Blocks Bursting in Air ...
'04 rendition of War of 1812 saw a 35% increase in players.
We had to move to the Valley Ballroom due to the increase - fortunately
already set up for the cons use the following day and available
unexpectedly for overflows on Tuesday night. We had 35 players
play in the three round Swiss-Elimination tourney. Players were
allowed to bid VP's to play the Americans. There were few bids
but the average was a bid of 1 with a high bid of 3. Most players
did not bid for either side even though the last few years the
Americans have held an advantage at both the WBC and the BPA
I guess they knew more than we thought because this year the
British had the advantage with 18 wins. Of those wins, eight
came in the 1814 year. British play also included six rare wins
in the 1812 year. The US ended the tourney with 16 wins, seven
of those in the 1812 year. The Americans were also able to win
four games that went the distance of 1814. There were six draws
for the entire tourney and it seems that most players would prefer
that we drop the draw for next year's tourney. [Other GMs
please take note ... draws are usually not acceptable in a tournament
The following report is from the '04 champ Matt Calkins as
he defeated three-time defending champ David Metzger. David conducted
himself as a class champion for the last three years and is a
credit to the hobby!
In the final, Matt Calkins paid 1 VP for the Americans. It
was a rematch of last year's final. The American draw was superior,
with an average value of 3.0 vs 2.7 for the British. The US set
up a strong attack in the eastern region, and put two blocks
in Detroit to keep the Indians out of the war. Britain played
symmetrically, with an opposite strong force in the East, and
a couple of blocks on the western extreme. America began by rushing
the dragoon to Detroit on a double move. (Last year in the final,
David's Brits overran Matt's American's western front and with
the help of the Indian dominated that whole end of the board
throughout the game.) Seeing the western odds tipped against
him 3-2, the British commander retreated his blocks and set the
Lake Erie fleet to water.
On the eastern shore of Lake Ontario, another game of feint
and bluff was proceeding in parallel. Two large armies stared
across the border in Sacket's Harbor and Kingston. The Americans
moved first, rushing eastwards in an attempt to take Montreal.
Twice the British pre-empted them, however, and managed to consolidate
their forces into a well-defended position. America responded
by force marching an army from Albany to Kingston (over two moves),
taking advantage of the absence of British troops to claim an
important city on the cheap.
A sea battle was fought at even odds in Lake Ontario, won
by the Americans. Meanwhile the British had recovered from an
initially defensive posture to claim Lake Champlain.
The end of the first year drawing close, the board stood as
follows: Americans owned two of the three lakes, had a five-point
foothold in Amherstburg and Kingston, and a two-army advantage
in pieces. (A nine-pt edge, which is not quite enough to win.)
The American army waited on Montreal's doorstep, threatening
a fight or a quick dispersion that could claim perhaps three
victory points without a struggle. The final initiative roll
would be critical for both sides, particularly the British. America
won it, and asked that Britain move first. If the Montreal force
stayed concentrated, the US could disperse and snatch enough
victory points to win. If it dispersed, the US could charge Montreal
and win four points (and the game) in one location. The British
chose a risky move (but the best option available) which if successful
would prolong the game until 1813. They tried a double force
march, the dragoon all the way to Sacket's Harbor, and a regular
army to Plattsburg. If both worked they'd claim five victory
points and prevent the US from winning regardless of what happened
in Montreal. Only one force march succeeded, however, setting
up America's inevitable final move: an invasion of Montreal.
America attacked, and with good luck in the Canadian crossing
got all 22 strength points into Montreal. Britain defended with
16. The battle dice favored the Americans, and their edge grew
with each round. The game ended on the last turn of 1812 with
a British concession, Matt's third wood, and the end of David's
three-year reign in this event.