The Twilight Struggle tournament had strong participation again, with a total of 58 players, even though a substantial number of the regular participants didn’t make it to Seven Spring this year, including five of the former champions. The field did include previous champion Chris Byrd and a number of other players who regularly place well. As a result, competition was tough.
As usual, we employed a swiss format, with rounds continuing until only two undefeated players remained, then these two play for the championship. Many players took advantage of the option to play all five rounds of the swiss format, so a total of 66 games were played, down slightly. The tournament also drew a few newer players.
The base game of Twilight Struggle has generally been seen to favor the Russians, particularly in the first part of the game, unless adjustments are made. The tournament played with the optional cards from the Deluxe Edition. In addition, for balancing purposes, the US received 2 influence that could be added to any location that already had US influence. Players were also required to switch sides each round. This approach was well received and is largely consistent with the balancing adjustment used by in the wargameroom.com leagues and many other of the online tournaments.
Last year, the effect of the adjustments was to produce even results, with 41 for the US and 40 for the USSR with 2 ties. This year the American players outperformed the Russians with 37 American wins compared to 29 Russian victories. Among the players who finished 4-1 or better, the results were essentially even. Given the results, the adjustments used appear to produce a very balanced game and will likely be used next year.
After four rounds, only three undefeated players remained, Tony Russo, Tom Dworschak, and George Young. As a result, a random opponent from among the 3-1 players was chosen to serve as a potential eliminator. In this case, the random addition was Randy Pippus, last year’s runner up. Since he had one loss, Randy could not win the tournament, but he could give a loss to one of the undefeated players.
Randy was matched up against Tom Dworschak with Tom playing the US. Randy managed to build an early lead by leveraging military operations and the play of socialist governments to grab VPs. In the early war, this produced a 9 point lead. Tom successfully clawed some of this back, knocking the Russian edge to 4 VPs before Randy could play Middle East Scoring and push up the lead. From that point, the game was relatively even, with neither player able to move the score out of the 10-12 VP Russian lead. On the last turn, any hope the US had was dashed when Randy was able to play Wargames early in the turn and secure the win. Randy’s victory meant that the winner of the other match would be the only remaining undefeated player and thus the champion.
That match started well for the Russians. Early play of Decolonization, with all placement occurring in South East Asia, gave Tony’s Russians a solid base and source of VPs. Early scoring of Asia gave the Russians a lead they would never relinquish. The US managed to fight back in early war, taking dominance in Europe, but Destalinization allowed Tony’s Russians to push into South America.
In mid-war, the USSR continued to add to its lead, scoring Asia again. Both sides fought it out in Africa and South America, with the USSR netting a few more VPs. At the end of Turn 6, the USSR lead was 16 VPs. At this point, the US made an error. Rather than playing Alliance for Progress on Turn 7 to pick up 4 VPs, they went with Grain Sales and a successful coup. This would have been positive except it allowed Tony to drop OPEC for 4 VPs and the win. Absent the error, it was likely to be a close outcome. Both sides had all the good US mid-war events in their hands, so the board position was about to flip.
Congratulations to Tony for a well-deserved win. Top lucky escape goes to Randy Pippus, who won only by failing 2 attempts to get out of a bear trap against Nathan Wagner, thus avoiding blowing up the world with CIA.
|2017 PBeM Tournament
After a two year struggle and 307 games logged, Wayne Bonnet and Ted Lyng advanced from a field of 74 players and a 2015 start to contest the final round of the 2017 BPA Twilight Struggle PBeM tournament. After bidding, Ted took the U.S. + 3 IPs in a trans-Pacific battle. Wayne is from New Zealand as Americans face an increasingly worldwide class of competition with four nations represented by the top six players—including Russian Sergey Kosarev.
Ted headlined containment in Round 1 and netted five extra points so he was able to play a fair number of IP early. Wayne won the exchange of coups over Iran and was able to use that to control Afghanistan and Pakistan by turn end. However, Ted had played Middle East scoring early enough to get three points and had snaked up into Thailand and Laos to encircle Vietnam before he played Vietnam Revolts on the last Action Round.
Turn 2 was a turning point as Ted succeeded on a 1/3 chance to take Pakistan with Indo-Pakistani War in the Headline Phase, while Wayne failed with the same odds on Korea War. Wayne used the China Card to take Pakistan back but Ted got a firm grip on India, which along with Thailand, Japan, and South Korea, gave him dominance, though the scoring card had not appeared.
In Turn 3, Ted again scored the Middle East for five points in the headline. Wayne used Decolonization to try to stave off the U.S. in Asia, but Ted had enough high-value cards to keep his grip. Formosa had been played so that was net 7 to the U.S. Along with "Defectors" that added up to +13 points (before Milops) for the United States in Turn 3.
On Turn 4, Ted and Wayne battled over Latin America. With the score at 16, Wayne had to defend every area, however, which is a tough task. Still he battled back a bit and reduced Ted to 12. Unfortunately, the right scoring cards did not appear to allow him to dent Ted's lead further.
On Turn 5, Ted started with the Africa scoring card in his hand, which Wayne deduced quickly. Unfortunately for Wayne, Ted rolled 5s or 6s and he rolled 1s. After a series of realignments swept Red influence out of the Southern Cone of Africa, Ted was able to score eight VPs for the total of 20 needed for the win.
Ted recorded five US wins amongst his overall 7-1 record.
The Six laurelists were
- Ted Lyng (7-1), VA
- Wayne Bonnett (8-2), au
- Aran Warsawski (8-2) il
- Randy Pippus (6-2) ca
- David Amidon (6-2) PA
- Sergey Kosarev (5-3) ru
There were 296 games played in the six Swiss Rounds which featured the optional cards and 1 extra influence for the US resulting in a 111-85 Soviet advantage.
In the single elimination rounds which featured bidding, the box score was Soviet 6/5. Standard bid was 2 for the Americans but it reached as high as 3 once.