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Subject: WBC 2017 - Jim Kramer Jr. - day by day rss

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James Kramer Jr.
United States
Wiconisco
Pennsylvania
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I left Central PA Friday afternoon for the Somerset Econo Lodge, arriving around 4:00. After checking in it was off to the Pittsburgh Airport to pick up Ray Freeman who was staying with me this year. Downtown Pittsburgh on a Friday afternoon... HOW DO YOU PEOPLE STAND IT! Ray's flight was on time and we started back for Somerset by another route. It took more time I suppose but at least I could avoid the city traffic and stop for dinner (Wendy's). We got back to Somerset around 10:30.

Saturday morning hotel free breakfast and off to the resort. The drive from Somerset takes about 25 to 30 minutes. After checking in and looking around I decided to try my hand at a game of PANZERBLITZ, which I have not played in years. Alan Arvold happily showed me the ropes by overrunning my exposed Soviet armor again and again. I was happy I managed to kill 5 German units in my inept loss. I considered trying GETTYSBURG and RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN in a similar way but one butt thumping was enough. I just socialized for the rest of the day.

Sunday, free breakfast, love the waffle machine, and off to VICTORY IN THE PACIFIC round 1. My first two games as the Japanese were losses with resignations on T5/T6. Game three my Japanese plans succeeded and I looked forward to tournament day 2 with a chance to be above .500. Options 1 and 2b are preferred by me.

Monday and more waffles. My first game of the day was against GM John Sharp where I bid for and got Japan. The game turned out to be so close and so intense that for the first time for me I ran out of time on T8. In looking at the game position I concluded that John would win by the bid anyway. John's comment to me was that he did not see any mistakes in my game play. Quite a complement from a former champion. My last game of the day was against Bryan Eshleman a fellow Millersville State College grad. My bid for Japan again was accepted and my plans went well. As the game progressed and my choices became tougher time again became an issue. As before with John, on T8, I ran out of time and again i surmised that Bryan would win on the bid. He felt my plans were too complicated for a timed event. I think i need to make such play instinctive so my thought processes get quicker. Overall both games were very satisfying. After dinner I dropped off my Auction Store items and closed the evening out with a heat of CARCASSONNE where I was out-farmered. Darn!

Tuesday and a relaxing morning before coming in to be at the Auction. I purchased Decision Games LIGHTNING MIDWAY and LIGHTNING D-DAY, for myself, and found a copy of Columbia's SLAPSHOT, for my brother's sons. During the members meeting I asked Ken if the resort could have "senior" portions of some foods offered a a reduced price. I find some serving sizes larger than I care to eat. Picky eaters hate throwing food away. Ken affirmed this would be brought up and later in the week I brought the same question to one of the management staff that asked how my week was going. After the auction it was time to begin my GM duties with a well attended NAVAL WAR demo which used a heat format this year. NAVAL WAR heat 1 was next. There were 12 players for this first heat so I skipped playing so 2 tables of 6 players could be seated. After the heat I socialized the rest of the evening.

Wednesday morning and heat 2 of NAVAL WAR is next. Again I had just enough players,18 to seat 3 tables of 6, so I sat out this heat also. With my GM duties done for the day I was able to get in another heat of CARCASSONNE, a heat of FORMULA MOTOR RACING and a heat of ATLANTIC STORM. No wins but much fun and spirited play. I closed out the day with CAN'T STOP winning the first round before being sent home to bed.

