wilderness war [Updated Oct. 16, 2008]  

2007 WBC Report     

 2008 Status: pending 2008 GM commitment

Paul Gaberson, PA

2007 Champion

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Event History
2002    Rob Winslow     50
2003    Paul Gaberson     30
2004    James Pei     35
2005    Ron Fedin     40
2006    Keith Wixson     30
2007     Paul Gaberson     35

WAM Event History
2003    Tom Drueding     20
2004    Bruce Monnin     18
2005    Tom Drueding     20
2006    Keith Wixson     13
2007    Pete Reese     17

PBeM Event History
2003    James Pei     64
2006     John Buse     50
2008    James Pei     62


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  James Pei          TX    08    204
  2.  Keith Wixson       NJ    07    150
  3.  Ron Fedin          PA    08    141
  4.  Peter Reese        VA    08    111
  5.  Paul Gaberson      PA    07    108
  6.  Tom Drueding       MA    07     94
  7.  John Buse          IL    06     75
  8.  Rob Winslow        NY    05     70
  9.  George Young       VT    08     67
 10.  Bruce Wigdor       NJ    05     48
 11.  Bruce Monnin       OH    06     37
 12.  Bill Edwards       VA    08     34
 13.  Stefan Mecay       TX    06     30
 14.  Bill Peeck         NY    06     29
 15.  Gary Phillips      MD    06     28
 16.  Adam Deverell Australia  08     24
 17.  Randall MacInnis   NJ    07     20
 18.  Jonathan Miller    DC    06     20
 19.  Jim Gutt           TX    04     20
 20.  Bryan Thompson     VA    04     18
 21.  Roger Taylor       VA    02     18
 22.  Phil Burgin-Young  VT    05     15
 23.  Bari Herman        NJ    04     15
 24.  Ken Gutermuth      TX    07     15
 25.  John Haas          PA    02     12
 26.  Don Chappell       TX    05      9
 27.  John Vasilakos     VA    02      9
 28.  Doug Mercer        MD    06      9
 29.  Andrew Maly        MD    07      6
 30.  Michael Ussery     MD    03      6
 31.  Dennis Culhane     PA    03      6
 32.  Doug Smith         PA    03      6

2007 Laurelists

James Pei, VA

Randy MacInnis, NJ

George Young, VT

Ron Fedin, PA

Tom Drueding, MA

Past Winners

Rob Winslow, NY

Paul Gaberson, PA
2003, 2007

James Pei, VA

Ron Fedin, PA

Keith Wixson, NJ

Ron Fedin and Keith Wixson display the special ceremonial period weapon replicas Keith provides as extra prizes.

Gary Phillips and Bruce Monnin check their hands to see what fate has in store for them in the preliminaries.

First to Two Titles

2003 Champion Paul Gaberson became the first double winner in the event, breaking a string of five different champs in as many years. Gaberson went undefeated in beating Michael Ussery, Bruce Wigdor, Bruce Monnin and Randy MacInnis in the preliminary rounds, George Young in the semi-finals and 2004 Champ James ("The Master") Pei in the championship game. MacInnis was the other semi-finalist, surviving his loss to Gaberson in Round 4 by gaining tiebreakers in upset victories over #2 Seed Tom Drueding in Round 2 and #1 Seed/defending Champ Keith Wixson in Round 3.

Here are some highlights:

