Here are the highlights of this year’s tournament:
- Ron Fedin became the fourth multiple winner in the event’s history, winning his second title a dozen years after winning his first in 2005. Fedin defeated Roderick Lee, lost to #5 seed Grant LaDue and defeated #3 seed Paul Gaberson in the preliminary rounds, then beat the previously undefeated Pete Reese in the semifinals before defeating Grant LaDue in a rematch for the Championship
- Grant LaDue defeated Jim Dauphinais, Ron Fedin and #6 seed Michael Ussery in the preliminary rounds and #2 seed James Pei in the semifinals to earn his berth in the finals
- We switched places with Hannibal in the schedule this year, moving up to the first weekend of the convention, in order to help out a fellow GM’s availability conflict. I had hoped that the lighter tournament offerings of the first weekend would give us a boost in attendance, but we did no better than we did in 2016 in the packed Tue/Wed slot. We did draw some players who haven’t played for a few years because of conflicts on Wednesdays, including the Champ, but we lost just as many tournament regulars who decided to skip the first weekend entirely
- We drew no new players this year, which may be the first time that has ever happened in the event’s history
- Only 2 of last year’s laurelists made it into the top 6 again this year
- The French won 12 of the 22 games played compared to an even split last year,
56% French wins in 2015, an even split in 2014, and 56% French wins in 2013
- Additional Prizes went to Ron Fedin who took home a carved wooden Warclub and Grant LaDue taking home a Pipehawk
We will obviously be on the Century bubble again for next year. I will return to GM if we survive. Assuming we do, I will definitely go back to the SE format with a Mulligan round. I am not sure about the scheduling, however. The Tue/Wed slot worked OK for a few years before this year’s one time experiment, but that slot does conflict with some other events that draw WNW players. If Twilight Struggle moves from Friday up to earlier in the week, which has been rumored, I could see scheduling it that day with the Mulligan on Thursday night.
Here is a short AAR of the Championship game between Ron Fedin’s Brits and Grant LaDue’s French.
1757 - The game started with the standard move by Montcalm’s force from Montreal down to Hudson Carry North. The first British card was a Regular reinforcement and the troops landed at New York with Amherst, who immediately took command of the main British army. Ft. William Henry fell to Montcalm while Amherst moved the main army up to Hudson Carry South to consolidate with Webb’s force. The first critical point of the game came when the consolidated British main army advanced on HCN. Levis had reinforced the French main army, but it was still too weak to give battle. Montcalm attempted to evade but a 1 was rolled. The French suffered heavy losses in the resulting battle and were force to retreat. The effect of this disaster was that the French could not risk another set piece battle and were forced to destroy their Lake Champlain forts and withdraw northward as Amherst crawled inexorably towards Montreal, building forts as he went. The French raided heavily to compensate but had poor results.
1758 - A British army under Wolfe was formed in the West and started building a road towards Ohio Forks. Amherst’s main army continued its advance up the Champlain Valley getting as far as Winooski, opposite Montcalm’s still weak army at Ile aux Nois. The French concentrated again on raiding and had mixed results. The crucial point of the year was at the end with winter approaching. Ron had drawn the Vaudreuil and Bigot events and patiently waited until the perfect time to spring the trap. With both sides having three card plays remaining, Grant attempted some raids, neglecting to move the main army back into winter quarters. He was caught with his pants down when Ron sent Montcalm out to Louisbourg with the Vaudreuil event, as he had only 1 cards remaining and no 1 generals at IAN. He used one of the 1 cards to move Bougainville to IAN, hoping to salvage something, but Ron then played Bigot, costing Grant his final card. While the already weakened French main army froze to death at IAN, Ron moved the British main army back to winter quarters at Albany with his final card play.
1759 - With the first action Montcalm evacuated the French garrison at Louisbourg to Quebec as these troops were now sorely needed on the mainland. Unfortunately for the French, Forbes immediately appeared at Halifax with the large Highlander reinforcement card and soon thereafter landed at Louisbourg and successfully besieged it. That, coupled with the French evacuation of Ohio Forks and its occupation by Wolfe, gave the British a VP lead. On top of that Amherst’s main army again threatened Montreal from the Champlain Valley. Montcalm scraped together enough men to launch a counterattack on Amherst in a desperate attempt to score a VP but was beaten back. Grant finally resigned the lost cause with Ron up by a comfortable 4 VPs.