napoleon [Updated October 2006]  

2006 WBC Report  

 2007 Status: pending December Membership Vote

Jim Miller, VA

2006 Champion

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Event History
1993    Tom Scarborough      12
1994    Dave Durlacher        8
2000    Jeff Cornett     16
2001    George Seary     14
2002    Jeff Cornett     20
2003    Scott Cornett     17
2004    Jeff Cornett       8
2005    Scott Cornett     12
2006    Jim Miller       9

 Laurels

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Jeff Cornett       FL    06     92
  2.  Scott Cornett      FL    06     72
  3.  George Seary       NY    01     48
  4.  Tom Ruta           MA    01     32
  5.  Lane Newbury       TX    01     24
  6.  Matt Calkins       VA    02     21
  7.  Phil Rennert       VA    05     12
  8.  Jonathan Price     NJ    00     12
  9.  Jim Miller         VA    06     10
 10.  Larry Felton       PA    01      9
 11.  David Norquist     DC    00      9
 12.  Ron Draker         VA    05      6
 13.  David Earles       PA    00      6
 14.  Brad Merrill       ME    05      4
 15.  Carl Willner       MD    04      4
 16.  Chris Byrd         CT    02      4
 17.  Daniel Broh-Kahn   MD    06      3
 18.  Forrest Atterberry VA    04      3
 19.  Bill Place         MA    03      3
 20.  Michael Sincavage  VA    01      3
 21.  Larry Lingle       PA    00      3
 22.  Charlie Kersten    OH    05      2
 23.  John Lynch         NY    02      2
      

2006 Laurelists

Jeff Cornett, FL
2nd

Scott Cornett, FL
3rd

Daniel Broh-Kahn, MD
4th

-
5th

-
6th


Past Winners

Tom Scarborough, MO
1993

Dave Durlacher. IN
1994

Jeff Cornett, FL
2000, 2002, 2004

George Seary, NY
2001

Scott Cornett, FL
2003, 2005


Jim Miller (left) force marches his way to victory against GM Jeff Cornett.

A Mighty Cannonade

Among all the block wargames, Napoleon is unique in that battles are fought on a separate tactical map. Armies are moved on the campaign map but battles are won through a combination of cavalry, infantry and artillery combined arms tactics. This year's tournament had some truly great battles that resolved several exciting campaigns.
 
QUARTERFINALS:
One of the early highlights of the tournament was a second round rematch of last year's Finals opponents. This time the sides were reversed, but the bid was the same at a tournament high 10 step-increases to the French for the right to play the Allies. Playing the Allies this time, Phil Rennert set up the exact defense successfully used against him in last year's Finals. Scott Cornett was confronted for the first time with the challenge of how to crack his own patented Autobahn Defense.
 
The French advanced in force toward Liege while splitting off half a dozen units to assault Ghent. The British chased the French out of Ghent, but the forces needed to do this allowed the French to overwhelm the Prussians on the other front and seize Liege. The Prussians fell back toward Brussels while throwing out pickets. The Prussians soon dissolved from supply attrition. The Allies promptly surrendered in a match that lasted only an hour.
 
SEMI-FINAL #1:
The first semi-final matched five-time WBC finalist Jeff Cornett against veteran wargamer, Daniel Broh-Kahn, who had played over 100 games of Napoleon, but mostly the older Avalon Hill version of the game. Daniel settled for only one step increase to play the French, but it did not matter. Under Napoleon's personal leadership, six French cavalry force-marched to capture Ghent before nightfall. During the night they were surrounded. In the morning, the entire British army plus the Prussian cavalry easily defeated and captured Napoleon.
 
SEMI-FINAL #2:
The second semi-final matched defending champion, Scott Cornett, as the Allies (bid of 6), against Jim Miller, a veteran wargamer with but four games of Napoleon played prior to this tournament. Having just defeated his own Autobahn defense, Scott deviated from his usual Allied strategy and adopted the Cornett Center Defense used by his father. Jim's attack led to a exciting game with numerous combats on the tactical board. The following is Jim's personal account of how things went:
 
"The bid was for six extra steps for the French - all taken with cavalry. Napoleon's main thrust was along the Hal road towards Brussels with two five-unit groups aimed at Ghent and a six-unit diversion maneuvering in the direction of Liege. The allies shifted the bulk of the Prussian forces west to aid Wellington while a nine-unit force shadowed the French eastern diversion. June 16th saw Napoleon focusing too intently on what he was going to do to the Allies instead of what the allies could do to him. The French main force at Braine le Compte was caught by the converging Anglo-Dutch and Prussian forces and defeated, with the Grand Army retreating in haste to Soignes. Napoleon moved up a six-unit force to Enghien to cover the thrust towards Ghent and assist the Grand Army.
 
At this point the Allies' dilemma was whether to use their moves to again pound the Grand Army or to trap the French diversionary force heading towards Ghent in a surround attack and potentially eliminate it. The Allies chose the former resulting in another ignominious defeat of the Grand Army, which retreated to Mons, and the elimination of the French corps at Enghien. At this point, the French army was only five blocks from total collapse, with the only good news being that the French flanking force on the right had taken Liege and that on the left had occupied Ghent. Otherwise, the Allies have not lost a single block.
 
Fortunately for Napoleon, the fall of night allows him to gain a temporary reprieve from total destruction and concentrate the battered Grand Army at Ghent before the Allies can deliver the knock out blow. Needing only five more kills for a well earned victory, the Allies must decide between knocking out the Grand Army at Ghent or the diversionary corps holding Liege as they are both Allied supply cities. In a council of war, Wellington and Blucher decide to go after the Corsican ogre and thus reshuffle their forces for the final knockout blow in the battle of Ghent.
 
