Before diving in it is worth repeating that this was the 20th anniversary of BoAR at WBC and we pulled out all the stops. Bruno Sinigaglio donated tee-shirts, Chris Easter, even though he couldn't attend, donated dice cups, Tim Miller donated bookmarks, and MArk Miklos donated couzies and collectible buttons. All items were emblazoned with a special anniversary logo and everyone that played in even a single heat was given all the aforementioned items.
GMT Games came through with raffle prizes and we had a drawing each evening during which we drew several winners daily. Prizes included counter trays, decks of cards from the various games in the series and shrink wrapped copies of Brandywine (2nd ed.) and the Tri-pack!
The third place finisher, Bill Morse, took home a Rodger McGowan autographed artist's proof of the Savannah box cover. The 2nd place finisher, Jim Tracy, not only earned a gently-used Big Board Games copy of Guilford Courthouse but also a shrink wrapped Tri-pack, which Mark Miklos earned as the champion but which he declined to claim. We also awarded a special prize to the non-AREA-rated player who made it the farthest in the tournament. That was Andy Lewis who actually qualified as a quarter-finalist as you will hear but who couldn't advance due to his obligation to run the GMT booth once the vendors opened. Andy was awarded a numbered, limited edition collectible pewter and porcelain plate from a series done for the Bicentennial in the 1970's.
Our tables were festooned with Revolutionary War flags to help set the mood and the only thing missing was fife and drum music. It was quite an extravaganza.
We offered seven heats; win, lose or draw to earn one of the top-8 spots advancing into the single elimination quarter finals. The first heat was the new Freeman's Farm scenario from Saratoga (3rd ed.). Twelve players competed and there were three American and three British wins and, ironically, two wins for each side were marginal and one win each side was substantial. Did someone say play balance?
Sixteen players battled in heat 2; Lee's Advance at Monmouth Courthouse. Once again play balance was in evidence with the British and Americans each winning three games marginally. Two contests ended in a draw.
Nineteen players showed up for heat 3; The Holding Action at Monmouth. According to WBC rules, byes are awarded to past champions in descending order and in this case the bye fell to Mark Miklos. American players were out of luck this time. There were four British victories including the tournament's first decisive victory by Tim Miller over Dick Boyes. The other five contests ended in a draw.
Twenty players met for heat 4, the Guilford Courthouse historical scenario. For those who haven't yet purchased a Tri-pack please note that the victory conditions for Guilford have been revised. Rather than needing a margin of +3 VPs for a marginal victory the British now only need a margin of +2. Failing that, the Americans are awarded a marginal victory and there are no more draws. The British won five contests, four marginally and one substantially and the Americans also won five contests, all marginally. That rule-change in the 2nd edition game has made all the difference in the world for play balance in Guilford Courthouse.
Thirteen players gathered for heat 5; Eutaw Springs and Bruno Sinigaglio received the bye. There were three American wins, two draws and one British win when Derek Pulhamus defeated Roberto Sanchez marginally.
There were also thirteen players for heat 6; Knyphausen's Feint at Brandywine Creek and Jim Tracy received the bye. Here the British managed two marginal victories while American players earned three decisive and one substantial victory.
In the final heat, Howe's Flank Attack at Brandywine, fourteen players contested the field. Only Chris Byrd's Americans prevailed. In all other contests the British carried the day.
A total of 33 players entered the BoAR tournament with a notable handful of cadre players unavoidably absent. Among those were Rob McCracken, Rod Coffey, Rob Doane and Chris Easter and while they were missed, their ranks were compensated for by a total of seven new players and Henry Russell who rolled off the inactive list by joining in this year's competition. All players preferred the Swiss format to the single elimination style used in previous years as it provided maximum flexibility for players to enter BoAR while still playing in other favored games at WBC.
After the heats, the top eight players were seeded as follows: Bill Morse, Jim Tracy, Bruno Sinigaglio, Mark Miklos, Dave Stiffler, Tim Miller, Marty Musella and Andy Lewis. Since Andy couldn't advance as mentioned earlier, the first alternate, Father Todd Carter, got the chance to enter the quarter final as the #8 seed. Pairings were set as Morse v Carter, Tracy v Musella, Sinigaglio v Miller and Miklos v Stiffler. There were no upsets as the higher seed advanced in each pair. Morse's British won substantially as did Tracy's and Sinigaglio's Americans.
