GM Keith Wixson (left) overcomes
newcomer Stefan Mecay in the Final to win his first WBC Wilderness
Don Chappell (left) gets some
well earned R&R with Doug Mercer in the swiss rounds before
running his We the People tournament.
GM and top seed Keith Wixson took advantage of the absence
of defending champ and top rated Ron Fedin to become the fifth
different champion in as many years of the tournament. Wixson
was able to survive a close Round 4 loss to fellow semi-finalist
Jonathan Miller by building up tiebreakers in wins over the second
seed, 2004 Champ James ("The Master") Pei, and third
seeded Bill Peeck in Rounds 2 and 3 respectively. Miller and
2006 PBeM Champ John Buse advanced to the semis with perfect
4-0 scores. Also advancing was Stefan Mecay, who had lost to
Buse in Round 3 but had gained the necessary tiebreakers, barely
besting George Young for the last spot, by defeating 2003 Champ
Paul Gaberson in Round 4. Wixson defeated Buse in one semi-final
match to advance to the Final against Mecay, who ended Miller's
unbeated streak in the other semi.
Here are some tournament
* The six 2005 laurelists were replaced by six completely
different laurelists this year, underscoring the wide open nature
of the tournament format.
* There were fewer new players (four as compared to ten last
year) which accounts in part for the 25% decline in attendance.
But tne newcomers weren't babes in the woods, either. Stefan
Mecay (at right) is an accomplished CDW player who was making
his first trip to WBC. It won't be his last. He rode it all the
way to the Final, and also won the highly competitive new Twilight
Struggle competition. Also a factor was the failure or inability
of several regulars to participate. With new CDG titles joining
the tournament ranks every year, the competition for players
continues to grow. This may necessitate moving the event to a
different time slot (possibly a pre-con).
* Bill Edwards won the Biggest Upset Award, defeating The
Master in Round 1 (as the Brits!).
* The Most Improved Player Award went to Nathan Hill, who
defeated Peeck and the fifth-seeded Gary Phillips.
* The Top New Player Award went to Keith Butler, who won twice
as the Brits.
* The Sportsman's Award went to Greg Schmittgens, whose cheerful
perseverance through four rounds in spite of a lack of success
on the battlefield was in the true spirit of the convention.
Greg's selfless willingness to help out the tournament (and his
buttons!) made this award an easy choice.
* The Brits finally made a good showing in the tournament,
winning 22 of 46 contests! This was chieved in spite of the average
bid to play the favored French actually declining to .93 VPs
from 1.11 VPs last year. There were 21 bids of one VP to play
the French and 11 bids of two VPs.
* Of course, seven of the 22 British wins were compiled by
two players, Miller and Wixson, so it remains to be seen if the
years of French dominance are truly over.
* Miller's four wins as the Brits in the preliminary rounds
(all without bid VPs) was perhaps THE story of the tournament.
His hyper-attritional "Sledgehammer" Strategy, while
unsubtle, was truly innovative.
* For the second year in a row the eventual champ had to defeat
The Master to advance and the game came down to the final card
and die roll. This year Wixson got lucky and was able to take
Fort Duquesne on a 25% shot (after missing on a 66% shot at Fort
Niagara earlier in the game which would have probably been decisive).
* Prizes: The champ received a fleur-de-lis pattern pipehawk
and the runner-up received a warhawk with a bear cut out in the
blade. Various books and period 54mm toy soldiers were also awarded.
AAR of the Championship Game:
Pre Game: Wixson and Mecay both bid two VPs to play the
French. Mecay won the roll off.
Early 57: Wixson decided to take advantage of
his edge in experience and unusual card draw and force Mecay
into a position with which he was probably unfamiliar. While
Mecay sent Montcalm south to take Fort William Henry with little
trouble, Wixson beefed up Johnson with Provincials and Rangers
and then launched a two pronged "Campaign" up
the Mohawk Valley, with Abercromby bringing up the bulk of the
Regulars from New York. This offensive had several effects: (i)
Montcalm was forced to abandon his operations in the Champlain
Valley and backtrack to Cataraqui to protect Fort Niagara and
the back door to Montreal, (ii) the French were forced to abandon
and torch their stockade line in the West, which isolated Fort
Duquesne and ate up OPS, (iii) as a result, French raiding was
very light for the year, and (iv) the British were able to make
an alliance with three tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy.
