I haven't seen the final scores - just the team round outcome (my scratch team came 4th), and who the top 7 were.
The rest of my games went like this...
Friday night saw me on an all-UK board. But I only really knew one of the players, David Wigglesworth. I was Italy, and he was Russia. What I know about David is that he is a solid alliance player, who hates to stab, and that he takes very badly to being stabbed or lied to.
I had already decided that if I were drawn as Italy, I would open Ven-Tri. I was not sure on it, so also ordered Rom-Apu, Nap-Ion. As Austria opened south, I got in. Turkey and Russia smelled blood, and Austria could see it, and for some reason he did not push me out. I did quite well out of that, but soon found myself squeezed by Turkey and France, so my high of 7 centres was whittled down to 5 by the time I gratefully accepted a draw - Wigglesworth topped the board.
Third game was Saturday morning, and I was a little tired. I made a fundamental error of not looking at who was doing well, and paid for it. I was Turkey (so three Eastern powers in a row). Austria was Dave Maletsky, who I knew was good, but did not know he had results that suggested he would only need a good second place to remain in contention for top board. Normally when a player offers to kingmaker you in Spring 01, you don't believe them. I played along but still didn't believe him when he offered to help me go for both Russia (the formidable Grant Steele) and Italy. He did order the supports, and instead I worked against him. I thought that Grant was a more reliable ally, and that seemed to be the case. After Austria was taken down, Italy and I got caught up, and frankly I dithered as I could no break through, but could defend what I had. France, England and Germany were in a state of some confusion, and then suddenly Germany launched a stab into an empty Russian heartland. This was the turning point - Russia and Germany did not go to war, instead they did a deal, and Russia turned in the only direction left, which was me. I managed to hold on to two dots at the end, with fleets in Greece and Con, which I could not hold, but clearly IR had reached their target and we agreed a draw.
As no-one was allowed to play more than three games in the first four rounds, I had a chance to chill, went out for a curry with a couple of others, had a few beers, bought a bottle of rum and suddenly it was 3am and I was drunk. Time to get a few hours kip before the team round.
The way the tournament was structured was that the top 7 players after round 4 would form the top table, and the winner of that (Douglas Moore) would be World Champion. Otherwise, scores would contribute to individual rankings (so, as Steve said above, he had a chance to end up in the top 7 overall despite not being on the Final board). Everyone was also in a team of 7 for the last round, and some of us had a teammate who was on that top board. Team members could nominate which country to take, but if their teammate drew that as a top board player (which Doug did), then whoever had that nation (me) would get another one. Hence, I was Turkey for the second game in a row. I would have been Italy again, because England and France were already taken when I signed up to the team, so I was not that bothered.
In some ways my last game was my most satisfying. In others, it was very annoying. I recognised Andrew Goff in Austria, partly because he is quite recognisable, but partly because he was one of the late night drinkers Saturday night. He seemed to be suffering as much as I was. And he got very annoyed very quickly when Italy told obvious lies in their first conversation. I had spoken to Russia (Greg Mostyn) and Italy separately, as well as to Goff, and had pretty much decided that Italy wanted to go for Austria with our help, Russia would prefer to open North, and I couldn't trust Italy, so I would try and work with Goff in an AT. Before Spring 01 orders were in, Russia and Italy both came to me to talk, as I was heading out to find one of them, and so in front of everyone it seemed we were together. I did ask them what the hell they were doing, and redoubled on working with Goff.
Pretty soon, because Russia had indeed opened North, we fell into a relatively obvious ART. England and Germany had become complicated, and then the French player made an important decision. Italy was still around but my three fleets and Austria's armies would soon take him down. So what does France do with his one fleet in MAO? Not WMS, to show he wants to prop up Italy. Not Iri which is wide open along with Liverpool. No, to English Channel. And when he gets another build, and puts a fleet in Brest, that also goes North. He also had a chance to slow us down by supporting Italy's, armies against Austria, and just held. So we convinced Italy to be my vassal in return for survival and went for France, Germany and England between us, and they were too entangled to really stop us.
Then came the alliance negotiations. Goff made it clear he was happy with 11-11-11, or if we wanted for the purposes of the team game, a shot at best country or whatever, to engineer the order. I was happy with that. We thought that Russia was also, but I was a little nervous and did build a bit to hang back - as did he. We were bouncing in Black from S01 to S09, and then the twist came. Russia stabbed Austria in F01. He also didn't order to Black, but I misordered the fleet and so didn't get in. This, along his with my not building an army in Smyrna was the crucial factor in my last move.
Looking at the position, I could have joined Russia and made a dot or two from Goff, but probably not as much as Russia would, and I was one behind him. The last centres not in our control were London (which Russia had not been able to take from England) and Spain (where we had parked the Italian vassal. I had two fleets in England, but could not take London and hold the recently gained Liverpool. And I decided to stay true to Goff and get him to help me try to get Rumania in return for giving him supports or cuts where I could.
I failed to take Rumania from Russia, but did decide to pop the Italian (Meh, we had promised to keep him in, but his lies had started off the whole thing) so made a gain. I was on 11 to Russia's 13, Austria on 9 and England (Jim Mills who I have played a few times over the years and have a lot of time for) the last 1. Had I gotten the extra leverage of an Army from Smyrna, or been in the Black Sea already so I could get a fleet into Bulgaria and Army Ser, I would have had the materiel to take Rumania and level the score. Ah well. This game gave me my highest score of the weekend.
Greg ended up 7th overall, so I guess he was happy (and had he said that was his goal, we probably would have helped him rather than needing to stab). He was on Steve's winning team as well, and had he said that they looked good, again we probably would have helped him (not that they needed it with almost double the score of second place).
But the player on the board I was most annoyed at was France. He took ages to identify himself as on the board at the start, sat down in silence and after a couple of us introduced ourselves said nothing. OK, so maybe he's a bit socially awkward. But he also never seemed to initiate dialogue, I had to approach him, even when I knew he was wanting to see if I would turn. And, cardinal sin in ftf, he was a serial deadline misser. I get that the times are tight, but they are for all of us. And we didn't do more than just prompt if he went over at first, but he didn't seem to get the message. Then, after another set of late orders, and a few comments, he stood there for minutes agonising over a retreat. Even after I had spoken up, it took another minute. Goff then got the TD over to monitor, and the guy was still late on every other turn. And at the end he had the cheek to complain that he wanted a draw because inevitable loss isn't much fun. Stuff that. I was happy to see him eliminated in F10.
I came 30th out of 84, had a joint board top, a second place and some lessons in alliance play (I think I am mutating into a carebear!). More importantly, I had a lot of fun, too much alcohol, not enough sleep and met a lot of cool people from all over the world.
Seriously, anyone here who hasn't already should try a ftf tournament. We won't bite (only stab)