A Win too Far? ....
Storm over Arnhem, facing tough competition in a time
slot with Wilderness War, and without the normal Tuesday
night mulligan round, ended up drawing its smallest field yet.
Only eight players entered the city to slug it out. But the
field made up in quality what it lacked in quantity. Four-time
Champion Steve Koleszar, perennial runner-up Tom Drueding and
defending champ Phil Barcafer were joined by BKNer's Mike Rinella,
Bryan Thompson and Andrew Cummins. Matt Fagan, fresh from the
arrival of his first child, left North new Jersey before daybreak
and drove four hours to make the 9:00AM start time.
Champion Phil Barcafer saw the Brits win every game he played.
Unfortunately, he only played the Brits once and so did not
defend successfully. In fact, his Germans faced slaughters in
each game as their artillery could not hit anything and took
heavy casualties every first turn.
Cummins and Rinella played each other in the first round,
with Cummins' Germans getting the hot dice and winning. In Cummins
next round, he played Drueding and took the Germans again and
got a lesson in how to play the Brits. It was over by the fourth
Fagan and Luke Warren had the bloodiest game. By the end,
Fagan's Germans were down to about 10 pieces and Warren's Brits
were gone. This game did see an attempt by the Brits to counterattack.
Bryan Thompson took the Brits in a game verses Tom Drueding
which he summed up in one word - pyromania. Tom had the whole
town in flames.
Due to the small turnout, the planned four preliminary rounds
were cut to two and the semifinals began. Drueding and Barcafer
squared off in a rematch of last years finals. Drueding got
his revenge as his Brits were able to hold their ground and the
German artillery missed everything. Koleszar and Fagan played
in the other semi-final and Koleszar's Brits won, despite calling
in Artillery successfully only once.
This set up a final with a four-time champion verses the top
AREA rated player and perpetual bridesmaid. Drueding bid 1 point
to get the Brits. Koleszar began to slowly grind the Germans
into town. The perimeter was slowly lost and the Brits took
moderate casualties, while being unable to do any serious damage
to the Germans. By turn 6, the Germans had the four northern
areas firmly in control and by turn 7 it was over. Steve Koleszar
won his fifth wood for SOA and Drueding had his fourth runnerup
plaque. Steve also won the DVD of 'A Bridge Too Far', saying
"I guess I'll need to buy a DVD Player now."
Next year, SOA will need to be voted back in, but when it
does, it will have Steve as the new GM and a multiple heat format
to get its numbers back up.