Fine porcelain! Bolts and bolts
of fabric! Spices for sale!
The GM was very happy with the turnout for the event again
this year in the three preliminary heats, with winners all qualifying
to advance to the semi-final round The GM tries to set up five-player
games if able, and uses either four-player or six-player games
as necessary to fill out the field in each heat.
1 saw ten five-player games. The first heat had both the closest
game of the tournament with Eric Brosius and Stephen Smith tying
in their game, Eric winning via the tiebreaker. This heat also
had the most lopsided victory with Mark Love winning by 49 points
in a total romp. Other winners in the heat were David Gant, Frank
Sinigaglio, David Wenstrup, Dan Mathias, Tom DeMarco, John Tighe
(in a one-point victory), James Pei and Greg Schmittgens.
Heat 2 once again drew ten games of five players each. The
winners were Jennifer Thomas, Jeremy Billones, Jean-Francois
Gagné, John Pack, George Sauer, Tom Dunning (in another
one-point margin), Fred Minard, Bret Mingo, Charles Hickok and
Heat 3 moved to Saturday evening this year and got a much
better crowd than the previous year's Friday evening heat with
11 more games, including the only two six-player games of the
tournament. These games were won by Thomas and Laurel Stokes,
Gary Carr (in a one-point victory over Ilan Woll, Ilan's second
loss by one point in this year's tournament), Pete Gathmann,
Robert Brode, Lance Ribeiro, Jeff Cornett (one of last year's
finalists), John Kerr, Kerry Kruskal, John Emery (with another
one-point victory) and Susan Cornett.
The semi-final round began immediately after the third heat.
With 31 games, the GM anticipated having to set up five six-player
games for the semi-final (assuming that at least one semi-finalist
wouldn't return) this year with the winners then playing in a
five-player final. However, once again the GM got lucky and exactly
25 of the 31 heat winners appeared for the semi-final, providing
five five-player games with no alternates qualifying for the
next round. Gary Carr won his semi-final game by the closest
margin (3 points) while John Kerr had the largest margin of victory
The seating order for the final was randomly determined as
stated in the tournament format, with Fred Minard being the first
player and Thomas Stokes, Gary Carr, Lance Ribeiro and John Kerr
seated clockwise around the table from Fred. It turned out that
the pattern for the final was that the players were always playing
short on commodities by passing on too many cards so that ships
were not getting filled. The first round saw two extra cards
get ditched, leaving Fred with only two commodities and the "10-value
gold card" for the round. At the end of the first round
Lance had a 16-point lead over John, with the other players bunched
in tightly behind John. Tom Stokes set himself up well in the
metal commodity by getting our metal cards in the first round,
while no one else managed to get more than two of any single
commodity in the round.
second round the players end up four cards short of filling all
of their boats, with John ending up two cards short and Lance
and Gary each sailing one card short. Tom got himself two more
metal commodities during the round to get himself to the10-point
bonus level in that commodity and moved into second place, 14
points behind Lance and six points ahead of John. This round
also saw Fred make the highest bid of the game with 25 florins
for a 5-spice and 5-porcelain card near the end of the round.
The third round saw Fred take the first set of items (a 5-metal,
5-cloth and 3-dye card) for 21 florins. Three sets of commodities
later, John also bid 21 on the 4-cloth, 5-porcelain and 10-gold
set that was available. In the last two bids of the round, Gary
bid 20 florins for a 2-spice and 5-metal card and then Fred bid16
florins for the last card, a 4-dye. In this round, the players
once again ended up four commodities short of having full ships,
with both Lance and Tom ending up with only three commodities.
In fact, Tom ended up having commodities that totaled 4-value
at the end of the round, but he only bid one florin total to
get these three cards and he managed to get the last metal needed
to get him to the 20-point bonus level. Fred Minard managed to
get to the 10-point bonus level in the dye commodity and John
Kerr got the10-point bonus level in cloth at the end of the round.
In the meantime, Lance ended up bidding 17 total florins for
his cards and didn't get many points for the cards he bought.
The 20-point bonus for Tom turned out to be enough even with
the low ship as he ended up winning by 11 points over John and
17 over Lance with Gary finishing fourth and Fred coming in fifth.
I plan to GM the event again in 2004 and plan to keep the
schedule as it was last year. If you have any suggestions to
improve the tournament, please let me know your ideas. Both my
email and regular mail addresses are below. I hope that those
of you who played the game last year enjoyed the tournament and
I hope that some of my regular players who couldn't make the
event last year can fit it into their schedule next year.