School chums among the Pyramids
Amun-Re was the new offering from Reiner Knizia in
2003. Although many people were unfamiliar with the game prior
to WBC, 85 players turned out to play in one of the two qualifying
heats. Amun-Re plays well as a four- or five-player game
and both versions were used in the qualifying heats. Amun-Re
looks a lot like Ra, but is much more complex and requires
long term strategy to win. There were various questions concerning
rules interpretations during the heats, but most were resolved
rather amicably. One matter had to be adjudicated by the GM.
of 20 people qualified for the semi-finals including two players,
Brian Jones and Rich Meyer, who had won both of their preliminary
games. Rich also set the highest single score of the tournament
with 51 points.
Four people advanced to the final. Richard Meyer, Ilan Woll,
Arthur Field and Luke Koleszar all qualified. The final was played
with considerable repartee. It turned out Richard and Arthur
were best friends in high school and had not seen each other
for over ten years. That didn't stop either of them from needling
the other. Luke played his usual quiet but intense game. At the
end of the first round, Luke was ahead of Arthur by two points.
Richard was one behind Arthur and Ilan was five behind Luke.
Things looked good for Luke.
In round 2, Arthur made a critical move by buying the largest
existing pyramid on a camel province and capturing the two-temple
space at Damanhur. The combination assured him of income each
time. Unlike the other players, Arthur confined his power card
purchases to one card almost every turn. Ilan bought three cards
on most turns. Richard and Luke generally bought two. Richard
and Ilan got in a bidding war for the large pyramid on Thebes,
which had the extra two power cards as a bonus. Ilan, in a clear
lapse of concentration, overbid and essentially took himself
out of the rest of the game. Things looked good for Richard.
Arthur, however, kept his head down and stayed beneath the radar.
When the smoke cleared on the final scoring round, Arthur edged
out Richard and Luke by less than three points. Ilan trailed
Arthur attributed his win to following a balanced purchasing
plan similar to his Princes of Florence strategy. He was
also lucky enough to get the right bonus power card and purchase
the correct provinces. He said he really enjoyed beating Richard
after all those years of losing games to him. He also felt it
was an honor to have beaten such fine gamers, especially Luke.
All four players had a fine time in the finals and appeared to
understand the strategy of the new game quite well. None of them
had played Amun-Re more than three times prior to coming
to WBC. This is a testament to the excellence of the game itself
and the fine skills of the finalists.