Pei for the four-peat ...
Armstrong may soon not have anything on our James Pei as he repeats
as the WBC FTP champion for the fifth time against an always
feisty David Dockter. James won with the Union in the summer
of 1863 when Richmond and Virginia fell.
Here are the basic statistics from the event. We had 35 contestants,
which is a new record. The results by round and side were:
Round 1: Union 8, CSA 8
Round 2: Union 5, CSA 3
Round 3: Union 0, CSA 4
Round 4: Union 2, CSA 0
Total prior to the final: Union 15, CSA 15, with the Union taking
the odd game in the final.
Sides in the tournament were determined by random die roll
with no bidding. It appears that player ability and not side
determine the winner, as viewed by the finalists. James' play
record in the tournament was Union 3, CSA 2, whereas David Dockter
was Union 3, CSA 1 with a loss as the CSA in the final.
As a footnote, the GM faced James in the second round with
James' prevailing with the CSA. This six-urn game was the bloodiest
dogfight that I have ever seen at BPA. In the early going, the
Union successfully prevented any CSA raiding while trading a
CSA Kentucky for a Union Missouri. A turn 3 Union 'Eads Gunboats'
followed by an 'Admiral Foote' saw the Union repeat history by
taking Dover (Fort Henry-Donaldson). This effectively shut down
the West for the remainder of the game as Southern lines of communication
in Tennessee were cut.
On turn 4, with two cards left, the GM opened up the Shenandoah
valley to cut Lee off in West Virginia, but was then slapped
with a Forward to Richmond, Minor Campaign combo by the master.
In one of the games most dramatic moments McClellan reacted into
DC from Manassas on the last CSA activation, to not only save
the capital, but destroyed the Army of Northern Virginia in the
On turn 5 (Summer '62) James lost Richmond for the first time
ever when his out of position Eastern armies could not stop a
Union counterattack. It was at this point that James went for
broke in the East with two CSA armies operating north of two
Union armies. The Union kept cutting James' LOC in an attempt
to prevent him from successfully raiding. However, his superior
mobility (Lee and Jackson-led armies) was very difficult to deal
with in a fluid situation.
In the course of some of the toughest fighting, the CSA lost
six generals including Longstreet, but managed at the close of
1862 to finally take Washington when the Union lost its ability
to maneuver (last four cards were all 1 OC). James won by doubling
the Union SW, based on a four-state raid in the Northeast. After
defeating the GM, James continued to battle his way into the
finals, where David Dockter, the uncrowned other perennial favorite,
met him for all the marbles. This was the third straight Pei-Dockter
final shootout extending through WAM '04 to WBC '03.
Pei plays a very aggressive Union, even in the early going.
Anyone who has played James knows that his basic creed is to
attack. James managed to take Florida in 1861, damaging the CSA
reinforcement rate. One key element of the Union strategy was
to build up a strategic will buffer to cover a potential loss
of DC, if that became necessary. This was the thought behind
the Western offensive that saw the destruction of Memphis and
Nashville as the Union penetrated deep into Mississippi. Successful
Southern attacks against the vulnerable Union lines of communication
kept this offensive from causing too much damage although the
state of Mississippi did fall. Although the Union conducted many
operations in the West, the CSA strategy remained focused in
the East. In post game commentary Dockter stated that he was
playing for an Eastern knockout (capture of DC) as his path to
In the East Pei continued to exploit his numerical superiority
by slowly advancing on a broad front in what is known as the
blob strategy and managed to stave off several CSA offensives.
When 1863 arrived, so did U.S. Grant. The Union quickly built
a big army and began to grind its way to Richmond. In a series
of bloody assaults Grant's army and the Army of Northern Virginia
were mutually eliminated with a back up Union Army of the Potomac
getting the nod to attack the Confederate capital. The South
was manpower depleted and in a series of maneuvers the Union
captured Richmond, which for all intents and purposes ended the
Southern bid for independence.
Although Dockter vowed revenge at the next WAM, he acknowledged
that James once again outplayed him. The GM would like to thank
the participants for their diligence, sportsmanship, and dedication.
Over two days, the 31 games played accounted for over 200 hours
of solid FTP fun. This is not a tournament for the faint of heart
and its continued growth is a great reflection on the high quality
and intensity of play that attracts this growing FTP crowd.
2002 PBeM Tournament
Stefan Mecay of Texas proved the best of a field of 46 in
winning the second BPA PBeM tournament of For The People.
Other laurelists were:
2nd: Baron August, PA
3rd: James Pei, VA
4th: Mark Giddings, NY
5th: Tim Hughes, UK
6th: Paul Risner, FL