Still hitting the beach eight years
For 2001, the Breakout: Normandy tournament featured a
new format and a new schedule, but happily most of the same faces
were back on the beaches of France again. The tournament shifted
to a Swiss-elimination format, from the Swiss format previously
used. This created a four-game Swiss style 'regular season' followed
by a two-round single elimination 'playoff'. The tournament
also started on Wednesday morning (with an optional Tuesday night
round) in hopes of avoiding conflicts with other BPA events.
Under the new format,
the focus for the first four rounds was making the playoffs.
With a field of 34 players, only two players would be 4-0 after
four rounds. This meant that two players with 3-1 schedules would
advance (based upon strength of schedule) to the playoffs.
The first two rounds yielded few surprises. In general, the
favorites won out, setting up great later round contests. As
luck would have it, the third round featured many familiar grudge
matches. Jim Doughan and Don Greenwood met yet again, with Doughan
coming out on top. Roommates and fierce rivals Mike Rinella and
Marvin Birnbaum were paired as well with Rinella taking the win
in a game highlighted by short days and weather changes. But
the highlight of the round (and one of the more colorful moments
of the tournament) was Alan Applebaum vs. Phil Barcafer, a rematch
of the 2000 finals.
In last year's championship game, Barcafer defeated Applebaum
with the daring and unorthodox 'postal on the coastal' nighttime
assault on Ste. Mere Eglise. This gambit, which risks the game
on the first roll, provoked much discussion on ConSimWorld, and
even spawned a commemorative T-shirt design. Now Alan had his
chance for retribution. In dramatic fashion, Barcafer once again
'went postal' on Applebaum, and once again he won the roll. This
created calls for a new T-shirt emblazoned with 'The Postman
Always Rings Twice'. Barcafer parlayed his successful postal
gambit into a win and must now be truly considered Applebaum's
personal nemesis. To his credit, Alan took it all in stride.
Later in the game, he even pointed out an obvious oversight of
Phil's to prevent him from making a blunder.
into the fourth round there were four undefeated players remaining
-- Rinella, Barcafer, Doughan and Andrew Cummins. Rinella defeated
Barcafer to gain a spot in the finals and Doughan did the same
with a win over Cummins. As it turned out Applebaum's and Greenwood's
3-1 records were good enough to advance because of strength of
schedule, along with undefeated Rinella and Doughan. Now it was
time for the single elimination playoffs. In the first semifinal
match, Doughan and Applebaum squared off. Doughan outbid Applebaum
25 to 20 for the Germans, and prepared his defense. After some
strong initial progress, however, the allied assault lost momentum
and was never able to recover. In the other semifinal, Rinella
defeated Greenwood with the age-old trick of seizing the 'magic-bridge'
and shutting the Americans down in Utah.
The finals were between two prior champions, both undefeated.
In addition the match was the first ever meeting for these two
players who have championed the opposing sides. Mike 'Caen Meat
Grinder' Rinella vs. Rommel award winner Doughan. Interestingly
enough, Rinella bid an eye-popping 30 to take the Germans from
Doughan who bid a mere 27. So these two experienced players were
going to have to play the game from their least favored side.
Poor bombardments and strong interdictions characterized the
initial landings. The Allies got ashore in Sword and Juno, but
outright lost at Gold. At Omaha they were ashore, but at Utah
the coastal interdiction was deadly. In response to this, Doughan
took a page out of Rinella's book and went straight at Caen.
Excellent bombardments and a large threatened assault forced
the German's hand in Caen. Despite clear weather and air interdiction,
the critical 12SS and Panzer Lehr divisions were committed to
the defense of Caen. They would have to run 'the trail of tears'.
11 die rolls (and a shocking seven aces) later, the German Panzer
Divisions were burning on the Caen highway. The city would not
hold. In the coup-de-grace, British forces overran Caen and captured
Aunay-sur-Odon in one impulse.
In addition to the WBC plaques,
Normandy theme prizes were awarded to the first six places. For
first place Doughan received a Saving Private Ryan DVD. For Second,
Rinella received The Longest Day DVD. For third place, Greenwood
took home the coveted bottle of Calvados (Norman apple brandy).
Applebaum received a wheel of Camembert cheese for fourth place.
Bryan Eshleman won a "Band of Brothers" paperback for
fifth place, and for taking sixth place, Cummins will be enjoying
the voice of Edith Piaf while listening to her greatest hits.
In addition, Eshleman was awarded with the Eisenhower award for
best Allied play, Doughan received the Rommel award for German
play, and Cliff Hansen received the award for best new player.
Extra thanks to the folks at Multi-Man Publishing for the gift
A total of 34 players played 54 games. The Germans continued
their statistical dominance, winning 33 of 54 games (61%). As
usual, bids for the Germans continued to escalate in the later
rounds between the better players. Finally, a note of thanks
to Ron Fedin who ran the tournament for the previous five years:
it is no small matter to say that after one year of running the
tournament, the new GM has profound respect for the job Ron has
done in year's past. This year's tournament would never have
been as successful without Ron's efforts in prior years. Thanks
a lot Ron.