bitter woods   

Updated Nov. 23, 2013

2013 WBC Report    

 2014 Status: pending 2014 GM commitment

Forrest Pafenberg, VA

2013 Champion


WBC Event History
1999    Phil Evans     19
2000    Randy Heller     16
2001    Rich Ogata     14
2002    Tom Gregorio     16
2003    Bob Ryan     17
2004    Bob Ryan     20
2005    Randy Heller     20
2006    Steve Likevich     21
2007    Tom Gregorio     21
2008    Tom Gregorio     22
2009     Tom Gregorio     26
2010    Bruno Sinigaglio     22
2011    Tom Gregorio     21
2012    Tom Gregorio     25
2013    Forrest Pafenberg     21

PBeM Event History
2000    Randy Heller     20
2001    Bob Ryan     27
2002    Tom Gregorio     25
2005    Phil Evans     27
2008    Bruno Sinigaglio     32
2011    Bruno Sinigaglio     23
2012    Bruno Sinigaglio     28


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Tom Gregorio       PA    13    302
  2.  Randy Heller       NH    12    227
  3.  Bruno Sinigaglio   AK    12    182
  4.  Bob Ryan           MI    09    128
  5.  Forrest Pafenberg  VA    13    119
  6.  Bill Morse         VA    12    111
  7.  Phil Evans         fr    05     94
  8.  Steve Likevich     OH    12     65
  9.  Marty Musella      VA    12     51
 10.  Mike Mitchell      GA    09     42
 11.  John Grant Jr      CT    01     35
 12.  Rich Ogata         VA    01     30
 13.  Ed Witkowski       VA    13     26
 14.  Jim Tracy          OH    13     25
 15.  Mike Pacheco       CA    05     24
 16.  Johnny Hasay       PA    13     21
 17.  Mike Kaye          MD    11     18
 18.  Buddy Sinigaglio   CO    08     18
 19.  Dan Tierney        CA    05     18
 20.  Larry Hollern      TX    12     15
 21.  Lance Roberts      AK    11     15
 22.  Doug James         NC    06     15
 23.  Jeff Hacker        PA    10     12
 24.  Larry Meyers       AZ    11      9
 25.  Jeff Lange         ae    11      9
 26.  John Popiden       CA    04      9
 27.  Nick Frydas        uk    03      9
 28.  Kevin Hacker       PA    09      8
 29.  Frank Sinigaglio   NJ    13      6
 30.  Rob Mull           CO    02      3
 31.  Chris Roginsky     PA    01      3
 32.  Paul Koenig        CA    00      3
 33.  Rob Beyma          MD    02      2

2013 Laurelists                                      Repeating Laurelists: 

James Tracy II, OH

Johnny Hasay, PA

Tom Gregorio, PA

Ed Witkowski, VA

Frank Sinigaglio, NJ

Past Winners

Phil Evans, fr

Randy Heller, MD
2000, 2005

Rich Ogata, VA

Tom Gregorio, PA
2002, 2007-09, 2011-12

Bob Ryan, MI

Steve Likevich, OH

Bruno Sinigaglio, AK

Forrest Pafenberg, VA

The grognard braintrust: Bill Morse and Bruno Sinigaglio in their annual 'Bulge battle.

Charles Catania expands his horizons in the absence of his favorite Russia Besieged event this year.

 Perennial BWD champ Tom Gregorio plays Jeremy Osteen.

 Ed Witkowski scopes out the Ardennes terrain.

Persistance Rewarded!

Bitter Woods posted a significant increase in games played in 2013 over that of preceding years despite a decline in the size of the field. A format change that was contrary to the format that had been approved and announced may have been at least partly responsible for both. A total of 50 games were played. The Germans won 11 and lost 14 of the 6-turn scenario, while winning 15 and losing 10 of the 8-turn scenario. There were two early games of notable significance as related below.

