the russian campaign [Updated June 24, 2008]  

Grognard Pre-Con

2007 WBC Report  

 2008 Status: pending 2008 GM commitment

Bert Schoose, IL

2007 Champion

Offsite links:

AREA Boardgamegeek
Consimworld GM Site 

Event History
1991    Rob Beyma      31
1992    Alan Frappier      26
1993    Ed O'Connor      20
1994    Jeff Martin      16
1995    Rob Beyma      16
1996    Tom Gregorio      20
1997    Gary Dickson      24
1998    Gary Dickson      27
1999    Gary Dickson     26
2000    Doug James     30
2001    Phil Evans     27
2002    Tom Gregorio     30
2003     Doug James     30
2004    Tom Gregorio     36
2005     Doug James     33
2006     Doug James     23
2007    Bert Schoose     34


PBeM Event History
1999    Gary Dickson      19
2000    Gary Dickson      22
2001    Doug James      23
2002    Gary Dickson      44
2003    Tom Gregorio     40
2006    Doug James     34
2008     Tom Gregorio     31


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Tom Gregorio       PA    08    284
  2.  Doug James         NC    08    260
  3.  Gary Dickson       CA    08    219
  4.  Rob Beyma          MD    05     76
  5.  Bert Schoose       IL    07     66
  6.  Phil Evans         VA    04     63
  7.  George Karahalios  IL    07     62
  8.  Pat Flory          CT    05     61
  9.  Ed O'Connor        NJ    08     40
 10.  Art Lupinacci      ON    02     40
 11.  Joe Collinson      MD    04     36
 12.  Dave Ketchum       FL    04     36
 13.  Alan Zasada        IL    02     24
 14.  Mike Pacheco       CA    05     20
 15.  Scott Abrams       CA    06     16
 16.  Allen Kaplan       NJ    05     16
 17.  Forrest Pafenberg  VA    06     16
 18.  Jim Eliason        IA    05     14
 19.  John Popiden       CA    07     12
 20.  Michael Mitchell   GA    06     12
 21.  Jeff Martin        CT    05     12
 22.  Roy Walker         UK    08     10
 23.  Jeff Lange         AE    04     10
 24.  Brad Frisby        MD    01      8
 25.  John Bullis        WI    02      6
 26.  Rob McCracken      DE    05      5
 27.  John Ryan          FL    07      4
 28.  Larry Hollern      TX    08      3
 29.  Marty Musella      VA    99      3

2007 Laurelists

Tom Gregorio, PA

Gary Dickson, CA

John Popiden, CA

George Karahalios,IL

John Ryan, FL

Past Winners

Rob Beyma, MD
1991, 1995

Alan Frappier, CT

Ed O'Connor, NJ

Jeff Martin, CT

Tom Gregorio, PA
'96, '02, '04

Gary Dickson, CA

Doug James, NC
2000, 2003, 2005-2006

Phil Evans, VA


 Paul Fletcher - he of the back-to-back Anzio championships - looking for new worlds to conquer?

 The Final between Bert Schoose and Tom Gregorio draws an interested bevy of onlookers.

TRC Champion: There can be only one...

It was a memorable tournament While the bottom line is that Bert Schoose took the first place wood in this event, as well as several others, several points along the way are worth highlighting:

-         34 participants played, almost a 50% increase when compared to last year's 23 entrants.

-         71 matches played, far surpassing the prior year's 31.

-         TRC was played continuously from Monday to Saturday. (Prior WBCs had the TRC tournament starting Thursday PM or Friday AM.

There were several changes that drove the revitalization of the event. Key among them, from this GM's perspective, was the inclusion of TRC in the Grognard format. 2006 had been a year of 'retreat' so, after significant discussion with the GM running the Grognard pre-con, TRC caste its lot with this format. (For those not familiar with it, Grognardcon features a free-form matching process that qualifies a limited number of participants for a concluding single-elimination tournament component.) The open format allowed a lot of TRC players to get in a game or two, at a time of their choosing, while still preserving the ability of top players to advance to the single elimination portion. One early concern, that top players would win enough games to qualify for the SE portion and then NOT play further matches to jeopardize their standing, did not come to bear as top players continued to play until late Friday. John Popiden's opponent selection was quite noteworthy --he needed to play only three games to qualify, but he beat opponents who had an impressive 14 wins between them! This should hearten any seeking to qualify for the SE portion but can't make it to WBC until late in the week.

