el grande [Updated October 2007]  

2007 WBC Report    

 2008 Status: pending 2008 GM commitment

Robb Effinger, ON

2007 Champion

Offsite links:

 Rio Grande Games

Event History
1999     Stu Hendrickson     47
2000     Anthony Burke      40
2001     Jason Levine      70
2002     Mark Guttag      41
2003     Rob Flowers      55
2004      Jay Fox      68
2005     Charlie Kersten      97
2006      Greg Thatcher      55
2007     Robb Effinger      68


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Jason Levine       NY    05     62
  2.  Rob Flowers        MD    03     52
  3.  Greg Thatcher      FL    06     50
  4.  Charlie Kersten    OH    05     40
  5.  Jay Fox            NJ    04     40
  6.  Mark Guttag        VA    02     40
  7.  Stu Hendrickson    VA    00     36
  8.  David Buchholz     MI    05     32
  9.  Robb Effinger      ON    07     30
 10.  Anthony Burke      NJ    00     30
 11.  Mike Hazel         SC    07     24
 12.  Yoel Weiss         NJ    04     24
 13.  Josh Campbell      NY    03     24
 14.  Winton LeMoine     CA    07     18
 15.  Eric Freeman       PA    06     18
 16.  Nick Benedict      CA    01     18
 17.  Rob Seulowitz      NY    00     18
 18.  Dan Hoffman        NC    99     18
 19.  Geoff Pounder      ON    05     16
 20.  Barry Shutt        PA    04     16
 21.  Mario Lanza        PA    03     16
 22.  Gary Presser       NY    02     13
 23.  Brian Kirchner Germany   06     12
 24.  Pete Gathmann      NJ    05     12
 25.  John Poniske       PA    04     12
 26.  Davyd Field        SC    03     12
 27.  Barb Flaxington    NJ    01     12
 28.  Dennis Disney      TX    99     12
 29.  Rich Meyer         MA    07      9
 30.  David Gubbay       TX    06      9
 31.  James Pei          TX    00      9
 32.  Sean Vessey        VA    99      9
 33.  Eric Brosius       MA    03      8
 34.  Stan Hilinski      MD    02      8
 35.  Mike Nickeloff     CA    07      6
 36.  Paul Murphy        UT    06      6
 37.  Peter Martin       NJ    01      6
 38.  Paul Hakken        NJ    99      6
 39.  Andrew Greene      VA    04      4
 40.  Gary Noe           FL    03      4
 41.  Brian Kowal        WI    07      3
 42.  Joe Pabis          VA    06      3
 43.  Andy Lewis         DE    01      3
 44.  Scott Buckwalter   MD    00      3
 45.  Scott Smith        GA    99      3

2007 Laurelists

Winton LeMoine, CA

Mike Hazel, SC

Rich Meyer, MA

Mike Nickeloff, CA

Brian Kowal, WI

Past Winners

Stu Hendrickson,VA

Anthony Burke, NJ

Jason Levine, NY

Mark Guttag, VA

Rob Flowers, MD

Jay Fox, NJ

Charlie Kersten, OH

Greg Thatcher, FL

Defending champion Greg Thatcher looked spiffy in his El Grande Centurion shirt but was unable to advance this year.

 The five survivors gather for the 2007 Final.

Still Hard Going for Laurelists ...

Better scheduling enabled El Grande to increase its numbers this year. It also helps that the game was reprinted not too long ago. There were 21 individual winners for this year's semi-finals, and two no-shows allowed six runner-ups to advance.

Thursday's Final was a fairly high-scoring game. Relatively few pieces got removed from the board by means of the cards in the 2 stack. Both Veto cards came out, as well as all three scoring cards from that stack. Only one scoring card was Vetoed while one other one (Dial a Region) was burned. And this game became (almost) all about the scoring cards.

Mike Hazel is an El Grande veteran and the lone former laurelist among the finalists, and focused on securing first place scores in regions as well as making generous use of the Castillo. He succeeded in getting a good number of his pieces on the board early, although they were fairly concentrated. Robb Effinger and Winton Lemoine also did a pretty good job of building up board position, but not putting as many pieces into the Castillo as Mike.

Robb started off the scoring on his first turn with a "Score the region with the Most Caballeros", and he manipulated the board to score twice, borrowing Rich Meyer's home region, thereby jumping out to a lead which he would maintain for the duration. Robb played three scoring cards throughout the game, and was so well positioned that he was often a minor beneficiary of other players' scoring cards. In the end, he scored as many points on other players' score cards as his own, for an impressive total of 56 points from scoring cards alone.

Mike, and to an extent, Winton, continued to dominate the main scoring rounds, but they could not overcome the gap. Mike came close in Turn 8, when the "Score the Firsts" card allowed him to score 23 points while Robb only scored 6. However, his hopes were dashed in Turn 9, when the "Score the 6 and 7 regions" card came out. Rich bid first, but no longer had his 13 card, so Winton played the 13 to execute the card since it scored 15 points for himself. Unfortunately for Mike, it only scored 1 point for him while netting another 8 for Robb. This finally secured first place for Robb while Winton and Mike battled it out for second . In the end, the two were tied, with Winton winning the tiebreaker with more unused pieces.

This year I tried a somewhat controversial rule regarding the use of the Veto card to stop special actions partway. The feedback was mixed, but there were more complaints than not. I personally feel that it became overly cumbersome without adding much to the game. I expect I will revise the rule next year to only allow partial vetoes of Intrigue actions, or perhaps no partial vetoes at all. Feel free to send me comments before next year. I worked up an Excel spreadsheet detailing all the moves of the Final which I can share upon request.

 GM      Rob Flowers  [5th Year]  NA
    rpf1@mindspring.com   (NA) 

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