Deja Vu All Over Again ...
Bruno Sinigaglio breaks out his tweezers
in Eutaw Springs. Next comes the magnifying glass.
Chris Byrd and Andrew Maly make a
token appearance in the Mulligan round.
Dave Zimmerman and Ed O'Connor head
a row of revolutionary adversaries.
Bruno Sinigaglio, Marty Musella and
Bill Morse form a grognard trifecta.
Let's see: 27 players again on the roster, Sinigaglio vs Easter
in the Pensacola Final, Sinigaglio victorious. Sound like
2012? Readers of last year's AAR might think so, but this is
2013. And yes, sometimes lightning can strike twice - although
thankfully with a lot less heat this time! Throw in yours truly
again filling in for an absent Mark Miklos as I did in 2009,
and the encore performances just keep on coming. In 2009, I had
an AGM in the Final (Stiffler) and this time around I also had
my other AGM (Easter) in the last round -- and, I was knocked
out by Mr. Stiffler in both '09 and '13! Maybe not, but it sure
makes for a good story.
Anyway, on to current affairs: After a typically well-attended
demo with plenty of good questions, we settled into a similarly
well-attended mulligan round that evening. Eutaw Springs
was the game, and we had 21 players take up the colors. We had
a strong roster of experienced AREA rated players, peppered with
some newer/non-rated talent. Dale Long took the bye (Bruno Sinigaglio
had dibs, but he "didn't come all the way from Alaska to
take a bye", so we had 10 games going in earnest. We registered
five American wins (four substantial, one marginal), two British
wins (both marginal) and three draws. That would appear to be
a bit slanted, but those draws saw experienced Americans fail
to win outright. So in the end, balance was evident as it almost
always is in Eutaw.
We had six more enlistees for Round 1 (Long was still riding
the bye into Friday morning's Round 2), and six returnees from
the Mulligan Round, so six more battles were waged that same
evening. In a nice touch, Bill Alderman loaned us a "big
board" Eutaw -- and two newer players (Bill Kelley and Tim
Miller) got to duke it out in grand style, making the rest of
us quite jealous!
Three American victories, two British and one draw resulted,
and the roster of folks advancing was: Sinigaglio, Easter, Tracy,
McCracken, Stiffler, Doane, Long, Coffey, Lange, Vasilakos, Miller,
Storzillo, Byrd, Pulhamus, Watkins, and Kelley -- a tough crowd.
2006 champ Andy Maly qualified with a Mulligan win, but withdrew
for scheduling reasons.
2 was fought at Germantown with Stiffler, Sinigaglio,
Tracy, Easter, Doane, Storzillo, Miller and Long advancing. Six
American victories here made it a bit slanted, but Stephen made
it interesting in a couple of games, including an almost wholesale
panic of the main American line for Chris Storzillo -- amazingly,
he made a full comeback to snatch victory from sure defeat!
It was on to Saratoga for Round 3 and the matchups
were grew tougher. Bruno's Americans defeated Stiffler's Brits
and Easter's Brits knocked out 2011 champ Rob Doane. Dale Long's
Redcoats took down a very game Chris Storzillo, and in a major
upset, Derek Miller's lobsterbacks eliminated 2009 champ Jim
Tracy. All were marginal victories, reflecting the level of competition
everyone was facing at this point.
The semifinals were fought at Monmouth. Bruno and Dale
fought a typical slugfest and Bruno arose triumphant in marginal
fashion. Dale had to contend with Charles Lee's errant and/or
non-existent orders and watching a bunch of able bodied soldiers
march completely out of battle along with the 2010 champ's chances.
Similarly, Derek's Americans watched the same number of units
march off in his battle against Chris. In fact, his line was
so decimated by General Lee's incompetence that he could not
bring enough force to bear soon enough to make any kind of impact
on the British lines. Chris was able to bring his reinforcements
in and establish such a line that any kind of piecemeal American
attacks would have meant certain defeat for the boys in blue.
