Still hitting the beach 17 years
later ... with a twist ...
GM Andrew Cummins and defending champ
Nels Thompson strike a familar pose.
Two-time champion Jim Eliason is tested
by Bryan Eshleman - the 2000 D-Day mini-con champ.
In its 17th year of competition at the WBC's Breakout Normandy
continues to provide fresh surprises - and this year they were
plentiful - spurred on by the adoption of mandatory and controversial
house rules. [As a designer of the game, and someone who is
very opposed to the variant rules employed during the 2010 event,
I feel compelled to use my editorial pen to augment Andrew's
view of this year's event ... you'll find my comments in brackets.]
For those who've been following these reports over the past
few years two issues have regularly raised their heads. Balance
- the game results have been significantly biased toward the
German side despite efforts to counter this with bidding schemes.
Tournament suitability -- a high proportion of games (maybe 15%)
have been ending rapidly with one side or other in a winning
position after the first day. The tournament rules changes, starting
the bidding at 35 supply for balance and removing the major sources
of early game losses were well received by those players in attendance.
[To be fair, others (including me) showed their disdain for
the changes by not participating as attendance shrank to an alltime
This year the games split 60% Allied wins to 40% German with
bidding between +17 and -20 supply. The extra good weather impulses
seem to be enough to pull the Allies back from run of the mill
landing ill-luck to give a competitive game.
The game remains fresh, despite years of experience, unusual
situations still keep appearing. Who before has seen the Sword
coastal artillery have to make a surrender check (Caen had fallen
despite a whiffed Sword invasion)? Bayeux cleared on the sixth?
British armour in Carentan? Or the Allies winning with their
VP areas including Potigny, far to the south of a German held
Caen. [Such events are not surprising given the artificial
nature of the rule changes which limited player choices. Faced
with such arbitrary limitations as being unable to advance past
Bretteville, players quite naturally turned to different avenues
to exploit with unforeseen consequences.]
Breakout has a reputation for being a hard-core event. Players
steeped in the game over many years. Yet for the second year
running a new player to the event has made it to the semi-finals,
despatching strong competition en-route. This year the sensation
was caused by my countryman from the UK 'Matt Ellis' whose onward
progress was only halted in the Final by thrice-champion Nels
The Final was a classic back and forth game, Nels' Allies
had a poor start with Omaha stuffed and Utah only being cleared
by the third assault. However an overnight repair of the blown
causeway saw St Mere-Eglise cleared and on the bounce Carentan
contested and Pont l'Abbe cleared. The Americans threw all of
their assets into Utah Beach but limited supply restricted the
results they could achieve. Long turns and successive weather
changes with the Advantage passing freely made for a knife edge
contest. Juno Beach was almost cleared by 12ss/26 on the 8th
and remained contested overnight while Carenan was taken and
retaken as fighting raged around. Omaha forces managed to stabilise
the US position on the 11th while the British isolated Tilly
by contesting Villars, Caumont and Balleroy. The capture of Tilly
on the 12th sealed the game for the Allies and gave Nels his
well-deserved fourth championship.
Looking to next year, we intend to work on the numbers playing
with demo activities and adding a coaching component to the Mulligan
round. Breakout Normandy is a fine game that rewards play
at all levels and deserves our active support.
PBeM 2009-2010 Tournament:
Sharks Mark Gutfreund and Bruno Passacantando
enjoy the challenge that the highly qualified field always offers.
Newcomer Matt Ellis was new to the
tourney, but certainly not new to the game as he tested Nels
to the very end of the Final.
BREAKOUT NORMANDY #6: Don Greenwood has taken the sixth rendition
of the Breakout: Normandy PBeM tournament. Don's Allies
overran Scott Fenn's Germans in Carentan on the11th to seal the
win. The 6th had started out well for Scott, with a weather change
that gave the Germans three impulses to move units from the Cherbourg
peninsula. On a 7th of June that lasted 12 impulses, however,
Don was able to clear St. Mere-Eglise with a single regiment
attack, contest Caen, and move the American corps artillery into
St. Mere and Trevieres. This would prove decisive on the 8th
when Don blasted a formidable Carentan garrison with eight fresh
units including three artillery with a +8 roll on a naval bombardment
followed by a +4 roll with the VII Corps artillery. Then the
V Corps artillery reduced the three fresh units in Foret to spent
and allied air soon reduced those to D1. Both areas were contested
on the 8th and Foret and Isigny both fell on the first impulse
of the 9th. The 9th also featured three weather changes and Don
managed to contest Caumont, makig Scott's attempts to funnel
troops to Carentan even more difficult. The 10th saw Catz falling,
Don continuing to pound Carentan, and Scott trying desperately
to reinforce it. On the 11th with both corps artillery in place,
Don pounded Carentan but Scott had some luck hitting fresh allied
units in Carentan with artillery. On the sixth impulse Don assaulted
at 15-4 against a pile of d2 units and took the area twice when
Scott used the Advantage for a reroll.
Overall, the Allies scored a rare win in this tournament with
20 victories in the 37 games, led by Don's two Allied victories
in the final rounds. Other laurelists were Kevin hammond, Tom
Gregorio, Scott Moll and Hank Burkhalter in that order. The progress
of the tournament can be traced at: http://sites.google.com/site/breakoutnormandytournament/Home/home-page/bkn-pbem-6