Another Year, Another Format
It was late in the evening. The battlefield was littered with
mortar parts, discarded weapons, smoldering AFVs (one with GM
emblazoned on it), the dead, and the dying. One SL, Ray Stakenas
II, stood on a hilltop above it all and stopped all who came
to tell his tale of Victory. Yet we jump ahead too quickly.
It all started in the predawn hours on Wednesday as the SLs
gathered their men. Each man prepared in his own way. One American
was seen doing one arm curls with a Mortar Tube. The Quartermasters
loaded supplies for the coming day. The Russian, in his haste,
neglected to stock enough artillery ammunition.
Thirty-eight folks squared off on Thursday at 9 am and when
the dust settled at 11 pm the contest was ended. After five rounds
of Swiss, the top eight met in a single elimination final. This
years event used a new method for side selection. Once a complete
scenario was chosen or defined by alternately selecting its elements,
sides were determined by a random draw. As a result, there were
a wide variety of Scenarios played (A, B, C, E, F, H, I, L, M,
N, T, Q) with the most popular being L with 16 playings of many
different match ups. All the nationalities had an opportunity
to prove their mettle on the field during the day. Although the
French (2) and the Italians (3) were clearly underrepresented.
Running and playing in an event, has always made it
hard for this GM to generate much in event lore but some notable
happenings stand out. Watching an AFV go up in flames in a valiant
cause and those valorous Germans dying as they had clearly not
been to fording school have joined my personal memories. Then
there was the schwarzeneggerish American whose rage caused him
to try to infiltrate an enemy group with his mortar from a stream.
Clearly it was a lethal weapon in his hands.
But when all was said and done, the final contest may well
have been decided by the Russian Quartermaster. It was the Mighty
Bruce Young, two woods and a box of second places, vs Ray, The
Air Is Rare Up Here, Stakenas II. Five, that is 5, meaning V,
times the Russian commander called for Artillery Support but
not a shell was to be found. And with four cards left in Deck
3, four of Ray's Germans dropped into Brush at RC5 to claim Victory.
The Stakenas clan may have driven home to Michigan that weekend
but one young man flew all the way.