The players start the third round, with the championship trophy (a bust of Frederick) on display on a pillar in the centre of the picture.
CAFE’23: THIRD ROUND
ROUND 3. SATURDAY AFTERNOON, 10 JUNE
Juanjo deep in thought, considering his next move in East Prussia. Ramón looks on expectantly.
TABLE 1. Newcomer Juanjo takes on the role of Frederick. His opponents have all played in at least one championship: Juan Aguado is Elisabeth, Jon Smith, Maria Theresa and Ramón Guillamat, Pompadour. The chosen strategy of not giving an inch of ground worked well in a series of battles in hearts against France. Defending in spades in East Prussia against the Russians obliged Schwerin and Keith to give up central Silesia and defend the eastern tip of the province from clubs. This worked well for a good number of turns until the Russians also attacked in clubs in Kammin. Although the Juan fought aggressively and spent a lot of cards throughout the game, it was Jon who was able to exploit the weaknesses in the Prussian defence, attack at the opportune moment and win as Austria in turn 12.
Mark is solely concentrating on the turn in hand, while Guillermo finds a moment to pose for the camera.
TABLE 2. Another newcomer faces off against more experienced players with various championships behind them. In this case Rafael, standing in for Ricardo (who had an engagement he could not miss) plays as Frederick. Ranged against him are Andrew, Mark and Guillermo as Elisabeth, Maria Theresa and Pompadour respectively. Unsure of what to do, Rafael slowly but surely gave up ground everywhere until he was forced to fight from positions of his adversaries’ choosing. Russia repeatedly drained cards from the Prussians in battle after battle, which allowed Mark to deliver the decisive blows in Saxony and win with the Imperial Army in turn 9.
Arnold shows off the Prussian hand at the end of the game.
TABLE 3. Arnold took control of Prussia, facing Björn as Russia and Sweden, Alex Calderón as Austria and the Imperial Army, and Carlos as France. The game clock joined this anti-Prussian alliance when Arnold used up all his time in ten turns and had to play on the stopwatch. The arrival of Lord Bute in turn 9 did nothing to improve things. Nevertheless, Arnold managed to hold off the Austrians and it appeared that France and Russia had the best chances. The last two turns were the most exciting, with both Björn and Carlos fighting to take their last objectives. Arnold played well in these difficult circumstances and managed to cling on. It couldn’t last however and, virtually out of cards, he went down to the French in turn 12.
Alex, realising that his main rival at this table was many time finalist Björn, opted for a cautious strategy with Austria, refusing battle outside Saxony and preparing for an Imperial victory. This was to avoid being the victim of a mutually suicidal all-out assault from Arnold, who is prone to do such things. The hope was that most of Prussia’s cards would be spent stopping the other attacking nations. To hamper Björn even further, defeated Prussians were deliberately retreated towards him, and when the minor event came up allowing Russia and Austria to exchange a card in secret, the czarina was presented with a measly two of spades.
The position at the end of the game.
TABLE 4. This was yet another game in which a novice (Emilio) as Prussia faced three veterans. Alberto as Russia, Loughlin as Austria and Maurice as France. A lack of experience, combined with a subsidy reduction on turn 6 led to the collapse of the defence on all fronts, which permitted a triple Russian-Imperial-French victory in turn 10. Despite all the difficulties, Emilio had over an hour and a half left on the clock and might well have done better had he taken more time to consider his moves.