Hamburg is back.
The 2003 tournament saw the first house rule in the history
of the tournament: a bidding system for capitals based on that
used for History of the World. This seemed to go down
very smoothly, as I didn't get any complaints, and meant that
we could go back to running 6-player games as opposed to the
5-player (no Hamburg) used the previous year. The primary aim
of the new rule was to ensure that no-one would be hosed by having
to pay (say) 3 for Hamburg, and this seemed to be achieved; your
GM was slightly perturbed at having to play Hamburg in both semi-final
and final, but it came out OK in the wash. Further feedback is
welcomed, of course, but currently the plan is to repeat this
bidding system next year.
was great to see new faces continue to be drawn to the tourney,
although some old (at least, familiar!) faces were missed, not
least the defending champion Ken Gutermuth whose event of Win,
Place and Show conflilcted :-(. Laurels especially to Mike
Hodgkins, the only double heat winner as well as the owner of
the highest single score - yes, as Hamburg. The only questions
that I had to answer were over the definition of 'cocked dice'
- pretty good!
Meriting laurels on a different front was Shantanu Saha, who
received no fewer than three separate nominations, including
one for extreme 'grace under fire' when faced with some unfortunate
behavior in the first round. Shantanu's play and mien are a model
for us all - thanks, and some well-deserved public praise.
Oh, and there were the usual crop of oddities. Barcelona seemed
to come in for more abuse than usual - hit by Civil War in one
game on turn 1 and by AG similarly in another (which meant that
the poor Spanish could not even buy a boat!). In a third game,
Nick Henning's Spanish watched helpless on turn 1 as Hamburg
bought the 3-card, the Genoese took Montpelier *and* Marseilles,
and Pirates paid an early visit. So much for the fast start he
had bid 7 for, yet Nick still came back to be leading until the
final turn, when Ted Mullally's Venice took four Cloth, then
rolled a Cloth shortage. Nick groaned "I bet he draws a
Cloth card too!". Well, the bonus card for the shortage
was, indeed Cloth. Ted's card next turn was Cloth/Wine followed
by Cloth as the UA card! In one semi, we managed to put a player
out into Chaos with several turns remaining, while the eventual
win came courtesy of being the recipient of Civil War, moving
expansion to last place and allowing the retaking of two Metal
markets from Bret Mingo's Paris, whose two Metal cards were the
last significant payouts in final cardplay - this after Eric
Wrobel had shot into the lead courtesy of a $256 Silk payout,
only to find himself going from 14 to 0 cities that turn. Oops.
Anyway, that's more than the 400 words I'm allotted. Ted Mullally
has volunteered to share GMing duty next year, a generous offer,
so lend him your support.