Miklos’ Americans won marginally on a tie break. VPs were such that the game would end in a draw with victory going to the player with superior Army Morale. Until the last two turns the Americans seemed to have that well in hand but drunken Adam Stephen's division unexpectedly marched into the no-man’s land separating the armies and Miklos had to advance a portion of his line in order to protect those regiments from annihilation and certain defeat in the game. By doing so he invited combat which led to a reversal in Army Morale and on the last half turn he needed two rallies in order to reclaim a morale advantage. The dice were with him, even though it's never the dice, and he succeeded in both attempts to gain a 1-point morale advantage and the tie-break victory.
And speaking of Adam Stephen, his effect on play varied across all tables. In the game just mentioned he meandered harmlessly in the rear until the critical moment toward the end of play when he nearly cost the Americans the game by becoming exposed to the enemy. On another board he was a complete non-factor. On a third board he created a friendly fire incident that led to wide-spread panic in the American line. On the fourth board his units actually exited the map causing an Army Morale loss but no lasting damage. Four games; four completely different outcomes.
The semifinal was the Battle of Saratoga, 3rd ed. Here Jim Tracy's Americans won substantially over Bruno's British while Miklos’ British won marginally over Bill Morse's Americans. Two games is obviously not a large sample size but with one win for each side it can be argued that balance was again in evidence.
This year’s Final was an epic clash that over 11 ½ hours featured highs, lows, exultation, desperation, missed phases, forgotten rules and mistakes by both players and the GM. After all that, the game hinged on a handful of die-rolls on the last combat phase of the last turn!
The combatants: After 7 heats, a quarterfinal and a semifinal were Jim Tracy and Mark Miklos. The final contest would be the full Brandywine campaign (2nd ed.) using the new intelligence rules, “Muddying the Waters of Brandywine Creek.” After some brief discussion both players voiced a desire to play the British, so we moved to a bidding process in which players would bid Army Morale (AM) for the right to play the British, bids of “0” were allowable. We only needed one bid, as Jim bid “2” versus Mark’s bid of “1”, so the sides were set.
After this, and according to the new intelligence rules, both players had to decide if they would conduct a pre-game off-board reconnaissance of Jefferies Ford, and there was much thought and discussion by them. In the end, both players decided to not conduct the reconnaissance presumably not wanting to risk the Army Morale cost associated with doing so.
The contest started at 10:30 in the morning. At that point we had no idea the battle would not conclude until 20:55 that evening!
During the opening maneuvers Mark took advantage of a back to back move to pull Maxwell’s Detachment back across the Brandywine without incident. American defensive fire, which would be very effective throughout the battle, hit the British 1st Bde Artillery causing it to retreat. Mark also staged units under Lord Stirling to respond to any threat toward the Birmingham Meeting house and also reinforced the area around Brinton’s Ford with units under Sullivan. Mark also extended his line on the left flank to face the British units that appeared to be heading in that direction.
Turn 3 Initiative went to the British and Jim now had to reveal that he chose to enter the British 2nd Brigade at Entry Hex “B”. In the first error of the game, Jim failed to remember these units during the movement phase and didn’t get them on the board this turn. In what was a recurring theme throughout the game, both players tended to rush things, and they both missed opportunities as the game progressed. I believe the stress of playing in the Final, and the length of the game, directly contributed to the unforced errors. Remaining British units edged towards the Brandywine, threatening both Chad’s Ford and Ferry. American defensive artillery fire achieved 4 hits including a step loss to the 5th Foot in the first blood of the game.
On Turn 4, with Initiative again going to the British, Jim committed his units against Brinton’s Ford while also threatening to cross the Brandywine upstream of Brinton’s Ford to turn the position and threaten a move on Creek Road towards the Birmingham Meeting House. First blood for the British was scored during their Defensive Artillery Fire when a hit killed Lady Washington’s Horse.
