bitter woods [Updated October 2006]  

2006 WBC Report    

 2007 Status: pending 2006 GM commitment

Steve Likevich, OH

2006 Champion

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WBC Event History
1999    Phil Evans     19
2000    Randy Heller     16
2001    Rich Ogata     14
2002    Tom Gregorio     16
2003    Bob Ryan     17
2004    Bob Ryan     20
2005    Randy Heller     20
2006    Steve Likevich     21

PBeM Event History
2000    Randy Heller     20
2001    Bob Ryan     27
2002    Tom Gregorio     25
2005    Phil Evans     27

 Laurels

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Randy Heller       NH    06    150
  2.  Bob Ryan           MI    05    116
  3.  Phil Evans         VA    05     94
  4.  Tom Gregorio       PA    06     91
  5.  Forrest Pafenberg  VA    06     45
  6.  Mike Mitchell      GA    02     38
  7.  Steve Likevich     OH    06     36
  8.  John Grant Jr      CT    01     35
  9.  Rich Ogata         VA    01     30
 10.  Mike Pacheco       CA    05     24
 11.  Dan Tierney        CA    05     18
 12.  Doug James         NC    06     15
 13.  Bruno Sinigaglio   AK    01     15
 14.  Bill Morse         VA    06      9
 15.  Marty Musella      VA    05      9
 16.  John Popiden       CA    04      9
 17.  Nick Frydas        UK    03      9
 18.  Jim Tracy          OH    05      7
 19.  Jeff Hacker        PA    05      6
 20.  Lance Roberts      AK    05      3
 21.  Rob Mull           CO    02      3
 22.  Chris Roginsky     PA    01      3
 23.  Paul Koenig        CA    00      3
 24.  Rob Beyma          MD    02      2
        

2006 Laurelists

Randy Heller, NH
2nd

Tom Gregorio, PA
3rd

Bill Morse, VA
4th

Doug James, NC
5th

Forrest Pafenberg, VA
6th


Past Winners

Phil Evans, VA
1999

Randy Heller, MD
2000, 2005

Rich Ogata, VA
2001

Tom Gregorio, PA
2002

Bob Ryan, MI
2003-04


 While most of the hex style wargames have resorted to Free Form scheduling to survive, Bitter Woods eschewed that format and drew its largest field ever.

 Steve Likevich (at right) with tweezers in hand on his way to victory and a 5-0 record without need of a Mulligan or bye in five rounds

Designer Denied ...

26 games were played in this year's tournament, with the German victorious in 16 of them. The majority of games played used the default 6-turn tournament scenario. Last year, when the default was the 8-turn tournament scenario, the Allied players held a slight edge in wins. However, the greater number of German victories this year was most likely due to a statistical swing and player match-ups than to any real advantage in the shorter scenario since both scenarios have proven to be balanced in years of tournament play. Sides during the tournament were determined by preference, or a die roll if necessary.

The tournament was single elimination, but with an opening mulligan round where the losers got another chance in the first round and the winners could skip over to the second round. Veterans Bruno Sinigaglio, Bob Ryan, Forest Pafenberg, John Popiden, and defending champion Randy Heller won their mulligan round games over Lance Roberts, Chris Storzillo, Doug James, Steve Brooks, and Roger Eastep, respectively. Bruno's game against Lance ended quickly and decisively with the capture of Bastogne on the 17 AM turn, while Randy played a flawless Allied defense to completely stymie Roger's German assaults. Marty Musella, last year's "rookie" award winner and fourth place Laurelist, lost a close mulligan round game to Mike Mitchell where, despite rolling five "6's" in the German opening attacks and continuing with bad die rolls until the middle of the game (including three "engaged" results against Clervaux!), Mike managed to turn the tide, surrounding several American units and capturing a difficult victory city, Eupen, to win the game. Bill Morse, a blow-out winner in the first game of the pbem Bitter Woods campaign game ladder, was also a winner in the mulligan round with a decisive victory over Dick Jarvinen.

Several veterans skipped the mulligan round and began play in the first round on Wednesday morning. Tom Gregorio, last year's runnerup, defeated Jeff Hacker, aided by Jeff's failure to cover a fuel dump. Steve Likevich as the Allied player beat newcomer Charles Drodz when the Germans were stalled on the opening attacks and the 7th Army went out of supply because of a failure to set up garrisons. Not even the successful drop of the Von der Heydte companies and the subsequent delay of Allied reinforcements were enough to pull out a German victory. Marty Musella redeemed his mulligan 0loss by defeating Vic Alonzo's Americans. German progress against a solid Allied defense was slow initially, but the 17 AM Peiper breakout helped surround the bulk of the 2nd Infantry Division at Eisenborn, with spearhead units nearing Malmedy. The real blow to the Americans came in the center and south where two reserve units captured Bastogne and Martelange. A US counterattack on Bastogne reduced the German recon unit, but failed to retake the city. On the 17 PM turn, the Germans cleared the road to Bastogne and took Noville, at which point Vic conceded. In the three remaining first round games, Doug James won over John Hasay in a game ended by time, Lance Roberts defeated Dick Jarvinen by taking a fuel dump and eliminating an American unit on the last turn, and Kevin Hacker (Germans) defeated Dan Dolan (Allies).