Late 57: While there was heavy skirmishing between
Indians in the area between Niagara and the Mohawk, Wixson was
able to bring in a ton of reinforcements: (i) Wolfe and four
Highlander battalions went to Halifax, (ii) Murray, three battalions
of Regulars and a battalion of light infantry landed at Philadelphia,
and (iii) Amherst and a battalion of light infantry appeared
at Albany. With the appearance of Wolfe at Halifax, Mecay decided
to abandon Louisbourg and evacuate the garrison to Quebec. The
activity by the Iroquois in the wilderness further distracted
the French from pursuing much raiding, who had no successful
raids for the year. To add insult to injury, Wixson was able
to sneak Roger's Rangers over the Green Mountains to successfully
raid Ile aux Nois. Finally, with winter approaching Wixson abandoned
the Mohawk Valley and pulled Abercromby back to Albany. The damage
to the French position had been considerable, however. VPs
at year's end were FR3.
Early 58: The French raided heavily, particularly
in the North. Murray set off from Philadelphia towards Ohio Forks,
taking the northern approach route.
Late 58: The French continued to raid heavily,
eventually scoring three successes for two VPs. Wolfe landed
at Louisbourg and took the lightly held fortress after a short
siege. Murray continued to build a supply line through the wilderness
toward the Forks. VPs at year's end were FR2.
Early 59 (Wixson's "Turn of Miracles"):
With the approach of Murray, Mecay decided to torch Fort Duquesne
and abandon the Forks. Wixson drew "Courier Intercepted",
played it early, hoping to plan a late turn push, and was successful
on the roll. With Wolfe's army at Louisbourg threatening his
rear, Mecay was forced to pull Montcalm back to Quebec. The imminent
British card windfall also caused him to send a considerable
force under Levis to protect Fort Niagara; the addition of the
Louisbourg garrison, four battalions of Regulars from France
and the lack of ANY battles between drilled troops to this point
having allowed the French to field two large armies. The
weak point in the French defense was Fort Carillon at Ticonderoga.
With Amherst's army milling about Albany for over a year, Mecay
had left it in place as the British had never refortified the
northern end of the Hudson Carry. Wixson finally struck with
four cards remaining in his hand (Mecay still had one). First
he pushed Amherst all the way up to Fort Carillon and invested
it before Mecay had a chance to torch it. Wixson held "Foul
Weather" in his hand, so the risk of a relief attack
by Montcalm was not that great. Mecay was fixated on Wolfe's
threat to Quebec, however, so the attempt was not made. On his
three unopposed card plays Wixson (i) opened up a supply line
to Amherst by building a stockade at Hudson Carry North, (ii)
played "Quiberon" and (iii) attempted to siege
the fort, only to fail on a 83% chance of success!
Late 59: The play of Quiberon flipped the turn
order around and gave Wixson one more card play before Mecay
could respond. On his second siege attempt on Fort Carillon he
made the roll and took the lead. At this point the French
position was basically wrecked. Without a VP lead Mecay could
not afford to torch Fort St. Frederic at Crown Point. On top
of that there were few options for gaining VPs. Wixson had fortified
the Forks, so the chances of Levis retaking it were slim to none.
Raiding seemed the only hope, but the British defenses were now
complete and the French were unable to score any successful raids
for the year. A French comeback was not to be; with a "Campaign"
Wixson launched a successful Ranger raid under Johnson on the
Shawnee home space at Logstown and pushed Amherst forward to
Crown Point, Fort Carillon having been repaired to protect his
rear. Mecay could no longer ignore his weak center and in desperation
Montcalm was dispatched to save the day. In the only battle
of the game involving drilled troops Amherst defeated Montcalm
and destroyed his army. Mecay resigned with only a few cards
left to play and with VPs at BR4.
Moral: This game shows that there is more than
one way to win as the Brits. The usual approach is attritional,
but given the right circumstances a strategy based upon feint,
maneuver and timely raiding can also be successful.
Thanks to Paul Gaberson and Rob Winslow for being Assistant
At WBC, all roads to CDW gold
lead through the Master. Keith Wixson (left) meets the challenge
by downing James Pei to move on to the championship.
GM Wixson always spices up his
events by providing very special period prizes. This year's painted
miniature figurines supplemented weapon replicas.
War 2006 PBeM Tournament Results
The tournament concluded
after two years and a total of 124 games played with 50 players
participating. Congratulations to the champ, John Buse, who made
his Wilderness War tournament debut and beat out several veteran players
to take first. Buse twice defeated 2004 WBC Champ James
Pei, who is arguably the top overall CDG player in the world, to
secure the crown. Very few people have a lifetime winning record
against "The Master"!
