Yawn ... Pei Again ...
George Young and Bob Heinzmann square
off in the opening round.
Nothing is quite as awe inspiring
to an old wargamer as a row of wargames in tournament array.
Once again a strong field of 30 participants battled each
other in the ninth running of the WBC For The People tournament.
As always, the thought on everyone's mind was would James Pei
repeat yet again?. With James' nemesis David Dockter unable to
find a VTC facility in Moscow , the field saw many of the other
perennial top contenders vying for the chance to unseat Pei.
What is becoming a cliché in this grueling tournament,
the field continues to remain numerous. Although not an event
for the feint of heart, once again a new crop of strong rookies
entered the fray. An example of how tough the competition was
occurred when Padawan Pei (aka Nick Pei, James' younger brother),
a perennial semi-finalist, went down in Round 1 to Chris Byrd
who made an exceptionally strong showing this year. This year
also saw the re-entry of George Young a revered CDG player who
defeated Stefan Mecay (current reigning WBC internet champion)
in the first round (Stefan would later return the favor when
they met in the Twilight Struggle tournament). Other strong
showings were seen from Tim Miller, Tom Thornsen, Doug Mercer,
and Bob Sohn.
However, the man of the hour was Mark Giddings who fought
brilliantly to reach the Final. Giddings is a particularly strong
Union player who is perennially in the top four. Mark is one
of the more adept Union players whose strategy features oversized
corps defending the Northern routes to restrict Confederate invasion
options. The downside of this tactic is it tends to increase
the rate of Union attrition in the early game.
In the Final, the early going saw much feinting and maneuvering
with Pei's South capturing Kentucky in 1861. This was followed
by a Union riposte when the Union captured Columbus, Georgia
after James failed to place reinforcements there after Fort Gadson
fell to a Union amphibious assault on the previous turn. During
the post mortem James stated that this force deep in Dixie was
the situation that worried him the most during the game. However,
in classic Pei fighting style he chose to defend by attacking.
James put serous pressure in the East that kept the initiative
and the Union desperately, but successfully, defending the North.
As the battle raged the Union sent numerous naval expeditions
to open up the game, but well timed ironclad builds kept the
Union naval forces at bay.
The turning point came during Turn 5, when a frustrated South,
unable to get their invasion rolling sought refuge in the political
game. James opened Turn 5 with Dixie, taking his SW over 110.
Giddings knew what this meant but had no effective response.
James then got the political relief he sought when Europe, heeding
the call, entered the fray with Foreign Intervention. This was
a telling blow, but the Union wasn't finished yet.
In Turn 6, the Union sought to play for all the marbles when
they ended with a Locomotive shortage followed by a Major Campaign.
In a series of three desperate assaults Giddings sought to capture
Richmond and change the course of the contest. Although well
executed, the dice failed to support the effort and when the
dust settled Morgan's Cavalry Brigade was the lone survivor of
the onslaught. With no Union blockade and the severe losses taken
by the Union from attrition, combat, and Foreign Intervention,
the writing was on the wall with Mark graciously conceding.
Thanks to all for making it another great tournament. I look
forward to seeing all of you next year for the tenth anniversary
running of the FtP tournament.
2002 PBeM Tournament
Stefan Mecay of Texas proved the best of a field of 46 in
winning the second BPA PBeM tournament of For The People.
Other laurelists were:
2nd: Baron August, PA
3rd: James Pei, VA
4th: Mark Giddings, NY
5th: Tim Hughes, UK
6th: Paul Risner, FL