Thar's a New Cap'n Aboard This
Scurvy knave Daniel Long wouldn't
go to sea without his rubber ducky.
Cap'n Jason brought a new ship flying
the crossbones to the cove this year.
ARRRR! For a final time the seas of Marietta were plundered, this time under the command of a new captain, Jason "Chainlink" Fisher. Additional Assistant GM crew included Barret Straub and Ron Fisher, joined this year by Captain Larry (who finally got to play this game again!). Across four heats we recruited over 100 pirates with 41 games played and 33 winners.
Heat 1 was relatively subdued, possibly in part to it starting at 9:00am, with 53 pirates playing 11 games. Only a single chain of shame was awarded even though both Fishers proudly displayed their iron from previous years. Veteran pirate Steve Shambeda had his eyes on the Sea Dog Medal and indicated his plan to sink as many pirates as possible throughout the heats but trailed behind Captain Larry, earning only three stones to Larry's seven. For the wenches Anna Rinko took the lead with six stones.
The winners were: Christian Winicki, Dan Mathias, Jennifer Brown, Brad Sherwood, Andy Gardner, Randy Buehler, Brandon Bernard, Bryan Berkenstock, Larry Lingle, Daniel Long, and Matt McNabb.
Heat 2 recovered some of our missing regulars from Heat 1. Apparently grog wears off by mid afternoon. 50 pirates set sail ten times with no mutinies at all. Steve upped his pirate hunting efforts scoring eight sinks for a new high water mark for 2015, bringing his total to 11. Anna earned another three stones keeping the lead for the ladies with nine.
Heat 2's winners were: Katie Elliott, Allyson Thoma, John Wobbeking, Christian Winicki (again!), Ben Collinson Sr., James Bell, Douglas Galullo, Thomas Avtges, Brandi Horn and Jodi Folk.
By Heat 3 many of the hands seemed to have had their fill of battle and the whole crew went hoarse calling for people to walk the plank. With 38 pirates in eight ships, attrition was showing in the late hour. In all, five more Chains of Shame were awarded, with three in the same crew! Captain Barrett's game was cursed with combat every turn, causing Cold-Blooded Steve Shambeda to earn two chains of shame in one game, but also managing to earn six more stones in his quest for the most sinks (17 total and still in the lead)! Additionally, newcomer Sarah Hannan earned a chain but redeemed herself by sinking the Flying Dutchman in one roll! I bet her crew thought twice about mutinying again after that shot! Jodi Folk stuck to her guns and scored five more stones bringing her total to 11.
Heat 3 winners were: RJ Gleaton, Kevin Collins, LaFrance Bragg, Ben Collinson Jr., Todd Trahan, Sarah Vasilakos, Matt Evinger, and Brandon Bernard (again!)
With 27 different winners in three heats, the pressure was on in Heat 4. 58 pirates reported for duty aboard 12 games. Heat 4 also marked the return of 2013 Champion and 2014 runner-up Stefany Speck. Showing little concern, Stefany edged out Franklin Rinko to win in her first heat, earning her very first Chain of Shame while doing it! Chains were still all the rage with countless mutiny attempts and five more were awarded, bringing the 2015 Chain total to 11. Not to be outdone in winning against adversity, Katie Elliott won her second game despite zero hits rolling five dice against the Royal Navy, three shots in a row! Ever on the lookout for treasure, she also earned $1.00 as one of her opponents bet that it wouldn't happen twice! I guess no one was willing to bet against Katie's cannon "prowess" by the third shot. On the stones race Steve earned another three to put him at an even 20 while Jodi added four more, totaling 15.
Heat 4 winners were: Larry Lingle (again!), Dale Long, Haakon Monsen, Linda Pattison, Scott Sirianna, Jodi Folk (again!), Dalton Versak, Kevin Collins (again!), Ben Collinson Sr. (again!), Katie Elliott (again!), Stefany Speck and Dan Mathias (again!)
Yet again the Sunday morning semifinals drew heavy fire from conflicting events. Of the 33 pirates with at least one win only 18 made it to the dock on time, leaving seven slots in the semifinals to fill! Barrett Straub, Nora Tuke, Abigail Elliott, Commodore John Elliot, Sam Shambeda, Steve Scott, and Ron Fisher all advanced to the semifinal round without winning a heat. The semifinal round was serious business, with no mutinies and an average of 15 stones earned per game. Abigail Elliott and Dalton Versak tied for first place and were forced to fight it out with Abigail ultimately victorious. Stefany continued to keep the wind and advanced, reaching the final for her third straight year. Steve Shambeda's 20 stones still held the record but Barrett advanced to the Final and was gaining with 16. Jodi failed to advance but earned another five stones keeping the lead on the wenches' side of the ledger.
Semifinal winners were: Stefany Speck, Barrett Straub, Allyson Thoma, Abigail Elliott, and Nora Tuke.
The final table was a mix of seasoned veterans and newcomers. Of the five only Stefany and Allyson had earned a win before the semifinal round. Both stone records were up for grabs, but Barrett would need five and Abigail would need nine to beat the leads held by Steve and Jodi. As per tradition, Captain Larry's special Tavern and Legendary Pirate decks were used, adding in fan-made cards no one was used to playing. The Final was the deadliest game yet with a total of 24 stones earned, averaging two players sunk every turn. Ships were sabotaged. Secret weapons were deployed in the never-ending combat. At the end of the last round there was a three-way tie for first place. Everything came down to the Tavern cards, where Stefany Speck emerged victorious. Her hat-trick performance of three straight wins (Heat 4, SF, F) earned her second Pirate's Cove shield, tying her with Commodore John Elliott in that regard. Given her three-year stretch of dominance Stefany has earned the rank of Rear Admiral and shows no signs of stopping in her climb to the top of the laurels list. Her win also earned Brandon Bernard 6th place as he was the vanquished runner-up on her semifinal board. Both stones records were broken; Barrett secured six sinks, solidifying his place as the Top Sea Dog with 22 stones. Allyson tied Jodi at 20 stones but ultimately won the title due to her record-breaking nine sinks in the Final!
This year Pirate's Cove qualified for five prize plaques so each finalist got to take home their own plank! Allyson Thoma, Nora Tuke, and Abigail Elliott were all first-time WBC Century event plaque winners! Congratulations all around!
We look forward to next year when we will be sailing different seas and plundering the Seven Springs!
Cap'n Larry may have walked the plank
but cutthroats a plenty returned to Pirate's Cove.