On Turn 5 the Americans got a back-to-back turn however before any action occurred in the turn the British player had to make a die roll for conditions at Jeffries Ford because neither player conducted a pre-game reconnaissance. Jim secretly recorded a number that would serve as a modifier to the Jeffries Ford Reconnaissance die roll. If the modified roll is over 9, 10 is subtracted from the total and only the British player, whose off-board flanking column is now arriving at the ford, is entitled to know the true result.
Conditions at the ford can be blocked, partially blocked, hindered or open with degrees of movement difficulty accordingly. In the event, Jim’s net die roll yielded a zero, the absolute worst result for the British. The ford was blocked and impassable to all combat units except Dragoons. Artillery & infantry must return to entry hex B. Dragoons may arrive at entry hex D as scheduled or return to hex B. In addition, every turn that any reinforcement from Howe’s force arrives at Hex B a roll is made on the “Special Army Morale” table, with the potential of debiting British Army Morale and also disrupting or impeding the movement of arriving units.
The campaign game gives a Decisive Victory to the Americans if they hold both the Birmingham Meeting House and Proctor’s Battery at the end of the game. With Jeffries Ford blocked the British now must take Proctor’s and be ahead on VPs or drive the American morale to zero, tall tasks indeed.
It must be said that once Jim realized the entirety of Howe’s flanking force would now have to enter at hex B, and in reverse order, so his largest force wouldn’t be on the board until Turn 9, he failed his personal morale check. His first reaction was that the game was over, and impossible for the British to win since they would never get a shot at the Birmingham Meeting House. So, we reviewed the process at least twice to make sure we got the correct result, as a mistake here would be very bad. Confirming the result was, in fact, correct, Jim was a bit shell-shocked, and vocal that this result was catastrophic for the British and unreasonable to expect them to be able to meet the original victory conditions. I am not trying to paint Jim in a negative light. The intent is to give you his immediate reactions; we can all put ourselves in his place and contemplate what a gut-punch getting the worst possible result and its implications must have felt like. Like all high caliber players, Jim just needed a few minutes to digest all of this, and get focused on the task at hand, which he did. While Jim was looking at having to completely revise his strategy Mark was off in another area of the Festival hall, and had no idea of what had just transpired, nor would he until the first unit showed up at entry Hex B. Mark still had to anticipate the British arriving at entry Hex D, and have a force responding to protect the Meeting House, you’ll see evidence of his quandary shortly.
Not knowing the condition of Jeffries Ford and concerned about the potential flood of unit’s in Howe’s force that might appear at entry Hex D, Mark payed a 1 VP penalty to release Sullivan’s wing early. Now released, the units that had been holding their position with and around Lord Stirling begin moving with all haste towards the Birmingham Meeting House. British Defensive Artillery Fire had little effect and the first rifle shots in the game, taken by American marksmen, also missed the mark.
On the bottom half of Turn 5 Jim decided it was time to take the fight to the Americans and crossed the Brandywine on his extreme left flank just upstream of Brinton’s Ford. He also moved-to-contact adjacent to the Brandywine on his extreme right flank, but not across any Ford, so combat on this wing was not mandatory. During Defensive Artillery Fire Mark’s guns hit again causing a step loss on the 5th Foot. This time American rifle fire hit the 10th Foot; retreating it.
The British initiated four Close Combats this turn resulting in a defender retreat, a mutual retreat, a step-loss that eliminated the West Augusta regiment, and an attacker-disruption on the Hessian Regiment Mirbach. Even though the British scored a kill in this first round of combat, they didn’t gain any ground in their attacks. The turn ended with American Army Morale at 19, British at 17 and with the Americans holding 2 VP and the British 3 through 5 turns of play.
Jim felt he really needed the double move on Turn 6 and used his at-start Momentum Chit to influence the Initiative die roll. The first roll was tied but only thanks to Jim’s use of momentum. The second roll gave the initiative to the British but once again, only because they spent momentum.
