Still in the Mist
has gotten the most out of a small, but dedicated group who return
each year to play multiple games in the swiss format.
The use of a Mulligan round witrh
a swiss format is highly unusual and unique to Tigers
for the time being.
Ten players opted for the mulligan round on Tuesday night
to kick off the event, including three new guys who attended
the demo at 6 pm. There were no upsets in the first round. However,
two-time champion Tom Thornsen came late because he was busy
winning in a different event. The GM, playing the US side, rewarded
Tom's tardiness by thrashing him thoroughly, with the aid of
unbelievably cold German dice.
Other mulligan winners were past laurelists Jim Winslow, Nathan
Trent, and Brad Jones plus newcomer Dave Schubert.
Eight other players joined in for the first round and interesting
things began happening immediately. Bryan Eshleman demonstrated
his inventiveness by using the US 1107th Engineers to capture
Prum on 16-1, thus saving two regiments of the 106th for later
use. Mike Kaye's Germans gamely continued, but looked dead in
the water after a 9-7 assault at Bastogne on 18-3 netted no US
casualties. Undaunted, Mike attacked the critical crossroads
again on 19-1 at 10-7, and achieved a miracle, clearing out the
defenders! I've never seen a 7 SP defended area fall before.
It ended up being too late as Bryan cruised to a win.
Elsewhere, Rich Phares' 116 Pz seized Bastogne on 17-1, stunning
John Vasilakos' defenders. Tom Thornsen annihilated co-developer
Bill Alderman's front line on 17-1, leaving only three one-SP
units on the map. Bill's position collapsed a few turns later.
Bob Hamel defeated newcomer Darin Morley while another newcomer,
Jon Izer, stunned veteran Jim Kramer by seizing Bastogne on 17-3.
Ray Freeman's Germans enjoyed fabulous dice on the 16th and
17th, capturing Bastogne on 17-3. By the beginning of the 20th,
Nathan Trent's US line was in tatters and he resigned. The upset
of the round occurred when Bob Hamel's Wehrmacht smashed Brad
Jones's position early, capturing Bastogne on 17-2 and releasing
the 2nd SS Panzer on 19-2. Brad was forced to resign on the 20th.
This round saw a series of furious games as Brian Eshleman's
Amis managed to stave off Bob Hamel Although Bob did take Bastogne
on 18-1, his losses had been heavy and he was unable to make
much further progress.
In a rematch of last years Final, Ray Freeman defeated Jim
Winslow's Germans. On 17-2, the 106th infantry remnants from
Auw attacked a German mech unit at Prum and actually killed a
step! This looked to be a bad omen for the Germans. They had
a shot at Bastogne on the 17th, but failed to take the town.
Ray immediately counterattacked successfully building the defenders
to 7 SP. Jim attacked Bastogne again on 18-1 and ground the defense
down to 4 SP. Ray decided that another counterattack was in order,
but despite having 10 shots, managed only one hit. Still, this
solidified the US position in Bastogne. Jim played through the
20th, but resigned once it became obvious that he could not score
Dave Schubert scored a big upset against Brian Jones by playing
solid defense, with no major objectives falling by the end of
the 19th. That wasn't all as John Ellsworth stunned Nathan Trent
by completely shutting down the German attack and Mike Mishler
dealt Tom Thorsen his second loss of the tourney. The latter
seemed close as Tom kept taking ground, but an impulse too late.
Round 4 saw the three undefeated players paired with the highest
rated 2. Bryan Eshleman took on Jim Winslow and Ray Freeman battled
Mike Mishler for the right to play in the championship game.
However, four other players still had a shot at wood and joined
us for another round..
The first game to end was Eshleman-Winslow. Jim took the Germans
and had a great start, sweeping Bastogne aside on 18-1 and releasing
the SS on 18-2. Positionally, this looked over, but there are
other factors which had their say. Bryan pulled back in the north,
using the bad road net to give his weary troops breathing room.
Jim's attacks in the center and south ran into repeated buzz
saw dice, which ran up the casualty totals for the attacker while
not leading to much space gain. Jim resigned on the 21st when
the 84th division set up camp in Marche.
