Options to the Rescue ...
Twice champ Ed Menzel vs Ray Freeman
Bob Hamel vs Daniel Blumentritt
Rob Drozd vs 2012 champ John Sharp
GM Charles Drozd and his finalists—a pair of former champions.
52 games were played during the 2015 Rising Sun Pre-Con, a 10% decline from last year’s figure. Even more alarming was a nearly 25% drop in attendance. This year saw the introduction of the “Menzel Option” as an acceptable modification; and it turned out to be a huge success as it was the most popular set of optional rules throughout the event. The Menzel Option contains the now virtually standard optional rules that prevent a USN disaster on Turn 1 and further modifies the second edition rules by limiting the IJN Pearl Harbor raid force to the historical six carriers and only two rounds of air strikes. Throughout the game players are allowed to simulate the west coast repair facilities by removing a damaged ship from the board and bringing it in the following turn with the reinforcements. Finally, since the USN often finds it’s reinforcements trapped on Turn 3; an “escape” rule was introduced. The modifications prevent the USN player from being penalized by things outside of his control.
Overall there were 12 unique adjustment sets that were used throughout the event while only five games were played without any options. Menzel option games saw bids for both sides ranging from 1.5 POC to play the IJN to 2.0 POC to play the Allies. For those games that did not use the Menzel option; bidding was again for the IJN, with the highest bid of 8.5 for the IJN. The IJN winning % dropped from last year’s 70.9% to 56% this year. The Menzel option resulted in an IJN winning % of 53.3%.
There continues to be a lively debate as to whether standardizing the various optional rules currently in use would be a benefit or a detriment to the long term health of the event. Currently the tournament rules allow players to negotiate optional rules that can be used only if both sides are in agreement. The Default rules if players cannot agree is a game using unadjusted second edition rules.
Another topic that came up recently was the length of the game. With next year’s venue shift and the elimination of pre-cons; several players expressed concern that the increased competition for player time might necessitate the shortening of the event from three days to two.
After five swiss rounds; the top eight spots were determined by Tournament points; with strength of schedule only being used to determine seeding. Ted Drozd, Charles Drozd, and Ed Paule all had four wins and were the top three seeds. Tim Tow, Andy Gardner, Daniel Blumentritt, Jim Eliason, and Mark Smith each had three wins to round out the top eight.
There were no upsets in the quarterfinals this year; as #8 Smith’s IJN conceded to #1 T. Drozd’s USN after four turns. #7 Eliason’s IJN also conceded to #2 C. Drozd’s USN after four turns. #3 Paule’s IJN had a mathematical lock on #6 Blumentritt’s USN after seven turns. #4 Tow’s USN defeated #5 Gardner’s IJN in a game that went the full eight turns.
In the Semi’s Paule bid 8.5 POC for the IJN vs. C. Drozd and managed to stop every USN invasion. The game came down to an IJN LBA shot vs. a USN Marine on Turn 7; the Marine was sent home, securing the game for Paule. In the other bracket Tow bid 3.5 POC for the IJN vs. T. Drozd but was forced to concede at the end of Turn 5.
The Final thus pit 2014 runner-up Ed Paule against Ted Drozd. Ed got the IJN for 8.5 POC and would not be denied as he finished 7-1 with the IJN and won his second VIP WBC title.
Play By Email 2013-15
A field of 28 entered the eighth BPA PBeM VIP tournament.
26 games later, with the Cinerellas eliminated, the titans waged
war over the cardboard Pacific for final victory. Michael Day
(third seed) accepted a bid of 8 from 4th seed Ray Freeman and
took the blue forces. Things looked grim for the Allied navies
after Pearl Harbor fell, but a daring move on Turn 5 in the South
Pacific opened a hole in the perimeter and left Ray thinking
he needed just one more patroller (to augment the mere 16 he'd
used). Together with maintaining control over Attu, the USN stayed
in it doggedly through the final turn. The climactic battle for
the Japanese islands—with the USN just needing to deny control—came up short. Thus Ray's Japanese emerged triumphant by the
3 POC margin secured by controlling the Japanese Islands.
Join the action on Sept. 15, when the air raid sirens
will sound again over Pearl Harbor as our 9th tournament kicks
into action. See http://www.gameaholics.com/vitp_tournament.htm