Still the Master ...
Three-time WTP champ Brian
Mountford vs Michael Ussery
2005 WTP champ Chris Byrd vs
Pandy Pippus vs Mark Yoshikawa
George Galuschak relives the
George Young became the first 4-time champ in the event's
21 year history, although it took him 7 years to climb that 4th
rung of the ladder. Young has reached the Final four times in
the last five years, however, so it wasn't for lack of trying.
Once again, GM Keith Wixson barred his way, the third time that
they have met in the championship since 2010. This time Young
avenged his losses to Wixson in 2010 and 2012, and as was the
case previously, the game went down to the last card play and
battle. Young also defeated Wixson in the semifinals last year
in a close game.
Young was undefeated, beating Michael Webb, Rob Doane and
Geoff Allbutt in the preliminary rounds, Bob Hamel in the quarterfinals
and John Faella in the semifinals. Wixson was also undefeated,
beating Peter Putnam, Paul Gaberson and defending champ James
Pei in the preliminary rounds, Randy MacInnis in the quarterfinals
and Randy Pippus in the semifinals. The other quarterfinalists
were Geoff Allbutt and Bill Peeck. Young won 3 games with each
side. Young and Wixson were the only returning laurelists from
All games were played with the following "Special Rules"
meant to address play balance and to speed play:
(a) The British player's at start For the King PC bonus
was increased from 2 PC's to 3 PC's.
(b) The colony restrictions for the For the King PC's
(c) Whenever the British player played either the Declaration
of Independence or the Benjamin Franklin: Minister to
France Special Events, the event took effect normally but
the player was allowed to draw a replacement card and immediately
take another action using any card.
(d) In the very next turn FOLLOWING a turn in which the Continental
Congress was dispersed. The British player, not the American
player, decided which player went first in that turn.
(e) In the preliminary rounds the 1782 and 1783
War Ends cards were removed from play before the initial
deal and set aside and all games ended with the conclusion of
the 1781 turn if they had not ended sooner. This rule did not
apply in the elimination rounds.
The Brits won 27 games and the Americans 24. There was a big
difference in Round 1, when the Brits won 12 of 17 games played,
but that was mostly a product of six of the eight seeded players
winning their games as the Brits against weaker players than
anything else. After Round 1 the Americans won 19 out of 34.
In the elimination rounds the Americans won four of seven.
The tournament's "marathon" format was mostly unchanged
from recent years. There were four rounds of Swiss play to determine
eight quarterfinalists to advance to the elimination rounds.
The four undefeated players after the first three rounds all
received a bye in Round 4 and advanced automatically. The remaining
players who had at least one loss played an additional round
and the four players with the best scores after that also advanced.
In the past we have utilized a roll-off to break ties, but after
some grumbling last year I decided to use a tiebreak system based
upon the AREA ratings of defeated opponents to break the tie,
a system I have used in other tournaments. I heard no complaints,
so in the future I will continue to break ties in this way.
Sadly, attendance was down 30% this year. I have no idea why,
but perhaps the "new game" bump we got a few years
ago with the transition from We the People has finally
run its course and we can now expect to draw in the mid 30's
as the norm (which it was in the last few years of WTP).
The tournament was again run as a Class B event and the demo
was well attended, but unfortunately only two people from the
demo tried to play. There were also a handful of other new players,
so we lost close to 20 players from last year, including many
regulars. Perhaps it was just a 1 year glitch, but in any case,
mid 30's is still sustainable and I can see no reason why the
tournament won't be back in its traditional Saturday slot next
year with yours truly as the GM.
Here is a short AAR of the championship game. With the semifinal
games ending after midnight on Saturday, the Final was played
at 0900 on Sunday.
Wixson drew very good cards as the Americans and quickly walled
off most of the British coastal PC's. Cornwallis landed at Norfolk,
marched north and was met and defeated by Washington at Alexandria,
retreating by sea to Delaware (which had lost its American PC).
At the end of the turn the Americans were able to isolate all
of the British inland PC's in Virginia and the Carolinas.
Cornwallis fled Delaware for New York City, where he stayed for
the remainder of the game, dispersing the Continental Congress
along the way. Washington followed and ended up at Philadelphia,
where he remained until the last turn. It became obvious that
Young had decided to concentrate on a northern strategy, perhaps
by default, as once again Wixson had better cards.
British fortunes continued to decline as the Americans solidified
their hold on the South and Mid-Atlantic, which were never threatened
again, and built up a strong presence in the North, aided in
no small part by the Declaration of Independence. The
turn ended with Britain in control of only three colonies and
the Congress safely re-established in western Virginia.
