First time champ Bill Peeck went undefeated, besting Jeremy Osteen (teaching game), former triple champs Brian Mountford and Keith Wixson in the preliminary rounds, 2011 champ Michael Mitchell in the semifinals and quadruple champ George Young in the championship game. No one can quibble with the semi-bye in the opening round as Bill’s path to the title was paved over four straight former champions. Young was also unbeaten entering the Final, beating Michael Rogozinski (teaching game), Randy Pippus and Mitchell in the preliminary rounds and John Faella in the semifinals.
I deviated slightly from the standard format due to the reduced attendance and cancelled the quarterfinal round, only advancing four players from the four preliminary rounds. Peeck, Young and Faella were all undefeated after three rounds and earned the traditional Round 4 bye. Mitchell was required to play in Round 4 and advanced on tiebreakers with a 3-1 record after defeating Wixson (the top seed). Paul Gaberson and Marvin Birnbaum also finished with 3-1 records but had weaker tiebreakers than Mitchell.
The Thursday night demo drew eight attendees and three of them chose to play a teaching game in Round 1 against an experienced player. Such games were unrated and were effectively byes for the teachers in consideration for their help. Not counting the teaching games, the Brits won 19 of the 34 games played. After Round 2 (when many novice players dropped out), the Americans had an 8-5 edge. In the elimination rounds the Americans won two of three.
Attendance was down by about 25% from last year to a record low. Since most tournaments were down this year due to the venue change, I don’t read much into that. There were quite a few new players, so hopefully some of the missing regulars will be back next year. At this point I plan to return as GM in 2017 and to schedule the tournament in its traditional Saturday slot.
Here is a short AAR of the championship game between Peeck (Americans) and Young (Brits).
1775 - The British Kings Men were placed in Ticonderoga, and in VA and NC. The Americans took the first move to use a 3 card to block out the British PCs in the North. Neither side took reinforcements and the turn ended with Howe still in Boston and Washington in Albany. The British controlled Canada, VA and NC and threatened GA and SC.
1776 - The British expanded their base in the South. The Americans drew the Declaration of Independence, which compensated for their lack of OPs cards. The British PCs were almost completely blocked out in the South at turn’s end. Cornwallis landed in Wilmington/NC and moved to protect the British position in the back country of the Carolinas. American reinforcements under Lafayette appeared in Charleston to protect what was left of American SC and to keep GA neutral. The turn ended with Howe and Washington still in Boston and Albany respectively, and the British controlling NC and VA. GA and SC were neutral.
1777 - Howe moved on Newport and Greene retreated before battle to Hartford. In the South, Lafayette lost Charleston to Cornwallis. Burgoyne landed in Norfolk and an American army under Arnold was formed in Richmond to oppose him. Burgoyne captured Richmond, Arnold retreating to Alexandria. The Americans brought in additional reinforcements in the southern back country to protect what little was left there. The turn ended with the British in control of GA, SC, NC, VA, RI, and Canada. Washington ended the turn in Boston.
1778 - The British used a Major Campaign to take Wilmington/DE, Carlton moving down from Canada after a landing party secured the port. In coordination with that, Burgoyne took Alexandria. The Americans played Von Steuben, taking away the British Regulars Bonus. Additional American forces under Lee, Gates and Lafayette appeared in the southern back country to battle Cornwallis. The turn ended with Howe still in Newport and Washington in Boston. Britain controlled GA, NC, DE, RI and Canada.
1779 - The Americans moved first as they drew a forced discard event, adding reinforcements to their depleted forces in the South. The British had a weak hand and their only move was Howe from Newport to New Bern. Greene took back RI. The Americans in their final move used a Minor Campaign to take back VA. Washington ended the turn still in Boston. Also during the turn the British played the 1782 and 1783 War Ends cards, displacing the 1779 War Ends card that was in place from an earlier turn. British controlled GA, SC, NC, DE, and Canada.
1780 - Again the Americans drew a forced discard event and a Campaign, so moved first again and reinforced the South. The British attempted to take back VA and move into MD, taking Baltimore via Lord Sandwich Coastal Raids. The British were forced to play Ben Franklin, pushing the French alliance to 7. The replacement drawn for Franklin was just another event they could not use effectively. Washington finally made his way south and in a Winter Offensive took Wilmington/DE, forcing Carleton to Baltimore. The turn ended with the British controlling Canada, GA, SC and NC with MD split.
1781 - The Americans drew yet another forced discard event, and the British drew the 1781 War Ends card. The British had Cornwallis counterattack Washington at Wilmington/DE in hopes of securing VA, MD, and DE to go along with their control of GA, SC, NC and Canada and win the game. When the attack on Washington failed, Young conceded since he had few movement cards remaining in his hand (and not knowing that the Americans would get the last two moves in any case). The game ended with the British controlling only four Colonies (Canada, GA, SC, NC) and the Americans controlling the other ten.
Luck played a large part in the end, as Americans certainly had better cards. The Americans drew three Campaigns to one, and three forced discard events to one. Also, the Brits drew three War Ends cards to one. Of note, most of the reinforcement cards played by the Americans were 3 cards. Strategically, Young acknowledged that moving Howe south in 1779 was probably a mistake, as holding RI and keeping Washington pinned in the North probably would have been more effective.