Thursday and my other major tournament event WAR AT SEA was next. My first game of the day was against last year's champion Steve Packwood. Fearing the worst I took the Axis and on T1 attacked Steve's forces in the South Atlantic with a German and Italian task force. When both German Pocket Battleships rolled 6's for there speed rolls, failing my fear grew. Fortunately for me those 6's continued during combat and Steve's rolls did not meet expectations. Even the 4 Italian cruisers all rolled 6's in their first attack. Axis oiling was successful and T2 saw similar results for an Axis combined fleet moving to the North Atlantic. This forced Steve to resign. My second game of the day was against eventual winner Ben Gardner. Again I took the Axis and this time attacked Ben's Barents force. Positive combat results and a win there had the DKM looking to the North Atlantic. I was riding high until Bismark failed her speed roll and the attack sputtered and failed without her firepower. The game then slowly turned in Ben's favor with him winning an 8 turn affair. My remaining 3 games were similarly unsuccessful but gave me the chance to play my good friend Glenn Petroski and my roomie Ray Freeman. I believe my other WAR AT SEA opponent was John Sharp. Am I right John? That night I had a chance to drop in on a heat of ENEMY IN SIGHT to support GM Matt Evinger. Matt had found time for a NAVAL WAR heat so I returned the favor. We had worked with KAISER'S PIRATES GM Tim Rodgers to try to avoid scheduling conflicts of our card based naval games. The game of EIS itself was very frustrating for me as my first round fleet was small and easily sunk and my second round fleet, though powerful, never got sufficient broadside cards to do any real damage. Thankfully for me the game ended after the second round. Unfortunately I could not make PRO GOLF this year to try to repeat my finals appearance. I did hear that my caddie from last year Rob Drozd had his wife get to the finals this year.

Friday morning Ray and I had to be onsite bright and early as GM Ray was starting TIGERS IN THE MIST and I wanted to play in that first round time slot. I was matched against Charlie Drozd taking the US side I favor. The first day, December 16th, was a wash with my defensive line intact. Day 2, December 17th, saw me make a classic mistake for the game. I counted the potential move of a US reinforcement to Bastonge seeing that German units would not be able to reach the city with my US unit sitting there (movement rules). I then proceeded to talk myself into NOT moving the unit in yet. Charlie asked me if I was sure about that, but I did not take the hint. He then calmly moved several German units in with their movement unimpeded by my US unit. BIG OOPS! This basically gave the game to Charlie on points he could earn. I decided to play on and worked to keep the Germans from attaining a full break-thru. With a little luck I managed to do that playing the game to it's conclusion. A Pyrrhic victory no doubt. With the TIGERS game played to it's end I had time for a leisurely lunch and then it was off for my last heat of NAVAL WAR. This heat had 20 players appear, including yours truly. So 3 tables were assigned with one of 6 players and two of 7. I was not lucky enough or skilled enough to win but enjoyed the game as I always do. As a sidelight I had scheduled this heat for 6:00 PM not realizing that BATTLE LINE, a game I like and had managed to win 2 years ago (very lucky) was scheduled at 7:00. I will endeavor to avoid that conflict in 2018. I closed out the night at LIAR'S DICE but was the second person eliminated at my table.

Saturday - Ray had asked me to drop in for another TIGERS game but I had other options that day. My NAVAL WAR SF/F was scheduled to start at 5:00 PM. With only 8 heat winners qualifying for the SF I could not in all honesty run that to eliminate 2 players. I had told my winners to look to the kiosk for any schedule change. As such I decided to just have a final round with the 8 players I had. That final would begin at 7:00 PM. This would allow me to play in heat 3 of KAISER'S PIRATES and allow me to play that SF/F if I was lucky enough to get there. Again this helps Tim Rodgers the KAISER'S GM and gives me a chance to play a very interesting game. I did not win my heat so I used the free time to find a gift for my wife. NAVAL WAR now had my full attention. When the NVW final time arrived only 7 of 8 players appeared. I was concerned my other qualifier did not get the time change but started with the 7 that were there. Later number 8 came by and informed me he had qualified for playoffs in his team game and could not play NVW. So many games, so little time. The final went 6 rounds with William Kendrick of the UK emerging victorious, even though round 1 saw him saddled with a -10 score to recover from. He did that admirably. A full report on NAVAL WAR will be posted for all to read, once I get it ready for WBC documentation. I had enough time after completing my paper work to go play SLAP SHOT but decided against it. I went for a shot of brandy instead and wandered in to watch the SS mayhem in comfort.

