The Great Campaign Continues
Roger Eastep vs John Gitzen of "Game
On" documentary film fame.
Wouldn't it have been simpler just
to play at the club?
Jeff Spaner vs Mike Gentile head a
row of CBC action. The field has remained stable at 40+
for eight years.
Andy Lewis shows John Bateman he does
more than just sell GMT games. He plays them too.
The tournament was once again back in Lampeter Hall. Filling
Conestoga 3 and spilling out onto the tables in the main hall
as needed, 40 worthy competitors checked in for the day long
contest of physical and mental stamina required for the CBC
tournament. This year the theme of "The Great Campaign"
featured scenarios for the year 1941, as the scenarios shifted
to the Mediterranean and the opening stages of Operation Barbarossa.
The tournament again used the Swiss-Elim format with four opening
rounds advancing the top four players to single elimination playoffs.
first round consisted of four games played in succession with
two thirds of the entrants playing in three or more games. The
scenarios for this year, in order played, were Round 1-Operation
Mercury (Germans vs British); Round 2-Barbarossa Unleashed
(Soviets vs German); Round 3-Operation Compass (British
vs Italians); Round 4-Defend in Place (German vs Soviets).
All four Rounds were played with new scenarios crafted and introduced
at this year's WBC. Each of the scenarios played equally well
and finished within the time limits established for the rounds.
For the first time since starting to GM the tournament there
was no need to prematurely end a game in progress by adjudication.
Overall, the scenarios played to a reasonable balance with Operation
Mercury providing the most balanced experience - splitting 16
contests. The remaining scenarios had slight variations to this
ratio with Round 4's Defend in Place seemingly being the
most unbalanced with but four attacker wins to seven defender
wins. This stat is somewhat misleading as I watched two games
end where the attacker had the opportunity to win at the first
Sudden Death roll but failed to secure the victory and the defender
eventually reclaimed the VP lead and won the match in the end.
In its eighth year of competition the level of play and the caliber
of the players in the tournament continues to remain at a high
level where every match in the Swiss Elim portion is critical
and will find CBC rivals facing off in win or go home
After the preliminaries concluded, four players advanced to
the elimination rounds. Perennial semifinalist, JR Tracy, was
the top seed, followed by Jordan Kehrer, then newcomer Michael
Reman, and qualifying for the fourth and final spot was the defending
champion, Peter Gurneau. Mike Gentile and Phil Walling rounded
out the Laurel positions taking 5th and 6th places. JR faced
off against Peter and Jordan took the chair opposite Michael
as the semifinals got underway. The scenario for this round,
Operation Compass II, was another original scenario featuring
Germans attacking the British. Both games were well played, tense,
although JR and Peter's game was dramatically altered from the
outset by an unfortunate draw of a random objective that forced
JR to defend forward with the bulk of his units making them easy
and early targets for Peter's attacking Germans. In the end though
only one player can advance. Top seed, Jordan, after a tense
game, dispatched Michael to advance to his first CBC Final while
in the other bracket Peter returned to the Final for the third
year in a row.
As in previous years, the lower seeded finalist, Peter, selected
a scenario from the five played in this year's tournament and
then the higher seeded finalist, Jordan, selected which side
to play. Peter opted to return to Operation Mercury and
then Jordan selected to play the defending Brits. The map has
a few rolling hills (two of which contained the objectives for
the scenario) and some sporadic forest hexes, so Jordan split
his forces between the two objective hills and placed wire in
the forests hoping Peter would have to choose to either (A) move
slowly through the wire or (B) avoid the wire and advance in
the open. Peter chose option (C) and setup a massive 15FP Fire
Group within range of the weaker objective and started the game
by breaking everyone in one of the objective hexes. Jordan quickly
realized he would never be able to withstand that kind of fire
power and would need to adapt his strategy.
Jordan recovered his units and tried to hold Peter's advance
with the threat of fire cards and hidden wire, but Jordan failed
to draw a fire card for what felt like 45 minutes (someone must
have left the ammo back at base). Inevitably, the objective was
overrun, but a British hero emerged, rallying the survivors to
retreat and defend the map edge. Meanwhile, to distract the advancing
Germans, a lone British squad made a break for the enemy map
edge under the protection of a level 3 Brush hindrance. The Germans
stopped in their tracks to shift some men to defend against this
pesky squad. It was just before the squad was able to get off
the edge that the first sudden death time trigger occurred at
time space 8. The VPs were at 1 for Peter (with no hidden objectives),
but Jordan had the initiative card; a high roll continued the
game, but as the defender Jordan got a VP putting him in a tie-breaker
Jordan eventually managed to have his lone squad escape the
map giving him a bit more of a point cushion, and now was just
looking to kill the deck and get to time as soon as possible.
Peter started his own march to the map edge now that he had broken
through the Allied line, but the Brit survivors still had some
fight in them. The British hero and his chums fired at the German
squad that could have potentially made it off the map but the
defense roll drew a time trigger this time with sudden death
at 9. Jordan felt confident: he had the lead, the initiative
card, and just needed to pull less than a 9 to end the game.
Peter shuffled and rolled a 9. Jordan tossed the initiative card,
and Peter revealed a 10; fight on.
Peter now had plenty of time to get his units off the map,
take the lead, and finally win at the next sudden death roll
just needing a 9 or less. A 3-peat for Peter! After the match
both players expressed their admiration for the scenario stating
that it was one of the closest games they had ever played and
enjoyable to boot.
This year marks the second year in a multi-year tournament
within the tournament. At the end of each WBC for this year and
the next four the GM will compile a ranking of each player based
upon wins and losses. Succeeding WBC tournaments will see the
year of conflict advance by one year, until the end of the war
is reached in five years. Over the course of those five years
(aka 1940-1945) I will continue the competitor ranking for each
year. At the conclusion the GM will award a special prize to
the player who attains the highest winning percentage across
all the tournaments. This worthy player shall be referred to
in hushed tones as "The Leader of Men".
The Top Six after Year 2
1. Peter Gurneau
2. Jordan Kehrer
T3. Martin Sample
T3. JR Tracy
5. Bill Edwards
T6. Tony Raimo
T6. Derel Pulhamas
T6. Jeff Spaner
T6. Mike Gentile
Michael Redman, one of Dockter's Minnesota
wargamer imports, falls to Jordan Kehrer in the semifinals.
JR Tracy can't stop defending champ
Peter Gurneau in the semifinals. Peter went on to make it a three-pete.