Still hitting the beach 13 years
GM Ken Nied (right) "overlords"
his invasion beaches against Nick Anner ... a top CDW player
trying to make the transition to the impulse system games.
Three-time champ Jim Doughan
(left) trades notes with Steve Koleszar (a five-time champ of
Storm Over Arnhem trying to make the transition to its
later sister game.
Scott Fenn (left) reached the
elimination portion unbeaten but was stopped short of his first
Championship in the Semis by Andrew Cummins.
When the last die came to rest, Jim Eliason claimed the 2006
title, his second in four years. The theme of this year's tournament
could well have been Comeback Kids. After the first three rounds
of play, defending champion Andrew Cummins had a 1-2 record,
while Jim Eliason stood at 2-1. Both had to win their respective
Round 4 matches to advance and both did, eventually to meet in
The number of players this year dropped significantly from
prior years to 19, with only 16 playing in the first round. The
experience level of those 16 was extremely high, though, averaging
5608 in AREA ratings. The top 12 players averaged a remarkable
5823 with three players exceeding the 6000 level.
Four rounds of play winnowed the field to six contenders for
the four semi-final spots. Scott Fenn and Mark Gutfreund, both
3-0, advanced as did Jim Eliason at 3-1. Andrew Cummins, Nels
Thompson, and Michael Rinella all stood at 2-2. Andrew filled
the final slot by virtue of the second tiebreaker, strength of
opponents, holding a razor thin one victory margin over Nels.
This year's secondary theme could have been Year of the Hun.
While play balance has always favored the Germans, this year
they hammered their Allied foes by a margin of 16-8 including
all three of the elimination contests.
In the semi-final between Andrew and Scott, Scott's Allies
foundered on the beaches, losing three of the five invasions.
He could have used the Advantage for a reroll of the crucial
Omaha Beach invasion, but Scott had been playing the Germans
for so long he forgot that he held it. He did surrender it later
in the day when Andrew seized the critical Montebourg-St. Mere
Eglise bridge, only to see Andrew roll his second consecutive
six. June 6 ended before Andrew could reinforce the area across
the newly acquired bridge.
Even with these early setbacks, Scott's position still had
possibilities: a single spent German unit held the VP area of
Villars-Bocage, and Scott had units in position to hit it hard.
If Andrew used his first impulse of June 7 to reinforce St. Mere,
Scott could hammer Villars. If Andrew reinforced Villars, Scott
could assault St. Mere and clear it before Andrew could respond.
Instead, Andrew did both, first packing St. Mere with German
units, then surrendering the Advantage for a Double Impulse to
advance units of Panzer Lehr into Villars-Bocage.
And yet Scott did not give up. With the Americans stopped
cold on Omaha and Utah Beaches, Scott relied on his British forces.
He cut off the key city of Caen (worth a decisive 4 VPs) with
a pincer attack that converted all the areas around Caen and
cut it off from German supply. Given enough good bombardment
results followed by successful assaults, the city would eventually
fall. But Andrew successfully counterattacked and restored his
supply line into the city, saving the game.
Jim Eliason describes his championship match with Andrew Cummins:
"In the finals I played Andrew for the second day in a row.
I took the Germans this time. Andrew was hot early and by the
end of the 8th had a very strong position. On the 9th, wary of
possible lucky German counterattacks giving me back the edge
(or even the Advantage), he pushed into the bocage in the center,
leaving Isigny and Catz for the sunny 10th. I think this was
an error. He took Balleroy, but the bocage VP areas held. He
started the campaign to reduce Carentan on the 11th, but his
hot dice turned cold and Carentan held easily after Andrew whiffed
on several bombardments."
After this year's first round turnout of 16, the GM is seriously
considering a switch to single elimination format. Feedback on
this suggestion is welcome and strongly encouraged.
#4: Don Greenwood has won the 4th rendition of the PBeM tournament,
outlasting 47 players in a five-round Single Elimination tournament.
The victory came in a close contest as Bryan Eshleman's Allies
fell one VP short when a snake-eyes roll ended their last chance
on impulse 5 of the last day. Steve Andriakos, Scott Fenn, Anthony
Daw and Tom Gregorio also earned laurels while finishing third
thru sixth respectively. Details are available at http://www.boardgamers.org/specific/bknpbem04.htm