The second round had Steve Likevich (Germans) matched against two-time champion Bob Ryan. After a weak German opening with no kills and only one American unit trapped, the die got hot for Steve in the next two turns with seven US units eliminated. A successful bombardment of Bastogne took the town and a coup by the 12SS took Eupen when the Allies tried to eliminate Peiper, and victory went to the Germans. Marty Musella's Germans were only able to make small advances against Tom Gregorio's tenacious defense, despite four early "D4" die roll results. Even the Peiper breakout had limited impact. On the last turn, the Germans fell two kills short of the 12 needed to gain the victory point and win the game. In his game against Kevin Hacker, Doug James's Germans had good luck on the opening turn, and one of the US 2nd Infantry Division units was lost on the second turn. Kevin's forces attempted to destroy two surrounded 2nd Panzer division units. The attack failed, but the diverted forces were missed on both the southern and northern flanks. Eight US units were cut off on the 17 AM turn. Eupen fell on 17 PM and with Bastogne obviously to follow, Kevin conceded. In the game between Bruno Sinigaglio (Germans) and Michael Mitchell, following successful unit surrounds, bridge building and road blocking on the first turn, the Germans used two Angriff attacks during the 16 PM to trap three units. The Americans regrouped, preventing the Peiper breakout from doing any damage, but the Germans won a 2 to1 attack that cut a vital reinforcement route to the center. The 17 PM turn saw another Adv 4 Angriff cutting off the units guarding the Malmedy crossing. The shortage of units in the center proved to be the Allied undoing as the Germans rolled a 1D4 for a major breakthrough, and another victory for Bruno. Bill Morse ended Lance Roberts' hopes of improving on his 6th place finish last year with his Germans achieving several early unit surrounds, and a major breakthrough for Brandenberger and the 5/15 in the south when the 4/12 was driven from Esch-sur-Sure. With the advance of the 5/15 and Brandenberger near Bastogne, Lance resigned. John Popiden's opening attacks against Forest Pafenberg's Allies produced "Engaged" results for virtually all attacks north of Clervaux. The Germans recovered enough to surround several US units with the Peiper breakout and the Skorzeny sneak, but not enough to prevent the Allies from holding on for a victory. To prove that his first round victory over Roger Eastep wasn't a fluke, Randy Heller defeated the Germans handily again as the Allies when Roger stepped in to play as an eliminator.

Randy Heller received a bye in the quarter finals (third round) because he was last year's tournament winner. Forest Pafenberg took on Tom Gregorio's Allies, and despite a great offense, his Germans were thwarted by the SS atrocities random event and the use of air interdiction by the US to seal the flanks. But the Lehr Recon unit caused havoc and ultimately the Germans prevailed. In one of the tightest contests of the tournament, Doug James's Germans fell just short of a win, ending the game next to three victory point locations and with 11 kills of Steve Likevich's Allied units. Veteran Bruno Sinigaglio found Bill Morse to be for real in their grueling game which went into the early hours of the morning and had to be completed later that day. The German attacks in the north and center completely stalled against Bruno's Allied defense, but both bridges were built in the south. Bruno sacrificed several reduced units in the north to solidify the northern shoulder, thwarting Peiper. In the center, the 2nd Panzer drove on Bastogne and Noville, taking the latter town. During the 18 PM turn, the Germans killed four US units, to bring the total to the 12 needed for a victory point, and with that, a hard-fought German win.

The semi-final found Randy Heller matched against Bill Morse. The German (Bill) opening combat results were less than stellar. However, the bridge in front of Clervaux was built. The Peiper breakout was thwarted by a retreating Allied armored cavalry unit, which blocked Peiper from attacking and advancing next to Trois Ponts. The Skorzeny sneak was successful, resulting in the destruction of an additional defending unit. 18 AM proved to be the key turn of the game. The German player set up an Angriff attack that would have provided an opening for a mechanized unit in reserve to move through the Allied lines during exploitation and capture Parker's Crossroads. The odds were 5 out of 6 for success, but alas Bill rolled the dreaded "6" and the game ended with an Allied victory. In the Likevich-Gregorio match, Steve's Germans cut off the 2nd Infantry Division units in Wahlerscheid in the opening attacks with advances in Hofen and Rocherath Krinkelt, with further help from a D4 result against the 14th Armored Cavalry. The Allied resistance stiffened during the 16 PM turn. But Peiper destroyed the artillery in front of Hofen, also cutting off the AC and enabling it to be destroyed. It was nip and tuck the rest of the way. An Angriff into Noville gave the Germans the third victory point. Tom almost pulled it out by destroying three German mechanized/armor units, but couldn't bag the fourth.

After a day to ponder their strategies, Randy Heller and Steve Likevich met for the championship. They agreed to play the 8-turn tournament scenario, and Randy played the Allies for the fourth time. The German opening was average, with bridges built in the south and in front of Clervaux, and a trap of the 106/422. But there was no push of the 14th Armored Cavalry and no advance into Rocherath Krinkelt. Randy employed an "anti-Angriff" defense, but a D4 against Clervaux trapped it, resulting in a good advance toward Bastogne. Allied luck got worse as the game continued, with the Germans getting the only die rolls that could win in attacks against Malmedy for three turns in a row, and Randy rolling a "6" on a 5 to 1 attack that would have enabled the US to hold Parker's Crossroads had it been anything but that result. Randy resigned on the 19 AM turn with 21 losses, and Bastogne and Neufchateau held by the Germans. With the victory came Steve's first championship in WBC play of Bitter Woods.

Overall, the tournament was a GM's dream, with no adjudications necessary and really no disputes, thanks to an outstanding group of players. Also much appreciated was the assistance of the Assistant GM's, Bruno Sinigaglio and Doug Porterfield. A special thanks to all of the participants who completed the reports on their games. The winner of the random drawing for the door prize for those who turned in a report was Tom Gregorio. Hopefully his prize, a new dice tower built by Craig Yope, will bring him luck in future tournaments!

 GM      Roger Eastep  [1st Year]  16456 Tomahawk Dr., Gaithersburg, MD 20878
    roger-e@verizon.net   301-208-9354

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