Four Times a Champ ... Will There
be a Fifth?
Flying dice are about as close to
an action shot as you'll get at a gaming convention.
Andrew Cummins and Kevin Hammond venture
a bridge too far during Kevin's first WBC.
The field dwindles, but the man on top remains. Dave Long
took his fourth consecutive Monty's Gamble title in 2009,
from the smallest field yet that nonetheless included several
of the game's strongest players. In the first round, Mike Kaye
defeated Nels Thompson with a crushing opening by XXX Corps and
excellent play to take objectives Best and Grave early. With
a weather change on the 17th, Nels decided to move the German
defenders forward, through Arnhem, to try to hold Nijmegen for
the win, but later, when Mike's Allies had nine VPs and only
lacked Nijmegen and Wyler at the end of the 18th, and neither
likely to hold, Nels conceded.
Although the field was small, there were three new players.
Nathan Trent defeated Todd Treadway in a friendly game between
two beginners. Tom Stewart was the first of Dave Long's three
victims. There were two especially interesting opening round
pairings, in the GM's view. Andrew Cummins dispatched Scott Moll
in one of them, denying the Point2Point podcaster's latest bid
to take a title in one of the area impulse games. Tod Whitehurst
ended newcomer Kevin Hammond's area impulse week in the other
strong pairing. Two people withdrew heading into Round 2, leaving
the contestants in the uncomfortable position of facing an eliminator
in the round, which could have been the de facto Final. But serving
as an eliminator, Kevin took his second swipe and missed, falling
Andrew Cummins this time. Tod Whitehurst fell to Dave Long in
the other semi game, setting up a rematch of last year's Final
between Long and Cummins. Proving his dedication to the genre,
after taking third in the Breakout: Normandy tournament,
and with a couple of games of Monty's Gamble under his
belt, Kevin went on to play a third game, a friendly, with former
champ Jim Eliason, who missed this year's tournament when he
reached the semis in another.
The Final itself was one-sided, Cummins playing the Allies
to Long's Germans. The opening landings appeared fair to both
sides, but Andrew re-rolled his early loss in St. Odenrode and
failed to clear, and later could not recover the Advantage at
Valkenswaard. After bombarding twice, Andrew came within three
pips of recovering the marker on impulse 3, failing to clear
the area. Dave immediately blew the Eindhoven bridge, and Andrew
took Veghel and Uden, but rolled a '3' to end the day. He followed
with a XXX Corps activation to overrun Valkenswaard and work
his way around Eindhoven the long way, but his position had been
severely damaged. There was no Eindhoven bonus VP for the Allies,
and XXX Corps was not in position to get far up the road on the
18th. Andrew regrouped into Driel to contest the southern end
of the Arnhem bridge, and the18th started on impulse 0 with Dave
failing to nick Driel with a bombardment, and Andrew
reinforcing Arnhem. On impulse 1, Dave blocked Zeeland and discovered
as he looked at the position that Andrew had erred and left Veghel
open, so he occuppied Veghel, too. On impulse 3, and still without
the Advantage, Andrew rolled the dreaded snake-eyes to end the
18th and seal the outcome of the game, and the Tournament.
Monty's Gamble will need to clear double obstacles
if it is to continue at WBC next year. Having failed to make
the Century list again, it will need not only a boost during
the membership vote but a new GM as well as I am signing off
for next year. Any volunteers should submit an event form before
the December vote to get the game on the ballot.
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