Laughing at the Cold War ...
WELL AT LEAST THE FINAL WAS ENTERTAINING
Last year fate cruelly toyed with tour long suffering GM,
denying him wood when he was on the very edge of victory. Could
he bounce back from that cruel disappointment?
The pre-convention auction seemed to give a favorable omen.
When it was time to sell a copy of KREMLIN, Head Auctioneer
Bruce Reiff summoned the GM to the front of the room and announced
everybody was bidding against him. When the bidding ended the
room had taken pity on our hero and allowed him to get the game.
when it comes to the tournament, there is no pity for the GM-
everybody is looking for blood. Heat 1 featured a twist as for
once there were no new players at the GM's table. (Thus no prize
for Learn the Game at the 5PM Demo Beat the GM at the 6PM Heat).
However, the table featured two previous champs. And despite
the GM having his chances, perennial semi-finalist Mark Neale
came away with the win.
Heat 2 featured another relatively tough table, and in this
game the GM was no factor. It did feature a horrendous display
of bad die rolling by Ewan McNay, who couldn't roll less than
a 7 just about the entire game. Which doesn't get you waves,
but it does produce a lot of deaths during the health phase,
and Charles Davis was able to get on top when the Politburo emptied
Two more heats on Thursday paraded more former champions to
the GMs table (like moths to the light). More lost opportunities
in the first game that goes the full eleven turns with Greg Crowe
getting the win. The second game Ewan McNay's dice come alive
as he gets the win (and loses any sympathy points he had earned
from his die rolling debacle the night before).
Winners from the other games were: Rich Curtin, Pete Staab
(who overcame the stigma of mistakenly being named the GM in
the convention book), Don Tatum, Paul Haaken, Steve Cuccaro,
Marc Houde, Llew Bardecki (the reigning champ who played all
four heats before managing a win in the final heat), Jeff Ladd,
Ray Pettis, and Jim Jordan (a pretty good year for Age of
Renaissance players). Llew's win meant only one player played
in all four heats without a win: Guess Who?
Of note in the other heats was the Paul Haaken "I Just
Smoked the Party Chief Russian Jig". A very nice touch which
hopefully starts a trend. (I wonder if the girl with the Russian
uniform plays Kremlin? Never mind.)
All winners showed up for the semi-finals except Ewan, giving
him the John Coussis "I Beat the GM, then Blew off the Semis"
Award. (Hey Ewan, I bet you wouldn't have been reading a book
in my final ). Steve Cuccaro, Roy Pettis and Don Tatum won their
semi final games with Jim Jordan, Marc Houde and Charles Davis
finishing second to also advance. An ironic moment came when
Mark Neale was eliminated because of the scoring system that
is named after him.
The final turned out to be an entertaining game. Marc Houde
got two quick waves and needed more than a 7 on a twenty-sided
die for the third, but missed. Charles Davis got a wave on Turn
4 and Jim Jordan got one on Turn 5, then missed on Turn 6. Turn
7, Charles, needing an 18 or higher, purges the Party Chief,
putting Roy Pettis at the top. Unfortunately his man is at the
Cure and is killed off on Turn 8. This gave Steve Cuccaro the
opening he needed, and he was able to stay at the top until turn
10 when the game ran out of Politicians. Congratulations to Steve
who is the first two-time champion since Sean Cousins managed
it in 1995.
Meanwhile next year the convention moves to Lancaster. Does
this mean the Curse of Hunt Valley will be lifted from the GM
with the change of location? Hope springs eternal for Cubs fans,
Red Sox nation and the Kremlin GM.