Four Rounds to Glory
The game's designer and GM, Ray Freeman,
schools Mark Kolenski.
John Sharp gets a lesson from two-time
champ Tom Thonsen.
Although at least six people attended the demo at the new
5 pm time for this long out-of-print game, not one of them played
in the first round. Nevertheless, we did have two new players
this year, but this remains very much a closed club as illustrated
by five of the six laurellists being former champions.
Round 1: Top seed and defending champ Mike Mishler
beat newcomer Chris Storzillo Chris's Germans never really got
going. Two-time champ Bryan Eshleman lost to John Vasiliakos,
who played the US. Three-time champ Ray Freeman, seeded third,
was held to a draw by Mark Kolenski, back for his sophomore season.
Mark's Germans got off to a decent start on the 16th. On 17-1,
two bridge demolition rolls went the Germans way, including a
disastrous 10 on the Lullange bridge where Ray had an engineer.
The position seemed so shaky the US stacked up Bastogne and left
Martelange open. On 17-3 Mark made strong attacks at Bastogne,
Vielsalm and Noville, all of which held, but US casualties were
high. Bastogne finally fell on 18-2, and the 19th saw German
successes across the map.
The American demo teams continued to do poorly, as the Ourthe
River Bridge was crossed without incident on 20-1. However the
line then stabilized and the tide swung to the US. Mark was unable
to make much progress on the 20-21 turns except to get into Marche
with a 9-6 attack on 21-1. On 21-1, with 4 SP still in Marche
and the German threats elsewhere stopped, Ray counterattacked
in Marche with six SP of the 84th infantry at 6-7. The Germans
were ready and killed five SP!. Then on 22-1, Mark made a 10-5
attack and captured the town, securing the draw.
2002 champion Rick Young played a steady US and was never
in trouble to defeating Dave Wong. John Sharp, seeded 10th drew
with two-time former champ Tom Thornsen. John's Germans secured
the draw by taking Marche on 22-1, in a game much like the one
between Ray and Mark. Jim Winslow's Germans won against newcomer
Joseph Belyeau. Bob Hamel's Germans beat Rich Phares with Bastogne
falling on the 17th and Marche on the 20th. Nick Smith's Germans
lost to Jim Kramer.
Round 2: Mike Mishler won a grueling game against John
Vasiliakos. The game had to be adjudicated on the 20th. John
had been doing well, but some fortunate die rolls by Mike and
a bid of 1.5 for the Americans proved to be the difference. Ray
got off to a ludicrously hot start thanks to deadly die rolling
as the Germans against John Sharp and John conceded on 17-1 as
Bastogne, Baraque, La Roche and Trois Ponts all fell that morning.
I've never seen a US position so completely denuded so quickly
in 14 years of playing this game. Rick Young's demolition teams
were working overtime against Bob Hamel's Germans, blowing four
bridges on the 17th. As a result, the wheels came off of Bob's
offensive immediately and he never made significant progress.
Dave Wong as the US beat Chris by holding on to Bastogne until
the 21st. Tom's Americans managed to stop Mark's attack cold
for an early concession on the 19th. Attrition now claimed half
the field, leaving only eight players to continue into the third
Round 3: Mishler managed to defeat Young with some
good die rolling late in the game. It appeared that Rick may
have held on to Bastogne just a bit too long. Mike managed to
run Rick out of units at the end to score a breakout win, which
was the only way he could have scored enough VP. Bryan Eshleman
defeated Mark by playing steady defense after Bastogne held out
until mid-day on the 19th. Dave Wong won as the US against Bob.
Bastogne fell on 19-1 and Marche on 21-1, but that left Bob a
VP short as there was no bid.
In another matchup of past champs, Ray Freeman's German's
triumphed over Tom Thornsen. There was no bid and the German's
only cleared Vianden on 16-1, and repaired no bridges. However,
on 16-2, the Germans cleared three areas and repaired both bridges.