The Black Watch, normally the last British reinforcement to enter the game at hex D, now appeared at entry Hex B; with Jeffries Ford being blocked the reinforcements enter in reverse order. Seeing this Mark immediately asked if the Ford was blocked but since the Americans did not conduct reconnaissance, the GM could not reveal that to him. Mark would posit several times the Ford must be blocked, but the GM could only tell him Jim’s unit was entering appropriately, and no information about the state of the ford is available to him.
With a reinforcement entering at Hex B, a roll had to be made on the Special Army Morale Table which caused a -1 Army Morale impact to the British. Furthermore, the Black Watch movement was reduced to ½ MPs on its turn or arrival. Mark continued to hit defensively, causing a step-loss on the British Reserve “A” artillery. During Rifle Fire the Americans score another hit, disrupting Enniskillens.
Jim launched five Close Combats causing two attacker-retreats, a mutual retreat that led to a disruption on First Fraser’s Highlanders when they had to retreat across the Brandywine and also lowered British Army Morale to Fatigued, an attacker-disruption that gained Momentum for the Americans and the dramatic captures of Smith’s American rifle company, the New York “A: artillery and the German Battalion; all for inability to retreat. What a swing of events inside this combat phase! Jim’s morale started at High morale, dropped two steps into Fatigued, and then ended the combat phase back in High morale!
On the bottom half of Turn 6 Mark again asked if the British will be bringing additional reinforcements in at Hex B. The GM continued to provide no information on the status of the Ford, and assured Mark British reinforcements have and will enter at their properly assigned hexes. It’s my guess he was fairly certain the Ford must be impassable, but was having some lingering doubts about what he should do in the area of the Meeting House. He nevertheless began to countermarch some units back towards his lines that were heading towards the Meeting House but he didn’t bring them all back out of an abundance of caution. The Americans also abandoned their forward defense on their right flank at Brinton’s Ford. Sensing that all of Howe’s force might be heading to the battlefield via Hex B, The Americans set a strong position on Roundalay Hill.
The Americans got a back-to-back turn for Turn 7 and Mark left a force in and around the Meeting House while continuing to reinforce Roundalay Hill. There were no defensive artillery or rifle fire hits and no combat, so this was a quiet half-turn for Mark.
On the British half of Turn 7, with additional units arriving at Hex B as the countermarch of Howe’s force continued, there was another roll in the Special Army Morale Table that limited the arriving 2nd Queen’s Light Dragoons to ½ MPs this turn.
Mark’s Defensive Artillery Fire disrupted the 2nd NJ Volunteer artillery, British rifle fire caused a loss of -1 Army Morale to the Americans and in the only British attack of the turn, an American defender was forced to retreat. At this point in the game Army Morale was tied at 17-all while the British continued their lead in VPs, 6 to 2.5.
The back-to-back turn swung back to Jim on Turn 8 and, with the bulk of his reinforcements now entering at Hex B, the roll on the Special Army Morale Table was “No Effect;” the best Jim could hope for and at precisely the right moment.
At this point it was clear Jim had decided that trying to roll up the American right flank and also drive American morale to zero was his best option. While he did make several attacks on the American extreme left flank, he never made significant progress there, I suspect he was hoping to threaten an envelopment of Proctor’s Battery, but of course couldn’t ask Jim that while the game was in progress. Jim also now sent the 3rd Queen’s Light Dragoons north on Creek Road. This looked more like a demonstration than a real threat to the Meeting House, but Mark responded to it, so if that was Jim’s intent, it worked.
Howe and Cornwallis’ troops flooded onto the field at Hex B, with some heading towards Brinton’s Ford and others heading towards Ring Run and the center/right of the line. Mark scored several more Defensive Artillery Fire hits to blunt these maneuvers resulting in three retreats while his rifle fire caused a -1 point loss to British Army Morale. British Close Combats this turn were ineffective.
On the bottom half of Turn 8 Mark responded to Jim’s dragoons moving north on Creek Road by moving American units that were at the Meeting House north and west on Forks and Street Roads. Assuming they could brush Jim’s dragoons aside, they would be in position to put pressure on Jim’s extreme left flank and force the British to draw units off from their main attack. Meanwhile Mark continued to adjust his right flank, covering the secondary fords at 0921 and 1021.
