saratoga [Updated October 2002]

SAR  3 prizes Beginners Single Elim Continuous 
  20   10    11  Round 2 14  Round 3 17  Round 4 20


John Vasilakos, VA

2002 Champion

2nd: Mark Miklos, GA

3rd: Hank Burkhalter, GA

4th: Don Hanle, VA

5th: Robert McCracken, DE

6th: Bill Alferman, IL

Event History
1999    Mark Miklos     22
2000    Cliff Hansen     12
2001    Volko Ruhnke     16
2002    John Vasilakos     19

AREA Ratings

GM: Mark Miklos

Past Winners

Mark Miklos - GA

Cliff Hansen - NM

Volko Ruhnke - VA

One is better than two ... (or none)

Nineteen players took part in the Saratoga tournament featuring GMT's American Revolution Series. All rounds were single elimination and used vp bids to determine sides. (It is recommended that future bids be in Army Morale Points rather than victory points.)

The opening round was the "Knyphausen's Feint" scenario from Brandywine. The following deployment sequence was adopted:
1. Both sides placed units with designated starting hexes.
2. British set up remaining artillery.
3. Americans set up remaining artillery.
4. British set up the rest of their forces.
5. Americans set up the rest of their forces.

The American side was allowed two additional units not included in the original scenario manifest. The Rhode Island and Continental artillery, each in their printed set up hexes.

The modified scenario proved well balanced and it is recommended that players consider making this deployment sequence and these additional units a permanent part of their scenario rules.

The British won five games and the American's four. Two players bid "1" to be the British and prevailed. One player bid "1/2" to be the British and lost. One player bid "1 " to be the Americans and won. Another player bid "1" to be the Americans and lost. All other sides were mutually agreed upon or drawn at random.

The second round was the "Howe's Flank Attack" scenario, also from Brandywine. The British players won all three games played. There was one substantial and two marginal victories and all three British players bid "1" or "2" vps to play that side.

The semi-final was Saratoga, flagship game of the series. Hank Burkhalter's British faced off with John Vasilakos' Americans. Play was modified according to the following rules:
Fog rules were used. As it happened, the conditions were "moderate fog" on turn 1 and "clear" on turn 2.
A tournament rule called the Middle Branch Ford Rule was in play. "Starting on turn 8, the American player may subtract 1 from the Gates Release die roll during any turn in which the British player does not control hex 1011. Control is defined as occupying or being the last to pass through, regardless of enemy zoc." Hex 1011 is the 'at-start' hex for Morgan and Dearborn. This rule was offered to compel the British player to press the attack beyond Freeman's Farm.

The game was a real tense affair with the British seeming to have a slight advantage for 2/3 of the contest. John V's Americans executed a modified "Ruhnke Gambit" by occupying the woods in a central position above the Middle Branch to threaten either the farm or the British baggage on turn 6. This maneuver halted a British flank march with light units around the American left, as all British units had to respond. There was engagement all along the center line and in the end, an American Marginal Victory (5 points to 2 points.)

Despite the enhanced die roll, Gates was never released (and remained true to his historical persona.)

The Final was the full campaign of Brandywine. It lasted eight hours, was fought between John Vasilakos' British and Mark Miklos' Americans, and was played on the big 6' x 4' Demo Game set shown above. John had bid "1" vps for the British side.

The British were moving in the bottom half of turn 7. Howe and Cornwallis had entered the game, there had been skirmishing at Brinton's ford, and a few sizeable British units had crossed the creek at Rocky Hill. The Americans, however, were intact and well formed all along their front, including at the Birmingham Heights.

A British artillery shot drove off the supporting infantry from under the American battery in the breastwork at Brinton's Ford. It became demoralized and the Army Morale differential now sat at 15 British ­ 14 (Fatigued) American. Sullivan neglected to withdraw with the demoralized infantry and instead stayed behind with the unsupported New York artillery.

What John did next was masterful. He had held on to the British "at-start" momentum throughout the game, despite suffering several step losses in combat to that point. Now he spent that momentum chit to gain +2 to his initiative die roll for Turn 8. His High Morale status gained him another +1. Mark's fatigued Americans added zero to their die roll.

The gamble paid off. John's British got the initiative and with it the back­to-back move. They attacked all along the line, from the Meetinghouse at one end to the fords of the Brandywine at the other. His first assault, of course, was at Brinton's Ford where he overran the unsupported American guns and captured Sullivan to boot. This caused a double +1/-1 morale shift and left the forces with Army Morale of 17 British and 12 American.

Those who know the system well know that this was the game. The Americans could never recover that much morale and the rest of play was for honor only. In the end. the American lines never broke and neither the Meetinghouse nor Proctor's Battery fell, but American Army Morale was driven to zero by the end of Turn 10 giving the British a substantial victory and John Vasilakos his first WBC Saratoga championship.

 GM      Mark Miklos  [2nd Year]   NA  
    NA   NA

View the Icon Key | Return to main BPA page