* Young was the only 2006 laurelist to make it into the top six this year. A complete or near complete turnover of the laurelists in this tournament every year has become something of a tradition.
* Attendance was up 17%, increasing to 35 from 30. There were six new players. Since attendance for the other CDGs appeared to be generally down, the future of the event in this timeslot appears to be bright.
* There are preliminary plans to add a quarterfinal round next year.
* MacInnis won the Biggest Upset Award for his win over the defending champ.
* The Top New Player Award went to Grant LaDue who went 3-1, losing only a close game to the GM.
* After last year's relatively good results for the Brits, the French came back strong winning 61% of the 46 games played (as compared to 52% in 2006). The average bid to play the French crept up to 1.02 VPs from .93 VPs last year (it was 1.11 VPs in 2005). There were 23 bids of 1 VP to play the French and 12 bids of 2 VPs.
The French record in the 2 VP bid games was seven wins and five losses and in the 1 VP bid games it was 14 wins to nine losses. In the eleven games without bidding there were seven French wins.
* Perhaps the most interesting story this year was that Gaberson is really the only player to have embraced a bid of 2 VPs. He was involved in half of the 2 VP bid games, making that bid in all of his games and accounting for five of the seven French wins in the games with that bid (in his other win he played the Brits when his opponent also bid 2 and won the rolloff). Something tells me that this might start a trend!
* For the third year in a row the eventual winner had to defeat The Master and that game went down to the final card and die roll!
* Prizes: In addition to the plaques, the Champ received a Missouri River War Hatchet and the runner up received a Ball Head Warclub. The losing semi-finalists each received Ceremonial Medicine Arrows. A book, a DVD and some period 54mm toy soldiers were also awarded.

Championship Game:

I don't have a formal AAR this year as the game was played very late at night and the players and I were too exhausted to remember the game that clearly. As mentioned above, the championship game of Gaberson (French) against Pei (British) went down to the final card and die roll. The final turn saw a large British army under Wolfe driving up the Champlain Valley towards Montreal against the much weaker main French army under Montcalm, while another British army secured Ohio Forks which had already been abandoned by the French. Quiberon had been played so the Brits had more cards, but towards the end of the turn Paul had skillfully maneuvered Montcalm between Wolfe and the British supply line and it became apparent that Montreal would not fall. There was no margin for error, however, as VPs only stood at FR1 once the Forks were secured; James needed 2 VPs to win as Paul ran out of cards.

The first point was easy enough because Paul just gave it away. As Wolfe moved against Montcalm to force a battle, a small French force with Regulars under Drucour inexplicably attempted to intercept to slow the Brits down. The interception failed, but James realized that Paul was willing to give up a VP so he bore down on Drucour and wiped his force out. VPs were therefore at zero, which is a French victory if it ends that way, as James was down to his final card. He used it to activate Wolfe and Rogers' Rangers to raid Sorel with a 5/6 chance at success and a VP to put him over the top. This is a standard British play late in close games but Paul had obviously forgotten about it with fatigue setting in. But James rolled a "1" and the raid failed miserably. Perhaps the guy hasn't sold his soul to the devil after all.

Here are some observations of the game by the the new and only two-time champ:

What I want to take away from the experience is the memory of struggling with a man who is undoubtedly the finest player of card driven war games on the planet, taking him to the last card play where I had a 1 in 6 chance of winning and being rewarded with the victory. What I would like to forget is the fact that with three cards left to play I had about a 90% chance of winning and I managed to play that down to the 17% chance I ended up with.

If my mind had been a little clearer I think I would have known that it was going to be my night. James is often accused of being able to control the die with some form of Zen mind control but his usual mastery was definitely missing in our game. I'll relate one sequence where a lot of operation cards were burned which is always to the advantage of the French player. During the first turn after Montcalm was able to take Ft. William Henry, James hit me with Vaudreuil Interferes and off Monty went to inspect Louisbourg. James had already played a British Regulars reinforcement card so Murray and 18 strength points were waiting at Halifax. This was the first big decision of the game for me: can I afford to leave Montcalm there? The chance of getting Montcalm trapped for good was 39%. I decided to take a chance and played Small Pox on Murray's army and I was successful in getting two hits so they were down to 16 strength points and Monty's odds improved to 22%. James immediately sent the Royal Americans battalion from Philadelphia to Halifax to make up the loss. At this point I decided I couldn't risk losing Montcalm in early 1757 so I shipped him back to Quebec and moved Villiers to Quebec just in case it was all a bluff. Of course it wasn't as Murray immediately made the amphibious move and I withdrew the garrison inside for the siege. No siege rolls were made in what was left of early 1757 because James was out of cards (he had used the Amphib card and had also played Massacre when Montcalm took the fort).