A guerilla war developed in New England as small armies under
Arnold and Greene battled larger British armies under Howe, Burgoyne
and Carleton in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island,
while Clinton defended Canada and Cornwallis defended NYC. The
Americans held their own.
The tide finally began to turn when Arnold switched sides and
the American position in New Hampshire collapsed, ending the
back door threat to Canada. Greene fought on, but Burgoyne was
able to take Albany and secure control of New York for the Crown.
The American position in the North continued to deteriorate as
the Brits consolidated their hold over New Hampshire and Massachusetts,
capturing Greene. A struggle for Connecticut began.
Howe took New Haven early on, grabbing the sixth colony that
the Brits would need to win. The Americans still held Westchester,
however, so the final result was still very much in doubt. Also,
unbeknownst to Wixson, Young had drawn another poor hand and
had no other movement cards after Howe's advance. Washington
had remained at Philadelphia since 1776, as Wixson had been unwilling
to risk his capture, but was now forced into the fight. The Americans
first brought on reinforcements at Westchester and then followed
up with an attack at New Haven by Washington. The Continental
Army was repulsed and fell back on Westchester, replacing its
losses with the reinforcements previously placed. After Young
provided his remaining reinforcements to Howe, Wixson saw that
his best remaining chance was to attack Burgoyne at Albany. A
victory there would have cracked open the British defense and
allowed Washington to threaten Canada, upstate New York and New
Hampshire. But disaster struck when Washington was beaten back
again and this time rolled a 6 for casualties, retreating once
again to Westchester. After Young played his final discard, the
game came down to a final desperation attack by a weakened Washington
on Howe at New Haven. After the leader rolls went Washington's
way, the battle was a still a +3 for Howe. A 4-2 was rolled and
Howe won the final battle by 1. Washington's inability to win
a single battle in three tries on the last turn was the difference.
The final score was six colonies for the Brits (CA, NY, NH, MA,
RI and CT) to eight for the Americans.
Ass't GMs George Young and Keith Wixson
battle in the semis with George downing the defending champ to
The Master takes the measure of the
GM in the other semifinal as James led throughout against Marvin.
The 7-round Swiss-Elimination competition
began in February 2013 and ran for 16 months, generating 113
games among 61 players. Champion Dave Rubin was not among the
favorites to win the tournament when it started to say the least.
Indeed, in the 20-year history of We the People/Washington's
War tournaments run by the BPA and Avaloncon he had won zero
laurels prior to this. Rubin overcame a loss in Round 1 as the
Americans to Jean-Louis Dirion to go 6-1. He defeated Tom Thornsen,
Greg Gollaher and Andre Heller in the preliminary rounds and
advanced to the elimination rounds on tiebreakers. He then defeated
Henry Rice in the quarterfinals, Trevor Bender in the semifinals
and Dan Leader in the championship, all three of whom were undefeated
prior to opposing Rubin. He won three times with each side. In
the quarterfinal against Rice he pulled out the win as the Americans
in 1781 despite having had Washington captured in 1777. In the
semifinal against Bender he won a rare automatic victory as the
British in 1777 when he cleared the map of American combat units
after capturing Washington.
Leader defeated Mike Kettman, Philip-Burgin Young, Kirk Harris
and Bill Peeck in the preliminary rounds, Harris again in the
quarterfinals and James Pei in the semifinals to advance to the
championship. He also won three times with each side. Pei defeated
Bender in a consolation match to earn third place. Rice and Jonathan
Moody were the other laurelists based upon tiebreaker points
earned in the preliminary rounds. An AAR of the Championship
All games were played with the following "Special Rules"
meant to balance the inherent American advantage:
(1) The British Players' at start For the King PC bonus was increased
from 2 PCs to 3 PCs.
(2) The colony restrictions for the For
the King PCs were eliminated.
(3) Whenever the British player played either
the Declaration of Independence or the Benjamin Franklin:
Minister to France Special Events, after the event took effect
as it normally would, the British player drew a replacement card
and immediately took another action using any card (not necessarily
the replacement card).
(4) In the very next turn FOLLOWING a turn
in which the Continental Congress was dispersed, the British
player, not the American player, decided which player went first
in that turn.
