twilight struggle   

Updated 11/17/2011

2011 WBC Report  

 2012 Status: pending 2012 GM commitment

Stefan Mecay, TX

2010-11 Champion


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Event History
2006    Stefan Mecay     70
2007    Stefan Mecay     66
2008    Stefan Mecay     54
2009    Chris Withers     66
2010    Stefan Mecay     57
2011    Stefan Mecay     55

WAM Event History
2007    Keith Wixson     30
2008    Marvin Birnbaum     35
2009     Stefan MeCay     28
2010     Chris Byrd     21
2011    Stefan MeCay     27

PBeM Event History
2008    Stefan Mecay     86

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Stefan Mecay       TX    11    413
  2.  Chris Withers      CA    10    125
  3.  Keith Wixson       NJ    11    110
  4.  Rick Young         NC    09    100
  5.  Marvin Birnbaum    NY    09     70
  6.  Bill Edwards       VA    10     54
  7.  Bruce Monnin       OH    11     46
  8.  Chris Byrd         CT    11     42
  9.  James Terry        NJ    11     37
 10.  Rob Hassard        NJ    10     32
 11.  Stuart Tucker      MD    08     31
 12.  Randy Pippus       on    09     30
 13.  John Emery         SC    06     30
 14.  Steven Brooks      FL    10     29
 15.  George Seary       NY    08     28
 16.  Sean McCulloch     OH    09     25
 17.  Roderick Lee       CA    11     24
 18.  Darren Kilfara     uk    08     24
 19.  George Young       VT    10     21
 20.  Phil Rennert       MD    08     20
 21.  Paul Sampson       OH    10     19
 22.  Kevin Hammond      WA    11     16
 23.  Tim Bina           CA    11     16
 24.  Mike Wallschlaeger WI    09     15
 25.  John Buse          IL    06     15
 26.  Bruce DuBoff       NJ    08     10
 27.  Derek Landel       NJ    11      8
 28.  Doug Austin        VA    07      8
 29.  Suzanne Tuch       NY    08      6
 30.  Dave Gerson        CA    09      5
 31.  John Wetherell     PA    09      5
 32.  Michael Sosa       FL    08      5
 33.  C. Georgantzas     NY    11      4
 34.  Charles Hickok     PA    07      4
 35.  Michael Mitchell   GA    10      3

2011 Laurelists                                             Repeating Laurelists:

Keith Wixson, NJ

Kevin Hammond, NY

Chris Byrd, CT

Derek Landel, NJ

C. Georgantzas

Past Winners

Stefan Mecay, TX
2006-08, 2010-11

Chris Withers, CA

Michael Pacheco vs George Young

Keith Wixson vs Otis Comorau

Keep Wargames Away from Stefan ...

The Twilight Struggle tournament maintained solid attendance with 55 participants, essentially unchanged from last year. Once again, the tournament used the Deluxe Edition, with the Chinese Civil War variant, as the default game, although players who did not have these were permitted to use earlier editions. Players were then allowed to bid for sides, with the added bonus of being allowed to over-control countries.

The selection of the CCW variant was intended to dampen the Russian advantage, which had been strong previously. Russians still prevailed this year (34-26, but this was down from previous years. Bids were in the 2-3 range, again a slight drop, so it looks like we're near a good balance point.

As with the previous year, the tournament itself moved at a good pace. After the first round, which usually runs slow, the majority of games were completed in slightly over two hours. A key match occurred in the second round when perennial laurelist George Young had four-time defending champion Stefan Mecay on the ropes, but got caught in a Bear trap for which he missed four consecutive rolls, allowing Stefan to turn the tide.

The final four consisted of Stefan, Kevin Hammond, Keith Wixson, and Chris Byrd. Keith managed to edge Chris in a game that went to final scoring. Chris held a consistent lead throughout, and needed only to draw Wargames to finish off the victory, but Keith held the stronger board position. When Wargames did not materialize, final scoring gave Keith a substantial victory.

Stefan's Russians led pretty much throughout the other semi, taking advantage of early Decolonization and Destalinization to build a favorable board position. Wargames gave him the win on Turn 8.

In the Final, Stefan took the US with a bid of 3. Keith gained the early advantage in Asia as both players had poor hands. Keith won an early Arab War, but Stefan returned the favor with an Indo-Pakistani War win. On Turn 2, things switched dramatically for the US as Stefan got three 4-cards plus a headline of CIA which gave the US the first shot at a coup. Stefan got one of his typical great rolls of a 6, not only letting him get Egypt and Libya, but also preventing Keith from couping Panama. This let Stefan race down into South America which Keith countered with De-Stalinization. However, Stefan had tons of ops as well on Turn 3 and Keith was stuck with a couple of scoring cards, a theme that would prevail throughout the match, so by the end of Turn 3, South America was a push, Stefan had control of Africa, Keith had Asia, and the Middle East was also pro-American, and Europe a push. In mid-war Keith got six out of seven scoring cards. However, he still had a slight lead and even though the Russian board position was not good, he still was well within Wargames range until the key Turn 6. Keith headlined De-Colonization while Stefan headlined Grain Sales. Stefan pulled a random card, and got Africa Scoring! This was huge as Stefan could play it immediately for 10 points wheareas Keith could have used his De-col to cut it down to 1 for Russia. That sent the score from RUS+7 to US+4 and with Keith stuck with three other scoring cards, things snowballed downhill from there for the Russians, with the US winning via Wargames at the beginning of Turn 8. Curiously, Stefan won all five of his games with Wargames.

