The new concentrated format appeared
to attract more players to this gracefully aging and well supported
Designer Ed Beach (left) gave
it his all but couldn't prevent Chris Withers' 8th straight title
in the Great Campaigns event.
The year 2000 brought change to The Great Campaigns of the
American Civil War (GCACW) series tournament play. Instead of
trying to pack an ever expanding series of games into a five-day
tournament it was decided to consolidate down to two events.
Additional campaign games were added for those who love truly
looonnnng games. The first tournament was titled '1862' which
encompassed four games: Stonewall Jackson's Way, Here
Come the Rebels, Stonewall in the Valley and On
to Richmond. The remander of the series covered the later
years of the war and was contested under the label 1863.
In 2005, the two events were merged into one due to declining
attendance and now covers the entire series.
In this year's tournament we had a slight change to the format
to fit within the WBC tournament guidelines. We played six straight
preliminary rounds on Wednesday and Thursday with a mix of scenarios
from On To Richmond and Grant Takes Command. We
had a total of 22 commanders participate. This included about
ten newcomers or long ago players showing up at the Demo round
with many of them playing several rounds in the tournament.
After two days of battles (34 games played), we had one player
at 5-1 and three others at 4-2 to advance to the semi-final round.
During the preliminary rounds one very interesting situation
occurred in a Sheridan Rides South scenario. Sheridan (Jay Myers)
gave up on burning any significant number of railroad stations
and headed straight into Richmond, bashing forts and scoring
for brigades around the city. However, Stuart (Ed Beach) came
in and totally surrounded Sheridan in Richmond forcing him to
fight his way out. In the end, Sheridan did not completely escape.
The semi-finals featured the usual suspects with Chris Withers
against Steve Likevich and Ed Beach against Rob Doane in Retreat
to the James. Chris and Ed advanced to the Final at Bloody Spotsylvania.
Grant (Ed Beach) got good movement to start off, but then Lee
(Chris Withers) had a string of initiatives and got control of
Spotsylvania Court House. Grant did have his opportunities,
but Chris' patented "positive combat dice rolls" strategy
worked again with the Union Army taking horrendous casualties
in four failed attempts against fortified positions.
Next year, we intend to have a similar schedule with six preliminary
rounds on Wednesday and Thursday advancing four to the semi-finals
to give players as much flexibility as possible with other events.
We are looking at changing some of the scenarios played. Any
recommendations are welcome. Some of this depends on if anything
is published this year by MMP. The training session on Wednesday
for new commanders prior to the tournament will certainly continue
as we have gained many newcomers over the past few years.
During the week, Ed had on display a draft map and scenarios
set up for the area around Chattanooga, TN. Hopefully we will
see a product nearing completion for the Western Theater next
year. Talking with Ed, we think that it is a real longshot that
it would be published before WBC. And even if it was, without
most players having seen any of the scenarios, it would probably
not be fair to include it in the tournament. Perhaps though,
we will have the ability to have some demo games or a campaign.
I must especially thank Ed Beach this year who started off
the tournament for me Wednesday morning. I had a work crisis
come up on Tuesday just as I was ready to leave which required
me to go into the Pentagon for several hours Wednesday morning
(I would have probably had to return to DC if I had made it to
Lancaster on Tuesday).