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Wooden Ships & Iron Men (WSM) WBC 2023 Event Report
Updated November 9, 2023
26 Players Mark McCandless Event History
2023 Champion & Laurels

McCandless Wins Title Rematch!

Each player who signed on to serve in this year’s navy was issued a ration of butter rum candy, straight from the hold of the GM’s flagship.

In addition the demo, new players found helpful instruction at the tournament location in Winterberry. One new player wrote the following on his match sheet: “WS&IM guys were patient and friendly teaching me the game.”

The freeform format allowed players to schedule matches at times of convenience throughout the week. All players, whether landlubbers or old salts, started out playing simple single-ship actions. Upon proving themselves with a victory, players are allowed to play matches in command of two ships and, sometimes, three ships. Each level earns more tournament points.

Some players took the time to share anecdotes with sesson reports.

In the Battle of the Steves, Steven Proksch and Stephen Munchak pounded each other’s hull, with their ships striking simultaneously. The tie was broken by a pair of die rolls, resulting in Munchak’s ship being set to sink or explode. (Imagine the officers on Proksch’s ship exclaiming, “Our ship’s a wrecked hulk but those other guys are worse!”)

Two games featured the use of the optional melee tactics cards.

During their battle, Nate Peterson’s crew shot Evan Hitchings’ captain, but Evan’s crew maintained their morale. All the while, Evan hammered the hull of Nate’s ship. Nate’s crew grappled and boarded Evan’s ship. In the ensuing melee, Nate played the “Musket Volley” card over Evan’s “Swords” card (Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight!). The resulting modifier resulted in a crew loss for Evan. However, Evan passed his morale check, avoiding surrender. On the following turn, Evan’s broadside finished off Nate’s hull for the win.

Roger Charnesky won a collision (who gets the hex?) roll, to give him a crucial rake over eventual semifinalist, Mark Linroth.

While players usually square off with identical ships on each side, historical scenarios are available for players seeking greater authenticity. One such match-up was the fight between the French 74-gun ship of the line Genereux and the British 50-gun Leander (Leander’s strong suit was a crack crew v. the Genereux’s average crew).

Historically, the Genereux had escaped from the debacle at the Battle of the Nile and encountered the Leander in the open Mediterranean Sea.

Mark McCandless defeated Stephen Munchak’s Leander, which had become trapped adjacent to the Genereux by an unfavorable wind change.

Stephen took out his frustration in a later match by boarding and capturing a ship of Brian Stuck’s.

New this year was Scenario 1X, a hypothetical fight between a fast, heavily armed U.S. frigate and a slow British ship of the line. One such match was a blowout for the American but the other, between Curtiss Fyock and Jason Schultz, ended in a draw.

The Semifinal and Final each featured two frigates per side. There were several good players who were in contention for the playoffs, but only four could advance.

In the Semifinal, Mark McCandless defeated Keith Onderko and Derek Whipple defeated Mark Linroth.

The Final was a rematch of the 2022 Final, with Derek defending his title against Mark McCandless.

After these veterans slugged it out, Derek conceded the win to Mark, who held the lead in damage points. From the GM’s perspective, Mark’s ships were better-positioned with his two ships able to direct fire on one of Derek’s.

For more information and thrilling tales, check out the next issue of the Naval Gazette, available free-of-charge from the GM ( hitchings@juno.com). Look for a report of this year’s Fleet Action!

2023 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 3
Derek Whipple Keith Onderko Mark Linroth Stephen Munchak Michael Polcen
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
The Pirate GM with his goodies. Captain studying his charts.
Some two ship action in Winterberry. Finalists with GM Tim Hitchings.
GM  Tim Hitchings [20th Year]