He's Baaaack ...
Peter Perla and Michal Mitchell put
the blue and gray through their paces.
Mark Giddings relinquishes his role
as Pei's personal punching bag to the mighty Finn.
Once again the For The People tournament generated
a full house with the eagerly sought re-match of James Pei aka
'the Master' versus the reigning champion Riku Riekkinen who
scored the upset of the decade last year while ending Pei's string
of seven straight titles. This tournament continues to see the
highest level of FTP competition with good cheer prevailing amongst
the fallen cardboard. Once again the format was the full campaign
game with a near 50-50 outcome. As expected, the two titans of
the FTP battlefields faced each other again in the Final. Here
is the record of that game as told by the restored WBC champion,
CSA: James Pei vs USA: Riku Riekkinen
Turn 1: I drew a bunch of 1's and a 2, which was War
in the West. So at least I will get to limit the Union hand to
three cards. Riku started off strong with the Clara Barton card,
adding three SP to his forces. I can see that he is setting up
for some strong offensives. I did a leader reshuffle to place
leaders in defensive positions. Riku then played an AA event
to raise the assault modifier to +2. So I placed an ironclad
in Aquia Creek to bottle up his DC force. Good thing too as Riku
played another AA event to bring the modifier to +4! I then played
the War card to discard Riku's last card. The (oh crap) look
on his face was priceless; it was a Major Campaign! Whew, dodged
a big bullet there. I ended the turn by playing a divisional
move to save my attrition in Manassas.
Turn 2: Riku placed corps in Cairo and Bloomington
while the bulk of his forces were deployed in the East. I likewise
did the same, leaving a small blocking force in TN. I drew an
average hand, but with a reinforcement card. Riku played the
Ambush card on Stuart, narrowly missing him. I immediately created
AoNV under JJ to keep AoP in check and to pose a threat to the
Union forces around DC. Obviously it worked as Riku burned several
cards in a row fortifying all the approaches and shuffling some
leaders. Without any good cards, I just lay low, bringing in
SPs and placing PCs. I think Riku attacked Columbus KY with his
last card, a Minor Campaign, but failed to win decisively. His
second attack was to AA Ft P-J, which he took handily. I decided
to convert WVa with my last card instead of building a fort in
New Orleans since I prefer to use ironclads on the mighty Mississippi.
Turn 3: With no reinforcements this turn, both of us
realign our forces slightly to guard the potential battlegrounds.
This time I drew an excellent hand including two concentration
cards and another reinforcement card. Riku began by placing a
fort in Philly which was an excellent move given what was about
to occur later on. I played my reinforcement card, bringing in
three extra SP in ports. He then played a Blockade card, raising
to Level 1. I unleashed AoNV to batter its way thru Frederick
but failed as Little Mac held on convincingly. Riku placed another
fort at Harrisburg, setting up a strong defensive line behind
the front. The Finn likes a WWI trench system!
Things quieted down a bit as I did another leader reshuffle.
Riku then played Red River and sent Freemont all the way down
to capture Shreveport, one movement point short of burning Marshall
TX. With the situation deteriorating in the West, I'm hoping
to put pressure in the East to force the Union away from my weak
western flank. So I had Van Dorn shuttling more SP from the Carolinas
into AoNV. Riku promptly rearranged his blocking forces in Harpers
and Frederick. Seeing that Pittsburgh was still unfortified,
I played a concentration card that immediately pumped up AoNV
to more than enough to blow thru the Pittsburgh defense.
With his last card, Riku did more rearranging of his forces
around DC to face the Rebel threat. I had a tough call to make,
go West to easily raid two states or go East to raid PA and also
block the DC rail line. Since Lee will appear next turn I decided
to go East to use my favorite tactics of two armies grid locking
DC. The problem was the Union forts at Harrisburg and Philly.
AoNV can break thru Harrisburg, but taking Philly will be tough
with the Union having a +5 modifier. So I chose to bypass Philly
and headed to Baltimore with AoNV. Mac had 1/3 chance of intercepting,
and if he failed, life would be rosy. But of course Mac intercepted
and won the resulting battle. Not only did I not choke off DC,
but AoNV was in a precarious position. Shit does happen sometimes!
I did manage to pull off my first raid. SW after Turn 3 was
very favorable for CSA. So I shouldn't complain too much.
Turn 4: With his flanks turned and a Rebel army running
loose in PA, Riku loaded up Mac in Baltimore, leaving just two
SP with AoP in DC. He must have sensed something because I drew
Forward to Richmond. The rest of my cards were okay, but more
importantly, Lee and a bunch of cav leaders were here.
Riku formed an army (AoC) under Mac right away, gaining the
5 SW bonus. I did likewise with Lee (AoW). Mac tried to smack
AoNV, but was repulsed. I injected a corps reinforcement to AoNV
to allow it to hold onto its position in York. Sensing the closing
of the two Rebel armies, AoC tried to work its way to Harrisburg,
to cut the LOC for AoNV. But JJ intercepted and won the battle.
I then played FtR to get AoP out, and it suicided itself in Manassas.
Union SW was down -10 to around 85.
I don't recall what happened next, but I think the rest of
the turn settled down to positioning and other minor actions
as Riku didn't have enough 3 Op cards. I didn't want to commit
until the end as my SP strength was getting low and I needed
to resupply. Toward the end, Lee broke thru the Frederick defense
and threatened DC. Mac placed a rearguard in Philly and hurried
back to DC. With the last card, I decided not to engage AoC but
to isolate it since my ironclad at Aquia was still doing its
job at DUNC. So Lee swept around to Annapolis to isolate DC,
and Mac failed its interception. The turn ended with raids in
PA and MD, and AoC in DC isolated and incurring double attrition.
SW was around 110 CSA vs 75 USA.
Turn 5: With DC isolated, AoC cannot get any reinforcements.
So Riku set up multiple corps along the perimeter to hope to
blast his way in. I naturally reinforced my armies accordingly.
Riku opened with a Major Campaign, sending Halleck's corps through
WVa to force its way into DC. Jackson stood like a stonewall
at Manassas and repulsed the relief force. Second move, another
corps came thru Harrisburgh, which AoNV failed to intercept,
and pumped six much needed SP into AoC. Third move, Pope made
an AA to Aquia to open up the sea lane. Jackson was still in
his stonewall defense mode and failed his interception. I decided
to send Lee to clean out the various flying columns the Union
had posted before they can rejoin AoC. They were easy kills as
Lee had +7 modifiers vs at most +1 for the Union forces. AoC
then tried to make a dash to open up the LOC thru MD and PA,
but AoNV made the interception and repulsed it. Lee swung back
to attack AoC and sent it packing to DC again. Riku made a last
attempt by trying to cut the supply to the Rebel forces in the
East. Jackson made the interception and kept the LOC open. It
was at this point that Riku resigned as he was bereft of 3 Op
cards and the entire NE corridor was open to Rebel raids. As
it were, the CSA could have easily doubled USA's SW with a three-state
I look forward to the 11th running of the FTP tournament in
2010. I hope to see you all there.
Tim Miller and Henry Russell refight
the War of Northern Aggression.
Designer Mark Herman watches the Master
and his foil in "The Rematch" as Pei regains his title
in the Final.