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Wilderness War (WNW) PBeM Reports Updated November 9, 2018
 
 

2018 PBeM Tournament

Congratulations to Paul Gaberson, who added to his impressive list of BPA Wilderness War titles. The four time WBC champ bested a field of 49 players, among them most of the top rated players. The third seeded Gaberson compiled an impressive 7-0 record, defeating Larry Meyers, Sean McCulloch, Al Owen and Mike Lembke in the preliminary Swiss rounds, Ken Gutermuth in the Quarterfinals, the second seeded James “The Master” Pei in the Semifinals and Bill Peeck in the Championship game. The unseeded Peeck had a less stellar road to the finals. Peeck defeated Michael Webb in Round 1, but lost to Tom Willcockson in Round 2. After defeating Larry Meyers and Henry Rice in Rounds 3 and 4, Peeck barely qualified as the eighth and final quarterfinalist on tiebreakers. He then defeated the top seeded Keith Wixson in the Quarterfinals and Filip Spacek in the Semifinals before his matchup with Gaberson.

The tournament began in November, 2016 and ran for 16 months. Among the 49 players were 18 previously unrated players, many of whom were relatively new to the game. Such a large number of newer players is slightly surprising for a game that is almost 20 years old. However, clearly not all of the players without BPA tournament experience were novices, as the previously unrated Filip Spacek made it all the way to the Semifinals and the previously unrated Mike Lembke made it to the Quarterfinals. In any case, it is a testament to how great Volko Ruhnke’s design is after all these years that we can still draw such a large field.

Through all seven rounds there were a total of 88 games played. The French side won 42 times for a winning percentage of only 48%. I believe this may be the first BPA Wilderness War tournament where the French have won fewer games than the British! Those results may be misleading, however. While the French only won only 17 out of 46 games in the first two rounds, when unrated and inexperienced French players were often easy pickings for veteran British players, the French record improved dramatically in later rounds after many novice players had dropped out. Indeed, French players won 11 of 16 games in Round 4 and 5 of 7 games in the elimination rounds for a winning percentage of 70% in the final four rounds. Gaberson won four times as the French and three times as the Brits. Peeck also won as the French four times, but lost two of three games played as the Brits.

Final Standings were:

  • Paul Gaberson
  • Bill Peeck
  • Filip Spacek
  • James Pei
  • Tom Willcockson
  • Keith Wixson

2012 PBeM Tournament

GM Keith Wixson (the 2006 WBC Champ) bested a field of 50 players to win the 2012 Wilderness War PBeM Tournament, a seven round swiss-elimination format competition which began in February 2010. The #8 seed at the start of the tournament, Wixson ran the table, going 7-0 to win his first PBeM crown. He defeated Bob Jamelli, Henry Rice, Kevin Worth and Al Owen in the swiss rounds, Bill Peeck in the quarter-finals, Adam Deverell in the semi-finals and Owen again in the championship game. Also going undefeated in the preliminary rounds were John Buse (the #9 seed) and Stefan Mecay (the #10 seed). Worth, Owen, Peeck, Deverell and George Seary all advanced to the quarter-finals with one swiss loss on tiebreakers. Owen defeated Jason White, Tom Drueding and Paul Gaberson in the early rounds, Worth in the quarter-finals and Buse in the semi-finals. Buse defeated Deverell in the Consolation Match for third place honors. None of the top seven seeded players made it past the preliminary rounds, an indication of the number of very good players that participated.

The 96 games played broke down as follows: 57 French to 39 British wins for a 59% French win rate. As is usually the case in Wilderness War tournaments, however, the British win rate was much better in later rounds after many less experienced players departed the scene, and in the elimination rounds the Brits won five of the eight games. The Champ played and won as the Brits in all three elimination rounds.

The tournament went off without any significant problems and was completed in less than two years. Thanks to everybody who participated and thanks to Paul Gaberson for being the Assistant GM.

The tournament website is http://mysite.verizon.net/vze4bc94/index.html.

