Bruce Monnin, OH
Ben Gardner, VA
Joe Powell, VA
Rob Drozd, IL
David Rynkowski, NY
Bruce Monnin, OH
1991, 1993, 2004
Phil Rennert, MD
Ray Freeman, CA
1995, 1999, 2003
Steve Packwood, MN
Tim Hitchings, DE
Mike Kaye, CA
Pat Richardson, FL
David Finberg, MA
Andy Gardner, VA
Dennis Nicholson, NY
John Sharp, FL
Jonathan Lockwood, VA
Vince Meconi, DE
Andrew Choptiany, PA
39 Still in Convoy ...
GM Vince Meconi checks his standings
Three-time champ Ray Freeman vs Bob
Joe Powell vs Rod Drozd
Jim Kramer vs John Elliott
Andy Choptiany won the 2013 War At Sea Championship
with an overall record of 6-1-1. Andy was competing in just his
fourth full tournament. He defeated three-time champion Bruce
Monnin (5-3) in a tense Final. Two-time champion Ben Gardner
finished third with a record of 6-1and was the only player to
go unbeaten in the five swiss rounds. Joe Powell took fourth
with a 5-2 mark. Rob Drozd (4-2) finished fifth to grab the last
(AC bonus) plaque. Sixth place laurles went to DavidRynkowski
(3-2), who received a copy of the book Mussolini's Navy, given
to the highest finisher not winning a plaque. The additional
playoff contenders were 7th, defending champion Jonathan Lockwood
(3-3) and Bruce Reiff (3-3-0). Rounding out our top10 with 3-2
records were current PBeM Ladder Champ JohnPack in and Charlie
the conclusion of the five Swiss rounds, the eight qualifiers
were set, with, unusually, no tiebreaker needed: 1) Ben Gardner,
48 Victory Points, 2) Rob Drozd, 40 VPs, 3) Andy Choptiany, 37
VPs, 4) David Rynkowski, 36 VPs, 5) JoePowell, 36 VPs, 6) JonathanLockwood,
32 VPs, 7) Bruce Monnin (32 VPs and 8) BruceReiff, also 32 VPs.
In the quarterfinals, top seed Gardner's Allies handled #8
seed Reiff', #3 Choptiany's Axis blew out #6 Lockwood, #7 Monnin's
Allies outlasted #2 Drozd, and #4 Powell's Allies maxed out against
#5 Rynkowski. In the semifinals, Andy Choptiany's Axis used the
2.5 bid they received to edge Ben Gardner by the razor-thin 0.5
POC margin; Monnin's Allies, bidding 1.5, killed lots of Germans
in a big Turn 2 battle and used the resulting momentum to defeat
Powell's defanged Axis.
The Final rematched Choptiany and Monnin; Andy had already
bested Bruce in the Swiss rounds. This time, Bruce took the Allies
for 2.5. Andy took the early lead, winning a North Atlantic battle
on Turn 1 to gain 2 POC at a cost of two ships while sinking
three British battleships. POC remained motionless for the next
few turns; Allied LBA could not hit Italian cruisers while Axis
LBA managed to sink an Allied ship every turn. Ineffective Allied
ASW allowed the U-boat fleet to remain largely intact and sink
another Allied ship per turn. However, Bruce managed to carry
the game to the last turn. His Allies had convoys in both the
North Atlantic and Barents, and needed to land both for the win.
Bruce's 10 ASW in the North Atlantic removed all four remaining
U-boats enabling him to put that convoy into England for a single
POC. The game thus came down to the last die roll against the
Barents convoy; the Axis needed to sink or disable the convoy
to preserve their 2.5 POC margin. The deciding LBA roll was a
5, disabling the last convoy back to the USA and handing the
win to Andy's Axis.
In a brief pre-tournament induction ceremony, Jonathan Lockwood
became the fifth member of the War At Sea Hall of Fame,
joining previous inductees Alan Applebaum, Ray Freeman, Andy
Gardner, and Bruce Monnin. Jonathan is a two-time WBC champ,
a two-time BPA PBeM Champion, and the all-time leader in tournament
playoff appearances, games played, total wins, Allied wins, top
4 finishes, and many other statistical categories. Despite the
bulls-eye on his back, Jonathan made the playoffs again this
year for the sixth year in a row, another record.
