It appears Dennis Nicholson (left)
is going for the Native American vote as he faces off against
Vintage campaign buttons added to
the nostalgic return to Sixties politics. Presidential elections
haven't gotten any less partisan since.
The inaugural WBC tournament of 1960 drew 55 contestants.
After 13 hours and six rounds, the honorable Chris Byrd of Connecticut
followed his dominance in the WAM Primaries with a successful
run for the White House. The early rounds saw a mixture of blowouts
and close games, including two one-point (269-268) victories
(Jean-Francois Gagne's Kennedy over Eric Landes' Nixon and Megan
Byrd's Nixon over John Wetherell's Kennedy).
Six players played in the quarter-finals, with the three winners
and closest non-winner (AKA 'loser') advancing. Raphael Lehrer
and Phil Rennert failed to advance, while Jean-Francois continued
his penchant for survival while losing to fellow semi-finalist
Chris Byrd made it to the Final based on a convincing 324-213
Nixon victory over Keith, while Chris Withers was less convincing
but just as effective with a 299-238 Kennedy win over Jean-Francois.
The finalists randomly drew the opposite sides for the last
game and the fight was on. Nixon (Withers) looked to be building
a lead in the early turns, with solid coverage in all regions.
However, a misplay during the debates (shoulda wore a dark suit
and shaved!!) resulted in nine cubes for Kennedy and his leading
New York, California and Pennsylvania.
At the end of Turn 7, Kennedy (Byrd) got two endorsement markers
to take the West endorsement and emptied the East endorsement.
Both players remarked this swing could be the key.
Going into the elections, the game was still close, but Byrd
picked some key weakly-defended states for final Campaign Strategy,
while most of Withers' Campaign Strategy ended up in already
But. . .Withers had the Nixon recount. After counting the
votes, Withers decided to demand a recount in Pennsylvania. Taking
out the two Kennedy cubes and placing one of his own would give
him a 274-263 victory. Out came the cubes Red Red!
- Blue!! Pennsylvania goes Blue because of the natural edge.
Republican hopes dashed and Kennedy in the White House with a
Chris Byrd got a DVD of the first Kennedy/Nixon televised
debate and second, third and fourth places received a copy of
the Theodore White book, The Making of the President 1960.
The final tally for the entire tournament was 28 games for
Kennedy and 17 for Nixon. Throwing out the first round (which
contained several newbies), the Kennedy edge was more pronounced,
The format worked (random assignment of initial opponents,
random side selection, followed by brackets when practical) and
will be retained next year.
Keith Schoose (left) manages the Kennedy
Campaign to defeat in the semi's against Chris Byrd's GOP juggernaut.
My, how times have changed! Will 1960 prove to be as popular
next WBC in a non-election year?
Chris Withers (left) appears no worse
for wear in the wake of the demise of his Great Campaigns
streak as he guides the Democrats over Canadian Jean-Francois
Gagne to move into the Final as GM Schmittgens hovers nearby.
Chris Byrd, CT
Marvin Birnbaum, NY
Terry Coleman, CA
Steven Brooks, FL
Roger Taylor, VA
2009 WAM 1960: The Making of the President Tournament
After a strong debut last year, it was reasonable
to wonder whether 1960: The Making of the President would
continue to draw at WAM, now that the historic real-world election
of 2008 had passed. Attendance did drop slightly, but there were
plenty of newcomers among the 17 campaign managers, a trend which
bodes well for the future.
The early rounds on Saturday showed the tension
this game can produce among well-matched opponents, with several
games going down to the last contested state. Veteran James Terry
had a chance to turn New York for Nixon, but failed three support
checks, allowing a relieved Jeff Finkeldey to escape with a 289-248
electoral victory. Bill Pettus, on the other hand, won a similarly
close game with Nixon over Marvin Birnbaum due to Nixon's superior
Chris Yaure held off Don Chappell, 274-234, as
the long-time We the People GM couldn't find an answer
to Nixon's Momentum cards in the West, South and East. Don would
play an even more memorable game in the following round. After
all the states had been counted, he and Bob Jamelli had tied,
sending the election to Congress! Nixon had won more states,
so Don emerged triumphant, in the only game to go "overtime"
in the history of the event.
Terry Coleman defeated Chris Yaure in a rare game
that had no debate or electoral events played (another first
for the tournament). Meanwhile, Sean McCulloch squeaked past
Mike Mitchell in a contest which saw a number of states change
hands late, 273-246.
In what turned out to be probably the event's wildest
game, Bill Pettus had built up a huge lead early on versus Steven
Brooks. Steve had a strong debate performance with Kennedy (sound
familiar?) to get back into the game late, and managed to eke
out almost all of the big states at the end for a very hard-fought
victory. It turned out to be a big loss for Bill, as he finished
just behind the 4-0 records of Texan Stefan Mecay and Terry Coleman,
who would play for the title.
After the excitement of the prelims, however, the
Final unfortunately couldn't live up to the hype. Terry's strategy
of shutting down his opponent's mobility failed miserably when
Stefan was able to utilize both the Kenn-Air and Bobby Kennedy
card for bonuses and free movement on the critical late turns.
As a result, Terry's considerable endorsements over most of the
board made little difference, and Stefan won going away, 394-114.
After Chris Byrd last year, Stefan becomes the second 1960 winner to win multiple WAM titles in the same year (also winning Twilight Struggle this year).
26 games were played in all, and overall, the Nixon
side bucked history, emerging victorious 16-10. This 61% margin
of victory was almost identical to last year's WAM results. Yet
the bidding for sides was slightly higher for playing from the
Kennedy side, at about 58%. The average bid for playing Kennedy
was 1, while the typical bid for Nixon was less than 1 (players
were allowed to start bidding at zero). Similar to last year,
about a third of the games were played with no preference shown
by either player (and thus no bids).
It should be noted that the overall edge for Nixon
was offset by a sweep of four Kennedy victories at the end of
the event, including the Final. The average game time was about
1 hour 45 minutes, with only one game going over 2 hours. The
Final was played as a virtual sprint, finishing in 1 hour and
The best Kennedy player was-no surprise-tournament
winner Stefan Mecay at 4-0, followed by Terry Coleman at 2-0.
Among the best Nixon players was teenager Joe Yaure—who finished
fifth overall—along with Bill Pettus, Terry Coleman, and Marvin
Birnbaum, all 2-1 with Tricky Dick.
Although quick to play, it seems that the WAM crowd
hasn't discovered all of the electoral mysteries of 1960:
The Making of the President quite yet. So, even though the
next couple of years won't tie in to an election year in the
real world, it seems likely that 1960 will continue to
be a WAM staple for years to come.
|2009 WAM Laurelists
Terry Coleman, CA
Bill Pettus, NJ
Steven Brooks, FL
Joe Yaure, PA
Marvin Birnbaum, NY