The Early Bird ...
In 2014, San Juan topped triple digit participation
for only the third time in it's 11 year run. There was some
concern that moving the start time from 10 a.m. to 9 a.m. would
hurt attendance because Monday morning arrivals might not make
it on time. That didn't appear to be the case. It seems more
and more people are arriving Sunday night or earlier.
With the earlier start time, the demo was moved to Sunday
night. It was lightly attended and may be dropped altogether
in the future.
There were four rounds of 2-player games. 32 players met
the three-win criteria for advancement, providing a perfect bracket
with no byes needed. After three rounds, Andy Latto defeated
Mark Kennel with the purple building strategy in the semifinals.
Andy had a very good engine going and racked up easy points.
Mark went for the production strategy, but couldn't get a smithy
or a Guild Hall built. Not a recipe for victory.
In the other bracket, Jeff Mullet and Rich Meyer both went
for the production strategy. Oddly enough, neither had a Guild
Hall for much of the game. They both continually spent all of
their cards building production buildings, so they both knew
the other was in trouble if they drew the Guild Hall. Jeff eventually
drew and built the Guild Hall, Rich didn't and that was all she
In the Final, Jeff couldn't find any good cards and Andy jumped
out to a two-building lead while going with the purple building
strategy. That's never a good thing for the player who is two
builds behind. But eventually, Jeff was able to build a library
and a smithy. Andy used all of his cards to build the big point
Hero, but Jeff was now able to build high point production buildings
very cheaply. Andy was not able to keep up with Jeff's cheap
builds and Jeff ended the game with a Guild Hall and lots of
production buildings for his second SJN title - displacing
you know who at the head of the laurel rankings. For that,
I won't even jibe him for pulling a Coussis ... well, not much