twilight struggle

Updated Nov. 16, 2015

2015 WBC Report

2016 Status: pending 2016 GM commitment

David Amidon, PA

2015 Champion

Event History

2006 Stefan Mecay 70
2007 Stefan Mecay 66
2008 Stefan Mecay 54
2009 Chris Withers 66
2010 Stefan Mecay 57
2011 Stefan Mecay 55
2012 Riku Riekkinen 64
2013 Riku Riekkinen 53
2014 Chris Byrd 45
2015 David Amidon 68

WAM Event History
2007 Keith Wixson 30
2008 Marvin Birnbaum 35
2009 Stefan MeCay 28
2010 Chris Byrd 21
2011 Stefan MeCay 27
2012 Chris Byrd 30
2013 Marvin Birnbaum 20

PBeM Event History
2008 Stefan Mecay 86


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Stefan Mecay       TX    13    428
  2.  Chris Withers      CA    12    161
  3.  Riku Riekkinen     fi    15    140
  4.  Keith Wixson       NJ    13    143
  5.  Chris Byrd         CT    14    122
  6.  Marvin Birnbaum    NY    13    108
  7.  Rick Young         NC    09    100
  8.  Randy Pippus       on    15     82
  9.  David Amidon       PA    15     68
 10.  Bill Edwards       VA    13     60
 11.  Bruce Monnin       OH    11     46
 12.  Paul Sampson       OH    12     43
 13.  George Young       VT    15     41
 14.  Antony Russo       MD    15     39
 15.  Michael Mitchell   GA    13     37
 16.  James Terry        NJ    11     37
 17.  Rob Hassard        NJ    10     32
 18.  Stuart Tucker      MD    08     31
 19.  John Emery         SC    06     30
 20.  Steven Brooks      FL    10     29
 21.  George Seary       NY    08     28
 22.  Sean McCulloch     OH    09     25
 23.  Roderick Lee       CA    11     24
 24.  Darren Kilfara     uk    08     24
 25.  Patrick Neary      NY    13     20
 26.  Phil Rennert       MD    08     20
 27.  M. Pare-Paquin     qc    12     18
 28.  R. Evan Woodham    TX    14     16
 29.  Kevin Hammond      WA    11     16
 30.  Tim Bina           CA    11     16
 31.  Mike Wallschlaeger WI    09     15
 32.  John Buse          IL    06     15
 33.  Jeff Finkeldey     OH    13     12
 34.  Larry Fryer        MD    12     12
 35.  Scott Burns        uk    13     10
 36.  Bruce DuBoff       NJ    08     10
 37.  Kevin Lewis        DC    14      8
 38.  Derek Landel       NJ    11      8
 39.  Doug Austin        VA    07      8
 40.  Suzanne Tuch       NY    08      6
 41.  Christopher Crane  NY    15      5
 42.  Bruce Wigdor       NJ    13      5
 43.  Dave Gerson        CA    09      5
 44.  John Wetherell     PA    09      5
 45.  Michael Sosa       FL    08      5
 46.  Andrew Doughan     PA    14      4
 47.  Kevin Earle        VA    12      4
 48.  C. Georgantzas     NY    11      4
 49.  Charles Hickok     PA    07      4
 50.  Randy MacInnis     NJ    13      3
2015 Laurelists Returning Laurelists: 2

Rku Riekkinen, fi

George Young, VT

Anthony Russo, MD

Randy Pippus, on

Christopher Crane, NY

Past Winners

Stefan Mecay, TX
2006-08, 2010-11

Chris Withers, CA

Riku Riekkinen, fi

Chris Byrd, CT

David Amidon, PA

Thats a lot of Twilight struggling going on.

Emily (Wu) Allbert vs James Terry

Those Nasty Russians still kicking butt ...

