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Battleline (BAT) WBC 2019 Report
Updated October 19, 2019.
52 Players James Kramer 2019 Status 2020 Status History/Laurels
2019 Champion Click box for details. Click box for details.

Kramer Returns to the Top!

The 2019 Battle Line tournament was down a bit from our 2018 record high number of players, but still had enough people to split everyone up into 13 different pods. Even better, we happened to get a number of players that was a multiple of 4, so each pod had the full four people in it, meaning everyone got to play three games in the first round.

The most exciting finish came in pod 10, where Owen Kryollos, Anthony Daw, and Casey Moquin each finished 2-1, with all of the games in the pod coming via breakthrough. We had to refer to the rules sheet to see what the tiebreaker was at that point, and it turned out to be the record in the first game of the heat. There was still a tie between Owen and Anthony, so the next tie breaker was the record in the second game of the heat, which went to Anthony, who advanced. It was thought we’d never had to use these tiebreaker rules before, but a search of last year’s event report finds that we actually had a similar situation just last year. Our memories aren’t what they used to be, I guess.

However, it is true that last year’s scenario was resolved just with the first game of the heat, so the 2019 group does gain the distinction of being the hardest tie to break in tournament history.

Also winning their pods were: 2015 champion “Big” Jim Kramer, Jeff Cornett, Steven Raszewski, Bjorn von Knorring, Bill Herbst, Mark Love, reigning Caesar Allan Jiang, Adam Hurd, Richard Irving, 2018 champion Sean McCulloch, Doug Galullo, and finally, escaping his pod for the first time in 3 years, 2014 champion Bruce Reiff.

With 13 winners, Mark Love dropped out to give us a more manageable bracket, and the single elimination rounds began. Sean McCulloch beat Anthony Daw to move on, and Doug Galullo defeated Allan Jiang to move on to the final 6. In the middle of the bracket, Rich Irving beat Bjorn von Knorring, and Steven Raszewski advanced over Bill Herbst. On the bottom of the bracket, Jeff Cornett beat Adam Hurd, and in the most exciting game of the first round of the bracket, “Big” Jim Kramer shot down that dastardly Reiff character.

With six players left, everyone remaining was guaranteed laurels. Doug Galullo played Sean McCulloch and dominated Sean’s bad opening hand with a set of straight flushes. Rich Irving beat Steve Raszewski, and Jim Kramer moved on over Jeff Cornett.

As a past champion, Jim got a bye into the finals, and Doug and Rich played each other to see who would challenge him. I watched the game, but didn’t see anyone’s hands. However by looking at Doug’s facial expressions, it seemed like he got the other side of the awesome hand that helped him advance in the previous round.

Thus, the final was set. Could “Big Jim” Kramer become a champion again? Or would Rich Irving stop him?

I have the log of the game posted at: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2261069/2019-wbc-battle-line-final-transcript but here is a summary of what happened.

The game began with Rich starting a 3 of a kind in 7’s, and drawing a tactics card (which turned out to be Scout). This starting formation was relatively weak (since it could be beaten by a higher three of a kind, or any straight flush, and Jim had not played any cards on that flag yet), but it turned out not to matter. In general, though, Rich found himself playing many 3 of a kind formations, which left him open to being beaten by Jim’s higher three of a kinds or straight flushes.

The turning point came in the mid game when Rich played a Blue 8 on a new flag in a situation where there were not enough 8’s to make a three of a kind there, and it was not possible to make a straight flush. Jim made a smaller three of a kind and won the flag leaving Rich with an empty slot on that column he could not play to. At this point both players were trying to make three of a kind in sixes, and it was not possible for both to make it. Jim managed to finish his, and the combination of that and being able to play a high total vs Rich’s busted three sixes hand was enough to give him a breakthrough win.

2019 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 1
Rich Irving Doug Galullo Jeff Cornett Steve Raszewski Sean McCulloch
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
Barrington Beavis in Pod action.
What should I play next?
Not happy with his choices.
Finalists Jim Kramer and Rich Irving.
GM  Sean McCulloch [5th year]  NA
 Stmccull@owu.edu  NA