Greg Smith and Ed Menzel in a rare
GM Vince Meconi and his finalists.
Deja Vu All Over Again ...
Richard Beyma defeated Andy Davison in the Final to claim his third GBG shield. Richard finished 6-3 for the week. He has now appeared in the Final in six of the past seven tournaments. Andy, who was our 2014 Rookie of the Year, logged a 5-4 mark in his sophomore outing. The GM grabbed third place despite a 4-1 record. Jim Tracy took fourth with a 5-3 mark and received the coffeetable book The Maps of Gettysburg by Bradley Gottfriend, given to the highest finisher who did not receive a plaque.
Preliminary games were played at from Saturday through Friday. Friday night, the eight players who had played the required minimum number of games (3) to qualify for advancement were ranked, with the top four advancing to the single-elimination rounds. The top 4 qualifiers were, in order, the GM (4-0, 52 points), Richard Beyma (4-3,48 points), Jim Tracy (5-2, 42 points), and Andy Davison (4-0, 40 points). Richard was the only repeater from 2014’s final four. As has been the case in the past, the competitors decided that the only way to prevent defending champ Ed Menzel from winning his playoff games was to keep him out of them in the first place; he finished fifth at 5-1 with 38 points. Other top finishers were BobJamelli, John Sharp, Greg Smith, John Ohlin and Devin Dausin.
As has often been the case, Preliminary results were no predictor of playoff outcomes. Last year, Richard led the Swiss rounds but didn’t make it past the semis. This year, Richard lost to each of the three semifinalists in the Swiss rounds, but defeated two of them when it counted in the elimination rounds.
Richard made the highest bid ever recorded, 16.5, for the Confederates in his semifinal contest against Jim Tracy, but still destroyed enough of Jim’s troops to force a Turn 12 resignation. In the other semifinal, Andy Davison’s Federals got a Turn 19 resignation from the GM’s Rebels, who had bid 8.0. The Union was in the lead 57-50 at that point, with the Confederates down to seven combat units and about to be encircled. In the Final, Richard took the South again for a bid of 10.5, then watched his Confederate infantry stacks prove to be almost invulnerable, chewing their way through Union units like so many armored divisions. Andy survived until Turn 13, then threw in the towel.
Richard also won Best Confederate Player honors at 6-2, while Andy Davison and Ed Menzel shared 3-1 marks and Best Union Player designations. Mark Gutfreund was our Sportsmanship nominee.
This year’s tournament again used the mandatory Revised Order of Appearance for all campaign scenario games. In the revised version, the game begins on the 10 AM turn, or Turn 2. The Confederate troops which in the printed rules arrive on Turns 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, are all delayed one turn, to Turns 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 respectively. Union troops arriving on Turns 1, 2, and 3 arrive on Turns 2, 3, and 4 instead. While play balance has moved somewhat closer towards even, the continued CSA advantage suggests more work remains to be done.
24 entrants played 34 games. The South won 22. 33 games used the campaign scenario, with the Grey on top in 21. For the first time since we moved to the free-form tournament format, no one played the short July 1 scenario. However, the GM and Ted Drozd braved the July 3 only scenario, the first in WBC/Avaloncon history. While both combatants predicted a Union advantage (thus, there was a bid of 6.0 for the Federals), the Confederates took a decisive win. The scenario will have to be played a few more times before we can determine whether it is more advantageous to the CSA than it initially appears, or whether they simply benefitted from one-sided dice.
There was a very wide range of bids this year. No player bid for the Union in the campaign scenario, four games had no bid, and 29 had Confederate bids ranging from 2.0 to 16.5. The average bid was 7.10 for all games and 8.53 for the games with a Confederate bid. Those numbers are the highest ever. There is still no consensus, however, as to what degree bids are helpful in achieving play balance.
Average game length this year, perhaps because no short July 1 scenarios were played, was 4 hours 8 minutes, the longest on record. Newcomers Ken Lee and Arthur Kibbe finished their 10-turn campaign game in just one hour, while at the other extreme, Charlie Catania and Paul Fletcher battled for 17 turns over seven hours.
Again this year, kudos to Bruno Sinigaglio and Bill Morse for running the Grognardcon from Saturday afternoon through Tuesday. Thank you also to Assistant Gamemasters Ted Drozd and Greg Smith for helping run the tournament. Last but certainly no tleast, Bill Morse deserves continued appreciation for completely automating the scoring at the WBC for all the Grognardcon games, including Gettysburg'88. Gentlemen, thank you very much for your assistance.
Play By Email 2015
A field of 28 entered the Fourth BPA Gettysburg PBeM
tournament. Ted Drozd, seeded 13th, defeated #3 seed Jim Tracy
in the Final. Jim took the South for a bid of 5.0, but one-sided
dice led to an early North victory. The Confederates attacked
on their opening turn and suffered a double loss, and matters
proceeded to get worse thereafter. The Union was able to hold
McPherson's Woods throughout July 1st, thus preventing the Confederates
from uniting the two wings of the Army of Northern Virgina. The
Union was thus able to defeat Ewell's II Corps in detail, drawing
a surrender on Turn 7.
Third through sixth place laurels were awarded to Mike Pacheco,
Andy Choptiany, Dan Overland and Allen Kaplan respectively.
The Union dominated play in the opening rounds, winning 13
of 20 contests, and 15 of 27 overall. The average bid was 3.43
for the South.
For more details see the tourney website at http://wargameacademy.org/G88/G88-BPA-PBEM-IV/Index.html.