Pulling a Coussis Again ...
2000 champ Bob Eastman reaches for
a trick but fails to advance in the shark-infested waters of
Reverend Keith returned to mere player
after filling in ably in 2009 as relief GM. At least, He had
the good grace not to win the event!
2010 proved to be a banner year as 138 brave souls embarked
into the icy waters of the North Atlantic once again. The heats
were filled with the usual craziness of wins against long odds
(a fortunate Bismark rolls an 11 to take 15 points in one hand)
and untimely misfires (several low dice rolls at the worst possible
The Final proved to be a venerable "Murderer's Row"
of veteran sub chasers as Joel Tamburo, Keith Hunsinger, Jeff
Heidman, Andy Gardner, Tony Musella and yes, GM John Coussis
launched into the final battles.
The game started well for Jeff as he took convoy TM-1 on the
1st hand (only one VP, but an extra card in hand, which from
Turn 1 on is a big bonus). Keith and Andy each snagged the next
two Arctic Convoys in air battles. Keith then made a big move
on Hand 4 for Convoy ON-67 from the last position. He used Admiral
Doenitz to change a sub battle to Combined and played the Scharnhorst
to pocket the convoy for himself. Keith then took his third
convoy on the very next hand with a fortunate 6 die roll. Unfortunately
for Keith, his prizes only brought him seven VP's. The game
settled into a cautious period through the next couple of hands
as players were reluctant to put too many points in play. After
ten convoys, the visible (Convoy) points were Tony and Jeff at
9, Keith 7, John 6, Andy 4 and Joel yet to score.
Jeff pulled ahead with the first card of the second half of
the game as he won an air battle over a 4-point convoy. John
then followed with a fortunate 5 die roll to win the next convoy.
Keith, Andy and John then worked together to deny Tony Convoy
HG 76 even though he played the card fated against the convoy.
It was hand 15 that proved to be the key moment of the game.
Keith launched a sub battle over a 7-point Convoy by playing
a German Wolfpack and three Bonus points. John followed with
only three Allied points, but the rest of the table also played
Allied. Joel and Jeff both had die rolls and only had to roll
higher than 3 to deny John the 7-point bounty. However, neither
could and John bagged the 7-point gift with a simple 3-point
force card. Two hands later John also benefited from Tony's
"Hail Mary" play of the Scharnhorst early in a Surface
Battle. John had the Duke of York in hand and played it to score
the Scharnhorst's 4 VP's (despite sacrificing the Duke of York's
5 VP's in exchange to the axis victor). Jeff and Joel wound
up splitting the points for the hand.
The last hand saw a big combined battle over SLS 64. Jeff
started with a big (??+3) Allied Play. Keith and John played
large for the Germans, but Andy took the prize with a big roll
from the Bismark - thus denying Jeff the win as he came up two
points short in the final tally.
In the end, GM John Coussis claimed his second Atlantic
Storm title (and obligatory abuse from the Convention Director
with a final shot across the bow for pulling a "Coussis"
by winning his own event) with 27 points. Jeff's 25 was good
for second. The rest of the laurel parade was: Tony 17, Keith
15, Andy 13 and Joel 11.
Many thanks to all who played. Next year will see the return
of separating players by their preference for Atlantic Storm
or Pacific Typhoon as 2010 did not generate a single game
of the latter played by having each table decide individually.
Steve Cameron and Kevin Emery bridge
the generation gap at WBC.
The finalists are all smiles now but
wait till the Bismarck rolls boxcars.