Bert Schoose    46 points: 4  games   4 wins
Gary Dickson    46 points:   6 games   5 wins
Tom Gregorio    45 points  8 games  6 wins
John Popiden    44 points:  3 games   3 wins
George Karahalios    42 points:   6 games   5 wins
John Ryan    41 points:  8 games  3 wins
Michael Trobaugh    40 points:    6 games   3 wins
John Ohlin    39  points  14 games  6 wins
Alan Hayes    39 points   7  games  3 wins
Ed O'Connor    38 points  6  games  4 wins
Alan Zasada    38  points  7 games   5 wins

Also noteworthy this year was the switch to the five-turn scenario that had been field-tested at PrezCon earlier in the year. This scenario cut the amount of time required to play TRC while not compromising playability or excitement. This short scenario goes through the end of Jan/Feb 1942 and semi-fixed weather to minimize the impact of weather. From a balance perspective, the Russians took the lead with 39 wins in 71 games. (Bidding continued to be a part of the game, so perhaps the Germans need to bid a bit lower in future matches!) Top players were able to excel at either side, with the survivor in a match generally being the person who displayed the best tactical play on the last turn. In the final matches, endurance and stamina was often a factor as some egregious errors often were combined with nifty cardboard tactics.

And now for some highlights of the single elimination portion.

The first semi-finalist match featured yours truly, Tom Gregorio, vs John Popiden. As the Germans, John had beaten me earlier in the week during the Grognard preliminaries and I wanted to avoid a double loss. With that in mind, I bid enough to be the Germans. A methodical attritional approach, combined with Light Mud/Light Mud weather, saw the Germans emerging victorious as the Russians failed to dislodge the Germans from Leningrad and Stalino. Holding those cities, combined with the capture of Sevastopol, was sufficient for the Germans to win.

The other semi-final featured three-time champ Gary Dickson against Bert Schoose. Like me, Gary had been previously defeated by his opponent in the preliminaries and was determined to not repeat that outcome. To minimize luck, and per the tournament rules, Gary opted to use the ten-turn scenario.  The Sep/Oct and Nov/Dec 1941 weather also was Light Mud/Light Mud while Mar/Apr 1942 turned out Snow. Casualties were heavy, for both sides, right from the beginning. Strong positional play by the Russians saw the 1942 Axis campaigning season begin with positions in Riga, Vitebsk, and Kiev. Gary's Germans resigned at the end of May/June 1942, due to poor position and heavy casualties.

In the Final, Tom relinquished the honor of playing the Germans to Bert.  Based on my observations of his earlier play, he would be going heavy in the north to create a semblance of a threat to Moscow. (Whose capture would yield an automatic Axis win.) Additionally, my intent was to play as if the weather would be Light Mud/Light Mud and preserve the Red Army.  

The Opening: Unfortunately, Bert had an effective Odessa Overrun opening in his kit and he whipped that out to great effect. The end result was that the Russians would not be able to defend on the Bug River in Jul 1941. The Russians defended further back east than normal -- along the Dneiper with strongholds in Kiev (!), Stalino and Kharkov. 

The Mid-Game: At the end of their Sep/Oct turn, the Russians defended a line that included Smolensk, Bryansk, Kharkov, and Stalino.  The Nov/Dec Stuka was correctly used by the Germans to secure Leningrad while clever positioning and solid results saw Stalino and Rostov fall, aided by a nifty September Black Sea invasion. Rostov was recaptured in the Russian half of the turn but, in a critical move, the Germans moved a unit within range of Krasnodar.

The End Game: When the Germans ended their Jan/Feb, their capture of Krasnodar put them at 0 VP, with -2 VP being sufficient to win. At this critical juncture several key errors were made. Example 1: The Germans had assumed Leningrad to be secure; not screening it would allow the Russians to get a 1-1 attack on it. (This failed, although the Russians inexplicably chose to carry this out at 1-2.) Example 2: A combination AR result near Smolensk would allow the Russians to kill a German HQ and capture Vitebsk. This succeeded. Example 3:  The weary Russians made the unbelievable mistake of forgetting to move an armor unit near Krasnodar, to contest the German control, which resulted in the Germans retaining control. After combat was rolled, Bert pointed out the oversight and the Germans then walked away with a well-deserved victory. It was a very exciting match and the outcome ensured that Bert's TRC record would be unblemished at WBC and that he could adorn his wargaming wall with his first-place TRC wood. Good job, Bert.

