2002 World Boardgaming Championships

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Vince Meconi is the Gamemaster for the 2002 WBC War at Sea Tournament.


Links to BPA, WaS PBeM Tournament, WaS Index Page, Ladder Round 20


2002 World Boardgaming Championships
War at Sea Pre-Tournament Newsletter

by Gamemaster: Vince Meconi
105 Churchill Lane
Wilmington, DE 19508-4355
E-mail: VMeconi@aol.com
June 19, 2002

In This Newsletter

Chess Clocks Back

Format Changes for 2002

Chess Clock Tips

Preliminary Seedings

2002 Tournament Format

Rules Clarifications Available

More Tourney Notes

Gamers Guide to War at Sea

Chess Clocks Back by Popular Demand

Okay, maybe "demand" would be overstating things. How about "Back Due to More Positive Comments Than Negative"? In any event, this year's tournament will kick off at its traditional 9 AM Thursday (August 1) time slot, and we will again be using chess clocks, provided courtesy of Glenn Petroski, War at Sea competitor and Victory in the Pacific Gamemaster. Come on and join the fun!

In other pre-tourney news, John Pack will again be running a demonstration/teaching session for any and all players on Wednesday at 5 PM in Frankie and Vinnie's (aka Cafe Jay). Both rookies and veterans are welcome. John and Bruce Monnin, both former GMs, will be this year's Assistant Gamemasters.

Format Changes for 2002

Due to the success of past tournaments, there will be only a few changes this year. The most significant is the addition of 5 minutes to each side's chess clock allowance. The Allied player will now have a total of 1 hour and 5 minutes and the Axis player will be allowed 50 minutes to move. And, the tiebreaking system has been tweaked slightly. Prior head-to-head competition will be used to break two-player ties, but not multiplayer deadlocks. For the complete text of this year's format, see below.

One change adopted not by me but by the BPA Board of Directors is that there will be no advance registration for specific events. All well and good, but I will not have a list in advance of who will be entering. So, if you're sure you'll be entering, drop me an e-mail or a postcard letting me know. That way I can make up materials in advance and save some time Thursday morning. If you can, I'd appreciate it!

Chess Clock Tips

A little nervous about playing with a chess clock? Perfectly understandable, especially if you haven't previously played with one. Perhaps the most important advice I can share is that given me by Henry Richardson prior to our Victory in the Pacific game in 2000, my first using a clock. "Relax," he said. "You'll have plenty of time." Being the slow player that I am, I was a little worried--but he was right.

Here are a few timesavers involving the game mechanics. (Thanks to John Pack for an assist on this section.) First, set up your board for the next round as soon as you finish your previous game. For the 1st Round, come ahead of time and set up early. Sort those damage markers so you don't have to go hunting in a big pile of tiny cardboard.

The Allies can often move just by rearranging their previous move. There may be little need to actually base ships that go to England or Russia. Ships that end in the Mediterranean, however, must base before Russian/American entry rolls.

A lot of timesavers involve dice. Pack extra dice, of different colors, in your game. (I have 22 in mine and sometimes I need to roll them all!)

More Chess Clock Tips

It's always important that your opponent know exactly what you're doing, because confusion slows the game dramatically.

If your game is truly a lost cause, why not concede and take a break while allowing your opponents to do the same. Many close games will run the distance, so players will want to take advantage of the rounds where they can get a longer break.

Know where the closest GM or Assistant GM is sitting so that you can get questions answered quickly without using too much of your clock time.

None of these ideas are mandatory. But, if you use them, you'll have more time for thinking about the best tactics and strategy!

War at Sea AREA Ratings/Preliminary 2002 WBC Seedings (as of April 25, 2002)


David Finberg
(Defending Champion)



John Strand



Jonathan Lockwood



Tom Scarborough



Vince Meconi



Ian Zernechel



Ray Freeman



Mike Brophy



Pat Richardson



Glenn Petroski



Bruce Reiff



Johnny Carpenter



Andy Maly



Nick Markevich



Steve Packwood



Rob Mull



Dennis Nicholson



Matt Romaniecki



Phil Rennert



Alan Applebaum



Glenn McMaster



Dave Streamo



Andy Gardner



Jim Cavallari



Bruce Monnin



Eric Pass



Rob Flowers



Joe Beard



Bryan Eshleman



Ron Dietz



Ron Artigues



Mike Kaye



Rob Drozd



Steve Carver



Mike Knautz



Anders Egneus



Brad Solberg



Mark Smith



Frank Cunliffe



James Pei


i=Inactive AREA status.

Italicized players have not previously enterd an Avaloncon/WBC War at Sea tournament.


2002 Tournament Format

Changes for this year are in italics.

Rules: Second Edition rules will be used, supplemented by the Official Rules Clarifications.

Requirements: Please bring your own copy of the game. If there are not enough copies of the game available, those bringing their own copy will have priority. Badges will be checked.

