Feeling a Little Blue ...
Eric Martin (left) checks the defense
of his left flank while Pete Stein looks for his missing gall
bladder. Pete had a good convention this year - no hospital visits.
Ty Hansen shows GM Peter Card his
hand while William Kendrick observes. Mark Guttag (left) seems
deep in thought about how to save his flank.
The format was a little different this year, using a system
shamelessly borrowed from Richard Borg. For the first three rounds,
players were organised into groups of six, with three USA players
and three CSA players, with each USA player playing each CSA
player in the group once. As it turned out we had 48 entrants,
which worked out perfectly, but if necessary we could have had
one or two groups of eight players, and one of the GMs could
have stepped in to make up an even number. The players with the
best four USA records overall and the best four CSA records then
went through to the single elimination stage, where each scenario
was played twice as the players switched sides. As before, the
tie-break favored aggressive play, with most flags taken trumping
fewest lost, then most kills inflicted trumping fewest casualties
The advantage of this format was that it avoided problems
with balance of the scenarios, as during the initial group stage
players were competing with all the other players on the same
side to advance, while playing in groups reduced the problems
inherent in working out match-ups for the 2nd and 3rd round games
rapidly, as the players themselves were doing most of the work.
The disadvantage of a group system is that players who happened
to be grouped against weaker players on the other side enjoyed
an unearned advantage, while taking overall record as the criteria
made it possible to win three games and still not progress. All
in all, the format worked smoothly but a few entrants expressed
their reservations. We will have to think hard about next year.
The initial three rounds used Murfreesboro from the original
game and then Franklin and Falling Waters, downloaded from the
web, chosen because they looked interesting while not introducing
unusual special rules. For the elimination stage, it got a little
funkier. The quarter-finals used Dennis Snow's Petersburg Crater
scenario, where the Union faces entrenched Rebel positions, but
gets to explode a mine at a time almost of his choosing, destroying
everything in two adjacent hexes and producing the eponymous
crater. This is a tough puzzle for the Union to solve, and historically
saw a bloody defeat for the Union as the assault division advanced
into the crater but got stuck there and was shot to pieces. Bill
Edwards pulled off the unusual feat of winning as the Union without
ever exploding the mine, but after playing both sides he was
tied with David Metzger in all tie-break categories. A point
blank simultaneous one-on-one roll-off saw him go through, until
we realised that there had been an error in counting the casualties
during the second game making David the winner. Bill took this
unkind stroke of fate in his stride and had to console David
who was looking uncomfortable at his win.
For the semis, we used Leetown, an online scenario by Richard
Borg, which has two units of Native Americans fighting for the
Confederacy who can move and fight in the forest. Some Revel
Sioux were pressed into service for the occasion. This battle
sees a lot of units start on the baseline, where they are vulnerable
to a flag result sending them skedaddling off the gameboard.
2006 Champion Jeff Cornett barely survived David Metzgers's all
out sweeping cavalry charge against his Union right flank to
face Michael Dauer in the Final, which used Brian Bradford's
Both players were pictures of concentration, and the action
slowed down as they weighed their moves carefully. Both sides
have small hands, making it difficult to move their units, (3
for the Union, 4 for the Rebels). The Confederate player must
defend the two Perryville town hexes which are each worth one
flag to the Union (only). In the first battle, Jeff Cornett exploited
this by edging forward to threaten Perryville so that Michael
was forced to defend one hex forward on the hill line where Jeff
could pick away at the defenders.
In the return leg, Jeff chose the strategic moment to play
the All Out Offensive card he had been dealt at the start. Michael
was able to answer with a counter-attack but the stuffing had
been knocked out of his army and his 4th flag was soon captured,
bringing him to the edge of concession as he faced a 3-6 flag
deficit from the first game. However, he realised that a slim
chance of victory still existed if he was able to chase a Confederate
unit with an attached general off the battlefield for a 6th and
7th flag. The end game saw him attempt to funnel USA units towards
the board edge without actually killing them, to the amusement
of all concerned, until Jeff finally put an end to this foolishness
by taking another flag to regain his crown.
I recommend the Battle Cry web resource at http://www.thewargamer.com/battlecry/index.html
for all your Battle Cry needs, and also Rod Lilley's site
from which I downloaded the JPEG files for battles used here.
Tom Gregorio (left) must be thinking
what did he do to get paired with Ben Knight who was the original
AH developer for Battle Cry.
Jeff Cornett (left) clears a major
hurdle in the semi-finals by defeating David Metzger en route
to becoming our first two-time champ.