Another Year, Another Format
Despite much strum and drang regarding the format, the scenarios,
the locations, delays, rulings, and other mishmash, the Up
Front tournament ended as any Vegas linesmaker might have
format for this year was single-elimination, with players selecting
from a fixed pool of scenarios in their first and second round
matches, then using player-chosen scenarios the rest of the way.
With each heat averaging about 28 players, the winner would have
to manage a seven-game winning streak to take the title.
The first heat saw 30 players cram into Salon E. The first
round offered a choice of Assaulting a Fortification or Parachute
Drop. The second round offered a pair of armor attacks, with
Bruce Wigdor getting a bye to even up the pairings. The eight
remaining players played a mix of Patrol and Outpost Line, with
one British/German Surprise Attack as evidence of what happens
when scenario selection goes horribly wrong. The first two finalists
were Bruce Wigdor (over Larry Davidson) and Ray Stakenas Jr.
(over John Emery).
Heat 2 saw 28 players make their choice of a Jungle Assault
or a City Fight. The 14 survivors tried another pair of armor
scenarios. The later rounds showed a mix of City Fights and Outpost
Lines, with one game of Partisans to show some variety. John
Emery took a third round bye and eventually claimed the third
berth in the finals (over Stefan Hess), while Larry Davidson
took the fourth (over Jeremy Billones).
Heat 3 saw 30 players tackle a City Fight or Outpost Line.
An unfortunate ruling by the GM saw Paul Wright and Dan Lawall
eliminated by drawing each other, a rule that will not be in
force in the 2003 tournament. The fourteen players in the second
round faced another pair of armored scenarios. The later rounds
settled into the usual mix of Patrols, City Fights, and Outpost
Lines. Bruce Young parleyed a third round bye into the fifth
berth in the finals, while Bari Herman beat George Young on the
very last card (in a deck reshuffled to resolve the last fire
attack) to claim the sixth berth and save the GM from the wrong
end of a noose.
The fourth and final heat saw 28 competitors in attendance.
Bari Herman claimed the third round bye based on her AREA rating,
but fell to John Emery who took the seventh berth in the finals
(and, effectively, a first round bye). Bruce Young bested Stefan
Hess (who had perhaps the toughest strength of schedule of anyone
in the tournament) to take the finalslot, and a bye of his own.
In the quarter-finals, Larry Davidson (Ami att) dispatched
Bruce Wigdor (Ger def) in The Infantry's Iron Fist. Meanwhile,
Ray Stakenas Jr. (Rus att) was playing Bari Herman (Ger def)
in Outpost Line. After a finish where Ray had fulfilled the victory
conditions but due to a rules misunderstanding both players hadn't
been aware of it, Bari insisted on forfeiting the match. In the
Semi-finals, Bruce Young (Ger att) broke Larry Davidson (Rus
def) in Partisans, while John Emery (Ami def) repelled Ray Jr
(Ger att) in Outpost Line.
So the finals, not for the first time, saw John Emery (Jap
def) facing frequent opponent Bruce Young (Ami att) as the two
members of the Greenville mafia continued their personal duel
450 miles from home. After three full decks of Outpost Line,
John Emery had claimed his fourth Up Front championship.