Special New Booklets, and a Storybook
Jack Morrell and Evan Hitchings at
Britain's Peter Eldrigde and Chuck
Stapp meet at pylon 7.
William Alderman and Dave Glowny at
Belgian visitor Johan van Huyse defeats
As in previous years, the format was a 6-round single elimination
tournament, with a Mulligan round the night before. Each round
was a 2-game match, with the players switching sides. This year,
designer Richard Borg was again here in person, with six brand-new,
official scenarios, which he was introducing for the first time.
These came in special, pre-printed booklets subtitled, "World
Boardgaming Championships * 2011." The field of 70 players
was our largest of the past five years, and included three former
champions, plus at least eight other former laurelists.
Our theme this year was the German invasion of Crete, which was
significant as the first large airborne invasion in history,
where 15,000 paratroops and glider forces landed at multiple
strategic locations on the island. The actual battle consisted
of ten days of brutal back-and-forth fighting. The scenarios
were very tactical, employing mostly infantry. In the first four
rounds, the Germans were all Special Forces, while the Allies
had a tank (with only two figures) and usually artillery. There
was a lot of terrain, and players had to use it. Every scenario
had multiple objectives the Germans could take, though some of
them could count as medals for either side; many of these were
Turn-Start objectives, which created fierce fighting. All scenarios
were to six medals, except for the seven-medal Final. No player
ever got fewer than five cards. The consensus was that these
were great scenarios, with a variety of options for both sides.
Mulligan and Round 1: Maleme Airfield - The Allies
are trying to defend a hill, an unoccupied airfield, and a road
exit hex on their side of the board. The results were well balanced:
Allies won 40 games, Axis won 44 (45%-55%), with an average score
of 4.61-4.56. Congratulations to Daniel Long, Zhiming Shi, Chuck
Turpin, and Jonathan Young, who all scored shutout victories.
Chuck held his Round 1 opponent to two medals in their match.
Round 2: Airdrop Over Heraklion - Bunched-up Allies
in and near the center are trying to defend an airfield and seven
town hexes. Surprisingly, the Allies won only 12 games, to the
Germans 26 (32%-68%), with an average score of 3.87-5.24. For
the second consecutive round, Jonathan Young scored a shutout
victory. Jim Dougherty held his opponent to three medals for
the match. All four of last year's semi-finalists - including
defending champion John Skiba and two-time champion Joe Harrison
- were eliminated.
Round 3: Airdrop Over Rethymno - Played on a short
board, with the Mediterranean cutting off nearly the entire first
two rows of hexes. Terrain divides the Allies into three protected
enclaves, but the Germans are positioned where they can make
a lot of trouble. In fact, this scenario favored the Germans,
6-14 (30%/70%), by an average score of 4.05-4.55. No shutouts
were scored, but after three rounds, only two players had won
six games: Jim Dougherty and David Metzger. David held his opponent
to just three medals this round. Our third former champion, 2004's
Steve Lollis, met his untimely demise here. Jonathan Young was
eliminated, by Chuck Turpin, in one of the day's closest matches,
Round 4: Prison Valley - The most terrain-filled
scenario of the event, with a bunch of towns, forests, and hills.
The Germans seek to gain several towns and a variety of other
objectives. This scenario also leaned a little toward the Germans:
4-6 (40%-60%), with an average score of 3.90-4.50. We had nine
players left in this round, so defending champion John Skiba
played as an eliminator; losing a split match against Jeff Cornett.
Turpin and GM Sam Edelston both swept their opponents, with Sam's
match including a shutout win as Axis. David Metzger's unbeaten
streak came to an end as he was eliminated by Belgian Johan van
Huyse in another of the day's closest matches: 9-9, 39-41. Despite
his early exit, David scored the tournament's highest winning
percentage: 7-1 (88%.)
Round 5: Platanias - The Allies are defending a complex
of hill, forest, and town hexes in the middle of the board, while
the Germans seek to displace them by crossing a fordable river.
The two sides also fight over some objectives on the Allied Right
flank. Since five players remained, Skiba again served as an
eliminator, but was swept by van Huyse. All three matches were
sweeps, as Edelston and Cornett won in the same manner. The average
score at Platanias was 4.24-5.13.
At this point, we were down to three players, and we needed to
eliminate one to reach a 2-player Final. A "round robin"
was played, repeating the Round 5 scenario. Since Jeff and Johan
had records of 8-2, while Sam was 9-1, Jeff and Johan went first.
