wilderness war  

Updated 11/26/2010

2010 WBC Report     

 2011 Status: pending 2011 GM commitment

Paul Gaberson, PA

2010 Champion

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Event History
2002    Rob Winslow     50
2003    Paul Gaberson     30
2004    James Pei     35
2005    Ron Fedin     40
2006     Keith Wixson     30
2007    Paul Gaberson     35
2008    James Pei     27 
2009    James Pei     23
2010    Paul Gaberson     23

WAM Event History
2003    Tom Drueding     20
2004    Bruce Monnin     18
2005    Tom Drueding     20
2006    Keith Wixson     13
2007    Pete Reese     17
2009     Sean McCulloch     14

PBeM Event History
2005    James Pei     64
2006     John Buse     50
2008    James Pei     62
 Laurels

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  James Pei          VA    10    296
  2.  Keith Wixson       NJ    10    186
  3.  Paul Gaberson      PA    10    178
  4.  Ron Fedin          PA    08    141
  5.  Peter Reese        VA    08    111
  6.  Tom Drueding       MA    09     98
  7.  George Young       VT    09     95
  8.  John Buse          IL    06     75
  9.  Rob Winslow        NY    05     70
 10.  Bruce Wigdor       NJ    05     48
 11.  Bill Peeck         NY    10     45
 12.  Bill Edwards       VA    08     42
 13.  Bruce Monnin       OH    09     38
 14.  Gary Phillips      MD    10     32
 15.  Stefan Mecay       TX    06     30
 16.  Gary Phillips      MD    10     32
 17.  Grant LaDue        NY    09     24
 18.  Adam Deverell      au    08     24
 19.  Don Chappell       TX    08     21
 20.  Randall MacInnis   NJ    07     20
 21.  Jonathan Miller    DC    06     20
 22.  Jim Gutt           TX    04     20
 23.  Phil Burgin-Young  VT    08     19
 24.  Bryan Thompson     VA    04     18
 25.  Roger Taylor       VA    02     18
 26.  Riku Riekkinen     fn    09     16
 27.  Ken Gutermuth      TX    07     15
 28.  Bari Wigdor        NJ    04     15
 29.  John Haas          PA    02     12
 30.  Doug Mercer        MD    09     11
 31.  Sean McCulloch     OH    09     10
 32.  John Vasilakos     VA    02      9
 33.  Paul Haseler       au    10      8
 34.  Andrew Maly        MD    07      6
 35.  Michael Ussery     MD    03      6
 36.  Dennis Culhane     PA    03      6
 37.  Doug Smith         PA    03      6
 38.  Michael Sosa       FL    09      3

2010 Laurelists                                          Repeating Laurelists:

Keith Wixson, NJ
2nd

Bill Peeck, NY
3rd

James Pei, VA
4th

Paul Haseler, au
5th

Gary Phillips, FL
6th

Past Winners

Rob Winslow, NY
2002

Paul Gaberson, PA
2003, 2007, 2010

James Pei, VA
2004, 2008-09

Ron Fedin, PA
2005

Keith Wixson, NJ
2006
 

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.

Monday, Monday ... so good to me

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).

Tournament highlights:

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 2011.

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)

Early 1757
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.

Late 1757
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.

Early 1758
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.

Late 1758
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.

Early 1759
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 pulled back.

Late 1759
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 coat.

The finalists go at it. There is no truth to the rumor that Keith uses that warclub if his dice are bad.
 GM      Keith Wixson  [7th Year]   NA 
    Keith.wixson@verizon.net   NA

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