still fighting the Bulge ...
Joe Angiolillo and Marty Musella in
Bill Riggs and Marty Musella turn
a result in to GM Frank Sinigaglio.
All Good Things Must Come to an End ...
Conventions come and go, and so do the games that
form the basis of the competitions which make WBC what it is.
Most games have a very short shelf life ... here today, collector's
items tomorrow. With relatively few exceptions, interest in a
game peaks after its initial release and steadily ebbs away until
it can no longer sustain a viable tournament between tested players.
Some of the better games become the subject of reprints by the
same or different publishers willing to invest in quality despite
the likelihood of reduced sales for what amounts to a reprint.
At WBC, old games tend to hang around a lot longer than elsewhere,
because here the game - and not sales - is the prime motivator.
However, when competing versions appear at WBC, the original
edition becomes the default version while both are allowed to
be played in the same event to the extent that is possible. Gradually,
the majority of interested players usually migrate to the newer
version which assumes the default position until the original
game is no longer contested. While there can be a certain amount
of controversy over which version is better or whether the two
games are significantly different to merit having separate events,
the general rule of thumb is that having two events instead of
one on the same subject and game system hurts attendance at both
and leads to a shorter WBC "shelf life".
One such game which fell between the cracks and has eluded
classification for years is Bulge '81 despite the appearance
of a newer game by the same publisher under the same contract
with the same designer on the same subject and scale and using
the same game system. The presence of both Battle of the Bulge
and Bitter Woods at WBC has done a disservice to them both -
preventing either of them from reaching their maximum field and
threatening the survival of both. Consequently, they will be
combined into one event in 2014 using the Grognard Free Form
scheduling format with Bitter Woods being the default version
whenever players cannot agree on the version to be played.
the preliminary rounds, Bulge '81 managed to top the 16-player
threshold for the 11th consecutive doncon due to the liberal
grognard free form scheduling that allows these older games to
continue with a reduced following. Making it through the qualifers
to the Final Four after 20 games were decided was 2006 champion
Bill Morse, past laurelists Frank Sinigaglio and Forest Pafenberg
with first-time finalist Joe Angiolillo.
In the first semifinal Forrest Pafenberg's Germans got off
to another bad start as the vs Bill Morse. It was not as bad
as his legendary 16AM turn in a Bulge Final a few years
ago, but it was reminiscent of that folly with only two kills.
In the legendary game, Paffy registered zero kills on the 16AM
turn - a 1 in 798 possibility. In this game, Paffy managed to
roll exchanges on surrounded attacks and engaged results on every
possible breakout attack. By the end of the 17AM turn the Americans
had lost only six units and all the major avenues of advance
in the center were clogged with stacks of engaged units. At this
point Paffy threw in the towel yet again.
In the semifinal Frank Sinigaglio's brilliant tactics were
unfulfilled by his Germans. Frank, fresh from the eastern front,
was unable to inspire zeal in the dejected Goose-Steppers. GI
Joe Angiolillo, who had transferred from a desk job at West Pernt,
heaped praise on the "sad sacks" in addition to plying
them with vodka and prune juice, which turned them into human
pile-drivers. While leading at the front, Joe inspected an abandoned
King Tiger tank and found that it was very heavy - consequently,
Joe had all bridges in the Ardennes destroyed, so that they would
not be damaged by the heavy German tanks. Also, Joe demonstrated
his vast knowledge of physics and statistics, by smelling that
the Tiger was out was of fuel so he had all fuel dumps in the
Ardennes destroyed, making sure that no one had fuel. In the
end, Frank secured two Victory Point cities; Trois Ponts and
Stavelot, but could not kill enough American units while losing
too many of his.
Bill Morse's Germans slapped Angiolillo's GIs silly on the
16AM turn. The Germans eliminated seven units and engaged two
more, leaving Joe with a serious case of unit hunger. On the16PM
turn, the Germans eliminated two more units. Usually, the Amis
can expect to lose eight units in the first four turns, but in
this game they lost nine in the first two turns. In order to
form a line and block all roads west, Joe dropped back towards
Malmedy on 16PM, allowing Bill to capture the city early and
release the 2SS and 9SS Panzer Divisions on 18AM. After the collapse
at Malmedy, the American situation was toast. This had a subliminal
affect on Joe, so he surrendered and went to the bar for some
toasted rye while Bill celebrated his second Bulge title.