Dice At Sea
David Finberg ruled the waves this year after a 1 PoC victory
in the final - denying Pat Richardson's bid to become the first
repeat champion in War at Sea. David played only one tournament
game before this year's performance! He certainly proved that
last year's win was no fluke!
temporary GM, John Pack, two changes were introduced. The first,
the use of a head-to-head tie-breaker, had no effect on the semi-finalists
selection at all. In fact, despite continued high attendance,
this was the first year since 1998 that everyone who scored 40
VPs or more made it into the semi-finals! The head-to-head tie-breaker
did keep Bruce Monnin (38 VPs) from collecting a plaque - as
Glenn McMaster (also 38 VPs) edged him for fifth place by defeating
Bruce directly in the fourth round before leaving to play Dune!
Glenn's early and unexpected departure (a "spice" addiction?)
ultimately left him as the only undefeated player of the day!
Chess Clocks: The second (and more significant) change was
the introduction of chess clocks! With 1:45 on the clocks for
each round, the preliminary Swiss rounds completed on time (though
we played catch-up for the first three rounds given the first
round's longer time for sign-ups and pairings). The normal need
to adjudicate several games per round was eliminated! Flags dropped
in just two games - with only a single result affected (a draw
by virtue of both flags dropping). Previous experience with clocks
in VIP helped many of the entrants adjust easily (albeit with
a quicker pace than normal)! Praise for the clocks and the timeliness
of the tournament was widespread!
On the other hand, there was also a general sentiment that
five more minutes per player per game would be very welcome.
Even the GM thought so! No flags would have dropped at all with
the additional time. John and Vince are discussing the issue
(along with the desire to keep a two-hour format) and will bring
it to Consimworld shortly. Join in and let us know what resolution
you think is best!
The GM began the day by promising that he'd keep his position
atop the all-time "Most Losses" chart. I fulfilled
that promise easily by losing two more games - including one
to the runner-up loser, Bruce Monnin! On the other hand, I did
win my first game after my opponent responded to my 0 bid for
the Axis with a bid of 3! Now if only I can figure out how to
get my other opponents to bid 3...
A big welcome back for Mike Brophy - who entered WAS at the
first Avaloncon in 1991 and then didn't come back until this
year - ten years later!
This year's event was particularly hard on some of the former
champions: Ed Menzel (who just won the BPA PBEM) went 1-4, Tim
Hitchings 0-2, Tom Scarborough 1-2, and Mike Kaye 0-2. Mike returned
during the semi-finals to play whomever he could find - determined
to win one before leaving. It took three more tries! The all-time
winning percentage holder, Greg Berry, went 0-3. The other members
of the all-time best percentage list didn't fare so well either
- combining for 17 wins and 22 losses (and that includes Bruce
Monnin at 4-1 and Pat Richardson at 5-2).
This year's sportsmanship nomination went to Nick Markevich
- without whose help running the scoring and pairings, the tournament
would have been much slower and less enjoyable for all of us!
Rob Flowers took home the Rookie of the Year honors though
his subsequent finish in the PBEM tournament shows that he'll
be a future force to contend with! Rob finished the Swiss preliminaries
with 45 VPs (the best total) and a win over defending champion,
Pat Richardson. The other finalists, all with 40 VPs, were Mike
Ussery, David Finberg, and Pat Richardson (who won his first
four Swiss rounds).
Since Pat had played both David and Rob previously, he was
paired with Mike for the semi-finals. Pat took the Axis when
Mike offered a bid of one for the Allies. Meanwhile David squared
off with Rob and took the Axis for no bid.
Both Allied players opened up with the same configuration
(North Atlantic 3 BB/1 CA/1 CV, Barents 3/7/1, South Atlantic
3/0/1, North Sea 5/0/1). Both Axis players responded by putting
one 225 in the Baltic and heading to the South Atlantic with
everything else (with David sending the three U-Boats and losing
one 225 to speed rolls and Pat holding the U-Boats in reserve).
Both Axis players lost three small ships and had a crippled
ship in the neutral port. David also lost two U-Boats. On the
opposite side, Rob's Allies lost one BB and the Eagle while Mike's
lost only a single 336! Both Axis players took a three PoC lead
- but paid heavily in attrition!
