Still in the Family ...
Jim Tracy plays Michael cardwell while
Richard Beyma and Ron Draker are paired in the background.
Local gamer John Martino studies his
board position. The Lancaster native obviously prefers the WBC
Sometimes, the more things change results in just more of
the same. Not a reference to the current politcal climate, but
the end of a five year reign of Rob Beyma and the start of the
reign of Beyma the Younger. The rest of us are still looking
up at a Beyma on the medals stand.
The Mulligan Round continued to be popular with eight extra
games being played. The 7-turn scenario ending in May/June 1942
was again the version contested with an average playing time
of 4.3 hours. Sides were determined by mutual agreement or by
bidding VPs with replacement points used as a tiebreaker. VP
bids ranged from 18 to 22 with an average bid of 20.0 which was
up this year as more players perceived a German advantage. Overall,
play balance was close although the Germans won five of the seven
games played after Round 1.
Eight players advanced to Round 2. Richard Beyma's strong
Russian defense stopped Jim Tracy with the help of some Mud in
October. Despite heavy losses during the winter, Art Lupinacci's
Germans grabbed some additional VPs in the spring of 1942 to
win by several VPs against John Martino. Despite bad weather
in the fall of 1941, Rob Beyma's Germans hung on to overcome
Jeff Hacker. Marty Musella's Germans edged Charlie Catania in
a long game to reach his first RBS semi-final.
Pairings for the semi-finals were randomly assigned. Richard
bid 21 to play the Germans vs Art and soon found a weakness in
Art's new defense, AVed a 4-6 in the Odessa MD, and captured
Dnepropetrovsk on Turn 1. Art surrounded the AGS panzers in Dnepropetrovsk
but the Germans advanced aggressively in the center. By the end
of Turn 3, Richard had three panzer corps in Moscow. Art surrounded
the panzers in his turn but Richard relieved them on Turn 4.
While Art was busy dealing with the panzers at Moscow, Richard
grabbed Kharkov and Stalino to exceed his bid. Despite taking
heavy losses during the winter and eventually losing Moscow,
Richard still tallied 23 VPs for the win.
In the other semi-final, Marty bid 20 to play the Germans
and got off to a good start by winning a key blitz attack against
the Western MD and killing or trapping a lot of Russian units.
He had a number of opportunities early in the game, especially
a 4-1 (E) attack on Dnepropetrovsk on Turn 2. A DE here (a 40%
chance) would have been huge. Unfortunately, Marty could manage
only a D3 result and Dnepropetrovsk held for another impulse.
At the end of Turn 3 (the Sep/Oct weather was Clear/Light Mud),
Marty was close to several major objectives. However, the German
hopes were thwarted by November snow. The game continued until
spring but snow/snow in Nov/Dec was too much to overcome.
That created another Father vs Son Final and not surprisingly,
these two experienced players each bid 20. Richard took the tiebreaker
by giving the Russians more infantry replacements. Rob had a
pretty good idea of what was coming, having played several inter-family
contests per year since the game came into being. But Rob hadn't
developed a five-year winning streak by sitting on his laurels.
He unveiled a new Russian defense to slow his son's usual blitzkrieg.
It was designed to
1. Cause Richard to use a lot of time on his opening attack
2. Have several units survive in the Kiev and Odessa MDs
3. Limit penetration in the center.
It was successful in but two of these three areas. Richard
took 53 minutes for his first turn and went through three different
openings before deciding on just the right one. Richard AVed
the same hex in the Odessa MD as he did against Art. However,
the panzers couldn't reach Dnepropetrovsk so Richard settled
for a 4-1 against Odessa with a panzer and the German Mountain
Corps. A DE resulted in Odessa falling to the Germans on the
first turn. The Germans also AVed a Russian infantry army in
the Western MD and got a big advance with his armor on a blitz
attack. A critical 4-1 second impulse attack on Minsk also resulted
in a DE. This 50% chance got the panzers one additional hex closer
to Moscow, without any losses, and prevented Russian survivors
(on an X2, D2, or D3 result) from moving back into the city to
block the German Turn 2 advance. Richard killed 14 units and
trapped or cut off nine more. The only German casualty was a
4-5 infantry on a 1-3 soak off. The surviving Russian units in
the Kiev MD made a 1-1 surrounded counterattack vs two 8-8 panzer
corps near Lvov. Rob got a BR on the first roll but an AR during
the second impulse forced the Russians to retreat. A 4-6 mech
unit was evacuated to Rostov. Rob defended Kiev, Dnepropetrovsk,
and Sevastopol heavily.
