Still All in the Family ...
Marty Musella puts a little extra
gusto into his die roll vs Jim Eliason to no avail.
Rob Beyma regains his title vs Jim
Eliason on the hot Lampeter steppes.
Eastern Front Marshals showed up Wednesday evening for their
annual duel in the East. However, the climate this year was more
like the jungle of Guadalcanal than the Steppes of Russia. A
very noticeable missing Field Marshal was the game designer,
Art Lupinacci, who did not attend the convention. The seven-turn
scenario ending in May/June 1942 was played in the early rounds.
The ten-turn scenario was used in the last two rounds. The average
playing time was 4.2 hours. Sides were determined by mutual agreement
or by bidding Victory Points with replacement points used as
a tiebreaker. The average bid was 19.7 VPs in the 7-turn scenario
and 27.7 in the 10-turn scenario. The Germans won most of the
games played in the Mulligan Round and Round 1. The Russians
won every game played after Round 1.
Wally Hnatiw, Charles Catania, Rob Beyma, Marty Musella and
Jim Eliason, all advanced to Round 2. Two eligible winners dropped
out to play other games, including defending champ Richard Beyma.
Wally had a good opening attack against Rob but ran out of steam
by the end of the year. Wally was one of the 1st edition playtesters
who was making his first appearance in the tournament since 2006.
We hope to see him back next year. Charlie had a fairly good
1941 offensive versus Jim but Jim's winter offensive heavily
attritioned the German army. Doug Richards, playing as an eliminator,
struggled against Marshal Musella's Russian defense and conceded
before the end of the first year.
Three players remained for the semifinals: Marty, Jim, and
Rob. This was the 2nd year in a row that Marty made the semifinals.
Rather than give Rob a bye, Charlie agreed to play the eliminator
role. In the first semifinal game, Jim bid 27 VPs to play the
Russians. Marty had a very strong 1941 offensive in the south,
capturing Kharkov and Kursk. In the north, Marty picked up Veliki-Luki
and Smolensk. But Jim unleashed a very strong counteroffensive
in late fall in the north and also flipped a couple of panzers
near Kursk. The weather in the fall was Clear/Lt. Mud and Mud/Snow.
With heavy losses and facing an all Snow turn, Marty conceded
at the end of the year.
In the other semifinal game, Charlie and Rob agreed on sides
and played with the default bid (28 VPs). Charlie's opening German
attack eliminated 15 units, trapped one, and flipped four more.
A 3-1 2nd impulse attack against Minsk cleared the city but the
Germans were unable to advance. Charlie had specifically commented
on being more aggressive with the Germans. On Turn 3, Charlie
pushed five panzer corps up against two infantry armies in the
forest in front of Moscow and attacked at 3-1 (-1). His aggressive
strategy was rewarded with a '10' roll (DE). The panzers continued
on to Moscow on 2nd Impulse and attacked the Russian capital
at 4-1 (-1). Charlie then rolled another '10'. After Rob "shot"
a few Marshals, the Russians counterattacked on both German flanks
near Moscow and eliminated a panzer and a flipped panzer. At
the beginning of Turn 4, Charlie found his panzers surrounded.
The German infantry was still at Smolensk and Veliki-Luki. To
avoid another Stalingrad, Charlie abandoned Moscow and broke
out to the west. The weather in the fall was Clear/Lt. Mud and
Lt. Mud/Snow. Facing a growing Russian army that was still holding
Leningrad and Dnepropetrovsk, Charlie conceded at the end of
In the Final, both Jim and Rob wanted to play the Russians.
After both players bid 28 VPs, Rob won the tiebreaker by giving
away more Russian infantry replacements. The game itself was
anti-climatic. Jim, a good player and a strong tournament player,
seemed "out-of-sync". He only eliminated 15 units in
the opening German attack and flipped two more. The Germans did
not get much penetration in the north and did not reach Wilno.
Several Russian units survived, especially in the south. A 2nd
impulse attack on Odessa eliminated the Russian cavalry unit
but did not take the city. On the Russian turn, a surviving 3-8
cavalry unit in the Odessa MD found a hole in the German line
and captured Bucharest. The Russians defended Kiev, the Dnepr
River, Dnepropetrovsk, and the Luga river. Delay units were also
left in Minsk and Riga.
On Turn 2, Jim captured Riga, Minsk, Odessa, and eliminated
a Russian stack in front of Kiev. A 3-1 2nd impulse attack on
Kiev failed to take the city. Rob retreated in the north, reinforced
Kiev, and defended Dnepropetrovsk heavily. Jim rolled Clear/Clear
weather in SEP/OCT and advanced to Kursk, Bryansk, Smolensk,
the river in front of Kalinin, and the Luga river. AGS panzers
and some infantry failed to capture Dnepropetrovsk. During 2nd
impulse, AGN (having flanked the Luga line) made a 4-1 attack
and got a D3. The advanced panzers pulled back from Kursk and
near Kalinin. The Russians counterattacked a panzer near Dnepropetrovsk
at 3-1 but had to soak off with an infantry unit at 1-4. Two
German infantry units were also attacked near Leningrad at 3-1.
The panzer unit was eliminated along with the Russian infantry
army but the German infantry near the Luga retreated with only
a step loss.
Jim had played enough to tell where this game was going. Faced
with a strong Russian army and a +1 weather DRM, he conceded
at the beginning of Turn 4. Rob had regained the title -- making
it six out of seven -- and keeping it in the family. I look forward
to Art's (and Jim Tracy's) return next year along with the possibility
of Richard playing the entire tournament.