Entering the final round of the pure swiss format tournament,
the leader was GM Keith Wixson, the third seed and lone undefeated
player. Wixson had to defeat top seed and WBC Champ Ron Fedin
in order to claim the crown. Wixson's Brits survived an early
appearance by Montcalm and the French capture of Albany in 1756
to claw his way back. Relying on the appearance of Wolfe in 1757
and great support by the Colonial Assemblies, Wixson took back
Albany and was eventually able to besiege Montreal and threaten
Ohio Forks by late 1759. He ran out of men and time, however,
as the support of the Crown was very weak. Fedin was able to
bleed Wixson white, relieve Montreal and earn the win. The tournament
ended in a six way tie for first place and came down to the tiebreaker
- the average AREA rating of defeated opponents. Buse's two wins
over the highly rated Pei was the difference. Here are the
final standings of the top ten finishers:
1. John Buse (5 wins - 1 loss was to Fedin)
2. Ron Fedin (5 wins - 1 loss was to Pei)
3. Keith Wixson (5 wins - 1 loss was to Fedin)
4. Tom Drueding (5 wins - 1 loss was to Wixson)
5. Gary Phillips (5 wins - 1 loss was to Drueding)
6. Bill Peeck (5 wins - 1 loss was to Phillips)
7. James Pei (4 wins)
8. Ken Gutermuth (4 wins)
9. Richard deCastongrene (4 wins)
10. George Young (4 wins)
An AAR of Buse's Round 6 victory over Pei follows:
France: John Buse
Britain: James Pei
The French start off with "Ministerial Crisis", costing
the Brits a card, but that allows Johnson to clear out Cataraqui.
The French then raid heavily while the Brits build up in western
PA. Montcalm and reinforcements arrive at the end of the turn.
The Brits continue their build up in PA, while Montcalm masses
his army at Montreal, causing the Brits to abandon Oswego. Both
sides raid several times unsuccessfully. The French play "Diplomatic
Revolution". VPs stand at FR2 at turn's end.
Great hand for the Brits, who play "Pitt", the large
"Highlanders", "Royal Americans" and a "Regulars"
card. On top of that both Wolfe and Amherst appear! While the
Brits play events, Montcalm marches down from Montreal to threaten
Ft. Edward. A relief army under Wolfe boats up from New York
but is beaten back in a close battle. Ft. Edward then falls to
Montcalm. The British build up in PA continues, causing the French
to torch Ft. Duquesne. Montcalm withdraws northward in the face
of a huge British army under Wolfe advancing from Albany. The
French are able to add many Indian allies, as the VPs are
starting to mount.
The French Ft. Duquesne garrison is wiped out in a desperation
attack with winter approaching. The Brits start a build up at
Halifax. The French get several successful late raids. VPs stand
at FR6 at turn's end.
The Brits continue their build up at Halifax, with Wolfe being
shifted there, causing the French garrison at Louisbourg to abandon
the fortress and sail for Quebec. The French raid heavily in
the north. At turn's end Wolfe lands at Louisbourg.
Louisbourg falls and the Forks is finally taken. The French
are heavily reinforced with Indians and launch massive raids,
but suffer heavy losses against the British "Blockhouses".
The French main army at Ticonderoga suffers an outbreak of "Small
Pox". VPs stand at FR4 at turn's end.
The Brits begin to advance on Ft. Niagara from the Forks while
also reinforcing Wolfe at Louisbourg, threatening Quebec. Montcalm's
army suffers a second outbreak of "Small Pox" and starts
building a string of forts in the Champlain valley. At turn's
end he shifts to Kahnawake to be better able to respond to the
threat against Niagara.
For the third turn in a row the main French army suffers through
the "Pox" but is luckily reinforced with victorious
troops from the battlefields of Germany. Montcalm shifts his
forces to Quebec in case Wolfe lands. A large army under Amherst
begins to advance up the Champlain valley from Albany. Both sides
launch successful raids. VPs stand at FR4 at turn's end.
The Brits continue to advance towards Niagara and Montreal while
threatening Quebec from the sea. The three British armies each
outnumber the main French army under Montcalm. The French send
out small forces to threaten the supply lines of the advancing
Brits. Montcalm builds a fort at Ile d'Orleans to protect Quebec
and shifts back to Crown Point to oppose Amherst.
The western British army under Bradstreet finally reaches Ft.
Niagara, which will mean victory if he can take it. Fortunately
for the French, however, Dumas has been able to slip behind Bradstreet
and cut his supply line at Raystown, preventing a siege at Niagara.
A French "Courier is Intercepted", though, and it is
starting to look like the Brits will able to pull it out because
of extra cards. But a British effort to drive off Dumas
fails! Dumas' presence also threatens Alexandria and Baltimore
forcing the Brits to waste time garrisoning both. With the offensive
against Niagara stalled, the Brits shift their efforts to the
east and land Wolfe at Ile d'Orleans. Montcalm shifts back to
Quebec to join some recently arrived reinforcements, leaving
the string of Champlain forts to protect Montreal. As Wolfe takes
out the French fort at Ile d'Orleans, a small French force under
Beaujeu crosses the Green Mountains and threatens Boston. The
Brits are forced to waste one of their extra cards to protect
it with a garrison. The game comes down to the Battle of Quebec,
where Wolfe attacks Montcalm. In only the second major battle
of the game the French are victorious, bringing their VP total
up to 3. Both sides had launched successful raids. The Brits
Much like last year's WBC final, the British player probably allowed
great early cards to go to his head and just played too conservatively
against a skilled French opponent.