Neither side could make much headway. Despite their best maneuverings,
the battle ended in a (gasp) draw! It was very historical, but
for our purposes not enough for Derek's Americans to claim victory
a la his historical counterparts. So, on the basis of total tournament
points earned, Chris would advance and meet Bruno again at Pensacola.
At least it didn't FEEL like Pensacola this year in the Lampeter
ballroom as the Final unfolded. Bruno took the Spanish with a
bid of 4. Bidding was aggressive, as both players bid 3 initially.
Strategic Turn 1: Spanish Army Morale started at 15,
and took a hit due to Red Cliffs Fort fire. One thing Chris lamented
from 2012 was his relative passivity in the early-going. This
was not to be the case in '13, as on Turn 1 the British sent
the first units to the Raid Box: the KFR, the Franchimastabe
leader, the +2 Choctaw and the howitzers. Also, a handful of
units sortied out of the forts to demonstrate British fortitude.
T2: The Spanish begin digging out the second road at hex 2311,
while the British continued the sortie with 6 SPs at 2222 and
5 SPs at 2521. The Raiding units stand pat, giving the Spanish
something to think about.
T3: Weather roll -- Storm! And it's gonna rain next turn.
The troops are hunkering down.
T4: Rain! Card play: British play "To Arms"
the Pensacola militia appears at the Plantation. The Spanish
pull off a "Major Espionage Event" and take one of
Chris' cards. He thought that dang farmer had a funny accent...
RAID!! No, it's not a bug killer commercial, but the Spanish
sounding the alarm. The Red Coats and Red Skins (sorry for the
lack of diversity) pop in at hex 3413 with lots of trouble on
the brain. The 16th foot heads to the Raid Box as backup. The
Raiders hit the Luisiana Rangers and disrupt the latter.
T5: The weather clears out but the raiders don't, so the Spanish
fight back. Mortar fire hits Frankie's hex but to no effect.
The Spanish attack the Red Cliffs Fort at 4-1 but Pentzel stands
-- due to some well-timed shirtless pec-flexing. Raid and sortie
troops force a step loss/capture and Army Morale is now 21-12
in favor of the British.
T6: The glorious Mr. Pentzel again passes morale as the RCF
stands fast against another 4-1 odds attack. The Spanish play
the "Damaged Caisson" card and thus Chris cannot target
De Galvez as he had planned. The British Raid leaves the map.
T7: The RCF fires and misses. Spanish AM gains +1 to 13. The
Spanish play "Skirmishers". Defensive howitzer fire
puts Spanish AM back to 12! Pentzel holds AGAIN vs 4-1 odds.
Who needs shirts???
T8: Spanish mortar fire actually hits De Galvez' hex! But
no losses result. Pentzel finally gets captured as the RCF goes
over to the Spanish.
T9: Spanish mortar hit for -1 AM -- total is now 19-13 Brits.
The British check, but will get no American POWs.
T10: The weather is clear. The Spanish begin building redoubts
at hexes 2320 and 2820. The Luisiana Rangers succumb to British
arty fire. Spanish mortar hits, but causes no damage. Spanish
AM down to 11!
T11: Another British Raid!! Chris is keeping the heat on Bruno
this year, treating Bruno like..... Bruno --smelling blood, he
is not letting up. The British play "Spanish Scalps"
driving Bruno's AM to 10, and then a 1-2 attack with a +5 modifier
(!!) kills Habana with a momentum gain. Bruno's morale is now
trailing in AM 20-9!
T12: Two redoubts are complete. But all in all, Bruno has
met his match, right? The slope is steep and slippery. Can the
Spanish stop the bleeding? Will Chris' aggressive strategy pay
T13: The clear weather continues. French units slip between
Pensacola and Ft George only to see the howitzers and decide
that discretion is the better part of valor. The Spanish capture
some Choctaws and the British destroy their second road hex.