My game with Mike got off to a bad start as I failed to clear
any of the northern areas on 16-1 and the situation got progressively
worse. Mike had a lot of stuff to play with early, and I lost
a critical 9-1 attack at Ettelbruck on 17-1 which shut down my
south flank. After struggling stubbornly on hoping for some hot
dice, I realized that a breakout was hopeless and resigned early
on the 21st.
Meanwhile John Ellsworth outplayed Dave Schubert's Germans,
holding Bastogne throughout, and giving up the SS at the last
The longest game of the round was between Bob Hamel and Tom
Thornsen. Bastogne fell on 18-1, but the US managed to just hold
enough critical real estate to prevent another VP falling. The
US had been issued faulty demolition materiels, but was holding
ground pretty well with the US line on 20-1 being Neufchateau,
Moircy, Champion, La Roche, Baraque and Trois Ponts. German attacks
were dismal failures in the south as only Baraque and Trois Ponts
fell. The Germans managed a low odds 4-3 attack on Marche on
the 84/arm with four 1-SP units, achieving two hits, but US armor
held to save the VP. A later US counterattack inserted sufficient
defenders to stop one last German attack at Marche.
On 21-1, the Germans made a supreme effort to breach the line
at Wellin, attacking at 10-3. The US shot poorly and the Germans
had 11 shots to clear the area. However, they managed only two
hits and the southern flank was saved. US engineers then blew
the bridge Grupont-Rochefort, the only successful bridge demolition
of the game, to seal the southern flank. The game ended in a
hard fought draw at the end of the 22-1 impulse.
In the consolation game, Ray parlayed decent moves and better
dice into a relatively easy win over John. German attacks on
the 16th and 17th virtually wiped out the defenders, so John
pulled his three remaining units into Bastogne. However, a 7-3
attack on 17-2 was not enough to clear the city. In addition,
light recon screens raced to seize Martelange, Bertogne, Houffalize
On 18-1, the Germans set up a number of good attacks, although
the first at Fauvilliers (at 6-2 failed). However, when the 10-2
at Bastogne swept aside the defenders, John realized that his
bid (2 VP) would hand victory to the German side and resigned
without seeing the remaining battle results.
In the championship game, Mike bid 1.5 for the Allies. Bryan
started with a dream Wehrmacht offensive, clearing Marnach on
16-1 and repairing the magic bridge. This allowed the Germans
to get a wedge into Lullage on 16-2. Bryan pressed heavily on
17-1, clearing the front line. Mike tried to screen Bastogne,
which failed, thus a lone 1-SP unit was left to defend the city
on 17-3. Bryan scraped up a 5-SP attack and took the city on
17-3. As Mike had bid high for the US, he was forced to try to
take it back with the 10th armored. One German PzGrn SP survived
to hold the town against the 7-4 US attack.
On 18-1, Bryan hit Bastogne hard (9-6) and infiltrated units
behind the German line in a few spots, putting the defenders
of Noville (5 SP!) OOS. On Mike's turn, he again hit Bastogne
with a big attack, but a single 2-SP German PzGrn survived. Unfortunately,
the meat grinder at Bastogne forced Mike to strip the rest of
the front and the combination of heavy losses, open flanks, and
Bastogne still in German hands forced resignation on the third
Congratulations to Bryan on his win. He is now at the top
of the PBeM ladder and simultaneously holds the WBC Championship.
Mike moved up to second from his 3rd place finish last year and
played exceptionally well in most of his games. I don't recall
any mistakes he made in our Round 4 game. John is to be congratulated
for his 4th place finish in his rookie outing.
Bryan's success makes him the fifth player in eight years
to win the Tigers WBC crown. This year's turnout was exceptional,
with us having 18 players after the first round. I appreciate
everyone who showed up and played, and continued to play for
a shot at brass-wood and cotton (tee shirts). The Tees this year
will go to Bryan and John, continuing my policy of giving one
to the winner (unless he doesn't want it) and the highest finishing
player who does not already have a Tigers tee-shirt.