Viva Le Emperor Again ...
Ron Glass vs Bob Jamelli with Mark
Gutfreund observing from Egypt.
Joe Angiolillo vs Bill Morse
Tweezer Wars or Geezer Wars?
what a tournament! WATERLOO just seems to be getting better
despite celebrating its 51st birthday this year. The lure of
this game has brought back gamers over the past four years who
haven't played in a tournament or convention for 25 years including
a high school classmate of mine, Wes Coates, a most welcomed
addition back to the gaming fraternity. A total of 41 games were
played with 26 PAA victories. Where's the balance? Distribution
of French forces across the board is a key aspect of quality
French play. Also, the PAA side is slightly more forgiving in
terms of minor errors in play, and with time on their side, they
find it easier to prevent the French player from attaining their
victory conditions. However, if you look at the games of the
top eight players, the breakdown becomes a more enlightening
nine French wins against six PAA. So skillful play and not side
selection seems to determine which side has an advantage between
experienced players. Bidding is still used but the bids are generally
very low, usually under six factors to play the PAA. Players'
pervious perception of a slight PAA advantage may be driving
some of this bidding.
New enlarged colorful maps and re-designed larger counters
made an appearance this year, along with re-crafted tables and
charts. No new rule changes were made and none are anticipated
for next year either. Consequently, while the physical appearance
of the WATERLOO map will probably change in the future;
the basic playing features, strategies, rules, and tenets remain
the same, so a potent playing future seems assured.
The competition for a semifinalist spot was especially intense
this year with seven players straining to grab a coveted position.
The race to garner enough points was apparent and it wasn't until
an hour before the semifinals began that the last spot was determined.
Special thanks go out to Richard "the Younger" Beyma,
Ed Menzel, Ray Clark, Greg Smith, Tim Miller, and Gary Dickson
for their spirited pursuit of the final four. The lucky but skillful
semifinalists were perennial challengers John "Septimus
Rex" Clarke and Joe "the Anvil" Angiolillo joined
by last year's champion, Joe "the Surgeon" Beard and
a consistent contender, "Lucky" Pat Mirk.
semifinal 1, the Anvil's PAA dug-in awaiting Lucky's French horde.
Lucky drove almost the entire French Army directly at Quatre
Bras and Ligny foregoing the usual substantial left hook toward
Nivelles. The Anvil attempted a strong attack to seal the primary
road east of Quatre Bras with a 4-1 against a large Prussian
infantry division (a 6-4) but Lucky's nickname kicked in and
he escaped with a D back 2. Joe Angiolillo's early errors due
to fatigue (he played all Friday night in another semifinal)
made their first appearance on his 11AM turn when he positioned
a weak 2-6 Prussian cavalry brigade on the Quatre Bras heights.
This allowed Pat's French to assault the heights while continuing
his drive down the primary road east of the town. Pat killed
13 factors for the cost of five this turn. Joe fiercely counterattacked
to hold the heights but his second grievous error occurred when
he failed to include a supporting cavalry brigade as a "soak-off"
unit in the mix which compelled the (7-4) Pirch II infantry division
to make a low-odds attack that paid the dreaded A Elim price.
Sensing a weakening of the Prussian morale, Pat launched a general
attack in the Quatre Bras sector with three major assaults and
two supporting soak-offs. Pat's moniker really came true as he
rolled three D elims and both soak-offs escaped unscathed, resulting
in the destruction of 19 Prussian factors at no cost. It was
evident by Joe's exhausted visage that he had no more fight left
and he quickly surrendered. Lucky Pat was on his way to the Final.
