... NEW AND IMPROVED!
Jonathan Lockwood vs 2013 laurelist
Rejean Tremblay vs Chuck Stapp
New champ Geoff Heintzelman vs Dan
Michael Shea downs Gareth Williams
in the semifinals.
This year marked 70 years since the D-Day landings at Normandy,
and 10 years since Memoir '44 was released as a tribute
to it. Thus, it probably was inevitable that we'd have a D-Day
For this year's tournament, Memoir's creator, Richard
Borg, updated six familiar D-Day scenarios, mostly from the base
game. The most conspicuous additions were new unit types, such
as machine guns, Big Guns, and landing craft - as well as the
most recently introduced Supported Infantry and Supported Armor
(or, as somebody said, "tanks with benefits"). In
addition, some card counts and medal objectives had been increased,
and some terrain had been shifted. Because of the various special
units and terrain types, a user-friendly help sheet was distributed
to each player, and before each round, Richard or the GM reviewed
that scenario's new elements. The players all deserve to be
commended for absorbing a good deal of new information. There
were questions during play, as always, but no problems.
Mulligan Round ... D-Day Begins: Pegasus Bridge. Pegasus
is the first scenario in the basic Memoir '44 instruction
book, and is often used to teach the basics of the game to beginners.
But here, unlike the original version of this scenario, the
Germans had three armored units in different corners of the board,
and an extra card in their hand. In addition, each side had
a pair of Special Weapons infantries, and the battle went to
5 medals, instead of 4. We had 40 players for the Mulligan,
which was identical to last year's count. For the Allies, Eric
Martin and 2010 champion John Skiba notched a 5-0 shutout. Daniel
Long gained the only 5-0 win for Axis. The Allies won 27 of
the 40 games (68%), with an average score of 4.38-3.00.
Round 1 ... D-Day Begins: Pegasus Bridge. Dawn broke
and 38 of our best fighters tried again to take Pegasus (again,
the same count as last year). The record was similar to the
previous evening, with the Allies winning 29 of the 38 encounters
(76%) by an average score of 4.42-2.58. Allied 5-0 shutout wins
were gained by Marvin Birnbaum, Chris Kalmbacher, John Kirk,
James Miller, Robert Powers, Michael Shea, and Chuck Stapp.
Marvin's and John's were notable because they shut each other
out. This round's biggest Axis wins were 5-1 victories by Carl
Moon and Michael Shea. Out of 39 Pegasus matches in the Mulligan
and Round 1, there were only three in which the Axis won both
games; interestingly, 2013 laurelist Tim Hitchings played in
two of them.
2 ... Sainte Mere-Eglise. On this revised map, the American
paratroops have already landed, the Germans have armor on both
their left and right, and the three town hexes in the middle
have become a temporary majority medal objective. The Allies
won 20 battles in 34 tries (59%), by an average score of 4.88-4.56.
Eight of the 17 matches were sweeps. 2004 champ Steve Lollis
scored the round's only shutout, as Axis, while 2005-06 champ
Joe Harrison had the best Allied score, at 6-1.
Round 3 ... Sword Beach. The Germans have a Big Gun
and a mortar infantry, while the British have a Destroyer and
a pair of bunker-busting Hobart's Funnies. Because a couple
of players had dropped out, we only had 16 players for this round,
so no eliminators were necessary this year. This scenario played
out evenly, with the Allies winning nine of 16 games (56%), by
an average score of 4.88-4.38. Five of the eight matches were
sweeps. The biggest Allied win was a 6-1 score by GM Sam Edelston,
avenging his loss in the 2012 Final to Eric Caron, while the
biggest Axis win was notched by 2010 champ John Skiba, at 6-2.
After three rounds, we had three players undefeated at 6-0:
Joe Harrison, Geoff Heintzelman, and Gareth Williams. (Geoff
had lost a split match in the Mulligan, but re-entered and swept
rounds 1, 2, and 3.)
Round 4 ... Gold Beach. Another amphibious landing
scenario. The British have a pair of bunker-busting Hobart's
Funnies, and several of their units are on Landing Craft. The
Germans have an artillery front-and-center to push them back
into the Channel, and a Big Gun in the rear to ensure that safety
will be hard to find. Most of the players who made it this far
in the tournament were perennial contenders. Mike Shea swept
John Skiba, 6-4, 6-3; Mike's Allies had easily eliminated John's
center artillery in Game 1, but in the rematch, though John busted
Mike's artillery bunker, his 18 dice were only able to hit it
once and retreat it all the way to the back row. Gareth Williams,
eliminated Ty Hansen, 6-2, 4-6. Joe Harrison knocked out Barry
Shoults, 5-6, 6-3. Geoff Heintzelman sent GM Sam Edelston off
to desk duty, 6-3, 4-6, gaining his clinching medal by going
Behind Enemy Lines to kill off a solitary infantry figure that
was hiding way off in the corner. The Allies won five of the
eight games, with an average score of 5.13-4.38. Barry, Sam,
and Ty all finished the tournament at 5-3, and within two medals
of each other.
