High Flying Profits
GM Richard Irving (left) on
the way to one of his three Heat wins. He should have saved some
of his mojo for the Semis where he was one and done.
Even in a lean year, Merchant
drew enough to remain a Century event despite being long out
of print. So how long can these old AH classics hold out?
This year's tournament started as always with the demo. This
year one of the people who came to learn the game was a 12-year-old
girl who was exhausted and droopy from a day long car ride to
get to Lancaster. Little did anyone know that her droopy state
foretold the attendance for this year's event - down 11 to 39
players - its lowest total in the past 14 years. Actually, it
seems some other rail events (and Merchant of Venus is
often nicknamed "Rails in Space") had conflicting schedules.
I hope to get together with the other rail game GM's to form
an unofficial "Rail Game Track" to avoid these conflicts
in the future to benefit all of these events.
The tournament proper started with the first heat on Wednesday
morning with six games and 21 players. Harald Henning won the
mythical "Lost in a Fog" Award when early in the game,
trying to reach the "eastern" portion of the map, he
was derailed by the navigation circle at Shuttlestop. Proceeding
to the "NW", he finds a $40 penalty oval hidden in
an unassuming asteroid. So he stopped (instead of burning more
than half his cash) and waited for next turn. Still trying to
go east, he rolled a 2,2,3 that allowed him to travel a grand
total of one space, before being stopped by Shuttlestop's Nav
circle - with its 2,3 arrow pointing back at him. Undaunted,
Harald tried again and this time rolled 3,3,2 and was forced
back to the penalty oval! BANG! BANG! BANG! OUCH!
Round 2 featured another exercise in futility when a Mr. X
(Name withheld to prevent possible embarrassment) through a combination
of fatigue (he left one planet before trading), fuzzy recall
of the strategy of the game (he hadn't played for a couple of
years) and really rotten luck (he got probably the worst IOU's
that are hardly worth using), managed to finish with an all time
low final score of $170! (This includes the value of the goods
he had on board, a couple of Finest Dusts.) For this dubious
achievement Mr. X has been taken to an undisclosed location and
where his identity can remain discreet.
Round 3 featured Frank McNally winning "I Knew There
Was a Gate Around Here Somewhere" Award for finding a Jump
Start on Turn 3 - easily the best Relic in the game IF there
are Telegates to jump start to. Unfortunately, for Frank only
one Telegate was discovered which greatly limited the ability
of the device. Kind of like winning a "Free Gas for Life"
card from a certain gas brand and realizing the closest station
they have is three states away.
Because of the low attendance, only 15 heat games were played
(and only 12 semi-final qualifiers due to repeat wins, notably
by the GM, who won all three heat games.), so at least four alternates
would make the 16 player semi-final field. When two of the winners
failed to arrive at the start, more alternates were needed -
allowing possibly the most enthusiastic player to make the semis,
Stephen Westerholm. Stephen was there for every heat and his
constant upbeat "never say die" attitude in the face
of difficult results was a highlight of the week.
In the semis, the GM was denied in his attempt to "coussis"
his event, when he was defeated by Frank McNally - the only new
Laurelist to make it to the Final. Joe Abrams, Bill Crenshaw
and Eyal Mozes won their semis also to reep more laurels and
advanceto the Final.
There, Eyal got the Jump Start (and this time three Telegates
were discovered) allowing him to comeback from a slow start to
win the title. (Bill nipped Joe for second by a mere $14) Eyal
is a regular player in the Merchant of Venus tournament and frequent
semi-finalist who finally broke through. Congratulations!
I hope everyone enjoyed the event and was able to follow Rule
#1 of this tournament: Have Fun!
Thanks for playing!
Finalists (Ranked by score in Final):
1) Eyal Mozes $3002
2) Bill Crenshaw $2561
3) Joe Abrams $2547
4) Frank McNally $1508
Semi-finalists (Ranked by score in semi-final):
5) Chuck Foster $2579
6) Ken Gutermuth $2750
7) Richard Irving $2559
8) Luke Koleszar $2512
9) Rich Meyer $2410
10) Vassili Kyrkos $2324
11) Tom Stokes $2278
12) Craig Dudley $2212
13) Debbie Gutermuth $1816
14) Reiko Brooks $1165
15) Stephen Westerholm $1120
16) Joe Delaney $870
Remaining Players (Ranked by best heat game
17) Tom Browne $2037
18) Ewan McNay $2033
19) Ed Kendrick $1546
20) Paul Bolduc $1481
21) Dennis Mischler $1477
22) Alan Rose $1456
23) Debbie Davidson $1399
24) Tom DeMarco $1375
25) Harald Henning $1246
26) Keith Corbino $1189
27) Duane Wagner $1161
28) Laurel Stokes $1102
29) Richard Jones $1100
30) Priscilla Putnam $1065
31) Mike Brophy $1010
32) Chris Geggus $914
33) Peter Martin $787
34) Roderick Lee $763
35) Claire Brosius $740
36) David Weinstein $707
37) Michael Holmquist $664
38) Strider Putnam $500
39) Mr. X $170