Michael Dauer blitzed through a shark-laden 2019 Here I Stand Final, posting a stunning turn-three Hapsburg military victory to claim his second HIS title. Dauer’s Yellow Hordes dominated Italy, halted Treachery, and used a fortunate Hungarian stalemate to place his last key marker on the board for the coveted first-place plaque.
Dauer was followed in the final by Dennis Mishler’s Pope (with seven VPs of burned debaters), the French (Justin Rice), English (Ed Rothenheber), Protestants (Jeff Burdett), and Ottomans (Nick Benedict). The final table featured the top-five all-time HIS Laurel leaders and six combined event titles, and was certainly the most talent-laden culminating round in the tournament’s history.
Dauer advanced to the final with a three-key romp through Ottoman lands with the final few cards of his semifinal. Burdett (as the Hapsburgs) and Benedict (French) won semifinals, and the rest of the players advanced on victory point totals from the semifinal. In all 42 players participated in the 2019 tournament (up slightly from 2018), with eight six-player games, two five-player games, and one-three player game in the preliminary rounds. Dauer was the only-two heat winner and finished 4-0 playing the Hapsburgs for the week.
Benedict had first choice of powers in the final round, followed by Dauer, Burdett, Rothenheber, Rice and Mishler and the first dice were rolled for a mediocre Protestant 95 Theses and Diet of Worms.
On Turn 1, the Turks struggled against Belgrade before eventually securing the key. The Hapsburg player – after briefly considering war in France – secured Metz. France used the renegade leader to steal Florence from the Pope, and sent Cartier on a voyage of circumnavigation, in spite of unreliable navigation maps.
The Pope was the true star of the first turn. A Papal debate started with Tetzel and Cajatan rolling three hits each (on four and three dice, respectively), and ended with Eck burning the three-rated Melanchthon debater.
On Turn 2 the Hapsburgs and French made plans to divide Italy. The French ceded Florence to the Hapsburgs, who declared war and conquered Genoa. The French declared war on Venice, fought off a Papal intervention, and used Treachery to secure the key.
The Pope scored a second debater burn (this time the two-rated Oekolmpdius), again in a follow-up round after a tie between two one-rated debaters.
England finally woke up and ended Turn 2 discovering the Amazon with a zero-rated explorer.
Through the Turn 3 diplomacy phase, a quiet round seemed to be in the works, with peace breaking out across Europe. But the Hapsburgs played the League on the first impulse, taking control of the three western electorates.
The Ottomans made a tentative attack towards Buda and lost the field battle, activating the Hungarians as a Hapsburg ally, initiating a state of war between Green and Yellow, and leaving Dauer one key short of the auto victory.
Stunned by this development, the board convinced Burdett’s Protestants to siege Prague to deny Dauer a key marker. Burdett played Treachery against the space, but his mercenaries fled the battle on Dauer’s card play, the assault failed and the siege was broken. The Ottomans then launched a desperation counter attack at Belgrade, but was repulsed at the loss of his entire army.
Dauer then played a one-CP card and scored the necessary hit to conquer Belgrade and place his final key marker on the board.
Dauer’s adds a second Here I Stand title, having also won the tournament in 2017. He joins Burdett and Rice as the event’s only two-time champions.
|Decision time for the Pope.
|Enjoying a game of Here I Stand.