Both Axis players attempted to speed roll their crippled 357s
from the neutral port into the North Sea (with the hopes of failing
and porting in Germany for repairs). Both made their speed rolls
and quickly died!
Thereafter, the games began to look just a little bit different!
David challenged a 2/3/1 placement in the North Atlantic with
a 225, 127, and four Italians. The 225 and three Italians were
lost while a lone Italian survived (with damage) to win the area
and kill the CV! The Axis took a 5-PoC lead. On Turns 3 and 4,
the Axis sat behind the blockade losing another U-Boat along
the way but also taking out a CV with the Luftwaffe. However,
1A arrived to take the Axis lead down to two. On Turn 5, the
Kriegsmarine again hides in the Baltic but the Luftwaffe sink
2B. Five U-Boats and the lone Italian try for the North Atlantic
but fail to take the area against three American CAs! PoC remains
at 2. On Turn 6, the U-Boats get serious and deny control of
both the Barents and South Atlantic while sinking two CAs (while
the Allies completely whiff on their ASW)! The Axis lead goes
to three. On Turn 7, the last Russian puts nine damage on the
Bismarck before sinking! Meanwhile, two U-Boats deny the South
Atlantic and sink a CA while five U-Boats deny the North Atlantic
vs. eight ASW. The Luftwaffe finishes off Allied hopes and draws
a surrender by sinking 3C.
In the other semi-final, the Axis decide to fight against
the damaged Brits on Turn 2 in the South Atlantic. The British
lose three BB but take a U-Boat, a 225 and two Italian CA with
them plus deny the Axis control of the area - leaving PoC at
3. On Turn 3, the remaining Axis ships from the South Atlantic
debacle head to the North Atlantic where heavy fighting leaves
the area completely empty! Both remaining Italians and a 225
are lost - with the last Italian taking down the convoy before
being sunk in return! The rest of the Axis pound a Russian. On
Turn 4, the U-Boats head to the North Atlantic while the fleet
hides in the Baltic. Ten ASW only manage to sink one and disable
one U-Boat. In return, the U-Boats sink 2B! The PoC stays level
at 3! Two turns of blockades later, the U-Boats have managed
to move the PoC up to 4 without loss. The Allies need a miracle
to get back into it. On Turn 7, seven U-Boats try to break the
North Sea vs. 13 ASW. Two kills and five disables plus an arriving
convoy later, the PoC is back to 0! On Turn 8, however, the U-Boats
deny the South Atlantic while the fleet fails its attempt in
the Barents Sea (securing only the free PoC in the Baltic and
the Med). The PoC ends at 0 - but Pat's Axis win by the1 PoC
bid setting up a re-match with David in the final!
With David's 5-0 record as the Axis (and his one loss in the
preliminaries coming as the Allies vs. Pat), he selected the
Axis in the final while Pat opted for the Allies (thus preventing
Turn 1: North Atlantic 444, 3x443, 0162; Barents Sea
447, 336, 6x117, 0273; South Atlantic 4x444, 117, 1241; North
Sea 2x553, 2x443, 117, 0162
Axis send everything except the U-Boats to the Barents. Allied
LBA kills one Italian CA while airstrikes do 1 damage to a 225.
Axis air sinks the Hood. The Axis lose two 225s in exchange
for four CAs and the Ark Royal to go up one PoC!
Turn 2: NA: 2x444, 2x443, 117, 0162; BS: 2x456,
444, 336, 3x117, 0272; SA: 553, 443, 1241; NS: 553, 2x444, 2x443,
In a gusty move worthy of Pat, David's Axis respond by sending
every ship available to the Barents Sea again and four U-Boats
and the three remaining Italian CAs to the South Atlantic! This
time all airstrikes miss. In the South Atlantic, one U-Boat is
sunk, but in return, the three U-Boats disable two BBs! The Italians
lose a CA while disabling the Eagle. In the Barents, the
Axis lose both 357, a 225, and a 127 while sinking four BBs and
the CV. The Axis win the area with a single 127 remaining! That
takes the score to six PoC!
Turn 3: NA: 2x456, 2x444, 443, 133, 0162; BS: 456,
336, 4x117, 0272; SA: 553 [-5], 2x443, 1241; NS: 553, 2x444,
2x443, 0162; Baltic: 333
The Axis sail 2x496 and 2x127 to sink the Russian for no loss.
