This turned out to be one of the best GCACW tournaments in recent years with fresh new games full of exciting scenarios. 17 generals made wandered into the Festival Hall (including one mercenary general from France), largest number since moving to Seven Springs. About 8 people were at the demo to learn about the system from Ed Beach. Congratulations to Johnny Hasay who was risen from the Ranks with two wins in the preliminary rounds and a tough third game almost winning at the Battle of Gettysburg.
With all of the exciting options available with the new games, we were really focused this year on maximizing opportunities to play the games you wanted. Each round included an option from Here Come the Rebels (HCR), Roads to Gettysburg (RTG), or Atlanta is Ours (AIO). Every round saw at least one game of each option chosen. Quarter Finals and Semi-Finals used the same larger scenarios as the third round and again, saw all games selected. The HCR and RTG scenarios were all refreshed and rebalanced in the reprint edition and the AIO scenarios were all new so attracted the old timers to try something else out.
The first round is always a lighter scenario, particularly suited for introducing the system to new players and to get one quicker game finished. We played four South Mountain from HCR (2 US, 2 CS), one First Day at Gettysburg from RTG (1 US, 0 CS), and three Ezra Church from AIO (0 US, 3 CS). Unfortunately they are all quite dicey either way but just enough to get the blood flowing and nothing seem overly unbalanced in the scenarios even though rebels won all Ezra Church, need much more plays to tell on that one since it was new to everyone.
We had a full slate of players for the second round of slightly longer scenarios. We played five Harpers Ferry – Crampton’s Gap from HCR (3 US, 2 CS), one The Battle Continues from RTG (1 US, 0 CS), and three Kennesaw Mountain from AIO (0 US, 3 CS). Harpers Ferry is a little dicey because of the Harpers Ferry surrender roll, but is proving generally close and an enjoyable scenario. Again, although three CSA victories in Kennesaw Mountain, too early to tell on the balance until we have more experience with the scenario.
The third round, quarter finals, and semi-finals saw a total of four McClellan’s Opportunity from HCR (2 US, 2 CS), three Battle of Gettysburg from RTG (2 US, 1 CS), and four The Battle of Atlanta from AIO (2 US, 2 CS) scenarios played. All three of these are excellent scenarios and tense challenges.
The QF round had a very experienced field with six of the eight players from the early years of the series (i.e. last century) and the remaining two players with over 10 years each. Thus, no real walkovers so people got to play the games they wanted to. One of the highlights in that round was an assault with the ENTIRE Army of Northern Virginia (over 60 factors and nearly 30 points of artillery) led by Thibault Nguyen (our French mercenary general) against Ed Beach’s strongly defended Gettysburg position. In the end, Ed prevailed for the Union cause (but later in the week succumbed to Thibault playing the entire Gettysburg campaign game in open gaming).
In the SF round, players had to choose a game different than the one they played in the QF. Mark Booth defeated Ed Beach in McClellan’s Opportunity and Ken Lee defeated Bruno Passancantando in Battle of Gettysburg.
As with prior rounds, the finalists had a menu of scenarios to choose from. As Mark just finished the HCR scenario and Ken the RTG scenario, they really didn’t want to play a longer version of each, so it fell to AIO. Two scenarios were available to choose from, The Hell Hole and Advance and Retreat. They chose the latter as it looked to have much more maneuver. Indeed, from the report I got, it was a lot of maneuver on both flanks and then attacks in the center by the Union at a weak point in the line, and following up with routing the relief force.
Congratulations to Mark on this well-deserved win. Mark is truly one of the original players in this game. From records we gathered, we think Mark was GM for one of the original GCACW tournaments at AVALONCON in 1993. Thus, this has been a long time coming.
A special thanks to MMP for sponsoring the tournament and also for providing maps and counters that we could use for the tournament. Although this was the best showing in many years, it unlikely that we will meet the century requirements and there are just not enough votes for wargames given the current WBC crowd and the wealth of Eurogames out there that generate large vote counts. But it is nice that there is still interest and we are always getting newcomers at the demo, so I believe it is still viable. And, if we can get new games published each year…
Please look out for an upcoming PBEM tournament that Mark has volunteered to organize and planning is already underway. Likely to be a similar scenario selection as in WBC.
Also, in January, if you are available, please join us 17-20 January at the MMP sponsored Winter Offensive in Bowie, MD. There will be at least two full days of GCACW featuring several campaign games including a multi-commander Long Roads to Gettysburg campaign.