If at first you don't succeed ...
At the start: Joe Powell (right) vs
Tim Opinaldo in the first round.
GM Craig Yope (left) is pressed
into duty as an Eliminator in his own tournament.
At the end: Joe Powell goes
5-0 in the Final match vs Andrew Murphy (right).
Joe Powell finally does it! Joe is known for his persistence.
As a longtime member of the Avalon Hill Football Strategy league,
his record was noteworthy for two very different seasons: going
winless in his first year and for eventually coming as close
to an undefeated season as anyone ever got.
After years of trying (and a few near misses), Joe won the
2006 tournament. His time spent reviewing the successful strategies
of last year were rewarded with an undefeated run to the top.
Taking a cue from last years' champ, Joe made sure he kept track
of the all-important Victory Territories (VTs) while his games
progressed. Proper late game planning was key to ensure that
the necessary VTs were in reach and that, once taken, they could
Day 1- Swiss Action:
The first day was a big improvement, with more players participating
in the first round (24) than had played all last year (19). A
total of 28 players eventually battled in 25 games during the
swiss portion of the event.
The first round had a high percentage (67%) of concession
games. After that, the second and third round games settled into
a more predictable pattern of play - going the full four and
a half hours and using the VT Scoring System to determine the
This "tightening up" of the game play is a product
of the advancement system in which the top four players move
on to play in the Single Elimination (SE) play of the second
day. By the third round there were five players with two wins
plus another five with 1-1 records fighting for four precious
slots in SE play.
I have three different player stories from the swiss rounds,
that highlight the intense action to determine who moved on to
This is from Joe Powell about his first round game against
newcomer Tim Opinaldo:
"On Turn 6, Germany fell. That led to Allied capture
of the victory territory in Southern Europe on Turn 7.
However, the Axis still held many victory territories at the
end of Turn 6. I knew that due to time limits Turn 7 would be
the last turn.
During the Russian turn, I counted victory territories. Figuring
out the rest of the turn for all the countries, I knew I needed
to capture two territories. Much to my pleasant surprise, Tim
evacuated Caucasus. Also, although I could attack Russia (Moscow),
Tim did not reinforce Novosibirsk to the maximum extent. Tim
was holding forces in Russia (Moscow) and even moving forces
there from Caucasus.
During Germany's turn I captured Caucasus by amphibious assault
from Egypt. During Japan's turn I captured Novosibirsk. Those
two captures won the game with 13 victory territories.
At the end of the game Tim and I counted up the Victory Territories,
the Axis had 13 and the Allies had 11.
After Russia's move on Turn 7 of the game, I thought I would
win the game with 13 victory territories, believing I would capture
Caucasus and Novosibirsk. I was very quiet about the game situation
since I believed I could still win the game.
When we counted Victory Territories, Tim read off the territories
as he and I both counted them up. Archangel was his 11th Victory
Territory. Caucasus and Novosibirsk were my final two VTs that
gave me 13 for the win.
On Turn 6 when Germany fell, I remembered that Charles Michalek
had won games in 2005 on the basis of Victory Territories even
though his IPC was lower. I knew the Victory Territories by memory
derived from experience and practice, while I am not sure whether
Tim knew the Victory Territories until we counted them at the
My second round game with Joe Morris had a similar result,
with him capturing Germany on Turn 6. The game ended then due
to time limits, but the Axis held 14 Victory Territories."
This is from Andrew Long about the most bizarre game of the
event, his third round match against eventual runner-up Andrew
"You're welcome to include my sad story. My stupid mistake
determined which of four people faced my dad in the semi. About
midway through our game, Murphy left his fleet off of Japan but
had no ground troops defending. I destroyed his fleet with the
U.S. and took over Japan. Britain took out the remaining Japanese
sealing Japan's doom. However, that turn Germany, having held
Africa the entire game, managed to take Russia and no allied
troops could take it back.
Consequently, it was a huge U.S. vs. an even larger Germany.
Germany definitely had the upper hand, though, being very well
established on the largest land mass.
U.S. was trying to get back on the Asian mainland as soon
as possible and threw all its resources for several turns into
the Pacific theater. Meanwhile, Germany sent a transport down
to take Brazil.
I saw it and knew that I must protect my East coast capital,
but when my turn came I was playing fast to squeeze as many turns
as possible into our game to give me more of a chance and I completely
forgot about his German transport. Right after I completed my
turn I realized what I'd done. A German tank and a man took my
U.S. capital and the next turn took the West Coast and sealed
the game and my chance at the semis.
