Designer Wins Debut Event ...
This was the inaugural year for GMT's Brandywine and
thirteen players participated. The designer provided additional
prizes for the top three finishers, (Revolutionary era collectibles.)
The field was highly competitive and all players came away satisfied
with the experience.
There were six first round matches. Jeff Lange, one of the
Assistant GM's, drew a bye through random chance. Every one of
these matches was won by the British player. This was particularly
interesting since much of the pre-tournament discussion seemed
to suggest that the British have a distinct advantage. It should
also be noted that all elimination rounds used the "Tournament
Lt. Col. (ret.) Don Hanle defeated Matt Miller [substantial],
Byron Stingley defeated Assistant GM Mike Nagel [substantial],
Peter Perla defeated John Leggat [substantial], Jonathan Miller
defeated Mark van Roekel [marginal], Stuart Smart defeated Cliff
Hansen [marginal], and Mark Miklos, (GM and designer), defeated
Ed Walsh [marginal]. As a footnote, Cliff Hansen went on to win
the other game in GMT's Revolutionary War Series, Saratoga.
Sides were decided by bid. The original time frame of three
hours was expanded to four by concensus. In the discussion that
ensued it was felt that in next year's competition the early
rounds should be limited to one of the single front scenarios
for quicker play: 'Knyphausen's Feint' or 'Howe's Flank Attack.'
The 'Tournament Scenario' could then be used in the semi-final
since it requires action on two fronts.
Mr. Perla dropped out, despite his victory, to participate
in another tournament leaving an even six players for the quarter
final. An interesting thing now happened. The American players
won two of the three quarter final matches.
Miklos, as the British, defeated Stuart Smart with a turn
9 substantial victory. Jeff Lange, as the Americans, defeated
Jonathan Miller [marginal], while Byron Stingley, as the Americans,
defeated Lt. Col. Hanle [marginal].
Another random bye saw Stingley sit out as Miklos and Lange
met in the semi-final. At the 1999 WBC these same two protagonists
met in a deciding semi-final in Saratoga that was a real
nail biter and went down to the wire with Miklos advancing. Both
players were well aware of this history as they prepared to do
battle over the gentle hills around Brandywine Creek.
Lange's British maneuvered for the double impulse that never
came. Miklos deftly responded to threats along the creek and
played a 'fire and fall back' strategy on the right flank. A
time or two the Americans buckled but they never broke. Since
the players were both the GM and an Assistant GM, it put the
other Assistant GM, Mike Nagel, in an unwelcome position as the
clock ticked down. In the end, however, adjudication was not
necessary. Miklos' Americans won a marginal in a hard fought
match that brought honor to victor as well as vanquished.
That set up the final between Miklos and Byron Stingley. It
was nearly midnight by this time so the finalists decided to
meet later during the Con to finish the contest. It ended up
being Friday night, in fact, before the final match was played.
They met at 10:30 PM across the big 4' x 6' GMT Demonstration
Game Set. The 'Full Battle Scenario' was used and Miklos accepted
Stingley's bid of three vp's to be the British. Miklos' Americans
withdrew Maxwell's detachment back across the creek, losing only
Lady Washington's Horse in the process. What followed was a series
of limited and uncoordinated attacks by British regiments trying
to establish a bridghead over the Brandywine. Stingley tried
the American left at Rocky Hill first, then shifted his assault
to the area around the secondary fords. When that also failed
he attempted to force the middle of the creek under cover of
the heavy woods there. Even when he was able to throw a unit
or two over, Miklos' Americans used the
interior lines provided by Creek Road to respond to each threat.
A unit forced to Retreat across non-ford Brandywine hexsides
becomes Disrupted. This happened to attacking British regiments
Meanwhile, Miklos staged all of Stirling's and Stephen's brigades
as well as several of Sullivan's regiments and a portion of Greene's
arriving reinforcements to respond to Cornwallis' flank attack.
Miklos paid one vp to the British to release Sullivan's wing
on turn 5. A timely double march and the use of a cavalry screen
enabled the Americans to form up on Birmingham heights in good
order. Cornwallis chose not to spend three points of Army Morale
to gain initiative on turn 6 and to give his arriving column
two extra mp's because the fighting along the creek had, by then,
caused British Army Morale to become fatigued while the American
Morale remained high.
The Americans stood along the heights to receive one assault
and then slowly began to refuse their left and give ground. The
British along the creek were massing for a final big push. Seeing
this, the Americans disengaged from Cornwallis and fell back.
Again a double march helped them put real distance between themselves
and the British who had to burn mp's scaling the high ground.
In the end, the big push led to no more than a further drop
in British Army Morale. It was waivering, (5), while the American's
Army Morale was still high, (19). With half a turn to go, Stingley
surrendered to assure a marginal defeat rather than risk a substantial
one. The final point tally was 14 1/2 for the Americans, (3 for
the bid, 4 for captures, 6 for
eliminations, and 1 1/2 for damaged units), to 8 for the British,
(3 for captures, 4 for eliminations, and 1 for Sullivan's release.)
In terms of play balance the British ended up with seven wins
and the Americans with four, but those four came late. All elimination
games played after the first round were completed within the
allotted three hours and the final was finished in a
managible five and 1/2 hours, (10:30 PM to 4:00 AM.)