breakout: normandy

Updated Nov. 16, 2015

2015 WBC Report

2016 Status: pending 2016 GM commitment

Bob Malcolmson, MN

2015 Champion

WBC Event History
1994 Jim Doughan 50
1995 Bill Edwards 48
1996 Hank Burkhalter 54
1997 Jim Doughan 53
1998 Don Greenwood 52
1999 Michael Rinella 48
2000 Phil Barcafer 32
2001 Jim Doughan 34
2002 Alan Applebaum 26
2003 Jim Eliason 28
2004 Nels Thompson 33
2005 Andrew Cummins 27
2006 Jim Eliason 19
2007 Jim Doughan 20
2008 Nels Thompson 20
2009 Nels Thompson 20
2010 Nels Thompson 16
2011 Marvin Birnbaum 21
2012 Kevin Hammond 18
2013 Michael Kaye 26
2014 Kevin Hammond 27
2015 Bob Malcomson 27

D-Day Mini-Con Event History
1998 Don Greenwood 17
1999 Alan Applebaum 19
2000 Bryan Esleman 18
2001 Andrew Cummins 17
2002 Marvin Birnbaum 23
2003 David Wong 15
2004 Andrew Cummins 15
2005 Don Greenwood 20
2006 Don Greenwood 13

PBeM Event History
1999 Jim Doughan 34
2001 John Crabtree 36
2003 Bruno Passacantando 48
2004 Don Greenwood 47
2006 Tom Dworschak 50
2011 Don Greenwood 38
2012 Mark Gutfreund 36
2014 Andrew Cummins 30


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Don Greenwood      MD    13    388
  2.  Nels Thompson      VA    14    372
  3.  Andrew Cummins     uk    14    316
  4.  Michael Kaye       MD    14    249
  5.  Marvin Birnbaum    NY    14    215
  6.  Alan Applebaum     MA    02    204
  7.  Mark Gutfreund     KY    15    187
  8.  Jim Doughan        PA    09    187
  9.  Jim Eliason        IA    12    185
 10.  Bryan Eshleman     NC    11    169
 11.  Tom Dworschak      GA    12    156
 12.  Henry Jones        PA    14    144
 13.  Kevin Hammond      NY    15    141
 14.  Mike Rinella       NY    13    140
 15.  Brun Passacantando CT    15    132
 16.  Scott Fenn         MD    14    130
 17.  Steve Andriakos    TX    10     88
 18.  Phil Barcafer      PA    01     84
 19.  Clyde Longest      VA    06     60
 20.  Ken Nied           KS    05     51
 21.  David Wong         NJ    03     50
 22.  Tom Pavy           OH    03     48
 23.  Bob Malcolmson     MN    15     40
 24.  Kevin Wojtaszczyk  NY    15     40
 25.  Bill Edwards       VA    99     36
 26.  Peter Brunken      de    14     24
 27.  Harvey Smallman    CA    07     24
 28.  Bryan Stingley     NC    03     24
 29.  Tom Gregorio       PA    10     22
 30.  Scott Moll         VA    10     22
 31.  Chris Byrd         CT    06     20
 32.  Matthew Ellis      uk    10     18
 33.  Nick Anner         NY    06     12
 34.  Anthony Daw        UT    06     12
 35.  Anders Egneus      sw    99     12
 36.  Ron Fedin          PA    04     11
 37.  John Crabtree      CA    01     10
 38.  Tom Drueding       MA    04     10
 39.  Hank Burkhalter    GA    10      7
 40.  John Grant Jr      CT    99      6
 41.  Chris Roginsky     PA    04      5
 42.  Dennis Nicholson   NY    03      5
2015 Laurelists Returning Laurelists: 4

Nels Thompson, NY

Kevin Wojtaszczyk, NY

Mark Gutfreund, KY

Kevin Hammond, WA

Bruno Passacantando, CT

Past Winners

Jim Doughan, PA
1994, 1997, 2001, 2007

Bill Edwards, VA

Hank Burkhalter, TX

Don Greenwood, MD

Michael Rinella, NY

Phil Barcafer, PA

Alan Applebaum, MA

Jim Eliason, IA
2003, 2006

Nels Thompson, NY
2004, 2008-10

Andrew Cummins, uk

Birnbaum, NY

Kevin Hammond, WA
2012, 2014

Kaye, MD

Bob Malcomson, MN

Eventual champ Bob Malcolmson
makes short work of the designer.