Meanwhile, the remaining two Italians and four U-Boats go for
the South Atlantic. ASW disables one sub but a 443 and the Eagle
are disabled in return. In the fighting, the Nelson is
sunk while the Italians are disabled. PoC stays at 6. One American
Turn 4: NA: 456, 444, 443, 2x117, 133, 0162; BS:
2x456, 336, 3x117, 133, 0272; SA: 444, 2x443, 1241; NS: 553,
2x444, 2x443, 0162
Axis seek shelter in the Baltic while the six U-Boats and
last two Italians try the South Atlantic again! ASW disables
two and sinks one. In return, the Eagle is torpedoed and
sunk. Both Italians are lost in the ensuing salvos. Convoy 1A
arrives to reduce the Axis lead to 3!
Turn 5: NA: 456, 444, 2x117, 0162; BS: 3x456,
336, 2x117, 133, 0272; SA: 444, 443, 0162; NS: 553, 2x444, 4x443,
The available Russian decides Leningrad is much nicer than
the Axis fleet! The Axis stay in the Baltic while seven U-Boats
try to break the blockade in the North Sea. Three U-Boats are
sunk while two more are disabled. Convoy 2B arrives to tie the
score! In the excitement, all five remaining Americans join in!
Turn 6: NA: 554, 2x456, 2x443, 3x117, 133, 0162;
BS: 3x456, 336, 3x117; SA: 444, 3x443, 117, 0162; NS: 553, 3x444,
All Axis ships (2x496, 2x127, 1282) plus seven U-Boats and
the LBA head for the Barents Sea! ASW sink one sub and disable
another. In response, the U-Boats disable a 456, 336, and 117!
The Luftwaffe joins in to disable another 456! In the surface
action, the Allies lose a 456 and a 117 while the Axis lose nothing!
It's a total Axis victory - returning the Axis to the lead by
Turn 7: NA: 554, 4x443, 3x117; BS: 2x456, 336,
3x117, 133, 0272; SA: 2x456, 2x444, 443, 0162; NS: 553, 3x444,
2x443, 0162; Baltic 333
The Axis repair one ship while the others take out the Russian
- who puts five damage on Tirpitz! Meanwhile, seven U-Boats
and the Luftwaffe try to stop Convoy 3C. ASW sinks one sub and
disables three more. In return, the U-Boats take out 3C and the
Luftwaffe puts max damage on a CV. The PoC remains at 1!
Turn 8: NA: 554, 4x443, 3x117; BS: 2x456, 336,
2x117, 0272 [-2]; SA: 456, 3x444, 443, 0162; NS: 553, 444, 2x443,
Despite their best effort, eight ASW simply couldn't stop
seven U-Boats in the Barents Sea. So, despite the weakness of
the Axis fleet after so much attrition, the U-Boats come through
to keep the PoC at 1. With no bid, David Finberg's Axis win by
Bids & Play Balance: After a few years of Allied
dominance, the pendulum shifted back a little toward the Axis.
The Axis won 39 (including all the semi-finals and final!), the
Allies 35, and there were three ties. Bidding still favored the
Allies and, for the second time, occurred in most games - with
32 Allied bids vs. 11 Axis bids and 34 with no bid. Only three
games changed as a result of the bid - all becoming Axis wins
(two by 1 PoC or less).
Bids Allies Axis
0.5 4 4
1.0 14 5
1.5 12 2
David Finberg easily wins the "Best Axis Player"
award for his 6-0-0 record. Runners up are: Bruce Monnin 3-0-0,
Glenn McMaster 3-0-0, Jim Kramer 3-0-0 and Pat Richardson 3-1-0.
The "Best Allied Player" was won by our rookie, Rob
Flowers, who logged a 4-1-1 record. Runners up are: Mike Ussery
4-2-0 and Glenn Petroski and Rob Kircher with 2-0-0 records.
Nobody else did better than 2-1-0.
Will the Allies return to domination next year and make the
world safe for democracy? Or will tyranny prevail or even extend
its dominance? Come and help decide!
The official War At Sea FAQ and Errata in effect for
this event can be found at: http://www.markevich.com/was/rules99.html.
For the best of War At Sea strategy, discussions, Email
play, etc visit: http://www.markevich.com/was/index.html.