Nicola Bradford and Debbie Gutermuth
Rob Kircher lost to Arthur Wines in
The 2010 tournament attendance rebounded strongly with a few
schedule and format tweaks. For 2010 we used a later start time
so we fit in the 'pre-Slapshot' zone on Saturday night which
avoided many of the conflicts (especially Dominion) that
we encountered last year. But the most positive feedback received
was the use of a Mulligan Round for the multiplayer round. It
gave everyone a guaranteed chance to play in two games, and it
allowed players who prefer the two-player format the ability
to compete without having to run the gauntlet of the multiplayer
The last tweak, using the Inns and Cathedrals expansion in
the Mulligan Round, had mixed reviews. This expansion adds three
elements: inns on the lake that cause the road they adjoin to
be worth double if finished or nothing, cathedrals that cause
the city they are in to be worth threes point per tile/pennant
if finished or nothing, and an additional "large" meeples
that counts as two meeples. On the positive side, most players
appreciated the minimal additional rules, the additional tile
types, and the opportunity to make a few extra moves in the game
from the added tiles. On the downside, the games lasted longer
and we were short a few copies. So it looks like the first two
tweaks we will keep and I will have to revisit the use of the
Inns and Cathedrals expansion next year.
There was a marked change in play style among the players
who made it to the advanced rounds this year that reminds me
of the better AI opponents in the iPad/iPhone Carcassonne app.
The strategy is to trap opponent's meeples and try to get many
quick two-point scores from cities and short roads and finish
up with claiming farms. I noted several occasions where monasteries
were not claimed even with a player having meeples remaining.
This strategy was very evident among the top three who are
all from the same family: daughter Carolyn Strock, uncle Arthur
Wines, and father Dan Strock. The remainder of the laurelists
included perennial contender Rob Kircher, 2004 champion "Legendary"
Dan Hoffman, and David Mattingly who was filling in for his wife
Meredith, a 2009 laurelist, who could not participate. Emerging
from a tense Final game over Uncle Arthur, Carolyn claimed the
2010 crown keeping the streak of the "under 21 champions"
alive at six years and counting.
GM Tom McCorry (left) and Dan Strock
get in some practise while waiting for the next round.
GM McCorry and his top three finalists
who all broke into the Laurels list for the first time.