vinci [Updated October 2002]

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Bob Heinzmann, FL

2002 Champion

2nd: Brian Carr, VA

3rd: Sean Vessey, VA

4th: Gordon Elgart, CA

5th: Paul Murphy, UT

6th: Jim Reasoner, OH

Event History
2000    Jason Levine     36
2001    John Charbonneau     32
2002    Bob Heinzmann     34

AREA Ratings

GM: Brian Carr

Past Winners

Jason Levine - NY

John Charbonneau - NH

Renaissance in half the time

The Vinci tournament continued the success of 2001, showing a slight increase in the number of players. Two heats were run with winners automatically advancing to the semifinal, and with runners-up having a strong chance of advancing. The event used the standard rules of the Descartes 2nd Edition Rules of the game (i.e., with the correct counter mix of one Specialization and three Barbarians, instead of the 1st Edition's misprint of two counters each), and with the clarifications available online at Descartes' website. The only house rule added was a tie-breaker. Surprisingly, the game does not include one in its rules, and inquiries to Descartes turned up no suggestions. The GM chose the following, which were published and explained in advance, and which proved necessary three times: 1st tie-breaker - most points scored on the final turn; 2nd - player moving later in the final turn. These were admittedly untested, but no one complained (or offered a better suggestion!).

Heat 1 was lively, drawing four full boards of six players each. The GM had a personal preference for five- and six-player games over four-player ones. When it appeared there would be 24 players, the issue was put to the floor: more games with fewer players each, or fewer games but with more players each and maximum knock-down, drag-out conflict. The overwhelming consensus was for six-player games, despite fewer chances for winners to advance (the GM was proud of the players' élan!). Two games finished in 11 turns, one in 12, and the last dragged on for 14 turns before Paul Murphy finally wheezed across the finish line. It may have taken forever to end, but four of the six players crossed the 100-point mark on the final turn and 6th place had 93 points - a real nail-biter! None of the other heats was this close and in each case the winners were the sole 100+ point scorers. Chris Terrell, Tom Browne and Rich O'Brien secured places for Saturday's semifinal. In an unknowingly prophetic result, eventual champ Bob Heinzmann beat out the eventual runnerup Brian Carr by one point for the second place spot that got Bob into the semifinal.

Heat 2 kicked off Friday morning with ten new players joining six veterans for two five-player and one six-player table. This time all three ended on Turn 11. In the six-player contest, the tie-breaker got its first test when Gordon Elgars and Jim Reasoner both landed exactly on the 100-point mark. Gordon's charge for 12 points on the final turn gave him the win. This also prompted the GM to realize that for 2003, players who lose by the tie-breaker should get preference among other runners-up for seats in the semifinal. But since this had not been published in advance for this year, Jim was cast in among the other ordinary runners-up. In another game Todd Green sneaked past Jim Fleckenstein 104 to 103 in a neck and neck race over the last four turns. In the last game, 14-year-old Jason Carr (nephew of the GM) gave a clinic to the grown-ups with a commanding 106-point win. Jason played your classic Dark Horse game. He was in solid last place for the first seven turns while the others got used to not paying any attention to his empires and debating who was winning. Despite scoring 11 points on Turn 7 for a score of 57, Jason still was in 6th place. The rest of the players did not notice how perfectly Jason had set up his two empires. On Turns 8, 9 and 10 he put up scores of 13, 14 and 14 points, respectively, to reach 98 with a 6-point lead, and a table full of open-mouthed opponents. He coasted to a seven-point margin of victory on the final turn while the rest of us wondered what hit us. The GM, however, did get special satisfaction by winning the tie-breaker to beat out his older brother for 2nd place.

All told, there were seven games in the heats and as many winners. The GM spread word as best he could to remind all runners-up to come to the semifinal/final. If six or fewer winners showed, there would have been an immediate final. Fortunately (if you were a runnerup), all seven winners showed, so a semifinal was necessary. The floor was opened for five runners-up to round out two games of six with three advancing from each game. Only four qualifiers showed, however, so the semifinal was played with one five- and one six-player game, the top three from each advancing. Teammates Paul Murphy, Chris Terrell, and the GM all qualified for the semi, and since it was Chris' team game, Paul and the GM were put at the other board. The rest of the players were randomly distributed. Neither semi was close for 1st place, but both were horse races for the coveted 3rd place spots. The first game took 11 turns and ended with four of the five players over 100. Jim Reasoner crushed the opposition with 110 points, Bob Heinzmann secured second, and Sean Vessey grabbed third by one point over Tom Browne despite Tom's big surge on the final turn. Chris, the Team Game Guy, was nowhere to be seen, a distant fifth. In the other semi, the GM had his best game of Vinci ever (ain't that how it always is!), taking the lead in Turn 7 and holding on without serious challenge all the way home for a 10-point win. Paul Murphy grabbed second, and Gordon "Rabbit Foot" Elgart squeaked by Jason Carr with the tie-breaker to get the last spot in the finals. This was Gordon's second "win" by tie-breaker, and he did it by outscoring Jason by one point on the final turn.

After a 15-minute break, the finalists were randomly seated and the game began. The early game showed no clear leader. Then the GM got a hot second empire to go along with his out-of-the-way declined empire. With consecutive 14-point turns, Brian surged from the middle of the pack on Turns 4 and 5 to go from 29 points to a Turn 5 score of 57 and a 10-point lead. Did I mention the Super-sized Target that promptly landed on my forehead with a thud? Scores of 3 and 4 on the next two turns took care of the GM's lead, and Bob Heinzmann slipped quietly up near the front. The scores were close for the next several turns. At the end of Turn 8 the scores were Paul Murphy 73, Bob Heinzmann 72, Brian Carr 71, Jim Reasoner 63, Gordon Elgart and Sean Vessey 62 apiece. On the last three turns Bob demonstrated that a solid defensive empire can be a very potent weapon, especially in the end-game when you are making that run for the finish line. Bob got Fortifications and Militia together, making him nearly impervious to counterattack. Cries of "You need to spend five armies to take that area and slow Bob down" were usually followed by replies of "No, I think YOU need to spend five armies to take that area and slow Bob down." The result was that nothing slowed Bob down. He took command on Turn 10 and his win was temporarily delayed when several counterattacks kept him at 99 on Turn 11. Jim Reasoner brought in the last new empire and agonized over being put into the "Kingmaker" position of picking the winner while having no chance of winning himself. Jim did what any gentlemanly gamer can always feel good about doing. He maximized his own score while not making any desperation attacks against the marginal leader. No one could catch Bob as he crossed on Turn 12 with 106 for the win and the Plaque. The final scores were Bob 106, Brian 102, Sean 99, Gordon 98, Paul 89 and Jim 86. Congratulations to Bob Heinzmann on his championship and to the other players on a well-played final dominated by good sportsmanship.

 GM      Brian Carr  [1st Year]   NA
    NA   NA

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