The Master .... again
Chris Byrd and Mark Giddings cross
Master schools Mark Popofsky in the background.
GM Mark Herman checks whether
or Dockter will be Pei's next victim.
Having "won" his way into
Bill gets a four-turn lesson from the Master.
Wishful thinking or whistling in the
The psych lesson failed to unseat the Master.
As the saying goes, if it was a fight, they'd have stopped
it. For the 14th time in 16 years, James Pei has won again. They
don't call him "the Master" for nothing. Our reigning
champion James Pei and the opposition share their thoughts from
the 16th running of the FTP tournament.
We had another solid turnout with 28 ACW aficionados crossing
swords, including several new faces. After being MIA for several
years, the ever popular WBC cheerleader, sandman and four-time
FTP finalist, David Dockter, returned to battle. Many
strong players were also in attendance, including Byrd, Pettus,
Ussery, Young, Giddings, Donald and Pei the younger. Geoff Allbutt,
who got married last year just before the tourney and rushed
back to play also came back for more "lessons". He
is shown putting them to work against Michael Ussery at right.
Some highlights from this year's "reinactments":
- A new player, Tom Stewart, who I met playing in his gaming
group in Ashburn, played a very aggressive CSA. He formed four
CSA armies by 1862! It looked impressive and menacing, but without
any real punch as each army only had 4 or 5 SP. I told him later
that it's better to have one strong army than four weak ones.
- Another new player, Fred Finkenbinder, played a Rd 2 marathon
game against the much improved Lucas Rhodes. Lucas' Rebels used
FTR card to force AOP forward, isolated it, then destroyed it.
The rebels also got off five raids. The Union resigned on T10
with a SW of 17 vs the CSA's 119!
- Another new player, Jeff Cornett, a top player in many block
games, made his first appearance on my turf. He told me he is
tired of watching me winning, that somebody needs to end the
dynasty. I said welcome and good luck, the "beating"
line forms to the right! Well, Jeff's Rebels put up a good fight
against the now veteran, Jeff Donald. But by T8, the Union had
taken AR, TX, LA, and the entire Mississippi River region.
- Mark Popofsky, the now 3-time EOS champ, met James
Pei in Round 2. Unlike EOS where defensive units can react
to any offensive force within range, Mark's Union learned a painful
lesson in not building an early fort defense. CSA used the FTR
card to destroy AOP, blew through Frederick and captured DC.
- A very tight Round 3 game occurred between Nick Pei's Union
and the returning Sandman marshall. From Nick's own words...
Payback is a bitch. Several years ago, I held out as CSA on the
last card of the last turn defending Richmond against Dockter.
This year, my 9+ hours quarterfinal against him ended with another
CSA holdout, when on the last card of the last turn, I played
a Minor Campaign for one last assault on Richmond. The dice failed
me as I was unable to bring CSA SW down from 17 to 0, or burn
Richmond. By this time, all Rebel non-blockade runner resource
spaces were destroyed except for Richmond. Blockade was 0, with
only 1 CSA raid late in 1864. Richmond was closed off in Fall
'64 three times, but reopened three times by fierce CSA counterattacks
on 50% rolls to resupply Richmond. Game end saw depleted armies
on both sides, with AoNV  defending in a OOS Richmond with
+7 modifier (win medium battle ties on resource space), even
though Jackon & Lee's armies were destroyed by Sherman &
- Another quarterfinal game pit Jeff Donald's USA against
the Master. Jeff played a Major Campaign to isolate and surround
all Rebel forces in N VA. Unfortunately, he left a small gap
in WV. James promptly pulled out his own Major Campaign to turn
the tables. James flanked around WV to re-establish supply, then
blew through the defense at Pittsburgh, and raided all the way
to Philly. This caused massive isolation and attrition from which
the Union was unable to recover.
In the semifinals game to determine Pei's final victim, Bill
Pettus' Union atried to save the Dockter from another Jedi mindtrick.
The CSA army under Jackson and Forrest failed to dislodge Union
corps in Bloomington defended by Curtis and a fort, three times!
On Turn 8, Bill then used a brilliant Campaign card to launch
Grant's army from Paducah to AA into Dover. This totally unhinged
Rebel positions in KY and TN. By this time, blockade level was
at 4, CSA SW was at 17 and USA SW was very high at 115. The Union
resigned and Pei-Dockter IV was relegated to wishful thinking
and returned to Dave's hope chest.
The Final pit Pettus' Union against ... well, you know. Suffice
to say that Pei had strong hands that he played to perfection.
With the Northern states under the grip of CSA armies the Union
resigned on Turn 4 and James carved another notch in his belt.
See you all next year for the finale at the Host. Can the
Amish raise a corps to stop Pei's rebels in Lancaster? Not likely
Grant LaDue, having recently bested
the Master in WNW is emboldened to try again on his own
turf if he can get by Bill Peeck.
By Email 2014
The Fourth FTP PBeM Tournament has ended with a somewhat
predictable outcome. A total of 81 players participated in 117
games played. There were two swiss rounds followed by six rounds
of single elimination. Sides were determined randomly. The USA
won a 44-38 advantage in the swiss portion, and maintained an
18-17 edge in the elimination rounds.
The tournament concluded with a match won by heavy favorite
James Pei's Union over Bill Pettus. The CSA fought a brilliant
defense, stamping out every single Union incursion into the South.
Bill kept the Confederacy intact, not losing any states while
taking KY. But it was done while allowing the Union to build
strength and extended CSA forces from VA to TX. When Pei's Union
got the cards, his forces were able to slowly outflank the weakened
defense around VA and trap its forces. With EP played, Blockade
at 3, and Grant showing up, the writing was on the wall. CSA
resigned when AONV was destroyed and Richmond taken on T7. Congratulations
to James Pei for his second For the People BPA PBEM championship!
Additional laurels were earned by Domenico Licheri, Dominique
Marchal, Tolga Corapci and Tim Tow for third through sixth. The
laurelists included players from the UK, Belgium and France in
an event with a truly international flavor. Thomas Georgeais
and Dave Docktor took honorable mention while finishing 7th and
Thanks to everyone who participated in this effort. Special
thanks to Michael Mitchell and Doug Pratto who generously contributed
their time as co-GMs.