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War At Sea (WAS) PBeM Reports Updated December 5, 2021

2021 PBeM Tournament

Many congratulations to Mark Booth on winning the 2021 BPA PBEM War at Sea tournament. He defeated Ed Menzel in a hard-fought final, an AAR of which can be found on the tournament website at https://waratsea.jimdofree.com/ko/" (in the comments section at the bottom).

The top eight finishers, in order, were: Mark Booth, Ed Menzel, Andrew Choptiany, Dennis Nicholson, Jonathan Lockwood, Bob Jamelli, John Pack, and Robert Drozd.

2020 PBeM Tournament

Jonathan Lockwood won a closely fought Final over Jim Kramer in the 2020 BPA PBEM War at Sea tournament, the fastest ever iteration of the event. Co-GM Lockwood has become the first player to win three BPA PBEM titles at War at Sea, adding to his two World Boardgame Championship titles in the same game. Full details of the tournament, including detailed after-action reports of most of the games in the Knockout Stage, can be found at https://waratsea.jimdofree.com/.

A total of 38 players took part in a five-round, double elimination Preliminary Stage followed by an eight-player Knockout Stage. No game took longer than three weeks, and several games were played to completion in real time using VASSAL; from start to finish, the tournament took just over four months, which is pretty good given that Lockwood had to play a total of eight games in his march to the title. Kramer deserves special commendation for being the only player to emerge undefeated from the Preliminary Stage and then defeating Tim Tow – the only player to defeat Lockwood in the Preliminary Stage – in their Semifinal contest. But Lockwood, who defeated Karl Bodenheimer in his Semifinal, outlasted Kramer in a final that went the full eight turns, winning as the Allies by 2.5 POC after the bid.

Final standings: 1. Jonathan Lockwood; 2. Jim Kramer; 3. Karl Bodenheimer; 4. Tim Tow; 5. Greg Hultgren; 6. Dennis Nicholson.

2018 PBeM Tournament

A total of 40 players contested the recently concluded BPA PBEM War at Sea tournament, extensive details of which can be found on the tournament website. Over the course of 93 Swiss Round games, the defending champion and current tournament GM – Darren Kilfara – was among the casualties who failed to reach the six-player Knockout Stage. Special condolences are offered to both Phil Watkins and Mike Kaye, who went 4-1 in the Swiss portion of the event but failed to advance with 38 points, having both won narrow victories earlier in the competition that did for them when the tiebreakers were computed. Jonathan Lockwood was the only player with a perfect 5-0 record; he and Mike Brophy earned byes to the semifinals, Mike on a die roll over Tim Tow after their Swiss records proved to be identical (same strength of schedule, number of Axis wins, etc.)! Don Greenwood, Karl Bodenheimer and Mike Pacheco were the other three players to reach the quarterfinals.

In the two quarterfinals, Pacheco’s Allies defeated Tow’s Axis after six turns, while Bodenheimer’s Allies also defeated Greenwood over the full eight turns (but with the Axis reduced to desperation raids on Turn 8). In the semifinals, Pacheco bid 3.5 POC for the Allies against Lockwood – surely the highest bid ever seen in WAS tournament play – but managed to win an exciting game nonetheless after six turns, while Brophy got the only Axis win of the Knockout Stage in his semifinal against Bodenheimer. This game went to the final roll of the final turn, with one U-boat of the six placed in the Barents surviving to break control against 12 ASW (guaranteeing the Axis no worse than a tie) and then rolling boxcars to hit and then for damage against Convoy 3C to sink it and win the game by 3.0 POC. That set up another gruelling encounter in the Final that went the full eight turns, with Pacheco’s Allies winning by 3.5 POC after the bid over Brophy’s Axis. So many congratulations to Mike Pacheco for winning his first-ever PBEM WAS title!

Final standings: 1. Mike Pacheco. 2. Mike Brophy. 3. Jonathan Lockwood. 4. Karl Bodenheimer. 5. Tim Tow. 6. Don Greenwood.

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.

2015 PBeM Tournament

The tenth BPA War At Sea PBeM Championship saw 37 players fight it out in a slightly changed format. While the tournament was still conducted with five Swiss rounds, which resulted in six players who finished 4-1 or better to advance to the single elimination portion of the event. However, unlike previous events where bidding of POC determined the sides, the GM assigned sides for each game and the Axis player was given 2 POC at the start. This forced players to try their hands at both sides. The Axis won 48 of the 84 games played (57%), with the Allies taking three of the five elimination games.