The Americans went first on Turn 9 and Mark surrounded the 3rd Queen’s Light Dragoons leading to its capture. Mark would only attack three times in the game compared with forty nine attacks made by Jim!
During the British half of Turn 9 more reinforcements entered at Hex B, bringing with them another roll on the Special Army Morale Table. This time the result was a loss of -1 in Army Morale to the British and -1 Movement Point for arriving reinforcements which also could not use strategic movement during the turn.
Jim maneuvered to set up five attacks suffering only a retreat and a disruption during Mark’s Defensive Fire. The 1st Maryland took a step loss causing American Army Morale to fatigue. Other attacks yielded a Pin, a disruption, an attacker-retreat and a mutual retreat. At the End Phase, Army Morale was American 14, British 16 and VPs: American 3.5, British 6.
Turn 9 Postscript: This was the turn that highlighted how much all of us were missing. Once movement was over each player was pressing through the succeeding phases at what seemed like light speed, and it was hard for them and me to keep up with things. During the bottom half of Turn 9 all of us completely missed a British combat at Chad’s Ferry. On the British left flank they conducted a diversion, and again all of us completely whiffed on the column shift for the diversion, which would have changed the PIN result to an Attacker Retreat. Of course by the time we realized this we had conducted additional combats and phases, so I couldn’t allow us to go back and fight the battle at Chad’s Ferry, nor could we make the adjustment in the PIN combat that would favor the Americans. We did at this point resolve to go slower and be more deliberate. At the end of each phase I tried to confirm with the phasing player or both in the case of Rifle Fire that they were done and ready to move on.
I attribute the above to the tension in the game, and the fact by this time we had been playing for over eight hours. Before the end of Turn 8 Jim was periodically expressing his belief there was no way for him to win, yet please note despite this, he was as aggressive as he could be, still lots of fight left in him!. Around Turn 9 I think Mark got the feeling there was an increasing possibility Jim could pull off the win, so both players felt the heat turn up on them.
I believe Mark saw trouble coming if the British got the initiative and the double move on Turn 10, so he spent the one Momentum Chit he had to get a net +1 to the roll (Normally +2; but with American morale fatigued it was only +1.) The roll turned out to be “1” for the Americans and “9” for the British, so Mark’s attempt to get the initiative failed. He would never hold another Momentum chit in the game.
Jim continued his attack on his extreme right flank and made a maximum effort on the left and left center of his line. All told Jim would make ten attacks this turn and one of them would almost break Mark’s personal morale! Note that on Turn 8 the Queen’s Rangers were in hex 0923. On Turn 9, that unit moved to 0926. During movement this turn the Rangers crossed the Brandywine and were now adjacent to Proctor’s Battery.
Mark’s Defensive Fire was again effective. He retreated the Coldstream Guard, Disrupted the Black Watch and caused a step loss to the Queen’s Rangers. On the latter roll, however, he would have preferred a retreat or disrupt result instead of the now-reduced Rangers remaining adjacent to Proctor’s Battery. Donop’s Hessian Regiment also received a step loss at the end of which British morale was fatigued, which would affect their upcoming combats.
Both sides scored a hit with rifle fire. American fire hit the 44th Foot causing a loss of -1 Army Morale while British fire caused the 2nd VA to retreat. Critically, however, a rifle shot against the Queen’s Rangers missed.
The first of Jim’s ten attacks was the most decisive. The damaged Queen’s Rangers overran Proctor’s Battery capturing not only Proctor’s artillery alone in the hex but also Washington and Lafayette who were also present! That was a 4 VP and 4 AM swing! It was precisely because Mark was aware of Washington’s vulnerability to the Queen’s Rangers that he burned Momentum hoping to get initiative and rectify this error. Mark’s quote reflected the state of his personal morale in the moment, “That could be the game.”
This is also a spot where the excitement of the moment got the best of us; it wasn’t until the Top half of Turn 12 that we realized Jim should have received two Momentum chits at the moment that he captured Washington.