Then three more areas fell on 16-3, including Marnach. Suddenly,
there was a game. On 17-1, the US blew the first two bridges
forcing Ray to use the Grief teams at Lullange. But then the
dice went completely feld grau and Ray cleared six areas. 17-2
went Tom's way except for one battle, a 6-1 at Longvilly...critical
as it turned out. On 17-3, Ray made a 5 to 1+1 at Bastogne. Tom
whiffed and Ray killed both defenders to take the town. Tom was
forced to counterattack on 17-3 but was unable to recapture the
town. Ray then attacked Bastogne heavily on 18-1 while trying
to crack the rest of the US line. Tom came back with a 10-7 in
the key crossroads on 18-1 but only killed two steps while losing
six. Ray's other attacks on the 18th were shot to pieces. On
the 19th, Ray again pounded Bastogne but failed to make much
progress elsewhere. Without hope of getting the Bastogne VP back,
Tom conceded. The fall of the town early was absolutely critical
as the German army was by now a complete wreck. Of his original
force and reinforcements from the 17-18 turns, the Germans only
had two 3 SP units on the map, 11 2 SP units and 22 1 SP units.
Round 4: At this point, Mike was 3-0 and guaranteed
no worse than second place, but Dave could score three with a
win, and Ray had 2.5. The last pairings were Mike-Ray, Bryan-Dave,
and Mark-Bob. As the Germans, Hamel got off to a decent start,
but Bastogne held until 19-2. Bob was able to get across the
Ourthe River and take Neufchateau on the 19th, but needed something
extra to win. Marche fell on 21-1, creating possibilities, but
Bob was unable to score another VP and Kolenski held on for a
Wong's Germans had a tough start against Eshleman and the
game was not in doubt after a few turns as Bryan was able to
hold Bastogne into the 20th.
The results of the other games meant Mishler and Freeman were
playing for the top two places. Ray took the Germans as Mike
bid 1.5 for the US. Ray started hot, clearing four areas and
repairing the Marnach bridge on 16-1. On 16-2, three more areas
fell, but two held against 6-1 and 5-1 attacks. On 17-1, the
Germans cleared six areas, and the US was in serious trouble.
Then things got weird. On 17-2 the Germans attacked Bastogne
at 8-2 (two defenders) and killed only one. Then on 18-1 bridges
at Sandrin and LaRoche blew, but Vielsalm fell. However, a 9-1
on Bastogne whiffed! If Bastogne has fallen on the 17th or 18th,
the game would be over. Now, Ray realized that his offensive
was completely stuffed in the south. On 18-2 the Germans attacked
Trois Ponts (bridge did not blow) and Houffalize heavily. Although
neither fell, US losses were high, and the 2nd SS was released.
On 19-1 Baraque, Bastogne and Fauvilliers fell. On 19-2 Grandmenil
fell but Trois Ponts (6-1) and Neufchateau (10-3) held.
It was looking rather bleak for the Germans at this point
but a low odds attack at Ville took the space. Mike caught another
break when his 40% shot at the Ouffet bridge succeeded on 20-1.
Ray took Neufchateau and Hotton on 20-1, but a critical 9-3 at
Sprimont failed. On the 20th, two German attacks vs a 1 SP unit
failed at Transinne, and little attrition was gained by a heavy
attack on Marche. On the 21st, German hopes were fading fast
as another bridge blew. Two high odds attacks succeeded at Transinne
and Baillonville, but a 5-2 at Ouffet failed and another attack
on Marche (10-4) killed only two SP. Ray made desperate attacks
on Ouffet, Wellin and Groupont, but only Grupont succeeded and
US engineers blew the Wellin-Transinne bridge. When the Grupont-Wellin
bridge blew on 21-3, Ray conceded and Mike had successfully defended
German Wins: 6
American Wins: 12
In 2009, the Germans won more games than the US.
Number of Games with Bids: 8 (all for the US)
VP Bid Range: 0.5-1.5
1 game at 0.5
4 games at 1.0
3 games at 1.5
In games between the top scorers, the record was five US wins,
two German wins, one draw.