Erica Snarski and Bill Scott were
just two of the 35 grognards to play the old Smithsonian title.
Ty Hansen and Craig Yope take a break
from Axis & Allies to reinact Pickett's Charge.
MENZEL SCORES A FOUR-PEAT
anybody beat Ed Menzel at Gettysburg '88? The answer would
appear to be no, at least when the title is on the line, as the
Fullerton, CA resident made it four consecutive championships
at the 2009 World Boardgaming Championships in Lancaster, PA
last month. Ed finished with an 8-4 record and defeated second-year
contestant Richard Beyma (Blacksburg, VA/5-4) in the Final. Veteran
Dave Zimmerman (Myerstown, PA) took third at 4-2 and another
sophomore, John Clarke of Tampa, FL finished fourth with a 4-6
log. The 35 total entrants and 67 total games played both were
all-time bests at WBC. Not bad considering that just six years
ago we were down to eight players and seven total games played.
Preliminary games were played at the Grognardcon from Sunday
through Tuesday, and at WBC proper from Tuesday through Friday.
Friday night, the record 17 players who had played the required
minimum number of games (three) to qualify for the Final Four
were ranked, with the top four advancing to the single-elimination
rounds. The top qualifiers were, in order, Ed Menzel (6-4, 68
Total Points), Dave Zimmerman (4-1, 66 Total Points), Richard
Beyma (4-3, 64 Total Points), and John Clarke (4-5, 62 Total
Points). Ed Menzel was the only player to repeat from last year's
final four. As usual, all the playoff slots were determined by
hairbreadth margins; one game won instead of lost would have
meant a different playoff lineup. Places 5 through 10 were captured
by, 5th, the GM (Wilmington, DE/6-2), 6th, Jim Tracy (Dayton,
OH/6-4), 7th, Pat Mirk (Tampa, FL/4-1), 8th, Ted Drozd (Chicago,
IL/4-2), 9th, Greg Smith (Boca Raton, FL/4-4), and 10th, Erica
Snarski (Wilkes-Barre, PA/3-6).
In the Saturday morning semi-finals, #1 Ed Menzel faced #4
John Clarke, and #2 Dave Zimmerman squared off against #3 Richard
Beyma. John Clarke's Confederates, bidding 5.0, damaged the Union
on July 1, but suffered significant losses on turns 9-11 and
resigned at the end of Turn 12 with only three unflipped infantry
units remaining. Ed Menzel thus avenged a preliminary round loss
to John. Meanwhile, Richard Beyma bid 7.5 for the Confederates
against Dave Zimmerman. The South scored some good rolls early
while North counterattacks did nothing. The Rebels attritioned
the Yankees for three consecutive turns and turned the Union
left flank. By Turn 9, the South continued to shred Union infantry
stacks, and with Union counterattack capability diminished, they
For the fourth year in a row, the final contest featured Ed
Menzel against an opponent who had defeated him earlier in the
tournament; this year, Richard Beyma had scored a July 1 knockout
as the Confederates despite a bid of 5.0. And for the fourth
year in a row, it was Ed Menzel turning the tables in the rematch.
Richard acquired the Grey for a bid of 7.0. The Union managed
to keep their losses low on the first day, with four factors
killed and two flips. The Confederates suffered one factor dead
and one flip. The Confederates also had two artillery units at
hexes B4 and D2 blocking some of the Union's Turn 8 reinforcements.
The tide turned on Turn 9 as the Confederates suffered an infantry
flip and the two blocking units were eliminated. Turn 10 saw
more Southern reverses, with an infantry flipped in one battle
and a double infantry flip in another, followed by a chit transfer
and the same result on the reroll. The snowball continued rolling
downhill on Turns 11 and 12 with more Confederate casualties,
leading to Lee's concession on Turn 12.
Dave Zimmerman's 4-0 mark as the Grey earned him Best Confederate
Player honors. Best Union Player at 4-1 was Ted Drozd, the third
time he has received the designation. Veteran gamer Tom Gregorio's
2-1-1 record, best among the 11 freshmen, garnered him the Rookie
of the Year appellation.
Here are a few stats. As headlined, the field of 35 entrants
exceeded by two the previous largest field, and the 67 total
games played surged past last year's then-record total of 49.
The South won 36 games to 29 for the North; there were two ties.
57 games used the campaign scenario, with the Confederates on
top in 34 and the Union in 21, plus the aforementioned pair of
draws. Nine games used the short July 1 scenario, with the Federals
winning seven. One game featured the rarely used July 2 scenario;
it was won by the Union. 46 games featured Confederate bids,
ranging from 0.5 to 8.0 Victory Points, with the South prevailing
27 times to the North's 18, plus one tie. There was no bid in
20 games and the Blue came out on top ten times to nine for the
Gray, with one tie. In the one July 2 scenario game, the Union
made the bid for the only time at the WBC - and what a bid it
was: 18! And they still won; in fact, the Confederates were wiped
completely off the board! The competitors, Charles and Ted Drozd,
stated that this proves the July 2 scenario is impossible for
the Confederates to win.
It's clear that the Union has an advantage in the July 1,
July 2, and July 2-3 scenarios, and that the Confederates have
an advantage in the campaign scenario. Setting aside the single
game with the Union bid, the average bid was 2.67/Confederate
for all games and 3.84/ Confederate for games in which there
was a bid. The latter is a full point higher than last year.
Whether the bidding at these levels accurately reflects the aforementioned
advantages remains to be seen. For example, no one has yet bid
for the Union in the July 1 scenario, even though the Union is
winning, on a percentage basis, more in that scenario than the
Confederates are winning in the campaign scenario.
Average game length clocked in at 2 hours and 53 minutes,
a little less than half an hour shorter than in 2008 (which had
the longest game length since we began timing the games). Of
course, the "average" included a 6-hour endurance contest
as well as one that finished in 20 minutes, the shortest game
Again this year, first thanks go to Bruno Sinigaglio for running
the Grognardcon from Sunday through Tuesday afternoon. Thank
you also to a quartet of Assistant GMs, Ted Drozd, Ed Menzel,
Greg Smith, and Bill Thomson. Finally, Bill Morse deserves appreciation
for completely automating the scoring at the WBC for all the
Grognardcon games. Not having to calculate the standings takes
a huge load off the GM.
Jim Tracy and Doug Porterfield refight
the blue and the gray.
Richard Beyma tackles veteran Dave
Zimmerman in the semi-finals.
It was youth versus experience in
the Final and experience carried the day again.
Richard Beyma was unable to prevent
Ed Menzel's fourth straight title.