Meanwhile, in semifinal #2, John "Septimus (a Roman emperor
from 193 to 211AD) Rex" Clarke opened the French offensive
with a large cavalry force heading toward Nivelles while the
rest of the French Army threatened Quatre Bras and the corridor
to Tilly. Joe "The Surgeon" Beard's PAA forces established
blocking positions across the width of the board skillfully using
doubled terrain and large infantry divisions that could only
be attacked from a single hex while he sent couriers requesting
the British "double time" to the battlefield. Joe's
methodical retrograde maneuvers continued throughout 16 June
losing only a minimal number of delaying units. By the morning
of 17 June, John's French had concentrated enough to launch five
major attacks, though three of them were 2-1s. One of them was
a 3-1 against a doubled position, and the last was a 4-1. Unfortunately
for John, the god of War overcame the god of Fates and he suffered
two A elims, two exchanges (including the doubled defender),
and only the 4-1 made good with a D elim. The resultant loss
ratio was 42 French factors to only 19 PAA factors. Joe launched
three selective counterattacks to maintain his doubled positions
near the Dyle/Thil river junction on the eastern side of the
board and near Nivelles. These were successful and French losses
stood at 57 versus 23 PAA factors destroyed by 9AM. Hoping to
regain some balance in the loss ratio, John launched a 3-1 against
a doubled Prussian 6-4 defending the heights south of Quatre
Bras and several low odds attacks in other sectors. He suffered
another devastating exchange in this 3-1 and none of his low
odds attacks proved any better. With French corpses strewn across
the entire width of the battlefield and their morale shattered,
John abdicated. The Surgeon was on his way to the Final for the
second straight year.
The championship game opened as Joe and Pat bid to see who
would get to play the Prussian/Anglo-Allied armies. Pat won on
a bid of 5 and removed a 5-4 unit from the starting Prussian
units. Joe commenced the "standard" French advance
with a substantial force heading toward Nivelles while the remainder
of the French Army headed toward Quatre Bras and Tilly. Pat defended
the Tilly/Wavre corridor with about half a corps and the bulk
of the British cavalry that started in Quatre Bras while fortifying
the heights before the Quatre Bras road junction. Joe steadily
advanced in each sector while Pat used his 1-4s and 1-6s as delaying
units. This lavish expenditure of mounted units reached a crescendo
late on 16 June when he lost seven units in two turns thereby
exhausting his supply of screening cavalry and horse artillery.
At this time, Pat had lost 19 factors, all of them small units.
Consequently, at 7AM 17 June, he launched four major attacks
near Nivelles and the Dyle/Thil river junction using large units
as soak-offs. True to his moniker, he enjoyed good luck with
two D elims, a D back 2, and one exchange. Joe viciously counterattacked
with three major attacks in the Nivelles sector including a 1-1
against a British 7-4 along with three major attacks east of
Quatre Bras risking another 1-1 versus a Prussian 6-4. Joe must
have stolen some of Lucky Pat's mojo as he rolled a D elim against
the 7-4 and an exchange against the 6-4. Coupled with these victories
were another D elim, an exchange and a D back 2 in a low odds
1-2 attack. These assaults shattered the PAA defensive lines
and they withdrew to doubled positions north of Nivelles and
near Genappe. By 11AM, the PAA armies were stretched thin across
the width of the board with no reserves to counterattack and
the loss ratio standing at 44 French factors to 72 PAA factors
- a dire situation for Pat's PAA forces. By 3 PM, Joe had united
the Nivelles and Quatre Bras wings of the French Army and concentrated
them for large scale assaults on the center of the PAA defense.
Pat now used several 2-4 delaying units as his prolific expenditure
of smaller units was coming back to haunt him with a vengeance.
Late on 17 June, Pat's position was precarious with no units
to delay and not enough reserves to maintain his defense, so
he launched a series of low odds attacks hoping his nickname
would prove prophetic. But fate proved a fickle mistress. Of
the six major attacks, five 1-1s and a single 2-1, he rolled
three A elims, two exchanges, and one D back 2. With both allied
armies decimated and their morale shattered, not so Lucky Pat
Mirk offered his sword to Joe who graciously accepted it. Joe
"The Surgeon" Beard, the WATERLOO master, was
headed back to Arizona as a repeat Champion!
Congratulations and well done to all those who participated
in this year's GROGNARDCON and particularly the WATERLOO
tournament. It is a real pleasure to run this tournament every
year due to the superb assistance from Don Greenwood, his staff,
and the BPA leadership team. Lastly, special thanks to Bruno
Sinigaglio and Bill Morse for their assistance and support with
the statistics and record keeping. You guys are the bomb!
Join us next year as this remarkable game continues its second
half-century of exciting and fun play marked by continual refinements,
unbridled enthusiasm, and an outstanding fellowship of players!
Frodo and Sam never had it so good!
Ray Clarke vs Ed Menzel log
one of 41 games played in the event. Not bad for an out-of-print
game in its 51st year.
Joe Beard successfully defends
his title vs Pat Mirk as Ray Clarke and Joe Angliolillo observe.