- Bruce Young 5
- Brian Sutton 5
Most laurel appearances without winning:
- Brian Sutton 5
- Al Hurda 4
- Gareth Williams 4 (Consecutive)
Plaques needed to complete their set:
- Lane Hess 4,5
- John Emery 3,6
- Brian Sutton 1,5
- Ed Rothenheber 3,5
Apart from obvious conclusions like, Don’t let John play France, it is worth noting that no one yet has ever won a game as all five powers, the closest and what they still need to get are:Francis Czawlytko – Prussia
Michael Dauer – Austria
Kevin Emery – Britain and Prussia
Gareth Williams – Russia and Prussia
Rejan Tremblay – Austria and Russia
Brian Sutton – Austria and Russia
Frank Morehouse – France and Russia
Henry Russell – France and Austria