Second Poughkeepsie Decides the
Tim Miller vs Bill Peeck
James Pei vs Larry Luongo
Leon Delgado vs Paul Gaberson
Keith Wixson vs George Young
for the grand prize.
The single elimination/mulligan Tu/We format continued to be well received, with increased player and games played totals. There is still room for improvement and our Century status is still tenuous at best, but assuming we survive for another year, I expect to be back with the same format and schedule at Seven Springs. I have decided to do away with the demo, however. This game is just too dense to explain in one hour. When I started to give a demo a few years ago my intent was to make it more of a strategy discussion/tutorial for players who were somewhat familiar with the game. What I have found, however, is that it tends to draw a handful of people who are totally new to the game, most appear to be turned off by the fact that an hour is insufficient to explain the game, and only one or two then try to play. I have come to the conclusion that it serves no real purpose other than cluttering my schedule.
This year’s tournament highlights:
- GM Keith Wixson became the third three time champ in the event’s history. The #2 seed Wixson defeated newcomer Leon Delgado, veteran Randy MacInnis, the defending champ and #3 seed Grant LaDue and the #4 seed George Young.
- There were three undefeated players after three rounds, Wixson, Young and the unseeded Doug Smith. Smith lost to an Eliminator (LaDue) in Round 4, making the Wixson/Young game the deciding match. Smith did finish ahead of Young in the standings due to better tiebreakers, however.
- Young defeated Patrick Duffy, Tim Miller and former three time champ and the #5 seed Paul Gaberson.
- Smith defeated Geoff Allbertt, the #1 seed and former four time champ James “The Master” Pei and the #7 seed and former champ Michael Ussery.
- There were four new players (only one of whom was at the demo).
- Attendance was up for the second year in a row. The Tuesday night Mulligan round was well attended (16 players), and four Mulligan losers returned the following morning to play in the official first round.
- Three of last year’s laurelists made it into the top six again this year. None of the top three finishers this year, however, were laurelists last year.
- The French won 56% of games played (compared to 50% French wins last year, 56% French wins in 2013, 54% French wins in 2012 and 50% French wins in 2011).
- Additional Prizes: Wixson took home a Warhawk and Smith a beautiful Elk Jaw Warclub. Young (for third place) and LaDue (for graciously playing as an Eliminator in Round 4) were each awarded hand painted tin soldiers.
- I expect to start a PBeM tournament for this game before the end of the year. I said that last year (sorry), but this time I really mean it!
Here is an AAR of the Round 4 game between Wixson and Young (effectively the “championship” with the Eliminator winning the other Round 4 game).
Young’s French main army under Montcalm marched down and took Ft. William Henry/HCN (VP’s to FR5). Wixson drew seven 1 cards as the Brits, but luckily that included three Militia cards and the small Highlanders card. Bradstreet appeared with the Highlanders and brought reinforcements up to HCS. The French drew several Indian reinforcement cards and otherwise concentrated on raiding in the North. With the British militia maxxed out, however, the raiders had no success.
British reinforcements started to pour in with Wolfe arriving at Halifax. The French abandoned Louisbourg, pulling the garrison back to Quebec. Wolfe’s force landed and took the fortress in one shot (VP’s to FR2). Otherwise, this was another turn of French raiding and British defensive reactions. The French main army withdrew to Winter Quarters at Montreal, while the British main army withdrew to Albany. VP’s at year’s end were FR2 (no successful raids for the year).
British reinforcements continued to appear. Amherst arrived with the large Highlanders card and took command of the main British army in New York. The French main army returned from winter quarters to HCN, while the British main army returned to HCS. Wixson was prepared to launch a campaign against Quebec from Louisbourg, but when no Amphib card was drawn shipped Wolfe’s army to Virginia to begin a campaign against Ohio Forks. Wolfe crossed the mountains and Ft. Duquesne was destroyed by the French and the Forks abandoned (VP’s to 0). Additional French reinforcements arrived at Quebec, so along with the withdrawn Louisbourg garrison the French main army achieved “Death Star” status. In reaction to the British offensive in the West the French rebuilt the fort at HCN to threaten HCS and Albany. With no French move on HCS ever attempted, however, that would prove to be a mistake. The French again attempted several raids down the Connecticut River valley, but without success.
