Fake Sand ...
Attendance held steady, matching the 2012 turnout with 48
games over the course of three preliminary heats. As always,
competition was tough with five games won on a tiebreaker and
three more decided by a single point! One game of note ended
with just a 9-point spread between first and fourth.
anyone who has played Saint Petersburg for any length
of time can tell you, scores can vary widely. Our highest winning
score was recorded by Robert Cranshaw in Heat 1 with an impressive
115 points which he needed to edge past Anni Foasberg's 114 in
the same game. Even the trailers had impressive scores, racking
up 97 and 96 points respectively. It really hurts when you come
in last with a score of 96!
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Thomas Johnston managed
a win in Heat 2 with only 41 points. We've all been in those
frustrating games where you can't get any traction, no matter
what you do. Most games ended in the expected four or five rounds,
but one slugfest carried on for NINE rounds before Charles Hickok
managed to win.
All but three of the top 16 appeared for the semifinal, opening
the door for three alternates. As with the heats, scores were
all over the place with winning scores ranging from 51 to 110
points. The spread between first and last ranged from 21to 40
points with one of the games decided by a tiebreaker. Eight nobles
appeared in the first orange round of one semi, including two
mistresses and a judge! Because of cash flow problems, the fourth
player was actually able to get a Judge on the first Nobel round!
In that same game, only one Craftsman was bought in the second
green round. Ultimately, the backlog of cards cleared and that
game ended with all four stacks empty.
Anne Norton, Dan Mathias, Andy Latto and Lewis Lin advanced
to the Final table. As they were settling in for the deciding
game, Bruce Reiff inserted his needle with the comment: "Oh...
three sharks and Dan." Good natured jibe or prophecy?
As expected at this level, the four contested a hard, six-round
game with Lewis pulling ahead to lock in his victory with 95
points. By the end of play, the green, blue and orange stacks
were completely empty. Lewis was able to get both a Mistress
and an Observatory. For some people, this would be a sure sign
that he was going to win, but the numbers don't bear that out.
During the three heats, there were six games where the winner
had both an Observatory and a Mistress. There were two additional
games where the winner had an Observatory and TWO Mistresses!
In one of those games, the winner enjoyed a 30-point lead, but
in the other, one point was the difference. On the flip side,
there were 22 players who had both a Mistress and an Observatory,
but still lost. There were two additional games where a player
had both Mistresses and another where the player had both Observatories
and still lost. In fact, we had two games where the winner beat
two opponents who each had a Mistress and an Observatory.
That leaves a 16.6% win rate if you have some combination
of Mistress and Observatory and a 52% loss rate. While getting
a Mistress or an Observatory is nice, you still need to know
how to use them effectively!
Tom DeMarco and Andy Latto
GM Norman Rule and his finalists