Lost in Space
This was my first time running this event. Long time GM,
Greg Mayer, unfortunately could not make it this year. If he
returns next year, I will gladly return the reins to him.
The 2002 WBC Merchant of Venus tournament retained
the same format. Three preliminary heats playing four-player
games to $2,000 were held, with any player who won at least once
advancing to the semi-finals. A number of semi-final games (determined
by the number of qualifiers) were played to $3,000. Each of the
winners in the semi-finals immediately played in a single-game
final to $3,000.
The only change to the tournament rules was scoring to determine
alternates: The win is determined normally. Score for second,
third and fourth place was determined by adding cash, deeds and
(here's the change) purchase price of any goods on his ship at
the end of the game. The reason for this change is to help prevent
artificial play at the end of the game; e..g., if I am $10 short
from winning after selling everything I can and I know the next
player may very well win on his next turn. Under the old rules,
I have some incentive to not buy a good (which would prevent
me from winning, but would keep my score as high as possible
for the first alternate position-Purchasing a good here would
lower my score assuming I would not be able to sell it.) With
the new rule, buying that good is not going to lower my score
in the tournament, so I am going to keep on trying to win. The
method represents a better "high water mark" for players
who didn't win. Comments were universally favorable.
60 players played at least one heat. Not many people wrote
additional comments, but here were the highlights I received
(If I receive amusing comments, I will put them in the report):
- In Heat One, Vince Collura must have hired "Wrong Way
Corrigan" to pilot his ship as he found $160 worth of penalties
in the Cloud and twice was blocked on navigation circles because
he rolled only numbers that would force him to back track.
- In Heat Two, Gary Dickson was another hard luck case. He was
going to win if he could make it through the Cloud by rolling
a 2 on any of four dice which would allow him to deliver a fare
to Galactic Base. He failed. Instead, he decided go the long
way around via Giant Planet and Colony World. Two turns later,
he rolled a total of seven on four dice and finished three pips
short! Lee Presser cashed a Triple Demand on Immortal Grease
on the next turn to steal the win. (Gary did go on to win a game
later in Heat 3 to qualify.)
After 21 preliminary games with 19 winners (Gary's son Steve
and Luke Koleszar won two each.), the field for the semi-finals
was set. In addition to the Dicksons, two other father &
offspring pairs qualified: The Wrobels (Ed & son Eric) and
the Hickoks (Charlie & daughter Lauren).
With the power outage on Saturday morning, I almost missed
the start of my own event (Gulp!) Obviously, other players were
a bit sleepy-headed that morning, too. Even though I clearly
announced the semi-finals were to $3,000, a player in my game
assumed they would only be to $2,000. Apparently most people
got the message when I turned and asked the assembled crowd,
how much we were playing to a loud "$3,000!" was the
response. A few "What?"'s followed.
the closest game in the semi-finals was mine. Early in the game,
Charlie Hickok and I were clearly leading, but at the end of
the game, Charlie had won and I finished in fourth with $2,488.
The two trailing players had snuck by me.
Gary Dickson managed to win his game with only $800 in deeds
and playing blind without his eyeglasses (they turned up later.)
The other finalists along with Charlie and Gary were Steve Dickson
(forcing the GM to break the "No Family Members in the Same
Game" rule, Abigail Cocke and Jeff Bakalchuck.
After Gary was able to postpone his "The Russian Campaign"
semi-final, the Final got underway. But the lack of long range
visual sensors, finally caught up to Gary who finished fifth.
Jeff finished second, despite not upgrading his ship
or getting a shield. (I wonder how much that cost?) And Charlie
Hickok motored out to a strong win to take the title.
Charlie Hickok, Jeff Bakalchuck, Gary Dickson,
Abigail Cocke and Steve Dickson find themselves lost in the Merchant
of Venus Finals.