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The Russian Campaign (TRC) WBC 2017 Report
Updated March 18, 2018 Icon Key
23 Players Bert Schoose 2017 Status 2018 Status History/Laurels
2016-2017 Champion Click box for details. Click box for details.

Repeat at The Russian Campaign

The 2017 Russian Campaign tournament continued its solid showing, with the same number of players, 23, competing in a similar number of matches, 66 which was up from 58 compared to 2016. The tournament was played as part of the free-form Grognard Style event, with a Challenge Round on Friday evening and semifinals and final on Saturday. Victory conditions were unchanged from 2016, requiring the Germans to conquer and hold territory equal to minus 1 from the Green Line at the end of January/February 1942, 5 turns. Minus 1 equals one small city. The weather is rolled once for September/October on Turn 3. If the Turn 3 weather is clear, then Turn 4 is automatically snow. If Turn 3 is light mud, then Turn 4 is also light mud.

Players bid for sides based on extra replacement factors given to or taken away from the Russians over the course of the match. One experienced Russian player gave up 15 factors, a -15 bid, as an intentional handicap for his less experienced opponent and still pulled out a win. Discounting this teaching game, the average bid was 18.2, up from the previous year’s average bid of 15. Bids ranged from a low of 0 to a high of 30. Despite the increasing bids, it was the Russians who won 55% of the games played, down slightly from the previous year’s 57%. The bids were not a particularly good predictor of victory as the average bid in German wins was 17.4 versus 18.9 in Russian wins. My conclusion is that the bidding process is functioning as intended to allow players to play their preferred side, with only a very minor impact on game outcome.

A slightly better predictor of victory may be the September/October weather die roll. The conventional wisdom holds that the Germans want light mud, resulting in light mud again in November/December, while the Russians want clear, resulting in snow in November/December. This seemed to hold true in the 51 games for which weather was reported. There were 24 games reporting light mud of which the Germans won 12. There were 27 games reporting clear of which the Russians won 17.

Attempting to take Moscow in 1941 for an automatic German victory continued to be a viable though seldom-used strategy. The game sheets did not report, and I am not aware of, any German victories achieved through this method in this year’s tournament.

One interesting development was Fred Bauer’s German tactic of placing all panzers in Rumania. On impulse 1, the 3-5 defending the bend in the river in front of Odessa is surrendered and rear area troops advance. On impulse 2, the 2-7 in Odessa is surrendered and the bulk of the panzers along with 2 headquarters move across the lower Bug and Dnepr Rivers. Elsewhere, Fred declines to make any attacks that are not guaranteed defender surrenders. As a result no Russian units are able to be replaced on Turn 1. Of course, elsewhere German progress is limited or non-existent but the huge panzer breakout in the south is a very scary thing to try to defend. Mr. Bauer rode this tactic into the Challenge round where his Germans lost to Alan Zasada’s Russians with a bid of 25. Other challengers included Alex Gregorio playing Bert Schoose and your GM, Gary Dickson, playing John Ohlin. George Karahalios declined to challenge even though he was eligible to do so. Ultimately this yielded a Final 4, in order, of Richard Beyma, Alan Zasada, Bert Schoose, and Gary Dickson.

In the semifinals, the Russians won both games with Bert beating Alan, the bid was 16, and Gary being successful over Richard with the bid being 21. The Bert/Alan match was especially tense, coming down to the final die roll which Bert won on a 50/50 chance.

The Finals matched Bert’s Germans against my Russians with a bid of 17. Turn 3 weather was clear and Bert went for broke, making a second impulse 1-1 attack with panzers against Moscow which, due to an oversight on my part, was not backstopped with a unit to contest the city, meaning the game would have been lost had the German attack succeeded. The Moscow attack failed but did succeed in drawing massive Russian reinforcements to the area which weakened Russian defenses elsewhere. Stalino was fiercely contested but Russian hopes evaporated when a large 1-2 counterattack resulted in an AE. Looking over the situation at the beginning of the final Russian turn, Gary could see no path to victory and congratulated Bert on his second consecutive Russian Campaign title.

2017 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 4
Gary Dickson Alan Zasada Richard Beyma John Ohlin Alex Gregorio
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th

Ready for the big battles with Russian dice tower

Defending Champion Bert Schoose on road to repeat

GM making his push south

Onlooker watches as the battle continues
GM  Gary Dickson [3rd Year]  NA
 shauffie@aol.com  209-470-2141