Saratoga or Battles of the American
Saratoga was admitted to the Century as a stand alone game
and has since had a number of "sister" games published.
The designer and GM, Mark Miklos, wants to treat them all as
equal parts of a Battles of the America Revolution event requiring
players to play them all to win the event. Not everyone is familiar
or comfortable with all the games in the series though. In such
situations, a "default" game is chosen that can be
substituted as the game of choice in any round.
John Miklos (left) does battle
with Dale Long in the Final of Saratoga. Dale's preference
for Saratoga as the default version in each round was
seen as a matter of some controversy by some. Others sympathize
with Dale's position -- that a player should not be forced to
play a version of the game with which he is not well versed.
The issue has relevance for a number of WBC events where different
versions of a game or similar game systems exist and cannot be
resolved to everyone's satisfaction.
A new attendance record was set this year in the Battles of
the American Revolution tournament. The event, formerly know
as "Saratoga," had never drawn more than 28 players.
That record was convincingly broken as 34 protagonists met to
contest for King or Congress.
A "Century" event since 1999, this year's tournament
was relegated to "Trial" status as a result of low
turnout (20 players) in 2006. In an effort to regain Century
status, this year's 34 players logged a total of 70 player-starts
and 172 hours of playing time.
A Mulligan Round was offered for the first time this year
and 16 players took advantage of that flexibility. The scenario
was "Knyphausen's Feint" from the game Brandywine.
American players won two contests including the tournament's
only decisive victory by John Miklos. British players won four
matches including substantial victories by Mark Miklos and Jeff
Lange Sr. In the remaining two games players opted for the default
game, Saratoga, and both of those contests were marginal
24 players entered Round 1, including five of the eight who
had been defeated in the Mulligan Round. All five either won
or fought to a draw in their second try, earning the right to
advance to Round 2. Nathan Trent, a winner from the Mulligan
Round, returned to play in Round 1 but was eliminated by Derek
Miller. The game in Round 1 was Saratoga. There were six British
victories and five American, including substantial victories
by Chuck Stapp and Jim Tracy. Teddy Lange and Bill Alderman fought
to a draw.
21 players were eligible to advance to Round 2. Of those,
16 chose to play on while five opted out. The scenario was "Washington's
Stand" from the game Monmouth, the newest game in
the BoAR series. The British won three including a marginal victory
by Rob McCracken on the last turn over perennial BoAR powerhouse
Bruno Sinigaglio. The Americans also won three, including a substantial
victory by Jim Tracy. Saratoga was used in the other two
contests where an American marginal victory by Andy Maly and
a draw between Dale Long's British and Mark Miklos' Americans
Nine players advanced to Round-3. This number of contestants
was perfect since the game chosen for the round was Savannah,
to be played 3-handed. When Derek Miller dropped out, however,
it left eight players. Dale Long again chose the default game.
That left two tables of three players each to contend for victory
at Savannah while he and his opponent, Jeff Lange Sr.,
played Saratoga. Dale's third Saratoga victory
earned him the right to be one of the four semi-finalists. The
other three were going to be determined by the two winners from
the Savannah games plus the defeated Savannah player
with the highest VP total. At one table, Jim Tracy's British
defeated Andy Maly's French and Tommy Miklos' Americans. At the
other table, John Miklos' Americans defeated Rob McCracken's
British and Mark Miklos' French to earn the right to advance.
Andy Maly ended up as the defeated player with the best VP total
and thus became the fourth semi-finalist.
Three-handed Savannah presents interesting challenges
for the Allies. Even though they must share resources and work
together to defeat the British, they know that only one of them
can actually "win" the game. Of course, if they fail
to defeat the British player it's moot. This "game within
a game" is especially challenging in a tournament format
where more is at stake than winning the game at hand. The consensus
among many players in this year's BoAR event is that Savannah
would make an interesting Final event in future tournaments.
Three players could advance to the Final and the inherent jealousies
between the French and the American players will certainly cause
Napoleon's words to ring truethat allies are their own worse
In the semi-finals, top seeded John Miklos met Andy Maly in
the historical scenario from the game Guilford while second
seed Dale Long met Jim Tracy. Dale again opted for the default
scenario Saratoga. Dale won his fourth of five Saratoga
games and advanced to the Final. Meanwhile, John Miklos' Americans
destroyed Andy Maly's British in a record setting 25-minute game.
With his British army wavering, Andy surrendered with 0 VPs and
Army Morale of 5 while John had six VPs and a maximum Army Morale
The stage was set for a Final between Dale Long and John Miklos.
The scenario was to have been "Eutaw Springs" from
the game Guilford, arguably the most balanced of all the
games and scenarios in the BoAR system. Again, however, Dale
opted for the default game and so Saratoga was set up.
Very few players to this point had resorted to bidding to determine
sides. Since both Dale and John preferred the British, however,
they secretly bid Army Morale points. The first bid was a tie
with each bidding zero. In the second bid, John won the British
with a bid of 1 and he adjusted the at-start British Army Morale
down by one point accordingly.
The early game was one of maneuver, limited initially by moderate
fog. In the middle turns, the British successfully took Freeman's
Farm and also caused a casualty to an American unit for a narrow
lead. In the end, the British fate was sealed when a marksman
killed Burgoyne and British units were unable to win in a few
key combats. Dale Long's fifth Saratoga victory out of
six games played earned him the 2007 BoAR championship.
Two interesting footnotes:
Of the 34 games played, 15 were American wins, 17 were British
wins, and two games were a draw. From a play balance standpoint
one cannot get much better than that. In all, six different scenarios
were scheduled while five scenarios were actually played. On
eight occasions, (23%), the default game Saratoga was
played in place of the stipulated scenario. Five of those eight
"defaults" were at the request of Dale Long who went
on to win the tournament. One of the remaining three default
games occurred because there was a shortage of copies of Monmouth
for Round 2. Most players eagerly acceded to the structure and
spirit of the event as it attempted to challenge players with
the battles of the American Revolution in chronological order.
The 2004 Saratoga PBeM Tournament ended in September
2007 with a Final game of Saratoga that pitted Jim Tracy
against Terry Coleman. The British and Americans did not have
their hearts in the battle and both sides played with a reluctance
to carry the day. However, toward mid-day the Americans rallied
with confidence and resolve to attack the British and followed
it up immediately pushing their new found confidence. The British
were taken aback and became demoralized as they ran from the
battlefield. The Americans with Greene in command had seized
the day. 22 players had started back in 2004. Round 1 was a
game of Guilford Courthouse. Round 2 was Eutaw Springs.
Round 3 was Brandywine. In all, 22 games were played
by email using Cyberboard. Also scoring laurels were Jeff Lange,
Mauro Faina, Rob McCracken and Rod Coffey in third through sixth