Lucky or Not? ...
Nicola Bradford vs Rod Bacigalupo
Inger Henning and Brandon Bernard
Perrianne Lurie vs Angela Hoffman
Bobbi Warczak vs Peggy Pfeifer
After another well attended demo, I headed over to the ballroom.
Even with more things going on Monday, San Juan continues
to have great attendance numbers, flirting with a triple-digit
field. My trusty assistant GMs had already entered nearly 100
players. But one notable among the missing was Tom Browne.
Tom has won or been in the Final multiple times. One year, we
even resorted to the famous Greg Schmittgens buttons to fire
everyone up to take him down (to no avail). This year the crowd
was disappointed to discover that Tom wouldn't be able to attend
WBC this year. Ok, maybe relieved is more like it.
The four swiss rounds got underway as scheduled. To qualify for
the single elimination bracket, you had to win three times. Everyone
who wins their first three rounds gets to go have lunch, while
the 2-1's have to go hungry and play again. This year there were
actually more players than ever who kept playing, even after
being eliminated from advancing, just for the fun of it. This
was nice to see and goes to show what a fun, quick game San Juan
is. It also shows that nobody is exhausted yet on Monday.
CABS crowd plays San Juan quite a bit throughout the year, so
we often advance several Cabbies into the elimination bracket.
Heck, even grumpy ol' Peter Stein won San Juan once! This year,
perennial contender Sean McCulloch was "shamed" by
being knocked out by a pair of Sheas. I would later avenge my
teammate in true Cabbie style by knocking out Jordan Shea, myself.
Alas, after it was all said and done, the Final came down to
Bruce Reiff and Rob Kircher. Neither player had a good starting
hand. Rob began to play towards the purple building strategy,
while Bruce took the risk of going for the Guild Hall strategy
without having a Guild Hall. Using the "run and gun",
he started quickly building small production buildings, forcing
Rob to build smaller, less useful buildings to keep pace. Without
the Guild Hall, Bruce was behind throughout in what was going
to be a very low scoring game. To Rob's dismay, Bruce drew the
Guild hall at the end and was able to pass Rob by one point,
becoming the second multiple San Juan champion. Is anyone shocked
that Mr Fourleaf Clover himself got exactly the card he needed
at the end?
On a more somber note, right before the tournament began, my
good friend and assistant GM Bruce Reiff found out his father
had just lost his battle with cancer. Even though I could tell
it was tearing him up inside, no one would ever know. As he does
every year, Bruce gets up on a (really strong) chair and randomly
matches opponents by drawing a card the players have completed.
There he was butchering names, making up nicknames and getting
digs in at old friends and generally entertaining the crowd,
even though I'm sure he didn't feel like doing so.
I'm pretty sure Alan Reiff made sure that Guild Hall was right
there where it needed to be at the end of the game for Bruce.
And this was the first and only time, I was glad to see Bruce
come out a winner.
Thanks to all who participated and I hope to see even more of
you next year when we will once again try to break 100. The game
is very easy to learn. There was at least one player taught at
the demo who advanced. And as always, bring your copy of the
game. Every year we have a shortage.
Chris Kizer puts his shiny new Duke
degree to work vs Carol Haney. Did it help?
Rob Kircher was all that stood between
Bruce Reiff and his 44th plaque. He wasn't enough.