An AAR of the Championship Game follows:

French: Al Owen
British: Keith Wixson

Early 57

Events Played: Campaign (French), Foul Weather (Brits), Campaign (Brits), Courier Intercepted (French - successful), British Regulars (Bradstreet drawn), Northern Indians (half roll, two units gained), Mohawks, Indians Desert (French), Militia x2 (French)
Raid Attempts: French were 0 for 2
VPs at Turn's End: FR4

The French attempted the standard Montcalm/Levis Campaign move against Ft. William Henry on the first card, but were delayed by bad weather. The Brits then followed up with their own Campaign to bring Abercromby and Webb up to defend the fort in force. The main French army settled in at Ticonderoga. After an early successful Courier Intercepted by the French (on top of the British use of a response card), the Brits were down several cards and had to plan for a possible French four-play at the end of the turn and start of the next turn. It appeared that the French were setting up a move against Albany or Boston with the windfall. Since they couldn't defend both spaces, the Brits concentrated on building up a force to defend Albany by scraping together a small army there under Bradstreet from what was not with Abercromby's main army. But the French ended the turn with two events and held a card, so nothing came of the threat. Interestingly, Levis finished the turn out west in the Pays d'en Haut after leading an unsuccessful raid.

Late 57

Events Played: Ministerial Crisis (no effect), Militia (Brits - South), Rangers, Small Pox (Brits - full roll/2), Campaign x2 (Brits)
British Reinforcement Card Retrieved: No
Raid Attempts: French were 0 for 3
VPs at Turn's End: FR4

This was a relatively uneventful turn. The French concentrated on raiding, while the Brits spent most of their effort shifting Bradstreet to the West and setting up a move against Ft. Duquesne in 1758. With winter approaching, both main armies pulled back from the Champlain Valley, but both left strong garrisons behind in the forts. The deck was reshuffled at the end of the turn.

Early 58

Events Played: Campaign x2 (French), French Regulars, Fieldworks (British), Northern Indians (half roll, two units gained), Francois Bigot
British Reinforcement Card Retrieved: No
Raid Attempts: French were 0 for 2
VPs at Turn's End: FR3

The Brits drew no 3 cards, so the main army at Albany under Abercromby was stuck. As the French consolidated it's main army for the push down the Champlain, the Brits scrambled to get Monckton to Albany from Halifax so they could react. Luckily, the Brits had planned well in the the previous turn and when the French push against the heavily garrisoned Ft. William Henry came, Johnson was already in position to intercept with a force from Ft. Edward. Johnson made the roll, threw up Fieldworks and won a major victory in the first real battle of the game. Montcalm and Rigaud were among the French casualties, leaving Vaudreuil in command of the French army. While the French reinforced and brought Levis back from Ft. Niagara to take command, Monckton took command of the main British army and brought it up from Albany. But with the danger of an ambush and the alarming lack of reinforcements in mind, Monckton was content to stay on the defense. The Brits spent the rest of the turn preparing for the move against Ft. Duquesne, while the French went into raid mode. At the end of the turn a small French force moved into Wood Creek and built a stockade in an attempt to threaten Monckton's rear. The British play of Bigot on its last card may have prevented a French attack there (the Brits had been down a card because of Fieldworks).

Late 58

Events Played: Troop Transports (British), French Regulars
British Reinforcement Card Retrieved: No
Raid Attempts: French were 0 for 7
VPs at Turn's End: 0

Bradstreet's army finally made its move against Ohio Forks. The French garrison did not destroy Ft. Duquesne and retreat, but withdrew inside to defend the siege (sans Dumas, who stayed outside) . This may have been a mistake in a close game because the extra VP lost when Bradstreet took the fort on one roll came back to haunt the French at the end of the game. The British victory had a cost, however, as Dunbar was killed in the assault. His death crippled the British command structure in the West and effectively eliminated any further threat from Bradstreet. Bradstreet rebuilt the fort but never left the Forks again. The French concentrated heavily on raiding this turn with miserable success. With winter approaching, both main armies pulled back from the Champlain Valley, but this time the British left no garrisons behind and held their final card. The deck was reshuffled at the end of the turn.