The crazy thing is, if I had not lost the two U.S. VTs then
I would have had more total VTs from all three games than the
three people (including Murphy) who were tied for fourth place--even
though I would have lost the game to Murphy. In addition, the
fact that I lost those particular VTs gave Murphy the huge IPC
boost he needed to outstrip the other two people he was tied
with. However, I suppose it's for the best...I mean, patricide
is not as accepted as it used to be."
This quick summary by Matt Tolman about his third round game
against James D. Long succinctly describes the nature of the
games played in the later rounds:
"My third game was a closely fought battle. In spite
of a sneak attack by two German transports and a large number
of planes that managed to take the UK capitol, the allies fought
back and ended with a Victory Territory tie after 7 rounds of
back and forth fighting. The IPC count was also close, which
just goes to show that in a tight game every territory counts
- not just the VTs - even on the last round of play."
As the sun was setting on the end of a long first day, I was
furiously figuring out the tie-breakers to see which one, of
three possible players, would fill the final SE slot.
The top two seeds - James D. Long and Joe Powell - both sported
3-0 records. Next came Philip Shea as the top player with a 2-1
record. Now to the log jam!
Former champ Kevin Keller, along with two newcomers, Andrew
Murphy and Matt Tolman, posted 2-1 records and were all tied
at 45 VTs. The next tie-breaker is which player had the greatest
IPC percentage increase total from all three games.
As highlighted by the earlier stories, Andrew Murphy rode
the wave of his final game against Andrew Long to grab the final
spot in the SE play. Conversely, Matt Tolman not only lost his
last game based on the second tie-breaker for determining a game
(whichever side increased its IPC total) after having the game
end in a VT tie, but that negative IPC result coupled with a
narrow victory in the second round diminished his chances if
he were to end up in a tie with others.
The moral of the story in this case is - Just win, baby! Well,
yes, but more to the point is the fact that Matt Tolman needed
just one more VT to win the game and ensure his place in the
SE rounds with a 3-0 record and 46 VTs. To go with that, his
opponent, James D. Long, even with an 11 VT loss, would still
have made it into SE play as the top 2-1 player with 49 VTs.
Such are the fortunes of war.
Kevin Keller was the victim of his third round defeat to the
"Wandering A&A Hit Man" John Sharp III. J.S.III
came out of the gate strong against the eventual eighth-place
finisher Art Linse (2-1, 38 VTs) and then proceeded to disappear
to play some game called Titan. Then he came waltzing
back just in time to ruin Kevin's day! What might he have done
had he played all three rounds?
Seventh place is a long fall, but that is where Andrew Long
ended up after his fatal blunder in the game above. After the
second round, he had been in second (2-0, 36 VTs), right behind
his father (2-0, 38 VTs). Even a "good" loss of 10
VTs (instead of the eight he garnered in the third round) would
not only have put him into the SE play but would also have knocked
Andrew Murphy out. 9 VTs would have put him in the three-way
tie at 45 VTs instead of Andrew Murphy, but the IPC percentages
would still have been against him.
Day 2- Single Elimination Play:
The second day dawned on two semi-final matches of great interest.
The first pitted the top seed James D. Long against the fourth
seeded Andrew Murphy with the second game matching up two veteran
campaigners, second seeded Joe Powell against third seeded Philip
In the first game, Andrew Murphy's Axis made some serious
early headway and James D. Long's Allies were scrambling the
rest of the game. They fought on valiantly with an eye on the
other semi-final match to see whether he could scrape out a good
enough game to get third place, but it became quite clear late
in the round that the other game was too tight an affair for
him to place any higher.
The second game had Philip Shea's Allies trying to crack Joe
Powell's Axis hold. As time slipped away, the USSR slowly crumbled
under the German onslaught. In the last round of play, the UK
was tasked with the taking of multiple VTs to save the day for
the Allies. Once the attack on Archangel failed, the game was
over. Too much to do with too little resources.
These wins brought us to the final game between Joe Powell
and Andrew Murphy. While waiting for Joe to come back from a
restroom break before the beginning of the Final, Andrew asked
me what side(s) had Joe played in his previous games. I informed
him that Joe had played the Axis in all four previous games.
I then pulled out the info on Andrew as Joe returned to the
table. Joe immediately turned to me and asked the same question
concerning the side(s) played about Andrew. I laughed and related
to him what had just transpired while he was away. Andrew also
had been the Axis in all four previous games.
This set up an interesting quandary for both players. Do you
stick with the side that got you there and risk giving away too
much in the bid process, or do you step out of your comfort zone
and play the non-preferred side with a large IPC bid.
The bid quickly got to Allies (+8) with Andrew having to decide
whether to take it or counter with more to play the preferred
Axis. He took the Allies (+8) and Joe later revealed that he
would have jumped all over an Allies (+9) bid if it had come
back to him.
