Chrissy's joy ... or dad's misery?
Centurion Chrissy. It has a nice ring to it. Somehow it is
only fitting that the winner of the Princess Ryan's Star Marines
tournament should be a little blond girl. After all, the game
is named after the designer's daughter, who, although now in
college, at one time looked much like13-year-old Chrissy Fratelli.
The march to become the first centurion in the Fratelli household
was a long one. Chrissy has been playing PRS since WBC was Avaloncon.
Always a strong shower at the juniors' tournaments, this year
she graduated to the seniors' division - and proved that youth
and beauty can defeat age and treachery.although it was very
close. Veteran Marine Paul Saunders was only three points behind
Chrissy (124 to her 127 points) to finish second. Angela Collinson,
another (if a few years older) teenage girl who has been playing
PRS since the juniors was only nine points behind and took third
place. Dan Hoffman and Jon Gemmel took fourth and fifth (116
and 110 points, respectively) besting last year's champion Nick
Henning (sixth place at 107).
narrowness of the 20 point point spread from sixth to first place
was not the only mark of how close a tournament this one was.
Angela Collinson, for example, won her table in both rounds,
and rescued the princess in both of her games. In the second
of those games she did this against one of the best Black Guard
players in the history of the game - last year's champion, Nick
Henning. That fight was such a close-run thing that although
the marines won, Nick as the Guard inflicted so much damage that
he came in second in that game - with 66 points to Angela's 68.
It was a duel of epic proportions between the light and the dark,
and the light only squeaked through at the last moment.
Paul Bolduc, the 1999 champion, was a marine alongside Angela
on that table. In one battle where Angela put down 38 points
to bolster the marines, Nick played such a strong combination
that the marines still lost the skirmish. This led Paul to make
the gloomy declaration: "I think we're thwacked." When
the marines finally did win the final skirmish by a narrow, narrow
margin, he proudly beamed "we came back from the dead!"
Chrissy also faced very tough opposition in her second game,
as veteran player Chris Villeneuve played the Guard so well that
the marines barely made it off the beachhead and had to regroup
on the SECOND space of the board. Hit by both the Gauntlet and
the Doomsday Bomb, the marines took such heavy losses that two
of the five marine players were out of men by the time they left
The other tables were also close on round 2. Dan Hoffman played
the Guards on his table with such skill that one of his marine
opponents, Chip Jensen, cried out "Marines, we are getting
beat! We don't have what it takes to win these battles!"
His comrade, Jordan Flawd, agreed, adding "yeah, the game
is much more brutal this time around." Flawd, Jensen, and
the other marines on that table ran out of time and went down
in defeat to Hoffman's Guards.
Paul Saunders fought his last battle of the tournament with
noticeable glee. His comment that "I had a very good round.
I kicked the s-t out of them!" was set up by Marine Alex
Bell, who summarized the marine play in this sentence: "Well,
we missed the mall and ran into the Gauntlet, then got chemically
hosed. " Bell, who was in charge of the bungled march said
he knew "we were doomed" when he drew Lt. McLaughlin
as the leader (McLaughlin is the worst officer in the deck, and
is named for the designer).
Although round 2 was the tough round that separated the victors
from the vanquished, round 1 had its moments. The tables were
assigned randomly, and by ill or amusing quirk of fortune resulted
in two familial grudge matches. Paul Saunders and his son Michael
squared off against each other, and Michael drew the Guards on
that table ("That'll turn you to the dark side," he
said, once he saw he was up against his dad). Michael did very
well. Paul Bolduc was on that table as a marine in that round,
and was knocked back so hard that he chirped "he shmucked
me!" (Paul has a reputation for using such colorful terminology,
and has endeared himself to all as one of the most amiable sportsmen:
the only thing more fun thanwatching Paul win is watching him
lose; he does it with such grace and panache).
On another table it was Nick Henning vs Karl Henning, brother
vs brother. Nick's reaction was simply "oh, my God, no!"
but Karl welcomed the task, gleefully noting how "I have
lived in his shadow long enough."
As anyone there can confirm, it was a day of unusually tight,
tough competition - perhaps the strongest and closest in the
history of the PRS tournaments. On such a day, it was only fitting
that the centurion's wood should go to someone who epitomizes
what a true member of Princess Ryan's Star Marines should be:
a little blond 13-year old girl, with a bright smile and a lot
of attitude.as they say in the marines, "It's better that
Meanwhile, in the faroff land of Spokane, a forlorn dentist
each morning tiptoes into his daughter's room to admire the bauble
hanging proudly on the wall, sighs deeply and emerges shaking
his head in disbelief as he trudges off to another day of filling
molars and extractng incisors.
11 pint-sized star marines showed up for the Juniors version
of Princess Ryan's Star Marines, but that didn't stop Vincent
Alonso from garnering some genuine Junior Wood. The other finalists
2nd - David Rennert, MD
3rd - Natalie Beach, MD
4th - Sarah Welker, OH
5th - Jacob Hebner, CO
6th - Zack Dunn, VA
But as everyone who plays Princess Ryan's Star Marines
knows, "It's better that way."