the russian campaign [Updated October 2005]  

2005 WBC Report  

 2006 Status: pending 2006 GM commitment

Doug James, NC

2005 Champion


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AREA Ratings

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Event History
1991    Rob Beyma      31
1992    Alan Frappier      26
1993    Ed O'Connor      20
1994    Jeff Martin      16
1995    Rob Beyma      16
1996    Tom Gregorio      20
1997    Gary Dickson      24
1998    Gary Dickson      27
1999    Gary Dickson     26
2000    Doug James     30
2001    Phil Evans     27
2002    Tom Gregorio     30
2003     Doug James     30
2004    Tom Gregorio     36
2005     Doug James     33

PBeM Event History
1999    Gary Dickson      19
2000    Gary Dickson      22
2001    Doug James      23
2002    Gary Dickson      44
2003    Tom Gregorio     40

 Laurels

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Tom Gregorio       PA    05    221
  2.  Doug James         NC    05    181
  3.  Gary Dickson       CA    02    167
  4.  Rob Beyma          MD    05     76
  5.  Phil Evans         VA    04     63
  6.  Pat Flory          CT    05     61
  7.  George Karahalios  IL    05     42
  8.  Art Lupinacci      ON    02     40
  9.  Joe Collinson      MD    04     36
 10.  Dave Ketchum       FL    04     36
 11.  Alan Zasada        IL    02     24
 12.  Mike Pacheco       CA    05     20
 13.  Allen Kaplan       NJ    05     16
 14.  Ed O'Connor        NJ    03     16
 15.  Jim Eliason        IA    05     14
 16.  Forrst Pafenberg   VA    02     13
 17.  Jeff Martin        CT    05     12
 18.  Jeff Lange         AE    04     10
 19.  Brad Frisby        MD    01      8
 20.  John Bullis        WI    02      6
 21.  Rob McCracken      DE    05      5
 22,  Marty Musella      VA    99      3
          

2005 Laurelists

Tom Gregorio, PA
2nd

Rob Beyma, MD
3rd

Jeff Martin, CT
4th

Allen Kaplan, NJ
5th

George Karahalios,IL
6th


Past Winners

Rob Beyma, MD
1991, 1995

Alan Frappier, CT
1992

Ed O'Connor, NJ
1993

Jeff Martin, CT
1994

Tom Gregorio, PA
'96, '02, '04

Gary Dickson, CA
1997-1999

Doug James, NC
2000, 2003

Phil Evans, VA
2001


TRC Champion: There can be only one...

The 15th year was a good one for TRC. Despite the turmoil associated with the move to Lancaster, TRC again crossed the 32-participant mark. If everyone who'd wanted to play TRC had woken up in time, or gotten on the road earlier, we would have set a participation record! The following are my impressions, recollections, and records of the event, interspersed with comments from others I've received as well as a few Lancaster anecdotes.

As always, TRC things got started with a demo on Thursday night. We had a half-dozen folks appear and a couple of newbies listened attentively. At least one of them went on to play in the Mulligan. Demo conditions were not entirely favorable, the quarters were cramped and the smell of sauerkraut and overripe gamers pervaded the downstairs foyer. The mulligan round then took place with 24 eager participants. One player tried to use his old TRC3 set but his opponent protested and, after a version 'upgrade', the tournament proceeded apace with only TRC4 sets to be seen. The event's youngest participant ever put in an appearance, Alex Gregorio (10), and he enjoyed it enough to make a vow to return in 2006 and advance into round 2. The tournament scenario used was the time tested 10-turn scenario with bidding being used to allow either player to play the side they wanted. If they wanted to pay enough, in the form of extra Russian replacements. The updated TRC4 weather charts also help reduce the impact of this element of the game and the "Automatic Victory" for the Axis capturing Moscow was also in place. No game saw this event happening this year.

