Another Grognard Classic
The 2004 tournament was played using a flex Swiss format followed
by two rounds of single elimination. Players could play one game
per day, Tuesday through Friday, with the best four players squaring
off for the semi-finals and eventual championship game.
Open Swiss Phase
A total of 20 games were played in the preliminary rounds
by 17 different participants. 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 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 Waterloo kiosk,
with updates posted as each game ended.
Example of scoring during Swiss Phase: Moe beats Lingle and
Shemp, but loses to Curly. Moe scores 10 + 10 for the wins and
1 for loss for 21 points. By the end of the Swiss Phase Lingle
beats Tom and Shemp beats Jerry - Moe would receive four bonus
points for the two wins attained by Lingle and Shemp. Moe's score
after Swiss Phase - 25 points.
The key to this format is the record of the opponent that
a player defeats. In the old days, many players hoped to avoid
playing the "Great White Tournament Shark" Rob Beyma
and other lesser sharks, as play against them usually ended their
chances for a plaque. Not anymore. Players who racked up wins
early found themselves being challenged by others who wanted
a chance to score bonus points by beating a front runner.
Of the 20 games played in the early rounds, 13 were won by
the PAA and seven by the French . Last year in the Swiss segment
the French won five of 16 games. These results are good for the
French, which is why most players wish to play the PAA. At Doncon
04, players could opt to use the old Avalon Hill ten-sided die
(play by mail) CRT. It is interesting to note, that the player
(Rob Beyma) who recommended the ten-sided CRT was also the chief
whiner against its incorporation. The whining was bearable, however,
because the "Hammerhead Shark" (Richard Beyma) and
the "Mullethead Shark" (Bill Scott) were not impressed
by Rob's flip-flopping. As punishment, Rob should be shipped
off to the cold hell of Poker Flats for the winter.
The highest achievers during the Open Swiss phase were as
Player Points for Games Bonus Points Total Finish
Mark Gutfreund 30 10 40 1
John Clarke 30 6 36 2
Robert Beyma 30 6 36 3
Tim Miller 21 6 27 4
Marty Musella 21 2 23 5
Bruno Sinigaglio 21 0 21 6
#1 Mark Gutfreund (PAA) vs. #4 Tim Miller (French)
This was a typical game wherein the PAA slowly gives up ground,
sacrificing delay units until the bulk of the allied army enters
the board. Tim took the pocket change kills and moved slowly
around the allied strong points. Eventually, Mark assembled a
good army in the center of the board. Tim hit the PAA in massive
frontal assaults. The results were gruesome as scores of dead
factors piled up on the edges of the board. Tim's dice bravely
eliminated a good deal of the allied army and almost all of the
French. Tim surrendered to Mark's PAA after two days of futility.
#2 John Clarke (PAA) vs. #3 Robert Beyma (French)
Report by the French Scribe - edited by the staff.
The French maneuvered forces to the two flanks and approached
Quatre Bras cautiously. A number of 1 factor delay units were
picked up on the first day. Two stacks of infantry and 20 cavalry
factors were sent down the Tilly corridor. Late on the first
day, the French pushed into the Quatre Bras gap but could only
manage a couple of DRs on their initial attacks. The PAA rolled
a DR on his counterattack.
Early on the second day, the right wing cavalry turned the
Prussian flank at Wavre. The infantry, aided by one 2-6 cavalry
unit made a 4-1 vs a 4-4 and forced the Dyle. On the French left,
the French got across the river near the Braine Le Comte road.
The PAA made some 1-2 surrounded attacks vs French infantry in
the woods near QB with mixed results.
By the middle of the second day, the French had built a significant
lead in casualties and had good position on the flanks. Although
the PAA side had a lot of play left, John conceded. He had played
a lot of games during the past four days and was tired. I can
relate to that.
Mark Gutfreund (PAA) vs. Robert Beyma (French)
Report by the French Scribe - edited by the staff.
Mark remembered playing Rob Beyma in 1992, but Rob had no
recollection of that game (Staff Remark - Rob obviously lost
the earlier encounter and has purged the memory). The French
(Rob) did have some intel from watching some of Mark's (PAA)
earlier games. Mark liked to move considerable forces to the
Nivelles front to neutralize the French left while delaying the
French right. The French once again maneuvered sizeable forces
to both flanks. The approach to the Quatre Bras gap and the Tilly
gap was slow as Mark strategically expended several delay units.
The 15 French cavalry factors going down the right side of the
board were delayed another turn by a 2-6 and then forced to stop
for two turns by a 6-4 until the French infantry slugging their
way down the Tilly corridor forced the 6-4 to withdraw.
Early on the second day, the fighting picked up in the Quatre
Bras gap. The PAA made the first major attack but could only
manage an EX. The French counterattacked at Quatre Bras and a
French 4-1 also resulted in an EX. The two players traded 3-1
attacks which also resulted in exchanges. The French maneuvered
some infantry to the SE side of the Quatre Bras gap forest to
also threaten the heights. With a lot of forces at Nivelles,
the PAA at Quatre Bras gap were getting thin. The French cavalry
on the right caught up with the Prussian infantry and killed
On the French left, the PAA blocked the river crossing near
the Braine Le Comte road with large units and concentrated their
main force near Nivelles for a counterattack. The French infantry
pushed into the forest gaps in front of Nivelles at the same
time that the French were pressing hard at Quatre Bras and along
the Dyle. A PAA attack at 4-1 on the Nivelles front yielded yet
another EX. Note: Every 3-1 or 4-1 attack made by the French
or PAA player in this game resulted in an EX. At this point the
French player made perhaps the biggest strategic decision of
the game. The French had an opportunity to make a 6-1 on a 7-4
but had to risk a 2-1 vs a 6-4 to protect the flank of one of
the stacks in the 6-1 as well as expending a 2-6 soakoff unit.
An A Elim roll on the 2-1 would be a disaster and an A-Back 2
would allow the PAA player to surround one of the French stacks.
After deliberating for a couple of minutes, Rob decided to pull
back to the river and threaten to turn the PAA right flank with
the cavalry. Rob's thinking was that he was 34 factors ahead
in kills, had good position, and did not need to risk a 2-1 at
that point in the game. Interestingly, one experienced player
watching the game commented that he would have taken the 2-1
and gone for the knockout punch (staff note: this was a subtle
way of calling Rob a "Chicken _ _ _ _").
The PAA player now was forced with the choice of counterattacking
or withdrawing some of his big units towards other threatened
areas. Mark chose to make two 2-1s vs 6-4s in the gaps. The results
were an EX and a A-Back 2. The PAA player conceded shortly thereafter.
The French avoided a defeat on the left while slowly winning
the battle on the right.