Rob Drozd triumphed to win his first BPA War At Sea championship plaque, finishing 4-1 in the preliminary Swiss rounds. After defeating Jim Bodenheimer and Scott Beall, he lost in the third round to Andy Maly's Axis, the only player to go a perfect 5-0 in the Swiss rounds. Rob rebounded to defeat Andrew Choptiany and Karl Bodenheimer to advance to the single elimination portion of the event.

In the quarterfinals, Rob used the Allies to defeat perennial contender Jonathan Lockwood. He lost a battle in the Barents on Turn 3, but sank five Germans to make the Allied fleet ascendant the rest of the game.

In the semifinals he again encountered Andy Maly, this time he had the Axis and avenged the earlier loss. Rob's Axis grabbed a 6 POC lead without losing a German ship in the first three turns, then clinched victory with a Turn 7 clash in the South Atlantic.

Reaching the Final, Rob vowed to improve on his second place finish in the prior PBeM event, and again receiving the Axis side, he defeated Ed Menzel, third place finisher last time and the 2000 PBeM champion. Rob's Axis sank three carriers on Turn 1 (via LBA, U-boats and surface fleet). With those ASW gone, Rob was able to survive three close ASW/U-Boat battles to keep the North Sea open twice, which the German fleet used to earn the championship by 1 POC (3 POC after the handicap).

Andy Maly (with a 5-1 record) placed third, while Dennis Nicholson (fourth with a 5-2 record), Jonathan Lockwood (fifth place; 4-2) and Rob Flowers (sixth; 4-2) were the other laurelists.

Rob went 4-0 while playing the Axis side and 3-1 while playing the Allies.

I plan to start a new event in early 2015 and continue with the two month time limit per round. The rest of the format is still to be determined. The vast majority of the players prefer a Swiss-elimination format, so that will remain. The number of Swiss rounds is still to be determined, as the possibility of having just four Swiss rounds with 12-16 advancing to single elimination has been proposed, as has expanding to six Swiss rounds and only advancing four to single elimination.

The set POC handicap worked well and was popular, though differing opinions on where the handicap should be set may make me return to bidding for sides.

Final Results - 37 Entrants and 84 Games Played.

2013 PBeM Tournament

Tim Tow won his first BPA championship, besting a field of 41 in the Ninth BPA War At Sea PBeM tournament. Tim went 5-0 to win the Smgle Elimination event. He began with a win over Jim Laws, and then added Ken Gutermuth, Phil Watkins and Ed Menzel to his victims before bestowing runner-up honors on Robert Drozd in the title game. Ed Menzel (3rd with a 3-1 record), Vince Meconi (4th, 3-1), Phil Watkins (5th, 3-1) and Michael Ussery (6th, 2-1) rounded out the laurelists.

Tim showed versatility in the tournament, winning three times as the Axis and twice as the Allies. Overall, the Allies enjoyed a 22-17 advantage in the tournament, with the average bid to play the Allied side going for 1.7 POC.

The bids broke down as:

  • 0.0 POC: Axis 1-0
  • 0.5 POC: Axis 1-0
  • 1.0 POC: Allies 3-0
  • 1.5 POC: Allies 10-4
  • 2.0 POC: Allies 9-8
  • 2.5 POC: Axis 3-0

Tim took the Allies in the Final with a bid of 1.5 POC. A Barents on 1 strategy was challenged when one of the British battle cruiserss failed its speed roll. A triple nickel air strike roll by the Allies sent three of the heaviest German ships back to port, but the Luftwaffe countered by sinking the Renown and disabling the Hood. However the Allies were able to hold the area while sinking a couple of German ships. The German fleet licked its wounds on Turn 2 while the Luftwaffe shone again, crippling the Ark Royal and sinking the Repulse.

On Turn 3 the Germans contested the Barents when two slow British battleships failed their speed rolls. The resulting battle left the Formidable alone in the Barents maintaining the blockade, with the Allies up 4 POC.

On Turn 4, three Italian cruisers and seven U-boats sortied to the South Atlantic against two battleships and the Eagle, but ASW accounted for four of the U-boats. The remainder managed to sink a battleship. The Eagle's airstrike disabled one cruiser and after the ensuing battle, again a lone carrier remained. Convoy 1A pushed the Allied lead to 7 POC.

On Turn 5, the British left six battleshipss in the North Sea drawing the Axis fleet for a losing fight, and the British maxed out POC at +10. After a failed attempt to break the North Sea blockade with five U-boats against 18 ASW on Turn 6, the Axis conceded.

I plan to run the next event in a Swiss-Elim format with a two month time limit per round. Instead of bidding for sides (which can lead to specialization in one side or the other) I plan to gives the Axis 2.0 POC at the start of each game. Sides will be randomly assigned in the first round, and in any other matchup where both players have played each side an equal number of times. When one player has played a side more often than his opponent, his opponent will be assigned that side. We will probably start either not long before or not long after WBC.