Sunday at previous WBC events had been a mad rush to check out of my hotel and run to the site to participate in ATTACK SUB at 9:00. Ray and I both agreed to forgo this crazy idea, as he had to make connections with Bryan Eshleman that morning. He had decided to travel to NC with Bryan saving me from a return trip to the airport. We were both happy to sleep in on Sunday morning, make a relaxed check out at Econo Lodge and hit Micky-D's for breakfast. Ray was loaded up and on the road to NC by 11:00. He said for 2018 he will look for onsite lodging. I told him I would be off-site next year and would be quite happy to room with him again. I used the remaining time for a last minute stop at the dealer area and to bid farewell to friends I found still there. I also picked up some cookies and fudge to take home.

All in all another great WBC. I only won 2 games all week but reveled in the competition. To anyone still not sure about Seven Springs as the WBC site or concerned about costs the site is excellent for gaming. The food, while pricey, is adequate for a fast food junky, Central PA guy. As I asked about, smaller, lower priced portions would be appreciated. I especially enjoyed the Mac-and cheese and vegetable soup available this year. I do like to supplement food costs with my own brought from home (fridge at the Econo). It also helps when you are treated to a restaurant dinner. Thanks Mr. Sharp, although I'm sure my burger, fries and chocolate milk did not put a big dent in John's expense account. Also thanks Mr. Petroski for the hot dog and soda you discreetly paid for. I will have to return the favor next year. As far as lodging goes, the Econo Lodge cost $637 for the week. Split with Ray this year it was a great savings. Somerset has a large grocery store and many food options. It also had 2 new hotels under construction and is only 25 minutes driving time away on quiet country roads. Just be aware of the wildlife on your way as I clobbered a baby raccoon one evening. RATS!!! WBC 2018 will likely find me back in Somerset. Looking forward to next year.

WBC was indeed a good time. But during the week I was reminded that my friend Henry Richardson was not there. Whether it was an event I usually encountered him at or when someone who looked like him walked by, I was reminded of that missing presence. I was fortunate to find a picture of Henry on the WBC picture wall. It had been taken during the B-17 tournament, one of his favorites. One last goodbye my friend.

Jim Kramer Jr.

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clinton chan
Canada
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HI Jim, thank you very much for posting this. This was very informative, particularly the lodging part. Me and some friends are looking to come down from canada for the first time. Do many attendees stay in somerset? Was that quoted price including a two bedroom or 1 bed? That would be a wonderful alternative if it's cheaper than splitting a townhouse at the resort.
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Glen Pearce
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Question: Where in Canada would you be coming down from? There are many others that already make this trek that you are contemplating.
 
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clinton chan
Canada
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Just outside of Toronto. I know Duncan and others come out from Toronto. I haven't been able to get in contact with anyone yet about what travel arrangements they have used in the past yet. We're hoping for 4 of us in total to split a room or townhouse somewhere. I thought air bnb or offsite was not possible due to the distance, but I'm seeing it might be. We will be driving down from Toronto.
 
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Glen Pearce
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Best person to talk to about all of those details might be Andrew Drummond. He's from Burlington and does a lot of that sort of co-ordinating for our regular group, including Duncan. I'll see what I can do to get the 2 of you in contact with each other.
 
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Glen Pearce
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Also, do you make it out to the quarterly TABSCon get togethers? Next one is in September, Saturday after Labour Day. I know I'd be able to give pointers and anecdotes if you catch up with me there. I am usually playing one of the 18XX titles there.
 
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James Kramer Jr.
United States
Wiconisco
Pennsylvania
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Clinton. My Econo Lodge room was a 2 bed room, fridge and microwave included. Free breakfast was cereal, waffles, pastries, breads, OJ, milk, coffee and tea. At least 3 other WBC attendees were spotted at breakfast there. Again, Somerset has many hotel choices with many price options. The Econo Lodge was $65 a night. There was a comment from last year of a budget hotel there for around $30 a night. I can only say look around. Hope you and your friends can come in 2018 and join the other Canadians we see each year.

Jim K.
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