empire of the sun  

Updated Nov. 12, 2014

2014 WBC Report  

 2015 Status: pending 2015 GM commitment

Mark Popofsky, DC

2014 Champion


Event History
2005    Bob Heinzmann     26
2006     Dennis Culhane     8
2007    Mark Popofsky    10
2008     Dennis Culhane    11
2009    Dennis Culhane     8
2010    Mark Popofsky    20
2011    Antero Kuusi    26
2012    Mark Hodgkinson    24
2013    Antero Kuusi    23
2014    Mark Popofsky    20


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Antero Kuusi       fi    14     86
  2.  Dennis Culhane     PA    14     80
  3.  Mark Popofsky      DC    14     66
  4.  Bob Heinzmann      FL    08     48
  5.  Paul Gaberson      PA    14     42
  6.  Mark Hodgkinson    bh    12     30
  7.  Pablo Garcia       ch    14     28
  8.  Craig Yope         MI    14     27
  9.  John Chabonneau    NH    05     24
 10.  Steve Campbell     NH    05     16
 11.  Tom Thornsen       NY    12     15
 12.  Dave Casper        CA    05     12
 13.  Mark van Roekel    VA    11      9
 14.  John Leggat        CA    05      8
 15.  Dave Long          NC    13      6
 16.  Matt Ellis         uk    11      6
 17.  Jim Mehl           VA    10      6
 18.  Peter Perla        VA    10      6
 19.  Chris Byrd         CT    07      6
 20.  Michael Sosa       FL    13      4
 21.  Mark Herman        MD    09      4
 22.  Frank McNally      MA    05      4
 23.  Jay Meyers         CA    07      2

2014 Laurelists                    Repeating Laurelists: 

Antero Kuusi, fi

Pablo Garcia-Silva, ch

Paul Gaberson, PA

Craig Yope, MI

Dennis Culhane, PA

Past Winners

Bob Heinzmann, FL

Dennis Culhane, PA
2006, 2008-09

Mark Popofsky, DC
2007, 2010, 2014

Antero Kuusi, fi
2011, 2013

Mark Hodgkinson,bh

Jeff Coyle meets Paul Gaberson in Round 1.

Dave Long ponders the English on that blue die.

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.

A Chilean and a Finn meet in an Australian bar ...

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 to date.

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. Remember Jolo.

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.

 GM     Mark Herman [10th year]  NA
  NA   NA

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