still fighting the Bulge ...
While most of us are fighting a different type of "bulge"
problem, WBC remains the place for grognards to meet and vie
over the AH classic Battle of the Bulge, 1981 edition.
A few classic style war games are hanging with the newer games,
as they provide an easy sojourn into some tense competition.
Open Swiss Phase
of 22 games were played in the preliminary rounds by 20 different
participants, allowing Battle of the Bulge '81 to crack
the 16-player threshold for the third consecutive doncon. Contributing
to this success are two things: The flexible format pioneered
by Larry Lingle, and a bunch of grognards looking for tournament
games to play after they have been waxed elsewhere.
The format consisted of an Open Swiss phase followed by a
Single Elimination phase. The four best players from the Swiss
phase squared off for first through fourth place. The best players
were those who scored the highest based on their three best games
using a formula similar to that used by VIP. A player received
10 points for a win, one point for a loss and two points for
each victory tallied by an opponent that the player defeated.
A running total of all player scores were prominently displayed
at the Bulge 81 kiosk, with updates posted as each game
The key to this format is the record of the opponent that
a player defeats. In past tournaments, many players hoped to
avoid playing the well-known tournament sharks, as play against
them usually ended their chances for a plaque. Not anymore. Players
who rack up wins now find themselves being shadowed by others
who want a chance to score bonus points by beating a front-runner.
Of the 22 games played in the early rounds, 11 were won by
the Germans. These results are the norm, except for last year
when the Germans won 18 of 29. The Tournament scenario had been
running near 50/50 for years.
Making it to the Final Four was two-time champ Steve Likevich,
Bob Ryan, past champ Phil Evans and perennial finalist Forest
Pafenberg. The highest achievers during the Open Swiss phase
were as follows:
|1. Steve Likevich
|2. Bob Ryan
|3. Forrest Pafenberg
|4. Phil Evans
|5. John Clarke
|6. Bill Scott
#4 Phil Evans (Germans) vs. #1 Steve Likevich (Americans)
This semi-final was a replay of the 2003 semi-final. Phil
has been rolling crap in the past few Bulge81 Tournaments.
This year he outdid himself and managed to roll badly on just
about every turn. Phil's die rolls for the Germans on16AM rolls
were so bad that all three regiments of the 106th Division managed
to escape - an almost unheard of occurrence. Phil's sad rolling
continued with almost every roll ending up being the worst possible
result for the Germans. Phil did liven things up temporarily
with an A4 advance against an un backstopped, 2d ID regiment
in Elsenborn on 17AM; however, with only three American units
in the dead pile at the end of the 17AM, Phil saw the writing
on the wall and resigned soon after. Like last year, there was
much consternation in the Anti-Ohio Camp (i.e., the entire convention)
as the nerdy Likevich won another game due to poor rolling by
#3 Forrest Pafenberg (Germans) vs. #2 Bob M Ryan (Americans)
Phil Evans can b thankful he is not Pafenberg. Forest is the
worst die-roller in the history of Bulge81. His German
effort in a semi-final game in 2003 will never be forgotten.
In 2003, Forest's Germans eliminated no U.S. units on 16AM, which
occurs once in every 802 games. This year Paffy did not fare
much better, but he was able to prevail due to a retreat blunder
by Bob in the south. Paffy Engaged the 4/12 in Echternach and
exchanged the 9CCA. The 28/109 retreated three hexes towards
the center rather than along the road to Martelange - Not a problem
unless the Germans roll an advance 4 versus 28/110. Oops - the
Germans roll an advance four vs. 28/110. As a result, there are
only two units (28/110 and 9CCR) to cover three roads in the
south on 16PM. The retreated 28/109 cannot help out, because
it has been cut-off by the advancing Germans crossing the river
south and east of Clervaux. This game was over early, with a
huge German breakout in the center and the south.
Forrest Pafenberg (Germans) vs. Steve Likevich (Americans)
Dang the Girly Men! This year's winner, Steve Luckevich, amazingly
never played the German's, as he finished 3-0 in the qualifying
rounds as the U.S. Then he won as the Americans in the semi-final
and final rounds. In a case of being both lucky-and-luckier,
Steve Luckyvich astonished the rest of the Bulge 81 crowd by
winning his third consecutive Bulge81 Championship. Wait
till next year!
In a rematch of a preliminary round, the finals pitted Forest
Pafenberg's panzers against Steve's intrepid GI's. While Forest's
opening rolls were not quite as pitiful as Phil's, they were
still abysmal - freeing up all the southern shoulder, getting
"Contacts" against the two center 28th ID units and
failing to trap or pen the 2d ID. With all those units, the American
was able to leave delaying units or backstop every single position.
However through his superior play, Forest was still able to make
a game of it - by using a Blitzkrieg Attack off of a blocking
position in front of Malmedy, Forest was able to threaten Stavelot
and its fuel dump. But again fate smiled on the yanks, as they
managed to blow the dump and obtain the exact retreat roll necessary
to eliminate an advanced Panzer Grenadier regiment on the counterattack.
But Forrest still had one more trick up his sleeve. He adroitly
took advantage of a mis-positioned infantry regiment and its
backstopping artillery unit outside of Veilsalm. Paffy automatically
eliminated the exposed arty unit and trapped the infantry. In
the immediately following attack, any sort of decent advance
against the trapped infantry would threaten three victory objectives
and put the Germans back in the game. Once again the fates were
cruel and handed down a D Elim/Attacker Advance 1 result.
Even after that, Forest refused to throw in the towel, but
when a 4-1 Blitz attempt failed and with the majority of his
units locked in Engaged battles without a Victory Point location
in sight, he finally resigned on 19AM.