Schedule: The first round will commence promptly after the GM's instructions, which will begin at 9:00 AM on Thursday morning. There will be 7 rounds. The first 5 rounds will be preliminary qualifying rounds and the last 2 will be single elimination rounds matching the top 4 finishers. Subsequent preliminary rounds will begin as close as possible to 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, 3:00 PM, and 5:00 PM on Thursday. Players may play any one round, any combination of rounds, or every round. They may drop out and reenter any round, as long as they are present for the start of that round. The semifinal and final games will be held following the preliminaries on Thursday night.

To keep the tournament flowing smoothly, players are asked to please notify the Gamemaster as to whether or not they will be playing in the next round.

Format, Preliminary Rounds: The preliminary portion of the tournament will be conducted using a Swiss System. Pairings for each round will be determined by a seeding system. For the first round, defending champion David Finberg, should he enter, will automatically receive the #1 seed. All other players will be seeded by their AREA ratings as of July 1, 2002 or the most current date that the GM can obtain. No distinction will be made between active and inactive ratings. Any player without an AREA rating will be assigned a rating of 5000. The highest seeded player will be paired against the lowest, the second highest against the second lowest, etc.

In subsequent rounds, each player will be matched against a player with an identical or similar Victory Point (VP) score (see Scoring, below). For example, if after Round 2 there are 8 players with 20 VPs, these players will again be seeded using AREA ratings, and the highest seeded of these 8 players will be matched up with the lowest seeded, the 2nd highest seeded with the 2nd lowest seeded, etc. If there is an odd number of players with the same VP total, then the next highest scoring player will be added to that group and the pairings will be made. Pairings then continue with the next highest scoring set of players, etc. until all players are matched. The only exception to the seedings will be that two players will never play each other twice in the 5 preliminary rounds.

All players will have their own cards detailing their progress in the tournament. These cards will have a magnetic backing so that they can be stuck to a sheet metal standings board. After each round, players' cards will be adjusted to reflect their current positions in the standings and to make clear who they may be paired against in the next round.

Scoring: Each game in the preliminary rounds is worth 10 Victory Points (VPs). If the game is decided by 2 or more PoC, the winner gets all 10 VP and the loser gets 0 VP. If the game is won by less than 2 PoC, the winner gets 8 VP and the loser 2 VP. Each player gets 5 VP for a draw. In each case, VPs are awarded after any POC bid is applied.

Byes: If there is an odd number of players available for a round, one player will receive a bye and get credit for a win (10 VP) that round. Byes will be determined as follows. In the first round, the lowest seeded player will receive the bye. In subsequent rounds, the player with the lowest VP score up to that point will receive the bye. If a number of players are tied for the lowest VP total, the lowest seeded player will receive the bye. No player will receive more than one bye during the tournament. (Anyone not competing this year should feel free to stop by during a break in your other action to help us avoid byes.)

Sides: Players simultaneously reveal which side they wish to play, by using the Axis and Allied control flags provided in the game. If opposite sides are chosen, play proceeds. If both want the same side, the players bid for the right to play that side. Players determine who has the first option via die rolls. The player winning the roll may either accept the non-preferred side or bid a PoC-incentive to play the preferred side. Bids may begin at zero, and may be made in half-POC or whole POC increments. If the first player bids to play the preferred side, the second player may either accept the PoC-incentive to play the non-preferred side or bid a higher PoC amount for the preferred side. The option passes back and forth in this fashion until one player accepts the non-preferred side and the PoC-incentive. The incentive is applied to the final POC score of the game.

Chess Clocks: Chess clocks will be used for all games. The Allied player will have one hour and five minutes and the Axis player will have 50 minutes to complete his moves.

The on-clock player is the player whose clock is running and is currently performing some game action. The off-clock player may not take game action other than monitoring the on-clock player and, if agreeable to the on-clock player, helping with accounting functions (e.g., placing damage markers, removing sunk ships, etc.). One player or the other is always on-clock. Players may not set their clocks in neutral position, even by mutual consent or to ask the GM a question. Only the GM or the Assistant GM may set the clock to neutral. A player is on-clock during all of his movement, attack resolution, dice rolling, and basing. Thus, it is running all the time for one player or the other. Placing flags and counting POC are functions of the Axis player and occur on his time. The Allied player goes on clock as soon as bidding is complete.

A player may take breaks at his own risk. When the on-clock player finishes his move, he is free to trigger the clock, even if his opponent is not present. The absent player then goes on-clock and will lose time while he remains absent.

Once a player triggers the clock, thereby starting his opponent's, he cannot change his move, even if the opponent hasn't done anything. Conversely, if a player has not yet started his opponent's clock, he is free to alter his current action(s).

When a player runs out of time, he goes off-clock for the remainder of the game. This off-clock player may no longer move any pieces or roll any dice and is limited to monitoring the game. Any die rolls required of this off-clock player are treated as 1s; any ships that are required to move are sunk instead. When a player runs out of time, the player with time remaining goes on-clock for the remainder of the game. The on-clock player continues to play through the normal sequence of turns and events until one of the following occurs: (1) the off-clock player concedes the game, (2) the on-clock player completes Turn 8; the winner is then determined by POC adjusted by the bid, or (3) the on-clock player runs out of time; games in which both players run out of time are draws, regardless of POC or bid.

