Twilight Struggle remained the most popular CDW event at WBC for the
fourth straight year. Mike Wallschlaeger and Robert Davidson
played early on.
A couple of heavyweight laurelists
in other events, neither Phil Rennert nor Kevin Sudy have put
much of a dent in the Twilight Struggle rankings.
The 2009 Twilight Struggle tournament enjoyed an increase
in participation, with 66 players (up from 54 last year.
The tournament employed a new balancing rule this year, with
Early War scoring cards shuffled back in the deck on Turn 4 rather
than Turn 3.
The challenge for the field this year was to dethrone three-time
champion Stefan Mecay. Early on, Stefan proceeded to mow
down the opposition as usual. But in the round of six,
he finally met his match. Chris Withers bid 4 for the Russians,
then proceeded to defeat Stefan who blew up the world in his
anguish as he was finally backed into the same corner which he
had painted so many others others into the past three years.
The other pairings in that round were familiar faces who have
done well in the past. Rick Young, having finished as runner-up
several times, defeated Dave Gerson, also in a Defcon 1 victory.
Meanwhile, Randy Pippus knocked off Mike Wallschlaeger.
With the field reduced to three, Dave Gerson volunteered to play
the spoiler roll, which the final three preferred to granting
a random bye. As luck would have it, Dave was randomly
assigned to play Rick again. Dave bid 4 for the Russians,
then proceeded to knock out Rick with an AV on Turn 7.
That meant that the last remaining game between Randy and Chris
was for the Championship. Chris once again got the Russians
(another 4 bid). Randy's best efforts weren't enough.
The Russians jumped off to an early lead, headlining Vietnam
Revolts and rolling a 6 on a coup of Iran. Russia also
was able to take Thailand and South Korea. Russia's positional
advantage was enhanced by De-Stalinization into South America
and three plays of Red Scare (Turns 3, 6 and 7) including a Blockade
Combo that ruined West Germany. The US never recovered
and eventually succumbed to Wargames on Turn 8.
After several years of relatively even results, this year, Russians
prevailed 39 to US 17. Bids were also up, particularly
as the rounds went on. The last several rounds saw almost
exclusively bids of 3 or 4 for the Russians. Obviously,
some additional look at balance is necessary.
Our Sportsmanship nominee was Randy Pippus. On four occasions,
Randy's opponent made the mistake of playing a card that increased
Defcon, even though Defcon was already at 2. In each case,
Randy graciously allowed the opponent to redo the move.
Randy Pippus downed Steve Parrish
in this match.
Ken Lee and Steve Dickson enjoy an
WBC Champ Stefan Mecay made his WAM debut and surprised nobody
in besting a field of 28 to win the five-round Swiss tournament
with a perfect score. He defeated in order Christopher Yaure
(Wargames on Turn 8), Mark Yoshikawa (Autovictory on Turn 8),
Keith Wixson (Wargames on Turn 9), Bill Edwards (Final Scoring)
and John Wetherell (Autovictory on Turn 6). Mecay played the
USSR in all five games, bidding 3 IPs thrice and 4 IPs twice.
Perhaps his biggest scare was in his Round 3 match against Wixson.
On the first turn of Late War in a close game the US played "Chernobyl"
in Europe followed by "Tear Down this Wall" (VPs were
at -9 but the Soviet position was vulnerable in several places).
Mecay's position had all but collapsed by the end of the turn
and Wixson was poised to gain Control of Europe at the start
of the next turn. But Stefan drew Wargames and was able to claim
victory on the second action round of Turn 9. After both players
revealed their remaining cards, Mecay agreed that he probably
would have lost otherwise.
Bill Edwards won the book "From the Shadows"
by Robert Gates, a history of the Cold War, for finishing in
second. The Best Soviet Player award went to Mecay (no additional
prize since he won the plaque)and the Best American Player award
(Robert Kennedy's "Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban
Missile Crisis") went to Sean McCulloch. The tiebreakers
used to determine the final standingswere (i) strength of
schedule, (ii) head to head results, (iii) most US wins and (iv)
most WAM t-shirts bought from the GM. The first criteria proved
sufficient in all cases.
There were a total of 59 games played with the USSR winning
32. The Soviet wins broke down as follows: 15 autovictories (20+
VPs), five by nuclear war, seven by Wargames and five at Final
Scoring. The American wins were 12 autovictories, four by nuclear
war, five by Wargames and six at Final Scoring. Players bid influence
points to be added to the US setup before the start of play for
the right to be the USSR. There were four bids of 4 IPs (two
of these by the champ), forty bids of 3 IPs, fourteen bids of
2 IPs and one bid of 1 IP.
Bill Edwards, VA
Keith Wixson, NJ
Sean McCulloch, OH
Marvin Birnbaum, NY
John Wetherell, PA