Jonathan Lockwood, VA
Andy Gardner, VA
Ben Gardner, VA
Dennis Nicholson, NY
Vince Meconi, DE
Bruce Monnin, OH
1991, 1993, 2004, 2014
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
Still in Convoy ...
Devin Dausin expands her repertoire
vs Robert Drozd.
Ex-champ Jon Lockwood vs defending
champ Andrew Choptiany.
Another battle of ex-champions: Steve
Packwood vs Vince Meconi.
Randy MacInnis vs 2006 champ John
Bruce Monnin lived up to his standing as a charter member
of the War At Sea Hall of Fame by claiming his 4thWBC/Avaloncon
championship; no one else has more. Bruce finished 6-1-1 and
hardly had an easy path to the title, besting Jonathan Lockwood
(6-2) in the Final. The Gardners, dad Andy (5-1) and son Ben
(5-2) placed third and fourth, respectively. Andy was the only
player to go undefeated in the five Swiss rounds. Dennis Nicholson
(4-2) finished in fifth and was awarded the coffee table book
Battle for the North Atlantic, given to the highest finisher
who did not win wood. The other playoff contenders were Vince
Meconi, the GM (4-2), in sixth, Darren Kilfara (3-3) in 7th and
Bob Hamel (3-3) in 8th. Rounding out the top 10 were defending
champ Andy Choptiany and Alan Zasada, both at 3-2, but on the
losing end of the all important tiebreakers.
At the conclusion of the five Swiss round games, the top six
automatically qualified: 1) Andy Gardner, 40 Victory Points/4-0,
2) Ben Gardner, 40 VPs, 4-1, 3) Dennis Nicholson,40 VPs &
4-1, 4) Jonathan Lockwood, 4-1, 38 VPs, 5) Vince Meconi, 36 VPs,
4-1, and 6) Bruce Monnin, 35 VPs and 3-1-1. Jonathan made the
playoffs for the sventh year in a row, a record. A strength
of schedule tiebreaker was needed for the last two playoff slots,
with Darren Kilfara and Bob Hamel edging Andy Choptiany and Alan
Zasada. Bob's 6.7000 strength of schedule nosed out Andy's 6.6956
by the narrowest margin on record. All four finished with 3-2
marks and 30 VPs.
In the quarterfinals, the Allies won all four games. Top
seed Andy Gardner edged #8 Bob Hamel, #2 Ben Gardner bested #7
Darren Kilfara, #6 Bruce Monnin upset #3 Dennis Nicholson, and
#4 Jonathan Lockwood easily handled the #5 GM. The latter game
was notable for the fact that when the Axis conceded, they still
had every German ship afloat and undamaged. In the semifinals,
Jonathan Lockwood's Allies, bidding 2.5, never lost the blockade
in cruising past Ben Gardner's Axis. On the other board, Bruce
Monnin's Axis topped Andy Gardner's Allies, who bid 2.
The Final rematched Lockwood and Monnin; Jonathan had already
bested Bruce in the Swiss rounds. Bruce was reprising his appearance
in the Final from last year. Jonathan took a 6-0 record as the
Allies into the game and got them again for a bid of 2.5. The
game was not close, however, asJonathan's Allies, after failing
multiple speed rolls and already in a hopeless position, resigned
on Turn 3.
a short pre-tournament induction ceremony, Dennis Nicholson became
the sixth member of the War At Sea Hall of Fame, joining
previous inductees Alan Applebaum, Ray Freeman, Andy Gardner,
Jonathan Lockwood, and Bruce Monnin. Among his other achievements,
Dennis is one of only two players to have won the "triple
crown" of War At Sea - the WBC, PBeM Ladder, and
BPA PBeM Championship tournaments.
This year's field was comprised of 35 players who played 64 total
games. The favorite opening Allied strategy was again Barents
on 1 by a wide margin. Best Axis player was Andy Gardner at
2-0 while Jonathan Lockwood claimed Best Allied Player honors
at 6-1 - the fifth time he has been so recognized in the last
seven years. Rookie of the Year was Devin Dausin, who was taught
the game right before Round 1 by fellow competitor Richard Beyma.