Early 59

Events Played: Campaign (French), Foul Weather (British), Courier Intercepted (British - successful), Light Infantry (Amherst drawn), British Regulars (Forbes drawn), Governor Vaudreuil
British Reinforcement Card Retrieved: No
Raid Attempts: French were 0 for 1
VPs at Turn's End: FR1

The French once again attempted a Campaign move against Ft. William Henry on the first card of the year, but were once again delayed by bad weather (the British hold card from the previous turn). Abercromby took command of the main British army and moved it up from Albany to defend. The British finally drew some reinforcement cards, and Amherst arrived and eventually made his way to Hudson Carry North to take over command of the main army himself. Johnson was sent to Charlestown with a small force to threaten the French rear after a successful British play of Courier Intercepted. The French were forced to use their final card of the turn (Fieldworks) to respond to the threat of a British double move by Johnson, when their preference was to hold the card. Following the play of Governor Vaudreuil to send Levis out west on an inspection tour, Amherst attacked the main French army under Drucour at Ticonderoga in only the second major battle of the game. The results of the Montcalm-Johnson battle of 57 were reversed even without the Fieldworks, however, as the Brits were repulsed with heavy losses and their commander killed.

Late 59

Events Played: Large Highlanders (Wolfe and Murray drawn), Small Pox (British - full roll/5), Campaign (British), Surrender (British)
British Reinforcement Card Retrieved: No
Raid Attempts: French were 0 for 2
VPs at Game's End: BR1

The situation at the start of the final turn was favorable from the French standpoint. The Brits had to score a net of two VPs to win, and that didn't appear likely (and taking another victory space was just not feasible). The two French forts in the Champlain Valley were obvious targets, but if the French just destroyed the forts, pulled back the main army and scored a VP on a raid they would be tough to beat. Luckily for the Brits, however, the main French army under Drucour at Ticonderoga could not move because of command problems and Levis would have to make his way back East before it could. And while the main French army had been well reinforced from Europe and Louisbourg, battle losses, small pox (two outbreaks) and a lack of Indian support had taken its toll since the start of the game. The Brits were also lucky in drawing a very good hand.

The appearance of Wolfe and the Highlanders seemingly saved the day for the Brits. He was able to make his way to Hudson Carry North and take command before Levis could make it back to Ticonderoga, so when Wolfe led the main army forward Drucour had no choice but to stand and fight in front of Ft. Carillon. The Wargame Gods were not going to make it easy for the Brits, however, and Wolfe was repulsed with heavy losses in a battle he should have won. This brought VPs up to FR2 and allowed Levis to destroy Ft. Carillon when he arrived immediately thereafter (bringing VPs back down to FR1). The Brits were out of other options, and Wolfe advanced on Ticonderoga again. The French army was now down two columns on Wolfe, but with Levis back the command problems were resolved and this time the French evaded to Crown Point. An auxiliary screen left behind did not slow the now desperate British advance, and Wolfe continued on through the wilderness after the overrun, without pausing to build a stockade. A small force of Provincials was dropped off to protect the space. Neither side had a viable retreat from Crown Point, and now things got interesting as it became a game of maneuver and bluff. Levis evaded again, this time into Green Mountain Central, leaving behind Drucour and a small garrison at Ft. Saint Frederic to defend the siege, and on the next French play slid past Wolfe's flank and cut off his line of supply at Hudson Carry South. But the French had fallen into a trap and now it sprang shut! On a Campaign card Wolfe left behind a small force under Monckton to siege and marched back to HCS to clear out Levis, who had no choice but to evade to Wood Creek. Wolfe had to stop at HCS because he had no auxiliaries (the Rangers were with Johnson at Charlestown). With supplies now available, Monckton was able to initiate a siege of Ft. Saint Frederic on the second half of the Campaign and played Surrender to complete it without a roll, scoring two VPs. For the first time in the game the Brits took the lead.

The French had three cards remaining to get the VP back. Unfortunately they were all "1" cards. Bougainville took command of a portion of the main army and attacked the British Provincial force at Ticonderoga, destroying it (but not overrunning it). With Bougainville now in position to advance on Crown Point and retake Ft. Saint Frederic, Johnson advanced up the Connecticut River valley with his force and into the Green Mountains to threaten the French supply line. Realizing that Johnson would therefore be able to prevent a French siege of Ft. Saint Frederic on their final card, with two cards to play the French attempted a last raid at Trenton. It failed, and with no possibilities for attempting any other raids on the final French card, Al resigned. Had the French succeeded in raiding at the end, Johnson was poised to lead a Ranger raid on New France on the final British card play.

