It's never too late to learn ...
Evan Brooks drops a Round 1 game to
Craig Yope as the ex-A&A GM pushes his new passion for EOS
to a third place finish.
Bill Pettus, my Bel Air neighbor,
loses to Tom Thornsen in Round 1. We'll get around to playing
The tournament turned back the calendar to return to an attendance
level it hadn't seen since its debut seven years ago . Balance
was roughly equal in terms of wins and losses for each side,
but with so many new players, I don't put much store in the numbers.
The one consistent element throughout was that the more experienced
players won with either side in the 1943 scenario.
The defending champion and runner-up from 2010, Mark Popofsky
and Pablo Garcia, were not present this year, so the Final came
down to a tussle between three-time champion Dennis Culhane against
a seasoned CSW contender but first time WBC attendee, Finland's
Antero Kuusi. Like our last visitor from Finland, he was determined
to make some waves.
Dennis gave Antero a VP to play the Allies in the 1943 scenario.
My own view is that nether side is favored, so I commented to
Antero that it was a generous bid. I would and usually do bid
zero to play the Allies. Antero bid one VP for the JP but was
outbid by Dennis's 2 VP bid for the Allies. Based on that alone
I thought Antero had the edge.
Here is the Final in the words of our new champion:
"I started with Ichi-Go (China Offensive) in hand, so
my goal was to play it and Kai-Shek from FOQ as events on T5
and have the Northern India airfields isolated to shut down the
Hump during T6 for a shot to knock out China. I was obviously
going for offense in CBI, but the Allies went for strong offense
there and almost all cards were spent there during T5. Dennis
had some success with his attacks, but the Japanese kept feeding
more units into the theater. By the end of the turn there were
strong Japanese forces (a full and a flipped division both) in
Akyab and Rangoon with the Akyab force surrounded, but barely
clinging to supply via the sea through Rangoon. However, the
Allies had taken heavy losses to get to these positions and were
starting to fall behind the Japanese in ground strength in the
area. Outside the CBI, the Allies took one of the lesser Marshall
islands, which together with the advance in CBI was enough for
the PoW. Attu had been reinforced early and remained in Japanese
hands for a PW hit. Outside the theater, the Allies had great
successes against the Germans, driving the WiE track all the
way to the very end at +3. This was, however, followed by an
immediate Japanese raid against Panama Canal, delaying the reinforcements.
T6 began with Combined Fleet HQ deploying to Mania due to
Fuel Shortages. That helped a lot with CBI operations and would
help later responding to Allied attacks. Thus, Northern India
fell into Japanese hands. The Allies simply did not have the
forces to prevent it and the result was sealed when worker strikes
inspired by Gandhi prevented timely deployment of the 7th Armored
Brigade. So, that gave me a chance to knock out China. I needed
a roll of 0-7 (I had taken no China Divisions and Hump was now
out of play). Of course, the roll was a 9.
So, the game was still on. The Allies had landed in Surabaya
and Bali and were setting up for an Offensive with a majority
of the US Navy deployed there. So, to throw a wrench into the
works, I launched an invasion of Australia with Naval Brigades
landing in Broome and Derby and one army in Wyndham - all empty
- and sent air units to Wyndham and Koepang, cutting Bali and
Surabaya out of supply. However, soon after this Allies landed
in Koepang, putting the DEI force back in supply and cutting
off the Japanese in Australia. Other events during the turn included
several Allied raids against Japanese air-naval assets near Rabaul
and Japanese matching the last turn's Allied play of two WiEs
with two of their own, pushing it back to 0 and causing the Allies
to have their reinforcements delayed again.
T7 seemed to be an endless succession of Allied high-powered
events and the air and naval forces near Rabaul were whittled
down as the Allies landed two full strength US Army corps on
New Britain (4/6 of their ASPs), preparing for overland assault
on Rabaul. However the 17th Army in Rabaul was not going to just
wait until the Allies were ready, instead attacking the Allies
on the beaches (with Colonel Tsugi). The 17th Army was wiped
out, but it took out three of the four Allied ground steps. Rabaul
still held one flipped Japanese army, so the remaining step was
not enough to take it. Consequently, the Allies had to burn one
more ASP to have the Marines help with taking Rabaul.
So, near the end of the last turn the score was: +5 for Northern
India hexes, +2 bonus for holding all of them, +1 for India Unrest,
+1 for closed Burma Road, +1 for PW, +1 for bid, -3 for Australian
Mandates, -1 for Resource Hex (Soerabaja). So, the Allies needed
two VPs, but had just one ASP left after Rabaul. That meant the
Allies needed to capture a port within 11 hexes for victory,
but all of them were garrisoned in expectation of this situation.
So, it came down to a last card, one-division invasion against
a 9-12 after some preparatory raids. To win, the Allies needed
surprise (50% chance) and luck in ground combat. However, the
Japanese succeeded with their reaction roll, allowing them to
ship in another 9-12 and wiping out the invasion, ending the
Allied drive for victory."
I love a Final that comes down to the last card play. My congratulations
to all the players and I look forward to next year's event with
players learning from their 2011 experiences.
GM and designer Mark Herman pushes
cardboard in Round 1 as a new B rating and associated demo attracts
beaucoup new players.
Antero Kuusi defeats three-time champ
Dennis Culhane in the Final to recall the recent victorious exploits
of another visiting Finn.