On Turn 2, Richard took advantage of a poorly positioned infantry
army and blitzed a stack of German panzers to within TWO hexes
of Moscow. Army Group South also captured Kiev. Moscow was in
dire danger, as in Richard's semi-final game with Art. Rob deliberated
for several minutes whether to stack the Russian units shoulder
to shoulder in and around Moscow or to counterattack. Richard
had counted several times to ensure that it was impossible for
the Russians to get a 1-1 counterattack. Rob uncharacteristically
took a big chance. Two Russian infantry armies counterattacked
at 1-2, but from a forest hex, while additional mech and cav
units railed to Moscow. If the Russians could avoid an AE result
(only a 20% chance) on their 1-2 first impulse attack, they would
have a 1-1 surrounded second impulse attack against the panzers.
The first impulse attack was an AR which became a BR (because
of the forest). The second impulse attack was also a BR. While
not eliminating them, it did serve to trap the panzer stack.
Two Russian mech units also attacked an Italian infantry unit
in Veliki-Luki at 2-1 (+1) and forced the two Stukas there to
relocate back to Minsk. The mech units moved south on the second
impulse in an attempt to slow German reinforcements from reaching
the trapped panzers.
Rob was hoping for Clear/Mud weather in Sep/Oct but got Clear/Light
Mud (average weather) instead. Richard relieved the panzers on
his third turn but lost two flipped panzers in soak-offs. The
Germans also attacked Dnepropetrovsk at 5-1 (-1) in the first
impulse. Richard won this critical attack big with a DE result
(a 40% chance). This permitted the AGS panzers to exploit adjacent
to Stalino during the second impulse. With the three remaining
Stukas, the Germans attacked Stalino at 4-1 (-2). Yes, a -2 DRM;
Richard had already used all of the German Field Marshals. Rob
tossed in Zhukov to make the DRM -2. The Germans avoided the
unfavorable BR, D1, and X2 outcomes and rolled a D2 which cleared
Stalino but did not capture the city. Elsewhere, German infantry
reached the Luga river and marched into Kursk. A German panzer
unit also surrounded Kharkov during second impulse. Rob counterattacked
the panzer behind Kharkov at 3-1 and moved two fresh infantry
armies into Stalino. The panzer corps was killed but, unfortunately,
the 4-6 mech unit was poorly positioned and could not reach the
Stalino sector during second impulse. So, it moved across the
Donets river to help defend Kharkov. Two more infantry armies
were railed up behind Stalino during second impulse. In the center,
the Germans had consolidated two panzer and one infantry corps
on a forest hex two hexes from Moscow. The Russians brought in
their Moscow reinforcements and got a 2-1 (-1) surrounded versus
this stack. Like the turn before, an AR became a BR. On the second
impulse 2-1 (-1) attack, Rob rolled an A1 result. Thus, another
attempt to annihilate a surrounded German panzer stack came up
The Beyma family had fought to a draw for the first three
turns. Two weakened armies faced each other from Moscow to Stalino
with some minor forces on the Leningrad front. The German army
was within striking range of Moscow, Kharkov, and Stalino. But
would the weather hold? The Germans had captured 18 VPs and Richard
was eyeing Stalino as he reached for the die to roll the Nov/Dec
weather. A 1 roll (Lt Mud/Mud), a 2 roll (Mud/Mud), or an 8-10
roll (Snow/Snow) would all but decide the game. Richard rolled
a 1 (Lt Mud/Mud) and cruised to his first, and well earned, Russia
Besieged shield. The (Field Marshal) baton has been passed
from father to son.
The post game analysis pin-pointed four critical die rolls
during the course of the game.
1. The 1-1 surrounded vs the two AGS panzers on Turn 1. While
the Russians had only a 24% chance of success (Richard tossed
in a FM both attacks), a win here would have been huge.
2. The 1-2 versus the German panzer stack in front of Moscow
on Turn 2. While there was only a 20% chance of failure, an AE
here probably would have meant the loss of Moscow on Turn 3.
3. The German 5-1 attack on Dnepropetrovsk on the first impulse
of Turn 3. If the Germans had not won their attack with a DE
(only a 40% chance), they wouldn't have reached Stalino on Turn
3. Stalino would have been very strongly defended on Turn 4.
4. The Nov/Dec weather roll. Richard believes that this is
THE most important roll in the tournament scenario. It often
decides a game between top players. It certainly was judged the
telling blow in two of the last three games of this tournament.
A 3-5 roll (Lt Mud/Snow) or 6-7 roll (Mud/Snow) would have resulted
in a very close, hard fought game that probably would have gone
down to the last turn. As the Klingon Commander said in an original
Star Trek episode, "it would have been glorious".