The 113 games played broke down as follows
(eight of those games were declared forfeits due to slow play
and are not otherwise included in the statistics compiled below):
53 British wins to 52 American for nearly an even split. In the
first two rounds, the British dominated, winning 33 of 53 games
played. But from Round 3 through the Elimination Rounds, the
Americans rallied, winning 32 of 52 games played. I can see two
possible explanations for this discrepancy. Firstly, perhaps
it took some time for the players to adjust to the Special Rules,
which had never been used before in tournament play. Special
Rule 4 in particular created an entirely new dynamic which may
have taken some time to appreciate. Secondly, in most tournaments
the novice players tend to drift away after one or two rounds
leaving the experienced players to fight it out. Perhaps the
British edge early on reflects the struggle of new players to
learn how to play as the Americans (the side with the generally
accepted greater learning curve). Of course, the implication
of this is that the game is still unbalanced in favor of the
Americans even with the Special Rules. Only time will tell if
the game is as balanced with the Special Rules as the complete
tournament results would indicate.
There were five games that finished prior to 1779; four of which
were British wins three resignations by American players
after losing Washington and one British autovictory. One British
player resigned early. 22 games finished in 1779 (ten British
wins and 12 American wins). 29 games finished in 1780 (18 British
wins and 11 American wins). 30 games finished in 1781 (12 British
wins and 18 American wins). 16 games finished in 1782 (eight
wins each). three games finished in 1783 (one British win and
two American wins). I am not sure what to make of that spread;
it appears to be pretty even. We the People, the predecessor
game to this one, definitely favored the Americans greatly in
long games, but that does not appear to be an issue in this game,
at least not to any great extent.
Washington was captured in 15 games. Not surprisingly, the vast
majority of those games (12) were British victories. The Americans
did pull out three, however, including the aforementioned Rice-Rubin
game in the quarterfinals.
The French entered the war in 46 games (44%). The American won
28 of those games (61%). In the 59 games where the French did
not enter the war, the British won 35 games (59%).
The British Regulars Bonus was lost in 57 games (54%). The Americans
won 33 of those games (58%). In the 48 games where the Bonus
lasted the entire game the Brits won the majority (60%).
The tournament went off without any significant problems. Thanks
to everybody who participated and especially to Paul Gaberson
for being the Assistant GM.
An After Action Report of the Championship Game follows:
British: Dan Leader
Americans: Dave Rubin
Who won: Americans
Last turn: 1779
Declaration of Independence: 1776
British Regulars Lost: 1777
French Alliance: 1779
Washington Captured: Never
Colony Count: British 4, Americans 10
PC Count: British 22, Americans 34
CU Count: British 12, Americans 11
Committees of Correspondence: Norwich, Falmouth, Newport,
New Haven, New York, Morristown, Basset Town, Wilmington (DE),
Baltimore, Alexandria, Wake, Camden, Savannah.
King's Men: Ticonderoga, Oswego, Fort Niagara
British: 3, 2, 2, 1, 1, 1, Bancroft
Americans: 2, 1, 1, Minor Campaign, Brant, McRea, Marion
Action Summary: The Crown Holds the Initiative
The Americans lead off with McRea, but lack the wherewithal to
halt Tory political inroads; the contest is especially vigorous
in VA, NC, and NY. Lafayette appears in Fort Chiswell, Gates
in Albany. Bancroft causes the discard of Brant which the British
pick up and use; the Americans counter with a Minor Campaign,
shifting Lafayette and Washington to Pennsylvania. The year ends
with Cornwallis landing in Norfolk and marching to Delaware.
End of Turn Colony Status
British: Ca, NY, DE, NC
Americans: NH, MA, RI, CT, NJ, PA, MD, SC, GA
British: 3, 3, 3, 1, Declaration, Rodney, Iroquois
Americans: 3, 3, 2, 2, 2, Paine, Glover
Action Summary: Putting the "England" Back in
1776 begins with an attack by the Continental Army on Cornwallis
before he can be reinforced, but Washington is repulsed. After
politicking by both sides, Howe flanks and traps Greene at Newport.
Arnold raises an army in Springfield. As the Patriots strive
to limit the Crown's influence, the British bring Clinton to
Montreal, then play the Declaration of Independence, drawing
a Minor Campaign as a replacement card and holding it for the
end of the year. Carleton marches from Quebec, attacking and
defeating Gates at Albany. The Continental Army is built up as
British-allied Iroquois raid Pennsylvania. Washington defeats
Cornwallis in a rematch on the lower Brandywine; Cornwallis retreats
alone to Montreal and relinquishes command to Clinton. Howe collects
the detached flanking units from his earlier attack on Greene,
returning to Newport, while Clinton takes a small force from
Montreal to Concord.
