A Different Kind of Tiger ...
Players turned out, up one from the previous year. Many regulars
were missing, but we had six first time players participate,
and four of them played at least three rounds. In addition, the
demo had eight people in attendance. Jim Winslow and Tom Thornsen
provided invaluable support as assistant GMs. This year we played
a mulligan on Tuesday night, three rounds on Wednesday, and the
final round Thursday morning.
The event was won by Tom Thornsen with a 3.5-0.5 score. Tom
defeated perennial contender Jim Winslow in round 4. Bryan Eshleman
was responsible for the only blemish on Tom's record, holding
him to a draw in round 3. A total of 21 games were played, with
six players participating in the fourth round. The Germans won
seven games, the US 13, and there was one draw. The US did far
better this year, probably because the new players were encouraged
to play the Germans as it's fun to play them even if you lose.
Sides were bid for in nine of the games. Following the trend
from previous years, no one bid for the Germans. The average
bid for the US was 1.44, with the range being 0.5 to 2.0. Although
the US side did quite well overall, this years winner drove the
Germans in his last three games. Jim Winslow went 3-1, playing
the US exclusively. Brad Jones, who finished third at 3-1, played
each side twice. Newcomer Eduardo DeNucci finished fourth with
a 2-2 record, playing the Germans in each round.
Of the top five finishers, the Allied player went 7.5-1.5,
while the German player managed a respectable, but less impressive
5.5-3.5. US strategy again revolved around keeping the Germans
from entering Bastogne until 18-2, and holding Vielsalm strongly
with the 7th Armored Division to protect the Trois Ponts and
Grandmenil Panzer Release Areas.
I had a really good time with a teaching game with Roberto
Sanchez during the mulligan round. Roberto employed something
he called the Puerto Rican-German artillery. They were unbelievably
alert, responding to his calls for support more often than not
and usually with deadly effect. Despite holding onto Bastogne
until December 20, I had to come up with a very creative defense
near the end of the game to barely survive a breakout attempt
by Roberto. In round 2, Bryan Eshleman basically sat on me. My
German offensive never really got going and it was all over on
John Sharp gave Tom Thornsen a very tough game in the mulligan
round. His offensive finally foundered on a stout US defense
of Marche. After that scare, Tom switched exclusively to the
German side, beating veteran Larry Hiemenz in round 2, and battling
Bryan Eshleman to a draw in round 3. Bastogne fell on December
18 in the game with Bryan, which meant that Tom needed one more
VP to pull out a win. Bryan screened the flanks and played solid
delaying defenses up the center, holding on to Marche to manage
Meanwhile in round 2, John Sharp notched his first win in
the event over Bob Hamel. These guys are slightly familiar with
each other, having been AGMs for the VIP event at the WBC for
many years. Bob scored a nice upset in the mulligan by beating
up on Tigers developer Bill Alderman.
Newcomer Thomas Cooper made it into the win column by playing
tough defense against Bob Hamel in round 3. Eduardo DeNucci lost
the mulligan to PBeM vet Mike Kaye, then beat Jim Kramer in round
1 and Larry Hiemenz in round 3. In one of the closer matches
of the tourney, Eduardo's German hordes were unable to punch
through Brad Jones' final defensive line on the 21st, falling
just short of the Meuse River crossings. This game decided third
Brad Jones' only loss was to Jim Winslow in round 3. Jim was
very successful with his allied strategy of denial, beating Larry
Hiemenz, John Sharp and Brad.
The championship game between Tom Thornsen and Jim Winslow
was unfortunately decided early by the dice. Tom's first impulse
attacks were not spectacular. He did clear Vianden and Lutzkampen,
but Holzhum, Marnach and Habscheid held. However, Tom got a huge
break when his engineers repaired both bridges over the Our River
at the end of 16-1. Jim may have made a fatal error on 16-1 by
committing 9 arm CCR to Burg Reuland in order to cover the hole
opened at Lutzkampen.
On 16-2 Tom concentrated his forces to blast open Marnach
and Bleialf. Apparently he did not attack Hosheid. Then on 16-3,
he used his last reserves to clear out Lullange and Weiswampach.
This is a sure sign that things are going swimmingly for the
Jim fell back in order to try to create a reasonable and efficient
defensive position, retreating to Rambrouch, Doncols, Longvilly,
Buret, Beho and Recht, in addition to 9 CCR left hanging in a
now untenable position in Burg Reuland.
On 17-1 Tom put the hammer down by engaging every US unit
within reach, including a pinning attack on 9 CCR which was now
out of supply. Tom's attacks were devastatingly effective. He
wiped out the entire US front line. Apparently Jim's bridge demolition
teams failed him at Doncols as the Germans were able to cross
and kill the defender there.
There was nothing for Jim to do but put his reinforcement
in Bastogne and pray for a miracle. The 7th Armored screened
the north, but Bastogne was essentially naked. Tom had sufficient
reserves to mount a strong attack on 17-2 and Bastogne fell immediately.
With Bastogne sure to yield 12 VP, enough for a win, and the
Germans ensconced in the town in strength, Jim had to call it
Congratulations to Tom Thornsen on his fine performance. He
played a difficult schedule, being involved in two very tough
games prior to facing Jim in the final. Tom has never played
in this event, but has been involved in the PBEeM ladder for
Tigers from the early rounds. All that on-line practice must
have helped. One last observation. It was gratifying to me that
six people who had never played in the event here or on the PBeM
Ladder played this year. And of those six, five stuck around
long enough to rack up a win. That's way cool. I hope they come
to Lancaster to get a few more.