||The tournament started with 28 participants, with the top 10 advancing to the semifinal. Five players (Rebecca Roppolo, DJ Borton, AJ Jiang, Curt Collins, and Kirk Porteous) had three wins in the qualifying round, and one (Paul Klayder) had two. Two more semifinalists (Dominic Blais and Eric Freeman) made it in with a win and three seconds and a win and two seconds, respectively. That left four players with a win, a second, and two thirds. The margin of victory points used for tiebreakers put Mike Kaltman and Jason Arvey into the last two semifinal seats, leaving Oliver Searles and Doug Galullo just under the cut.
The semifinal round consisted of four five-player games (instead of the four-player games used in the first round), since that is the preferred number from the live tournament. AJ Jiang and DJ Borton finished with two wins apiece, which left four single-game winners. Curt Collins had a win and a second, and Dominic Blais and Paul Klayder rounded out the final with a win and two thirds each.
In the final, AJ led after the first scoring round, with DJ in second and the others clumped together behind. On the next turn, DJ managed to position himself with his El Grande and the king in Neukastilien. He then played the card to score one region, followed by Curt scoring the first position in each region. That combination more than any other put DJ in position to run away with the game. Curt’s play also elevated him to third and allowed him to be in position to finish in second place. Although the king moved out, DJ was still able to maintain the lead with his El Grande in Neukastilien, which put him in front by 25 points after the second scoring round. Only 8 points separated second through fifth at that point.
With the other players playing for second place, it was a hotly contested battle. Dominic took over from AJ early on, but then AJ caught back up just before the final scoring round. They went into that scoring round tied, with Curt 5 points behind. With a strong position in the south, holding Valencia, Granada, and Sevilla (with his El Grande and the king), Curt was able to pass them both to capture second place.
- DJ Borton
- Curt Collins
- AJ Jiang
- Dominic Blais
- Paul Klayder
- Rebecca Roppolo
I won’t be running the tournament again, but if I were, I would probably advance half the field to the semifinal, since there is no good reason not to do so. Thanks to everyone who played.