Friday morning saw 14 players, some of them trying to make up for losses in the mulligan round, dueling it out in the hall. Lots of new faces in the first two rounds but, as is to be expected, the 2 PM round on Friday was made up of the regular grognards. It's difficult to make a 'sudden splash' in face-to-face tournament play but there is a lot of TRC experience 'out there' that can come back. Case in point, Jeff Martin, a prior champion from ten years ago, reappeared and got all the way to the quarter finals! A perfect 16 contestents posted for Round 2 and eight advanced to play their third match of the day at 7PM. Fifteen hours of TRC in one day is definitely a gruelling event and only the time clock pressure enabled this kind of pace to be set. Several matches went to the wire with one being called on account of clock expiration. Three-time champ Gary Dickson was uncermoniously dumped by Allan Kaplan; Allan's Germans displayed a remarkable ability to roll '6's on 3-1s in 1942 that gave Gary nightmares for the next several nights. As luck would have it, Tom Gregorio drew Art Lupinacci in a random draw (really!) for Round 2 for their fourth straight annual battle Art plans to retire from TRC now that his game "Russia Besieged" is in production; hopefully that will not be the case!

The final four players got down to it at 10 AM on Saturday. Doug James drew Rob Beyma and Tom Gregorio played Jeff Martin. Each had won the event before with EIGHT first place woods among them. In the Beyma/James match the Germans capitalized on Clear weather in S/O 41 but in N/D the Russians dealt some damage with the onset of Snow. Rob mastered the clock the first three turns but spent 28 minutes in N/D which definitely became a problem later on. Doug marshalled some impressive counterattacks in the winter and judicious partisan placement helped to hinder the recreation of a firm German defensive line. In the Gregorio/Martin match,Tom kept his casualties low to secure a summer of 42 victory. Of course, close to optimal weather, Clear/Mud/Light Mud also was a high hurdle for Jeff's Russians to overcome.

Saturday afternoon saw the Final get underway. Tom took the Germans with a relatively low bid of +6, meaning the Russians would get an extra replacement factor for the first six turns. Weather was not an issue as the Clear/Snow/Light Mud sequence is generally viewed as very balanced. Despite the clear in S/O 41, Doug was able to hold on to significant territory going into the winter and did manage to inflict significant casualties via some daring sea invasions into the German rear in conjunction with 1-1 and 2-1 frontal assaults. Coming out of winter, the Russians had a formidable front line army with an advanced front stretching from Leningrad to Smolensk to Dnepropetrovsk. Combat dice were relatively even but the risks of 4-1s were quite real as several '1's' were rolled at critical junctions. The Axis also had several multi-hex Stuka assaults that failed but the very fact that these were taking place indicated that all was not going well for the Wermacht. The Germans conceded in S/O 42 as it was quite apparent that, even though the Red Army had been dramatically reduced in size by concentric attacks, it still had the capability to more than adequately defend the victory point cities.

Doug James now joins Gary Dickson and Tom Gregorio as the proud owner of THREE WBC TRC 1st Place woods; Doug is also the current reigning TRC PBEM Ladder champion and the number one ranked TRC player in AREA so it's quite clear that he is the man to beat in 2006!

Quick Stats:
. The 32-player threshold was crossed when 34 people played 34 games in this, the 14th year of TRC.
. Six prior champions played, with twelve first place TRC woods on their walls.
. The Germans and russieans each won 17 games, so there is still some sort of balance to this game.
. One match was decided by the clock expiring.
. Nine matches went to the last game turn.
. Seven matches featured 'upsets', i.e., the lower seeded player winning.

One of the Lancaster highlights for me was an overheard exclamation by some exasperated nearby gamers: "He got three snakes. What can you do against three snakes?!" I thought at first they were talking about a roll of three1's but the continuing discussion made clear that the discussion was in reference to SNAKES, i.e., the reptiles. WBC definitely has a wide variety of games and I really question the complaints of those who decry the fact that their favorite game isn't being played; my main complaint is that I need to waste time sleeping during the week! Playing TRC is a serious time commitment but, in the end, the THIRTY hours+ that the event winner puts in are hours well spent.

Sunday AM passed quickly, with frantic packing and last minute gaming. Next year should be even better as I am determined to plan ahead to have a smooth running event that will ensure TRC-fans maximize their chances to play. One encouraging sign for me was that there were many games of TRC being played as pick-up games - kind of rare for a game that easily goes 6+ hours when a time clock isn't being used. In the coming year I will be thinking of ways to encourage younger players to participate as well as getting former players back into the fold. Increasing participation counts may entail some format changes; the players may be different, victory conditions may be adjusted, but, when it comes down to it, Russian campaign continues to be unpredictable and exciting down to the last die roll.

 GM      Tom Gregorio  [6th Year]   1650 Chadwyck Place, Blue Bell, PA 19422 
   gregorit@yahoo.com    NA

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