Allen Kaplan vs Paul Skrabut

Randall MacInnis vs Bill Edwards

There were a lot of entertaining games in the early rounds. Bill Burch showed his sense of humor by being able to chuckle when he lost his second straight game to an opponent's play of the Wargames card late in the game. Amanda Mecay was happy to reach Late War in a game for the first time at WAM - though once she got there, her cards didn't exactly cooperate...and Bob Jamelli missed his first 4 coup rolls in a game versus Terry Coleman, but still took the game to the final turn before succumbing. James Terry managed to score OPEC no less than three times in a win against Roderick Lee, which gave him a fast 2-hour win. Bruce Monnin broke open a close game against Steve Brooks with Double Terrorism during Turn 10. And of course, there were also a handful of games where someone would be tired enough to forget that if they play CIA as the USSR at DEFCON 2, that the US player could simply coup and end the game with Thermonuclear War...and a win (technically, anyway).

Running Twilight Struggle at WAM (and other events) for many years, I had never seen a draw in tournament competition before. But this year, there were three, all involving top players. In the first round, Tim Bina and Kirk Harris missed critical dice rolls toward the end of the game, only to find themselves in a tie. Then, in Round 2, Keith Wixson and Chris Byrd went after each other like heavyweight boxers, yet both managed to survive for a draw at the end of final scoring. Amazingly, Chris (who at one stage was behind by 15), then had another draw with Kirk in Round 3. As a result, there were no less than eight players who had a legitimate shot at the title with just two rounds to go.

When the penultimate round results were in, however, the mists began to clear. For my money, the best game of the tournament was Keith Wixson going all-out against Stefan Mecay, to see who would make it to the championship game. Keith opened up with Red Scare and fell just short of overrunning all of Europe. Stefan held on to Italy for dear life, and won a key Brush War victory in Pakistan, which kept him in the game. Other key war wins, along with some good hands for the US, gave Stefan the counterplay he needed to build a dominating position. In a wonderful demonstration of finesse, Stefan was able to Space Race the Decolonization card no less than four times. Although Keith managed to max out in the Space Race for the first time, it wasn't enough to overcome Stefan in final scoring.

With this win, it was no surprise that Stefan Mecay (who had already defeated Doug Austin, Randy MacInnis and Michael Mitchell) was within reach of another TWS title at WAM, to go with his five others, from online and WBC. Stefan's opponent would be Tim Bina, who after his draw with Kirk in Round 1, had won three straight over veterans Bill Edwards, Justin Rice and James Terry. This loss, though only by a scant margin, dropped James from the unbeaten ranks, and put Tim in his first WAM Final.

Meanwhile, Roderick Lee had a well-earned fourth-round victory over Michael Mitchell, and Jeff Finkeldey beat Mark Yoshikawa, which meant that Rod and Jeff would match up in the final round. Having failed all three of his Space Race rolls, Roderick knew he had to shake things up a bit. So, he played Central America Scoring during the headline phase, resulting in a 7-point swing in his favor. That gave him the edge he needed for a close 3-point victory over Jeff in final scoring. Rod's impressive 4-1 record would loom larger as more of the contenders went down in the final round. Keith used a well-timed play of Wargames to close out a 6-point win in Turn 10 over Bruce Monnin, and Michael Mitchell fell to Chris Byrd, who managed an auto victory on Turn 6.

Tim Bina had already showed that his online expertise translated well to face-to-face play, and he kept the pressure up in the Final. Mecay had Asia early, but Bina countered with domination in both Europe and Middle East. De-Stalinization gave Stefan South America in mid-game, but Central America went back and forth. Tim built a double-digit lead by Turn 9, and both players agree that he probably would have won in final scoring. But Stefan followed Aldritch Ames redux with Terrorism, and as the US, Tim was stuck with having to play Lone Gunman, with no way to stop blowing up the world, along with his chance at a title. Both players were understandably gracious after such a hard-fought game, and it's a safe bet we'll hear more from Tim in the future - hopefully, we convinced him to try for WBC this summer.

With Tim's loss, his earlier drawn game dropped him to 3rd place behind Roderick Lee, the only 4-1 finisher. Keith Wixson took 4th, and James Terry and Bruce Monnin were 5th and 6th respectively. Defending WAM champ Chris Byrd and Jeff Finkeldey finished just out of the running. Accumulating two wins were Kirk Harris, Mark Yoshikawa, Michael Mitchell, Terry Coleman and Larry Fryer.

There were 48 total games played: 23 Soviet wins, 22 US wins and three draws. While the preference was again greater to play the Soviets (average bid of just under 3 VPs), the results were about as close as you can get, with one more Soviet win (and three drawn games). Best Soviet players were Stefan Mecay and Bruce Monnin, while the best US players were Roderick Lee and Keith Wixson. About one-third of the games used the optional cards from the Deluxe Edition, and two games even used the Chinese Civil War rules. All in all, a well-balanced tournament that shows how Twilight Struggle continues to engender inspired play years after its initial release. It's certainly become a cornerstone of WAM.

2011 WAM Laurelists

Roderick Lee, CA

Tim Bina, CA

Keith Wixson, NJ

James Terry. NJ

Bruce Monnin, OH

 GM      George Young (3rd Year)  NA   802-578-3774

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