Four Rounds to Glory
Bob Hamel vs Jim Kramer
Angus McDonald vs Charles Drozd
We picked up three new players this year, same as in 2013. Several veterans were unable to attend, the south Florida contingent was particularly missed. On the other hand, once again we had five former champions in the field. The GM chose to play solely as an eliminator, but I still got in a bunch of games.
I want to thank Andy Lewis and GMT Games for sponsoring the event as a Trial this year after we lost Century status in 2014. This was the fifteenth year Tigers has been played at the WBC and we have a small but dedicated cadre of players. Thanks to everyone who splayed.
Things got off to an interesting start right out of the gate with Glenn Petroski, a VIP veteran, but TIM newbie knocking off 2012 champion Charlie Drozd. Glenn’s Americans held Bastogne into the 21st and Charlie was unable to effect a breakout.
Nick Smith and Dave Wong played out a tense draw, with Nick holding Bastogne until the 20th, but Dave managed to take Marche that evening …(how rare is that combo!) to get to 11 VP.
At the regular Wednesday morning start, 3-time champ Bryan Eshleman was blindsided by newcomer Hobie Orris. Bastogne fell on the 18th. Hobie played very methodically and was able to consistently get the die rolls he needed to clear critical areas.
Jim Kramer knocked off Bob Hamel’s Germans. Although Bob got the 2nd SS early, Bastogne held out until mid-day on the 20th and twoVPs for Marche were not enough.
Angus McDonald lost to Charlie Drozd in a quick game. Bastogne fell on the 17th for one of those instant wins.
Glenn Petroski got paired up with Tom Thornsen when Tom showed up a little late for the round. Tom demonstrated that he’s lost none of his ability at Tigers, taking Bastogne on 18-1 and then delivering a breakout on the 19th.
John Sharp got a tough pairing with 2002 champ Rick Young. Although John managed to take Bastogne on the 18th, he was unable to make much progress past that.
Bob Hamel was rewarded for his loyalty to the game by getting paired with the GM. Ray’s Americans held Bastogne until the morning of the 20th but had to hang on for dear life when Marche fell at noon on the 21st in a very close game.
Bryan got on the winning track by defeating Charlie’s Germans. Holding Bastogne until the morning of the 19th gave Bryan an edge and he used his patented stacked defense to limit Charlie’s effectiveness thereafter. According to Bryan, Charlie rolled hot dice in not so important locations and cooled off where he really needed to take key positions.
Glenn continued his unfortunate habit of getting paired with real sharks, this time facing Rick Young. The GM must have it out for Glenn. Rick’s defense was tenacious and Glenn’s dice were pretty abysmal with Bastogne only falling on the last impulse of the game. Couldn’t have been much fun but Glenn has gained valuable experience against very good players.
Hobie got rudely brought back to reality by facing Tom Thornsen’s Amis. Tom held Bastogne until the 21st and was never really threatened. Sometimes you’re the fly….other times the windshield.
Jim Tracy dropped in for a game against new player Alex Gregorio. Tough to pry these guys away from Bitter Woods, but they both reported an enjoyable game….Jim has played at the WBC a few times. Jim’s Americans held Bastogne until mid-day on the 20th and basically cruised to an easy win.
Bob Hamel got into the win column by beating Charlie. It was a very conventional type of game…normal nail-biter type where Bastogne falls on the 18th and Marche on the last impulse of the 21st. This gave Bob’s Germans the 12 VP needed for the win. Did they play VIP and WAS against each other as well?
In the battle for the lead, Tom’s Germans blitzed Rick’s Amis by seizing Bastogne on the 17th. With some good attacks and the right dice, it can get real scary for the American’s on the 17th. Rick had a Garand, but apparently Tom brought a PzKw VIb to the fight.
