The Opening Guns ...
With near record attendance, POG is
alive and well at WBC.
Keith Schoose and Andrew Cummins peer
out of their trenches.
The Mighty Finn takes down Steve
Dave Dockter beats Tom Drueding
in a semi-final of former champs.
50 enlisted for the 2009 PoG-A-Thon - only two shy of the
attendance record set in 2000: quite a turnout for a wargame
now in its second decade. Players logged 944 player hours
over 59 games, covering four days. The finalists, as always,
had to play six 8-hour back-to-back rounds in their quest
for the gold; hence, the PoG-A-Thon nickname for the annual grueling,
but a load of fun, Paths of Glory tournament.
Part of the big news in 2009 was that a "modified historical
campaign scenario" was used for the first time - despite
some initial squawking from the PoG old timers. A number
of changes to Ted Raicer's historical scenario were instituted
including shifting four victory spaces, making it somewhat easier
to play the Tsar Takes Command and providing further incentives
for the Central Powers to hold real estate in the West. The
effect of these changes was to impact play significantly.
The Yanks showed up in a number of games (in contrast to
their usual absence) and most games witnessed a real Western
Front meat grinder (in contrast to the usual "Defend-the-Rhine"
strategy). Feedback from PoGer's was very positive (based
upon a survey of participants), with many shouts of "This
is what we need to be playing in future tournies" being
After 52 games in the three preliminary rounds, we arrived with
five 3-0s, one 2-0-1 and two "roll-off" spots. In what
has become an annual PoG tradition, we had six prospective
giant killers "roll-off" to make the quarter finals.
This year, after the usual hootin and hollerin at 9
AM Tuesday morning, Jeromy Martin and Keith Schoose were the
lucky winners. The budding PoGer Tom Gregorio with a 2-0-1 and
undefeated Gurneau, Mecay, Drueding, Herr Dr and the Finnish
Dragon, Riku filled out the field.
In the quarter finals, sadly, no giants were slain (in a break
with past tradition). Thus, for the semis we had four previous
champs with unblemished records to do battle. Both of the
semi-final games went down to the final dice roll on Turn
20. Stefan Mecay's CP, using his traditional Defend the Rhine
strategy, defeaed Riku's AP. In the other semi, David Dockter's
CP, utilizing a "Go west, and if that fails, try the Russians",
defeated Tom Drueding's AP.
In the Final, Herr Dockter won the bidding die roll and
opened with "CP". Mecay, somewhat stunned, decided
to give up his beloved Central Powers (and his Defend the Rhine
strategy) and play the AP. During the early turns, Dockter was
able to setup the West and Italy, while managing to get the Tsar
Takes Command off and beat the AP to total war by two turns.
On Turn 8, Mecay finally brought the Italians in, sending three
French and three British armies to Italy to prevent a complete
collapse. On Turn 10, with such a diversion of allied might to
Italy, Dockter began an unrelenting hammer in the west. The CP
was able to get both to CT and Amiens. However, CP had forgotten
about trenching technology and was able to only hit one of its
first 11 trench trys (even using the modified trench attempt
rule). One Turn 14, it appeared that the CP would be able
to enter the cafe's of Paris, however a lack of trenches set
the stage for an aggressive AP counterattack. Furthermore, the
CP left a small, but critical hole, in the eastern front. Mecay
jumped and was able to push a flipped russian corps through the
gap, demanding that the CP play "ops" and miss replacements
for the turn. Without replacements, the CP began to collapse
on Turns 15 and 16. The kaiser failed a morale check and a concession
was granted, giving Mecay his second PoG gold ring and adding
to his 2009 PoG PBeM title. As an interesting aside, Mecay's
victory over his fellow Nest of Spies teammate, Herr Dr., cost
the Nest their fourth team championship of the decade.
The last important "wood" note regarding PoG tourney
results was that Peter Gurneau became the newest "sand man",
with his roll off for sixth place.
As to the changes they clearly breathed new life into an already
popular game. I surveyed the players formally and by a
margin of 10-1 players indicated they enjoyed the changes over
the old game. This is in addition to the informal comments
received from various players, many who indicated an initial
reticence over the rules. I will admit though that a number
of us are still testing it and some minor tweeks will be made
for the next PoG email tournament, WAM 2010 and next summer's
WBC Pog-a-thon. For additional color on the 2009 WBC PoG tourney,
there is an AAR on boardgamegeek at http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/45186
and a great Point2point podcast (#40 - the WBC recap) at
The thrill of victory ... Stefan Mecay
stops Riku Riekkinen in the semi-finals, thus preventing the
rematch with Dockter for the title.
