Still hitting the beach 11 years
Under the command of General Eisenhower, Allied naval forces,
supported by strong air forces, began landing Allied armies this
morning on the northern coast of France.
- SHAEF communiqué issued at 09:32 (London time) on June
In the year of the 60th anniversary of the crusade by Allied
forces to liberate Europe, 33 stalwart players attempted to recreate
history, an increase of five players over last year. When the
smoke cleared and the dice fell silent, veteran Nels Thompson
emerged as the last man standing to win his first ever BKN title
as well as his first WBC wood. Just as BKN itself is a game of
unexpected developments and strange turns of fortune, so this
tournament featured many such twists and reversals. Not one of
last year's semifinalists made the cut this time.
As usual the tourney featured a strong field. Nineteen of
the 27 gamers with AREA credits had ratings above 5000. Four
had ratings above 6000. This year also saw the return of several
seasoned players if only for a round or two, including Matt Fagan,
Ray Freeman, Ron Fedin, Mark Gutfreund, and former champion Alan
Applebaum. Several other veterans were no-shows, the most notable
being the game's designer, Don Greenwood. (He kept complaining
that he had other stuff to do hey, this is the WBC; what
else could there be to do?). Inspired by Jim Doughan's teaching
demo on Tuesday night six newbies filled the void by playing
their first AREA-rated matches.
1. Nels Thompson, 5-1
2. Jim Doughan, 5-1
3. Tom Dworschak, 4-1
4. Mike Kaye, 2-3
5. Steve Andriakos, 3-1
6. Chris Roginski, 3-0
In First Round Swiss action (13 matches) the random draw for
the second year in a row paired former champions Jim Doughan
and Michael Rinella with Jim repeating his early knockout of
last year. Past D-Day champion Marvin Birnbaum drew defending
champ Jim Eliason and made an early exit. Current D-Day title
holder David Wong was the first of many to run into the Nels
Thompson buzz saw.
The Second Round match (11 games) between Mike Kaye and Mark
Gutfreund proved the old adage that timing is everything. In
his last two impulses of the match Mike captured Carentan, and
then attempted to contest Caen. He lost the dice roll by -7,
but it was just enough to contest the area and end the day, giving
Mike the exact 9.6 VPs he needed for victory. I've never seen
anyone so grateful to lose a DR by 7.
The Third Round (with nine matches) featured another head-to-head
battle of former champions: Jim Eliason vs. Michael Rinella.
Going in to Round 4, eight players still had a viable shot
at making the semifinals (last year it was nine).
Semi-final Rankings (Opponents' winning percentage, Opponents'
average AREA rating):
Jim Doughan, .538, 5236
Tom Dworschak, .533, 5578
Steve Andriakos, .600, 5841
Nels Thompson, .571, 6061
Chris Roginsky, .333, 5215
Mike Kaye, .714, 5938
Jim Eliason, .615, 5801
Due to no-shows at semi-finals time, Mike Kaye advanced to
single elimination play.
At this stage the expectation was that the two 4-0 players,
Jim and Tom, who are also the two highest AREA rated players
in the game, would meet in the finals. But Nels' Germans and
the dice stopped Tom cold. Tom failed his assault into Caen with
the British on June 7, while a day or two later a +5 assault
by the Americans into Carentan was stuffed. With stacks of D1
units on both sides of the board, the game was essentially over.
In the other semi-final, Jim's Germans took the magic bridge
and held St. Mere throughout the game. Mike made decent progress
up the middle of the board and near Caen, but it wasn't enough
to overcome the early deficit.
The finals were a rematch of Round 4 between Nels and Jim.
Nels' philosophy is that he will not allow anyone to outbid him
to play the Germans, and he proved it throughout all six matches
of the tournament. Jim accepted the bid of 65 and played the
Here the dice gods deserted Jim with a vengeance. At one point
Jim exclaimed, "You know, if I play this right, I can still
have Rangers on board on June 11!" An anti-climax after
such a grueling tournament, but an outcome we have all seen before.
Nels certainly earned his win his opponents' average AREA
rating in the four preliminary rounds was 6061. By the end of
the tournament Nels had beaten the four highest rated players
in the game.
Congratulations to all!