Tommy Johnson and Tim Hitchings pair
off at pylon 6.
Sam Edelston and Ann Bruck Meet early.
Young Ben Gardner is matched
with Susan Cornett.
Defending champ Gordon Rodgers
goes down in the Quarter-Finals.
As in previous years, the 2010 Memoir '44 tournament
was a Friday 6-round single elimination tournament, with a Mulligan
round the night before. Each round was a two-game match. This
year's scenarios were chosen by designer Richard Borg and a panel
of distinguished Memoir players from six countries. The
first three rounds could be played with the basic set. The later
rounds were from the Mediterranean, Pacific, and Eastern theaters,
respectively, giving prospective champions a chance to show their
versatility. The field of 54 players included three past champions.
Mulligan and Round 1: Sword Beach - D-Day amphibious landing
from the original set. 24 players in the Mulligan round and 34
players in round 1 the following morning, including four who
re-entered after losing in the Mulligan. Congratulations to Jim
Fardette, Jeff Paull, Mark Polelle, and Jason Pollock, for scoring
shutout victories at this scenario. Almost made it: David Metzger
was edged out by Peter Eldridge, 7-7 medals, 30-32 figures.
Round 2: Battle of the Bridgehead - well balanced, dry-land
scenario with a good mix of infantry, tanks, and terrain. The
round's only shutout was gained by Jeff Paull. Almost made it:
Newcomer Scott Driessen came razor-close to handing GM Sam Edelston
an early exit, 9-9 medals, but lost on the tiebreaker, number
of figures eliminated, 36-37.
Round 3: Mont Mouchet - French Resistance scenario with
a 4-medal goal, where killing either of the German armored units
is worth two medals. Historically, the Allies and Germans win
this scenario an equal percentage of the time - but at WBC, the
Allies managed only one win out of 14 games (7%). Congrats to
Jacob Hebner for the round's only Allied victory and only sweep.
Shutouts were won by Jim Dougherty, Sam Edelston, Jim Fardette,
and Joe Harrison. Past champions Steve Lollis and Gordon Rodgers
were both eliminated in this round.
Round 4: Escape via the Coastal Road - devious Mediterranean
desert scenario, where the Axis has half a dozen armored units,
with infantry support, and Allies can gain medals through exit
hexes on either side of the board (with the Left exit hex completely
unguarded). No shutouts this round. The biggest win was a 6-1
victory by David Gubbay as Axis. David was one of only two players
to sweep his match here, along with Jim Fardette. In one oddity,
John Skiba's Brits eliminated only one enemy figure while scoring
four medals at the exit hexes, in a 6-4 loss, though he advanced
to the semi-finals on the strength of his 6-3 victory as the
Axis. In the closest match of the day, two-time champ Joe Harrison
had to go to the third-level tiebreaker to oust GM Sam Edelston,
as both won as Axis by identical scores of 6-5 medals, 26-16
figures; their tiebreakers were 6-6 cumulative wins, and 37-36
That set up the semi-final round of David vs Jim and Joe vs John.
Round 5: Sugar Loaf & Half Moon - Imperial Japanese
Army hiding in caves, under assault by well-equipped Marines.
The cave networks give Japanese infantry great protection and
allow them to move to any section of the board, giving the scenario
a Whack-a-Mole quality.
The first match reflected the international spirit of the tournament.
Contender Jim Fardette had flown in from Germany. He had previously
played Memoir solitaire, but had never played against a real
opponent. In fact, he had attended the how-to demonstration the
night before. Jim tore through his first two real-life opponents,
10-4, 10-3, and then ousted former champ Steve Lollis, 5-4, at
Mont Mouchet, on his way to a 7-1 record. Australian-born opponent
David Gubbay came up from Texas. On his way to the semi-finals,
David dominated his first two opponents, 10-4, 10-2, and then
ousted defending champion Gordon Rodgers, 7-6, at Mont Mouchet,
also on his way, to a 7-1 record.
