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Axis & Allies (A&A) WBC 2018 Event Report
Updated October 9, 2018
 
12 Players Craig Yope 2018 Status 2019 Status History/Laurels
  2018 Champion   Click box for details. Click box for details.
 

New GM Finally Finishes On Top

The first preliminary round saw ten players vying for world domination. The Axis powers won three contests, one by concession, while the Allies took two games, both of those by concession. Caroline Hopkins and Joe Powell both slowly wore down their respective opponents over five rounds to garner decisive victories while Kevin Keller pulled out a tough win against another former champ, Jeff Mathis. Eric Zielinski only needed three rounds to gain his concession while Craig Yope took less than one full round to receive a congratulatory handshake from his distinguished antagonist Patrick Mirk. How does such a game happen? Well, if the Germans lose all their units in the two attacks the Soviets make while causing no casualties and then the Japanese end their turn with only two naval units left on the board, a CV and transport, it’s a pretty bleak situation for the Axis.

The second preliminary round had eight players continue on with the highlight of the evening being the match between old friends Joe Powell and Kevin Keller. A tight game that ended in a Victory Territory tie and was decided by the shift of one IPC in Joe’s favor! Jeff Mathis bounced back with a slim win over Eric Zielinski. Craig Yope started slow but eventually prevailed over the tenacious Caroline Hopkins. Shannon Cooley turned things around and put in a commanding performance against George Kyrollos.

The third round of preliminary games had six continuing combatants with two veterans of previous years joining in for the carnage. Top seed honors were on the line when the two remaining 2-0 players locked horns. A six round slobber knocker of a game ended with Craig Yope’s Axis earning a 13-11 victory. Kevin Keller improved his record to 2-1 after another tied VT game with Caroline Hopkins was decided by IPCs. Jeff Mathis and Eric Zielinski also both moved to 2-1 after each defeated a Schilb brother in tight affairs.

The player rankings after the three games from the preliminary rounds (Name/Record/TVT/IPC %>) were:

  • 1. Craig Yope 3-0/46/39.62
  • 2. Eric Zielinski 2-1/43/56.40
  • 3. Joe Powell 2-1/42/32.29
  • 4. Kevin Keller 2-1/38/49.79
  • 5. Jeff Mathis 2-1/36/(-)12.92
  • 6. Caroline Hopkins 1-2/40/18.04
  • 7. Shannon Cooley 1-1/24/7.32
  • 8. George Kyrollos 0-2/11/(-)65.63
  • 9. Rusty Schilb 0-1/11/(-)8.33
  • 10. Randy Schilb 0-1/11/(-)17.14
  • 11. Daniel Rothfus 0-1/5/(-)42.86
  • 12. Patrick Mirk 0-1/5/(-)42.86

The semifinal games matched top seed Craig Yope with fourth seeded Kevin Keller while second seeded Eric Zielinski faced third seed Joe Powell. Eric and Craig were semifinalists last year while Kevin and Joe are former champs, so this was lining up to be a tough deal for whoever ended up winning the event.

Game #1 was the renewal of a continuing grudge match between Craig and Kevin. Last year in the third preliminary round, these two antagonists met to determine who would advance to the elimination rounds with Craig taking a hard fought win. This years’ edition wasn’t as dramatic with Craig slowly grinding down Kevin’s Allied forces for a commanding 18-6 VT win.

Game #2 between Joe Powell and Eric Zielinski was also lopsided sided affair with Joe’s Allies racking up a +24 IPC increase on his way to a 15-9 VT win.

So with those results we had a rematch of an earlier third round game in which Craig’s Axis took a narrow 13-11 VT victory from Joe’s Allies. That earlier game had a bid of Allies +4 and it ended with no change in IPCs. That then set the stage for the bidding process entering the final match.

Knowing that Joe had played all his prior games as the Allies, I started the bidding intentionally low so as to get a counter bid at a medium value that I would accept and force him to play the Axis. While I like to play the Axis more than the Allies, I was hoping to get him out of his comfort zone. Our earlier game had been close and I wanted to see if I could break things loose by playing the opposite sides. To my surprise Joe accepted the low bid of Allies +2!

He gave the extra IPCs to the Soviets and bought accordingly. Nothing that exceptional occurred throughout the game - no lopsided battles or really bad moves. Good, sound play by both parties.

