not your average tournament ...
The Advanced Third Reich tournament
of earlier years replaced Global War this year. The latter's
players also joined in the fun, but were not eligible for plaques.
The tournament consisted of two rounds. Barbarossa was used for
round one, and determined pairings for the second round. One
teammember played the Axis, and the other the Russians. Each
game used the same die rolls for both the Russian winter and
the initiative. The score for each player was the number of objective
hexes held at the end of the Winter 1943 turn. Out of four matches,
two were blowouts, with the Axis achieving 13 points, in spite
of two successive Russian winter die rolls of 6! The Russians
won the other two, but by the close score of 7 to 6.
The second round was a campaign game with variants (four each),
ending in Summer 1943, with victory city requirements to determine
the winner. Herb Gratz (Austria) and Brock Heathcotte (Arizona)
faced Michael Mitchell and Randall MacInnis (both from Georgia)
for first place. Charles Krueger and Ryan Scoville (New England)
faced the father-son team of Arthur and Joshua Winslow (Vermont)
for second place.
Herb and Brock, as Allies, defeated Michael and Randall, as
Axis. The Axis got off to a rough start in Poland, with 27 BRPs
of losses! Their initial attack into France was also fateful,
suffering a 4-6 result on a key 2-1 attack. The Allies took every
advantage, and built up a sizeable Free French force in North
Africa, while holding France until Winter 1940. Notwithstanding,
the Axis were able to gain Spain as an associated ally in 1941,
and prepared to invade England. Both sides were unprepared in
Spring. The Summer invasion was turned back with the help of
some fleets moved out of the SW box. A second attempt in Fall
was equally unsuccessful, and the Axis conceded. They did not
have time enough to gain the Russian victory cities.
Randall and Ryan, as Axis, defeated Arthur and Joshua, as
Allies. The game was slanted heavily towards an Axis victory
when they exploited an Allied oversight and were able to conquer
the Middle East. This gained them one victory city (Baghdad).
The invasion of Russia eventually yielded the other victory cities
(Leningrad, Moscow and Stalingrad). Arthur and Joshua put up
a good fight, nonetheless.
Four games of the unpublished Global War 2000 were played.
One new rule tested was the drawing of Ultra cards and Magic
cards, to determine code-breaking effects for raiders and air-naval
combat. Also tested was the reduction of the British armor available
at start, along with harsher winter effects in Europe. These
changes led to a reliable conquest of France by Summer 1940.
At the same time, Britain did not make a major committment to
France, and came out in good shape after France fell (as
did Germany). Each game resulted in some level of overall Axis
victory. Japan was conquered in one match (but not Germany).
Germany and Italy fell in another match (but not Japan). Everyone
was pleased to see that each match reached 1945. Bruce Harper
was given a certificate for Best European Axis play. Greg Bangs
was given a certificate for Best European Allied play. Ed Schoenfeld
was given a certificate for Best Japanese play. Bill Moodey was
given a certificate for Best Pacific Allied play.
At the end of the conference, rules changes were discussed.
The most substantive involve changes to French surrender that
will be simpler to compute, won't penalize France for using her
air, and will encourage a British committment to the defense
of France. Australia is now controlled by the U.S. if Japan declares
war on Britain only. Rockets were discussed extensively. Based
on Bruce's match, rockets again appear to be too strong, although
the proper approach to making them attractive to
research, but not potentially decisive, is difficult to achieve.
Although more playtesting is required to determine whether the
game is balanced, it appears quite stable.
Everyone enjoyed the tournament and the same approach will
be taken next year. The A3R tournament format may be revised.
More detailed descriptions of the games played will be published
in a future issue of Ultra.