First to Two Titles
John Vasilakos shares his hand as
Gary Phillips wonders what terrible fate awaits him.
GM Keith Wixson with some of his wonderful
hand-painted donated prizes.
2004 Champion James "The Master" Pei, the top seed,
became the second two-time winner in the event's history. Pei
went undefeated in beating Randy Pippus, Chris Senhouse, Michael
Ussery and Bill Edwards in the preliminary rounds, Don Chappell
in the semi-finals and George Young in the championship game.
Young was also undefeated entering the Final, having defeated
Frank Mestre, Jason White, Philip Burgin-Young (his son) and
defending champ Paul Gaberson twice. Gaberson was the other semi-finalist.
Here are some highlights of the tournament (or lowlights as
the case may be):
· Attendance was down considerably from last year's
35 to 27, necessitating the cancellation of the experimental
quarter-finals as there were not enough players to justify the
extra round. I guess that means that the experiment was a flop!
It has been suggested that the decrease in attendance may
have been caused by my decision to try out the extra round, arguing
that some might have been scared off by the possibility of having
to commit more time to the event. I really have no idea if that
was the case, but rest assured, there will be no quarter-final
round next year (assuming the event survives and I am the GM,
· There were five new players this year (compared to six
last year), so the attendance decline can mostly be traced to
several regular participants from prior years who decided to
skip the event. There were four newcomers in 2006 and ten in
· Half of last year's laurelists made it into the top
six again this year, and three of this year's four semi-finalists
were repeats. That was something of a break with the tournament's
tradition of a complete or near complete turnover of the laurelists
from year to year.
· The Top New Player Award went to Senhouse who defeated
the GM and Grant LaDue, the second and sixth seeds respectively.
· The Pei-Young championship game was a rematch of the
recent PBeM Tournament championship game which had only concluded
with a Pei victory a week before WBC.
· The French won 67% of the games played (as compared
to 61% in 2007, 52% in 2006, 56% in 2005, 71% in 2004 and 62%
in 2003). The reality of French dominance is finally starting
to be embraced by the players as the average bid to play the
French shot up to 1.35 VPs from 1.02 VPs last year. The average
bid was .93 VPs in 2006 and 1.11 VPs in 2005.
· There were four games with no bidding, 16 games with
a bid of 1 VP to play the French and 17 games with a bid of 2
VPs. The French record in the 1 VP bid games was 13-3 and in
the 2 VP bid games was 8-9. The four games without bids were
all French wins.
· Prizes: In addition to the plaques, the Champ received
a Plains Indian Medicine Lance and the runner-up received a Gunstock
Warclub. A Ceremonial Medicine Arrow, books and some period 54mm
toy soldiers were also awarded to the worthy.
The Champ's AAR of the Championship Game with George
Young follows. Both players bid 1 VP for the French but Pei won
the roll off.
I had a decent card draw, including a Western Indians, the
Iroquois Alliance, and the Victories in Germany cards. With
Victories in hand, I did not mind having combat immediately. I
started off by moving Montcalm to HCN. Webb failed the interception. George
immediately moved the British army from New York to reinforce
Webb at HCS. I then reinforced Monty with Levis' troops. George
then played a BR reinforcement card. Luckily for me, Wolfe
did not appear. Naturally, HCN fell on the next card play and
VPs were now at FR5.
Both of us settled down to realign and reinforce our positions. I
decided to recruit the Iroquois, but George saw it coming and
countered by moving a force to OCE and constructing a stockade. Stymied
by his good play, I turned to recruit a couple of Western Indians
with the plan to go raiding later. The British started forts
at OCE and Canajoharie. I ended with holding the Victories
card while George started moving a strong force towards Ohio
I got an okay hand, but more importantly, the British did
not have one. I started off by raiding with my available
Indians. The raids were failures, but there was not
much else to do. George again countered by positioning Provincials
at key locations to check my raiding options. He knew where
I was heading and the likely raiding targets. While
I was busy moving auxiliaries, George continued his march on
Ohio Forks. I countered by moving Villiers with two Regular
battalions to Niagara with the intention of reinforcing and defending
My multiple attempts at raiding bore fruit as I finally got
a hit late in the season, even as George played several event
cards to move the Assemblies to Enthusiastic and raised Provincials
and Southern Militias.
The first year ended with all forces safely at winter quarters. The
British had established forts along the OCE corridor and at Raystown. VPs
were at FR6.
I drew a great hand, with good defensive cards -- Courier
Intercepted, Small Pox, Northern Indians, Fieldworks, and Ambush. With
things all quiet along the Champlain valley, I moved Montcalm's
army to Cataraqui to be in a position to either attack any British
force at OCW or HCN. Also, from there Monty could detach
a strong force to reinforce Ohio Forks. George played another
BR reinforcement card, but again no Wolfe. I played Courier,
but failed the roll.
The focus then shifted to the West as George moved more units
to Baltimore along with the British reinforcements. With
the Ambush card as my ace in the hole, I recruited more Indians
and positioned them for combat and raiding. However, George
played another militia in the Southern Dept which effectively
limited my raiding in the west.
I then played Small Pox on the British army in the west under
Murray. Undeterred, George started building a fort in Laurel
Ridge North. I then used the Indian suicide tactics of attacking
Murray's army, hoping to inflict hits on the Regulars as well
as getting that lucky leader loss roll. The results were
mixed as I got two hits and killed the subordinate leader, Webb. This
caused a temporary halt on the British advance as George did
The season was otherwise limited to raids into the Northern
Dept., but for no effect. I saved the Ambush card for another
I drew a lousy hand with mostly 1-Op and 2-OP cards but I
got one 3-Op, FR Reinforcements. I figured I was due
for a bad one since George hadn't drawn good cards thus far. He
was not drawing the reinforcements and leaders that he needed
to win, so I felt that time and luck were definitely going against
I was right as I played the FR Reinforcement first, waiting
to see where the action would be this turn. George immediately
upped the tempo by moving to HCN and OCW with a Campaign. With
my forces nearly damage free and with a good VP cushion, I decided
to send Montcalm's army to attack OCW. Monty won a close
battle and VPs increased to FR7.
