The first "hit" wargame
Fearful it would not meet the minimum number of players and
face WBC extinction in 2003, Panzerblitz rebounded with
a 50% gain in players - thanks to seven rookies. Additionally,
two others attempted to register, but were unable
to compete due to scheduling conflicts. So, hope abounds that
the sentimental tide is turning and an age old wargaming favorite
will be around, at least for one more year!
year's format called for certain shorter situations to be played,
specifically, situations 1, 1A, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 14, 15, and 19,
tweaked with some minor changes. With single elimination setting
the standard for play, losers who wished to continue to play
were given "eliminator" status, and could then compete
against winners and attempt to knock them from the table. This
allowed the diehards to stay involved, keeping a steady pace
of play, as games ended and players didn't wait endlessly for
another match to end. While a few hard-liners did groan a little,
the feedback indicated that this approach was appreciated, and
will thus be continued next year.
Many of the Old Guard were on hand, as Steve Andriakos lost
a tough opener to Bill Scott, the 2000 & 2001 champion, as
did Kurt Kurtz, lose to Glenn McMaster, a Canadian rookie. Mark
McBride, our "Rookie of the Year" last year, who had
the determination & skill to beat out David Talmage and Kurtz,
ended up losing to Alan Arvold. Chuck Leonard, who took the wood
in '98, lost his opener to Marty Musella, a man of few mistakes.
As an eliminator, Leonard took out Bruno Sinigaglio without incident,
rookie Thomas T. Shaw, son of the Grandmaster of Avalon Hill,
and in his course met with Johnny Hasay, the '92 & '94 champ,
in Situation #2.
Old rivalries die painfully, and as the battle developed,
it became apparent that Hasay's Russians were going to decisively
clobber Leonard's Germans, until Bill Scott, being the good citizen
that he is, pointed out to us that the Board 2 Russians should
have started out on Board 3, as well as the Board #3 Russians
starting on Board 2; well...Leonard cried foul in words too slanderous
to print, and as any noble person would do to calm the savage
beast, Hasay retired from the froth.
The finals tested Scott and Musella, both mutually agreeing
to duel Situation 1A.. Coincidentally, Bill and Marty faced each
other in last year's final, so this year's grudge match provided
the motivation to take no prisoners. Sides were selected at random,
Bill becoming the Russians, and Marty, the Germans. Setting up
the Germans, two CPs in Bednost, the third in
Golod, his 120mm mortar on Hill 129, and the remaining troops,
with rifles loaded in trucks and half-tracks, Marty intended
an aggressive defense. Bill's cavalry entered on 1A3 and divided
recons in the woods at 1R3 and 1G3. The rest arrived at 1Q10.
The Russians advanced in the center but alas, no holes appeared
in the German line. An early lead by Marty quickly
deteriorated when Bill maneuvered a rifle and T34 unit adjacent
to Bednost on Turn 7. Both sides experienced bad die rolls, but
Bill's miss was more pronounced. By Turn 8, Bill's missed "hat
trick" forced his resignation which was quickly accepted
As Chris Harris stopped by to say howdy, it was clear that
old warriors were rejoicing and new friendships were emerging.
Rumors abounded concerning Dave Giordano's whereabouts, and everyone
wished each other well hopeful that 2003 would bring us all together