Coming of Age ...
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.
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
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
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
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!
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
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: http://gallery.me.com/gregorit#100084
WBC Pictures taken by Tom Gregorio: http://gallery.me.com/gregorit#100076
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.