Tom Gregorio's Germans defeated Kevin Hackers in the 6-turn scenario as described by Tom below. "It was with some trepidation that I faced Hackers again. This guy rattles me. He is creative. He 'creates' his own luck and he sometimes pulls moves out of his butt that stymie me to no small degree. This match was no different. By the end of the first two turns, there were ZERO US units in the dead pile. His defense was THAT good! He pulled the Hackers Gambit, which involves putting Middleton and two units in Clervaux, but fortunately I was prepared for that. My response was to bypass it to the NW and let ground-pounders grind on the fort. Further south, on 17PM, Kevin gave me an opportunity to get through his interdiction in the heavy woods and I was fortunate enough to roll a 5 and drive adjacent to Bastogne, which was only occupied by artillery. My 1-1 resulted in a CA result which precipitated his emptying the hex as he couldn't really counterattack. I challenged the interdiction because he'd pretty much stuffed me everywhere else on the map. The only mistake Kevin made in the game was his defense outside of Houffalize and that was caused by a misunderstanding of the retreat rules. He assumed he could take a self-sealing route when that was not the case. The end result was that two of my 5th Panzer Army units in Reserve were able to break through and get into Samree, Parker's Crossroads and beyond. My advance after combat allowed me to surround Noville, which would fall and get me the US casualty VP. Kevin tried some unlikely counterattacks at 3-1(+1) and 1-1(+1) against my exploiting units, but they were not successful. At the end of the US 17PM move Kevin surrendered as we both agreed that his position was irrevocably 'broken'. It was a tense match and we shared some Xanex afterwards!

In the other preliminary game of note, Johnny Hasay's Germans defeated 5th ranked Bill Morse in the 6-turn scenario in a precursor of things to come. The US stuffed Peiper's breakout move, so the Germans used Peiper's MEP attack to kill an American artillery, getting an advance that trapped five units. Unfortunately for the Germans, the trapped American blockers were either able to gum up the 6th Pz Army sector or eventually escape, thus securing the north half of the map for the US. The Americans used a strong forward defense along the Our River and the Hackers Gambit at Clervaux to keep the 5th Pz Army mostly contained. A few German units were able to sneak past the well-defended fort, which held out to the end of the scenario. In the 7th Army area, the forward US defense was burned for a devastating D4 vs 7CCA in front of Ettlebruck, getting FJ 5/15 well on the road to Martelange. The Americans were forced to spend all their interdiction in the south for two turns just to keep Brandenburger and FJ 5/15 out of Neufchateau. Only three steps of units and one artillery piece were left to protect the approach to Bastogne. All seemed lost until 17pm when the crafty 4/8-22 regiment slipped behind the German lines in the south, putting much of the 7th Army and the spearhead units of the 5th Pz Army out of supply. However, with the 10th Armor out of position, the Germans made a bold, surrounded attack with their OOS army on the fort at Bastogne. The Americans barely held, counterattacking the following turn to eliminate Lehr/Recon and secure the Bastogne perimeter. Unfortunately, the US was only able to get 10 factors without a leader into Noville. On the 18PM turn, the Germans were able to make a 1-1(-2) attack on the Noville victory hex, securing the town with a D2 that prevented any hope of an American counterattack. US dead were beyond 12 and only Lehr/Recon was lost for the Germans.

