Justin Rice caught the English player star gazing and launched a Machiavellian French Sea Lion to seize Bristol and secure the 2022 Here I Stand title. Rice becomes the tournament’s first three-time champion and will likely take the all-time BPA Laurels lead in HIS.
Thirty-three players participated in the 2022 tournament, down slightly from the pre-pandemic average. The tournament featured eight six-player games and one three-player affair in the preliminary rounds with the Hapsburgs (five wins) and French (three victories) cleaning up. Ed Rothenheber emerged from the prelims as the top seed, the week’s only double winner (once as the Haps, once as the French).
Two table winners and four other players advanced from the semi-final games. Former champion Nick Benedict cruised into the final with our only Ottoman win of the week, and Rice won for the second time as the Yellow Horde. Joining Benedict and Rice in the final were Jeff Heidman, Rothenheber, Paul Grosser, and Dennis Mishler.
Power selection and order were Benedict (Haps), Rice (French), Mishler (Turks), Rothenheber (Protestants), Grosser (England), and Heidman (Pope).
On Turn 1, the Haps resolved to contest Milan against the French but perhaps got greedy reaching for Metz, too. Though the French conceded the fight in Italy, Rice bribed some mercs and used Surprise Attack to capture Charles. The French were stymied, though, when they failed on multiple assault dice at Metz, and the key was uncaptured headed into Turn 2. The Hapsburgs seized Milan and circumnavigated. England – with Cabot – captured two New World VPs. The Turks took Belgrade while the Protestants opened with an about-average bout of conversions.
The Hapsburgs sold Milan back to the French in a deal that involved the return of Charles, and France got lucky on a Chateaux card draw to activate Venice as an ally. The French took the Amazon and the Haps the Great Lakes, closing out new world exploration.
The Turks focused on piracy on Turn 3, but were largely unsuccessful, and the Haps used Threat to Power to kill Ibrahim. England needed just two wives to produce a healthy baby boy, and though the Pope had terrible debate dice, the Protestants ended the turn with just eight spaces.
In Turn 4 diplomacy, concern was focused on the Hapsburg problem, as Nick by this point had built the entire counter mix of Hapsburg land and naval units and was standing by to capture electorates from the Protestants. England was convinced to come to the rescue, but the Hapsburgs smashed Henry’s army at Antwerp and used Treachery to capture Calais. England was able to convince the denizens of Metz to rebel from their Yellow overlords, allowing France to capture the key.
Turn 5 diplomacy again focused on stopping the Haps, as well as growing concern over the potential for a Protestant religious victory. The Turks finally knocked the Hungarians out, but this led to a Hapsburg counterattack on Belgrade.
England was card depleted, having opted to award the Hapsburgs a card draw for the return of Calais (instead of an additional Sue for Peace VP), and Rice saw his opportunity.
With England holding one card and its ships still in London, France played Machiavelli to declare war on Albion, and landed an invasion force in Portsmouth. Before England had a chance to respond on their ensuing impulse, France played Halley’s Comet to discard England’s last card and leave the English defenses fixed.
With the rest of the board powerless to stop the invasion (France also held Foul Weather), Rice needed just one assault roll to capture Bristol and secure his 25th victory point. Other finishes were Benedict (Haps, 23 VPs), Grosser (England, 21), Mishler (Turks, 20), Rothenheber (Protestants, 18, but just five spaces short of a religious victory), and Heidman (Pope, 13, having struggled for bigger debate dice all game).
This marks the seventh WBC tournament which used the full game in the final. The Hapsburgs (three champions), remain the lone power to have won multiple finals, with France this year joining the Ottomans, English, and Protestants as one-time victors.
|Taking a break to update the History Books.
|Enjoying a game of Here I Stand.
|Nick Benedict on way to Second Place finish.
|Ed Rothenheber adding to his Here I Stand laurels.