russia besieged  

Updated 11/30/2009

2009 WBC Report  

 2010 Status: pending 2010 GM commitment

Rob Beyma, MD

2006-09 Champion

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Event History
2006    Rob Beyma     16
2007    Rob Beyma     18
2008     Rob Beyma     18
2009     Rob Beyma     20
 Laurels

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Rob Beyma          MD    09    120
  2.  Art Lupinacci      ON    09     57
  3.  Richard Beyma      MD    09     36
  4.  Jim Eliason        IA    09     30
  5.  Jim Miller         VA    07     21
  6.  Craig Champagne    NJ    06     12
  7.  Lembit Tohver      ON    08      9
  8.  Charles Catania    MD    09      6
  9.  Jim Tracy          OH    07      6
 10.  Doug Richards      ON    06      6
 11.  Charles Drozd      IL    09      3
 12.  Doug James         NC    08      3

2009 Laurelists                                    Repeating Laurelists:

Richard Beyma, MD
2nd

Jim Eliason, IA
3rd

Art Lupinacci, on
4th

Charles Catania, MD
5th

Charles Drozd, IL
6th


Art Lupinacci plays Doug Richards on his big display board. Us old guys can't handle those little counters any more.

Marty Musella discovers a talented first timer in Charles Catania who is attending his first WBC and more than holding his own.

Still gaining experience ...

The number of entrants increased as the event continues to slowly attract a larger following. There was a crowd at the Demo and seven new players entered the tournament. The Mulligan Round again proved popular with eight games being played Wednesday evening and four more in Round 1 Thursday morning. The seven turn scenario ending in May / June 1942 was used again. The final 2nd edition rules, charts, and OB Cards were used for the first time in the tournament.

Sides were determined by mutual agreement or by bidding Victory Points with replacement points as a tiebreaker. The VP bids ranged from 16 to 20 with the average bid being 19.2. The most frequent bid was 19 which was also the default number of VPs required. Play balance was perfect with each side winning 11 games. After Round 1, the Russians won six games to the Germans' four. In one notable Mulligan Round game, Art Lupinacci who was playing the Germans with a bid of 19 barely got by Charles Catania in a hard fought contest. Art had slipped some units across the Kerch straits and grabbed Novorossiysk on his last turn to get his 19th VP. Charles then lost a 2-1 counterattack versus Kursk on his last turn to come up a point short in his upset bid.

Charles Drozd, Charles Catania, Richard Beyma, Jim Tracy, Jim Eliason, Marty Musella, Doug Richards, Lembit Tohver, Art Lupinacci, and Rob Beyma all advanced to Round 2 Thursday afternoon. Richard Beyma's blitzkrieg offensive overran Lembit Tohver in 1941. Art Lupinacci, playing the Russians, stopped Doug Richard's (19 bid) Germans. Rob Beyma, playing the Russians, survived Charles Drozd's 1941 offensive despite perfect German weather in the fall. Jim Eliason, playing the Russians, held back Jim Tracy's aggressive offensive with the help of some Mud and Snow in 1941. Charles Catania overcame a strong German attack from Marty Musella that reached Voronezh in October but ran into Mud and Snow on Turn 4.   

Five survivors reached the quarter-finals. Charles Catania joined Richard, Art, Jim, and Rob who had all advanced to Round 3 for the second straight year. In a notable third Round game, Jim and Chales made identical bids. Jim won the die roll to play the Russians. Charles got off to a good start but stalled against Jim's strong defense in the fall. Charles tossed in the towel after AGC got mauled during the winter around Smolensk. Richard bid 20 to play the Germans against the game's designer. Art had not seen many aggressive German blitzkriegs like Richard's. The Germans captured Minsk on Turn 1 and were attacking Moscow at 5-1 on Turn 3. Art dodged a big bullet when Moscow held and even eliminated a couple panzer corps on a 1-1 counterattack. Richard got good weather in Nov / Dec but a 4-1 attack on Moscow also failed to capture Moscow. While Art was busy saving Moscow, Richard continued to attack and grab VPs elsewhere. Even with Snow in March, Art's Russians were unable to recapture enough VPs to prevent a German win.

