The classic block wargame:
We had a 50% increase in players this year! A total of 12
players representing 10 different states (TX, IL, OH, NY, ME,
CT, MD, VA, DE, FL) competed in this year's championship. Please,
be sure to vote Napoleon back into the WBC next year.
We have momentum building again for this tournament. All games
displayed excellent sportsmanship. Everyone seemed to enjoy the
chance to play and improve their skills at this grandfather of
all block wargames.
The semifinals matched five-time WBC finalist Jeff Cornett against
veteran wargamer, but a newcomer to this event, Phil Rennert
-- who had played only a handful of practice games prior to this
tournament. Feeling confident, Jeff settled for a bid of 6-step
increases to add to the French "Super-Cav". This was
right after Jeff had just scolded Chris Byrd for settling in
the 1st round for a bid of only 6, then losing to Jeff as the
It's a simple rule! Why can't people remember? I tell them every
year on the Napoleon web site and in the tutorial. Always
bid 1 more than your opponent for the right to play the Allies!
As the semifinals began, for the first time ever in tournament
play, Jeff was confronted by the precise setup of the Allied
"Cornett Defense". Phil had obviously been doing his
homework -- including studying the tournament web site with all
the opening setups from the Finals for the past three years.
He also had read the rules, practiced a couple games before WBC,
wrote the GM to clarify some rules questions, and then even attended
As the game began, perceiving a weakness in the Prussian defense,
the French immediately force-marched for the first two turns
to sack Liege before nightfall. Nevertheless, the Allies promptly
counterattacked and pushed the French cavalry out of Liege.
The French then made a major dawn assault in multiple battles
across the river intending to crush the Prussians before the
combined British and Prussian armies could consolidate together
in fortress Liege. Phil's Allied battle tactics were skillfully
employed -- capped off by a mass cavalry counterattack before
all the French reinforcements had the chance to join the battle.
The outnumbered French quickly broke. Mercifully, Napoleon died,
thus ending the game with a quick and decisive Allied win.
Well done Phil! Somewhere echoing off in the distance could be
heard the lilting voice of Chris reminding Jeff to always bid
one more for the Allies. It's a simple rule!
The Finals matched Phil Rennert against Scott Cornett -- who
was left to defend the family honor and try to extend their
tag-team Napoleon tournament domination.
For the third year in a row, the bid in the Final was raised
to 10 for the choice of sides. As Phil improved 10 French "Super-Cav"
and "Super-Cannons", Scott setup his patented "Autobahn
Defense". Phil, by virtue of making it to the Final, now
earns the honor to have his French opening named after himself.
Concentrating the entire French army on the left without even
bothering with any kind of decoy distraction on the Prussian
flank, we saw the introduction of the "Rennert Echelon
Left" patient French attack. The French bravely marched
overland at a steady pace with no hasty force marching to incur
The French arrived at dawn and proceeded through a series of
casual but successful assaults turn after turn on Ghent. Each
turn, the Allies would recapture Ghent (yet after losing a block),
but then lightly defend it while shifting back to concentrate
on the defense of Brussels.
As the French night turn approached, Scott found a chance to
pounce on a nearly surrounded force of nine units in Grammont.
The key word was "nearly". Phil smartly withdrew from
battle -- with his cavalry essentially gaining a bonus move
on the retreat. The French army was effectively able to shift
its power toward Brussels ready to attack at dawn. The victorious
Allies were left regrouping in the wilderness a long way from
Brussels and needing to force march home.
At this point in the game, the English had lost half a dozen
blocks, the Prussians had lost a couple (with six more hanging
out in Leige), while the French had lost ten -- yet mostly just
light infantry. The French had concentrated their forces including
most of their well-rested Super-Cav and Super-Cannons for a dawn
assault on Brussels.
Soon after the battle began, the Allies hastily withdrew from
the battle -- preferring to fight again on their immediate next
turn through their own counterattack with all available English
and Prussians present and with the Allies gaining a setup advantage.
It would prove to be a nail-biter of a battle.
______________________ ______French Reserve______ ______________________
4 4 A A A A 1 1 1 1 1 .... French SuperCav
A A CCCCCCCCC ....
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 ....
A A A A A A ....
Allied Grand Battery
Allied Left Allied Reserve Allied Right
The Allies counterattacked Brussels. After seeing the French
setup, they concentrated their grand battery in the middle.
The French artillery were distributed evenly among the flanks.
The Allies charged their right flank intending to silence these
guns and deal a crushing blow with massed cavalry. However,
the French Super-Cav then massed and countercharged the Allied
cavalry. There was much bloodshed with the French cavalry slowly
gaining the upperhand. The Allies threw in all available infantry
reinforcements, yet were eventually reduced to a thin red line
of 1's rolling each turn for morale. The French were inevitably
going to win this flank.
In the middle of the battlefield, the Allied grand battery was
eating away at the French. The French middle was reduced to
1's. A steady stream of French "canon-fodder" was
now needed to reinforce the middle. Which would break first?
Meanwhile, on the Allied left where things had been quiet, the
French shifted their artillery to the middle n order to better
concentrate their own artillery file. The Allies now advanced
a couple of elite British infantry on the left to engage the
remaining pair of smaller French infantry. After a few hits,
the French were now becoming vulnerable there as well.
With all available French forces engaged (yet winning) on the
Allied right, the French were not able to disengage and quickly
enough reinforce their weakening other flank. Suddenly, before
either of the major combats in the middle or cavalry flank were
resolved, the small unit action on the Allied left failed French
morale and broke. Battle, game and tournament over.
It was a great Final match, with a decisive game-ending battle
for Brussels that could have gone either way. Scott credited
his win to the steady pounding from his grand battery in the
middle. Phil's cavalry charge (Super-Cav!) on the Allied right
was textbook perfect, but Scott was able to throw enough junk
into that flank to keep it hanging on. Ultimately, the little
skirmish on the left flank carried the day. In retrospect, Phil
made only one mistake that game -- (drum roll please) -- he
failed to bid one more for the Allies!!! (seems ike a simple
rule for a veteran gamer to remember).
Since his rookie year learning the game in 2001 and 2002, Scott
is now 10-1 in WBC tournament play over the last three years
-- winning the WBC twice, and losing only in last year's final
by failing an 80-1 morale die roll in his favor when he otherwise
had the game decisively won. Meanwhile, he has raised his AREA
rating by over 1000 points from just below average to around
6000. Other rookies should be encouraged by his example, and
also by the studious approach to this year's tournament by Phil.
Perhaps, next year encouraged by the example set by Phil, we
will see some of the wargame legends -- George, Matt, Dave,
and Tom to mention a few -- return to the Napoleon tournament.
Someday, might the great wargame Caesar even be lured to the
challenge? (James, are you out there listening?) And, oh yes,
when the wargame greats do finally dare return to the Napoleon
tournament, be sure to have the courage to (all in unison now),
bid one more for the Allies. It's a simple rule!
For more details on the tournament, go to:_http://members.aol.com/_ht_a/rabdwombat/wbctempl.htm_