In their first game, several of Jim's Marine units retreated
out of range of the Japanese infantry, but eventually some Japanese
units charged out on a General Advance, killing an engineer and
an Allied tank, to gain a 4-3 lead. However, the Allies clawed
back, striking the final blow with four units ganging up against
a full-strength Japanese infantry that had charged out, giving
Jim a 6-4 win. In the rematch, there was fierce fighting on the
Allied Left in the first half of the game, and David's Marines
scored two early kills with an Artillery Bombard, to gain a 4-2
lead. After some back-and-forth, Allied artillery ultimately
plinked a weakened Japanese artillery off the board for the final
kill, earning David a 6-3 win, and giving him the match by a
narrow 10-9 score.
Meanwhile, at the next table, the other semi-final match pitted
two-time champion Joe Harrison against challenger John Skiba.
Joe showed that he was still a force to be reckoned with in the
Mulligan round, when he swept former champion Steve Lollis off
the board, 10-4. John had recently played his 700th Memoir game,
with a 69% lifetime winning percentage, though in this tournament
he had split his first four matches, winning no match by more
than two medals.
In game 1, John's Japanese made a "now-or-never" banzai
charge that killed two units, and followed with Their Finest
Hour and two more kills the next turn. With the game tied 5-5,
Joe's dice sputtered and failed, rolling several misses against
1-figure Japanese infantries. After a couple of turns, the Japanese
finished off a Marine infantry to earn the win, 6-5. In the rematch,
Joe withdrew much of the Japanese infantry out of 2d artillery
range until he had accumulated a good hand (Move Out, Infantry
Assault, and Direct from Headquarters). At this point, he charged
forward, destroying an Allied tank. John Counter-Attacked the
DHQ, killing off three weakened infantries, followed by two more
kills on their next turn. The Marines lost the rest of their
armor the next turn, but then they used a Recon-in-Force to score
the last kill, giving John a 6-2 win and a 12-7 sweep of the
6: And so, it came to the Final. John Skiba fresh off a sweep,
against David Gubbay, who had the best record in the tournament.
Gates of Moscow, where dug-in and terrain-protected Russian defenders
- hindered by Commissar rules - are up against the Panzer-heavy
German invaders. In the Center, the Germans face two Russian
infantry units and an artillery in sandbags, on a hill. In the
first game, David's Germans made that their first target, rapidly
eliminating the artillery with good dice, and then cleaning out
the two infantries, but losing two armored units in the process.
After this, the Germans methodically swept down their right flank
with an Assault Right, Armor Assault, and Attack Right - eliminating
two of the three Russian infantry defenders and weakening the
third to a single figure. Trailing 5-2, John sent a Russian Infantry
Assault down his right flank, in search of medals. He survived
an Ambush, and picked up kills on that turn and the following
one, but he lost a unit in the process. At this point, a German
Infantry Assault captured a bridge that gained David the winning
medal. Advantage to David: 7-4 medals, 25-16 figures.
In the rematch, John quickly eliminated the two Russian infantry
units in the center, losing just one tank in the process, and
then things went on hold for a couple of turns. Suddenly, the
plastic started to fly when a German Armor Assault obliterated
the Russian artillery on the hill. David would destroy German
armored units on the next three turns, but in the process, he
pulled two infantry units out of cover. The Germans destroyed
a Russian tank, claimed the medal bridge, and eliminated both
of the unprotected infantries, to gain the win: 7-4 medals, 23-13
figures. Match totals for John: 11 medals, 29 figures. David:
11 medals, 28 figures - giving John the championship by a single
The GM wishes to thank Assistant GMs Mark Guttag, Gordon Rodgers,
and John Skiba for their help in making the tournament run as
smoothly as it did - with special thanks to Mark, the past GM,
for his extensive, invaluable advice and assistance in the preparation
for the tournament and at the event, itself.
Special thanks, also, to the international panel that chose this
year's scenarios: Bayernkini (Germany), Brummbar (Canada), JJAZ
(Belgium), Longbearder (Russia), Steve Nightrain (Indonesia),
Yangtze (England), and especially Richard Borg (Commander-in-Chief).
Jim Fardette and Dave Guttag meet
in the semi-finals.
GM Edelston and his finalists.