On the 17th, three columns of the combined Allied armies simultaneously storm Ghent. The battle opens with a massive Allied cannonade on the French right. In a desperation move, Napoleon launches every horseman he can still muster on the Allied right, a move that is immediately countered by the Allied cavalry. Remember those extra six French cavalry steps awarded from the bid? In a battle of attrition they prove decisive. Whereas the French cavalry has its finest day, the Allied horsemen seem confused as to which end of the sabre goes into the other guy, and the Allied grand battery appears to be using damp gunpowder.
 
While the carnage in the cavalry battle plays out, Napoleon launches three infantry divisions at the Allied center. The battle degenerates into a slugfest with most of the units being reduced to single steps, Wellington and Napoleon desperately rallying units in the cavalry battle and Blucher attempting to rally the Allied center. The Allied center finally cracks, and Napoleon wins a miracle victory having lost but a single additional block thanks to those six extra cavalry steps and a lucky Lego dice tower."
 
FINALS:
The lesson learned in last year's tournament was to always bid one more for the right to play the Allies. (It's a simple rule to remember.) However, Jeff's strategy was to play the French but at the exact same step-increase price Jim successfully used against his son in the semi-finals. If Jim could defeat both Cornetts bidding the same price, but playing each side once, he would certainly deserve the tournament win.
 
Jim set up using a slightly split defense, with the British surrounding Brussels, and the Prussians centered on Ligny with four cavalry dangled like a worm to entice the French to attack Charleroi. Jeff decided to pounce upon the Prussian flank before the British could arrive to save the day.
 
Thus, the Finals would be a strategy matchup between Miller's daring "Come and Get My Prussians" defense against Cornett's "Meet Me in Namur" French attack.
 
Napoleon force-marched the best of the French army to Ciney, Marche and Dinant on Turn 1, threatening the entire Prussian flank. The Prussians concentrated in Namur and Huy (minus their cavalry). The British grouped in Waterloo in preparation for a desperation force-march to reinforce the Prussians.
 
On Turn 2, the French crossed the Meuse river to attack the Prussians in both Namur and Huy. After a brief fight, the Prussians retreated from both battles, and were left with divided forces. The French reinforced with a strong concentration of forces in both cities. Six other French continued up toward Ghent, while five French light infantry straggled behind in Givet.
 
With the Prussians split into pieces, and the British a long ways away, prospects looked grim for the Allies. Their only chance was to force march the British to within reinforcing range of Namur, while sending the Prussians to engage in Namur while also attacking in Huy to tie down half the French army. The opening setup for the Allies in both battles looked bleak, but the Allies would have strong reinforcements to bring in each turn in Namur.
 
With most of the French cavalry in Huy, they charged the Prussian center on Turn 1 and broke the Prussian army on Turn 2. This quickly freed up reinforcements for the decisive battle in Namur.
 
The setup in Namur revealed the French grand battery concentrated on the French right, with only a few units of infantry to defend the center and left. The Allies were lightly defended in all three fronts with virtually no artillery, but with the Prussian cavalry available in reserve. The Allied cavalry charged the French left flank supported by light infantry. The Allies brought up desperately needed reinforcements. The French grand battery fired blanks on the right, while the French infantry formed square on the left.
 
Facing infantry in square, the Allied cavalry withdrew leaving their infantry while Allied reinforcements continued to flow into the battle. The French grand battery again proved not so grand, and the infantry on the left came out of square. Nevertheless, with the battle in Huy resolved, fresh super-cavalry (remember the bid of six step increases) began to arrive in reserve, while the grand battery should eventually overwhelm the enemy on the right.
 
In the spirit of just playing out the game, the Allies launched an all out cavalry charge in the middle using most of the British and Prussian cavalry. Caught with minimal defenders, the odds started to look uncertain for the French in the middle. The infantry in the middle had to form square, resulting in the French cavalry reinforcements in the middle being chewed up by the charging Allied cavalry.
 


As the French battery continued to unimpress on the right, the Allies reinforced that flank to create an even artillery duel. Meanwhile, the forces from both sides on the left flank became a mixture of 1's and 2's causing a slow moving battle of attrition. Napoleon and Wellington were working hard to rally their troops to keep fighting.
 
The battle in the middle was reinforced heavily from both sides with heavy casualties in fierce hand to hand combat. After initially just hanging on, the French cavalry in the middle finally proved superior. The Allies were reduced to one 1 there with other 1's disengaging. The five remaining French cavalry 2's now looked supreme on the battlefield, and began studying their targets of opportunity.
 
At this moment, the seven Allied cannons fired at long range against what was now only five strength points of French guns. This volley resulted incredibly in six hits (die rolls of 1). The remaining five strength of French artillery were obliterated in one devastating volley, thus breaking the flank, winning the battle and the game.
 
Jim's wargaming experience (and dice) proved decisive. Congratulations! He learned this game very quickly, and was near flawless on the tactical board. His inexperience in playing on the campaign map almost ruined him. However, aggressive force-marching allowed the Final to be closer then expected and resolved by dice (similar to the Semi-Final). One of the keys to winning Napoleon is to work the campaign map well enough so that the game comes down to a close battle that can be decided by good battle tactics (plus a little luck).
 
For more details and a complete history of the WBC Napoleon tournament, go to:
http://members.aol.com/_ht_a/rabdwombat/nap_review_2006.htm

 GM      Jeff Cornett  [6th Year]  728 Ashgrove Terrace, Sanford FL 32771
    JeffreyLCornett@aol.com   407-330-1968

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