tigers in the mist [Updated October, 2006]  

2006 WBC Report  

 2007 Status: pending 2007 GM commitment

Ray Freeman, CA

2006 Champion

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Event History
2000    Ray Freeman     16
2001    Robert Mull     19
2002    Rick Young     14
2003    Ray Freeman     16
2004    Tom Thornesen     17
2005    Tom Thornsen     18
2006    Ray Freeman     17


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Ray Freeman        CA    06    141
  2.  Jim Winslow        ME    06     72
  3.  Tom Thornsen       NY    06     66
  4.  Ric Young          NC    05     61
  5.  Brad Jones         FL    06     57
  6.  Robert Mull        CO    01     36
  7.  Murray Cowles      UK    02     32
  8.  Ric Sciacca        FL    06     19
  9.  Jack Morrell       NY    01     15
 10.  Mike Mishler       CA    06     12
 11.  Bryan Eshleman     NC    04     10
 12.  Eduardo DeNucci   ARG    04      9
 13.  Dave Schubert      MD    03      9
 14.  Raymond Hall       IL    00      9
 15.  Nathan Trent       VA    05      6
 16.  Jim Kramer         PA    05      6
 17.  Bill Hodges        VA    03      6
 18.  Larry Hiemenz      MD    04      3
 19.  Aaron Silverman    NY    00      3

2006 Laurelists

Jim Winslow, ME

Mike Mishler, CA

Brad Jones, FL

Tom Thornsen, NY

Rick Siacca, FL

Past Winners

Ray Freeman, CA
2000, 2003, 2006

Robert Mull, CO

Rick Young, NC

Tom Thornsen, NY
2004, 2005

 Newcomer Mike Mishler (left) absorbs a beating in the Mulligan Round against designer Ray Freeman, but puts the lesson to good use in subsequent rounds.

 Jim Winslow (left) nearly overcomes a poor opening turn on Thursday to recover in the Final but eventually fails to prevent Ray Freeman's third title.

A Different Kind of Tiger ...

Tigers in the Mist attracted 17 players, down one from last year. However, 22 games were played. Jim Winslow and Tom Thornsen again acted as assistant GMs, and adjudicated a game involving the GM (as a loss, no less)! This year we played a mulligan on Tuesday night, three rounds on Wednesday, and the Final on Thursday.

Unlike previous years, we only had one new player in the event this time, but he was a doozy. After attending the tutorial demo and then getting smacked around by the designer in the Mulligan round, Mike Mishler went on a tear, winning three of his next four games to finish third on tiebreaks. He had an extremely impressive debut, facing the GM, last years runner-up, and two other experienced opponents.

The event was won by GM and designer Ray Freeman, with a 3-0-1 record. I did lose an adjudicated eliminator game (deservedly, by the way), which did not count against me as I had already won in the Mulligan round. My one draw was against Floridian Rick Sciacca. Rick took Bastogne on the 18-1 impulse, but then his Germans ran into a green wall at the Ourthe River and never made any real progress afterward. A bid of one VP as the US now seems rather steep. In the past, some players have gone to two VPs, but German play in the scenario has caught up with the defense over the past three years. Other games of note featured the annual battle of the AGMs, and this time Jim Winslow triumphed, breaking a two-year losing streak to two-time defending champ Tom Thornsen.

The three semi-final games were all tough. Rick Sciacca faced Ray Freeman in the game mentioned above. Jim Winslow parleyed a determined defense into an ultimately winning position against Tom which went down to the 21st with Jim hanging on with a pretty thin line at the end. Mike Mishler played tenacious defense against Jim Kramer, holding on to Bastogne until the 21st, despite losing Baraque on the 18th and the 2 SS arriving on the 19th.

The last round games were equally rough on the "surviviors" of the semis. Brad Jones avenged his loss in the 2005 Final to Tom Thorsen His secret plan was to play the Germans, or rather keep them out of Tom's hands. Brad used Tom's strategy against him by taking Bastogne on the first impulse of the 17th and blew the game open with a breakout at the end of the day.

Meanwhile, Rick Sciacca and Mike faced off in a tense game that came down to the wire. Rick's attack on Bastogne on 17-3 failed to secure the town, however "Big Black", the 2nd SS Pz, entered on the 18th. Baraque also fell on the 18th, but thereafter progress was slow with the Germans finally breaching the Ourthe on the 20th, and Marche falling on 22-1. It was too little, too late and Mike held on for the win.

Jim Winslow and Ray Freeman sat down to play a rematch of the 2003 championship game. Jim took the Germans for no bid. Four years ago when we played in the Final, I had the Germans and a fabulous opening day. This time, Jim had the worst opening results for the Germans I can recall. On 16-1, he only cleared two areas and his engineers failed to fix either bridge. By the end of the day, the US had plenty of extra units and still held St. Vith, Lutzkampen and Marnach.

US luck continued on the 17th as the three southern bridges over the Wiltz and Sauer went down in tangled masses of timber and steel. However, both US engineers managed to get themselves killed (with a little help from their commander).

On 18-1 the Germans hit Bastogne with a major attack, however, 10 SP of US troops were waiting. German losses were severe. By the end of the 18th, the Wehrmacht had pushed into Vielsalm, Houffalize, Noville and Martelange. Positionally speaking, this is not where the Germans want to start December 18th.

Jim continued to press doggedly on, maneuvering where possible and by 19-2 Bastogne was isolated, but continued to hold against German assaults. The US failed a demo roll at Moircy and the Germans captured this bridgehead area on the west side of the Ourthe River. The Germans made attacks into Neufchateau and La Roche as well, and the depleted garrison at Bastogne surrendered at the end of the 19th.

On 20-1, the Germans seized the highway bridge at Champion by a coup-de-main and hammered at the US front lines, now beginning to look rather thin in places. Fortunately, the Germans had been rather decimated by this time and though ground was given, nothing disastrous had happened. Still, Jim had tenaciously climbed back into the game through persistence and good play.

The 21st saw the Wehrmacht resurgent, with six attacks clearing six areas, including a stunning victory at Marche. Shocked, the US formed a line at Weelin-Forzee-Haid-Mean-Ouffet. There were no US reserves left. Jim opened 21-2 with a 5-3 attack at Haid, and killed two of the defending SPs. His remaining shot was at Wellin on 21-3, and the green 1313 engineer just barely blew the bridge with a DR of 8 to save the game.

After a horrid start, Jim played a great game, demonstrating once again that what appears to be a hopeless position early may not be near the end of the game. It really came down to a couple of die rolls on the 21st.

Some other memorable moments in the tournament were a fresh US engineer failing to blow the bridge at Ouffet on 21-1, but then surviving a 6-1 attack to stuff the German assault on that flank anyway! In one game, the Germans took Bastogne on the morning of the 17th, yet not only didn't win, they barely advanced three more areas after that! Finally, Tom Thornsen, after having a 7-0-1 record for the past two years was held to a much more mere mortal 2-2 record. Congratulations to JIm Winslow for ending Tom's WBC streak, as well as for his second place finish.

Statistically, it was pretty even. The Germans won 11 games, the US 12, with one draw. 15 of the games had no bidding. Where there was bidding, the range was 0.5-2 for the US, with the average bid at 1.16. In games between the top six finishers, the US managed a 7-4-1 edge. This is consistent with past experience, except for Tom's extraordinary run of eight games without a loss as the Germans coming into this years WBC.

 GM      Ray Freeman  [7th Year]   1422 Peralta Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702
    Rayfreeman3@comcast.net   NA

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