Qualification for Final 4: The qualifiers for the semifinals will be the players with the top four VP totals from the preliminaries. If two players tie for any place in the top four, the following tiebreakers will be used, in this order: (1) head-to-head results in the preliminary rounds, if any, (2) strength of schedule (# of VPs earned by one's opponents divided by the # of games played by one's opponents), and (3) higher AREA rating. If 3 or more players tie for any place in the top four, the following tiebreakers will be used, in this order: (1) strength of schedule (# of VPs earned by one's opponents divided by the # of games played by one's opponents), and (2) higher AREA rating. Ties for any places below the top 4 will be resolved in the same manner as above.

Format, Semifinals and Final: The semifinals and final will be single elimination; the winners of the two semifinal games will play each other in the final for the championship. Third place will be awarded to the losing semifinalist who had the higher preliminary round VP total. Pairings for the semifinals will be determined by performance in the preliminaries; the #1 ranked player will play the #4 player and the #2 player will play the #3 player, unless such pairings would result in a rematch.

Bidding for sides in the semifinals and the final will be handled as in the preliminaries. If any of these games end in a tie, the following tie-breakers will be used, in this order: (1) disregard any bid, (2) higher finish in the preliminary rounds.

Dice Rolling: It is customary (though not required) to roll all dice in a box lid; dice landing outside the box are rerolled. Other methods such as dice towers are fine as long as they are mutually agreed upon.

Spectators: Spectators are welcome to observe the matches in progress. However, spectators are not permitted to participate in any way. Spectators may not point out the legality or illegality of any move, nor be consulted on rules clarifications. Such inquiries should go to the Gamemaster or an Assistant GM.

Conduct: Abusive behavior and language are not permitted. However, it wouldn't be War At Sea without a lot of whining about poor die rolls.

Results: The results of all games will be recorded for the AREA rating system.

Rules Clarifications Available: The GM is not reprinting the rules clarifications in this newsletter. There are a lot of copies floating around, he'll have extras at the WBC, and there have been no changes since the 2000 tourney. If anybody reading this would like a copy in advance, the GM will be happy to e-mail or postal mail them to you.

More Tourney Notes: 2000 Champion and 2001 Runner-Up Pat Richardson will be unable to join the fun this year, as he's accepted an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He reports for duty on July 1. While we'll miss Pat and his super aggressive style of play (I used to call him "The Terminator" because he will not be stopped); we congratulate him on his appointment. If the rest of West Point's entering class measures up to Pat, the future of our nation's military will be bright indeed. We hope to see you again, Pat!

Guide to War at Sea Available: The Boardgamer's Unofficial Guide to War at Sea contains a wealth of information and is available from Bruce Monnin for $7 at (e-mail) monninb@bright.net or (postal) 177 South Lincoln Street, Minster, OH 45865-1240.


Past Tournament Top Finishers



2nd Place

3rd Place

4th Place


Bruce Monnin

Chuck Stapp

Tim Hitchings

Steve Packwood


Tom Scarborough

Bruce Monnin

Ken Shunk

Chuck Stapp


Bruce Monnin

Tom Scarborough

Tim Hitchings

Chuck Stapp


Phil Rennert

John Pack

Ray Freeman

Mike Knautz


Ray Freeman

Tim Hitchings

Jonathan Lockwood

Phil Rennert


Steve Packwood

Rob Mull

Phil Rennert

Gary Moody


Tim Hitchings

Patrick Richardson

Bryan Eshleman

Scott Sirianna


Mike Kaye

Matt Romaniecki

Rob Mull

Tom Scarborough


Ray Freeman

Mike Kaye

Phil Rennert

John Pack


Pat Richardson

Steve Packwood

Ed Menzel

Ron Dietz


David Finberg

Pat Richardson

Rob Flowers

Michael Ussery


King George V


Other Interesting Web Sites

VitP at Gameaholics.com, <http://www.gameaholics.com/vitp_tournament.htm>, the website for Victory in the Pacific!

A site with AREA ratings for every player in every game is maintained by Bruno Wolff III at:

The Boardgame Players Association, which has all the latest information about the World Boardgaming Championships, is at: <http://www.boardgamers.org>.

Another good site is ConsimWorld, "the official news, information, and talk site covering the historical boardgaming industry," which includes discussions on a wide variety of gaming topics, including Avalon Hill, product releases from a number of companies, and specific games like War At Sea. The URL is: <www.consimworld.com>.

Finally, Web-Grognards advertises itself as "the site for wargames on the web." Check them out at: <www.grognard.com>.





Links to More Information about War at Sea and Other Wargames
War at Sea Game Summary | Rules Clarifications | Strategy Tips
War at Sea A.R.E.A. Ratings | A.R.E.A. Rating Explanation
War at Sea Information at Web Grognards | Consimworld
Victory in the Pacific PBEM Ladder and Tournaments


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This page was last updated on July 15, 2002 by Nick Markevich.