Good morning Fire in the Lake fanatics! And here’s the report from the quagmire for the second WBC tournament! We started on Thursday during a thematically appropriate downpour (Monsoons may happen even in Seven Springs!) with 19 enthusiastic combatants who came to “smell the napalm.” The first heat in Round 1 used the revised Tournament Deck B with three 4-player tables. The US garnered two wins (Joel Tamburo and Steve Katz, gaily adorned in U.S. cavalry hat) while the VC won one with Bill Powers edging out Todd Carter in second place as the US on the tiebreaker, with the ARVN (Larry Luongo and Jeff Finkeldey) also coming in second twice.
The second heat on Friday used revised Tournament Deck A for three more 4-player tables. There was one win each by the VC (Jonathan Squibb), the NVA (2015 runner-up John Bateman), and the ARVN (defending champ Michael Redman). It was the first win for the ARVN in tournament history, as well as a record +5 Margin, with the NVA (John Emery, and Eric Guttag) coming in second twice, and the US (Antero Kuusi) coming in second once.
What was particularly gratifying was that certain modifications made to the Tournament Decks, as well as some rules modifications to the Short Scenario that were used for Round 1 yielded better play balance. In all, every Faction garnered at least one win in Round 1, with the US and VC Factions each scoring two wins.
For the semifinals on Saturday (still taking place during an appropriately thematic “Monsoon” downpour), eight combatants returned to the quagmire for Round 2. At the first table the US (John Bateman) barely bested the VC (Joel Tamburo) for the win. At the second table, the Insurgents dominated with the VC (Jonathan Squibb) garnering the win, and the NVA (Steve Katz, now adorned with a stunningly appropriate pith helmet) coming in a close second. Although not making the Final, Bill Powers (as the US in the first semifinal game) became our second 5th laurelist, barely topping defending champion Michael Redman (again as the ARVN in the second semifinal game) in sixth place.
With a brief break for rations, our four Finalists, Jonathan Squibb (as the VC), John Bateman (repeating his role as the ARVN in the 2015 Final), Joel Tamburo (as the NVA), and Steve Katz (as the US, again adorned with U.S. cavalry hat) resumed the contest for control of Vietnam in the Medium Scenario. The battle for the “hearts and minds” of Vietnam glory and victory would again take place during a downpour. Here are some notable moments from that titanic struggle:
- The VC play of the Tet Offensive Pivotal Event sputter due to some very low die rolls
- The NVA was “bombed” into submission through play by the US of Linebacker II (following play of unshaded Peace Talks), spoiling the NVA’s attempt to launch a devastating Attack/Easter Offensive after squirreling away a stockpile of Resources and a horde of NVA Troops.
- In an effort to stave off ARVN victory by their nominal ally (as well as simulating a Nixon-like pullout), the US “evacuated” multiple Provinces to remove COIN control.
- The NVA proposed making Saigon an “international city,” i.e., the NVA and US would maintain even numbers of Insurgent/COIN units, with the NVA conducting no Terror Ops in the ARVN capital city.
- Contributing to the ultimate ARVN VP score was a significant influx of Patronage.
With the smoke clearing at the beginning of the second Coup Round, the minor Factions would again dominate (as they did in last year’s Final), but in reverse, with John Bateman’s ARVN (+1) claiming ultimate Victory (and “spoils” in the form of a copy of a Platoon DVD), followed closely behind by Jonathan Squibb’s VC (-1) as the runner-up (and claiming as his “spoil” a copy of A Rumor of War), with Joel Tamburo’s NVA (-9) as the third laurelist (also claiming a Platoon DVD), and Steve Katz’s US (-10) as the fourth laurelist (and claiming a copy of Karnow’s Vietnam).
As the grateful (and exhausted) GM for this second FIL Tournament, I’ll again bid you Tạm biệt (Vietnamese for “good bye”) from the quagmire!
|Steve Katz comes attired with appropriate headgear.
||GM Eric Guttag overseees his four finalists.