2012 PBeM Tournament

Dennis Nicholson earned his second BPA War At Sea plaque, besting a field of 50 players in the 8th BPA War At Sea PBeM Championship. He had previously won the 2005 WBC tournament. Dennis went 6-0 to win the double elimination event. He began with a win over Philip Watkins, then continued to defeat Don Greenwood, Darren Kilfara, and Robert Drozd before taking down Vince Meconi twice to end the event.

Vince made it to the last stage of the winner's bracket, where a loss to Dennis forced him to defeat Don Greenwood in a come-from-behind thriller in the loser's bracket in order to earn his unsuccessful rematch with Dennis. Don Greenwood finished third while compiling the most victories in the event. He lost his second game in the winner's bracket to Dennis, then ran off a string of six wins in the loser's bracket before barely falling to runner-up Meconi. Jim Laws (4th), Robert Drozd (5th) and Darren Kilfara (6th) rounded out the laurelists for the event./p>

In the Final, Dennis, needing only one win in two tries, bid 2.0 POC for the Allies in Game I. He then deployed a version of the "Barents on One" opening with a weaker than normal force in the North Sea. Vince responded by sending everything to the North Sea, taking it at a cost of two 1-2-7 cruisers and earning a 2-POC lead.

He followed that with a successful Turn 2 Axis foray into the South Atlantic, building the Axis lead to 6 POC (8 after the bid). Turn 3 saw the Allies turn the tide with a small battle in the Barents to trim the Axis lead to 5. The Allies then successfully ran two convoys to Russia on Turns 4 and 5 to take a 1-POC lead. On Turn 6, the Axis won in the South Atlantic, and had a chance to cripple the Allies when a U-Boat put a torpedo into the last convoy. However, the dice were unkind to Vince and the convoy suffered only one point of damage. The Axis ended the turn up 1 POC (3 after the bid).

The Allies started repositioning forces on Turn 7 to challenge the Mediterranean on Turn 8 if necessary. The damaged convoy was hit by U-boats again, but took only one point of additional damage. The Axis managed to disable the convoy back to the United States, where it would sail on Turn 8 in an attempt to earn one vital POC. The Axis clung to a 1-POC lead.

The decision came down to Turn 8. Dennis' Allies managed to challenge every sea area except the Baltic, including a five-battleship force in the Mediterranean. Vince sortied to the North Sea, South Atlantic and the Mediterranean. The Allies won expected victories in the North Sea and South Atlantic, so it all came down to the Med. The exchanged airstrikes went in the Allied favor, reducing the Axis force to near equal strength and pitiful Italian gunnery gave the game and the championship to Dennis and his bold foray into the Med.

2010 PBeM Tournament

Jonathan Lockwood earned his third BPA War At Sea plaque, besting a field of 43 players in the seventh BPA War At Sea PBeM Championship. Jonathan had previously emerged victorious from the 2001 PBeM event and the 2008 WBC tournament.

Jonathan went 5-0 to win the single elimination event. He began with a win over Daniel Blumentritt, then continued to defeat 2004 PBeM champ Don Greenwood, Robert Drozd, Bruce Reiff and Alan Applebaum. Jonathan outbid his opposition to play the Allied side in all five games, giving his Axis opponents 2.5 POC in three of the games. Alan, meanwhile, had played the Axis in his first four games, usually receiving 1.5 POC in the bidding.

In the Final, Lockwood bid 2.5 POC for the Allies, which Applebaum accepted. Jonathan then deployed his standard "Barents on One" opening. Alan responded on Turn 1 by leaving a 2-2-5 in the Baltic and sending six German ships and the Italian cruisers to the South Atlantic. The ensuing combat gave the Axis control, but at the cost of Scharnhorst and Admiral Hipper, with Gneisenau damaged for 4 points, but successfully oiling at sea. Axis led by 3 POC (5.5 POC with handicap) at end of Turn 1.

Turn 2 saw Lockwood holding all four sea areas again, forcing the Axis to send its six ships in the neutral port back to the Med. The Axis attempted to break the blockade in the North Sea, but failed with a loss of two U-boats. Little happened on Turn 3, though the Allies trimmed the Axis lead to 1 POC (3.5 POC with handicap) at the end of the turn.

Turn 4 witnessed the Axis LBA sink Convoy 1A in the Barents. Turn 5 saw the Axis finally challenge the blockade in earnest with six U-boats in the North Sea. 17 Allied ASW sank three U-boats and disabled two more, but the Axis had broken the blockade. Meanwhile, Convoy 2B put in at Murmansk to give the Allies a lead of 2 POC (but a 0.5 POC Axis lead with the handicap).

