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Wilderness War (WNW) PBeM Reports Updated May 16, 2018

2018 PBeM Tournament

Congratulations to Paul Gaberson, who added to his impressive list of BPA Wilderness War titles. The four time WBC champ bested a field of 49 players, among them most of the top rated players. The third seeded Gaberson compiled an impressive 7-0 record, defeating Larry Meyers, Sean McCulloch, Al Owen and Mike Lembke in the preliminary Swiss rounds, Ken Gutermuth in the Quarterfinals, the second seeded James “The Master” Pei in the Semifinals and Bill Peeck in the Championship game. The unseeded Peeck had a less stellar road to the finals. Peeck defeated Michael Webb in Round 1, but lost to Tom Willcockson in Round 2. After defeating Larry Meyers and Henry Rice in Rounds 3 and 4, Peeck barely qualified as the eighth and final quarterfinalist on tiebreakers. He then defeated the top seeded Keith Wixson in the Quarterfinals and Filip Spacek in the Semifinals before his matchup with Gaberson.

The tournament began in November, 2016 and ran for 16 months. Among the 49 players were 18 previously unrated players, many of whom were relatively new to the game. Such a large number of newer players is slightly surprising for a game that is almost 20 years old. However, clearly not all of the players without BPA tournament experience were novices, as the previously unrated Filip Spacek made it all the way to the Semifinals and the previously unrated Mike Lembke made it to the Quarterfinals. In any case, it is a testament to how great Volko Ruhnke’s design is after all these years that we can still draw such a large field.

Through all seven rounds there were a total of 88 games played. The French side won 42 times for a winning percentage of only 48%. I believe this may be the first BPA Wilderness War tournament where the French have won fewer games than the British! Those results may be misleading, however. While the French only won only 17 out of 46 games in the first two rounds, when unrated and inexperienced French players were often easy pickings for veteran British players, the French record improved dramatically in later rounds after many novice players had dropped out. Indeed, French players won 11 of 16 games in Round 4 and 5 of 7 games in the elimination rounds for a winning percentage of 70% in the final four rounds. Gaberson won four times as the French and three times as the Brits. Peeck also won as the French four times, but lost two of three games played as the Brits.

Final Standings were:

  • Paul Gaberson
  • Bill Peeck
  • Filip Spacek
  • James Pei
  • Tom Willcockson
  • Keith Wixson

2008 PBeM Tournament

2008 WBC Champ James "The Master" Pei bested a field of 62 players to win the 2007 Wilderness War PBeM Tournament, a six round Swiss-Elimination format competition which began in early 2007 and took approximately 18 months to complete. Pei defeated George Young in the Final to win his second PBEM crown. Pei defeated Henry Russell, Jim Winslow, Kevin Worth, Grant LaDue and Ron Fedin in his march to the championship game. Pei, Young and Fedin went undefeated in the four Swiss rounds, while Adam Deverell advanced to the semi-finals with one Swiss loss by earning the necessary tiebreakers in wins over Jim Lawler, Tom Thornsen and 2007 WBC Champ Paul Gaberson. Deverell's loss was to Fedin in Round 4. Young defeated Alan Poulter, Patrick Duffy, Bill Edwards, Rob Winslow and Deverell.

For his efforts, Pei was awarded a Buffalo Jaw War Club in addition to the plaque. Deverell defeated Fedin in the Consolation Match for 3rd place.

The 118 games played broke down as follows: 60 French wins and 58 British wins. In the French wins the higher rated player won 22 times, while in the British wins the higher rated player won 43 times. Bidding broke down as follows: one game with a bid of FR3 (French loss), ten games with a bid of FR2 (French record was 4-6), 95 games with a bid of FR1 (French record was 50-45), nine games with no bid (French record was 5-4) and three games with a bid of BR1 (French record was 2-1). In the Final Pei played the French with a bid of FR1 after Young, who had the initial bid, passed.

Final Standings were:

  • James Pei
  • George Young
  • Adam Deverell
  • Ron Fedin
  • William Edwards
  • Peter Reese

2006 PBeM Tournament

The tournament concluded after two years and a total of 124 games played with 50 players participating. Congratulations to the champ, John Buse, who made his Wilderness War tournament debut and beat out several veteran players to take first. Buse twice defeated 2004 WBC Champ James Pei, who is arguably the top overall CDG player in the world, to secure the crown. Very few people have a lifetime winning record against "The Master"!