Angus McDonald came back for another game and faced Ray’s Germans who took Bastogne on 18-1, which wasn’t that easy. Angus had five SP in the town on 17-2 but Ray got a bit lucky and killed three steps. In order to get this strength, Angus had to allow me to get into Bertogne, Fauvilliers and Houffalize on the 17th. The battle for Bastogne on 18-1 was scary as the last hit I needed came on my last two dice. The Germans managed to get a weak spearhead into LaRoche. A German recon force entered Champion on 18-2 to establish a bridgehead, but an immediate US counterattack killed the survivor. The Germans got superiority in Grandmenil releasing the 2SS Pz on the 19th.
Things were looking pretty good for the Germans until I committed a terrible blunder on the 19th, failing to use the Greif unit to interdict the bridge at Ouffet. I just flat forgot that I hadn’t used it. Angus promptly rolled a 3 and blew the bridge. As usual, a serious mistake is often punished by the dice and Angus had been shooting my forces to pieces throughout the game. At this point the Germans had exactly one 3 ( a VG unit) on the map other than the SS.
On 20-1, the German pushed into Libin, Bande, Petit Han, Hotton and Lignieres. Maneuvers in the south were severely impeded by another low odds blown bridge at Wellin. There was still a good chance with a panzer heavy 10-3 attack on Marche, but one SP survived and I was fully stacked in the town preventing any follow up. Now the German cause looked bleak indeed. On 20-2 I managed to clear both Grupont and Baillonville which allowed me one last gasp at Rochefort and Haid.
My 20-3 attacks were not impressive, a 3-1 and a 2-1, all the Germans could muster, but in both cases a single SP survived in each area thus isolating Marche. Therefore it came down to the counterattack by the 29th Armored Brigade. Angus pondered for some time then found the correct move, a 4-1 at Haid. A single Allied hit would open the supply line to Marche and save two VPs. The Germans got one hit and the British whiffed with four dice…a near miracle (13% probability). The airborne in Marche was forced to surrender and the Germans secured a win by the narrowest of margins. This was one of those memorable down to the last die roll finishes that can happen in Tigers when the game is at its best.
Bob Hamel won as the Germans over Glenn. Bastogne fell on 18-1 and the 2nd SS was released on the same impulse. Glenn conceded on the 19th.
Dave returned for another game playing the Germans against Jim Kramer. Dave’s Germans rolled, taking Bastogne on the 17th. They decided to keep playing anyway and the Germans broke out on the 21st.
Charlie picked up a good win as the US over Rick Young. Bastogne fell on 19-1 and Charlie managed to delay the release of the 2nd SS Panzer. One bright spot for Rick was the capture of Neufchateau on 19-2. Continuing to drive forward, Rick took Marche on 21-1 to keep his hopes alive and also released the 11 Pz, however it was too far away to be of any impact. Needing a breakout to win, Rick was unable to pull it off.
Tim Miller as the Germans faced off against Greg Smith. Not sure what happened other than Tim won.
The most important game was played between Tom Thornsen and Bryan Eshleman. Tom had virtually locked up first place by virtue of his 3-0 record. Tom took the Americans giving 0.5 VP. Unfortunately, Bryan combined some stellar opening play with hot dice to capture Bastogne on 17-3, ending the game immediately. With the road to Bastogne open on 17-1, Tom tried a 1 SP speed bump in Longvilly and two 1 SP units in Bastogne. After Bryan’s 3-1 at Longvilly cleared the area, Bryan made a 5-2 on the key crossroads which also was successful.
No one finished unblemished this year, but Tom was the only one with three wins. There were four players with two points. Second place came down to a tie-breaker between Bob and Bryan. Bryan had a significantly tougher schedule based on his opponents won-loss record, so he was awarded second place.
German Wins: 11
American Wins: 10
The pendulum swung back to the center from 2012 and 2013. While the Germans had a huge winning advantage in 2012, the US reversed this in 2013. Again there was very little bidding, all for the US. Only six games featured bids, with two at 0.5 and one at 1.0 VPs. Bob Hamel used the Artillery call DRM in three of his games, with two at 1.4 and one at 1.6. The Germans won two of the three VP bids, and the Americans two of the three artillery bids. Interestingly the amount of the bid was not a factor.