Jeff's Axis Left advanced, and Johan retaliated hard against
them, scoring three kills and the medal bridge there to win,
6-4. Next, Jeff had to defend as Allies against Sam. Despite
two early kills by the Allies, Sam's Germans notched two kills
against the Allied Left and captured a medal town. Then, Jeff
shifted the battle to the opposite flank, where Sam happened
to be holding three good cards. Sam scored a kill, took the medal
bridge, and then went Behind Enemy Lines to eliminate a weakened
infantry from a town, to clinch a 6-2 victory and an intriguing
Johan and Sam were familiar foes from numerous online Memoir
encounters. Living in Belgium, Johan knows many of the European
WWII battles in a way that most American's can't: He lives near
them, and often sees reminders of them, even 65-70 years later.
He had flown to America for his "dream vacation," to
play in the WBC Memoir tournament and meet some Memoir
friends, and then go visit New York City for a few days. Sam
had picked him up at the airport, and they were rooming together.
Before the tournament, Johan had given Sam a lucky coin from
Indeed, both players had experienced a lot of good luck thus
far. Johan's record was 9-2, and one of his losses had been 5-6,
after he had missed a 1-figure enemy unit, and his combined score
was 62-40. Sam had plowed through his opponents, so far, with
a 10-1 record and a combined score of 64-30. In six of his wins,
the opponent had scored two or fewer medals. Where so many other
strong players had fallen by the wayside earlier in the tournament,
Johan and Sam had both experienced "storybook" runs
so far. Now, the dream would end for one of them at the hands
of his friend.
The Final scenario was Galatos. The namesake town is a 2-hex,
turn-start temporary majority objective for either side, initially
in the hands of the Allies. In Game 1, Johan had incredibly lucky
cards: General Advance, followed by a seven-unit Infantry Assault
in the center that seized control of the town. Then an Assault
Center (seven units again), which scored two kills, followed
by a three-unit Close Assault. Sam now played an Attack Center,
which Johan Counter-Attacked, killing off the one Allied tank
and the one Allied artillery. Sam had scored only one kill so
far, and his position was perilous. He took a shot at a 1-figure
infantry, and missed. Johan replied with his own Attack Center,
which killed an Allied infantry and gave him a firm hold on the
medal town. Sam played a newly drawn Move Out, and felt lucky
to kill two small infantries. But he couldn't prevent Johan from
getting the town medals and winning the first game, 7-3.
In the second game, Sam lacked cards to mass his forces for a
big offensive. Johan advanced his artillery into the town, and
it was difficult to displace. On Turn 7, Sam missed with three
dice against a 1-figure infantry in the town, so the Germans
responded with an Assault Right that eliminated one of the attacking
units plus another Allied infantry. Though the Germans would
gain that town hex on the following turn, Johan quickly reclaimed
it by eliminating the invader. Then, on the next turn, he regained
the 2-medal turn-start objective (to gain a 6-3 advantage) and
played an Armor Assault. Johan's one tank advanced next to a
full-strength German infantry, and rolled: three grenades and
an infantry. Boom! 7-3 for the second game, too. The perfect
roll to complete his storybook victory.
addition, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, there were six multi-player
Overlord games (including the third annual infamous Midnight
Madness Overlord). Five of the games were run by John Skiba and
had full tables of eight players. In addition, Richard Borg ran
one while the main tournament was in progress, for players who
had been eliminated from the tournament, as well as any interested
Sword Beach - Johan Vanhuyse's Allies kayoed John Skiba's
Bastogne - Richard Bliss led the Germans to a 12-6 victory
over Sam Edelston and the Allies in six devastating turns.
Hedgerow Hell - A good time was had by all, but the result
Iwo Jima: Hell on the Beach - JDRommel's Pacific scenario
that lives up to its name. Joe Harrison's Japanese knocked off
Richard Bliss's Americans, 14-11.
Rats in a Factory - Scenario from the Sword of Stalingrad
expansion, with Combat cards. Sam Edelston's Germans defeated
Mark Mitchell's Russians, 18-13 in nine turns.
Firefight in Neffe - Winter War scenario with Combat cards
and reduced visibility rules. Two teenaged commanders, David
R. and Manuel B., duked it out, and in the end, David's Allies
pulled out a tough 14-11 victory in 12 turns.
The GM wishes to thank Richard Borg and Days of Wonder for
making these new scenarios available for the tournament, with
additional thanks to Richard for being helpful in a variety of
ways. Also, thanks to AGMs John Skiba and Mark Guttag. And special
thanks to Anita and her daughters for their help at the check-in
Jeff Paull and Jeff Cornett
GM Edelston and Chuck Turpin.
Champion Johan Vanhuyse receives his
plaque from game creator Richard Borg and GM Sam Edelston.
Champion Johan Vanhuyse looks out
over his final, winning position with GM/runner-up Sam Edelston