New Blood Indeed!
Rob McCracken and designer Mark Miklos
brought an air of period authenticity to the proceedings by wearing
uniforms of the era.
13-yr old Champ Easter literally sees
Redcoats moving against him. It didn't distract the prodigy from
an impressive second-place finish.
Five past champions humbled!
All ten top AREA rated players defeated!
A 13-year old blazes a trail of guts and glory across the battlefield!
And a new champion is crowned!
The classic "Saratoga" was offered as both
the Mulligan & Round 1 game. 16 games were played with the
British scoring six marginal, three substantial and one decisive
victory. The Americans' six victories numbered four marginal,
one substantial and one decisive. The victors included Dale Long,
Mark Miklos, Dan Dolan Sr, Chris Easter, Champ Easter, Dave Stiffler,
Jeff Lange Sr, Chris Byrd, Rob Doane, Bruno Sinigaglio, Chris
Storzillo, Jim Tracy, Ed O'Connor and Tom Drueding. Rob McCracken
fought back from a 4-0 VP deficit with an hour to play and managed
to tie the score "at the buzzer" advancing to Round
2. In the midst of these 16 games, players sensed this was not
business as usual when two former champions, Andy Maly and John
Vasilakos, were hors d' combat early.
12 players returned for Round 2; the Howe's Flank Attack scenario
from "Brandywine Creek." The Americans prevailed
in five contests with Chris Easter eliminating 2009 champion
Jim Tracy by marginal victory while the other four games ended
with decisive American wins; Dale Long over Chris Storzillo,
Rob McCracken over #1 AREA rated Bruno Sinigaglio, Rob Doane
over Jeff Lange Sr, and Mark Miklos over Ed O'Connor. Young Champ
Easter, the afore-mentioned 13-year old, managed the sole British
win with a substantial victory over Dave Stiffler.
The "Guilford Courthouse" historical scenario
was used in Round 3. Here the Americans won two of three contests;
Chris Easter defeated the defending champion Dale Long while
Rob Doane beat Rob McCracken. Meanwhile the younger Easter, again
the lone British winner in a round, took down 5-time champion,
GM and designer Mark Miklos!
With three players remaining, and all former champions vanquished,
the bye went to Rob Doane who had the most points through three
rounds. Rob would await the outcome of the father and son clash
for the right to play in the Final.
That determining game was the Washington's Stand scenario
from "Monmouth Courthouse." In the 6-turn scenario
the players tied on the Initiative Die Roll twice. Because of
the "heat" rules in Monmouth, a tied Initiative
Roll equates to a skipped game turn. Chris' British, therefore,
only had four turns to overtake Champ's Americans and failed
to do so. The game ended in a draw with each holding 12 VPs.
Marginal Victory in this scenario requires a margin of at least
three VPs. The advancing player would have the most tournament
points after factoring in the results of this scenario. With
both tied with eight tournament points each, the decision evolved
to the first tie-break; the difference in cumulative Army Morale.
Champ's 68 Army Morale points bested Chris' 62 and with it the
son trumped the father and advanced to meet a waiting Rob Doane
in the Final.
Two-player "Pensacola" awaited them. Since
both players preferred to be the British a bid of at-start Army
Morale was required. Champ's bid of 1 was high; Rob had bid 0,
and so Champ adjusted the at-start British Army Morale down by
one and took control of his troops. "In one of the worst
displays of British gunnery in history" the Red Cliff's
Fort battery completely missed the arriving Spanish fleet on
Turn 1. Shouts of "Viva, Viva!" rang through the Spanish
camps as Spanish Army Morale improved by one and Rob disembarked
his army unmolested.
The players were blessed with good weather through the first
ten turns, a decided advantage for the advancing Spanish who
must build Corduroy Road and dig gun emplacements. A total of
two British raids were launched to disrupt the approaching Spanish
but with minimal effect causing no real adverse impact to Spanish
Army Morale prior to the Coup d' Main.
Rob eventually placed his siege batteries and by the time
his bombardment had ended, all three British fortified positions
had been breached. The Queen Anne's Redoubt and the Prince of
Wales Redoubt were breached by bombardment while Fort George
was breached when a gale blew up on Turn 11!
Several Random Event Cards were played during the Siege portion
of the game including Scalps, Santo Servanto, Failed British
Reconnaissance, and To-Arms which added flavor to the game.
The Spanish declared Coup d' Main on Turn 15 and harvested
the final Random Event card due them on the Siege Turn track
as a bonus for launching an early assault. With three breaches
the Spanish suffered no adverse Army Morale adjustment. Furthermore,
their Army Morale was high (16) while that of the British was
fatigued (11) by this point. Although Major Pentzel had successfully
transitioned from the Red Cliff's Fort to the main map and the
Pensacola Militia had been called up through card play, the American
POWs never did arrive. (We can assume they lounged around in
Jamaica for the duration.)
Taking the British works was no easy task and many of Rob's
Spanish and French units took casualties. Nevertheless, the Prince
of Wales Redoubt in the British center was the first to fall
on Coup d' Main Turn 2. This was aided by the judicious play
of the "Exhaustion" card which caused the 16th Foot
to shatter. At one point in the early Coup d' Main play, Rob's
Spanish held three Momentum chits which he cashed in to dictate
Battle raged on. The Queen's Redoubt fell next on Coup d'
Main Turn 3 by which time British Army Morale was wavering. In
conjunction with that action the Spanish destroyed the Indian
village causing just under half of the Britishallied Indians
to quit the field. British resources were dwindling fast but
were still stout enough to mount a defense at Fort George, the
last British outpost.
A considerable number of Spanish units were damaged but they
stubbornly battled on sensing blood in the water. The British
spiked some garrison artillery along the way to deny the VPs
to the Spanish but at a cost of precious Army Morale. At last,
on the fifth Coup d' Main turn with the Spanish massing for an
all-out assault, British Army Morale sank to zero, ending the
game with a substantial Spanish victory for Rob Doane.
The new champion received a shrink-wrapped copy of Monmouth,
courtesy of the GM and the second place finisher received an
excellent new book on the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, courtesy
of Chris Storzillo. There were plenty of photo ops with GM &
AGM clad in period costume. Smiles and good cheer abounded, as
it should when true champions meet in competition. Champ Easter
made a legacy, Rob won the tournament and a good time was had
2006 champ Andrew Maly falls to Chris
Storzillo in the first round.
Chris Byrd and Bob Jamelli head a
row of Revolutionaries.