For Turn 6, the Allies used a balanced deployment, with a force of seven British battleships and the Illustrious to meet the anticipated German-Italian attempt to reunite their fleets. The Axis sent a force of eight German ships and four Italian cruisers to the South Atlantic. The ensuing five round combat saw the Germans sinking three British battleships and disabling all but the Warspite (-3) and the Illustrious. The Allies sank two German ships and two Italian cruisers in those same five rounds, disabling the rest to the neutral port to hold the area and trap six German ships and two Italian cruisers in the neutral port. The Allies owed their victory to the Warspite (-3) taking on three Italian cruisers and winning over the course of the last three rounds.

Meanwhile however, the Axis had sent six U-boats to the North Atlantic to go after Convoy 3C. Three U-boats were sunk and two more disabled, leaving just one U-boat to break control and sink Convoy 3C. The outcome of the game would now depend on the results of the ASW war against the four remaining Axis wolfpacks.

On Turn 7, the Allies destroyed the remaining Axis fleet at the cost of four battleships. But the crucial contest was in the North Sea, with four U-boats attempting to break the blockade again against 10 Allied ASW. Allied ASW sank two U-boats and disabled the others to maintain control of the area and gain 1 POC for the Allies at the end of Turn 7. The Allies now led for the first time with a cumulative 3 POC lead (.5 POC with handicap).

The sole remaining Axis chance was to split its three remaining U-boats into two groups, with two going to the North Sea and one to the Barents, where they would each face 10 Allied ASW. If the Axis could break control of two sea areas, they would gain 1 POC for the turn and win the game. But Allied ASW came through again, sinking all three to gain 1 POC for Turn 8. The Allies finished with a lead of 4 POC (1.5 POC with handicap).

Final Results were Jonathan Lockwood 1st, Alan Applebaum 2nd, Bruce Reiff 3rd, Karl Bodenheimer 4th, Robert Drozd 5th, and Phil Watkins 6th.

2008 PBeM Tournament

Congratulations go to Darren Kilfara for finishing 7-1 and besting Alan Applebaum in the Final round of the 2008 War at Sea PBeM Championship. 46 entrants participated in the tournament of 5 Swiss Rounds followed by a single elimination phase for the final eight players. Ewan McNay, Dennis Nicholson, Ed Menzel, and Scott Beall claimed laurels for third through sixth respectively. 112 games were played which were all recorded for AREA purposes. AREA ratings at the beginning of the tournament were headed by Ed Menzel with 6135 (as at March 1, 1997) but the tournament finishes with Andy Gardner on top with 6304. Full details are available at http://www.geocities.com/kjlshewfelt/2007_was_bpa.html

2007 PBeM Tournament

The 2004-2007 War at Sea PBeM Tournament finished this summer with Andy Gardner of Virginia topping Robert Drozd of Illinois in the 7th and Final round. 44 players participated in the event with nearly half of them starting with a 5300 or higher AREA rating. The format was five Swiss Rounds that advanced the top six to the Single Elimination Phase. The other laurelists were Rob Day, Mark Gutfreund, Rob Flowers and Mike Kaye who finished third through sixth, respectvely. Full results of the tournament can be found at http://www.geocities.com/kjlshewfelt/2004_was_bpa.html.

2005 PBeM Tournament

Don Greenwood earned his first WAS laurels, besting a field of 44 in the fourth BPA War At Sea PBeM Championship. The sole player to go 5-0 in five swiss rounds, he went on to defeat Tim Tow in the semi-finals and Ed Menzel for a second time in the final. Having never advanced past the first round in the previous tournaments, Don rode a rare hot streak to seven straight 10-point wins. Also collecting laurels were Ed Menzel 2nd, Darren Kilfara 3rd, Tim Tow 4th, Vince Meconi 5th, and Kevin Shewfelt 6th.

2003 PBeM Tournament

Jonathan Lockwood won the third War at Sea PBeM tournament defeating Bruce REiff in the final. The other laurelists were Bryan Eshlemen 3rd, Dan Henry 4th, Ed Menzel 5th, and Ray Freeman 6th.

2001 PBeM Tournament

Ed Menzel defeated Rob Flowers to capture the second War at Sea PBeM Title. Also scoring laurels were Alan Applebaum, Bruce Reiff, Ray Freeman, and Vince Meconi in that order.

1999 PBeM Tournament

Vince Mecoi defeated Bruce Monnin to win the inaugural War at Sea PBeM Tournamnet. Other laurelists, in order, were Jonathan Lockwood, Nick Markevich, James Pei, and Sean McKenzie.