The remaining nine combats in the turn caused Grayson’s Regiment to disrupt, the Old Eleventh to disrupt, Parker’s Light Infantry to take a step loss, the capture of Bedlam’s artillery, a step loss to the previously damaged West Augusta Regiment eliminating it, and finally two attacker retreats, an attacker-disruption on the 17th Foot and a mutual retreat. When the dust settled on this devastating turn American Army Morale was at 7 while British Army Morale was 17. VPs stood at 12 for the British and 4.5 for the beleaguered Americans.
At the end of this half turn it looked like a lock the British would end the game ahead on VPs, and while they had captured Proctor’s Battery, the Queen’s Rangers there would likely be captured in the American half of the turn which would keep the Decisive Victory possibility alive for them. So, despite the British success it was looking more and more like Jim was hanging his fortunes not on capturing and holding Proctor’s, but driving the American morale to zero.
On the bottom half of Turn 10 Mark made moves to re-dress his lines and refuse his right flank. He also made the necessary moves to try and capture or kill the reduced Queen’s Rangers that occupied Proctor’s Battery. He did not attempt to press down Creek Road on the British left flank, instead choosing to pull back towards the Meeting House. Porter, Spencer and the Old Eleventh all rallied, giving the Americans a badly needed +3 Army Morale. Jim’s Defensive Fire hit New Jersey “A” artillery causing a loss of -1 Army Morale, something Mark could ill-afford.
Mark’s combat against the Queen’s Rangers was successful and with it, the Americans once again qualified for a Decisive Victory if they could avoid demoralization before the game ended. American Army Morale had improved to 10 and British Morale fell to 16 while VPs stood at 5.5 to 12 respectively.
The British, with a net +1 to their initiative roll owing to the American Army’s fatigue, won the initiative for Turn 11. Jim’s moves were all aimed at pressing home attacks on the left flank and around Chad’s Ford and Ferry.
Mark responded with one of his best rounds of Defensive Fire hitting on six of nine shots. The 2nd Queen’s Light Dragoons retreated, The 2nd Grenadiers took a step loss as did the Grenadier Guards, the Enniskillens were disrupted and the 44th Foot and the von Lin Hessian Grenadiers had to retreat.
In return, Jim’s British rifle fire disrupted the 3rd Penn artillery resulting in its capture. I have to note here the British missed taking some rifle shots on two consecutive turns. Again, chalk it up to the pressure of the match.
Jim now launched eleven more attacks. During the first of these the King’s Own suffered an attacker disruption. After this combat Jim again had a personal morale failure, and briefly considered conceding the match to Mark. He quickly recovered and ordered his troops to continue on the attack!
The rest of the results were a mixed bag of three attacker retreats, one defender retreat, one mutual retreat, one defender disruption and a step loss to the Hessian Donop Regiment which eliminated it. Additionally there were three Pin results. There were so many units pinned that we ran out of markers!
On the bottom half of the turn Mark decided to break all three Pins, taking a -3 Army Morale hit. He re-formed his right flank and fell back slightly on the left ensuring Proctor’s was defended in depth. He picked up two much needed points of Army Morale during the Rally Phase as both Grayson and 2nd Penn Bde both rallied. During rifle fire the Americans disrupted the British 1st Grenadiers who, in order to avoid capture due to over-stacking, had to take a step Loss.
At the end of the turn American morale was 11; not good, but it looked like an impossible task for the British to get it to zero on the next and final turn of the game. Jim had his work cut out for him.
The initiative for the last turn fell to the Americans. There we were at 8:03 PM (yeah, I wrote it down!); what drove the discussion I can’t remember (possibly a recapping of VPs?), but suddenly we realized Jim never got the 2 Momentum Chits due him for capturing Washington! Since he hadn’t spent any he still “had” them, so I told him to take two Momentum chits. During his move Mark shifted units to strengthen both flanks while Jim’s Defensive Fire caused a Step Loss to the 2nd Penn Artillery, American morale now 10.
As the bottom half of Turn 12 presented itself, Jim spent some time figuring out how he could get the maximum number of attacks, and how best to maximize the chances of success. In the end, he would be able to make eleven attacks, making a total of 32 attacks on Turns 10, 11, and 12.
