Harald Henning, CT
Alan Sudy, VA
Bill Crenshaw, VA
Jeff Mullet, OH
Arthur Field, SC
Kevin Sudy, VA
Tedd Mullally, NJ
From Diner to Champion ...
The chairman and Jon Anderson.
Designer Bill Crenshaw, Lee Waters
and David Hood.
Stacey Collinson wins her way
into a Final against Pat Mirk.
The finalists gather in the
Chairman's private meeting room.
With Bill Crenshaw concentrating on GMing his newest design,
Global Mogul, I took over the reigns of Manifest Destiny
this year. Since the 2013 tourney had an all time attendance
low and lacked enough votes to get back in this year, we had
to rely on Andy Lewis and GMT for a sponsorship.
people who had either never played or only played once years
ago, appeared for the demo. I can't teach the game as well as
Bill does and before I knew it, an hour had gone by and it was
time for the first round to begin. I picked up my game and rushed
to the room to find about 18 players and only two copies of the
game. Things didn't look good. Finally, we scrounged up one
more copy, but still had to turn three people away. People often
complain about events moving into the Pre-Con and out of the
convention week but this is just another example of why. The
relative lack of competition means that Pre-Con events draw better
and this was no exception. The Pre-con heat easily outdrew the
sessions during WBC week and drew some new players in the process.
All three tables had at least one new player. While it was
no shock that veteran Tedd Mullally won his table, the other
two had some pleasant surprises. My gaming nemesis, Bruce Reiff
was able to pound me enough that I fell from the lead into a
tie for first and lost on the tie-breaker to Alex Slate, who
I believe was playing in only his second game (at least Bruce
came in last, to satisfy my personal victory condition). In
the third game, young Dacey Collinson won after just learning
this fairly complex game at the demo.
Before the second heat on Tuesday, I had a sudden funeral
I had to attend and Bill Crenshaw and Ken Gutermuth thankfully
filled in for me. Only five players appeared, so there was only
one table. Charlie Hickok won that game by a single point with
some clutch last minute die rolling. This low turnout will probably
result in the Tuesday heat being moved or dropped if Manifest
returns next year.
The Thursday heat rebounded with three tables of 14 players.
David Hood eeked out a 1-point win and Ken Gutermuth won by
three points. I came from behind with a "Crenshaw-esque"
charge to win by three points. This would get me into the Final,
but it would also haunt me later. Dacey watched my comeback and
in the Final would hit me a few times instead of the leader because
she thought I "was sneaky and knew what I was doing".
Little did she know I was just emulating Bill. And so, this
would end up being one of the rare "Crenshaw/Sudy-free Finals.
On the way to the Final, I passed Tedd Mullally who was with
a group of friends. I asked if he was about to head to the Final
when he stated he forgot about it and was just on his way to
dinner. His friends could not believe he was going to pass up
a Final to go eat. After a little chastising and goading, they
talked him into skipping dinner and playing in the Final. The
rest, as they say, is history.
As is becoming more common, some players bid for positions
that didn't necessarily match their Destiny cards. Tedd bid 15
and took Mexico, even though he had Louisiana Purchase. I bid
10 and took Quebec with Manifest Destiny, even though I didn't
have Hudson Bay or Remember the Alamo. Ken ended up taking Virginia
with California Gold Rush. David played Pennsylvania with Native
Sovereignty . And Dacey took Louisiana with Remember the Alamo.
So basically none of us had the "traditional" starts
that one would expect.
David started out in the lead and kept it for most of the
game with shrewd negotiating, decent rolling, and a lucky card
draw when needed.. But none of us were ever horribly behind.
Tedd was doing ok most of the game, not stepping on any toes
and laying low. I was doing likewise, but I couldn't make a
pioneer roll to save my life. I missed out on all the Era 1 Breakthroughs
and had to collaborate with David, the leader, on an Era 2 Breakthrough
out of desperation to avoid being shut out. Dacey had the distinction
of being the first female minor to make the Final and represented
the younger crowd well. But her lack of experience with what
cards and events were coming out, would prove her undoing. Poor
Ken did well to stay somewhat within striking distance, but it
seemed like wherever Ken went, it was someplace that another
player had the cards for. With Ken being attacked most of the
game for this reason, his income remained low throughout. His
main function in the Final would be to move us into the swanky
BPA HQ room for a more comfortable venue.
In the end Tedd made a clutch Breakthrough roll and a seemingly
insignificant $5 livestock payout ended up being the difference
in Tedd being able to buy one more progression, come from behind
and seal the win. Even if he was hungry ...