Five-time champ Ed Menzel vs John
Lembit Tohver vs 2005 champ James
Four-time champ Kevin McCarthy
vs Greg Smith do their part to uphold the grognard image.
But then there was Richard Beyma
and Devlin Davsin. Civil War enthusiast or dedicated girl friend?
It's Still a Rebel World ...
Richard Beyma defeated defending champion Ed Menzel (6-3-1)
to take his second Gettysburg title. Richard, who finished
10-1 for the week, has reached the Final each of the last five
years. Third place went to 2005 champion, JimTracy (6-2-0). Regular
contender Greg Smith finished 4th with a 4-4-0 mark and took
home the book National Geographic's Atlas of the Civil War, given
to the highest finisher who did not win a plaque. The 34 entrants
and 48 games played were slightly up and down from the 2012 totals,
Preliminarygames were played at the Grognardcon precon and
WBC itself from Saturday through Friday. Friday night, the ten
players who had played the required three games to qualify for
the Final 4 were ranked, with the top four advancing to the single-elimination
rounds. The qualifiers were, in order, Richard Beyma (8-1, 64
points), JimTracy (6-1, 57), Ed Menzel (5-2-1, 48), and GregSmith
(4-3, 39). Richard, Ed, and Greg all repeated from last year's
final four. The other qualifiers were Vince Meconi, Mark Gutfreund,
Lembit Tohver, 8th, Dave Zimmerman, TedDrozd , and Bryan Eshleman
in that order.
In the semifinals, seed #1 Richard Beyma faced #4 Greg Smith
and #2 Jim Tracy played #3 Ed Menzel. Greg's Union, bidding 8.0,
hung in until Turn 20 before falling to Richards rebels. Meanwhile,
Ed's Federals, with a bid of 13.0 - the tournament's highest
bid, forced Jim's Rebels into a Turn 13 resignation.
Final reprised both last year's championship tilt and an earlier
game during the preliminaries between these two highly qualified
adversaries. Richard again took the Grey for a bid of 11.5. The
South was conservative early, allowing Ed to defend forward positions
through Turn 5. Confederate reinforcements eliminated Robinson's
Iron Brigade and an artillery unit, causing the Union to fall
back to Cemetery and Culp's Hills, where they repulsed attacks
at twilight. Day 2 saw another Confederate assault on the hills,
which succeeded. Losses were still fairly light for both sides.
Ed elected to counterattack rather than fall back. Normally fairly
defensive as the USA, Ed became aggressive. Union attacks succeeded
in killing support artillery and cavalry units but could not
dent CSA infantry. CSA counterattacks then began to attrit the
US. Ed extended his flank towards the west edge of the board,
putting pressure on Richard by killing off his flanking artillery.
The CSA fell back off the hill with four big infantry stacks
to lay into Union flank forces. On Turn 12, the Confederates
attacked Sickles stack of six infantry factors at 10 to 8 (artillery
support added), rolling one hit on CSA. At this point Richard
used the reroll chit and instead rolled one Union hit.
By Turn 12, all Rebel artillery save the horse guns had been
eliminated, but no CSA infantry had been hit. Union losses were
heavier. Turn 13 reinforcements arrived and the Confederates
consolidated and reformed their line by killing US units in the
rear. Turn 13 and 14 attacks resulted in steady losses for the
Federals and only one hit on Rebel infantry. In the evening of
July 2nd, Union forces launched one more counterattack that was
repulsed. With the CSA infantry stacks almost intact, CSA counterattacks
broke US troop strength and morale at the close of the day, resulting
in a Union surrender.
Richard's 9-1 record as the Confederates earned him Best Confederate
Player appellation by a wide margin over Jim Tracy's 6-1-0 mark.
Ed Menzel's 4-3-1 log as the Blue won him Best Union Player in
a year when no other player could manage more than one victory
and a winning record as the Federals. Mark Gutfreund's playing
style and demeanor earned him this year's Sportsmanship Award
nomination. I also want to acknowledge last year's Sportsmanship
Award nominee, John Sharp, because I somehow failed to mention
his nomination in last year's recaps.
One notable feature of this year's tournament was the mandatory
Revised Order of Appearance for the campaign scenario. In the
revised version, the game begins on the 10 AM turn, or Turn 2.
The Confederate troops which in the current rules arrive on Turns
2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 now are all delayed one turn. Union troops
arriving on Turns 1, 2, and 3 are similarly delayed. Although
the new format's impact has not yet been reflected in the won-lost
records for Grey vs. Blue, players generally agreed that it changes
and balances the game, albeit to an unknown degree.
Overall, the South won 31 games to 16 for the North with one
tie. 44 games used the campaign scenario, with the Confederates
taking 30 and the Union 13. Four games used the short July 1
scenario, with the Rebels winning just one. Two of those four
July 1 scenario games were played in a pair, with the best total
score determining the winner for Victory Point purposes and AREA
reports. Bidding was all over the map this year, so to speak.
Although no player bid for the Union in the campaign scenario,
12 games had no bid and 32 had Confederate bids varying from
1.0 to 13.0 and everything in between. There was no bid in the
four July 1 scenario games. The average Confederate bid was 3.82
for all games and 5.73 for games in which there was a bid.
Average game length increased yet again to 4 hours and 4 minutes,
the longest by more than 20 minutes of any year since we began
keeping track 10 years ago. Henry Richardson defeated Pat Richardson
in the shortest game, taking just 35 minutes, while two games
lasted seven hours each: Ed Menzel vs. John Clarke and Greg Smith
vs. Vince Meconi. It is now more accurate to say that Gettysburg
is a 4-hour game than a 3-hour game. The Increased playing time
is no doubt due to a combination of two factors. First, the higher
bids and Revised Order of Appearance have together virtually
eliminated any Confederate automatic victories on July 1 - there
appear to have been none this year. Second, we are playing fewer
First Day scenarios and more campaign scenarios.
Again this year, I thank Bruno Sinigaglio and Bill Morse for
running the Grognardcon portion of the event. Thank you also
to Assistant Gamemasters Ted Drozd, Ed Menzel, Greg Smith, and
Bill Thomson for helping run the tournament. Last, but certainly
not least, 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
One title vs five; five won this semifinal.
GM Vince Meconi with his returning