el grande   

Updated Nov. 18, 2014

2014 WBC Report    

 2015 Status: pending 2015 GM commitment

Alex Bove, PA

2014 Champion


Event History
1999    Stu Hendrickson    47
2000    Anthony Burke     40
2001    Jason Levine    70
2002    Mark Guttag    41
2003    Rob Flowers    55
2004     Jay Fox    68
2005    Charlie Kersten    97
2006     Greg Thatcher    55
2007    Robb Effinger    68
2008     Geoff Pounder    61
2009    Rob Flowers    71
2010    Curt Collins II    69
2011    Curt Collins II    68
2012     Eric Freeman    61
2013    Robb Effinger    68
2014    Alex Bove    70


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Rob Flowers        MD    13    109
  2.  Robb Effinger      on    14    108
  3.  Greg Thatcher      FL    14     95
  4.  Curt Collins II    PA    12     87
  5.  Geoff Pounder      on    14     73
  6.  Jason Levine       NY    05     62
  7.  Eric Freeman       PA    12     60
  8.  Jay Fox            NJ    12     55
  9.  Charlie Kersten    OH    05     40
 10.  Mark Guttag        VA    02     40
 11.  David Buchholz     MI    14     38
 12.  Yoel Weiss         NJ    14     36
 13.  Stu Hendrickson    VA    00     36
 14.  Alex Bove          PA    14     30
 15.  Anthony Burke      NJ    00     30
 16.  Marc Berenbach     MA    13     27
 17.  Mike Hazel         SC    07     24
 18.  Josh Campbell      NY    03     24
 19.  Brad Sherwood      PA    13     18
 20.  Mike Kaltman       PA    09     18
 21.  Winton LeMoine     CA    07     18
 22.  Nick Benedict      CA    01     18
 23.  Rob Seulowitz      NY    00     18
 24.  Dan Hoffman        NC    99     18
 25.  Eric Brosius       MA    10     17
 26.  Barry Shutt        PA    04     16
 27.  Mario Lanza        PA    03     16
 28.  Barb Flaxington    NJ    09     15
 29.  Gary Presser       NY    02     13
 30.  Drew Duboff        NJ    11     12
 31.  Brian Kirchner     de    06     12
 32.  Pete Gathmann      NJ    05     12
 33.  John Poniske       PA    04     12
 34.  Davyd Field        SC    03     12
 35.  Dennis Disney      TX    99     12
 36.  Jeff Meyer         MA    12      9
 37.  Rich Meyer         MA    07      9
 38.  David Gubbay       TX    06      9
 39.  James Pei          TX    00      9
 40.  Sean Vessey        VA    99      9
 41.  Stan Hilinski      MD    02      8
 42.  Bruce DuBoff       NJ    12      6
 43.  Nick Henning       CT    09      6
 44.  Tim Mossman        MD    08      6
 45.  Mike Nickeloff     CA    07      6
 46.  Paul Murphy        UT    06      6
 47.  Peter Martin       NJ    01      6
 48.  Paul Hakken        NJ    99      6
 49.  Andrew Greene      VA    04      4
 50.  Gary Noe           FL    03      4
 51.  Kolbe DiGiulio     PA    13      3
 52.  Brian Kowal        WI    07      3
 53.  Joe Pabis          VA    06      3
 54.  Andy Lewis         DE    01      3
 55.  Scott Buckwalter   MD    00      3
 56.  Scott Smith        GA    99      3

2014 Laurelists
Repeating Laurelists: 

Greg Thathcer, CA

Yoel Weiss, NJ

Robb Effinger, on

David Buchholz, MI

Geoff Pounder, on

Past Winners

Stu Hendrickson,VA

Anthony Burke, NJ

Jason Levine, NY

Mark Guttag, VA

Rob Flowers, MD
2003, 2009

Jay Fox, NJ

Charlie Kersten, OH

Greg Thatcher, FL

Robb Effinger, on
2007, 2013

Geoff Pounder, on

Curt Collins II, PA

Eric Freeman, PA

Alex Bove, PA

GM Rob Flowers and his five finalists. For a change, the top-ranked Flowers was not among the laurelists.

Holding Steady ...

Our hearty band of players joined once more for a great El Grande event. 20 preliminary games were played to advance 25 to the single elimination rounds.