Mark Gutfreund greets French visitor
Guillaume Bouilleux with a loss.

Bob takes down defending champ Kevin Hammond.

Three-time champ Nels Thompson
was Bob's last victim.

Still hitting the beach 22 years later ... via Canada

Bob Malcomson bested the 2015 field for his first Breakout title in only his second year of play. He earned his laurels the hard way, playing the statistically unfavored Allies throughout. His opponents were all expert German players: Scott Fenn, designer Don Greenwood, Mark Gutfreund, champion two out of the previous three years Kevin Hammond, and four-time champion Nels Thompson.

The 2015 tournament switched to a Beginner's format, with good results. Four demo attendees entered the mulligan round, where experienced players were seeded against the new players, giving novices Mike Rinella's excellent demonstration plus at least two teaching games if they chose to stick around. New player Steve Boone got to play designer Don Greenwood in the first round after playing veteran Bryan Eshleman in the mulligan round. We don't give out byes in Breakout, and when an odd number of players arrived for Round 2, Steve was rewarded with a third game as an eliminator against last year's champ Kevin Hammond. That's a lot of expert-level Breakout training in under 24 hours.

Our dear friend and GM Andrew Cummins passed away in February, but he was remembered fondly. Some players returned to storm the beaches in Andrew's honor. 2000 champ Phil Barcafer returned for a beating by Nels in the mulligan round, and four-time champ Jim Doughan won a mulligan round game against Steve Worrel to maintain his skills should Nels ever win his fifth title to force him out of semi-retirement to match. Marvin Birnbaum and Anthony Daw received the first Andrew Cummins Award for creative play. Marvin didn't take any of the St. Mere Eglise bridges with his paras on the drop, but Anthony was unable to get any defenders into the area, and Marvin cleared it during a daylight impulse. We're calling this the "zero bridge gambit." It's similar to the old Barcafer "postal on the coastal" where the paras make their assault during the night phase. The gambit counts on luck and British landings good enough to fork the German player between the choice of defending Bretteville or defending St. Mere Eglise on his opening impulse. A +2 on the dice wins St. Mere Eglise. With the advantage marker in hand, that's roughly even odds. Marvin got his roll and went on to a win, but the gambit comes with a lot of downside risk. Will we see it again next year?

It was a tough tournament for the game's venerable designer. The 1st Minnesota gaming club's representatives swept him. Greenwood fell to champ Bob Malcomson in a magic bridge* game in the second round after Jason Albert beat him in the mulligan round. Fellow 1st Minnesota gamer, man about town, raconteur, and sometime Breakout player David Dockter predicted before the tournament that Bob would win Breakout by 2016 at the latest, and Bob proved him too conservative.

It's always a tough tournament for a lot of expert players, given the high level of competition in the early rounds. Mike Rinella's Allies couldn't get going against Bruno Passacantando. Gold and Utah were stuffed on the landings. Grandcamp failed to clear on an 11:3, Merville was stuffed outright on an 8:3, and Rinella offered an early concession from a hopeless position. Dan Leader pushed Nels to the limit in a forced magic bridge game with action that stretched from Coutances to Bourguebus on the 11th after Dan cleared Troarn on the last impulse of the 10th. Nels has taken to forcing the magic bridge by assaulting St. Mere Eglise at about 15:13 from Montebourg on the 7th. Dan responded by regrouping to the center. He pushed through Isigny into the gap between St. Lo and Carentan, and attempted to surround Caen. It's hard for the Allies to win magic bridge games if they can't score points for St. Mere Eglise and Carentan. Despite Dan's progress, by the 12th there were too many German steps in place for him to cut off the Cotentin Peninsula at Coutances or clear Caen, even though the city was partially surrounded.

