we the people [Updated October 2009]  

Updated 11/30/2009

 2009 WBC Report  

 2010 Status: pending 2010 GM commitment

Marvin Birnbaum, NY

2009 Champion

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Event History
1994    Andy Lewis      60
1995    Roger Taylor      56
1996    George Seary      54
1997    Thomas Drueding      40
1998    James Pei      40
1999    Marvin Birnbaum     32
2000    Brian Mountford     45
2001    Brian Mountford     32
2002    Marvin Birnbaum     54
2003    George Young     41
2004    John Poniske     43
2005     Chris Byrd     43
2006     George Young     45
2007     George Young     39
2008     Brian Mountford     38
2009     Marvin Birnbaum     34

PBeM Event History
2003    Paul Gaberson      46
2008    Dan Leader     50

WAM Event History
2004    Michael Ussery      16
2005    Marvin Birnbaum       24
2006    James Pei     13
2007    James Pei     20

Rank  Name                From  Last  Total
  1.  George Young         VT    08    220
  2.  Marvin Birnbaum      NY    09    209
  3.  Brian Mountford      NY    09    179
  4.  Paul Gaberson        PA    08    170
  5.  James Pei            TX    08    118
  6.  John Poniske         PA    09     91
  7.  Keith Wixson         NJ    09     68
  8.  Dan Leader           MA    08     60
  9.  Joe Collinson        MD    08     52
 10.  Chris Byrd           CT    05     40
 11.  Bill Peeck           NY    08     36
 12.  George Seary         NY    06     36
 13.  Jim Gutt             AZ    04     36
 14.  Pete Reese           VA    08     27
 15.  John Faella          RI    09     24
 16.  Eric Kleist          MD    07     24
 17.  Roderick Lee         CA    07     24
 18.  Michael Pacheco      CA    04     24
 19.  Anthony Burke        NJ    00     24
 20.  Tom Drueding         MA    04     22
 21.  Michael Ussery       MD    04     20
 22.  Henry Rice           NM    09     18
 23.  Jim Fardette         ae    01     18
 24.  David Dockter        MN    02     16
 25.  David Tianen         WI    00     16
 26.  Pat Mirk             FL    03     15
 27.  Philip Burgin-Young  VT    08     12
 28.  Bruce Monnin         OH    08     12
 29.  Rob Taylor           MI    05     12
 30.  Paul Barrett         uk    04     12
 31.  Ken Gutermuth        TX    05      9
 32.  Jim Eliason          IA    05      8
 33.  Stuart Tucker        MD    04      8
 34.  Bruce Wigdor         NJ    02      8
 35.  Andy Lewis           DE    00      8
 36.  Terry Coleman        CA    07      6
 37.  Seth Fine            WA    04      6
 38.  Joe Stenken          KY    03      5
 39.  Mark Yoshikawa       CA    06      4
 40.  Bryan Thompson       MD    04      4
 41.  Randall Borra        NY    00      4
 42.  Jim Falling          IL    99      4
 43.  Mike Mitchell        GA    05      3
 44.  Randy MacInnis       NJ    06      2
 45.  Matthew Bacho        MD    04      2

2009 Laurelists                                           Repeating Laurelists:

Keith Wixson, NJ

John Faella, RI

Brian Mountford, NY

Henry Rice, NM

John Poniske, PA

Past Winners

Andy Lewis, DE

Roger Taylor, VA

George Seary, NY

Thomas Drueding, PA

James Pei, TX

Marvin Birnbaum, NJ
1999, 2002, 2009

Brian Mountford, NY
2000-01, 2008

George Young, VT
2003, 2006, 2007

John Poniske, PA

Chris Byrd, CT

Yank Tod Whitehurst rebels against the tyrant King Bill Ashbaugh.

Veteran vs newcomer, Paul Gaberson hosts Kevin Hammonds.

The First of the CDWs

Marvin Birnbaum became the third three-time winner in the event's history, besting a field of 34 in the traditional Saturday marathon. He defeated GM Keith Wixson in the championship game, a struggle that didn't end until 3:30 Sunday morning! Interestingly, WTP was Birnbaum's team game and Wixson was his teammate on Me & 3 Stiffs. Birnbaum's victory was the third championship of the convention for the Stiffs and came close to securing the team title for them, only to fall to a tie-breaker in a three-way logjam at the top of the standings.