As we entered the semifinals, the GM checked the standings.
Joe led the pack at 7-1, with 45 medals. Behind him were Gareth,
Geoff, and Mike - all tied with 7-1 records and 44 medals. Time
to see what carnage could be wrought at Omaha.
Round 5 ... Omaha First Wave ... semifinals. The original
version of this scenario is notoriously one-sided, at about 80-20.
The new tournament version moved one German artillery to the
rear and changed the other to a shorter-range Flak 88 anti-tank
gun. As in all of the other scenarios, each side was given some
special units. The stage was set, and the battle lines were
drawn. Geoff won his first game against Joe, 7-6. In their
rematch, Geoff sensed imminent defeat, so his Germans launched
a desperate Infantry Assault on their right, just when Joe had
run out of cards to defend, and Geoff was able to steal a second
7-6 victory. Meanwhile, Mike opened with a devastating 7-2 win
as Axis over Gareth. However, Gareth pulled out a 7-5 win in
the rematch, ending the game with a successful Ambush - and in
so doing, clinched third place.
The Final was going to be perennial contender Mike Shea against
second-time WBC contestant Geoff Heintzelman.
Geoff came to WBC for the first time last year, but he's known
as a strong player in the Memoir '44 Online world. Mike
is dangerous at a variety of the Commands & Colors
games - he won C&C: Napoleonics in 2011 and was runner-up
at BattleLore in 2009. Interestingly, in last year's
Memoir tournament, Geoff and Mike tied for 7th place,
with 5-3 records and 40 medals. Now, it was time for them to
tangle again for higher stakes.
Two-time champ Joe Harrison
falls to new champ Geoff Heintzelman in the semifinals.
Round 6 ... Juno Beach ... Final. Traditionally, the
German Left flank at Juno is hard to defend, but hopefully the
addition of a fifth card, a Big Gun, and a Supported Armor unit
might even things out a little. The first game was, indeed,
more even. Geoff's Germans put up a stiff defense as Mike's
Canadians fought their way up the beach. But with an Armor Assault,
Mike killed a singleton infantry and took ground into a medal
town. Then a Barrage of offshore fire demolished the German
Big Gun, and that was the beginning of the end. An Allied infantry
went Behind Enemy Lines to capture the last medal to give Mike
a 6-5 win.
The rematch was a completely different story. This time,
Geoff came up the right flank with devastating cards - a pair
of Infantry Assaults, an Ambush, Direct from HQ, and more - while
Mike's Germans had no cards to order that flank. Moreover, Geoff's
dice were simply homicidal as he cleaned out the forward bunker
and the two enemy infantries on his right. The German armor
couldn't get over fast enough to make a difference, so they had
no way to stop the Canadians from gaining that flank's third
objective and an astonishing 6-0 victory. This, Geoff won the
championship match in a split decision, 11-6.
NEXT YEAR'S TOURNAMENT ... VOTE FOR SCENARIOS!
For the 2015 WBC Memoir tournament, Uncle Sam wants
YOU to vote!
The GM is applying to run the Memoir tournament again
next year. He has created a special thread on the Days of Wonder
Memoir '44 English Forum - http://www.daysofwonder.com/en/msg/?th=29861
- where people have been asked to suggest scenarios for the
2015 WBC Memoir tournament.
Nominations will close on November 30.
Shortly after December 1, the GM will post a link to an online
survey where you can vote for the actual tournament scenarios.
This link will be posted at that same web address. All necessary
instructions will be posted there, too. Any Memoir player
may vote, whether you have ever attended WBC or not, whether
you plan to play in next year's tournament or not. If you have
questions, you can email Sam at the address below.
Voting will end at midnight on January 31, 2015. The chosen
scenarios will be announced in the 2015 Event Preview on this
In addition to the tournament, as usual, we had several multi-player
Overlord games scheduled. These are always a highlight, because
many players only have a chance to play them at conventions.
They also tend to be a source of great battle stories.
This year, we started our multi-player agenda on Thursday
with two battles from the new D-Day Landings expansion.
The full expansion includes six "extended Breakthrough"
maps - 23 hexes deep, instead of the Breakthrough format's usual
17 that can be lined up next to each other to create a
giant 14-foot-wide map of the Normandy coast. We played the
three American maps Thursday morning, and the three British/Canadian
maps Thursday afternoon, with Richard Borg explaining things
to large crowds of players before each game.
Each map is designed to be played by one player per side,
with its own Breakthrough deck, so a 3-map game would normally
be for six players. However, our philosophy was that anybody
who wanted to play, would play, so we doubled people up and had
about 12 each in morning and afternoon games. So much was going
on that we didn't take many notes on the games.
D-Day American Landings. Omaha, Utah, and the American
Airborne drop. Our first look at a Memoir map that filled
two side-by-side 8-foot tables. A hard go for the little green
men - not much headway on the beach. The Germans took this game
by a lopsided score of 37-19.
