Third Tie-Breaker Time ...
The icy waters of the Atlantic were again the scene of some
treacherous battles as 130 of the WBC's best naval commanders
headed out to decide the fates of those vital convoys. As in
previous years, there was no shortage of strange happenings during
the early rounds:
* Bruce Young played his entire hand of six cards on a single
* A four-way tie in one game that Rob Winslow won by virtue
having the most convoy points.
* Bill Place destroying his competition by scoring 45 points
with the runner-up only scoring 27.
* The final convoy in one heat was tied six (6!) times. Three
times due to tied die rolls
* Rob Kircher needing anything but snake-eyes on his DR to
win a hand and his game, only to be bitten by that dreaded pair.
Once the heats and semi-finals were concluded, the last six players
standing, Andy Gardner, Stan Buck, Cliff Ackman, Ben Knight,
Dan Mathias, and Scott Buckwalter set sail in the final game.
Ben got off to a hot start winning points in the first two hands.
Stan took convoy SC107 all by himself in round 3 by having the
fated card for that convoy and rolling an unbeatable 6. Round
4 saw the first "bad-blood" drawn as Scott sent Cliff
away with an Atlantic Storm. Scott then benefited by Andy's bad
die roll to take ON 202, ONS 18. Ben was back strong in round
5 taking ONS154 in a surface battle by playing an Admiral and
two big surface ships. Dan returned to the scoring in round 7
in an air battle over HX112. His German bomber wing rolled a
big 6 to take the convoy that everyone but Scott played on. Round
9 was another big one for Ben as only Stan was able to play 2
allied points on convoy SC7. Everyone else discarded and Ben,
with the last play, put out 3 German points to take the convoy
and the spoil.
first tied battle came in round 10 during an air battle for SC94.
Cliff and Scott each had die rolls at the end, and each rolled
a 6 to send SC94 around a second time. The second battle was
again an air battle that was started by Scott. He thought his
3 German points would be enough to take it all for himself, and
it almost was except for the "?" card that Andy was
able to put down (on the same side, however). Andy rolled a 4
to take the convoy and a spoil for himself. Unfortunately, he
had to give Scott two spoils as well. This brought us to the
12-way point in the game. The scores now were Ben 16, Scott 13,
Andy 11, Stan 8, Dan 5, and Cliff 3.
The second half of the game began with our third straight
air battle - this time over Arctic convoy PQ16. Andy was hopeful
that his 1-point German card would be enough, but Dan had the
last laugh as he played the fated card for that convoy and took
it for himself. Ben fell victim to the "leader's curse"
as he was stormed out by Stan in round 14. Cliff took convoy
HG73 by playing Admiral Tovey and changing the play to Combined.
The Victorious was true to her name as Cliff and Stan
shared the victory. Ben got a measure of revenge in the next
round, a surface battle over PQ 12, QP 8. Stan began the hand
by playing the Lutzow. Scott followed up with the Rodney
and the Arctic Storm. However, the storm passed Scott, Andy,
and Dan before ending up in front of Ben. Ben played the King
George V and rolled low enough to take Andy out of the hand.
Scott took the convoy and a spoil and gave the small spoil to
Ben. The next two rounds were also surface battles. However,
Cliff and then Scott each won these convoys unopposed as everyone
had already played their big surface ships.
19 proved to be the longest and most heated battle of the game.
ON 67 was up for grabs and Dan started the submarine battle with
a "?" play for the allies. It got down to Scott and
Andy going back and forth for about 10 minutes negotiating and
discussing the "optimal" play for both of them. Eventually,
Andy decided to go against Scott and play another "?"
for the allies. Before the die rolls, the count was Germans 5,
Allies 4. Cliff had a die roll for the Germans, while Dan and
Andy each had die rolls for the allies. In one of those amazing
216-1 shots, all three dice came to rest with a "1"
facing up. ON 67 was tied and passed to Ben to begin anew. ON
67's second time around was another wild affair as Andy played
Admiral Donitz to change the sub hand to Combined and followed-up
with the Tirpitz. Andy won the convoy and shared the spoils
with Ben and Dan.
PQ 17 was the final convoy of the game. A wild combined affair
that Cliff began with the Victorious and two bonus cards.
Scott and Andy both went German and then Dan and Ben sided with
Cliff's Allies. This left Stan in the difficult position of essentially
deciding the game. At this point the scores were very close between
Ben, Scott, and Andy. If Stan played allied, he would in essence
give the game to Ben. If he played German, it would be close
between Scott and Andy. For reasons known only to Stan (and he's
promised to take them to his grave) he decided to play German.
Sure enough, this resulted in Andy and Scott taking points in
the last hand. Now came the time for the final tally. Andy, Scott,
and Ben all looked at each other with little smiles on their
faces as each of them announced their scores. All three had 24
points. So, it came time to go to the tie breaker, most convoy
points. Ben had 14, Scott had 15, and Andy had 15! A 2-way tie
for the win! We now had to move to the second tie breaker, the
lowest convoy card number won. Scott benefited from taking the
1940 convoy HX79 (C3) to beat out Andy who's lowest convoy card
was OB 318 (C9).
So, in the tightest final in Atlantic Storm's history
at WBC, big congratulations to Scott for taking home the victory.
Thanks to everyone for playing and a big thanks to our finalists
for a great game that will be hard to top, but I'll be back again
in 2004 to try.