WBC 2008 Event Overview: While it should be noted that Doug James was denied his fifth TRC wood, astute TRC fans will be quick to point out that Doug didn't attend this year His agent has confirmed Doug's plans to attend in 2008 so Bert will have his work cut out for him if wishes to repeat! 

This event writeup would not be complete without pointing out that good outcomes are the result of many folks working together. Special thanks are due to Bruno Sinigaglio and Bill Morse for managing GrognardCon and I'm sure I'm not alone in acknowledging that this year's TRC success was due in no small part to their tireless efforts.

GM: Tom Gregorio        ASST GM: Gary Dickson, George Karahalios

The Russian Campaign 7th BPA PBeM Tournament

The 7th BPA-sponsored TRC PBeM Tournament has ended with Tom Gregorio capturing the crown by defeating Ed O'Connor.

In a separate Novice tournament,  Michael Kaye defeated Paul Koenig to capture the top spot. The Novice bracket attracted eight entrants.  Paul Koenig defeated Alan Heath to make it to the Final while Michael Kaye defeated Vince Meconi to for his Final ticket Unfortunately, Paul Koenig at that poinmt had to withdraw.

The Standard tournament attracted 31 entrants.  All seedings were done by AREA rating.  One first round bye was assigned randomly.

Doug James, Michael Mitchell, Ed O'Connor, Larry Hollern, Gary Dickson, John Bullis, Tom Gregorio and Roy Walker made it into the bracket of eight.

The familiar faces emerged into the final four: Doug James,  Ed O'Connor, Gary Dickson and  Tom Gregorio.

Ed pulled off an upset against Doug in a close match while Tom bested Gary to reach the Final.

The Final between Ed and Tom was posted on the  ConsimWorld forum under Boardgaming, Individual Series or Series Discussion, Era World War II (Individual Game), Eastern Front, L2 Design Group The Russian Campaign, posting dates from 12-Dec-2007 to 21-Apr-2008.

The German (Tom) pulled off a very aggressive variant of Bert Schoose's Odessa Overrun which traded kills against units in the Kiev Military District hinge for a strong position on the lower Bug River plus a surrender of a small cavalry unit (surrendering two more in battle on the first turn). The German smothered Dnepropetrovsk by the end of July/Aug, and captured Smolensk, Kiev and Sevastopol (smothering Stalino and killing off the worker) end of Sep/Oct (Lt Mud).  He occupied Stalino in Nov/Dec (Snow).  The Russian (Ed) clung to the Lvov (getting two 1:2 Contacts) but finally lost it in Jan/Feb 1942.  After the winter was over, the Russian had advanced to three hexes out of Leningrad and a line Valdai Hills - Smolensk - Bryansk - west of Kiev-Kharkov - Rostov.

The German summer offensive got off to a good start despite Lt Mud Mar/Apr.  killing off nine armies in two first impulse 4:1 attacks and the follow-up surround attacks.  The Russian reformed his line back to the rail junction between Bryansk and Kursk. In May/Jun, the two first impulse 4:1 attacks against big stacks got lesser results (D1), but carefully planned retreats allowed the German to kill off 11 armies as he turned to attack towards Leningrad and smother Rostov.  The Russian counterattacked in the south between Bryansk and Kharkov setting up a second impulse 1:1 surround attack against a big stack which did not succeed.  The German summer offensive continued with the capture of Leningrad, Smolensk, Kharkov and the river hex north of Rostov by the end of Jul/Aug, killing off 53 factors for the loss of 10.   The Russian pulled back his battered forces to Valdai Hills - east of Smolensk - Bryansk - Kursk - Rostov - Krasnodar.

The German summer offensive continued into Sep/Oct, killing off 12 armies as he smothered the Russian defenders in Bryansk and Kursk and outflanked the Don River defense of Rostov.  The Russian attack out of Bryansk to break the smother succeeded, but the one out of Kursk did a Crimean sea invasion. The Russian set up a weak line Stalingrad - Krasnodar - Maykop Oil Filed.  The final turn, Nov/Dec brought Snow but little relief as the German killed off the defenders (19 factors, including big mama) contesting Kursk, captured Tula and Krasnodar sending the Victory Point count to +7, the German needing +4 to win.  The Russian sea invaded with Big Mama to attack Sevastopol, counterattacked to contest Krasnodar and set up second impulse 4:1 against Tula.  If all three succeeded, the Russian would win.  The attack  to contest Krasnodar succeeded, but the one against Sevastopol failed.  The Russian player resigned

More details to be found at: under Site News.

 GM      Tom Gregorio  [8th Year]   NA    484-744-1086

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