Runner-Up No More ...
GM Andrew Cummins (right) gives
a quick tour of "a bridge too far" at the Demo preceding
the tournament to several enthralled newcomers.
Ken Nied (left) and Mark Gutfreund
take a break from Normandy's beaches to admire bridges. Mark
had been an apt learner in the demo at left.
The shelling has stopped in Holland to reveal Dave Long as
the new Monty's Gamble champion breaking his previous record
of two runner-up finishes.
The starting count of 16 players was perfect for single elimination
and the result was in by the end of the day after 15 games in
four tidy rounds.
Unlike previous tournaments where the wins per side were relatively
even, the Allies triumphed in two-thirds of the games despite
little bidding for either side.
Another change from previous results has been the decline
in German recaptures of Arnhem, only one happening in all of
the games played. This is probably due to changing German strategies
emphasizing passing reinforcements through to the Island to defend
Nijmegen / Oosterhout rather than making the risky assault against
a well defended Arnhem.
Bucking the trends, Long took and won with the Germans in
three of his four games. Nijmegen was seized by the Allies in
60% of the games but this didn't prove to be a valid indicator
of eventual victory as the ratio remained constant whether the
Germans won or lost.
Four years in, strategies are still developing with this game
as both the Allies and the Germans revealed new wrinkles in play.
As is usual with this game, contests were tight with the results
typically going down to the wire.
The game where my Allies faced David Long's Germans in the
Final was fairly typical.
The first day saw a good set of paradrops with Arnhem well
reinforced, the 82nd & 101st landing well with Wyler falling
to an early attack. 30th Corps' initial attack stalled, failing
to contest Eindhoven, requiring the long route up the road having
to be established via Breugel. The second day saw some crucial
rolls by the Allies to succeed in clearing German infantry speed
bumps with limited resources, allowing them to get back on track
for an early Nijmegen assault. On the third day German armour
was passed through Arnhem to Nijmegen being roughly handled but
succeeding in preventing an early fall of the city. The day closed
with German forces contesting the highway at Eerde, restricting
Allied supply. With the start of the fourth as the weakened Allies
pounded on the Nijmegen defenders, the Germans replied with a
coup-de-main bombardment and then clearance on Wyler. Nijmegen
then fell with the bridge intact leaving the Allies needing to
clear Oosterhout and gain the advantage for the game. The Germans
fed in their remaining defenders piecemeal, holding up against
the Allied assaults long enough for an impulse five day-end to
give the game to Dave Long's German's for a well-deserved victory.
The first Monty's Gamble: Market Garden PBeM tournament has
concluded on schedule. We began with 30 players who were paired
at random and were given the flexibility to agree amongst themselves
which side to play (we allowed the players to do this throughout
the tournament). Some picked randomly, some used bidding, and
some were just selected by talking it out - true comeraderie
between gamers wanting to enjoy a good game.
The first round shook out a few of the newer players, guys
who had time issues, etc. but all but one game finished somewhat
around the same time, making the pairings for Round 2 convenient.
The round ended with five Allied and seven Axis wins with three
games not recorded in my record book as to which side won and
which will remain lost to history. (Sorry!)
Round 2 featured eight games (what? Only 15 advanced?) with
the last game using the designated "assassin" Philip
Watkins (he signed on late, and agreed to be an eliminator in
Round 2 - thanks for volunteering Philip!) Round 2 also featured
more of my poor record keeping with two Allied and three German
wins with three unrecorded. I did notice Ken Dunn didn't report
sides in both Round 1 and 2 games, thanks for the help Ken. 8)
Round 3 featured some "name" players (at least on
CSW's area movement scene!). Ken Dunn, Tod Whitehurst, Rob Mull,
Ed Karpowicz, Bryan Thompson, Patrick Havert, Dave Long, and
Michael Kaye formed the survivors for Round 3 which ended with
three Allied and one German win. Ken Dunn's Germans were the
sole defenders of Hell's Highway to hang on.
The Round 4 semi-final saw Rob Mull take on Ken Dunn and Tod
Whitehurst versus Brad Markoowicz. Checking back on CSW, you
can see some AARs on these games, btw. Most guys were -very-
good about not talking about in-progress games. Thanks for that,
guys! In this round Ken emailed me and said his only hope was
a four-corners offensive. I asked what that was, he responded
"by playing so slow my opponent quits out of boredom!".
Rob ground on, and defeated Ken's troops. Tod beat Ed in a very
fast round, i'm not sure they didn't play FTF!
This left the Final matchup of Rob Mull (Allies) versus
Tod Whitehurst. Monty started the day with a poor air bombardment
phase and a tough landing. I think about six units got interdicted.
He did however take Grave and Wyler while the Germans infiltrated
Oosterbeek and Arnhem. XXX corps was slow getting out of the
gate but a long day (going to impulse 9) allowed him to finally
contest Eindhoven and he went way east into Helmond, Gemert
and got two non-armor units into Veghel. All the bridges
bordering St. Oedenrode were blown and the German Flak unit
was still fresh. Overcast struck the board on impulse 8 and
two units from Zone C moved to Mill. At the end of the day
both players were in precarious positions.
The second day was another difficult turn for the allied player.
It started on impulse 1 and the very first impulse found the
German 10th and 9th SS overrunning two 1st airborne units in
Arnhem. Already with the advantage, the German player took a
-2 on the SS DRM. Given this situation, the allies were still
able to get five impulses before the day ended, but was diced
in all but one attack. Repulsed in Elden, one CP in Zeeland,
air whiffed in Elden as well. The only bright spot was the overrunning
of the FT unit in St. Oedenrode. XXX corps never made it across
the Maas so the reinforcements were not released. The Germans
meantime were funneling units into the island. The weather roll
for the third day ,always an important roll, now appeared to
be crucial to this contest.
The third day began overcast which was a devastating blow
to the allied player. If it had been clear the allied player
might have been able to interdict some of the flow of german
units flooding into the island. But as it was, the German reinforced
Nijmegen heavily. Hateret became a real battleground with the
Allies first overrunning it. The Germans responded by pounding
it with artillerym but the allies reinforced it. The Germans
pounded some more and on the next to last impulse overran the
three disrupted allied units.
In between all the action in Hateret was a nice move by the
allies to recapture the advantage and get a +1 SS DRM by killing
two German units in the center and two in the Eindhoven/Acht.
There were many bombardment attempts into Best which was heavily
fortified but little damage was done. Although the allies finally
released the 9/18 reinforcements and positioned them in Overasselt
it was not enough to overcome a strong German position. With
Arnhem, Nijmegin and Best firmly in German hands and a strong
counterattack brewing to retake Wyler the allied prospects of
achieving 10VP were next to nil. The first MGM PBeM tournament
ended with a German win. Monty had to concede at the end of day
3 after much bitter fighting and bad luck.
So laurels all around to:
1) Tod Whitehurst
2) Rob Mull
4) Ken Dunn
4) Ed Karpowicz
5) Dave Long
6) Michael Kaye
Thanks for participating, guys! Great job on quick turnarounds
and minimal rules questions. I think everyone had a good time,
and we're all looking forward to another being run (Tod W.
is going to take over GMing duties due to my responsibilities
at MMP taking up so much time).