A Chilean and a Finn meet in an
Australian bar ...
Jeff Coyle meets Paul Gaberson in
Dave Long ponders the English on that
Mark Popofsky downs John Stevens in
the opening round en route to his third WBC EOS title.
Doug Bryant and Craig Yope battle
as Robert Malcomson engages Antero Kuusi in the background.
Our new three-time World Champion Mark Popofsky reports
on this years action.
20 intrepid souls joined this year's EOS tournament.
All rounds but the Final featured the '43 scenario, playing with
the current rules with slightly modified setup (Japanese air
in Enitwetok and Buin rather than Rabual and Truk). After the
initial round, Pablo Garcia, Antero Kuusi, Paul Gaberson, Craig
Yope, Dennis Culhane, and Mark Popofsky remained. The quarterfinals
matched: Gaberson (Jp)/Yope, Popofsky (Jp)/Culhane, and Garcia
(Jp)/Kuusi. Japan won the first two games and the Allies the
latter which reminds me of a joke about a Chilean and a Finn
meeting in a bar to fight over tSoutheast Asia - only at WBC.
You had to be there ...
Semifinals: Kuusi (Jp)/Gaberson and Popofsky (Jp)/Garcia.
Antero and Mark, both playing Japan, advanced. In Antero's game,
Paul took the Marshalls but otherwise only four NG ports, and
Antero took Northern India. In the other game Mark took Northern
India first turn but Pablo got the WIE positive. The second turn
saw attrition, landing on New Britain, and a repulsed invasion
of Kwaj. The third turn - an epic - Pablo attacked Rabual with
three armies against three and all were annihilated. Japan reoccupied
the entire island. A counterattack retook Dacca against all odds
(1/8 split on dice), but Japan took it back, resulting in a mere
1- point swing. The Final score: the Allies had taken four NG
ports and Japan held all else, including N India.
The Final: A pair of two-time champs meet for the chance
to claim a third title in the '42 Campaign Game. After three
straight Japanese wins, I bid 1 PW for the Allies (Antero had
bid 0, Allies). That means if the usual 4 PW points are achieved
(Burma, PI, Malaya, DEI), and either Alaska or Hawaii, an uncountered
Tojo results in a Japanese victory (among other combinations).
So a bid of 1 PW is a risk, as Antero observed.
Turn 2: Antero gets a terrible opening hand: no offensive.
He draws Kondo as a replacement per the rules, and attacks FEAF,
MA Air, Soerbaja, and lands at Teleobetoeng. Allies play skip-bombing
which flips the Nachi at Soerbaja. Because Antero did not send
a Carrier to that part of the lower DEI, MAC is in supply and
activates the 19th LRB and 2 CAs to Soerabaja. They manage to
sink (Nachi) and turn back the invasion. MA air flips the 22d
Air Division. Yamamoto is then shot down. The rest of the turn,
Antero brilliantly deploys his slender remaining resources (all
OCs; 5 ASPs) to take the DEI (required taking risks on ground
rolls), but can accomplish nothing else. The Allies do a Burma
Shuffle and play ABDA second to last play and elect to send the
Aussies to Kendari rather than hold Balikpapken, a tough call
but I wanted Kendari for the long-haul, and Antero would have
taken it out.
Turn 3: Subs hit, as they would every Turn except Turn
7. Antero decides to go for a PW victory (recall the Allied bid).
He redeploys the Japanese fleet to Enitwetok and then, after
weathering an attempt by the Allies to send an LRB to reinforce
Hawaii, hurls Kido Butai at Pearl. Both sides get a 1 result
(81 hits on the Allies, now reinforced by Mississippi). However,
Japan can only flip the two carriers, as only two Japanese CVs
battled three Allied air units, all of which reacted outside
the battle hex. The Allies then brave subs to move the fleet
(less the (CA) to guard Oahu) to Townsville, where they join
the Aussie Air and have other assets in range. Antero is holding
another good offensive (Force Card) and uses it to take Kuantan
and attack into Burma. The latter is thrown back by a British
ground reaction. At this point, Antero only has two cards left
(the weather card did not carry a draw). An effort to take Malaya
bounced back. Allies shuffle in CBI. Antero stored his final
card as an FO.
