CAFE’23: 1st Round

Everything is set-up, CAFE is ready to go.



But that’s the old board!

Table 1

TABLE 1 There was just one non-Spanish player at this table, Andrew as Pompadour. Alberto Romero played as Prussia, Carlos Martín as Elisabeth and Ramón Guillamat as Maria Theresa. The first two turns were played on a first edition board until Andrew spotted the mistake and the pieces were transferred to the correct map.

The game was characterised by complete domination of Alberto over his enemies. Luck certainly played a part in this. On the one hand, it was a relatively short game, only 17 turns, without subsidy reductions. On the other hand, Alberto drew a total of seven reserves. But that’s not to doubt Alberto’s skill, as demonstrated in the rest of the championship. Ramón tried hard to offset the Prussian superiority by constantly attacking aggressively. Nevertheless, he was never able to accumulate overwhelming force on any front and break through. Drawing only 4 cards to Prussia’s 7 from turn 7 onwards fatally weakened allied efforts.

Prussia has set up a solid defence on all fronts and victory looks certain.

Table 2

TABLE 2. On this table, two foreign veterans, Loughlin (Frederick) and Arnold (Pompadour) competed against two inexperienced Spaniards, Juanjo (Elisabeth) and Ricardo (Maria Theresa). Juanjo made good progress, but the czarina’s death at the earliest moment possible, turn 10, turned the game on its head. The Austrian position in Silesia was seriously weakened when a Prussian marched out of Poland and recovered a few objectives. In the west, Arnold spend all his hearts trying to take Magdeburg, where Loughlin then positioned a Hanoverian general, backed up by a Prussian with a healthy reserve of hearts. This was enough for the Irish player to hold out comfortably to victory in turn 21.

Juan considers his options given the difficult Prussian situation against the Russians and the French.

Table 3

TABLE 3. Juan Aguado had hoped to get back to form in the championship itself by playing as the attacking nations in the opening rounds before having to take on the role of Frederick. Fate had other ideas and he had to play as Prussia in the first game. It certainly wasn’t his day, the first card of fate was Lord Bute. Although Austria (Maurice) initially advanced cautiously, Juan was unable to prepare a coherent defence and found himself obliged to fight in both spades and hearts against both Russia (Guillermo) and France (Björn). This weakness in hearts allowed Björn to capture Magdeburg and claim victory in turn 11.

Emilio Escudero about to invade Silesia.

French supply in serious difficulty.

Table 4

TABLE 4. Mark Luta, reigning FriedrichUK champion, as Prussia faces off against Jon Smith (Elisabeth), Emilio Escudero (Maria Theresa) and Alex Calderón (Pompadour) in what looked like a promising match. Nevertheless, things began to go wrong from the start. Firstly, Mark did not have enough clubs to defend Kammin for very long and was forced to withdraw to hearts and spades further south. Secondly, Alex promptly routed the Hanoverians and was able to send a powerful force to attack in both hearts and spades around Halberstadt and Magdeburg. He was deprived of victory when France dropped out in turn 11, but Mark had had to spend cards in vital suits at the worst possible moment. Jon reaped the full benefit of his ally’s efforts and claimed victory the very next turn. The novice Emilio had shown great reluctance to enter into combat and by this time had only managed very modest gains.