Beware the Pharoah-Maker ...
Preliminary games were a combination
of four- and five-player contests as attendance dictated.
Three alternates were required
for the Semi-Finals making all the fuss over MESE tie breakers
Almost 50 players participated in the tournament this year,
down 8% from last year as the event continued a three-year slide.
No major scheduling issues (though being nearly the only event
in Ballroom A on Thursday made things a bit confusing for some),
but as hot new Euros come out, the older events always slide
Four player games were played with the same three provinces
removed before the game (Abydos, Amarna, and Kharga). Due to
the removal for the 4-power-card province from the game, the
requirement for the Power Card bonus card was reduced in those
games, from 7 to 5 in the Heats and from 7 to 6 in the Semis
and Final. Feedback indicated that 5 was a little too easy to
The two heats saw 14 tables played, with three second-place
players advancing as alternates when one winner declined to advance.
The 16 semi-finalists each played a four player match, with the
four winners advancing to the Final.
The Final was a tense game. (A full recap will be posted
online with the address listed here.) Greg Thatcher jumped
out to an early lead as the only player with four pyramids,
also scoring two temples and two scoring cards. However,
he found himself short of cash and sacrificed the -3 all
three rounds of the new kingdom, and Arthur Field managed
to grab at least a tie for most pyramids on both sides of
the Nile to eke out a 48-43 win.
Sitting in a later seat proved a distinct advantage this year
(1-0-2-4-2 by seat in five-player, 1-2-4-3 in four-player). Having
the most pyramids remained no guarantee of victory (4-5 in five-player,
5-5 in four-player), but that was better than having the most
cash, at least 5-player (1-8 in 5, 6-4 in 4). Halftime leaders
didn't do as well as last year (4-5 in 5, 3-7 in 4). Then again,
winning a game is only a 20 to 25% proposition to begin with,
so even a 1-3 shot is an improvement.
Arthur Field and Greg Thatcher combined for most of the highest
scores 48,49,48 and 51,47,43), with Phil Rennert posting a 51
in a heat that included a 49 from Alex Bove (who lost his Semi-Final
on a tie-breaker). Low scores were 19 and two 20s. Aside from
one table average of 24.5, averages in the heats ranged from
30.75 to 40.4, with Semi-Finals of 35.25/36/40/40.75 and a Final
of 40.75.More points were scored in the old kingdom than the
new, which is not mathematically impossible due to scoring cards
and different temple scoring, but in this case the numbers could
not possibly be correct.