Matt Beach was likely the first ever Here I Stand player, as his father and game designer Ed Beach worked out the kinks in this GMT classic’s early versions. So it’s probably overdue that he brought home the wood in the WBC tournament.
With the last card play of the final, Matt propelled the English to 28 points at the end of turn seven, grabbling a one-point victory over Ed Rothenheber’s Ottomans. Nick Benedict (Papacy) was two points behind Beach, and Justin Rice (Hapsburgs) was one point back of Benedict. Kaarin Engelmann (Protestants) threated a religious victory for most of the game but finished fifth. Chris Godfrey (France) suffered three turns of Hapsburg and English invasions but was rewarded with the sand plaque.
The 2018 tournament saw 39 players enter, with the 500th Anniversary Edition making its first appearance at WBC. The preliminary rounds had nine six-player games and one five-player game. The Hapsburgs posted three wins, followed by two each for the Pope and Protestants. The Ottomans and English each won a preliminary, while France was shut out. The powerful English-Protestant combo also won the event’s five-player game.
The Hapsburgs had a two-point advantage over the pack in average victory points, but the Ottomans, English, French and Protestants were all within a half-point margin of each other for victory-point average. The Pope lagged but his average was dragged down by two middling scores.
Justin Rice was 2-0 in preliminary games, with eight other individual winners. All 18 qualifiers showed for the semifinals, and games were won by Justin Rice, Kaarin Engelmann, and Steve Proksch. As Steve was unable to play in Saturday’s final, at-large spots were gobbled up by the other four finalists.
The championship match was quite epic, with all players seeing their time in the sun – and promptly fading – before Matt claimed the crown.
In the first turn, an English-Hapsburg alliance saw the Hapsburgs take Milan from France, and the English secure Metz. The Pope used Charles Bourbon and his new-found allies in Genoa to capture Florence. The Barbary Pirates also arrived early for the Ottomans.
French explorers circumnavigated and discovered the Amazon on the first two turns, and England was completely shut out of new-world victory points.
By turn three, the Ottomans had driven their piracy marker to 4. Of note during these speedy building turns (with all players marshalling their strength), France paid a card to save six mercenaries against Mercs Demand Pay, but still discarded a whopping 14 troops!
Though scoreless in the New World, England was able to secure a healthy baby Edward with just one roll on the pregnancy chart (paid for with two card draws to the Pope).
The League formed on Turn 4, and the Hapsburgs took Trier and Mainz with troops, but the Protestants had both Augsburg Confession and Printing Press active and drove the space count up with the English New Testament and the German Bible. The Protestants spent most of the last four turns within a dozen spaces of a religious auto victory.
On Turn 5, the Hapsburgs and Ottomans agreed to peace, both hoping to slow the successes of the other powers. The Ottomans declared war on Venice, but the Papal defense (aided by lent Hapsburg boats) was successful, and the minor ally stayed in the Papal camp the remainder of the game.
The Hapsburg army headed west for an invasion of France. The Hapsburgs captured Lyon, Paris and Rouen (and had Francis imprisoned), but found himself a few CPs short of a try at one last key and a military auto victory.
On Turn 6, the French sued the Hapsburgs for peace. England took advantage of the empty French spaces, declared war, and captured Rouen and Paris. Only a Protestant-Papal ceasefire allowed the English to be stopped one victory point short.
The Ottomans used Machiavelli to take Vienna from the Hapsburgs, and also finished the turn at 24 victory points.
The French sued England for peace on Turn 7, but the English used their home card to declare war again and recapture Paris and Rouen. The Hapsburgs sued the Ottomans for peace, too, leaving the Turks short of many great options for gaining victory points.
Nevertheless: The Ottomans defeated a self-inflicted Revolt in Egypt and scored two piracy victory points to push their VP marker to 27. The Ottoman’s final card play was Thomas Moore, and the Papacy agreed to use it for a 10 dice-to-2 dice debate in England. The Papacy flipped just two spaces with the win, dropping England back to a tie for first place.
Matt was ready, though, and used a three-CP card to reconvert the two spaces and complete the victory. Final VP counts were: England 28, Ottomans 27, Pope 26, Hapsburgs 25, Protestants 20, and France 19.
|Eventual finalists Kaarin Engelmann and
Ed Rothenheber battle in the preliminary round.
|Nick Benedict on his way to the Final.
|An intense battle for supremacy.
|Finalists including GM Justin Rice.