The Opening Guns ...
Chris Senhouse and Seth Gunar try
their hand at the Great War.
Tom Gregorio and Johnny Hasay dig
The POG fraternity gathered early again on Sunday to kick
off another WBC with 36 players in attendance - down 30% from
2009. Despite the decline in combatants, the new format seems
to be popular and as a result the bids for the AP are close to
1 VP (half of the previous 2 VP average bid). An interesting
development this year was that even though a number of the sharks
were there, as always, no one actually won all three of the qualifying
rounds. The result of this was that the the contestants qualifying
for the elimination rounds had records of either 2-0-1 (automatic
qualification this year) or 2-1. Sadly, one of the traditional
highlights of the event, the rolloff of the 2-1 players to advance
did not occur as we had just enough 2-1 records to fill the three
elimination rounds. Even more unusual was that three of the four
semi-finalist had never progressed that far before.
Nonetheless, the Final between Messrs Dauer and Mecay was
a tense affair, although unlike some prior years it did not go
down to the last turn.
It was a fairly normal opening with the CP pushing into the
West. The AP countered with heavy pressure on Austria, pushing
all the way into Budapest, but a couple of German armies arrived
just in time to kick the Allies back. Italy was able to come
in early and safely before the AH could set up. Because the CP
had to respond to multiple fires, the AP was able to get to TW
a couple ahead of the CP. However, the CP was able to get Tsar
Takes Command off as the north was weakened by the AP sending
all of the new Russian armies against the Austrians. With most
of the Allied armies on the map and at TW, the AP started systematically
pounding the Germans. The CP had one last shot which was a Von
Below attack in Italy at 6a+1 to 5a. A retreat of 2 would have
cut off two Italian armies and forced the AP to send FR/BR armies
down to put out the fire, but a 1-6 combo in favor of the Italians
meant no breaches. With the GER 17th/18th army card nowhere in
sight, a relentless three-turn assault and several dead German
armies allowed the Allies to force the VP's down to 0 at the
end of T10.
And with his victory, defending champ Stefan Mecay continued
his hegemony over the POG world with his third title in the past
four years. Only the mighty Finn, Riku Riekkinen in 2008, has
been able to thwart his command of POG land since his arrival
on the scene in 2007. Is there another distant Paladin out there
who can stop him in 2011?
A Canadian and Brit refight the "War
to End All Wars" in Lancaster, PA as Geoff Allbutt and Peter
Eldridge provide the combatants.
The reigning Caesar defended his POG
title despite Michael Dauer's best efforts. The two Texans travelled
a long way to meet in PA.
16 players participated in our 8th WAM PoG tournament,
with a previous WAM and WBC PoG champ, Tom Drueding, walking
away with another gold ring. 15 games were played.
As usual, we allowed gamers to try any of the PoG "family"
of games (Barbarossa to Berlin, Triumph of Chaos, Shifting
Sands or Pursuit of Glory) in the prelim rounds. And,
we are happy to report that all were played in addition to the
historical Paths of Glory variant we have recently begun
using at WBC. There were an equal split of AP and CP victories
in the early rounds among the 16 players.
The semi's included Drueding's CP matched up against Hall's
AP and Hickok's CP vs Dockter's AP. In that game, Hickok's Army
of Islam dug a very timely trench to save Turkey from a combined
French Army of the Orient and Greek force. The CP seemed to be
on the ropes the entire game, until the Treaty of Brest Litovsk
was played on Turn 18 with only five Russian cities in the claws
of the CP. That combined with three victory cities in the West,
a push in Italy, Belgrade and a High Seas fleet brought the victory
total to 11. Turn 20 witnessed a frantic AP attack in the west
and the Italian border to pry one last VP loose, but to no avail.
The game came down to one long shot attempt by Laurence of Arabia
vs. Kemel in Medina on AP 6. Unlike history, the Turks had their
big guns facing in the correct direction and the attack was successfully
thwarted. However, Hickok indicated he was "fried"
after the marathon game and would not be able to get in another
game. The solution we arrived at was to have Dockter play Drueding
in the Final; if Drueding won, the gold would be his. If Dockter
won, there would be no WAM PoG champion in 2010.
Dockter played the CP with a bid of 0. An early push in the
West resulted in the CP getting a trench in Calais and Cambrai
verses a lonely AP trench in Ostend. In the Near East, the CP
virtually ignored the front after a supply fiasco occurred around
Gaza. The Near East eventually fell when the CP decided not to
aggressively defend the front or bring Bulgaria into the war.
Italy witnessed a number of critical battles at Bologna, with
the three southern Italian victory cities eventually falling
to the CP, but the AP retaining the Verona/Bologna magic trench
line. The late game witnessed a see-saw fight in the East and
West, with both sides holding on by the thinnest of gray/white/tan/red/blue
margins. On Turn 17, the CP began to collapse in the West and
the game was called in time for the late night March Madness
tourney to begin. Mr. Drueding had won his third consecutive
Charles Hickok, PA
David Dockter, MN
Jay Meyers, CA
Johnny Hasay, PA
Tim Hall, UT