Bob won two magic bridge games on his way to the title, and he won them in different ways. In his win over Greenwood, Bob's British had a good 6th and 7th to counter the loss of the bridge. All of Lehr and the 12th SS were pressed into service defending Caen, with many lost to interdiction. This saved Caen for the moment but lost the center, and Don conceded after Bob contested St. Lo on the 8th. In Round 3, Bob earned the distinct honor of defeating his "Ghost Division" teammate Mark Gutfreund, knocking Mark out of scoring in BKN, and knocking Bob out of scoring for the team as well, because it put him through to the next day's competition and he couldn't play his team event. When the weather changed to wet on impulse 6 of the 6th, Mark took the magic bridge on impulse 7. But Bob forced his way through St. Mere Eglise on the 7th by going all out. He hit it with naval, air, and with three assaults, including individual unit attempts by 90th division from the approach against beach interdiction. He finally cleared it on impulse 7. By the 9th, Bob had an unstoppable path to a win.

Round 3 included a rematch of the 2014 Final. Thompson again took the Allies, but this time it cost Hammond 61 supply instead of 30. Nels had mediocre landings, but he successfully risked a 12:11 contest of Caen on the 7th, allowing him to prioritize his impulses at Utah, including a field artillery bombardment of the CA at Montebourg. With no beach interdiction and with air interdiction stopping almost everything that moved, St. Mere Eglise and Carentan fell on the 7th to the pressure from Utah. Merville had fallen during the paradrop, and when Foret fell on the 8th, Kevin's position was doomed.

Kevin returned in the morning to give the tournament the defending champ as a semifinal eliminator and faced Malcomson. Bob's Allies once again smashed their way to a win, this time with a successful even-odds clearing of Caen. In the other semifinal, Buffalonians and "Iron Meeples" teammates Nels and Kevin Wojtaszczyk, 2014's second and third place finishers (and 2015's, as it turned out), squared off again. Kevin almost immediately regretted sitting down on the Allied side of the board with a bid of 30. Clearing Merville during the paradrop was the last glimmer of hope he saw. The magic bridge fell on the first attempt. A double impulse to clear St. Mere Eglise failed. The 7th ended on impulse 3. On the 8th, veteran player George Young wandered by and observed, "Lehr Division has the luxury of stopping for coffee in every village along the way." It took an 11:12 to contest Caen. Still Kevin kept his head in the game and took the VPs he would need in addition to Caen for a win, counting on a late clear of the 4 VP area. The string of successful impulses to reward his planning did not materialize, even after Nels helped by re-rolling a +4 bombardment of Caen only to see another +4. Cursed by short days on top of bad luck, Kevin had to reroll an impulse 4 day end on the 10th and later conceded.

Bob took the Allies and a bid of 30 into the Final. He went with his favored 4-bridge opening, and used the Advantage marker to re-roll Sword, clearing it. Kevin W's first wood awaits him, but he has made a mark on the game. Bob went with Kevin's opening on Gold, and the independent 56th, the lone unit in the first wave, cleared the beach on the landing. Juno and Utah were cleared. Bretteville was cleared later on the 6th. On the 7th, Nels had to cover the center to start, and Bob killed four units from Omaha Beach after the short 6th left the 352nd artillery unable to fire and unable to get further away than Trevieres and with the bridge to Omaha still up. The Germans took the magic bridge, hoping to get lucky, but the 14:5 assault looming from Utah immediately cleared St. Mere Eglise, ending the threat. Caen and Carentan were contested on the 7th. Tilly, Foret, Isigny, Caumont and Catz were cleared on the 8th. The Germans had a mathematical chance to retake a VP area on the 9th to get back into it. When that failed, Nels offered his congratulations to Bob on his championship.

The Allies won 10 of the 23 games between experienced players. The average bid was 12 and the median bid was 10 to the Allies in those games. Bids are in reserve supply points. The highest bid was 61, the minimum bid was 13 to the Germans. The average bid went up in every round, from 6 to 9 to 22 by round 3. The two semifinals averaged 27 and the final was played at a bid of 30.

*The so-called "magic bridge" is the bridge between Montebourg and St. Mere Eglise. German control of that bridge allows them to reinforce St. Mere Eglise without making a mandatory assault. This usually denies the Allies any progress through Utah Beach.

GM Nels Thompson [1st Year] NA

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