Tom Good and Johnny Wilson
Independence Indeed . . .
Carl Adamec vs Daniel Collinson
Malcolm Smith vs Pete Winkel
Israeli Yossi Dvora vs Tripp
Fred Bauer vs Scott Foremny
A KGB matter ...
present day Scots pondering freedom from the English
again, a well attended demo expanded the field in this, the 12th
year of the Highlanders vs Longshanks rumble. A number of energetic
new players attended and advanced to the elimination rounds.
That said, the KGB crew was again dominant, pitting brother vs.
brother in the later rounds, and ultimately hogging yet another
crown. The new format of Single Elim with a Mulligan round seemed
to suit the crowd, and has the intended effect of no longer requiring
any "scorekeeping" of nobles or other "tie breakers"
that never seemed satisfying in the past. The focus is now simply
Early rounds favored the English, both in bidding and victories
by a margin of 6:4. However, as in previous tournaments, the
bids both declined, and favored the Scots by the end. The only
exceptions to this appears to be the "metagame", where
experienced opponents now know what the other guy favors (based
on previous encounters), and may purposely bid a higher number
just to deny them the use of their favored side.
With the mulligan out of the way, 11 warriors advanced to
the elimination round, and six remained thereafter. Four were
members of the KGB, three actually on the same team (Malcolm
Smith, Ron Draker and Lyman Moquin). The others were previous
multi-year contenders Fred Bauer and Steve Koleszar, and relative
newcomer Tom Good. Only later would the author see the solicitation
that Tom had placed in the Open Gaming bulletin board looking
for a pickup game . . . apparently Tom had been working out and
eating his Wheaties, because he bested last year's runner-up
Ron Draker in the quarters to advance to the semifinals. There,
he would play defending champ Malcolm, who had just squeaked
by Steve with a 7/7 tie as the Scots. Fred finally got some revenge
on Lyman in the quarterfinals for their 2010 championship showdown,
taking Lyman's favored English with a fairly high bid, then breaking
the Scots early and often.
This left three survivors and necessitated a bye for Fred,
since Malcolm had taken one earlier. Tom fought the good fight,
but went down to the reigning champion, setting the stage for
Fred and Malcolm. Malcolm was up to the task of defending his
crown and took his third HOS shield in the process.
Clearly, the tourney is well stocked with "sharks",
but there was a renewed contingent of new players that competed
for the first time and have been playing a game in the offseason
that is now over a decade old. The number of players and games
played was up significantly, and the general "feel"
was that of quicker play - due to mastery of the game and competent
opposition. Overall, a satisfying year for Hammer of the
Barry Eynon vs Randy MacInnis