But one thing I will point out as something that I think is a fatal flaw in the tournament game as it is pertains to Allied strategy. You can not abandon the Pacific Ocean as the USA. I did this last year in the finals and got steamrolled by the Japanese on the Asian mainland besides losing Hawaii and Australia. In my semifinal and final matches this year both of my esteemed opponents chose to do the same and ultimately paid dearly for that decision. By not maintaining at least a threat in the Pacific you allow the Japanese to pick off those isolated VTs and turn most of their energy to taking out the backside of the USSR. More importantly, you have no way of snagging those important Dutch East Indies VTs from the Japanese in the late rounds to capture an Allied win.

With prior knowledge of Joe’s Allied play in the earlier round and his propensity to bail from the Pacific, I turned up the German ground game from the get go and made sure I had the right Japanese buys early on. I was able to keep the UK and US at bay long enough in Europe to take most of Asia and the Pacific en route to 15-9 VT win in six rounds.

So there you have it! After 15 years of coming to WBC, specifically because of the lure of playing A&A for multiple days, against top notch competition, I have the finally reached the top spot. While it wasn’t a very large field of competitors, I will take solace in knowing that I beat three former event champs, one of them twice, on my way to the championship.

I would like to thank all who chose to participate in this years’ event. The eventual convention creep is creating a “good” problem for the general gamer but is putting A&A in a tough spot. Years ago I made the decision to move the A&A event to the pre-con slot it has inhabited since 2010. It gave the event some new life as it was a lighter choice going against limited competition. But the new convention length of a full nine days is cutting into the extra casual gamer that may have played a game or two in this event. Hopefully we can gain some new blood next year to stabilize the event moving forward.

As always I would like to thank the continuing support of my assistant GMs Joe Powell and Kevin Keller. You will never meet two nicer people in all your days.

Here are the usual event stats that I compile.

Tournament statistics, the value in parentheses is the number of concession wins that occurred as part of the total amount of wins in each instance:

  • Axis Wins
    • Round 1 – 3(1)
    • Round 2 – 3(0)
    • Round 3 – 2(0)
    • Semifinals – 1(0)
    • Finals – 1(0)
    • Totals - 10(1)
  • Allied Wins
    • Round 1 – 2(2)
    • Round 2 – 1(0)
    • Round 3 – 2(0)
    • Semifinals – 1(0)
    • Finals – 0(0)
    • Totals – 6(2)
  • Average VTs in a Win (Axis) - 15.60
  • Average VTs in a Win (Allies) - 15.00
  • Average IPCs in a Win (Axis) - 85.80
  • Average IPCs in a Win (Allies) - 115.33
  • Average IPC % (>) in a Win (Axis) - 22.57
  • Average IPC % (>) in a Win (Allies) - 20.14
  • Average Rounds in a Win (Axis) - 5.40
  • Average Rounds in a Win (Allies) - 5.50
  • Axis Wins
    • No Bidding – 0
    • Axis Bid – 0
    • Allied Bid – 10
  • Allied Wins
    • No Bidding – 1
    • Axis Bid – 0
    • Allied Bid – 5
  • Average Bid
    • Axis – N/A
    • Allies - 2.87 IPCs

    Quality Games Statistics - “Quality Games” (games that don’t end in a concession or become a “runaway”/blowout game):

    • Axis Wins
      • Round 1 – 1
      • Round 2 – 2
      • Round 3 – 3
      • Semifinals – 1
      • Finals – 1
      • Totals - 7
    • Allied Wins
      • Round 1 – 0
      • Round 2 – 1
      • Round 3 – 2
      • Semifinals – 1
      • Finals – 0
      • Totals – 4
    • Average VTs in a Win (Axis) – 14.28
    • Average VTs in a Win (Allies) – 13.00
    • Average IPCs in a Win (Axis) – 79.29
    • Average IPCs in a Win (Allies) – 110.00
    • Average IPC % (>) in a Win (Axis) – 13.27
    • Average IPC % (>) in a Win (Allies) - 14.58
    • Average Rounds in a Win (Axis) – 5.43
    • Average Rounds in a Win (Allies) – 6.75
    • Axis Wins
      • No Bidding – 0
      • Axis Bid – 0
      • Allied Bid – 7
    • Allied Wins
      • No Bidding – 0
      • Axis Bid – 0
      • Allied Bid – 4
    • Average Bid
      • Axis – N/A
      • Allies – 2.82 IPCs

 
2018 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 3

Joe Powell Eric Zielinski Kevin Keller Jeff Mathis Caroline Hopkins
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
 
Caroline Hopkins on her way to a sixth place finish.
Sizing up the battle.
Finalists GM Craig Yope and AGM Joe Powell
with AGM Kevin Keller
 
GM     Craig Yope [2nd Year]   NA
    craigyope@comcast.net    NA