In the semi-finals, Richard (confident in his German strategy) bid 20 to play the Germans versus Jim. Richard pursued a very aggressive offensive and took numerous gambles. The Germans captured both Riga and Minsk on Turn 1. However, Richard had left Jim with a couple of 1-1 surrounded attack opportunities against panzer corps. However, both attacks failed. The Germans also sea moved an infantry unit to Helsinki (which flipped) while the Finns moved east. Seeing an opportunity to knock the Finns out of the war, Jim made a 2-1 (-1) attack on Helsinki which also failed. The Germans took full advantage of Clear weather in Sep / Oct to grab a lot of VPs. The German offensive was slowed with Mud and Snow in Nov / Dec and Jim began his counteroffensive. The powerful Russian winter offensive killed lots of German units and slowly pushed the Germans back. March 1942 found the Germans clinging to their VPs with a weak army. A Mud / Mud weather roll proved to be fortuitous for Richard as it slowed Jim's counteroffensive. Snow in March would have made things very tough for the Germans. The last turn found the Germans expending more troops to hold onto 20 VPs and get the win.

In the other semi-final, Charles Catania was enlisted as an eliminator to play Rob. Once again Charles and his opponent had identical bids. This time Charles won the die roll and got to play the Germans at 19 VPs. Charles eliminated a lot of Russians on the first three turns but advanced somewhat cautiously. The Germans captured Kiev on Turn 3 but the Russians still held Dnepropetrovsk. Charles was counting on favorable weather in Nov / Dec to assault Leningrad and Dnepropetrovsk and reach his VP bid. Snow in November ended Charles's attempt at preventing Rob from reaching his 4th consecutive Final. Charles really likes Russia Besieged and gained lots of experience playing the top players this year. Everyone had better watch out for Professor Catania next year! 

The Final saw another Beyma family tree father and son match (Rob and Richard had met in the Waterloo semi-finals last year). In a surprise ploy, Richard dropped his bid from 20 to 18. His logic was that Rob usually struggles with the Germans the first time that he plays them in a tournament. Rob constructed an opening German attack to eliminate a lot of Russians. The key attack was a 5-1 versus 2431 to enable an un-doubled and surrounded attack against 2029 during the 2nd impulse. Four '1' rolls slowed the German attack and two of the four panzer corps in the south were flipped during the 2nd impulse. Richard defended forward in force to both minimize German Turn 2 penetration and to force Rob to use precious clock time to plan his attacks. This strategy was successful although, importantly, Russian losses were high. The Germans did get some additional penetration as a result of two successful second impulse Blitzkrieg attacks. The second of these attacks surrounded Kiev. Interestingly, Kiev would never be assaulted in this game. Richard had railed two infantry armies into Odessa on Turn 1 to deny this key airbase to the Germans. The German Rumanian Front, weakened by Turn 1 losses, could only mask Odessa.

Richard's second turn found the Russians faced with many threats and few units. The Russians defended the Luga, the woods in front of Moscow, Bryansk, Kharkov, and Dnepropetrovsk. One of the armies in Odessa was successfully sea moved back to Sevastopol. Importantly, a 4-6 was moved to 2423 to re-establish supply to Kiev and to pin one of the two full strength panzers in the south. A 7-4 was deployed in the gap between Bryansk and the swamp to prevent Rob's AGC panzers from penetrating deep into the south. The Russian Turn 2 move is one of the most difficult and important in this game. 

Turn 3 yielded Clear weather. With a +1 weather DRM for Nov / Dec, Rob figured that he had better go all out on Turn 3. Rob noticed that Stalino was defended by a lone WEC. The remaining full strength panzer in the south and one of the flipped panzers headed straight for Stalino. Rob decided to use 50 factors and three Stukas in the center to AV the 7-4 and break three panzers into the Russian rear. One panzer raced straight for an undefended Voronezh. The other two set up for a second impulse attack on the 6-4 in Kursk. Three Stukas that were still based in Bucharest were used to attack Odessa along with the 3-8 cavalry and three flipped infantry units. Rob decided to surround both Kiev and Dnepropetrovsk with mostly infantry. In the north, a lone 7-8 panzer corps crossed the Luga and, with the aid of six infantry corps that had finally reached the Luga, made a second impulse 7-1 attack. Rob scrapped together two infantry corps and a 7-8 panzer plus the last two Stukas to attack two Russian units in the forest next to Bryansk at 4-1. An unfortunate X2 result flipped another panzer (which was intended to support the second impulse attack at Kursk). The attack on Kursk was now only a 4-1 and another X2 was rolled flipping another panzer and eliminating the SS unit. Rob also staged Stukas to Bryansk and Voronezh during second impulse. Ominously, Rob was down to only 45 minutes for the last four turns of the game.

