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Twilight Struggle (TWS) PBeM Reports Updated January 4, 2024

2023 PBeM Tournament

Justin Nordstrom defeated Tony Russo to capture the title

Here is some commentary from the finalists

Justin: I’m still thinking over this game and pondering the many ways it could have gone the other way. I had some Ops difficulty in the early going but was able to use SALT to redraw Ask Not, which was a pivotal point in the game allowing me to get rid of Lone Gunman and an unfavorable Asia scoring card. But the game really came down to the final round where I had several excellent rolls. Although Anthony got off to a huge lead in the space race, the dice failed him in the late War which would have been a huge point swing. Also, I managed an extremely unlikely Mexico coup which produced a huge difference in points as well. It was one of those games where a couple rolls played a major part of determining the outcome.

Tony: The Final Round was exactly what we all hope for–a fun, competitive game with many ups and downs. I was dealt all the right material for a win, but I was significantly outplayed by Justin. Our new champion made all the right calls at the key decision points. A great game to finish out a great tournament.

The tournament began on January 21, 2023 with 63 entrants.

The format was triple elimination, with Swiss style random pairing, avoiding rematches until no longer possible. Eliminators were used in rounds with an odd number of participants. (A volunteer from outside the tournament, Peter Heuvelman, was used for rounds 1-3. After that, Eliminators were randomly selected from the set of most recently eliminated players.)

The total number of games played was 195, of which the SU won 99 and the US won 96. There were 4 European wins and 18 DEFCON losses (not including a number of DEFCON suicides in otherwise lost positions).

The 2023 Laurelists are:

  1. Justin Nordstrom (also took 5th place at WBC)
  2. Tony Russo (finished 3rd in 2020, 2021 and 2022)
  3. Steven Deutch (finished 6th in 2021)
  4. Alan Applebaum
  5. Aran Warszawski (finished 2nd in 2020)
  6. Max DuBoff

Just outside the laurels were WBC champion David Amidon in 7th, and Casey Alexander and Keith Wixson tied for 8th. An honorable mention goes to Andre Heller who arguably had the best performance relative to a well-established AREA rating.

  • Fun Fact 1: This Twilight Struggle PBEM saw the first clash between spouses, Laura Morgan and Steven Deutch. Laura won in Final Scoring with the SU.

    Fun Fact 2: The GM may have set a record in Round 5 when he was bounced from the tournament on Turn 2 by drawing a hand with a face value of 8 Ops to his opponent’s 24. (And the disparity was even worse than the numbers suggest.)

    Fun was had by all, and the 2024 PBEM tournament starts shortly.


    2022 PBeM Tournament

    The 2021-22 BPA Twilight Struggle PBEM tournament has reached its conclusion. 70 players completed 112 games over the this triple elimination event.

    The Laurelists were:
    1st - David Amidon
    2nd - Roy Russo
    3rd - Tony Russo
    4th - Tim Tow
    5th - Owen Kyrollos
    6th - Zheng Gong

    Round-by-round records, highlights and standings can be found at https://twstourney.wordpress.com.


    2021 PBeM Tournament

    The 2020-21 BPA Twilight Struggle PBEM tournament has reached its conclusion. 78 players completed 237 games over the course of 1 year, 2 months and 11 days in this triple elimination event.

    The Laurel winners are:
    1st Owen Kyrollos with a record of 11-1
    2nd Sergey Kosarev, 9-3 (who eliminated last year's 1st and 2nd place players along the way)
    3rd Tony Russo, 8-3, 2-0 in a play-off (also 3rd from the previous tournament)
    4th David Amidon, 8-3 1-1 in play-off (the only player to beat Owen)
    5th Nathan Wagner, 8-3, 0-1 in play-off
    6th Steven Deutsch, 7-3, 1-0 in play-off (against 7th place finisher, Peter Heuvelman)

    Round-by-round records, highlights and standings can be found at https://twstourney.wordpress.com.


    2020 PBeM Tournament

    After 140 games played over 10 rounds and 340 days in a Swiss-paired, double-elimination tournament, 68 Cold Warriors were narrowed down to one Master of DEFCON. The victor was the current holder of the BPA Caesar and Consul Awards (the rich just get richer), Allan Jiang. Allan started as the 24th seed (based on AREA rating), picked up his one allowed loss in the 2nd round, and then ran the table with 8 straight wins. He was the only competitor to play all 10 rounds, being the only top finisher not to benefit from a bye along the way. Going 5-1 as the Russians, 4-0 as the US, and defeating the tournament runner-up from both sides of the board, Allan left no doubt as to who is the real superpower in the BPA. Four of the other Laurelists -- Aran Warsawski (2nd), Tony Russo (3rd), Michael Stryker (4th) and Antero Kuusi (6th) -- came from the top 7 seeds at the tournament start. The 5th place finisher was Roy Russo, unseeded as he did not have an AREA rating, but brother of Tony and clearly no stranger to the game. The tournament had only one player withdraw (in the 1st round), and not a single adjudication. The average round length was just 34 days, do to the use of the PlayDek app. A GM's dream in every way. Thanks to all who participated. Thanks also to GMT and Playdek for their generous support in providing additional prizes for the top 6 finishers

    For full details, see https://twstourney.wordpress.com/.


    2018 PBeM Tournament

    In the Twilight Struggle BPA PBEM 2017-18 finals, Aran Warsawski (USSR) defeated David Schneider (USA) with Wargames on turn 8. The USSR played Ames on turn 8 to force the US to discard Wargames and then played Salt Negotiations to retrieve it from the discard pile. The USA played 5 year plan after a pair of USSR battleground coups but only pulled another 4 OPS card, Nuclear Test Ban.

