the russian campaign   

Updated 11/17/2011

Grognard Pre-Con

2011 WBC Report  

 2012 Status: pending 2012 GM commitment

John Ohlin, FL

2011 Champion


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Event History
1991    Rob Beyma      31
1992    Alan Frappier      26
1993    Ed O'Connor      20
1994    Jeff Martin      16
1995    Rob Beyma      16
1996    Tom Gregorio      20
1997    Gary Dickson      24
1998    Gary Dickson      27
1999    Gary Dickson     26
2000    Doug James     30
2001    Phil Evans     27
2002    Tom Gregorio     30
2003    Doug James     30
2004    Tom Gregorio     36
2005    Doug James     33
2006    Doug James     23
2007    Bert Schoose     34
2008    Doug James     27
2009    Doug James     39
2010    Bert Schoose     36
2011    John Ohlin     41

PBeM Event History
1999    Gary Dickson      19
2000    Gary Dickson      22
2001    Doug James      23
2002    Gary Dickson      44
2003    Tom Gregorio     40
2006    Doug James     34
2008    Tom Gregorio     31
2010    Gary Dickson     31

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Doug James         NC    09    350
  2.  Tom Gregorio       PA    11    338
  3.  Gary Dickson       CA    11    325
  4.  Bert Schoose       IL    10    195
  5.  George Karahalios  IL    10     86
  6.  Rob Beyma          MD    05     76
  7.  John Ohlin         FL    11     72
  8.  Phil Evans         VA    04     63
  9.  Pat Flory          CT    05     61
 10.  Alan Zasada        IL    11     48
 11.  Jeff Martin        CT    10     48
 12.  Ed O'Connor        NJ    10     44
 13.  Art Lupinacci      on    02     40
 14.  Tim Nielsen        VA    11     36
 15.  Joe Collinson      MD    04     36
 16.  Dave Ketchum       FL    04     36
 17.  Mike Pacheco       CA    10     32
 18.  Joe Angiolillo     CT    10     24
 19.  Ari Kogut          TX    10     16
 20.  Scott Abrams       CA    06     16
 21.  Forrest Pafenberg  VA    06     16
 22.  Allen Kaplan       NJ    05     16
 23.  Jim Eliason        IA    05     14
 24.  Gregory M. Smith   PA    11     12
 25.  John Popiden       CA    07     12
 26.  Michael Mitchell   GA    06     12
 27.  Roy Walker         uk    08     10
 28.  Jeff Lange         ae    04     10
 29.  Michael Kaye       MD    10      8
 30.  Brad Frisby        MD    01      8
 31.  John Bullis        WI    02      6
 32.  Rob McCracken      DE    05      5
 33.  John Ryan          FL    07      4
 34.  Alex Gregorio      PA    08      3
 35.  Larry Hollern      TX    08      3
 36.  Marty Musella      VA    99      3

2011 Laurelists                                             Repeating Laurelists 

Tom Gregorio, PA

Alan Zasada, IL

Tim Nielsen, VA

Gregory M. Smith, PA

Gary Dickson, CA

Past Winners

Rob Beyma, MD
1991, 1995

Alan Frappier, CT

Ed O'Connor, NJ

Jeff Martin, CT

Tom Gregorio, PA
'96, '02, '04

Gary Dickson, CA

Doug James, NC
00, 03, 05-'06, 08-09

Phil Evans, VA

Bert Schoose, IL
2007, 2010

John Ohlin, FL

Grognard scoremaster Bill Morse attempts to break the "Titan"ic defense of Steve Koleszar.

Charles Catania and Greg Smith are pepared for some heavy duty dice rolls.

Tripp Killin has his hands full against defending champ Bert Schoose who was denied his third title and missed the play-offs during a recod turnout.

Gary Dickson, still sporting his Avaloncon T-shirt, withstands the challenge from the next generation as Alex Gregorio flexes his upbringing.

Coming of Age ...

The 2011 tournament was the 21st incarnation of this event; it's been a long journey but the event has truly grown over the years. In the intervening time since 1991 in Camp Hill, PA, we've seen:
A new edition of the game and a dramatic upscaling of the game's physical components, culminating in today's Mega-TRC monstrosity
A doubling of the number of participants, a four-fold increase in the number of games played, and a decided shift from single-elimination to open play tournament formats.
Perhaps most notable is the plethora of new strategies that have evolved alongside the tournament scenarios.

TRC is one of the games featured in the GrognardCon - a multi-day qualifying period leads to four individuals that play in a single-elimination event on the final weekend. This year, 41 participants got their TRC fix for part or all of a full week and, after the event concluded, an astonishing 98 games of the featured 5-turn tournament scenario had been recorded.