Final Comments

This was a very even game and was played very close to the vest by both players. The obvious keys to the British victory were (1) never losing Ft. William Henry, (2) killing Montcalm on the third turn, (3) scoring an extra VP at Ohio Forks when the French neglected to destroy the fort, and, perhaps most importantly, (4) the French going 0 for 17 on raids! Those four factors allowed the Brits to keep the game close even though they received very limited reinforcements until 1759. When Wolfe finally did arrive, the Brits were in a decent position to take the game with aggressive play. Al played very well and could have easily won with a little better luck. He was a well deserving runner-up.

2009 PBeM Tournament

2008 WBC Champ James "The Master" Pei bested a field of 62 players to win the 2007 Wilderness War PBeM Tournament, a six round Swiss-Elimination format competition which began in early 2007 and took approximately 18 months to complete. Pei defeated George Young in the Final to win his second PBEM crown. Pei defeated Henry Russell, Jim Winslow, Kevin Worth, Grant LaDue and Ron Fedin in his march to the championship game. Pei, Young and Fedin went undefeated in the four Swiss rounds, while Adam Deverell advanced to the semi-finals with one Swiss loss by earning the necessary tiebreakers in wins over Jim Lawler, Tom Thornsen and 2007 WBC Champ Paul Gaberson. Deverell's loss was to Fedin in Round 4. Young defeated Alan Poulter, Patrick Duffy, Bill Edwards, Rob Winslow and Deverell.

For his efforts, Pei was awarded a Buffalo Jaw War Club in addition to the plaque. Deverell defeated Fedin in the Consolation Match for 3rd place.

The 118 games played broke down as follows: 60 French wins and 58 British wins. In the French wins the higher rated player won 22 times, while in the British wins the higher rated player won 43 times. Bidding broke down as follows: one game with a bid of FR3 (French loss), ten games with a bid of FR2 (French record was 4-6), 95 games with a bid of FR1 (French record was 50-45), nine games with no bid (French record was 5-4) and three games with a bid of BR1 (French record was 2-1). In the Final Pei played the French with a bid of FR1 after Young, who had the initial bid, passed.

Final Standings were:

  • James Pei
  • George Young
  • Adam Deverell
  • Ron Fedin
  • William Edwards
  • Peter Reese

2006 PBeM Tournament

The tournament concluded after two years and a total of 124 games played with 50 players participating. Congratulations to the champ, John Buse, who made his Wilderness War tournament debut and beat out several veteran players to take first. Buse twice defeated 2004 WBC Champ James Pei, who is arguably the top overall CDG player in the world, to secure the crown. Very few people have a lifetime winning record against "The Master"!

Entering the final round of the pure swiss format tournament, the leader was GM Keith Wixson, the third seed and lone undefeated player. Wixson had to defeat top seed and WBC Champ Ron Fedin in order to claim the crown. Wixson's Brits survived an early appearance by Montcalm and the French capture of Albany in 1756 to claw his way back. Relying on the appearance of Wolfe in 1757 and great support by the Colonial Assemblies, Wixson took back Albany and was eventually able to besiege Montreal and threaten Ohio Forks by late 1759. He ran out of men and time, however, as the support of the Crown was very weak. Fedin was able to bleed Wixson white, relieve Montreal and earn the win. The tournament ended in a six way tie for first place and came down to the tiebreaker - the average AREA rating of defeated opponents. Buse's two wins over the highly rated Pei was the difference. Here are the final standings of the top ten finishers:
1. John Buse (5 wins - 1 loss was to Fedin)
2. Ron Fedin (5 wins - 1 loss was to Pei)
3. Keith Wixson (5 wins - 1 loss was to Fedin)
4. Tom Drueding (5 wins - 1 loss was to Wixson)
5. Gary Phillips (5 wins - 1 loss was to Drueding)
6. Bill Peeck (5 wins - 1 loss was to Phillips)
7. James Pei (4 wins)
8. Ken Gutermuth (4 wins)
9. Richard deCastongrene (4 wins)
10. George Young (4 wins)

here is an After Action Report of Buse's Round 6 victory over Pei ith John playing the French and James the Brits

In Early 1755, the French start off with "Ministerial Crisis", costing the Brits a card, but that allows Johnson to clear out Cataraqui. The French then raid heavily while the Brits build up in western PA. Montcalm and reinforcements arrive at the end of the turn.