Turnout was excellent with 68 players in the field, a 50% increase over event low of 2014.  In addition, many commented it was a tougher field with less newbies/more experienced players.  The strong field included defending champion Chris Byrd, most of last year’s top TWS finishers, and former champ Riku Riekkinen (who had been unable to travel from Finland to attend in 2014, but made a dramatic return in 2015.  Riku cruised through five preliminary rounds to reach the Final where he encountered David Amidon. As usual, we employed a swiss format, with rounds continuing until only two unbeaten players remained—these two then played for the title.  Many players took advantage of the option to play all five rounds of the swiss format. 

Twilight Struggle has generally been seen to favor the Russians, particularly in the first part of the game, unless adjustments are made.  For the past two years, players used a standard adjustment—the US received three influence that could be added to any location that already had US influence.  But players were also required to switch sides each round.  This approach was well received and is largely consistent with the balancing adjustment used by the online Twilight Struggle ladder.  Games were all played using the Deluxe edition rules, without the optional cards.  [As a side note, in the newest version of TWS, the “optional” cards are no longer optional, so I expect that next year’s play will use those cards and a 2 US influence adjustment.]

Even with the balancing rules, the game play, as usual, favored the Russians. Russia enjoyed a 49 to 37 split.  This was an improvement over previous margins.  However, among the eight players who tallied four or more wins, the US and USSR win totals were virtually even. 

The tournament took a total of six rounds to resolve.  After four rounds, four veteran undefeated players remained:  David Amidon, Riku Riekkinen, Tony Russo, and George Young.  

The first semifinal pit Riku’s Russians vs 2014 runner-up, Tony.  The Russians gained a favorable position, helped by multiple plays of Red Scare and Decolonization, and won on the last turn by playing Wargames. In the other bracket, David’s Russians faced George.  Again the Russians gained an early positional advantage.  All American attempts to gain on the VP shortfall were thwarted, with the Russians eventually playing Wargames on Turn 8 to end it.

The conditions of the tournament set Riku as USA for the Final.  Things got off to a dramatic start as he left W. Germany vacant and boosted Iran to 4/0* using an opening setup he invented.  After the Marshall HL, this strategy allowed Riku to safely eliminate Blockade, preserve his high op cards and hang on to his Hold card.  Riku was also able to retake W. Germany by the end of Turn 1.  With W. Germany open, David walked through to occupy France, but the Iranian fortress let Riku step into Pakistan.  After a series of coups, the US held a positional edge, particularly in the Middle East.  
Turn 2 also favored the US.  The Russians managed to gain an edge in Southeast Asia, but the US expanded influence in Africa.  Turn 3 produced more of the same, so that the Early War ended with US clearly in a dominant map position.  The USSR had neither Decol or DeStal and now had to brace for the MidWar deck.

MidWar started as a fight for South America.  The US expanded influence, but were largely countered by successful Russian realignments.  Although both sides limited enemy influence, the Russians were able to score South America on Turn 5 for six VPs.  Turn 6 shifted back to Africa and Central America, with the Russians managing to score points in the former while the Americans offset the Russian gains with points from CA.  

The Russians managed to turn the tables beginning on Turn 7.  Liberation Theology allowed the US position in Central America to be neutralized.  Then, the USSR was able to slowly increase his VP lead.  By Turn 9, the Russians even captured Japan, allowing for USSR domination.  This eventually allowed the Russians to win through the play of Wargames on Turn 9 and giving David his first WBC shield—and an impressive one to boot.

Both players used unconventional tactics and strategies, starting with Riku’s American setup.  They spent much of Turn 2 fighting over MidWar regions, all while the USSR had little presence in the Mideast.  The Space track never got beyond Animal in Space, despite frequent Space attempts from both sides.  No wars were successful by either side.  The USSR hardly ever used the action round one battleground coup opportunity and prevailed despite not having Decol or DeStal ever happen.

Twilight Struggle play continues to evolve.  I hope the new venue in 2015 will continue to attract players of this caliber.  I look forward to seeing new strategies emerge.  See you in Seven Springs!!

Spencer Stengle vs Bob Jamelli

GM George Young oversees his finalists.
GM George Young (7th Year) NA NA

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