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The Russian Campaign (TRC) WBC 2016 Report
Updated Nov. 26, 2016 Icon Key
23 Players Bert Schoose, FL 2016 Status 2017 Status History/Laurels
2016 Champion Click box for details. Click box for details.

My Kingdom for a 6!

In terms of participation, the 2016 tournament was almost identical to the 2015 version, with the same number of players (23) competing in a similar number of matches (58, up two from 56). The tournament was played as part of the free form “Grognard Style” event, with a Challenge Round on Friday evening and semifinals and Final on Saturday. Victory conditions were unchanged from 2015, requiring the Germans to conquer and hold territory equal to minus 1 from the Green Line at the end of January/February 1942 (five turns). (Minus 1 equals one small city). The weather is rolled once for September/October on Turn 3. If the Turn 3 weather is clear, then Turn 4 is automatically snow. If Turn 3 is light mud, then Turn 4 is also light mud.

Bids rose slightly from 12 extra Russian replacement points to 15 (three more per turn). Perhaps in response, the Russians won 33 of the 58 games, slightly increasing their winning percentage from 53% to 57%. This included a Russian sweep in the playoffs. Taking Moscow in 1941 for an automatic German victory continued to be a viable, though seldom used, strategy, with your GM falling victim to that ploy in the preliminaries.

The 2016 Challenge Round yielded no changes: one challenger declined to participate while the other three lost. This advanced Richard Beyma, 2011 champ John Ohlin, George Karahalios, and triple champ Bert Schoose to the semifinals.

In the first bracket, Richard Beyma faced Bert Schoose. Knowing Richard’s propensity for Germans, Bert bid high. Richard ultimately did get the Germans for a bid of 25. The Axis opening assault stumbled a bit with a “D1” against two units in woods in the center and a 2-1 repulse which unsealed some trapped Russian units. On Turn 2, an 8-7 sea invasion failed. But Turn 3 was clear and the panzers roamed, taking Stalino, Kharkov, and Leningrad on second impulse attacks. Bert counterattacked and retook Kharkov on Turn 3 and Smolensk on Turn 4. Richard needed to take Sevastopol on Turn 5, and managed a second impulse contact. However Bert successfully counterattacked to push the score down to -3 thus claiming a Russian victory. (The Russians also had a chance to retake Stalino but it was moot and so not resolved).
In the other bracket, George Karahalios took the Germans with a bid of 16 against John Ohlin. The Axis opening assault was very successful and continued into Turn 2, with Leningrad falling. By Turn 3, light mud was the Russians’ best hope to slow the German blitzkrieg. Light mud was rolled, and the battle was joined at Sevastopol, Stalino, Kharkov, Bryansk and Kursk. Ultimately the Axis were in good shape, with a solid hold on just enough points to win. But the invaders neglected to garrison Vitebsk! In response, a Russian paratroop drop recaptured Vitebsk, snatching an improbable victory from the jaws of defeat.

In the Final, Bert took the Russians for a bid of 16. The Germans got off to a good start, managing to pocket the Kiev Military District on Turn 1 following two successful 1-1 bounce off (“retreat forward”) attacks. Two panzer units were left vulnerable but the Russian 1-1 counterattack failed to deliver. This was followed by a devastating German Turn 2, which left only seven Russian units on the board. In response, Bert abandoned Leningrad and hoped for clear weather as the German forces, while destroying a lot of Russian units, were out of position. However the weather was light mud, and the Axis slogged forward on Turns 3 and 4, capturing both Kharkov and Stalino. But Sevastopol never fell, and a sea-invasion-aided 2-1 attack on Rostov was repulsed. Heading into their last turn, the Russians held firm in the center, controlling Smolensk, Kursk, and Bryansk (total -3) with the Germans still in control of Leningrad (on the Russian side of the line, so +2), Kharkov, and Stalino. Doing the math, John’s Germans were sitting at -1, which is the minimum needed to win the game. The Russians had low-odds chances with 1-2 attacks at both Leningrad and Kharkov. Both first impulse 1-2 attacks were repulsed, so the Germans were still winning going into the second impulse. The last impulse 1-2 attack versus Kharkov also failed. This left only one remaining die roll – a second impulse 1-2 attack against Leningrad. The Russians needed a “6” to win, while the Germans needed a 1-5. The die was cast, rolled around in the glass, and came up “6”. A small roar arose from the sidelines as Bert eked out a comeback victory by the narrowest of margins to claim his fourth TRC title.

2016 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 4
John Ohlin, FL Richard Beyma, VA George Karahalios, IL Mike Mishler, CA Alan Zasada, IL
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
Greg Smith and John Ohlin battle in the preliminaries.

Defending champ Gary Dickson vs
next generation threat Richard Beyma

Ohlin and George Karahalios do
the hex dance on the Russian steppes.

King of the grognards Bruno Sinigaglio vs Charles Catania

Mike Mishler watches the finalists. 
GM  Gary Dickson [2nd Year]  NA
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