Wolfe chased the retreating French northwards from the Forks. Wixson decided to bait Young into sending Montcalm out west in 1759 by spreading out Wolfe’s army and wintering in stockades along the approaches to Niagara, a deliberately vulnerable deployment. The idea was to open things up for the main British army in New York while Montcalm was away. The French main army withdrew to winter quarters at Montreal, while the British main army withdrew to Albany. Towards the end of the turn Wixson got greedy and had Wolfe lead an attempted raid by Rangers on the Mingo in his rear. The move was thwarted by intercepting Shawnees and Wolfe and the survivors were forced back into the wilderness. Oddly enough, Wixson never had a chance to move Wolfe again. On the very last play of the year Bradstreet and Roger’s Rangers detached from Amherst to raid the French stockade at Oswegatchie but was intercepted by Villiers’ force at Cataraqui (which included Marines). The skirmish was a British victory (VP’s to BR1), but the resulting raid failed. The loss of that VP by the French would have significant consequences. VP’s at year’s end were FR1 (the French managed to score 2 VPs by getting three quick successful raids as the turn was ending).
Wixson’s strategy worked perfectly. On the first card play of the year Montcalm and the Death Star headed west, leaving Levis behind with a small army to protect Montreal and its Lake Champlain approaches. With Wolfe being MIA, the Brits scrambled to consolidate its spread out forces under Murray and withdrew back towards Ohio Forks and the mountains. A timely play of Lake Schooner at Presquile and the sacrifice of a Regular battalion further south (VP’s to FR2) helped delay the French. Ironically, the absence of Wolfe may have helped British fortunes when Young decided to pursue Murray’s army into Pennsylvania, leaving behind a small force to retake and hold the Forks (VP’s to FR3). After the game Young admitted that he probably would have sent Montcalm back east if Wolfe had been in command of the Brits. This turned out to be the crucial point in the game. Murray made four consecutive retreat rolls (each only 50%) onto British forts, each time stopping the French advance. In this way the Death Star was drawn into Virginia but without the supplies necessary to take the forts and score any VPs. While this was happening, back east Amherst launched his offensive up the Champlain valley, taking the French forts at HCN and Ticonderoga (VP’s to BR1). At Winchester Murray’s luck finally ran out and Montcalm won the first major battle of the game (VP’s to 0). The British western army then withdrew into the safety of the fortress at Alexandria.
The French position was now critical. The British had places to score VPs (Ohio Forks, Crown Point and Montreal), while the French had none other than with raids. There was no time to stop Amherst by backtracking the Death Star along the route it had taken to get to Virginia, so Young decided to march Montcalm into Amherst’s rear, quickly driving through Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey without opposition. With his supply line now threatened, Wixson had no choice but to send Amherst south to meet Montcalm as he entered New York from New Jersey. With Murray now free to retake Ohio Forks and therefore gain the lead, Young needed to score a VP. He attacked Amherst with the Death Star at Poughkeepsie, losing the second major battle of the game (VP’s to BR1). After getting a late successful raid, Young tried one last low odds desperation attack by Montcalm on Amherst (the Death Star was severely attrited by then) but lost the second battle of Poughkeepsie (VP’s to BR2). Murray retook the Forks to bring VPs to BR3. The final score was BR2 after accounting for the one successful French raid for the year.
This was a very unusual game. It is doubtful that Wilderness War at WBC has ever seen two major battles fought at Poughkeepsie in the same game. The keys to the game were Murray’s epic Fabian retreat from the outskirts of Niagara to Virginia and the lost French VPs at Oswegatchie and HCN. Young would not have needed to risk the late battles at Poughkeepsie had he not been behind in VPs. It was a very close game and really came down to a die roll or two.