Holding Serve ...
year's event marked the first full tournament played with the
L2 Design Group Deluxe Edition. There were 20 participants, including
four past champions. All gamers volunteered to play the 6-turn
tournament scenario with the use of chess clocks or possible
adjudication. Adjudication did not prove necessary. The 22 games
played were equally divided between German wins and losses, attesting
to the scenario's apparent play balance. Some of the more notable
games are mentioned below.
In a third round game between veteran Bob Ryan and newcomer
John Popiden, John looked to have the game won with Bob's German
forces too distant from their VP hexes. Utilizing a clever Angriff
Aus Der Bewegung (Attack on the Move), Bob propelled a full strength
panzer division forward into the VP town of Noville. The defenders
were too strong for John to muster a counterattack. The capture
of Noville gave Bob the necessary VP edge to win the game.
In another third round game between past champs Phil Evans
and Randy Heller, Randy placed the Peiper KG in reserve for mechanized
exploitation on the 17AM Peiper breakout game-turn. He gambled
by attempting a dice roll infiltration through enemy zones of
control, which proved successful. The resulting move placed Peiper
in the VP town of Stavelot. At this point, the American player
acknowledged the difficulty in dislodging the KG before the arrival
of reinforcements, both German and American, and tossed in the
The semi-final round witnessed a hard fought game between
Forrest Pafenberg as the German player and Bob Ryan commanding
the American forces. Forrest had the game just about locked up
until a timely next-to-the-last game-turn move by German mechanized
forces placed in reserve, which did an end run on the American
forces defending behind Vielsalm. This resulted in the secure
capture of Parkers' Crossroads, effectively ending the game in
a German victory.
The final round proved to be one of the more interesting of
the tournament. Bob's Americans rebounded well from the first
turn combat results. Randy's attacking German forces were repelled
at Hofen, did not build the bridge in front of Clervaux, and
garnered four counterattack results. On the second turn, a defending
American unit's retreat was "channeled," resulting
in an open road to Bastogne. But the blown bridge in front of
Clervaux limited German exploitation. Bob cleverly responded
by sequestering the one German mechanized unit that had broken
through and began a forward defense, trading units for time.
On the 17AM game-turn, eight American units were eliminated in
combat. On the final game-turn, Randy broke up the KG Peiper
unit by utilizing the Peiper Alternative Variant and moved the
Peiper Leader unit next to Trois Ponts to prevent an American
artillery unit from providing defensive fire. A bombardment was
attempted on the VP town of Stavelot, but failed to shock the
defenders. This brought an end to the German player's attempts
to pull the rabbit out of the hat and earned Bob his 7th piece
of WBC wood.
Congratulations to Bob Ryan. He is the first player to win
more than one WBC Bitter Woods Tournament, and the first
to do so back-to-back. He has proven himself to be the current
master of the game.