With George starting to build a fort in HCN, Monty shifted
to meet that threat, leaving behind a few speed bumps. Monty
eventually attacked HCN, winning another critical battle. More
importantly, this ended the British threat to the Champlain Valley.
Things quieted down with winter approaching. My few attempts
at raiding failed, so I decided to conserve my remaining auxiliaries
for the final year.
I got a below average hand, with only two 3-Op cards, but
one was Ministerial Crisis. I immediately played it, hoping
to fish out a nice card. George cursed (but in a nice way!)
and discarded Troop Transports. He then played the big Highlander
card, but once again Wolfe failed to appear. This would
have a profound impact as the turn would reveal that George had
a great hand.
Seeing as how I would need all the forces I could muster for
the coming battles, I evacuated the Louisburg garrison, leaving
behind the lone CdB. Amherst and Forbes moved up to Albany
with the Highlanders. I recruited a few more Indians. With
a massive army ready at Albany, the British lunged towards OCW
once again. I shifted Monty's damaged army, managing barely
28 factors, to counter this threat. Then the hammer fell
as the Vaudreuil Interferes card reared its ugly head. Monty
was forced to switch places with Dumas at Ohio Forks, and Levis
took over command of the main army. Not wanting to face
the British army at Oswego, I moved Levis to La Belle Famille. That
way, I could move Monty from Ohio Forks and reunite with Levis
in one card play.
George then played a Campaign to move Amherst with a sizeable
army to siege Niagara, leaving behind multiple units along Lake
Ontario to protect his supply line, but was foiled by a schooner
operating out of Niagara. I didn't realize it at the time,
but the Lake Schooner card sealed the fate of the British strategy
to seize Niagara and ultimately decided the game. The second
part of the campaign was to move another smaller army under Forbes
north to block Carataqui and to attack Montreal from the back
door. But one of my speed bumps at Oswegatchie, a lone Indian,
inflicted enough damage to stop the British advance.
Monty hurried to join Levis, forcing George to build
a couple of stockades along Lake Ontario in anticipation of another
move on Niagara. But Monty stole a march and went around
the northern shore of Lake Ontario to seek battle with Forbes
at Oswegatchie. Forbes failed to evade, and his force was
destroyed in the ensuing battle. This forced George to pull back
Amherst to Oswego to secure the British supply line. Leaving
behind some more speed bumps, Monty swung back around the lake
to destroy the garrison at Tegynagerunde, the space east of Niagara. With
his last card, the Surrender card, George started construction
of forts at Irondequoit and Oswego. I finished the turn
with a shuffling of scattered units.
With the last deal, I got a nice hand with Victories in Germany,
Ambush, Small Pox, and Foul Weather. My first move was to
restore some of my battered units with the Victories card. The
British finished their forts. Small Pox was then played
on Amherst's army, flipping some units. Undeterred, Amherst
dropped a small force at Naioure Bay, and then attacked Monty. But
with the help of the Ambush card, Amherst's army was beaten back. It
was at this point that George conceded, showing me the rest of
his cards. They were average, nothing spectacular. He
pointed out that the Lake Schooner card from last turn was the
turning point as he was in a position to bottle my forces at
Niagara. Then he could have used the Surrender card to take
Niagara, thus forcing Monty to fight his way out from Ohio Forks.
It was a little bit anti-climatic, but I was glad and relieved
that I had won my second championship! Of course, it is
always an honor to defeat such a worthy opponent as George, whom
I consider to be one of the top aces among the CDG players.
Nobody outdoes Keith when it comes
to providing neat period prizes like these handpainted miniatures
for his players
Don't you just hate it when a photographer
disrupts your concentration?
War 2007-2008 PBeM Tournament Results
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 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.
2009 WAM Wilderness War Tournament
The WNW tournament
was a disappointment as 14 players (not bad) played only 12 games
(sad). I called it after three rounds in favor of Ohio's Cabbie
Sean McCulloch, who was the only unbeaten player. Despite the paucity of games played, his title has some merit atached to it because he defeated
two former WBC champs, Paul Gaberson and Keith Wixson.
It was obvious during the general meeting on Saturday that
this game was a poor choice for the last tournament. The interest
was just not there and our methodology for choosing this was
flawed. So this was the final year for WNW at WAM. It had a good
run and it should live on at WBC for another year or two at least.
Next year's WAM will have a new fourth tournament.
On the bright side I was able to test a new rule for WBC that
I hope will address the play balance issue. Instead of having
the players bid VPs to play the French, sides were determined
randomly and the British player, starting with the Late Season
1757 turn, was given the option to retrieve one British Regulars
or Highlanders card from the discard pile (at the beginning
of EVERY turn—after the cards had been dealt and examined but
before the first Action Phase) and place it in his hand after
RANDOMLY discarding one card from his hand. Despite the usual
lopsided win totals for the French, which I ascribe for
the most part to several brand new players and rustiness by a
few vets, I was pleased with how the test went and expect to
adopt the new rule for WBC this year.
|2009 WAM Laurelists
Paul Gaberson, PA
Tom Drueding, MA
Michael Sosa, FL
Doug Mercer, MD
Bruce Monnin, OH