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Breakout Normandy (BKN) WBC 2019 Report
Updated October 19, 2019.
31 Players Robert Malcomson 2019 Status 2020 Status Event History
2018-2019 Champion & Laurels
 

Malcomson Repeats as Champion!

Bob Malcomson bested the field of 31 players to earn his fourth Breakout: Normandy title at WBC. There are other BPA sponsored contests, but with his 2019 win, Bob ties veterans Jim Doughan and GM Nels Thompson with the lead in WBC titles. Bob has had extraordinary results in tournament play, winning four out of the last five years, the first one coming in only his second attempt.

They are playing the game at a high level in Minnesota, and Bob's regular sparring partner Jason Albert joined him at the final table. The bids have come back to near zero in competitive play, and Jason had to bid 5 reserve supply points to the Germans before Bob let him have the Allies.

Merville held on the night assault opening the contest, but the opening Allied bombardments went well. Jason hit Port-en-Bessin and Montebourg with air, leading to a discussion of whether it's best to hit Omaha or Montebourg with the US air on D-Day. It's debatable. What isn't is that if you are still hitting Grandcamp with the US air, stop. Montebourg is the better play.

There's a rule of thumb that the German player shouldn't panic when the bombardments hit across the board, because it's the assault dice that matter. Despite the early luck, Jason's Allies needed -4 or better to land at Sword, didn't get it, and they didn't get it again on the Advantage re-roll, undoing all of the good bombardment work and then some. The Allies would never regain the Advantage marker nor the edge in the contest. The Germans prioritized the defense of Carentan. Bob didn't even attempt to retake the "magic bridge" between Montebourg and St. Mere Eglise, due to the successful Montebourg bombardment. It was Bob's second win as the Germans without a single attempt at the magic bridge. The other one was in round three against Mark Gutfreund, a game won by Bob's Germans in which they did not cause a single point of damage to the Allies in offensive action.

Back in the final, the Allies cleared Utah and Gold and took a 7:6 shot into Bretteville and lost. Jason passed on a 6:4 in Omaha to set up a "triple play" on the 7th, but when the 7th came, he missed the triple play by one pip.

The Allies took care of business by contesting Caen and clearing St. Mere on the 7th. Despite the failed triple play, there was still an opportunity through Grandcamp and into Isigny. Jason repaired the causeway on the second attempt on impulse 7, but the sunset roll changed the weather, allowing Bob to cover the center and Caen with the 12th SS division.

The game was tilted to the Germans at the start of the 8th, but Jason still had a promising line. He could still contest Carentan and one of the bocage VPs to stay on schedule. The attempt on Villars stalled when Bretteville was not cleared. There was still hope, but not for very long. After Isigny was cleared, with two 8:7's and a 7:7 to contest Foret at the ready, Jason's first attempt failed and ended the day on impulse 4. Carentan had not been touched.

It was less than halfway through the game, the overcast weather favoring the Germans was up next, and Jason was reduced to a Hail Mary frontal approach to Caen. It can work, but not this time. Game and tourney to Malcomson.

Jason played a superb tournament. In his mulligan round game, Chris Crane's Germans took the magic bridge and shut down the Utah sector, so Jason surrounded Caen on the 12th for the win. He had a run through top players straightening with his next wins in one-sided contests against Jim Eliason and Kevin Hammond. He faced Don Greenwood in a semifinal match that was the game of the tournament, Jason taking the Allies. Sword went D1 on the landings, but Jason managed to work toward a 'par' game. He contested Caen and worked on Carentan until it fell. He stretched the German defense through Merville and Troarn in the now standard Allied envelopment threat. If you don't have this in your arsenal, get on it. Learn to do it. Learn to stop it. Don stopped it. The Allies were all the way to contesting Potigny, but they could get no further. Carentan finally fell, but Jason was short of the bocage VP he would need for the win. On the 11th, Jason sent the Americans north out of St. Mere Eglise into Montebourg. When it's a close game, and the Germans have been forced to hold the line everywhere because a single VP will do it, there can be an opportunity through Montebourg. Don responded on the 12th with a scintillating play, clearing Caen and overrunning Sword Beach! At first glance, it seemed Don had set up a game-clinching play. But the thrust was too weak to hold. Jason cleaned up the mess, restoring his VP count, and the day went long enough for him to hit St. Vaast with multiple bombardments until he could deliver the coup de grace. In the end, the action stretched from one corner of the map to the other, and a single area decided the outcome midway through the final turn. The game was so close that the decision could have come anywhere. This time it was at the far northern portion of the map near Cherbourg in a wonderful display of tactical acumen by two players at the top of their game.

Malcomson beat GM Nels Thompson in the other semifinal, noteworthy only for the ease the British had coming off the beaches on the 6th. At one point, Thompson moved to cover Torigni for the 7th, dreaming up some no doubt plausible winning defensive line before reality dawned at dusk on the 6th and he resigned. For the tournament, there were 35 games played by the 31 entrants. Nine were teaching games. We invite new players to join us every year, and the GM extends his thanks to all of the experienced players who show off this classic to new players. Ron Fedin taught the game in the mulligan round, earning a bye into round two, then he showed up again for the first round to teach the game a second time. For his reward he drew Malcomson in round two. In 26 games between experienced players, 14 were German wins. The bids in those games ranged from 11 to the Germans to 10 to the Allies. Most of the games had no bid.

In the great Albert-Greenwood semifinal, during a break in the action, Jason said, "This is fun." Don drily observed, "This game was more fun when nobody knew how to play it."

2019 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 3
Jason Albert Nels Thompson Don Greenwood Mark Gutfreund Kevin Hammond
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
Kevion Wojtaszczyk trying to stop the invasions.
Trying to decide how to stop the landings.
GM Nels Thompson tries to dethrone Robert
Malcolmson in semifinal.
Don Greenwood and Jason Albert look for berth in the final.
Finalists drove from Minnesota to play against each other.
GM  Nels Thompson  [5th Year]  NA
 NelsThompson@yahoo.com  NA