Thrice as Nice ...
Mark Gutfreund (left) opposes Mark
Rinella at his own game.
Eric Stranger (left) provides the
opposition for Austrian Herbert Gratz.
2008 saw MG:MG hold steady at 14 participants, which stopped
a downward slide the tournament had been experiencing since it's
debut. GM and defending champion Dave Long defended his title
in a hard fought match against previous GM Andrew Cummins' Germans
to take home his third straight crown.
Balance continued to be the key precept, as the 12 games played
yielded an even split with six victories for each side. The players
seem to generally agree with that sentiment as all but three
games had no bids, with the remaining three opting for the Allies,
perhaps reflecting the fact that as the Allies, with the burden
of attacking, you get to enjoy throwing the XXX Corps hammer
After Round 1, one winner opted out, leaving six to compete
for a spot in the semi-finals. Jim Eliason, the 2005 champion,
tried to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, with some spectacularly
bad rolls on Sept. 19th in an attempt to clear Nijmegen. Jim
proceeded to roll a negative differential on the dice for ten
straight rolls, turning what promised to be an easy victory over
Tod Whitehurst's Germans into a nail-biter. Tod's 9th SS Recon
battalion, fought off six consecutive 0 or +2 diiferential attacks
before finally succumbing on the 20th. In another odd happening,
eventual winner Dave Long managed to pull off a rare back-to-back
Impulse 2 weather change against Ken Dunn's Germans, by rolling
snake-eyes on an air bombardment on Impulse 2, changing the weather
to cloudy, only to roll another '2' on Impulse 2a to change it
right back to sunny.
With three players advancing to the third round, game designer
Michael Rinella volunteered to play the role of eliminator, and
the luck of the draw found Jim Eliason and his cold dice failing
to cross the Maas against Mr. Rinella's tough Germans. That left
the last game, Dave Long versus Andrew Cummins, as the de facto
championship game. In the Final, Long's Allies managed to overcome
a potential fatal blunder when he failed to advance the Guards
Armored Car far enough up Hell's Highway, allowing Andrew Cummins
to hold XXX Corps below the Maas River until the 19th. However,
with Eindhoven having fallen on the 17th, the Allies managed
to secure all the paratrooper victory areas, the advantage, and
prevent any infiltrations. The game ended with 1st AB cowering
in Arnhem and Oosterbeek, with the Germans desperately trying
to clear Wyler as the clock ran out.
MMP graciously favored the top three with gift certificates
for their places. Mark Gutfruend won the GM's German award for
quickest capture of Arnhem as the Germans (the only one of the
entire tournament, in fact), while Jim Eliason took home the
Allied Award for the fastest capture of Nijmegen. Hopefully,
if MG:MG can sneak back as a trial event again next year, we
may actually see an increase in participants in this relatively
unknown Area Movement gem.
Monty's Gamble PBeM Tournament:
The third Monty's Gamble: Market Garden PBeM tournament
has concluded on schedule. We began with 24 players who were
paired at random and were given the flexibility to agree amongst
themselves which side to play (we allowed the players to do this
throughout the tournament). Jim Eliason was the top finisher
preventing Tod Whitehurst from claiming his third title in a
row. This year the Germans took a slight advantage in wins,
13 to 11 for the Allies. It still proves that this is one
of the most balanced tournament games still being played.
Below is an AAR of the final game written by Jim.
It was the most unique game of MGM I've ever played and even
with poor dice it could have turned around at any moment which
is a tribute to the excitement that this game can produce.
Tod's note that the game was unique was a big understatement.
Bizarre was more like it. The paratroops started well; Grave
and St. Oedenrode were cleared at dawn. Tod used the Advantage
for a double impulse 0 to assault Wolfheze (which worked), take Arnhem and
the Son bridge all at once. This turned out badly since XXX corps
was a disaster. The first day ended on impulse 3 and the whole
of XXX corps assaulted and failed to even clear Zone F. Except
I retreated the last unit out so I could have a fresh mobile
unit in Eindhoven for the next day. This gave Tod 17
supply I could have denied him, but that extra fresh unit did
turn out to be crucial.
After the first German impulse of the18th, Monty's boys were
looking at a delay unit in Valkenswaard from the 59th division,
and two units backing it up in Geldrop. Eindhoven had
seven units with 18 steps in it, with a defense of 9. Tod went
around Eindhoven, and it was still German-controlled at
the end of the third day. But the Allied dice were very poor
and despite the day going 12 impulses, XXX corps got no point
units across the Wilhelmina canal until regroup. The 180th division,
which usually has to guard Zeeland on the 18th, was
sent instead to Aarle and Nuenen. These guys plus Rink moving
around from Acht and the fresh SS unit from Eindhoven held
Neunen until impulse 7. The road was open to Uden, but only the
two artillery units were still fresh.
While XXX corps struggled, the paratroops continued to do
well. The Red Devils captured Elden and the Arnhem bridge
and a big SS assault on the city caused only 1 CP. I could have
prevented the fall of Elden by barraging Driel, but I opted for
a bombardment instead, which failed. This could have been a crucial
error on my part, but turned out to be moot. The 101st captured
Best, and the XXX corps artillery motored through on their way
to Uden. Most of the Germans starting in Zone C were sent west
to stop XXX corps' access to the MaasRiver, and the 82nd
captured Wyler on impulse 8.
Meanwhile, the Germans were digging in, in and around Zeeland.
On Monty's first impulse of the overcast 19th, there were five
fresh (including an artillery) and one spent units in Zeeland,
two fresh and two spent units in Mill, and a fresh unit in Volkel
blocking the road to Mill. He had no units with the MP to assault Zeeland or
Mill until all the units there were spent, and only three that
could assault spent units, and none of them were tanks. And the
Germans had the Advantage. Clearing the block rapidly would have
allowed a formidable force to assemble for an attack on Nijmegen since
the day started on C and an OR of either Zeeland or
Mill would give a +3 sunset drm and likely the second very long
day in a row. But it was not to be. Allied dice stayed ice cold.
XXX corps and Gds division artillery bombardments shredded the
defenses, but too slowly. A 9-1 attack against eight steps failed
to clear Zeeland. It was finally cleared on impulse 7 by
the last unit able to attack, but the day ended the same impulse,
dooming any chance of a reasonable attack on Nijmegen (which
was going to have five fresh units in it with two more able to
reinforce), and prompting Tod to resign.
To add insult to injury, all the units of the 82nd able to
get to Wyler had been disrupted by SS artillery fire, and the
artillery park in Pannerden on the 20th was going to be defended
by five FLK units. Wyler was very likely to be recaptured and
Tod might have had to abandon it during regroup to avoid its
loss also costing a sunset drm or even the Advantage if I needed
to spend it early in the turn.
Tod kept his good cheer throughout this total dice blowout
and I commend him for his tenacious and courteous play and good
conduct of the event.
Additional laurels were earned by:
3) Anthony Daw, UT
4) Peter Phelps, AU
5) Mark Gutfreund, KY
6) Andrew Cummins, UK