UK's John Sutcliffe digs in
vs Tom Drueding.
First to Four ...
Tom Gregorio vs Kevin Sudy
Peter Gurneau vs Peter Eldridge. Those
Brits like POG.
A return to a Saturday start helped reverse a two-year decline
in attendance which had shrunk to its lowest point in 2012. After
three days of continuous battle, the Guns of August fell silent
in preparation for one last test between past champions as the
Nest of Spies Finnish assassin Riku Riekkinen faced three-time
champion Stefan Mecay. Stefan won the die roll for the bid, and
took the AP for 1. Then the carnage began anew.
Turn 2 Riku played Entrench for Sedan and swept two armies into
C-T. Not wanting to chance things, Stefan pulled off the fort
line. On Turn 3 he opened with Falkenhayn followed by Place of
Execution on Paris, 6a+2 to 9a, but the FR got a 7 hit. Coupled
with a FR MO, Stefan was able to drive him off of C-T with a
5-4 result. Riku had five events to play on Turn 3 so by the
end, the FR had actually returned to the fort line. The Western
Front remained relatively stabilized for the rest of the game.
In the east, the Russians launched a massive attack on the
Austrians, but Riku countered nicely, eventually getting a trench
in Budapest. Riku was able to easily take Kovno to get Tsar Takes
Command off. Coupled with Place of Execution, this allowed Riku
to save Rathenau as a 5-card for TW. Riku was also able to clear
the Serbs pretty easily, and the Italians got pounded on a little
on Turns 6-7, but with an infusion of corps and later a FR army
on Turn 7 that front was stabilized as well. Both of the players
had WS events come in late (including Italy on Turn 6) so we
both got to TW on the start of Turn 7.
Turns 7-10 saw Riku fortifying the west and pounding on the
Russians in the east. Stefan countered with fortifying the standard
chokepoints (Insterbeg/Grodno in the North, and the three spaces
in the east) and both played plenty of RP cards so both armies
were fairly intact. Stefan SR'd a few corps to the NE, but Stefan
had not played Caucasus in LW and Allenby was a little late so
Riku sent his first TK army to try to clear out Baku. The Caucasus
arrived just in time and then Allenby arrived on Turn 10 forcing
the Turks south in a hurry. Stefan tried to trench Sinai twice
and failed. Riku immediately attacked Allenby on Turn 11 with
the TK CC on 6a+1 to 6a, got the 5 hit and flipped Allenby which
stabilized that front for the rest of the game.
Stefan did one massive attack in the west around Turn 12 with
some success, getting about 10-12 damage on Germans, but with
ten armies in the west was not quite able to break through. Allied
western forces were a little shot up too, so on Turn 13 they
both played a lot of RP's and reset the situation. Riku sent
another AH army east to pound on Russians and with another corps/all
Italians still in their original trenches in Italy, Stefan sent
the lone FR army in Italy back to the West. FR mutiny kept things
quiet in the west on Turn 14. Riku brought in his 2nd TK army
and was setting up on the Caucasus in the east.
Turn 15 had a hand of high ops cards allowing a massive western
offensive. The Brits got hammered but the FR with Air Superiority
got a 7-5 result on 12a+1 to 16a. With nine armies plus one in
Berlin (from the previous massive western offensive) Riku is
not worried yet and hits the Caucasus, knocking off the last
defending Russian corps, now down to the bare army, plus bringing
the GER 11th back from Berlin to Essen to fill in any holes.
Stefan hit the west again with a 4-card, this time 12a+1 to 12a
on Brussels (with mine attack) and 12a+1 to 12a with the French.
This time they both roll high, 7-7 from the brits, and 7-5 with
FR, another forcing retreat!
Riku, fully aware of the danger in the west, reinforced the
line with GER 11th and shuffled a couple of armies to fill in
the weak spots in the line from the pounding. The AP hit the
Germans again miraculously winning with the FR a third time,
something like 5-4, but with a flipped German army a painful
cancellation to hold the line. Riku is able to fix on impulse
4. Stefan commited the BEF finally on the 4th impulse. Riku SR's
an army from the east. Now with two 5-cards left, the Russians,
who have been hammered most of the game, start launching an attack
here and there, plus more pounding in the west. Riku is forced
to respond to prevent a possible trench collapse. On impulse
6, Stefan finally plays his last 5-card to fix. The Germans are
down to 5 1/2 remaining armies plus a couple of fresh armies
in Essen via RP's.
Turn 16 brings no FR Mutiny and Riku has to immediately stabilize
the line. Stefan goes all in in the west and gets a couple more
7-7 results or 7-5/5-4 results. Around impulse 3, Riku is forced
off the line to try to hold at the Rhein. The western forces
pursue as the Russians liberate Warsaw/Lodz and take Konigsberg.
The game ends with the Brits forcing their way into Essen on
the last impulse of Turn 16 and the VP's drop to 0.
The 2013 Paths of Glory title belongs to Stefan Mecay.
Congratulations for becoming the first four-time POG champion!
Johnny Hasay vs Mike Rinella
John Sutcliffe and GM Peter Gurneau
watch the finalists.