For those that don’t know, the World Boardgaming Championships (WBC) takes place every year in late summer and is held at the beautiful Seven Springs Mountain Resort in southwestern Pennsylvania. WBC is a national, even international event, where players come together to play games both competitively and for fun with other gamers. The competitive side of the games include everything form tiddly winks, to Robo Rally, to heavy wargames including many from one of our favorite publishers GMT Games including Combat Commander, Empire of the Sun and Panzer. Also at this convention, the initiates of the Battles of the American Revolution Series gather to hold a competitive tournament competing for the Golden Tricorne (this award doesn’t exist as I just made it up but maybe Mark Miklos will figure out how to get this accomplished!). Each year, series designer Mark Miklos writes a fairly in-depth and lengthy After Action Report that he posts in various locations including on Facebook, the Consimworld Forum folder for BoAR and on GMT’s website on their InsideGMT blog. This year, I got the chance to meet Mark and his development team including Rob “Cappy” McCracken and Dave Stiffler and it was a sublime experience and he agreed to share his AAR with us to post here on the blog for our readers to enjoy.
Twenty one players joined the BoAR tournament at the WBC this year. While that number is a bit lower than our average draw it was nevertheless a respectable showing for a down-year overall. And, with six Heats plus a Quarter Final, Semifinal, and Final we played a total of 42 games representing 218 playing hours. That’s not too shabby.
Among those twenty one players were four of the top-ten A.R.E.A. rated players, a player who had been on the A.R.E.A “Inactive List” for a while, and three players brand new to BoAR tournament play. My AGM’s Rob McCracken & Dave Stiffler and I want to thank everyone who played this year whether you joined for only a single Heat or played in the entire event.
On balance it was a very good tournament for the Crown with British forces winning twenty seven games to fourteen games won by the Americans; essentially a 2:1 ratio. In the aggregate the Americans won marginally nine times, substantially three times and decisively twice. The British meanwhile won marginally nineteen times, substantially seven times, and decisively once. One game ended in a draw. The breakdown of victories within each round is covered below.
Heat 1 was the historical scenario from Guilford and fourteen players were paired in seven matches. In this game the British need a +2 advantage in victory points to win a marginal victory with only five game turns within which to accomplish that. The Americans begin with one VP for control of Guilford Courthouse itself and a draw is treated as an American victory. Despite the uphill struggle for the British, two players managed to achieve British marginal victories. John Vasilakos defeated Chris Mlynarczyk while Bill Alderman defeated Andy Maly. The other five games were all American marginal victories including an upset win by new player Ted Castronova over BoAR designer and tournament GM Mark Miklos.
It is worth a mention that Chris Mlynarczyk, another of our new players, is the President of the 1st Delaware Regiment (reenactment group) who has willingly offered his resources to our BoAR community. Chris played in all six Heats and together with Avery Abernethy, the third of the new payers, was welcomed by our group with open arms.
We were also happy to see Jim Terry. Jim had played in seven tournaments previously but not since WBC in 2015 and was therefore on the A.R.E.A. inactive list. It was great to be able to flip the switch and get Jim back in the group of active players.
Heat 2 was the Battle of Rhode Island from BoAR volume IX. Again we drew fourteen players. Four of these matches were British marginal victories including the victory by Curtiss Fyock over Rob “Cappy” McCracken. Curtis came on the BoAR scene in 2019 at the last pre-COVID WBC where he turned a few heads with his competitive play. This year he rocked through the Heats and was seeded first most of the way through the tournament. Two matches ended in American marginal wins while one American victory was decisive. That latter accomplishment is credited to Dave Stiffler who defeated Avery Abernethy. Notably, Dave achieved a total of three decisive victories during this tournament and was the only player to win any match at that level.
Heat 3 was the Battle of Germantown. Ten players competed in this round while the first “bye” of the tournament was awarded to Mark Miklos. The rules at WBC require byes to be awarded to past-champions present in reverse chronological order. In BoAR tournament play a player awarded a bye is credited with the equivalent of a substantial victory. In these five matches the British players won three substantial victories while the only American win was also substantial when Cappy defeated Bill Alderman. The match between John Vasilakos and Avery Abernethy ended in a draw; the only draw registered in this year’s tournament.
For those less familiar with Germantown, the game features special rules to represent the fact that one American Brigade is commanded by an officer drunk on duty, Brigadier General Adam Stephen. Historically his troops engaged in a fog-shrouded friendly fire incident that led to panic in the American ranks who believed the enemy had gotten in their rear. In this year’s Germantown round there were diverse outcomes concerning General Stephen. At two tables he was a non-factor in the game. In another, Curtiss Fyock’s British killed Chris Storzillo’s General Stephen with artillery fire. In yet another, Charles Orndorff’s General Stephen triggered friendly fire which led to a spreading panic that ultimately contributed to a British substantial victory by Bill Morse. At the final table Stephen’s troops were heroic. Here Cappy’s General Stephen charged into Bill Alderman’s British line, capturing an artillery unit, and unhinging the British right flank. The unpredictability of how Stephen’s Brigade will play due to the random elements in his movement mechanics makes every play of Germantown a unique experience.