Further analysis of this year's contests revealed that:
The Germans won 55% of the games
On average, German players are giving the Russians 10.97 extra replacements over the course of the match.
Based on the actual outcomes, there was minimal correlation between the weather and the side that won.
There were EIGHT matches that resulted in an automatic victory for the German player resulting from the capture of Moscow in 1941.

Notable Mentions
Alan Zasada - A traditional stalwart of the event, turned the tables on the Chicago Syndicate's TRC crimelord by defeating 2010 champion, Bert Schoose, late Friday night to secure his spot in the semi-finals.
Tim Nielsen - Leveraging his West Point instilled values and planning skills, the Timinator brought out his own version of East Front shock and awe. He planned his moves for fifteen minutes, WITHOUT MOVING A COUNTER, then unleashed a sixty-second flurry of two-handed pincer moves to deploy all his forces. Very intimidating.
Greg Smith - An up and coming player who is starting to unseat top players with some regularity these days, made it to the elite eight. The GM had to do some devious VP stealing with cavalry to prevent Greg from reaching the elimination rounds.
Gary Dickson - the three-time champ recovered from an unheard of four-game losing streak to get back into contention. While no plaque was gained, honor and dignity were restored.
Bert Schoose - Although he couldn't repeat as champion, during the open portion of the event he defeated the eventual 2011 champion by taking Moscow from John O.
Tom Gregorio - Even using the Mega-TRC set and driving the bidding to 17 in the 5-turn scenario, couldn't deter John from his quest for first place wood. John inflicted on Tom his only defeat during the open portion of the event and proved it wasn't a fluke in the Final.

Match Highlights
And then there were four. In the first semi-final match, John O. pushed the bidding to secure the German side where he proceeds to demolish Alan Z's Red Army. The Light Mud in both Sep/Oct and Nov/Dec served to ensure that the Germans would reach and secure the necessary victory points. In the second semi-final match, it was with some trepidation that Tom G. faced Tim N. who he had never defeated. Again, the light mud weather combination allowed the Germans to grind up a Red Army that was determined to contest every hex of Russian territory.

In the Final, John again bid it up to take the German side. Fresh off his February 2011 PrezCon win, Mr. Ohlin was determined to capture the "Main TRC Event" crown. Despite anticipating, and playing for, a light mud weather result in Sep/Oct 41, Tom was unable to stave off the grey-clad Wermacht as they were able to launch countless low-odds attacks to seize the necessary victory cities. The final Russian turn saw an effective deployment of German screens and fully-stacked VP cities which handily thwarted even low percentage plays involving a lot of combination battles that each had to be 'won'.

And finally, the first usage of the oversized "Mega-TRC" occurred during the semi-finals - it certainly eased the strain on the eyes but only the most simian of German commanders was able to reach his Finnish forces from his seated position on the west edge of the map!

Evolving Strategies
With the continued play of the 5-turn scenario, there continues to be an evolution in German play, particularly with regards to the opening assaults. The ramp-up in German bids in the elimination rounds also indicates that the overall 55% German win rate is no fluke and shows a need for some serious Soviet analysis in the off-season!

Numerous players seem to have mastered the "Massive Odessa Overrun (MOO)". This gambit involves an over-commitment of German forces to the far south in a quantity sufficient to overrun Odessa on the second impulse of the game. The Russians need to have a firm grip on their emotions, and forces, when dealing with this.
The Western Military District setup is becoming a favorite target for those intent on threatening Moscow in 1941. Some traditional setups have recently proven to be very vulnerable to Germans willing to take a few chances to try to gain position in the center of the map. Seeing the German place all three Stukas in the north on the opening turn is a sure sign of trouble!

Looking forward, it seems highly likely that the Russians will emphasize the defenses of the flank VP cities of Leningrad and Sevastopol - all too often the capture of those cities indicates an uphill battle for the Russians as those cities, once taken, are generally not susceptible to being recaptured.

It's been 21 years since that first "Avaloncon" and its TRC tournament event. The game, the event, and the players have continued to evolve; continued change looks like the only constant that will be associated with this game! John Ohlin reached the top of the TRC mountain in 2011 but will quickly discover that subsequent championships are even more difficult to achieve while wearing the Centurian T-shirt.

TRC Pictures taken by Mike Mishler:
WBC Pictures taken by Tom Gregorio:

Forrest Pafenberg and soon-to-be champ John Ohlin. Michael Trobaugh and Greg Smith with his monstrous flak building dice roller are seen in the background.

A couple of board masters with three titles apiece, Tom Gregorio and Gary Dickson, enjoy playing on the mega board reserved for the high rolling contenders.
 GM      Tom Gregorio  [12th Year]   1650 Chadwyck Place, Blue Bell, PA 19422    484-744-1086

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