End of Turn Colony Status
British: Ca, NH, RI, NY, NC
Americans: MA, CT, NJ, PA, DE, MD, VA, SC, GA
British: 3, 3, 1, 1, North-1783, Knox, Marion
Americans: 3, 3, 3, 1, Major Campaign, Hessians, Bancroft
Action Summary: Carleton Has a Very Bad Summer
Carleton marches from Albany to Saratoga, capturing a solitary
Gates, and then immediately returns to Albany before attacking
Arnold at Springfield; despite being heavily outnumbered (5-2),
Arnold emerges victorious. After further politicking, Greene
raises an army in Fort Prince George and Cornwallis brings a
new Royal Army into Wilmington (NC). The main body of the Continental
Army shifts from Wilmington( DE) to New York, and His Majesty's
Government announces a 6-year plan to end the war by 1783. The
Patriots then launch a Major Campaign: as Lafayette marches from
Pittsburgh to Fort Stanwix to cut off any retreat, Washington
successfully attacks Carleton in Albany, forcing Carleton's surrender.
Arnold follows up the Continental Army's victory on the Hudson
with an invasion of Canada, occupying Montreal. Political turmoil
in Delaware leaves the Colony in American hands, but allows the
British to recruit battle-ready Hessians, which Cornwallis successfully
employs on an attack against the isolated Greene (picking up
a 2 OPS card for his trouble). Another Patriot Army answers Lincoln's
call at Eutaw Springs. Cornwallis moves to Camden, and the Americans
end the turn by discarding Bancroft to break the isolation of
the western Carolinas.
End of Turn Colony Status
British: NH, RI, NC
Americans: NY, CT, NJ, PA, DE, MD, VA, SC, GA
Neutral: Ca, MA
British: 3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 1, North-1779
Americans: 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 1, 1
Action Summary: A Bloody Campaign Season and The Smuggling
of the Delegates
The year begins with Cornwallis's defeat of Lincoln at Eutaw
Springs, who retreats to Charleston with the survivors. Greene,
returning yet again from captivity, raises an army at Ninety-Six.
The Tories try persuasion in SC and MA while Arnold moves from
Montreal to Quebec. The North Government becomes unstable as
the Patriots complete their takeover of Canada. Burgoyne brings
another large Royal Army to Norfolk; in response, Gates raises
an army in Alexandria. Burgoyne attacks Gates and triumphs, with
the remnants of Gates's force beating feet for Baltimore. Lafayette,
in Fort Stanwix, marches to Fort Detroit and eliminates the persistent
British garrison. Burgoyne marches around Gates, detaches a rear
guard in Reading, and occupies Philadelphia, scattering Congress.
Washington marches from Albany to attack Burgoyne, but is out-generaled
by Gentleman Johnny and retires to New Brunswick. Cornwallis
marches from Camden to Lynch's Ferry, scattering detachments
to isolate American PCs in Eastern NC and VA. As in 1776, Washington
responds to defeat by renewing the attack, this time reentering
Philadelphia and forcing Burgoyne to retreat to Reading. To prevent
the collapse of the Patriot Cause in NC, Congress exposes itself
by reconvening in New Bern.
End of Turn Colony Status
British: NH, MA, RI, NC
Americans: Ca, CT, NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, VA, SC, GA
British: 2, 2, 2, 1, Brant, Germaine, Jones
Americans: 1, 1, Hortelez, Steuben, Wayne, Arnold, Pitt
Action Summary: France Intervenes and Lord North's Government
Having dispersed Congress, the Crown chooses to have the last
move. Clandestine Franco-Spanish Aid becomes overt as France
and Spain declare war on Britain; Rochambeau and army arrive
at New Haven as the French Fleet takes up position in the South
Atlantic off the British outpost of St. Mary's. Cornwallis gathers
up his detachments from the previous year and defeats Greene
in a bloody battle at Ninety-Six despite the audaciousness of
'Mad" Anthony Wayne, although the Americans pull an important
3rd 1 OPS card. Greene flees alone to Augusta, then takes Lincoln's
small force from Charleston to Wilmington (NC). Burgoyne strategically
withdraws from Pennsylvania, eluding Gates, and ending in Fincastle,
while Lafayette moves from Fort Detroit to Norwich. Carleton
lands at Falmouth with a scratch army. The Americans serially
discard von Steuben and Arnold's Treason to substitute American
control of Boston for British while the British discard Brant
to flip Ninety-Six. Cornwallis marches to Charleston, scattering
garrisons and capturing Lincoln, then returns to Savannah. Washington
and the Continental Army march from Philadelphia to Richmond
to resist the British threat to Virginia, detaching a small force
to support the Patriot authorities in Delaware. An offer of Royal
Amnesty weakens the Americans in MA & NC, and Pitt is discarded
to replace what was lost in the latter. Jones is discarded to
recover MA for the Crown, but Lord North's Government collapses,
making Independence inevitable.
End of Turn Colony Status
British: MA, RI, SC, GA
Americans: Ca, NH, CT, NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, VA, NC