And the agaony of defeat. Mecay tops
teammate Dave Dockter in the Final - thus again knocking the
Nest of Spies out of Team contention.
We had only 12 entrants
to the tourney this year. Most conspicuous of the absentees
were Herr DR and Pete "Rain Man" Reese. We had
the usual format of no draws and the AP winning ties, so players
were cautioned to bid accordingly. Again, as usual, the
mean bid was just over 2 to play the AP with one player bidding
4 to keep them from Drueding! As it turned out to no avail
as Tom worked his way through the ladder to meet up with, who
else, Chris Byrd in the Final. Players were allowed to
select either Barbarossa to Berlin (BTB) or Pursuit
of Glory (PUG) as alternate games to POG with the default
being POG. We had one BTB and one PUG game played. The
POG games were very equally split between AP/CP wins. The
most notable POG win was Doug Austin as the AP player putting
the entire CP force out of supply in an early round!!! This
caused attrition for every CP unit on the board, a first for
WAM play. The Semi-finals saw Byrd and Charlie Hickok playing
and Drueding and Ken Gutermuth paired against one another. Ken's
stated goal was to last the entire game!!
As mentioned above we had a repeat of last year's Final with
Tom and Chris. Tom won the AP with a bid of 3. These
two pachyderms went at it Saturday evening. By Turn 5 it
was looking bleak for Chris. By Turn 10 he realized that
his CP forces were in an untenable position and, being the
sportsman that he is, conceded. This allowed them to test
drive PUG. I did not get any feedback on their experience. Even
given the reduced number of players we all still had a good time
and some BBQ!! Looking forward to next year.
Chris Byrd, CT
Ken Gutermuth, NC
Charles Hickok, PA
Tim Hall, UT
Bill Pettus, NJ
Paths of Glory PBeM Results:
The "sharks were well represented among the 89-player
turnout with most of the top rated players cruising through the
initial rounds of what would be a 196-game, three-year marathon.
An interesting addition from past tourney's was a 6-member "Italian"
contingent who all did quite well with three of the six making
it to the 4th round (at which point the field had been reduced
to nine players). A new innovation this time permitted
all players to continue to the second round in either the lower
or upper division. Thus, regardless of how poor one's record
was in the first round, these players could continue without
any detriment in the lower division (although some chose not
to). Cinsequently, we still had 74 playing in Round 2.
Three of the lower division advanced to Round 3 together with
18 from the higher echelon.
Bidding - the game was standard POG with the extra AH corp at
Lutsk and Stanislaw. Probably because so many games have
been played, the bidding has become pretty predictable with the
average bid at 2 for the AP. The CP has pretty much gone to the
defend the Rhine, kill the Russians strategy. I will be starting
a new tournament with slightly different rules hopefully to change
this a bit.
In the Final Stefan Mecay got the CP and in both cases fell back
to the Rhine and crushed the Russians. In the other medal
game between Reese and Byrd the same thing was attempted but
the CP fell 1 short of victory for a draw. Following Stefan
in the Laurels totals were: Chris Byrd, Peter reese, Rob Hassard,
Mauro Gasbarrini, and marvin Birnbaum.
All in all, a lot of games over a long period of time.
The next tournament will have a shorter period for the games
(3-3 1/2 months) as it has been almost three years for this tournament
to reach completion.
Rules - sames as before with the following additions
1) Use optional corps at Lutsk at Stanislaw as always,
2) Use optional trench rolls and the 8 card hand.
3) Use the optional historical setup/rules (on GMTs web site)
4) Move VP spaces from Turkey (2 - Jerusalem and Kharput) to
Koblenz and Aachen and move VP spaces from Ahwaz and Venice to
BL and Sedan.
5) CP will get one RP per turn if during TW (starting the
turn it draws its TW cards) so long as it has at least three
French Belgian spaces including (the three spaces must include
Sedan) during the turn interphase.
To enter, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
before August, 2009.