Down to the Wire
Paul Gaberson (left) falls to Dennis Culhane.
Pablo Garcia (left), visiting from
Chile runs into Mark Popofsky.
For those who were unable to make the trip, the format was
1943 scenarios for all of the preliminary rounds and the campaign
game for the Final. The 1943 scenario performed very well at
WBC. This year's champion is Dennis Culhane who defeated the
reigning champion, Mark Popofsky.
In the first round the JP and the Allies split 50-50, the
two eventual finalists in the semi-finals each won with the Allies.
The Final saw the reigning champion take on Dennis Culhane who
was the runner-up in last year's tournament and the 2006 champion.
Here is a synopsis of the Final in the words of Mark Popofsky.
Dennis bid 1 for, and played, the Allies in the Final ('42
Campaign). Mark's opening Japanese hand was excellent: VADM Kondo,
a Force Card, Midway, and Central Agreement, with a few 2s and
3s, including a non-draw weather card. Japan weighed two strategies:
Wipe out the US Navy (in addition to securing the usual objectives
in the strategic resource area), or kick the Allies back to Australia
and India by taking New Guinea, the Solomons, and Burma and dare
Dennis to try to make Progress of War. Given the two potential
uses of Kondo, Japan elected to try for Strategic Naval Supremacy
and a quick end to a very long day of EOS.
Following two big offensives to take care of business in the
DEI/PI (including wiping out the US naval units), the Japanese
fleet redeployed to Eniwetok. Seeing the writing on the wall,
Dennis dispersed the carriers to Noumea and E-Santu (without
air in each). A card later, with Midway captured, Japan had a
50% chance of sinking the last US naval unit, the Big-E, which
had run all the way to Broom, Australia (!), from Noumea (not
a 1-hex island and thus Midway could not hit). Alas, only a flip
was achieved, and the 2-PW hit for strategic naval situation
avoided. (Japan made a mistake using the weather card in Burma
rather than using it to prevent Big-E from running to Australia;
the US arguably returned the favor by leaving Big E without the
7th LRB, which sat in the Solomons).
Employing three big cards in the failed bid for Strategic
Naval Superiority, and its two tantalizing PoW points, left the
DEI and Philippines still technically to fall Turn 3, and the
Allies able to hold on to Sarong, lower DEI bases, and the Mandates
and most of NG. Japan took all the DEI/PI surrender hexes, but
with no offensives and much to do, dispositions for Japan were
not optimal. The Allies then made their only arguable blunder:
moving the (Big E) from Broom. Japan unleashed subs which not
only sank Enterprise, but converted that sub card into a Force
Card!! 100 A/N points then revisited Pearl and the remnants of
the USN, needing only a .5 result to completely wipe it out.
Alas, the dice gods gave the Allies a .25 v. 1 victory, and the
2-PW hit was again avoided by the slimmest of margins. (The Allies
did not hold Heroic Repair or an Ambush).
This mattered greatly because Japan played Tojo as an Event
Turn 3, would achieve a PW point for Midway and most likely Alaska
by Turn 5. With the usual three others from DEI, PI, and Malaya
seemingly in the bag, the Allies were staring at a potential
PW defeat Turn 5 -- but they held one last ace up their sleeve:
a 2-card advantage at the end of Turn 3. Dennis unleashed an
elegant counterattack (War Plan Orange): staging SR air to a
still-unsurrendered Morotai and landing the Aussie 12-12 adjacent
to Davao, which was promptly assaulted. Although a reaction invasion
ensued, the Allies won the ground combat on a 1 v. 5 result (8/1
on the dice), avoiding the Philippines' surrender!! Turn 4 reinforcements
flooded in, including a second Corps and US naval units in Davao!
Moral of the story for Japan: Keep an 18-12 in Davao until the
Philippines surrender, if the Allies store an FO Turn 1 and you
As Ron Franzen used to tell me, games when the Philippines
do not surrender are not pretty for Japan, and this was no exception.
Turn 4, the Allies exploited their position in the center (especially
Sarong and the Philippine airfields) to just take the three hexes
needed Turn 4 for Progress of War. More importantly, with the
Allies able to now feed naval and LRB units into Davao, Japan
now needed to attack (without Turn 4 offensives and no 3 OC cards),
to keep it isolated. With A/N steps consumed in that effort (successful
at a cost) and attempts to retake captured PoW hexes in the lower
DEI (failed; e.g., PoW made), Japan did not see a viable long-game
position after a timely play of Doolittle and the Allies' continued
ability to exploit the Phillippine bases and conceded.
And so concluded a wild, tense, and very friendly match. Congratulations
to Dennis on regaining his title.