Still hitting the beach 18 years
later ... with a twist ...
GM Andrew Cummins greets CDW cardshark
Dave Docktor as the game attracts new talent.
Walter Garman returns to the tournament
after a long absence to play newcomer Johnny Wilson.
The arrival of the new release of the game courtesy of L2
Design on the day of the competition produced a flurry of interest
that raised total games played by almost a third over 2010's
worst-ever numbers. We saw six new players in the field and L2's
early sellout bodes well for next year's play of a game which
remains fresh despite its age.
Bidding for the standard game ranged from 5 to 65 supply to
the allies with the majority of games going at between 30 and
40 with an average bid of 37 - down from last year's 39. Interestingly,
the Allies decisively beat the Germans with 14 wins in 22 games.
The L2 games split 3-2 to the Allies with bidding between 0 and
-7 for the Allies. As this trend follows last years 12-9 result
I am inclined to believe that we are seeing a real effect. The
extra impulses giving the Allies the time they need to make up
for some (inevitable) ill-luck in play.
course behind these abstract figures lie the stories of games
won and lost with Breakout's trademark of unusual sequences
of events. The Americans at Omaha being driven into the sea while
Caen teetered in the balance a day later is certainly not a common
sight. Nor was a game wherein Caen was never contested ending
in an Allied victory, nor a complete American corps wrecked in
Isigny, St Lo falling to the Allies on D+1, or Caen taken on
D+1 by a single Canadian regiment. Then there are the games which
never saw a weather change against those where the weather changed
six times in the first three days. The variety never ceases to
The single elimination format is cruel, with four former champions
being knocked out en-route to this year's conclusion ... none
larger than our thrice victorious defending champion Nels Thompson
falling to Marvin Birnbaum in the quarter-finals.
The Final matched Marvin and Michael Kaye - both known as
Allied specialists, yet both having survived the semi-finals
with German wins. The game began with a bidding war for the Allies.
Michael prevailed at 14 supply. Omaha was stuffed at the outset,
but Gold and Juno broke forward, clearing Brettville. Sword was
reduced to a D2 CA and Utah cleared. But there was a weather
change on Impulse 2 that allowed the Germans to cover the center
with 752 and 30.
Day 2 began with a clearing of Villars by a 5-unit attack
followed by a bold -2 attack to contest Aunay which failed. The
Germans for their part managed a successful parastomp in Pont
le Abbe. The rest of the game followed a fairly typical pattern
as the Germans stuffed units into the bocage and the Allies resorted
to artillery and big kill stacks. Another failed attack to contest
Aunay on Day 3 left a stack of Brits D1. However, St. Mere was
cleared and Carenten contested but never taken.
Day 4 found Sword and Merville cleared, plus Caen and Foret
contested. Bayuex was cleared on Day 5, Insigny cleared, then
recontested. Insigny was cleared again a day later. At the end
Michael found a regroup error that allowed him to finally crack
Aunay with a +3 roll. He succeeded in contesting it, but failed
to clear it. The game ended without the Allies contesting Catz,
St. Lo or Tilly. The American progress was stalled by the presence
of seven artillery units split between St. Jean and St. Lo. And
that was it for another year; 30 hours of grueling gaming netting
Marvin his first BKN WBC title and his 16th overall. It's hard
to believe he was denied this long.