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War At Sea (WAS) WBC 2016 Report
Updated May 11, 2017 Icon Key
36 Players Steve Packwood, MN 2016 Status 2017 Status History/Laurels
2016 Champion Click box for details. Click box for details.

Dominant at the End

Steve Packwood won his third WAS title with a 6-2 record. His two earlier championships were in 2011 and 1996. He bested Charlie Drozd (5-3) in the Final, in what was, unfortunately for Charlie, a major league blowout. This year’s Final reprised that of 2011, when Steve also defeated Charlie in an amazing deja vu coincidence. Defending champ Bob Hamel (5-2) came up short in his bid to be the first to successfully defend his title, but finished third. That was the best follow-up year by a defending champ in a dozen years. Rob Drozd, the pere of the father-son Drozd duo, claimed fourth at 5-2. The last plaque went to 1997 champ Tim Hitchings (5-1), who was the only player to survive the Swiss Rounds unscathed, only to lose his mojo in the first round of the playoffs. Timing is everything. Tim is also the only player to have played in all 26 War At Sea events. He played his first full schedule in ten years, and it paid off. GM Vince Meconi (4-2) took sixth place. The highest player not winning a plaque was scheduled to receive the coffee table book Battle for the North Atlantic, but the GM is ineligible to receive this award. It therefore went to seventh place finisher Andy Choptiany at 4-2. Bruce Monnin (3-3) was the last playoff contender. He and ninth place finisher Ray Freeman (3-2) received copies of WBCer Darren Kilfara’s wargaming novel, DoYou Want Total War?Rounding out our top 10 was Scott Beall (3-2).

It was definitely a day for veteran players. Of the eight playoff competitors, Steve Packwood, Tim Hitchings, and Bruce Monnin played in the first tournament at the 1991 Avaloncon in Camp Hill, PA. Since then the trio has accumulated eight titles. The GM and Bob Hamel are arrivistes by comparison, not beginning until 1992 and 1993, respectively. Rob and Charlie Drozd and Andy Choptiany are the relative newcomers, having been around since 2003. So much for anybody who still believes in the sobriquet Yahtzee At Sea.

At the end of the Swiss round games, the top seven finishers automatically qualified: 1) Tim Hitchings, 48 Victory Points/5-0, 2) Bob Hamel, 40 VPs, 4-1, 3) the GM,38 VPs & 4-1, 4) Andy Choptiany, 38 VPs, 4-1 mark, 5) Rob Drozd, 36 VPs, 4-1, 6) Charlie Drozd, 32 VPs and 3-2, and 7) Steve Packwood (32 VPs, 3-2). A strength of schedule tiebreaker was needed for the eighth spot, with Bruce Monnin edging Ray Freeman; Ray had been on the other side of last year’s tiebreaker. Both Bruce and Ray finished with 3-2 ledgers and 30 VPs.

In the quarterfinals, #7 Steve Packwood (Allies, 1.5 bid) ended Tim Hitchings perfect slate with a 4.5 POC margin. #2 Bob Hamel sank all seven of #7 Bruce Monnin’s Allied carriers (bidding 1.5) – the second time Bob has managed the feat in tournament competition. Bob finished with a 5.5 POC margin. In the closest game of the playoffs, #6 Charlie Drozd’s Axis used the 2-POC bid to convert a raw score of +1 in favor of the GM’s Allies to a 1-POC win for the Axis. On the last board, Rob Drozd’s Axis maxed out against Andy Choptiany’s Allies, bidding 2.0. The Rob Drozd-Charlie Drozd intrafamily semifinal featured the most and loudest woofing of the tourney, with Charlie’s Axis prevailing over Rob’s Allies (bidding 2.0) by a 2.5 POC margin. In the other bracket, Steve Packwood’s Allied margin was below the maximum only because of the 1.5 bid against Bob Hamel’s Axis.

Steve repeated his dominant victory margin in the Final. Taking the Allies for a bid of 1.5 against Charlie’s Axis, Steve’s ASW played the decisive role. 15 Allied ASW took out seven U-boats in the North Sea on Turn 4. Then, the Allied fleet defeated an Axis sortie into the Barents on Turn 5 with minimal losses and an Axis visit to the North Sea on Turn 7. With the unadjusted POC marker on 10, the Axis resigned.

The event drew 36 players playing 66 games, totals almost identical to those of 2014, but down from last year’s largest tourney of the decade. The favorite opening Allied strategy was again Barents on 1 by a wide margin. Best Axis Player was Tim Hitchings with a 5-1 tally, and champ Steve Packwood claimed Best Allied Player honors at 6-2. Charlie Drozd was our Sportsmanship nominee for pointing out, to his detriment, multiple important but elementary errors by his opponent, heedless of the effect on his chances for victory. Charlie is always a pleasure to play against; nice guys do NOT finish last! Mike Sosa was Rookie of the Year; he prevailed in both his games, but it was an easy choice since he was the only rookie in the field.

It was a comeback year for the Axis, which took 34 of the 66 games, the highest win percentage for the Axis since 2002. There were no ties for the first time in 11 years. Just four contests had no bid, with 62 featuring Allied bids ranging from 1.0 to 2.5. The average bid this year was 1.49 for all games and 1.59 for games with a bid, slightly up and slightly down from last year, respectively.

As always, putting on the tournament is a team effort. My thanks go to Assistant GMs Rob Drozd and John Sharp; John and Charlie Drozd setup all the chess clocks for us, too. Greg Smith and Ed Menzel served as odd men out to avoid byes; Ed doing so in three different rounds.

2016 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 3
Charlie Drozd, IL Bob Hamel, CT Rob Droxd, IL Tim Hitchings, DE Vince Meconi, DE
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th

2013 champ Andrew Choptiany vs 2006 champ John Sharp

Double Champ Jon Lockwood vs Robert Drozd

Quadruple champ Bruce Monnin
versus the new VIP champ, Jim Eliason.

Ted Drozd in a losing effort vs Rookie Michael Sosa

2017 PBeM Tournament

Darren Kilfara won his third BPA tournament and second War At Sea PBeM title by going unbeaten in the 11th BPA PBeM tournament over a field of 27. Darren kept his unblemished record spotless with an overwhelming British victory in the Final, scoring 10 POC by Turn 5. Also scoring laurels were Bob Hamel, Ed Menzel, Andy Choptiany, Mike Pacheco, and Jonathan Lockwood in that order.

2017 PBEM Laurelists
Darren Kilfara Bob Hamel Ed Menzel
1st 2nd 3rd
Andy Choptiany Mike Pacheco Jonathan Lockwood
4th 5th 6th


GM  Vincent Meconi [14th Year]  105 Churchill Ln, Wilmington, DE 19808-4355 
 vmeconi@verizon.net  302-234-1415