T14: The British capture the Spanish Payroll, driving their
AM to 8. Then the French Morale check results in -1 AM... Spanish
AM is now 7! Surely Bruno can't take much more? Then the siege
guns open up -2 breaches and a hit on the BIG Brit gun. The British
force a step loss on the Hibernia unit AND destroy the 2011 stockade!
T15: Just when Chris is feeling good, it rains... The Spanish
try to oust the Brits from the captured stockade, but get a Pin,
and then the British get a Pin on the counterattack.
T16: The Spanish play "Fue de Joi" -- a key +1 to
their AM as they head into Coup De Main. Plus, the rain will
continue for the remainder of the game.
Coup De Main T1, T2: Both sides position their forces
as the Spanish mortar hits and forces an AM loss to the Brits
for the 4th time. The AM gap is actually beginning to tighten.
T3-T5: The British get a double move and then keep the initiative
into Turns 4 and 5. Spanish mortar missed its original target
on T4, but then hit a secondary hex forcing a disruption and
T6: The Spanish get a double move into Turn 6 and the battle
is joined!! Bruno attacks Ft George and sends troops around the
north flank. The Royal Marines are captured for momentum (+2
morale unit). "Spoiled Rations" were found, only adding
to the misery in the rain.
T7: The reeling British get a rather unwanted double move
into Turn 7 (because the Spanish can now get another one), but
get some good luck as a short round costs the Spanish an AM point
and Campbell repulses De Galvez on a 4-1 +1. AM now stands at
13-11 British. Bruno has crawled all the way back in the face
of (what seemed to anyone watching) insurmountable odds. The
British also chose to spike some guns at this point.
T8: Chris' nightmare occurs as the Spanish get their next
double move right away. The Spanish go for broke against Campbell
at Ft George, while also attacking Prince of Wales. It was at
this point that Bruno pulled out the ace up his sleeve - "Yo
Solo"! De Galvez gets a +3 mod in close combat this turn.
Ouch. He has a 4-1 vs both forts. Campbell is captured and in
a masterful move that could have resulted in disaster, De Galvez
was inserted between the two forts so that he could influence
BOTH battles -- he even survived the defensive arty thrown his
way. AM totals were now 18-1 in favor of the Spanish!?!?! This
was an amazing turnaround that you had to simply see to believe.
T9: Bruno bought the initiative with three momentum (he was
throwing them around like poker chips) and forced the end on
Chris Easter fought a wonderful early battle pretty much up
until Coup de Main was declared. He repeatedly went after Bruno
in an effort to hit him where he wasn't -- and often where he
was. So how did Bruno manage to turn things around so quickly?
In no particular order:
1) Rain in the Coup de Main
2) Fortuitous card play -- Bruno's cards seemed to be played
to much more effect than his counterpart's.
3) "Yo Solo" being played at the critical time.
4) Clutch Siege Gun hits that were either causing breaches
or driving British AM down.
5) Tom Gregorio having a look and giving Bruno some of that
6) De Galvez not getting hit by that nasty British arty on
T8 with his neck stuck way out. Had he become a casualty, erasing
"Yo Solo" and reversing all the AM trends, we could
be talking about how Chris snatched victory from the jaws of
7) Greenwood stopping by when Spanish AM was in single digits
and displaying in no uncertain terms his displeasure at his teammates'
seemingly imminent demise. Rumor has it that all Bruno wanted
to do was please Don. The secret to a good team captain is
to keep 'em scared of you.
All in all, it was a wonderful experience once again. My goal
was merely to give the tournament back to Mr. Miklos in the same
shape we found it, and I think my AGMs and I achieved our goal
hands down. Thanks to Dave and Chris for being there every step
of the way and to everyone for participating and making this
the best bunch of guys at the WBCs.
David Stiffler seems to be winning
the 'thinking pose' contest.
The finalists return for Round 2 of
their championship series.