CAFE’23: 4th Round

Sunday dawns brightly, may the last round of the heats begin!



After a major battle in Kammin, all the players help clear up so that the round can continue.


TABLE 1. It was Andrew’s turn to measure up as Frederick against Emilio (Russia), Arnold (Austria) and Juan Aguado (France). Of the attackers, Arnold came off worst. Having overrun Saxony and taken some objectives in Silesia, he was stopped dead by the enemy’s massive advantage in spades. He tried to support the French around Magdeburg, but Juan was hampered by a lack of hearts, which made it impossible to overcome the Prussian defence. Emilio seemed to be in with a chance to win with Russia, but that hope died along with the czarina in turn 14. The game ended in turn 17, without Andrew having suffered any subsidy reductions.

Position at the end of the French combat phase. In Saxony, Björn can attack A2 and surround A3, with excellent chances of retaking Radeberg.

Frederick looks down upon the contestants on table 2.

Table 2

TABLE 2. Facing two champions from previous tournaments Mark (as Elisabeth) and Alberto (as Pompadour), you could say Björn was on a tough table as Prussia. To even things out somewhat, the newcomer Juanjo was playing in the role of Maria Theresa. At first, Russia was the most threatening opponent. The Soldau defence only resisted for a few turns and defence in Kammin was only made possible by two cross-sector attacks, from hearts and then from spades. But this weakened the spades defence in Silesia and ground was also lost in Saxony, where the Austrians took Radeberg. France launched a major attack early on, but was beaten off with some loss, which persuaded Alberto to be less aggressive and concentrate on picking up objectives. By turn 14 Juanjo had taken all the Austrian primary objectives. All he had to do was hold on to them until the eased victory conditions came into effect. Instead of this, he decided on a misguided cross-sector attack diamonds versus spades in Saxony, which left him open to a Prussian counterattack and the loss of Radeberg. And then, the czarina died and Juanjo was victorious despite his mistake.

Ricardo and Carlos carefully observe how Jon battles it out in Kammin.

Table 3

TABLE 3. Having done well in the first three rounds, Jon took on the mantle of Frederick with every chance of reaching the final. As two of his enemies were relatively inexperienced, Ricardo as Pompadour and Carlos as Maria Theresa, he must have thought his expectations were well founded. Unfortunately for him the veteran Maurice, playing as Elisabeth, was on hand to dash his hopes. And it was precisely against the Russians that Jon had most difficulty. At one point he had to retreat from Kammin, only to return a while later having drawn enough clubs. Meanwhile, the defence of Silesia was slowly being worn down, but Saxony was firmly under control. Ricardo went all out for Magdeburg, which he took, at the expense of leaving nearly every other objective in the hands of his enemies and with the Hanoverians marching at will in his rear. Jon opted to run the risk of allowing the Swedes to control all five of their primary objectives. Given that that, with the new system of shuffling the fate deck, the probability of Sweden dropping out before Russia have risen from 50% to 64%, it might have seemed a chance worth taking. But, as so often, fate had other ideas, the czarina died turn 10, the earliest possible turn under the new shuffling, and Maurice won with Sweden and thus got to the final ahead of Jon.

The situation at the beginning of turn 3. Alex has declared the offensive.

The outset of the invasion of Bohemia. Alex carefully considers his next move.

Table 4

TABLE 4. Alex Calderón isn’t the first tournament player to risk everything as Frederick on the Offensive Option. The position at the beginning of turn 3 was however quite favourable as Guillermo, never expecting such a daring strategy, had left Bohemia terribly exposed to invasion. His allies Ramón (Elisabeth) and Loughlin (Pompadour) rushed to his aid, each sending a general towards Saxony. The Russian expeditionary force quickly ran into supply difficulties and Ramón opted for helping Austria by attacking Alex in Kammin, while another Russian general faced off with Lehwaldt in East Prussia. Loughlin although held up by a notable Hanoverian superiority in spades, still managed to take Halberstadt and Magdeburg. Alex recklessly attacked them in diamonds and suffered such a severe defeat that French victory seemed assured. All the while, Alex advanced methodically, and from an outsider’s point of view, desperately slowly in Bohemia, fighting pitched battle after pitched battle in virtually every turn, leaving Guillermo with virtually no cards left. This was exactly what Alex wanted. And just as it seemed that France or Russia might beat him to the win, a minor event came up that allowed Frederick to move four spaces and hence take the last Prussian objective and clinch victory.