D-Day British/Canadian Landings. Sword, Juno, and
Gold Beaches. This time, it was the Allies' turn to score big,
as they took out some of the German Big Guns and captured most
of the beaches. Chalk this one up for the Allies, 41-24.
D-Day Operation Neptune The Mother of All Memoirs.
Saturday afternoon. Six maps. Four big tables. Most of the
player slots were doubled up, so we had a good 20 people playing.
Periodically, a passer-by would stop, look, and say, "Wow!"
Heavy losses for the Allies across the board, as they had a
hard fight to get off the beaches. They covered their quota
of medals on Juno and American Airborne. The British captured
all three beach sections on Gold, but their forces were positively
lacerated, as the Fraulein playing Axis kept uncannily rolling
reinforcements. German Big Guns fell at Sword and one of the
American maps. At the end of this Longest Day, it was close,
but the Germans had more medals, 63-60.
In other action, we also played three conventional Overlords:
Push To the Roer. This year's Friday Midnight Madness
scenario was composed by Eric Mosso. It used lots of special
units, with winter limited mobility rules. Sam Edelston commanded
the Allies, teamed with Field Generals Manuel Bravo, Tony Gonzalez,
and John Skiba. Eric Caron led the Germans, with Jim Dougherty,
Dave Rennert, a teen player named Jonathan, and late-game substitute
Eric Mosso. The Allies initially targeted a tank destroyer and
other heavy units in and close to their near-right section, and
attacked a forward anti-tank infantry and a 2-hex town objective
at the center of the board, which led to heavy skirmishing in
all those areas. This scenario allows each side to bring in
several reinforcement units, beginning on its fifth turn, so
the Germans brought in several armors, which led to heavy combat
on the center-right. In addition, some German reinforcements
began approaching the Allied left, but the Allies finally got
some orders there and eventually pushed to the far end of the
board. With a few instances of help from friendly dice, the
Allies were able to prevail, 17-11. The scenario is available
online at http://www.daysofwonder.com/memoir44/en/editor/view/?id=14089
Rzhev. As we looked at the people who showed up to
play this scenario, we realized that four of them were named
David, so it became Team Dave against the rest of the world.
Team Dave's Germans featured a Brooks, a Rennert, and not one,
but two Glownys (the senior one of whom commanded). The Russians
were led by Eric Mosso, aided by Geoff and Daniel Heintzelman,
Sam Edelston, and Jim Dougherty. For most of the game, the Russians
had little to order their right flank, and too few hits in the
center. The ice on the river was thin - a tank and infantry
fell through. And around their fifth turn, the Germans turned
into killing machines, grinding up the Russian units at a steady
pace. After nine turns, the Germans held a commanding 14-5 lead,
though a Russian Finest Hour was lucky enough to conclude four
kills before Team Dave destroyed another Russian tank to complete
the 15-9 slaughter. The Germans scored six kills each on their
left and right, while the Russians got four of their kills on
Because that battle had gone so quickly, we shuffled the players
and played it again. John Skiba led the Allies, assisted by
Daniel Heintzelman and Mark. Geoff Heintzelman led the Germans,
assisted by Eric Mosso, Joe Harrison, and Sam Edelston. The
Russians had a few very timely cards and merciless dice, which
allowed them to take out most of the Panzers and to gain a big
edge on their left and center. There wasn't sufficient time to
conclude the battle, but it was agreed that the Russians had
the winning position.
Peleliu Landings. It was WBC first-timer Antonio Gonzalez
(with David Rennert, Lee W., and Jim Dougherty as the Marines
trying to gain a beachhead, while Sam Edelston (with Eric Mosso,
Eric Caron, Manuel Bravo, and Jonathan) tried to beat them back
into the sea. On their third turn, the Allies launched a devastating
air strike against the unmoved Japanese armor, scoring seven
hits, which took the main Japanese tank force almost entirely
out of the battle. However, the Japanese infantry rolled very
effectively. They had ten medals after their 5th turn, and a
big Their Finest Hour rolled eight orders and three kills. Thus,
the Japanese subdued the Marines, 13-6.
The GM wishes to thank AGMs Mark Guttag and Gareth Williams
for their help at the tournament. He also thanks Antonio Gonzalez,
Geoff Heintzelman, Daniel Heintzelman, Eric Mosso, John Skiba,
and everyone else who helped with the tournament and the Overlords.
Also, extra special thanks to Richard Borg for creating the
special scenarios ... and also for bringing help sheets, explaining
less familiar units to the players, bringing extra badges and
tokens, generously donating copies of D-Day Landings as prizes
for the two top players, and of course for leading the three
jumbo D-Day Landings battles. Thanks, also, to Days of Wonder
for continuing to support and expand this wonderful game.
Sam Edelston's Allied invaders in
the mega D-Day game.
To the victor goes the spoils ...
even if he comes from Duke.
Designer Richaard Borg has a captive
audience for his explanation of the new D-Day landings scenarios.