One of the highlights of the WBC schedule has always been Thursday’s Up Front marathon. This game has had a loyal following since the inception of the con and those players continue to show up year after year to vie for the title of best of the best. This year was no exception. As usual, we had a few regulars to go missing but were able to replace them with some new blood. Thanks to these, the field size gained one this year.
The initial five rounds of Swiss gaming featured very few real “upsets”. The term is used in quotes because of the overall quality of the players. While some are considered better than others, the old saying that anyone beat anyone else on a given day was applicable as always.
After the dust settled, the only man standing with a perfect 4-0 record was many-time champ John Emery. Joining John in the elimination finals with one loss were regulars Ed Kendrick (2015 winner), previous winner Jeff Spaner, and John’s son, Kevin Emery. The eight man field was rounded out by two loss finishers Jeremy Billones, Greg Courter, Richard Irving, and Ken Whitesell. Once again, we had an extremely strong field. The game for the 5-0 position was a contest in the family and John beat son Kevin.
The round of eight began with Emery (John) versus Courter. In a Meeting of Patrols, John’s Germans defeated Greg’s Russians. It was a close game for the champ, however. At the same time, son Kevin was prevailing against Ken Whitesell. Kevin’s Russian Defenders broke Ken’s Germans in The Infantry’s Iron Fist late in the third deck. Ed Kendrick’s American Attackers had to go only about a deck and a quarter to finish off Richard Irving’s Japanese Defenders in an Outpost Line scenario. Jeff Spaner won as the Russian Defender while Assaulting a Fortification against Jeremy Billones’ Germans when the attacker’s flamethrower ran out of gas.
This set up the semifinals with the better records prevailing in each instance.
John Emery met Spaner in the first semifinal game. Jeff chose the British in Meeting of Patrols against John’s Germans. The Germans moved into Buildings early and established a good firing position. They kept shooting until Jeff’s squad broke. Quote of the day, “Eventually the Rally cards ran out and the Fire cards didn’t.”
The second semifinal pitted Kendrick’s German Attackers versus Kevin Emery’s Russian Defenders once again in Outpost Line. Even though a Sniper took out the armored car, the German artillery kept suppressing the Russians (five successful strikes in a row) until the squad finally broke.
Kevin had another tournament to play and so third place went to Jeff by default
Once again, the final would be a meeting of oft-time winners at WBC. The players chose Scenario N (Jungle Meeting Engagement) as a test of their respective skills. Ed chose the Japanese and John the Americans. Ed used a 2-6-5 setup and John set a 2-7. John managed to get behind a Wall but Ed found no terrain and decided to advance. He was rewarded by making it to range 2 and then found Jungle for concealment. After an exchange of fire, Ed had the better success and pinned John. He was then able to advance to the next Jungle at range three. From there, a large Fire card took out three of John’s men in his main group and pinned most of the rest. From then, it was a short time until one last casualty broke the squad.
This was Ed’s fourth WBC victory and brings him into shared possession of second place in the quest to challenge John’s eight.