In Late 1755. the Brits continue their build up in PA, while Montcalm masses his army at Montreal, causing the Brits to abandon Oswego. Both sides raid several times unsuccessfully. The French play "Diplomatic Revolution". VPs stand at FR2 at turn's end.

In Early 1756, a great hand for the Brits, who play "Pitt", the large "Highlanders", "Royal Americans" and a "Regulars" card. On top of that both Wolfe and Amherst appear! While the Brits play events, Montcalm marches down from Montreal to threaten Ft. Edward. A relief army under Wolfe boats up from New York but is beaten back in a close battle. Ft. Edward then falls to Montcalm. The British build up in PA continues, causing the French to torch Ft. Duquesne. Montcalm withdraws northward in the face of a huge British army under Wolfe advancing from Albany. The French are able to add many Indian allies, as the VPs are starting to mount.

In Late 1756, the French Ft. Duquesne garrison is wiped out in a desperation attack with winter approaching. The Brits start a build up at Halifax. The French get several successful late raids. VPs stand at FR6 at turn's end.

In Early 1757, the Brits continue their build up at Halifax, with Wolfe being shifted there, causing the French garrison at Louisbourg to abandon the fortress and sail for Quebec. The French raid heavily in the north. At turn's end Wolfe lands at Louisbourg.

In Late 1757, Louisbourg falls and the Forks is finally taken. The French are heavily reinforced with Indians and launch massive raids, but suffer heavy losses against the British "Blockhouses". The French main army at Ticonderoga suffers an outbreak of "Small Pox". VPs stand at FR4 at turn's end.

In Early 1758, the Brits begin to advance on Ft. Niagara from the Forks while also reinforcing Wolfe at Louisbourg, threatening Quebec. Montcalm's army suffers a second outbreak of "Small Pox" and starts building a string of forts in the Champlain valley. At turn's end he shifts to Kahnawake to be better able to respond to the threat against Niagara.

In Late 1758, for the third turn in a row the main French army suffers through the "Pox" but is luckily reinforced with victorious troops from the battlefields of Germany. Montcalm shifts his forces to Quebec in case Wolfe lands. A large army under Amherst begins to advance up the Champlain valley from Albany. Both sides launch successful raids. VPs stand at FR4 at turn's end.

In Early 1759, the Brits continue to advance towards Niagara and Montreal while threatening Quebec from the sea. The three British armies each outnumber the main French army under Montcalm. The French send out small forces to threaten the supply lines of the advancing Brits. Montcalm builds a fort at Ile d'Orleans to protect Quebec and shifts back to Crown Point to oppose Amherst.

In Late 1759, the western British army under Bradstreet finally reaches Ft. Niagara, which will mean victory if he can take it. Fortunately for the French, however, Dumas has been able to slip behind Bradstreet and cut his supply line at Raystown, preventing a siege at Niagara. A French "Courier is Intercepted", though, and it is starting to look like the Brits will able to pull it out because of extra cards. But a British effort to drive off Dumas fails! Dumas' presence also threatens Alexandria and Baltimore forcing the Brits to waste time garrisoning both. With the offensive against Niagara stalled, the Brits shift their efforts to the east and land Wolfe at Ile d'Orleans. Montcalm shifts back to Quebec to join some recently arrived reinforcements, leaving the string of Champlain forts to protect Montreal. As Wolfe takes out the French fort at Ile d'Orleans, a small French force under Beaujeu crosses the Green Mountains and threatens Boston. The Brits are forced to waste one of their extra cards to protect it with a garrison. The game comes down to the Battle of Quebec, where Wolfe attacks Montcalm. In only the second major battle of the game the French are victorious, bringing their VP total up to 3. Both sides had launched successful raids. The Brits concede defeat.

Much like last year's WBC final, the British player probably allowed great early cards to go to his head and just played too conservatively against a skilled French opponent.

2004 PBeM Tournament

James Pei topped a field of 64 by defeating Pete Reese in the finals of the very successful (and quickly played) Wilderness War tournament. Ron Fedin took third, followed by Bill Peeck, Bari Herman and George Young respectively who all claimed laurels for their efforts - swelling the ranks of those who have already scored in the 2004 Caesar race to a total of 118 players.