The losing semi-finalists, Brian Mountford (the defending Champ and another three-time winner) and John Faella, played a consolation match for third place honors with Faella emerging triumphant in a game that came down to the final card. The other quarter-finalists were George Young (another three-time champ), John Poniske (the 2004 Champ), Tim Hall and Henry Rice (another member of the Stiffs).

In addition to wood, the four semi-finalists were each awarded a book on a Revolutionary War subject, which were generously provided by the missing-in-action regular GM Don Chappell. Don was unable to attend this year, but expects to be back in 2010 to reassume his post. As Don has done in the past, we had a coached division in the first round for new players and four newbies took advantage of the tutoring provided by the eventual Champ. Marvin was awarded a bye for his trouble, but I would still like to thank him for being the coach.

With GMT's anticipated publication of Washington's War, Mark Herman's updated and improved sequel of We the People, this might very well have been WTP's swan song at WBC. Don intends to transition over to the "new" game at next year's convention, and while WTP has had an illustrious run as the granddaddy of the card driven wargames, many WTP veterans are looking forward to the change. The old design, while brilliant and groundbreaking, had really run its course. Chronic play balance issues just could never be overcome, and the results from this year's tournament illustrate this problem well. In the 46 games played at this year's tournament the American winning percentage was 74% (compared to only a 20% British win rate and 6% of the games ending in a draw). These results were in spite of the use of bidding for sides (the average bid was 3.12 PC markers) and my introduction of a special rule which kept three of the best American events out of the draw pile for Turn 1. Although one can argue that these results reflect the historical advantage that the rebels had, and that such lopsided results have never hurt WTP attendance in the past, it is difficult to imagine WTP surviving much longer in its present form in the face of competition from new designs which emphasize playability. As a playtester for Washington's War, I can attest to Mr. Herman's success in addressing this problem, and in my personal opinion the new game is a better simulation and a much better game than the old one. I would suggest that we should not mourn the passing of WTP, but that we should celebrate its rebirth and resurrection instead.

AAR of the Championship Game:

We both bid four PCs to play the Americans and Marvin won the rolloff. I placed the bid PCs in the South, as opposed to placing them in the North as a means to trapping Washington, and was glad that I did because my initial hand was awful (no 2s, 3s or Campaigns). When the Brits get a hand like that on the first turn against a good player it is usually fatal. Luckily, my next few hands were very good and by 1778 I was able to build a strong position in the southern and Mid-Atlantic colonies with armies under Clinton, Cornwallis and Burgoyne, while Howe held Massachusetts and Carleton defended Canada. With the American forces concentrated in the North and with the possibility of an early War Ends looming, I was poised for the upset (you can always tell when Marvin is not doing well, he gets even crankier than he usually is). At this high point I controlled six colonies (Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and Massachusetts).

But my advantage gradually slipped away. Starting in 1778 Marvin had successive turns where he was able to play Hortelez, Western Offensive and Hortelez again (after a reshuffle), meaning he had three turns in a row with multiple unanswered card plays at the end of the turn. He gradually shifted his forces to Virginia and was able to take back that colony as well as North Carolina and Maryland. I was still drawing pretty good cards, however, and shifted my operations up into Pennsylvania and New Jersey in response. But unfortunately for my Brits, the early War Ends never came, and the game dragged on into 1781 and 1782.

As WTP vets know, long games almost always favor the Americans and this one was no exception. The wheels finally came off for me in 1781 with the appearance of the French, who quickly cleaned out my last southern colony in Georgia. In 82 I made a late stab for Connecticut and Rhode Island after having secured New Jersey and New York City, but I had to leave my main strike force under Cornwallis in a vulnerable spot at Hartford without a retreat. My last hope was this army's defense against a risky counterattack by Greene, who attacked through my PC at New Haven, risking annihilation himself. But it was not meant to be for the lobsterbacks and Cornwallis lost and was forced to surrender. At this point I only controlled three colonies (Delaware, New Jersey and Massachusetts), my losses had been heavy and a week's worth of gaming fatigue was starting to catch up with me. I saw no hope for salvaging a win in 1783, so I resigned. Losing to someone of Marvin's stature is nothing to be ashamed of, though, and if we had won the team tournament as a result I would have happily accepted my fate!


Tim Miller has a tough road to travel if he is to upset three-time champ George Young - a hard way to try to break into the win column.
In the new Washington's War, a more user friendly map where the symbols are not obscurred by the playing pieces and militia requirements are summed would be nice.
 GM      Don Chappell [7th Year]  3604 Ruidoso Dr, Arlington, TX 76017 
  don.chappell@lmco.com   NA

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