That set the stage for a close game in which the IPC totals
ended up being almost the same as the beginning of the game (Axis
increased by 2), but once again Joe worked the board to gather
up 14 VTs to Andrew's 10 VTs.
After 25+ hours of wargaming carnage, Joe Powell had reached
WBC nirvana - his first Axis & Allies "wood"
... nay his first WBC wood period!
Once again, during each of the three rounds on the first day,
I drew a name from the participants present and awarded a door
prize. The first round winner was Don Tatum who chose to take
Xeno's World at War 2004 Edition. The second round winner was
James D. Long who picked up a copy of A&A D-Day. The third
round prize - a copy of A&A Revised- went to Nick Pei, who
had decided to hop into the event in the third round to finish
off his day of gaming.
Thanks to all who participated and made the event what it
is. I hope to see you all back next year and I hope you bring
all your friends. (And don't stay up until 5 am, the morning
of the event, like Alex Gregorio did and miss the first two rounds!!!!)
For statistical junkies, here is some of the data that I compiled.
For other info, please contact me at the email address below.
Swiss Play Results-
Seed/Name W - L Total VTs Total % Increase
1) James D. Long 3-0 50 85.54
2) Joe Powell 3-0 46 11.43
3) Philip Shea 2-1 48 89.89
4) Andrew Murphy 2-1 45 115.12
5) Kevin Keller 2-1 45 44.29
6) Matt Tolman 2-1 45 28.12
7) Andrew Long 2-1 44 (-) 6.25
8) Arthur Linse 2-1 38 (-)17.32
9) Dan Pasaric 1-2 32 (-) 6.09
10) John Sharp III 2-0 33 47.92
11) Tim Opinaldo 1-1 28 51.04
12) Marc Beauregard 0-2 15 (-) 44.20
13) Matt Daly 0-2 10 (-) 74.11
14) Don Tatum 1-0 16 21.43
15) Ty Hansen 1-0 15 35.71
16) Craig Yope 1-0 13 (-) 2.86
17) Dylan Routh 0-1 11 2.08
18) Keith Levy 0-1 9 (-) 25.04
19) Joe Morris 0-1 7 3.13
20) John Barringer 0-1 7 (-) 44.29
21) Frank Mestre 0-1 5 (-) 31.25
21) Joe Collinson 0-1 5 (-) 31.25
21) David Huss 0-1 5 (-) 31.25
21) Kevin Broh-Kahn 0-1 5 (-) 31.25
21) Nick Pei 0-1 5 (-) 31.25
26) Arthur Whitaker 0-1 5 (-) 42.86
26) Pat Mirk 0-1 5 (-) 42.86
26) Alex Gregorio 0-1 5 (-) 42.86
Single Elimination Results-
(4) Andrew Murphy [Axis] d. (1) James D. Long [Allies] by a score
of 16 VTs (99 IPCs) to 8 VTs (67 IPCs) in 6r Rds with the Allies
receiving a bid of 2 IPCs
(2) Joe Powell [Axis] d. (3) Philip Shea [Allies] by a score
of 16 VTs (85 IPCs) to 8 VTs (81 IPCs) in 5 Rds with the Allies
receiving a bid of 8 IPCs
(2) Joe Powell [Axis] d. (4) Andrew Murphy [Allies] by a score
of 14 VTs (72 IPCs) to 10 VTs (94 IPCs) in 5 Rds with the Allies
receiving a bid of 8 IPCs
Full Tournament Stats-
Wins- Wins By Concession-
Rd #- Axis- Allies- Axis- Allies-
1) 9 3 5 3
2) 3 4 0 1
3) 4 2 2 1
16 9 7 5
SF) 2 0 0 0
F) 1 0 0 0
19 9 7 5
Record With Bids (W-L); Record With No Bid (W-L)-
Axis- Allies; Axis- Allies-
2 - 2 3 - 10 7 - 4 4 -7
Axis- 4.25 IPCs Allies- 3.38 IPCs
Average Rounds Played-
Concession Games- 4.5 rds
Non-Concession Games- 5.9 rds
Quality Games Stats-
In what I term "Quality Games" (games that don't end
in a concession), these are the applicable stats:
Total Games- 16
Axis Wins- 12
Allies Wins- 4
No Bid- 4 Axis (3-1) /Allies (1-3)
Axis Bid- 2 1-1
Allies Bid- 10 2-8
Average Axis Bid- 5.5 IPCs
Average Allies Bid- 3.6 IPCs
Average VTs/IPCs for an Axis win- 14.58/81.58
Average VTs/IPCs for an Allies win- 15.5/110
Average Rounds Played- 5.94 rds