The 39-player field was the smallest since 1998, but still
managed to log 72 games played. The favorite opening Allied strategy
was again Barents on 1 by a wide margin, with a few Mediterranean
strategies sprinkled throughout the tourney. Champ Andy Choptiany
added to his winnings by scoring the Best Axis Player nod with
a 3-0 log, while Ben Gardner earned Best Allied Player props
at 5-1. Finally, RobDrozd was our sportsmanship nominee. Facing
a new player, he chose to use the game as a teaching exercise,
displaying great patience, heedless of his own playoff chances.
It was not the first time he has done so. My favorite quote of
the tourney came from newcomer Rob Hammand, who lamented, "My
dice were so bad I'd have been better off ramming my opponents'
After last year's perfect play balance between the Allies
andAxis, this year's Axis competitors apparently rested on their
laurels, with theAllies scoring 41 victories to just 30 for the
Axis (and one tie). 56 of the 72 games featured an Allied bid
ranging from 1.0 to 2.5 POC (a much lower percentage than last
year); 16 had no bid and no player bid for the Axis. The average
bid this year was 1.38 (all games) and 1.77 (games with a bid),
both down from last year's record highs.
As always, putting on the War At Sea tournament is
a team effort. My thanks go to Assistant Gamemasters Rob Drozd
and John Sharp; chess clocks were provided (and largely set up)
by Charlie Drozd with an appreciative nod to Alan Applebaum for
the original purchase.
Is two-time champ Jon Lockood ready
to pass the torch to young Ben Gardner?
Three titles availed Bruce Monnin
nothing as Andrew Choptiany won it all.
By Email 2013
Tim Tow won his first BPA championship, besting a field of
41 in the Ninth BPA War At Sea PBeM tournament. Tim went
5-0 to win the Smgle Elimination event. He began with a win over
Jim Laws, and then added Ken Gutermuth, Phil Watkins and Ed Menzel
to his victims before bestowing runner-up honors on Robert Drozd
in the title game. Ed Menzel (3rd with a 3-1 record), Vince Meconi
(4th, 3-1), Phil Watkins (5th, 3-1) and Michael Ussery (6th,
2-1) rounded out the laurelists.
Tim showed versatility in the tournament, winning three times
as the Axis and twice as the Allies. Overall, the Allies enjoyed
a 22-17 advantage in the tournament, with the average bid to
play the Allied side going for 1.7 POC.
The bids broke down as:
0.0 POC: Axis 1-0
0.5 POC: Axis 1-0
1.0 POC: Allies 3-0
1.5 POC: Allies 10-4
2.0 POC: Allies 9-8
2.5 POC: Axis 3-0
Tim took the Allies in the Final with a bid of 1.5 POC. A Barents
on 1 strategy was challenged when one of the British battle cruiserss
failed its speed roll. A triple nickel air strike roll by the
Allies sent three of the heaviest German ships back to port,
but the Luftwaffe countered by sinking the Renown and
disabling the Hood. However the Allies were able to hold
the area while sinking a couple of German ships. The German fleet
licked its wounds on Turn 2 while the Luftwaffe shone again,
crippling the Ark Royal and sinking the Repulse.
On Turn 3 the Germans contested the Barents when two slow British
battleships failed their speed rolls. The resulting battle left
the Formidable alone in the Barents maintaining the blockade,
with the Allies up 4 POC.
On Turn 4, three Italian cruisers and seven U-boats sortied to
the South Atlantic against two battleships and the Eagle,
but ASW accounted for four of the U-boats. The remainder managed
to sink a battleship. The Eagle's airstrike disabled one
cruiser and after the ensuing battle, again a lone carrier remained.
Convoy 1A pushed the Allied lead to 7 POC.
On Turn 5, the British left six battleshipss in the North Sea
drawing the Axis fleet for a losing fight, and the British maxed
out POC at +10. After a failed attempt to break the North Sea
blockade with five U-boats against 18 ASW on Turn 6, the Axis
I plan to run the next event in a Swiss-Elim format with a two
month time limit per round. Instead of bidding for sides (which
can lead to specialization in one side or the other) I plan to
gives the Axis 2.0 POC at the start of each game. Sides will
be randomly assigned in the first round, and in any other matchup
where both players have played each side an equal number of times.
When one player has played a side more often than his opponent,
his opponent will be assigned that side.
We will probably start either not long before or not long after