A Perfect Field ...
Tom Morin gets an assist from his
junior staff officer as he battles in the semi-finals.
Larry Lingle (left) marshalls his
rebel forces against Ty Hansen in the Final.
Battle Cry is the most accessible of Richard Borg's
Command & Colors series, and arguably represents the
stripped down essence of the system. On the penultimate morning
of the 2007 WBC it seems to have offered the right combination
of simple mechanics and tough tactical choices after a solid
week of gaming. It was a little scary to see the sign-up queue
stretch right out of the door and round the corner, but scary
in a good way.
The tournament format was designed to let everyone play three
games before whittling the field down to eight for the single
elimination stage. The assumption was that there would be eight
or less triple winners at this stage. The pre-defined tie break
would cope with more, but turning away unbeaten players would
not have been desirable. In the event we dodged the bullet, as
there were exactly 64 sign ups and exactly eight triple winners.
Managing the Swiss stage in a timely fashion proved to be
difficult, and without Assistant GM James Terry's on-the-fly
spread sheet wrangling and data entry backup from his wife we
would have been in trouble. Next year I plan to move to a group
format in the initial stage to allow the players to get on with
fighting American Civil War Battles without delays imposed from
The battles in the Swiss Stage were New Market, New Hope Church
and Brandy Station. Brandy Station is a swirling cavalry fight,
giving both players plenty to think about, and quite a change
from the typical scenario. The bidding system for sides was supposed
to compensate for unbalanced scenarios during the Swiss Stage,
but there was some concern that this was insufficient, and players
unfamiliar with the scenarios were at a disadvantage when bidding.
This isn't an issue for the single elimination stage battles,
when the players switch sides and play twice. One possible solution
for next year would be to randomly assign players to the Union
or the Confederacy for the initial stage, and select the top
players from each side for the single elimination stage. I have
seen Richard Borg use this format. If you are going to steal,
steal from the best!
This year saw a massacre of the usual suspects, with few of
last year's finalists making it through the Swiss stage. The
quarter-final was Port Republic, the semi-final was Third Winchester
and the final was Big Black River Bridge, which saw rookie Larry
Lingle face off against Ty Hansen . This scenario includes a
special rule for losses while fording the river. I was hoping
for some drownings, but in the event both players treated the
treacherous waters with respect. Larry Lingle came through in
fine style and beat Ty both times. Worryingly for the rest of
us, Larry says that his wife, who didn't come to the WBC, beats
him more often than not. I hope she can make it next year.
Thanks to Jean-Baptiste Hebraud for the scenarios Brandy Station,
Port Republic, Third Winchester and Big Black River Bridge, which
can all be found at www.thewargamer.com/BattleCry, the one-stop
shop for all things Battle Cry, and of course thanks to