Blockheads at war ...
We began the 1812 tournament
with high hopes. I had begun a website for 1812 in February.
It was my hope that this would spur interest in what I consider
a fun game. I know many might say that it is a poor simulation,
but it is a great game that can be won by either side. I want
to begin by thanking my assistant GM's Scott Bowling and Michael
Sims. They were invaluable in helping me get the tournament organized
and for many helpful suggestions.
We moved the tournament to a Tuesday evening to accommodate
my two assistants. I was initially worried that this would cut
down on our attendance of 22 from the year before. I was wrong!
We began with 26. I dropped out so that we could have an even
number. A last minute arrival appeared and I wanted to play to
accomodate him, but alas both of my games were in use and he
didn't have a copy. So the tournament drew 26 in its second year,
not bad for a game published in 1973.
We used a couple of variants this year. One was unlimited
naval forces, allowing players to rebuild fleets as long as there
was never more than six in play at once. The other was the replacement
variant. This rule allows each side to add one CV to a unit each
turn as long as they could trace supply back to Pittsburgh or
Albany as the Americans, and Quebec as the British. Overall,
these were well received as they were the previous year.
Players bid victory points to play the British side as this
has been the perceived favorite. These victory points would only
be subtracted from the British total after the 1814 campaign
year. The average bid for the British was 1.76 with a high bid
of 4. The most frequent bid was 2. These had no bearing on the
automatic victory's. The tournament had two-hour timed rounds
with adjudication of any tied games by a secret vote of myself
and my two assistants. We only had to adjudicate two of the 25
The Americans won 68% of the games this year. The vast majority
were won in the first campaign year of 1812. Ten of the 17 American
wins were in the first year with three more in the 1813 year.
American wins typically are in 1812, with 1813 as a more balanced
year. The British, true to perceptions, won five of their eight
victorys in the final year of the game.
There are those that believe the Americans are the overwhelming
favorites. This year supports their argument. However, the British
won most of the games the year before.
There were some interesting matches. I asked the players to
include some comments about their respective games. Michael Sims
on losing to George Young wrote only two words: "Wet Powder!"
as he conceded his game in 1813. Karsten Engleman wrote "His
American army marched into upper Canada as the British had defended
it lightly". Charles Stucker stated that his
Americans won the initiative in eight of the ten turns in 1812
and he rode that all the way to the gates of Quebec.
The finals came down to a game between Charles Hickok as the
Americans and George Young as the British. The game was extremely
close and came down to a final battle in 1814. Charles defeated
George in the last turn of 1814 and took home the plaque.
I want to thank Columbia Games for their support again this
year. They donated a $50 gift certificate to the winner and an
autographed map. George won $30 for runnerup. They also donated
$15 for third and fourth places as well. Feel free to make suggestions
about the format as we plan and prepare for '01.