Monday, Monday ... so good to me
Geoff Allbutt and Grant LaDue tangle.
Grant could not
repeat his earlier near miss performances.
The ubiquitous Bill Edwards kibitzes
as George Young
marshalls his forces up the Mohawk.
Paul Gaberson became the second three-time winner in the event's
history. Gaberson was undefeated, beating Paul Haseler, Mike
Ussery, Gary Phillips and Keith Wixson in the preliminary rounds,
Bill Peeck in the semi-finals and Wixson again in the title game.
Wixson defeated Chris Jones, Grant LaDue and Doug Smith in the
preliminary rounds and won by forfeit in the semi-finals to advance
to the Final. The other semi-finalist was James Pei (see below).
Attendance held steady, matching the 23 players of 2009. I personally
don't believe that is enough players with which to run a legitimate
tournament, so I am now pretty certain that I will be moving
the tournament to Monday next year (assuming we survive the Century
cut this Fall). I spoke to many people about this at the convention
and I can't recall one person who was not in favor of the move,
including many who have not been able to participate on Wednesday
for whatever reason but who said they were likely to play on
Monday. So unless the powers that be object, in 2011 we will
give Monday a shot. Let's hope it will be "here to stay".
There were four new players this year, up from three last
year. With the recent reprint of the game I was hoping for more.
Perhaps the move to Monday will get that number up next year.
Half of last year's laurelists made it into the top six again
this year, including two repeat semi-finalists (Wixson and Pei).
Peeck advanced to the elimination rounds for the first time.
The Top New Player Award went to Haseler, who finished fifth
and just missed reaching the semi-finals. His only loss was to
the eventual champ in Round 1.
The best French player and the best British player were one and
the same - the Champ. Gaberson won three times with each.
Defending champ, James "The Master" Pei, was undefeated
in the preliminary rounds, defeating Pat Duffy, Don Chappell,
George Young (the #2 seed) and LaDue (his opponent in last year's
Final). Due to scheduling conflicts his semi-final match-up with
Wixson was pushed back to the Sunday morning default slot (I
allow the semi-finals and Final to be played prior to Sunday
if both players agree). Unfortunately, James had to depart that
morning and was forced to forfeit the game, missing out on a
chance to defend his title and pull a "threepeat".
The WBC is sometimes criticized for the intensity of the competition
in many of its tournaments, and one could assume that Pei, the
BPA's all time leading laurelist, might epitomize the hypercompetitive
caricature that these critics invoke when trashing the convention.
But that is not James at all. He was a gentleman and very gracious
in accepting the loss, even though he was not at fault in any
way. He is a credit to the hobby and exemplifies the sportsmanship
that is the true foundation of the WBC. For that reason I have
nominated him for this year's WBC Sportsmanship Award.
I continue to try to address the yearly dominance of the tournament
by the French. Last year I instituted a new rule, whereby British
players were allowed to retrieve reinforcement cards from the
discard pile at the start of each turn, and I also eliminated
bidding for sides in favor of random side selection in order
to eliminate specialization. I made two more changes this year:
making the French Marine Detachment units only one loss step,
and tweaking the random side selection so that each player would
play each side an even number of times (last year one of the
laurelists randomly drew the French four times). But again the
French kicked ass! This year the French won 69% of the games
played (as compared to 65% last year, 67% in 2008, 61% in 2007,
52% in 2006, 56% in 2005, 71% in 2004 and 62% in 2003). On the
bright side, the rate was 84% in the first two rounds and only
46% thereafter (when novice players tend to quit the tournament),
so among the better players things might be evening out. There
is admittedly a stiff learning curve for playing the Brits that
perhaps cannot be overcome. In any case, I have not given up
on balancing the game and more changes might be in store for
Prizes: The Champ received a Comanche Style warhawk
(there were actually no Comanches in the French and Indian War,
but perhaps they were there in spirit!). As the losing finalist,
I would have received a spiked ballhead warclub, but given that
my road to the Final was slightly tainted I have decided to recycle
it for next year's prizes. The losing semi-finalists each received
medicine arrows. The Top New Player received a book.
Wilderness War 2010 Final AAR:
Paul Gaberson (French) vs. Keith Wixson (British)
Things started great for the Brits. Montcalm's initial attack
at Hudson Carry North failed when Webb intercepted from HCS and
threw up fieldworks. Levis reinforced Montcalm and they drove
the Brits back in the second attack on the space. The cost was
great however, as both Montcalm and Levis were killed! Vaudreuil
assumed command and managed to take Ft. William Henry before
the Brits could counter.
Drucour was brought over from Louisbourg to command the main
French army. The first British reinforcements arrived under Amherst,
who was assigned to command the main army at HCS. Vaudreuil sent
Drucour out to the Ohio Forks on an inspection tour, but took
over at HCN and successfully evaded Amherst's counterattack.
Drucour made it back in time to retake command of the main French
force and beat back a British attack on Ticonderoga.
The Brits were dealt an Amphib card, Coehorns and Quiberon (but
no reinforcement cards). Hoping for some good luck, they tried
a poor odds landing at Louisbourg by Monckton (reinforced with
the Philadelphia Royal Americans). That was probably a bad idea,
as the unled French garrison fought them on the beaches and repulsed
them. The Brits were dealt five or six 1 OP cards, so Amherst
did little. His second attack at Ticonderoga was repulsed. Johnson
mounted a nuisance operation towards Niagara with some Provincials
and Mohawks but only caused the French to torch a bunch of stockades.
Forbes arrived with reinforcements and was assigned to the West.
Once again the Brits drew a ton of 1 OP cards, so the bulk of
the turn was devoted to setting up for the western push in 1759.
With all the low OPs cards drawn by the Brits this year, the
French drew a ton of OPs and raided heavily in the Northern Department.
Time was running out for the Brits. Wolfe and Bradstreet arrived
with the Highlanders. Forbes and Bradstreet took Ohio Forks.
Wolfe took over for Amherst and started the drive to Montreal.
Drucour destroyed the forts at Ticonderoga and Crown Point and
At this point VPs were at FR8 or FR9, so as Wolfe drove on Montreal,
Drucour was able to slow the Brits down by leaving garrisoned
stockades in his wake as he retired. The French also played Lake
Schooner at one point (which had the cost of putting them down
a card). Wolfe reached Ile-aux-noix with three cards to play
and then built a stockade. With two cards to play he pushed on
into the Montreal space. Drucour withdrew into the fortress,
as the French were now out of cards. On the final British card
Wolfe went for the siege, needing to roll a 5 or 6, but it was
not to be. Even if he had made the siege roll, the odds of winning
the assault were not great (maybe 40%). The final score was FR9
after accounting for raids.
This game is just another example of how resilient the French
can be even after an early disaster. Paul played a strong game
and deserved the win. His 6-0 record in the tournament and three
titles speak for themselves. The only question remaining is whether
he can beat the Master to be the first to four titles.
Christopher Jones came across the
big pond to be scalped by Keith. All that's missing is the red
The finalists go at it. There is no
truth to the rumor that Keith uses that warclub if his dice are