The beginning of the Russian third turn found German panzers in Kursk (actually on both sides of Kursk), Voronezh, and Stalino and few Russian units on the board. However, the Russians were getting a huge influx of reinforcements and replacements this turn. Richard deployed heavy infantry to hold Leningrad and deployed in strength between Rostov and Stalino. Richard made a well conceived counterattack at Bryansk. With only a 4-5 and a  5-8 in Bryansk, Richard was able to get a 2-1 (-1) attack. If the attack produced any German casualties (a 70% chance), the Russians could get a 3-1 or better attack during the second impulse and possibly could advance two units into Bryansk. Rob, recognizing the danger to his center position from this critical attack, committed the last German Field Marshal to make it a 2-1 (-2) attack. A '2' was rolled and Bryansk was saved.

Rob was fortunate to roll Mud / Mud in Nov / Dec. The Germans began retreating from the Leningrad front and killed a few units in the center and the south. A supply path to Voronezh was reopened. Richard deployed the Russians en masse for the winter offensive. Both Kiev and Dnepropetrovsk surrendered at the end of the Russian turn. The German VP total had reached 22. The Russian winter offensive came at the Germans hard in Jan / Feb. Richard made key 1-1 attacks versus Veliki-Luki and Kursk and additional attacks against German stacks next to these cities. Despite Rob adding a Field Marshal to each attack, Richard rolled a 10 on both attacks and got two D1 results. The German stacks adjacent to Veliki-Luki and Kursk were now un-doubled since the Germans no longer controlled these cities. Rob could have made Kursk 1-1 proof but failed to notice that the ZOC of a 3-6 that had slipped into the German rear was blocking the rail to Kursk until it was too late to march an infantry unit from Bryansk to Kursk. A D2 was achieved on the second German stack at Veliki-Luki. The German player was unlucky to "win" the 2-1 against his other stack next to Kursk; the Russians picked up the whole stack during second impulse on a 4-1 surrounded attack. The momentum was shifting to the Russians and Richard's confidence was growing. It was now Rob's turn to be concerned.

The next "roll of the game" would be the Mar / Apr weather roll. Rob's woes were compounded by the fact that he had only 12 minutes remaining for the last two turns. Rob was considering conceding on a Snow roll (a 50% chance) but probably would have gone one more turn, especially with Lt Mud during second impulse. Rob was really hoping for Mud / Mud to enable a quick move and to limit Russian attacks and advances. Ironically, that was the result that Richard had gotten in his semi-final game with Jim Eliason. Rob reached for the green die (that had rolled a lot of 1s in 1941) but Art suggested that Rob should use the same die that he had been using for the last two turns. Another spectator pointed out that the chances were the same regardless of which die was used. So, Rob picked up the black die and tossed it into the dice tower. All eyes were glued to the black die as it settled at the bottom of the tower. It was a '1' (Lt Mud / Clear). It was like Edward G. Robinson flipping over the Jack of Diamonds in the movie The Cincinnati Kid.

The Germans stabilized the line all along the front and once again reopened a supply path to Voronezh. A 2-1 attack on Kharkov, raised to 4-1 by two Stukas, captured the city. A lone  3-8 cavalry unit advanced towards Sevastopol, defended only by the WEC. A German 5-5 infantry corps railed to Odessa to make a 2nd impulse invasion. The German infantry unit landed successfully with the help of the DRM for the Rumanian port of Constanta. The 2-1 attack, raised to 4-1 by two Stukas, cleared the city on a D1 but no advance was possible. But, alas, the Russians had used both of their Black Sea invasions and could not sea transport to a German controlled Sevastopol. Richard counterattacked vigorously but the Germans had too many "safe" points (major cities that are defended by two to three corps are very difficult to recapture in one turn in 1942). The last turn was anti-climatic as the Germans ended their turn with 27 VPs and no time. Rob had won his fourth Russia Besieged wood.

The game was much closer than the final VP tally would indicate. In fact, the Russians would have had the edge going into Mar / Apr had Snow been rolled. A Mud / Mud weather roll would have resulted in a very close ending. No one, especially Art, Jim, or Rob, will be surprised if Richard wins it all next year - but that would still keep it all in the family. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree - especially when the apple grows up playing wargames against father tree.

Jim Eliason runs into Beyma the younger in the semi-finals.

The father-son Final. Dad still rules the roost but the time is coming.
 GM      Rob Beyma (3rd Year)  NA  
    robbeyma@aol.com   NA

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