We had no double winners this year, but one triple winner: Greg Thatcher, who, after a couple years absence from the con, came back to steamroll the competition with three high-scoring wins, including one by 150 points. The Jay's Basement crowd was well represented, as usual, while the GM and his assistants barely made the cutoffs.

One rule I had written down (but had not used before) was changed on the fly once we saw how it works in practice. Some special action cards ask players to remove pieces off the board using the simultaneous secret action wheel. It is possible for a player to choose an illegal spot on the board, whereupon it is not clear from the rulebook how that is resolved.

My tournament rule specified that the player executing the action gets to then choose another legal region. It became instantly clear that this would be way too disruptive to the game, and the rule was changed to allow the executing player to choose among the legal regions with the least caballeros. This will be corrected in future tournaments.

With the number games we play each year, it's not uncommon for there to be tie scores. The official rules do not have any tiebreakers, so several have been invented for the WBC tournament. Usually the first one or two are enough. This year, however, the battle for first in one preliminary game went to the third tiebreaker (highest unused power cards) where Tim Mossman had his 13 left while Geoff Pounder had his 12. We have occasionally used this tiebreaker before, but not for first place in a game.

One note I had from another preliminary game said that during Round 8, one player got to use the Move the King action after playing his 1 card! (This is usually one of the first two actions taken during a turn.)

The semifinals were exciting as usual with a very close couple of games. Greg Thatcher edged Geoff Pounder on a tiebreaker to win his advancement (which earned Geoff sixth place for his efforts).

The Final featured previous champions Greg Thatcher and Robb Effinger, while David Buchholz and Yoel Weiss had both finished second in prior tournaments. Alex was the relative newcomer to Round 3 this year.

The game started off with one of the few cards that can dramatically change the first few turns: Decay of Authority (remove all Caballeros from your court). Dave, bidding last, was first player with a 6 and executed the card, sending home 7 cabs from each player. He also set up a Score the Least card which Yoel then used to score all the current regions and propel both of them to a decent lead.

The other players started building up better board positions; however, the relative scores remained unchanged as two scoring cards (the "Dial-a-Score" and a Score the Castillo) were both burned. During Round 2, Greg used an Intrigue card to clear out Aragon, much to the dismay of Alex and to a lesser extent, Robb.

The next score card came during Round 3, where a Score the Most helped both Yoel and David again. Yoel was leading David by five points with others 10-14 points behind. However, Yoel's position was badly hurt by a King Return's card which cost him three pieces from the board. By the end of the first scoring round, David's relatively better board position put him in a 4-point lead over Yoel, with the rest within 15 points.

Over the next three rounds, both Score the 5 Regions cards were played, helping Robb to climb out of last place and into a temporary lead. Greg and David each both used a Score Any Region card to stay in the pack. Yoel used his 2-1-13 cards to some effect, but he was still suffering from an inferior board position. Things really started to even out for the group, and after the second scoring round, Greg was in the lead, with scores of 69-68-68-67-65.

An early Score the 4 Regions card in Turn 7 helped Greg extend his lead, especially since his home province of Granada was now a 4/0/0 thanks to an earlier move by Alex. Then a potentially game-changing set of moves came up in Round 8 where Robb set Yoel up to score the firsts, giving each of the 18 points while the rest got 8-6-4 points. This put Yoel back in the lead with Robb close behind.

Late in that turn, Alex used a Mobile Scoreboard card to put the 8/4/0 on the Castillo! Last turn he had gotten a healthy number of his pieces in there with an Intrigue card, but even with his pieces from this turn, he barely had a lead.

Then, on Turn 9, the second Score the Castillo card came out. Alex was third in bidding order, but neither Greg nor Yoel had their 13 cards left to play. Alex scored the Castillo, which brought him back to about the middle of the pack. He was heading into the final round with a large Castillo force, but Greg had locked up his own home territory and David had a number of pieces ready to pounce as well.

In the last Castillo drop, David, Alex, and Yoel managed to each take over each others' home provinces such that none managed to score their Grande. Robb was left unscathed, as was Greg, who was protected by the King. However, the couple of scores of the 8/4/0 Castillo proved decisive, as Alex managed to scrape into the lead by two points at 108. Greg and Yoel tied at 106, with Greg winning the tiebreaker. Robb and David were at 103 and 101, respectively. Congratulations to Alex for a well-deserved win.

 GM     Rob Flowers  [12th Year]  NA  
   rpf1@mindspring.com   NA

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