Entering the final round of the pure swiss format tournament, the leader was GM Keith Wixson, the third seed and lone undefeated player. Wixson had to defeat top seed and WBC Champ Ron Fedin in order to claim the crown. Wixson's Brits survived an early appearance by Montcalm and the French capture of Albany in 1756 to claw his way back. Relying on the appearance of Wolfe in 1757 and great support by the Colonial Assemblies, Wixson took back Albany and was eventually able to besiege Montreal and threaten Ohio Forks by late 1759. He ran out of men and time, however, as the support of the Crown was very weak. Fedin was able to bleed Wixson white, relieve Montreal and earn the win. The tournament ended in a six way tie for first place and came down to the tiebreaker - the average AREA rating of defeated opponents. Buse's two wins over the highly rated Pei was the difference. Here are the final standings of the top ten finishers:
1. John Buse (5 wins - 1 loss was to Fedin)
2. Ron Fedin (5 wins - 1 loss was to Pei)
3. Keith Wixson (5 wins - 1 loss was to Fedin)
4. Tom Drueding (5 wins - 1 loss was to Wixson)
5. Gary Phillips (5 wins - 1 loss was to Drueding)
6. Bill Peeck (5 wins - 1 loss was to Phillips)
7. James Pei (4 wins)
8. Ken Gutermuth (4 wins)
9. Richard deCastongrene (4 wins)
10. George Young (4 wins)

here is an After Action Report of Buse's Round 6 victory over Pei ith John playing the French and James the Brits

In Early 1755, the French start off with "Ministerial Crisis", costing the Brits a card, but that allows Johnson to clear out Cataraqui. The French then raid heavily while the Brits build up in western PA. Montcalm and reinforcements arrive at the end of the turn.

In Late 1755. the Brits continue their build up in PA, while Montcalm masses his army at Montreal, causing the Brits to abandon Oswego. Both sides raid several times unsuccessfully. The French play "Diplomatic Revolution". VPs stand at FR2 at turn's end.

In Early 1756, a great hand for the Brits, who play "Pitt", the large "Highlanders", "Royal Americans" and a "Regulars" card. On top of that both Wolfe and Amherst appear! While the Brits play events, Montcalm marches down from Montreal to threaten Ft. Edward. A relief army under Wolfe boats up from New York but is beaten back in a close battle. Ft. Edward then falls to Montcalm. The British build up in PA continues, causing the French to torch Ft. Duquesne. Montcalm withdraws northward in the face of a huge British army under Wolfe advancing from Albany. The French are able to add many Indian allies, as the VPs are starting to mount.

In Late 1756, the French Ft. Duquesne garrison is wiped out in a desperation attack with winter approaching. The Brits start a build up at Halifax. The French get several successful late raids. VPs stand at FR6 at turn's end.

In Early 1757, the Brits continue their build up at Halifax, with Wolfe being shifted there, causing the French garrison at Louisbourg to abandon the fortress and sail for Quebec. The French raid heavily in the north. At turn's end Wolfe lands at Louisbourg.

In Late 1757, Louisbourg falls and the Forks is finally taken. The French are heavily reinforced with Indians and launch massive raids, but suffer heavy losses against the British "Blockhouses". The French main army at Ticonderoga suffers an outbreak of "Small Pox". VPs stand at FR4 at turn's end.

In Early 1758, the Brits begin to advance on Ft. Niagara from the Forks while also reinforcing Wolfe at Louisbourg, threatening Quebec. Montcalm's army suffers a second outbreak of "Small Pox" and starts building a string of forts in the Champlain valley. At turn's end he shifts to Kahnawake to be better able to respond to the threat against Niagara.

In Late 1758, for the third turn in a row the main French army suffers through the "Pox" but is luckily reinforced with victorious troops from the battlefields of Germany. Montcalm shifts his forces to Quebec in case Wolfe lands. A large army under Amherst begins to advance up the Champlain valley from Albany. Both sides launch successful raids. VPs stand at FR4 at turn's end.

In Early 1759, the Brits continue to advance towards Niagara and Montreal while threatening Quebec from the sea. The three British armies each outnumber the main French army under Montcalm. The French send out small forces to threaten the supply lines of the advancing Brits. Montcalm builds a fort at Ile d'Orleans to protect Quebec and shifts back to Crown Point to oppose Amherst.

In Late 1759, the western British army under Bradstreet finally reaches Ft. Niagara, which will mean victory if he can take it. Fortunately for the French, however, Dumas has been able to slip behind Bradstreet and cut his supply line at Raystown, preventing a siege at Niagara. A French "Courier is Intercepted", though, and it is starting to look like the Brits will able to pull it out because of extra cards. But a British effort to drive off Dumas fails! Dumas' presence also threatens Alexandria and Baltimore forcing the Brits to waste time garrisoning both. With the offensive against Niagara stalled, the Brits shift their efforts to the east and land Wolfe at Ile d'Orleans. Montcalm shifts back to Quebec to join some recently arrived reinforcements, leaving the string of Champlain forts to protect Montreal. As Wolfe takes out the French fort at Ile d'Orleans, a small French force under Beaujeu crosses the Green Mountains and threatens Boston. The Brits are forced to waste one of their extra cards to protect it with a garrison. The game comes down to the Battle of Quebec, where Wolfe attacks Montcalm. In only the second major battle of the game the French are victorious, bringing their VP total up to 3. Both sides had launched successful raids. The Brits concede defeat.

Much like last year's WBC final, the British player probably allowed great early cards to go to his head and just played too conservatively against a skilled French opponent.

2005 PBeM Tournament

James Pei topped a field of 64 by defeating Pete Reese in the finals of the very successful (and quickly played) Wilderness War tournament. Ron Fedin took third, followed by Bill Peeck, Bari Herman and George Young respectively who all claimed laurels for their efforts - swelling the ranks of those who have already scored in the 2004 Caesar race to a total of 118 players.