Mark would have ten Defensive Artillery shots, connecting on four of them. He disrupted the 10th Foot, retreated the 2nd Frasier’s Highlanders, caused a Step Loss to the Hessian Lenge Grenadiers (American Morale = 11) and caused a step loss to the Hessian von Min Grenadiers (American Morale 12.)
During rifle fire each side scored hits. The Americans hit the 33rd Foot causing a loss of -1 point of Army Morale (The British were now Fatigued) and another hit on 1st Frasier causing yet another loss of -1 point of Army Morale. During British Fire the Hessian Amusettes used their First Fire Bonus to hit the Jones Artillery, Disrupting it. (American Morale = 11) Washington’s Life Guard was also disrupted (American Morale = 10) and Parker’s Light Infantry was retreated.
With two Momentum chits in his pocket, everyone realized that Jim now, maybe for the first time in the game, had a realistic chance of driving the American morale to zero and winning; you could feel the tension in the air as we got under way!
Combats 1 & 2 were of no help to the British yielding only a defender-retreat and a mutual retreat.
Combat 3 was another defender-retreat but Jim decided to spend Momentum and the re-roll was 7 + 3 = 10 leading to a disruption of the 9th VA (American Morale = 9) AND the British got the Momentum chit back!
Combat 4 was also a defender-retreat but Jim again used Momentum that yielded big results. The 6th VA, the PA State Rifles and the 8th Chester County Militia were all captured for failure to retreat! (American Morale = 6)
In combat 5 the British again used Momentum and Disrupted Grayson’s Regiment. (American Morale 5)
Jim’s luck with Momentum was again in evidence in Combat 6. He spent it to re-roll a step-loss to Porterfield’s Light Infantry that eliminated it. Since the net die roll on the re-roll was 10, Jim got the Momentum chit right back again. (American Morale = 4)
Combat 7: Another net-10 and another step loss and Momentum chit gain for the British as the New Jersey Brigade was reduced. The British now held two Momentum chits. (American Morale = 3)
Combat 8: Was against Spencer’s Regiment. The first roll was net 5 and Jim used Momentum. The second roll was net 3 and Jim used his final Momentum. His third roll was net 9 and Spencer was disrupted. (American Morale = 2)
With deep breadths all-around combat 9 was a mutual retreat, combat 10 was a Pin and combat 11 was a defender-retreat causing no further erosion to American Army Morale.
And after the last three combats produced no positive results for the British and the smoke cleared from the battlefield Mark still held Proctor’s Battery and Birmingham Meeting House and his Army Morale was at “2”, giving him the decisive victory by a super slim margin! And with that the pressure of the last few hours dissipated and there were handshakes and smiles around the table. I called this an Epic battle at the beginning of this narrative, and it was just that – two of the best BoAR players taking the game right down to the wire to determine the winner. Congratulations to the 2018 champion, Mark Miklos, and our second place finisher, Jim Tracy!
A final note of interest: Fifty nine total games were played in this tournament and there were 26 British wins, 24 American wins and 9 draws. That's pretty cool.
Mark writes, “I may have won this tournament but let me assure you, I did not dominate play. In fact, after the first two heats, I was the last seed out of the nineteen players who had up until then entered play. The bye in heat three got my ship righted and I went from -1 to net +2 tournament points. That, at least, was something to build upon. Thanks to decisive, substantial and marginal wins the rest of the way plus one draw I was able to end up the fourth seed entering the quarter final but there I nearly lost it all to Dave Stiffler, as has been written, needing a last-second rally to achieve a mere 1-point Army Morale advantage and prevail in a tie-break. To be sure, I barely held on against Jim Tracy's onslaught in Brandywine to hold on for victory with only 2 morale points.”
We wish to thank AGM Dave Stiffler who did journeyman's duty in the absence of our second AGM, Rob McCracken, due to a late-breaking family emergency. Thanks again to Bruno, Chris and Tim for donating to our 20th anniversary treasure trove and helping to make everything special. Thanks to all the players, veteran and new, for their fellowship and good competition. Thanks to GMT Games and the good folks at BPA/WBC too.