Heat 4 was the tight and tense four and half turn Freeman’s Farm scenario from Saratoga. There were ten players in five matches with a 2nd bye awarded to Father Todd Carter. In this round we recorded three British marginal victories, one American marginal victory when Charles Orndorff defeated Mark Miklos, and one American substantial victory by Bill Morse over Marty Musella.
Heat 5 was the full Saratoga campaign. Eight players met in four matches and the third and final bye was awarded to John Vasilakos. In this BoAR classic, we saw three British marginal wins and one American substantial win where Bill Morse defeated Chris Mlynarczyk.
The sixth and final Heat was the “Next Day” scenario at Saratoga. In this scenario, the British player is not entitled to a marginal victory and must win either substantially or decisively. Failing that the American player wins. The American player is handicapped by the fact that General Benedict Arnold’s wing of the army suffers from ammunition depletion. It’s a very interesting situation.
Ten players competed and all five matches were British victories. Four of those were substantial while one was decisive when Dave Stiffler defeated Marty Musella.
After six Heats we took the top eight players up into the quarter finals. From this point on it became a single elimination competition. The leader board going into the quarter final looked like this: 1. Dave Stiffler, 2. Mark Miklos, 3. Curtiss Fyock, 4. John Vasilakos, 5. Bill Morse, 6. Charles Orndorff, 7. Father Todd Carter, and 8. Bruno Sinigaglio. Bruno was unable to advance and so the first alternate, the number 9 seed Rob McCracken, got the opportunity to fill the last quarter final slot.
The quarter final featured the historical scenario from the Battle of Newtown, the only pitched battle fought during the American Revolution between an army of Iroquois warriors supported by a few hundred Loyalist rangers and Tory militia against elements of the Continental Army. The game features a menu of unique Indian player rules covering ferocity, evasion, withdrawal, retreat before combat, honor, and others and a chit-pull mechanic for Indian movement that taken together replicate combat by warriors as opposed to soldiers. The American player’s biggest advantage is the relative inability of the warriors to stand up to artillery fire. The American player needs a VP differential of +6 in order to achieve a marginal victory. If they can burn the Seneca village of Newtown they can win decisively.
All four quarter final matches were won by the British/Indian player, most by comfortable margins. Father Todd Carter came closest to winning as the Americans falling a mere .5 VP short of a marginal victory over Mark Miklos but Mark held on to advance. The eliminated players in this round were Curtiss Fyock defeated by Charles Orndorff, Cappy defeated by Dave Stiffler, Bill Morse defeated by John Vasilakos, and Father Todd defeated by Mark Miklos. These results set up a semifinal round where Mark would face John and Dave would face Charles.
The semifinal was Eutaw Springs, arguably the most balanced game in the entire BoAR Series. Rather than straight play, this year’s semi was structured as “match play.” Each pair of players would play the game twice, switching sides. The best combined score over the two games would be the winner of the round and advance to the Final. The lower seeded player in each pair had first choice of sides.
In the Stiffler-Orndorff match, Dave won marginally as both the British and the Americans and comfortably advanced. His American win included an Army Morale differential of 15 to 2 thereby nearly winning a substantial victory in that match.
The Miklos-Vasilakos match was much closer. John had first choice of sides and took the attacking Americans. He failed to penetrate the British perimeter and lost a step of damage along the way. The British camp, still in Mark’s possession, was worth 3 VP’s and the damaged unit was worth another .5 VP. John had no VP’s and was down 14 to 13 in Army Morale points. The latter was important because in the event of a tie in tournament points the cumulative Army Morale points would be the first tie breaker.
In the rematch John’s British also held sway. Mark’s Americans were stymied and the match ended with the Americans down 3 VP’s to 0 but once again with a 1 point Army Morale advantage of 13 to 12. Thus each player won a marginal victory and had 2 tournament points. On the tie breaker, Mark’s total of 27 army morale was better than John’s total of 25 allowing Mark to advance to face a waiting Dave Stiffler in the Final. Had Army Morale also been tied the second tie breaker would have been cumulative VP’s where Mark’s 3.5 would have been sufficient over John’s 3 VP’s. It was that close!
Thank you Mark for this great insight into the tournament play through the semifinal round. Follow the next post where we will take a look at Part II of the Miklos BoAR Series tournament AAR at WBC. Who will come out on top and be crowned the King of the Revolution? Find out next time….