Patrick Shea, Alex Bell, Winton LeMoine
and Chris Senhouse raising crops.
Nothing but farms as far as you can
see in Pennsylvania Dutch country.
This year, the tournament changed format to accommodate the
large field that we have been generating of late. Three qualifying
heats would cut all but the top 20 players for four 5-player
tables, which would then pass the four winners to the Final.
In addition, we introduced the "World Championship"
deck, or the WM deck, to be played in the Final. Only Sceadeau
D'Tela was familiar with the cards before hand, but everyone
had a night to go back to their room and study the cards, or
call contacts back home who had used the cards previously, to
try to get a feel for what should be picked first during the
When the players reconvened, heads filled with scouting reports
to use when the packs were finally opened, there was a lot of
time spent during the draft portion of the game, as each player
read over the admittedly wordy WM cards to find the best line
for creating a great farm.
The Final consisted of Haim Hochboim in the 1 seat, followed
by Ben Scholl, Winton Lemoine and Sceadeau D'Tela respectively
in the three remaining seats. The early game saw Haim trying
to set up a food engine with Sceadeau directly on his right stealing
away all of his animals with cards Haim wasn't quite expecting.
Haim was looking for animals to fuel an occupation engine that
let him play occupations without spending an action but at the
cost of two food. He had to struggle to get that food the entire
This battling proved good for Ben, who was sitting to Haim's
left and benefiting the most from Haim taking food actions in
place of resource actions, allowing Ben to get a bigger pile
than he would have otherwise. Contributing also to Ben's ultimate
victory was playing a card that let him ignore that he was playing
with a strange and unusual deck, the Village Fool. This card
gave him points for NOT playing cards -- so he was able to just
sit back and play a very straight forward game and get a ton
of bonus points for doing so.
The downside of Ben's card (which basically kept him from
taking start player) didn't hinder him too much, as Haim was
start player for much of the game, always taking it back when
he lost it, and not being challenged seriously for it.
Sceadeau's plan was to play the long game, setting up a solid
food and point engine while setting up to eventually grow, using
the fairly unorthodox play of not trying too hard for early growth,
but setting up for the big late game by taking turns against
the tide. It may have worked, except that this play, coupled
with what Haim and Winton were doing, allowed Ben to take some
really powerful actions, such as a family growth without room
in round 12 going third!
The game was close for the top three spots with all of the
players a couple of points apart, with Winton never really recovering
from playing the early game as if the final table had been drafting
EIK instead of WM.
Congratulations are in order for Ben, who had to take down
his own teammate (Haim) in HIS TEAM GAME to claim the shield.
Marissa Bianco is surrounded by farmboys.
GM Josh Cooper with his finalists.