Back to Back ...
As CD of WBC and its predecessor for the last 24 years
I have had the privilige of watching many dedicated GMs strive
to keep their event robust and relevant in the ebb and flow of
the convention's evolution as the following of old classics erode
and fall victim to the cult of the new. All bring different levels
of competence and devotion to the task before eventually surrendering
to the inevitable. Many are motivated by self interest and maintaining
the relevancy of their favorite game while maintaining a platform
for their own achievements. Others are more altruistic and seek
only to preserve the tournament for others. Those who love Doplomacy
tend to be in the latter camp as Diplomacy tournament directors
rarely play in their own events to ensure their objctivity -
aside from an occasional role as an eliminator replacement to
fill boards out of necessity. Thus it is refreshing to have watched
the degree of dedication Thomas Haver brings to this event as
a non-playing GM. Not only does he sacrifice his time without
the gratification of playing the game, but he funds significant
prizes and refrshments for his players out of is own pocket.
Once upon a time, WBC regularly hosted one of the largest Diplomacy
tournaments anywhere and in 2000 hosted a World Dip Con which
is still one of the largest such events of all time. Those days
are long gone, but Thomas is to be congratulated for his efforts.
No one has ever made more of an effort to support such a classic
The Diplomacy tournament has returned to its status
as a regular fixture at the WBC after being absent for many years.
This year's tournament was a best two rounds out of three event
held over Friday and Saturday of the final weekend. No two Diplomacy
tournaments are run the same, but the Carnage scoring system
has become commonplace among the larger convention events. Carnage
relies on board ranking rather than draw size, and while some
feel very strongly about draw-based systems, the rank-based system
fits the timing constraints of WBC. Quick timed-rounds and order
writing periods ensure the game moves along at a brisk pace,
helping WBC players keep their schedules. In addition to the
plaques provided by the WBC, we had seven best country awards
to give away as well as board game prizes donatd by the GM. We
had 24 players this year and many returning faces from prior
Round 1 began with two boards in Kinderhook. Gone are the
hanging-lights of last year that brought the room to sauna-like
temperatures. Board 1 featured defending champion David Rynkowski.
Coincidentally, David drew England in this game, the same power
he piloted to a solo victory last year that won him the championship.
From the outset, the board seemed to jump on Germany, quickly
putting Tom Good in a bind. Despite his best efforts, a multi-national
alliance had formed to pincer him from three sides. In the East,
the Austro-Russo-Turk trio evenly split the Balkans. However,
the peace was not to last. Austria, played by Carter Su, established
a steady game-long collaboration with England against their common
neighbors. Germany was eliminated in 1903 and Russia was taken
from 6 supply centers down to 3 to 1 and finally 0 in successive
years. We also had two newcomers on the board in Trevor Schoenen
(France) and Fletcher Chapin (Italy). Unlike most new tournament
players, both were active initiators in negotiations. The game
ended with a two-way tie for board top between England and Austria
at 12 centers.
Over on Board 2, the 2012 Champion Christian Pedone had drawn
Italy. Unfortunately for him, Jay Boring (Russia) and Rex Martin
(Turkey) had a strong Russia-Turkey alliance from the outset,
often termed "Juggernaut" in the Diplomacy community.
Lack of cooperation around the board allowed the Juggernaut to
roll through Austria and Italy. By 1905 both powers were eliminated
from the board. The West was in disarray, and the game ended
with another two-way tie for board top - Russia and Turkey shared
the lead with 11 centers each.
Round 2 began with our annual tradition of coffee and doughnuts
to make up for the early start time on Saturday. The caffeine
elixir proved all the help three competitors needed on Board
1, with a Western Triple (England-France-Germany) racing across
the board. As with all Western Triples, it's inevitable two things
will happen: Germany gets cut out and Turkey picks up centers
from behind the line. Sure enough, England and France stabbed
Germany for everything he had. Over a longer time period, Turkey
built himself up slowly to a strong position and 10 centers.
This board lasted longer (in game years) than any other for the
weekend. The tenuous alliance of England-France-Turkey methodically
eliminated every other power on the board. The game ended with
England and France tied for board top with 12 centers, and Turkey
in third place with 10 centers.
Not to be outdone by game-long alliances and tied board tops,
Board 2 featured a strong alliance between Jay Boring (Austria)
and John Stevens (Russia) that began in opposition, as Russia
did not get a build in 1901. The dynamic soon changed thanks
primarily to the machinations of Rex Martin (Italy). The trio
quickly pounced on Turkey, which led to a 1903 elimination. Much
like Board 1, the sometimes unsteady alliance managed to plow
through the other western powers, eliminating England and France
last in 1908. The game ended with Austria and Russia tied for
board top with 12 centers, and Italy in third place with 10.
The rank-based system was seeing quite a bit of alliance play
and tied board tops.
Going into the final round, Jay Boring held a lead over the
other players with two tied board tops. However, a number of
players with solid scores in the opening rounds still had hopes
of claiming another board top (alone!) to overcome Jay's lead.
Round 3 is also where the full "meta" kicks in, as
players know exactly what they need to win, or at least grab
a coveted Best Country award. Board 1 ended up being a slog with
shifting alliances throughout the game because we had a few new
tournament players. Adam Sigal topped the board with 8 centers
at Turkey after a back-and-forth affair. The true challenge was
on Board 2, where three players with a strong chance of winning
were duking it out. Russia and Austria opened early against Turkey
at the same time England and Germany attacked France. Both alliances
held until the Turks and French were defeated. Once clear of
the chaff, the A-T began a deliberate push west into Germany
and Italy. Once again, it was David Rynkowski as Russia who managed
to make significant gains late in the game. The game time was
called as Germany was pushed to the brink of destruction, and
Russia stood alone at board top with 13 centers. The second board
top netted David just enough points to best Jay Boring for the
championship, as points are not split if you hold a rank by yourself.
Congratulations to David, our 2014 champion who cn now claim
the only back to back titles in the history of the event.!
The WBC 2014 Best Country Awards went to:
Carter Su & Jay Boring
David Rynkowski & Adam Sigal
Matt Calkins & Bill Riggs
As always, a picture is worth a thousand words, so 142
pictures would be worth ....
Play By Email 2014
Scott Nedza won the first BPA PBeM Diplomacy Tournament
by one supply center over David Sherwood. Both players had a
pair of two-way wins over the 28-player field which generated
ten two-way wns and a pair of three-way wins in 12 games. Kevin
Youells took third with a two-wayand a three-way win. Also earning
laurels were Warren and Bob Day and Richard Prast. Russia earned
the most victory points over the course of the tournament followed
in order by France, Austria, Germany, Italy, Turkey and England.