Devin finished 14th, which is also the highest finish ever by
a female player. Finally, Jim Kramer was our sportsmanship nominee.
In addition to being one of those players who's always a pleasure
to sit across from, when he faced a brand new player, he made
the game a teaching experience, even though it ended up jeopardizing
his own playoff chances.
Play balance continues to yo-yo. This year's WBC had 26 Axis
wins (40.6%), 37 Allied wins (57.8%), and a tie (1.6%). The
soon-to-be-concluded BPA PBeM Championship, in contrast, currently
shows a 54% Axis win rate to only 40% for the Allies. 59 of
this year's WBC contests had an Allied bid with just five games
without a bid. The average bid this year was 1.80 for all games
and 1.95 for games with a bid, both increases over last year.
As always, putting on the War At Sea tournament is
a teameffort. My thanks go to Assistant Gamemasters Rob Drozd
and John Sharp; Charlie Drozd and Bob Hamel also helped as needed.
GM Jonathan Lockwood checks out the
progress of his finalists in their 8th round of the day.
By Email 2014
The tenth BPA War At Sea PBeM Championship saw 37 players
fight it out in a slightly changed format. While the tournament
was still conducted with five Swiss rounds, which resulted in
six players who finished 4-1 or better to advance to the single
elimination portion of the event. However, unlike previous events
where bidding of POC determined the sides, the GM assigned sides
for each game and the Axis player was given 2 POC at the start.
This forced players to try their hands at both sides. The Axis
won 48 of the 84 games played (57%), with the Allies taking three
of the five elimination games.
Rob Drozd triumphed to win his first BPA War At Sea championship
plaque, finishing 4-1 in the preliminary Swiss rounds. After
defeating Jim Bodenheimer and Scott Beall, he lost in the third
round to Andy Maly's Axis, the only player to go a perfect 5-0
in the Swiss rounds. Rob rebounded to defeat Andrew Choptiany
and Karl Bodenheimer to advance to the single elimination portion
of the event.
In the quarterfinals, Rob used the Allies to defeat perennial
contender Jonathan Lockwood. He lost a battle in the Barents
on Turn 3, but sank five Germans to make the Allied fleet ascendant
the rest of the game.
In the semifinals he again encountered Andy Maly, this time he
had the Axis and avenged the earlier loss. Rob's Axis grabbed
a 6 POC lead without losing a German ship in the first three
turns, then clinched victory with a Turn 7 clash in the South
Reaching the Final, Rob vowed to improve on his second place
finish in the prior PBeM event, and again receiving the Axis
side, he defeated Ed Menzel, third place finisher last time and
the 2000 PBeM champion. Rob's Axis sank three carriers on Turn
1 (via LBA, U-boats and surface fleet). With those ASW gone,
Rob was able to survive three close ASW/U-Boat battles to keep
the North Sea open twice, which the German fleet used to earn
the championship by 1 POC (3 POC after the handicap).
Andy Maly (with a 5-1 record) placed third, while Dennis Nicholson
(fourth with a 5-2 record), Jonathan Lockwood (fifth place; 4-2)
and Rob Flowers (sixth; 4-2) were the other laurelists.
Rob went 4-0 while playing the Axis side and 3-1 while playing
I plan to start a new event in early 2015 and continue with the
two month time limit per round. The rest of the format is still
to be determined. The vast majority of the players prefer a
Swiss-elimination format, so that will remain. The number of
Swiss rounds is still to be determined, as the possibility of
having just four Swiss rounds with 12-16 advancing to single
elimination has been proposed, as has expanding to six Swiss
rounds and only advancing four to single elimination.
The set POC handicap worked well and was popular, though differing
opinions on where the handicap should be set may make me return
to bidding for sides.
Final Results (37 Entrants 84 Games Played):
1st - Rob Drozd (7-1)
2nd - Ed Menzel (5-1-1)
3rd - Andy Maly (5-1)
4th - Dennis Nicholson (5-2)
5th - Jonathan Lockwood (4-2)
6th - Rob Flowers (4-2)