a house divided   

Updated Nov. 10, 2014

2014 WBC Report  

 2015 Status: pending December 2014 Membership Trial Vote

David Metzger, NY

2014 Champion

Event History
1999    David Metzger     18
2000    Tom Cannon     12
2001    Phil Rennert     16
2002    David Metzger       8
2003    David Metzger     12
2010    David Metzger     30
2011    John Sutcliffe     34
2012    David Metzger     21
2013    John Sutcliffe     20
2014    David Metzger     19

 Laurels

 Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
   1.  David Metzger      NY    14    178
   2.  Phil Rennert       MD    14     75
   3.  Terry Coleman      PA    14     70
   4.  John Sutcliffe     uk    13     50
   5.  Tom Cannon         NJ    03     30
   6.  Rick Young         CA    02     26
   7.  Brad Raszewski     MD    14     24
   8.  Scott Sirianna     NY    14     17
   9.  Chris Byrd         CT    12     17
  10.  Rob Mull           CO    01     15
  11.  Trevor Bender      CA    00     12
  12.  Ben Knight         MD    99     12
  13.  Linus Park         IL    11      9
  14.  Ray Freeman        CA    10      9
  15.  Jonathan Price     NJ    03      9
  16.  Sean Conroy        VA    02      9
  17.  Barry Shoults      MI    00      9
  18.  John Teixera       VA    12      6
  19.  Jack Stalica       on    11      6
  20.  Marshall Collins   CT    00      6
  21.  Chris Bauch        LA    01      5
  22.  Larry Sisson       on    13      4
  23.  Bryan Van Norwick  CA    01      4
  24.  Steven Raszewski   MD    11      3
  25.  Erik Falk          MN    99      3
  26.  Carl Adamec        NY    14      2
  27.  Bryan Eshleman     NC    13      2
  28.  Roderick Lee       CA    03      2

2014 Laurelists
Repeating Laurelists:

Phil Rennert, MD
2nd

Brad Raszewski, MD
3rd

Scott Sirianna, NY
4th

Terry Coleman, CA
5th

Carl Adamec, NY
6th

Past Winners

David Metzger, VA
'99, '02-03, '10, '12, '14

Tom Cannon, NJ
2000

Phil Rennert, VA
2001

John Sutcliffe, uk
2011, 2013

The GM does battle with Huston Johnson

Carl Adamec upsets Bryan Eshleman

Back for Six ...

It's Saturday, and WBC is winding down. Maybe it's the lack of sleep, or the sometimes questionable food choices. Whatever the proximate cause, it results in brains incapable of sifting through complex rules, arcane scenarios, and the various exceptions that create opportunities for folks who normally wouldn't dream of playing rules lawyers on TV. All of which is why I hatched a plan a few years ago to bring A House Divided back from the dead. In many ways, it is the perfect Saturday tournament game: simple to learn, straightforward to play, but filled with a wide range of strategic choices for would-be Civil War generals. All without making your head hurt (and leaving you plenty of energy to stay up late for Slapshot, but that's another story...).

This year, A House Divided failed to break 30 in attendance, nor 20 for that matter. But it did stay basically stable with the past couple of years -- not a bad thing, especially considering that strategy fare on Saturday has opened up a bit from previous years. In addition to the usual core group, we had some new blood this year. And as some of the wise old veterans were to discover, some of the more recent graduates of the AHD military school had learned their lessons well.

What I've discovered works best for AHD is to play the basic game rules, 2nd edition (essentially unchanged for the past 20+ years). We stick to the 10-turn Short Game scenario, which can be completed in under three hours. It is practically a tradition now, that for the vast majority of the participants, they only get to play AHD at WBC; even so, more than half the field was able to knock off the rust in Friday night's well-attended mulligan round, which catered to 16 players (more than the entire attendance in some of the early WBC years). The mulligan winners were able to get a couple of hours of well-needed sleep, since they were thus excused from Round 1 on Saturday morning.

Unfortunately, reigning champ John Sutcliffe was among the missing, having prior commitments that required his return to the UK. The European contingent, however, was well-served by Mikaela Kumlander -- the first female contestant we've had in AHD since it returned to WBC competition. Although Mikaela didn't win, she was a good sport, and picked up the gameplay quickly, even though it appears she hadn't seen the game before attending the demo.

The competition was even tougher than the past couple of years, as evidenced by Bryan Eshleman (sixth place in 2013) going out in the first round to Phil Rennert. Carl Adamec had a well-earned win over Steven Raszewski, only to run headlong into five-time champion David Metzger. Johnny Wilson fell to Steve Koleszar, Huston Johnson lost to Brad Raszewski, and Jim Eliason showed his old dice still have some life, as he edged Eric Filipkowski.

Meanwhile, perennial bridesmaid Terry Coleman beat James Kramer and Steve Koleszar, Scott Sirianna knocked off Chris Bauch, and Phil's Rebel forces took care of Jim.

With only a few minor upsets, it looked as if things would be going per usual AHD history. Despite a good event, Scott fell again to his nemesis, David, in the money rounds. But Terry was beaten by Brad in a tight game, as Brad's Union defense was just too tough for Coleman's Confederates to overcome. But the GM was also grudgingly happy to see a good player finally achieve his breakthrough, after Brad's narrow loss to David last year.

In the semifinals, Phil's experience in big games gave him the edge against Brad's sound Union play. After Phil won an auto-victory, he was once again in the Final, of a tournament he last won in 2001. The problem for Phil was that David, after a 2013 loss in the semis, was once again in the Final for the sixth time in the past seven years, a record unlikely to be broken anytime soon unless you frequent 8XX or FTP environs. And David had only been denied once in the last round.

Both players stayed with what got them there: David played Union every single game, likewise for Phil and the Confederates, so both were in their comfort zone. Due to a combination of mediocre march dice and excellent defense, Phil was unable to break through on either the western or eastern fronts. Although there were a couple of big battles late, Phil was never able to land a decisive blow. David beat Phil for the fourth time in as many meetings to earned his 6th AHD crown. Regardless of what the AREA ratings might show at any given time, David is by far the most decorated AHD player in the history of WBC.

Congrats to David, and to Phil for making it to the last round after a few years away. I'll say it every year: this is a great group of gamers, and I really enjoy running this event. I was happy to see some new faces, as well as the old guard, who acquitted themselves well. As usual, I kept the format simple: No ad hoc modifications for marching or recruiting die rolls, and no advanced or optional rules. The format seemed to work well, and the well-attended demo cut down on rules questions.

People seem to finally be getting a handle on the bidding. Counting the mulligan, bids for sides were only 1.5 in favor of playing the Union, but that included a number of new players. When the field was trimmed to the more experienced, bids increased to 2.3 to play the Union side. In 2013, the number of Union victories doubled that of Confederate; Union wins comprised only 60% of the total this year, more what one would expect from such a balanced game.

Will this new balanced trend hold up? Will David, like Roger Federer or Tiger Woods, start looking over his shoulder at the young stars coming up, like Brad? We'll need your votes in December to find out, in the swan song for AHD in Lancaster. And maybe one last side trip to Gettysburg...

David Metzger adds Chris Bauch to his toll.

2001 champ Phil Rennert returns to the Final.

 GM      Terry Coleman [3rd Year]    NA
    terryleecoleman@hotmail.com     NA 

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