17 players vied for the WAM 2007 Warclub provided by GM
Keith Wixson. 19 games were played in the four-round Swiss,
and the last man standing was Peter Reese. Reese defeated
Ron Fedin (2005 WBC Champ), James Pei (2004 WBC Champ), Paul
Gaberson (2003 WBC Champ) and Bill Edwards in the Final.
French dominance continued. The French won 13 games (68%)
to the Brits' six. There was a bid of 1 VP to play the French
in 14 games and a bid of 2 VPs to play the French in one
game (a Brit win). The other four games (all French wins)
had no bid at all. The average French score in their wins
was 5.7 VPs. On the other hand, the British wins almost all
came in later rounds by top players. The Champ was 2-0 as
the Brits, and played them in the Final. Also earning WNW
laurels were Keith Wixson, Paul Gaberson, Andy Maly and Ken
Gutermuth who finished third through sixth respectively.
Brits looked at their hand and concluded Janus the god of
luck had annointed them. In their initial hand was the 3
Highlander, the 1 Highlander, a Brit Regular, a campaign
card and an amphibious card. Was expecting a SHORT game.
French started with drive to HCN and sieged it with their
second card. Parliament had decided that North America was
the critical theatre for 1757. The Brits played the regular
card, got Amherst and sent him to New York with three Regulars,
Then played the 1 Highlander card and sent Forbes to New
York and the Highlander to Halifax. The French then started
raiding. Card 3 the 4 x Highlander + Wolfe and Murray showed
up in Halifax. With this play the French concluded Louisbourg
was not a good place to be and evacuated it Wolfe and his
mob then landed while Amherst took his mob to HCN. Wolfe
too Louisbourg in two tries meanwhile the French started
raiding with the first three tries successes (argh). Brits
held over Vaudreill.
Fortune continued to smile on the Brits. First Montcalm
was sent to Ohio for another Amphibous card (which just arrived
this turn - the French had the other two so were not worried
about a landing) permitted Wolfe and everyone to land at
the gates of Quebec. The French had immediately started moving
Montcalm back and when Wolfe landed they used a campaign
card to put Montcalm and the army (which moved from HCN)
together around Montreal. Wolfe then moved to siege Quebec
(which looked like a real winner as the Brits also had a
fieldworks card). Then disaster occured when Janus the fickle
god of chance showed his favor to the French when the French
made their desperate attack v. Wolfe sieging Quebec the dice
result was French 6 British 1. To add insult to injury Monckton
(who covering Wolfe's bungled retreat) stuck his head up
and was clipped with a musket ball. The Brits retreated one
space less seven steps to five for the French. End of year
the Brits went back to Albany, the French wintered in Quebec
(they had destroyed the southern fort along the Lake Champlain
route) and Wolfe slunk back with his forces to Alexandria
(I could not stand another battle with Wolfe's force). The
French raids pretty much used up their indians (Brits were
up to two militia in the southern zone) but they did end
up with three points for raids for 1757. French held over
Quiberon which turned out to be a very good choice as Brits
played surrender causing a reshuffle.
Brits got last regular card, placed Bradstreet and three
regulars in Alexandria along with Wolfe and Murray. French
got a regular card placed them with Montcalm in Quebec. Montcalm
deployed defensively to Winooski with his entire army (including
a couple of French Marines (1-4s). Amherst with a gigantic
pile of troops observed him from Albany (additionally provinicals
had been added). Wolfe moved up to Allegheny South and built
a fort. The French raided and picked up the marine detachments
out west to avoid Wolfe.
Wolfe then moved to Upper Monogahela where disaster truely
struck. A lone indian at Mingo Town intercepted and in the
skirmish both Wolfe and Bradstreet were killed leaving Murray
in charge of a BIG army he could not command. Still he managed
to haul troops to Ohio Forks and finish the fort. Meanwhile
the French did minor adjustments and began forming up a force
to defend Niagara. Then with two cards left (the Brits had
Foul Weather and Bigot) the French made a fatal error (the
joys of face to face play). Instead of moving Montcalm and
his troops into winter quarters they spent a card to further
adjust their forces out west (looking at the map they could
see the Brits needed two cards to get everyone out west to
winter quarters) so they had no worries. However the British
exposure was only two or three steps and the French exposure
was on the order of 10 steps (including three regulars permanently
lost). So the penultimate Brit card was Bigot and the French
army got to starve and freeze over the winter in Winooski.
At that point the French conceded.