To no one's surprise, six-time champion Tom Gregorio was one of the final four to make the elimination rounds. The other contenders, veterans all, had never won the event, so Tom's loss to Jim Tracy II's Americans in the 6-turn scenario of the semifinals sent shockwaves through the grognard room. Tom's demise is relayed in his own words as follows. "I've met Jim on many fronts in many games and I know him for the crafty player that he is; methodical, precise, and rarely makes an error. Unfortunately, for me, this was not one of those rare times. I was hoping I could use 'shock and awe' to get my VP spaces. My early luck ended that ambition; however, as the dreaded ENG results locked up my units on Turn 1. A sharp counterattack on the US16AM move gave my Germans the dubious distinction of losing a unit before the Allies, which had never happened previously in the 100+ games that I've played! Jim employed a fairly standard, but safe defense, albeit a little forward. By the start of my German 18AM turn, I had accounted for only four dead US units. Skorzeny failed to sneak by Malmedy and an ENG result at that town on 17PM ensured I would only be attacking Stavelot across the raging rivers of the Ambleve. Jim tried to lock it at that point but I stayed in the game by exploiting a tactical misplacement in the center, which eventually allowed me to claim 12 dead US units. Not that it mattered, as Jim did an excellent job of applying the clamp in our game on his 18AM move. My only recourse was a desperate assault on Stavelot, as that was the only VP space to which I could get adjacent. The attack was stuffed by Hodges and three units - I needed to "Shock" all the defenders via bombardment and then inflict a D2 result. I calculated the odds of that to be 1/81 and I wasn't even close. Game over! The US has a clear edge in the 6-turn scenario when played by grizzled vets like Jim."

Forest Pafenberg's Germans beat Johnny Hasay in the 8-turn scenario in the semifinal. Forest supplied the details. "Johnny is a dangerous opponent when he is the Germans. He has beaten me handily with the Germans previously and displayed that prowess again by hammering Bill Morse earlier in the week. On the other hand, he does not like to play defense and there were no pronouncements from the bench to get him off the hook. The Pafenberg Germans got an extremely good opening in both the north and south. The Germans built bridges at Clervaux and Vianden, and a D4 result in the center resulted in the elimination of two units. By the 17PM turn, the handwriting was on the wall (Daniel 5:5-30), with German units next to Eupen, entering Trois Point, taking Parkers Crossroads, crossing the boundary and moving next to Bastogne. With multiple units surrounded due to a cascade of long advances in the north. Johnny conceded."

With Gregorio vanquished, a new champion would be crowned. 7th ranked Forest Pafenberg pit his American's against the Gregorio-slayer, Jim Tracy II, in the 8-turn scenario to decide the title. The 16AM German results were mixed - strong in the south and marginal in the north with two firefights and one engaged. Paffy played inspired defense, only erring twice on the 17PM turn: once allowing Lehr Recon to surround a unit in the center and then letting a 6-5-4 unit get surrounded in front of Eupen, because he forgot to move it. On the other hand, Tracy returned the favor on 18AM, when he forgot to move reserve units that could have moved adjacent to Bastogne, preventing the building of the fortress. Tracy's oversight became a critical error, because he never took Bastogne. The Germans did capture Parker's Crossroads, to obtain three of the four required victory points, but they fell short of the fourth. Jim had two 1-1 attacks on Eupen on 18PM and 19AM, but failed to capitalize. Then Pafenberg reinforced the town on the US 19AM turn to make it safe before the last turn. This was a nip and tuck game, with each player having a good chance to pull out the win. Afterwards, game play was halted in the Grognard room for presentation of the Bitter Woods Championship plaque to Paffy. There was a spirited applause for Paffy who has gamely participated in a variety of Battle of the Bulge tournament games throughout various Doncons for more than 30 years. Paffy would frequently reach a championship game and then be victimized by the worst dice imaginable. After such losses, Paffy would retire to the bar to drown his sorrow. This year was somewhat different, as Paffy retired to the bar to celebrate ... a title at last.

Next year, the Bulge '81 event will be merged into Bitter Woods with the latter as the default version when players can't agree on which to play. Bitter Woods will henceforth become part of Grognardcon with free form scheduling and the Swiss Elim format that goes with it.

Everyone's favorite yankee judge, Johnny Hasay.

The finalists battle on the big board.

 Forrest Pafenberg finally wins the big one under watchful gaze of Marty Musella as James Tracy falls in the big board Final.
 GM      Bruno Sinigaglio  [2nd Year]  NA   NA

2013 Previews | View the Icon Key | Return to main BPA page