In Late 1757 I got Bastions Repaired so I was looking forward to stretching out the siege. There were no British reinforcements so Murray was going to be doing all of the work. The first siege roll was successful and I immediately removed the siege point. The next attempt failed. Two more cards were required to get siege level 2 and the first assault. The die rolls were something like 4 for me and 3 for James. I was on the 9-12 column and he was on the 13-16 column so with losses 3 to 3 the assault failed. Perhaps this was the harbinger of things to come for James and the evil die. Other things had been going on and we both needed to get units into winter quarters so cards were running out fast. When he eventually got around to making the next assault attempt I don't think he had many cards left. This time I was on the 6-8 column and he was still on 13-16. Again he rolled low and I rolled high so again we both got three hits. This eliminated all of my units but in a siege it isn't a win. He was now out of cards and as I recall needed to use the Quiberon card to move Loudoun and the main army in New York into winter quarters. Murray's army suffered attrition at Louisbourg.

That sequence was a lot of fun for me and not so much for James I suspect. Of course Louisbourg fell in early 1758 and Quiberon managed to jump back into the British hand almost immediately so I suffered with only seven cards for the last few turns. But in the end James ran out of cards and had to attempt that last card play raid with Wolfe and the Rangers. If it hadn't taken six or seven cards to reduce Louisbourg perhaps the final result would have been different.

 Of course if I could count to two at 2:00 a.m. I wouldn't have thrown away a VP I couldn't really afford to lose and I would have won even if the final raid had been successful. Fortunately for me, fate decided to reward a fool and I'm not too proud to take it and run.

Wilderness War 2007-2008 PBeM Tournament Results

Final Standings:
1. James Pei
2. George Young
3. Adam Deverell
4. Ron Fedin
5. William Edwards
6. Peter Reese
Total Players: 62
Total Games Played: 118
2008 WBC Champ James "The Master" Pei bested a field of 62 players to win the 2007-2008 Wilderness War PBeM Tournament, a six round Swiss-Elimination format competition which began in early 2007 and took approximately 18 months to complete. Pei defeated George Young in the Final to win his second PBEM crown. Pei defeated Henry Russell, Jim Winslow, Kevin Worth, Grant LaDue and Ron Fedin in his march to the championship game. Pei, Young and Fedin went undefeated in the four Swiss rounds, while Adam Deverell advanced to the semi-finals with one Swiss loss by earning the necessary tiebreakers in wins over Jim Lawler, Tom Thornsen and 2007 WBC Champ Paul Gaberson. Deverell's loss was to Fedin in Round 4. Young defeated Alan Poulter, Patrick Duffy, Bill Edwards, Rob Winslow and Deverell.
For his efforts, Pei was awarded a Buffalo Jaw War Club in addition to the plaque. Deverell defeated Fedin in the Consolation Match for 3rd place.
The 118 games played broke down as follows: 60 French wins and 58 British wins. In the French wins the higher rated player won 22 times, while in the British wins the higher rated player won 43 times. Bidding broke down as follows: one game with a bid of FR3 (French loss), ten games with a bid of FR2 (French record was 4-6), 95 games with a bid of FR1 (French record was 50-45), nine games with no bid (French record was 5-4) and three games with a bid of BR1 (French record was 2-1). In the Final Pei played the French with a bid of FR1 after Young, who had the initial bid, passed.
The tournament website is http://mysite.verizon.net/vze4bc94/index.html.

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.

Early 1757

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.

Late 1757

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.

Early 1758

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.

Late 1758

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.

 GM      Keith Wixson  [4th Year]   NA 
    keithwixson@paulhastings.com   NA

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