    The game had opened with a Soviet coup of Iran, followed up by Vietnam Revolts with Asia scoring coming up on turn 2. The US countered with Mideast Scoring and Duck & Cover, but a return of Asia Scoring, followed by an 11 point Africa Scoring on turn 5 pushed the UISSR well ahead. Asia scoring’s return on turn 7 kept the USSR in Wargames range.

    52 players played 141 games were played with overall results using + 2 USA influence at start with optional cards, USSR 74 USA 67, 0.525 USSR winning percentage out of 141 games played. With two month rounds and all players using the Playdek computer application by the end of the tournament.

    The remaining laurelists were: Mike Turian 3rd, Anthony Shaheen 4th, Antero Kuusi 5th, and Jean-Louis Dirion 6th.

    Tournament information on all matches can be found at: https://twilightstruggletourney.wordpress.com/

    Thank you for everyone for participating in this tournament. Special thanks to Michael Mitchell for being my assistant GM and to GMT Games for publishing this game and providing gift certificate prizes to the top 3 finishers.


    2017 PBeM Tournament

    After a two year struggle and 307 games logged, Wayne Bonnet and Ted Lyng advanced from a field of 74 players and a 2015 start to contest the final round of the 2017 BPA Twilight Struggle PBeM tournament. After bidding, Ted took the U.S. + 3 IPs in a trans-Pacific battle. Wayne is from New Zealand as Americans face an increasingly worldwide class of competition with four nations represented by the top six players—including Russian Sergey Kosarev.

    Ted headlined containment in Round 1 and netted five extra points so he was able to play a fair number of IP early. Wayne won the exchange of coups over Iran and was able to use that to control Afghanistan and Pakistan by turn end. However, Ted had played Middle East scoring early enough to get three points and had snaked up into Thailand and Laos to encircle Vietnam before he played Vietnam Revolts on the last Action Round.

    Turn 2 was a turning point as Ted succeeded on a 1/3 chance to take Pakistan with Indo-Pakistani War in the Headline Phase, while Wayne failed with the same odds on Korea War. Wayne used the China Card to take Pakistan back but Ted got a firm grip on India, which along with Thailand, Japan, and South Korea, gave him dominance, though the scoring card had not appeared.

    In Turn 3, Ted again scored the Middle East for five points in the headline. Wayne used Decolonization to try to stave off the U.S. in Asia, but Ted had enough high-value cards to keep his grip. Formosa had been played so that was net 7 to the U.S. Along with "Defectors" that added up to +13 points (before Milops) for the United States in Turn 3.

    On Turn 4, Ted and Wayne battled over Latin America. With the score at 16, Wayne had to defend every area, however, which is a tough task. Still he battled back a bit and reduced Ted to 12. Unfortunately, the right scoring cards did not appear to allow him to dent Ted's lead further.

    On Turn 5, Ted started with the Africa scoring card in his hand, which Wayne deduced quickly. Unfortunately for Wayne, Ted rolled 5s or 6s and he rolled 1s. After a series of realignments swept Red influence out of the Southern Cone of Africa, Ted was able to score eight VPs for the total of 20 needed for the win.

    Ted recorded five US wins amongst his overall 7-1 record. The remaining laurelists were Aran Warsawski 3rd, Randy Pippus 4th, David Amidon 5th, and Sergey Kosarev 6th.

    There were 296 games played in the six Swiss Rounds which featured the optional cards and 1 extra influence for the US resulting in a 111-85 Soviet advantage.

    In the single elimination rounds which featured bidding, the box score was Soviet 6/5. Standard bid was 2 for the Americans but it reached as high as 3 once.


    2009 PBeM Tournament

    Congratulations to Stefan Mecay, who successfully defended his three year streak of WBC TWS crowns by defeating Chris Withers in a very quickly played final match to become the winner of what proved to be the 2007-2008 BPA PBeM TWS tournament (not 2007-2009 as expected!). 86 players composed the field and contested a total of 218 matches with the top six players advancing to Single Elimination format. Others earning laurels were Darren Kilfara, George Seary, Bill Edwards, and Suzanne Tuch in that order.

    Chris's Soviets had all the cards for the first three turns, including De-stalinization on Turn 1, and Decolonization and Red Scare/Purge on Turn 2. Stefan's US whiffed on four straight big coup rolls (getting 1's each time) in places where the momentum could have been stopped somewhat. So it looked like a quick Soviet victory was in order, as Chris had total control of South America and domination in Africa, Asia, and Central America at the start of Turn 4, while Stefan had only Europe (the Middle East was a push).

    Then lady luck decided to do a complete180 for the duration. Chris suffered through three really bad hands in a row and the US dice suddenly got red hot. Stefan was able to get a huge Brush War roll in Argentina and eventually re-align Chris out of Chile to make South America a push. Two ABM Treaties (by Turn 7) plus Nuclear Subs let Stefan eventually get total control of Africa. Stefan was also able to Missile Envy the Muslim Revolution card to save the Middle East on Turn 4, and it never re-appeared. Chris did get to Purge Stefan on Turns 2 and 7, but Stefan was able to use SALT on Turn 9 to get the Purge card back and play it against Chris on Turn 10. Chris still had a couple of last gasp chances but missed three 50-50 rolls to grab 4 VPs in Space and via the Iran-Iraq War. Meanwhile, via the Purge and superior ops, Stefan was able to overrun North Korea and force a push in Asia, and thereby pull it out in Final Scoring. It was a wild and close game, with each side having a chance to win, but Stefan's US prevailed.

    Stefan's combined BPA TWS tournament record is now 25-1, with the sole loss having come to Chris during Round 4 of the Swiss phase of this tournament. For my part (as GM), it's been great to organise such a well-supported and closely fought tournament. I plan to run another tournament in 2009 - probably a straight Single Elimination format this time - so stay tuned to the BPA newsletters for more details about that!