The choices made Turn 3 proved to be pivotal, as Manila was
left for Turn 4. This was a calculated risk on Antero's part.
However, he overlooked that with Kendari under Allied control,
and Jolo still US-controlled (part of the PI), the Allies can
stage air to Leyte and clear out the pre-war army from Manila
for Turn 4 reinforcements, which include two US Corps. That is
what the Allies did from Darwin in their unchallenged last two
plays, in addition to securing the Vogelkopf (SF X) and Biak
(Aussie Corps). In other words, WAR PLAN ORANGE. The Asia (CA)
Squadron returned to Subic Bay, while Bastards of Bataan and
the P X decamp to NG to help fight, to make way for two reinforcing
US Corps in the reinforcement phase of Turn 4. The Allied plan
is to wrest the initiative by forcing Japan to commit resources
to take out Manila, thereby protecting the Burma and Hawaii Political
Will points, while not missing Progress of War, essential given
the 1 PW bid.
Turn 4: Antero builds up to assault Manila, and takes
Jolo and Leyte to ensure its isolation. Reinforcing Manila now
requires an escorted 3 OC play with a CV or an attack by a carrier.
Dugout Doug lives up to his name. A Japanese assault with several
Japanese armies is repulsed with a bloody nose. Allies make progress
of war near Kendari with their three ASPs. Antero plays Tojo
and Allied PW stands at 4. The WIE hovers at -6; one space from
the lowest box, which (if achieved) results in a PW loss per
turn. Playing Tojo and WIE cards further rob Antero of resources
at Manila or to push elsewhere.
Turn 5 (1943). Allies go first and convey more ground
strength to Manila. Antero builds up for another assault. Attempts
to strip the naval cover fail, and three Japanese armies go in
with a fourth by sea. The result is the entire force on both
sides wiped out in 1.5x results. The Allies slip in their last
big ground units: A Marine XX and the 1st Aussie Corps, sacrificing
a CV to do so. In the meantime, the Allies take Menado and the
Soviets invade to ensure progress of war (Allies get no ASP with
WIE at -6). With the fall of Malaya the same turn, PW stands
at 3. All Antero needs is the fall of Manila, another WIE card,
and a Progress of War stop. The Allies contemplate a 50/50 shot
of taking out South HQ, but instead try for Bandjermasin, where
the Hermes is obliterated and fails to land the PM X.
Turn 6: Japan only receives five cards (remember the
Soviets? Japan holds only nine resources). Antero wisely saved
a military event to ensure he could take Manila first card of
Turn 6 (A 2 EC offensive). The Allies land in Eastern Java and
Bandjermasin, using maneuvers that place Japanese air in Soerabaja
OOS, easily making Progress of War. The attrition engine in Manila,
and proximity of forces to Allied bases in the Celebes, has by
this point taken a significant toll on Japan. Japan pulls forces
back to prevent more severe attrition. (NOTE: A byproduct of
Mac stuck in Manila, and Allied focus in DEI, is lack of strong
Allied attrition Turns 4 and 5 (all offensives with ABDA or ANZAC).
After Manila fell, I spent a card to put Mac back on the map,
so he would be available for SW Pac-activated cards the same
turn.). Allies play Slim and move up a force in Burma, poised
to take on the army shielding Bangkok. PW =2.
Turn 7, start: Antero resigns. He had constructed a
nice defense, but the Allies were poised to take Saipan on the
opening play with Moral Obligation. Once the B-29 bases were
secure, A-bomb victory appeared more likely than not, given attrition
Conclusion: An atypical game. The Allies might have
made an error not saving the DEI from falling Turn 2 when they
could (would have fallen first card Turn 3), but the decision
to fight to hold Manila end of Turn 3 clearly marked the pivotal
moment of this game. Antero is a great player and a class act.
In this game, he could not overcome some Turn 1 bad luck (skip
bombing; Yamamoto off the bat; 1 offensive) and WAR PLAN ORANGE.
See you all for next year's finale at the Host!
Richard Phares, Mark Herman, Rory
Aylward, Pablo Garcia and Gary Gonzalez enjoy the designer's
live designer's notes.