Still More Cavemen ...
anyone? 100 prehistoric players filled each and every heat.
Ivan Lawson gets "unlost"
long enough to mess with Kurt Miller's cavemen.
Alex Henning and Holiday Saccenti
wonder about a woman's life before women's lib
GM Peter Staab with his four surviving
finalists after two elimination rounds had cut 67 winners down
Event Grows for 4th Straight Year
There were three heats with the winners of each game qualifying
for the elimination portion of the tournament. In a remarkable
display of consistency, each heat had 25 4-player games with
exactly 100 players per heat. This produced eight double winners
resulting in 67 qualifiers. The closest game of the tournament
occurred during the first heat and had to go to the fourth tiebreaker
in order to determine a winner.
only 48 of the 67 qualifiers decided to advance to the quarterfinal
round, resulting in 12 4-player games with the four top runners-up
also advancing to the semifinals. The quarterfinal games were
won by 2012 champ Dominic Blais, Keith Dent, Yossi Dvora, Andrew
Emerick, Eric Engelmann, Scott Fenn, Derek Glenn, Paul Klayder,
2011 champ Cary Morris, Scott Saccenti, Eugene Yee and Greg Ziemba.
The other qualifiers were Haakon Monsen who tied Cary Morris's
winning score in his game; David Rohde with a score that was
98.52% of Derek Glenn's winning score; Greg Thatcher, who tied
Jason Levine for second place in the game and won by virtue of
the tiebreaker, with a score equal to 98.10% of Eric Engelmann's
score; and Rob Kilroy with a score that was 97.14% of Greg Ziemba's
The winners of the semifinal games were Dominic Blais, Scott
Fenn, David Rohde and Scott Saccenti. The seating order for the
Final was randomly determined with Blais going first followed
in order by Fenn., Rohe and Saccenti. The first set of cards
were four "Christmas" cards. Fenn took the card for
one resource which also provided one of the cultures for end
game scoring and got a farm from the card while Blais got a tool
and Saccenti and Rohde both got gold. Saccenti took the card
for two resources which also gave two farmers for the end game
scoring. He also got a farm from the card while Blais and Fenn
both got tools and Blais got a brick.
The first card placed for the next turn was placed in the
space costing three resources and was another "Christmas"
card. All three "Christmas" cards were taken in the
second turn with Fenn taking another culture card for a resource
and getting a farm while Blais got gold, Saccenti got stone and
Blais got wood. Blais took the card for three resources which
gave two tool makers for the end game scoring and got a farm
from the card while Saccenti got a tool, Blais got gold and Fenn
got wood. Saccenti got the card for two resources which provided
two builders for end game scoring. Saccenti got a farm from the
card as did Rohde while Fenn. got gold and Blais received brick.
At the end of the second turn, Fenn had already accumulated three
farms and Blais had acquired three tools. In part because of
the additional resources earned from cards in the first two turns,
Blais, Fenn and Saccenti all were able to claim huts on Turn
3 setting the tone for a potentially fast game. On the fourth
turn, Fenn tried to claim two cards. However, he only rolled
enough on three dice to produce two wood leaving him short of
being able to claim both cards he wanted. The fifth turn saw
Blais claim one of the huts for which you can turn in up to seven
resources with the third choice of the turn. He eventually used
only one stone and a wood to claim the card but it did keep it
away from the others. On that same turn, Saccenti claimed the
next "Christmas" card and got the first roll with a
distinct advantage to the claimer by getting a tool while Blais
received stone and both Fenn and Blais received wood.
6 saw Fenn claim the second "7-resource" hut with the
first move of the turn and spend 7 wood for 21 points. Dominic
used the second move to claim the card that provides an additional
farm and 1 farmer toward the end-game scoring. On the seventh
turn, Fenn was looking to claim a hut and needed a brick in order
to do so. He had a tool available to assist with the production
and employed two workers to produce brick. However, he still
managed to produce no bricks on the turn. He had a second chance
to get the brick he needed because he also claimed the seventh
"Christmas" card on that turn. His gift roll resulted
in a tool, gold, wood and wood to be available to claim so he
missed out on his chance to claim the hut for the turn. He did
take the tool from the card while Dominic got the gold and Saccenti.
and Bais got wood. Even though it was getting late in the game,
Bl;ais got a major boost to his production abilities in the eighth
turn. The other additional farm card (that provides a culture
for the end game) came out in the 2-resource cost spot and the
additional tool card (that also provides culture) came out in
the 3-resource cost spot. With the second choice of the turn,
Rohde took the farm from the village so Blais claimed the additional
farm card with the fourth choice of the turn, the additional
tool card with the eighth choice of the turn and the additional
tool from the village with the twelfth choice of the turn. Saccenti
claimed the eighth "Christmas" card during this turn
as well providing him with a farm while Rohde received gold,
Fenn got brick and Blais got wood. At the end of this
turn, Saccenti. got to the point where he had as many farms as
people and required no additional food each turn.
The ninth turn delivered the ninth "Christmas" card.
Blais claimed it and got one of the best possible rolls for the
card as he received a tool from the card while the other three
players all got wood. Blais ended the game on the Turn 10 by
depleting one of the hut piles. There were still ten cards left
in the deck at game end.
Rohde had 109 points earned during play, 1 point from culture
cards (1 culture card), 0 points from farming, 0 points from
tools, 21 points from people (3 shaman times 7 people), 7 points
from buildings (1 hut builder times 7 huts) and 4 points from
remaining resources for a total of 142 points. Fenn had 78 points
earned during play, 36 points from culture cards (a set of six
different cultures), 3 points from farming (1 farmer times 3
farms), 0 points from tools, 7 points from people (1 shaman times
7 people), 0 points from buildings and 10 points from remaining
resources for a total of 134 points. Blais had 80 points earned
during play, 9 points from culture cards (a set of 3 different
cultures), 4 points from farming (1 farmer times 4 farms), 60
points from tools (6 tool makers times 10 tools),0 points from
people, 12 points from buildings (2 hut builders times 6 huts)
and 3 points from remaining resources for a total of 168 points.
Saccenti had 99 points earned during play, 1 point from culture
cards (1 culture card),18 points from farming (3 farmers times
6 farms), 4 points from tools (1 tool maker times 4 tools), 0
points from people, 35 points from buildings (5 hut builders
times 7 huts) and 0 points from remaining resources for a total
of 157 points. So Blais ended up with an 11-point victory to
become the first double winner of the event even though he started
1 less round than Blais (third place) and Fenn (fourth place).
For those of you interested in the effect of starting position,
here are the stats from this year's tournament. In the 75 heat
games, 16 winners started as the first player, 19 as the second
player, 21 as the third player and 19 as the fourth player. There
were also two games decided by tiebreakers and the losers in
both of these games were the third player. In the elimination
rounds seven first players won their games, three second players,
four third players (including the champion) and three fourth
players. There was also one game decided by a tiebreaker in which
the loser was the second player in the game. So the third player
managed to win more games than any other starting position, but
there were at most three additional wins than any of the other
starting positions so there wasn't much of an advantage.
I also asked players to indicate when the "starvation
strategy" was used in a game to chart whether that strategy
was still extremely strong as someone stated to me in an email
conversation before the convention. In the heat games, the starvation
strategy won 10 games and lost 21 times although one of the losses
was by tiebreakers. In the elimination round games, the starvation
strategy only won once and lost four times according to my information.