a smaller Dominion ...
Laura DeWalt, one of the last entries,
on her way to a second place finish.
Doubling up on tables during Dominion
... two games and eight players per table.
The tournament format changed slightly with the introduction
of the expansion sets - with Intrigue being featured in
the preliminary and quarter-final rounds, Seaside in the
semi-finals, and a mixed board of Intrigue and Seaside
for the Final. The tournament also moved back to GM determined
card sets, rather than random draws prior to the event. This
seemed to work well again, as there were less time issues requiring
As in previous years, copies of the game were still the limiting
factor for attendance. With only 28 copies of Intrigue
available, the field was limited to 112 and some had to be turned
away due to the lack of games.
The statistics for this round continue to follow the previous
trends. The effect of starting turn order remains evident with
only 11 wins out of 56 games coming from the fourth position,
while there were also15 second place finishes from the last turn
position, so again almost half of the players managed a top two
finish from the last position. With the scoring system now favoring
a top two finish more heavily, advancing continues to be more
about consistency between the two games, than about an 'advantageous
Ending conditions definitely favored Provinces this year.
Out of the 45 games that recorded their ending condition, 35
ended due to the expiration of the province deck, while only
ten ended by exhausting three non-province piles. This year,
all ten games that ended by exhausting three piles were at different
tables, while only 12 tables ended both games with provinces
- whereas last year 80% of the tables had identical ending conditions
for both games.
Because of the smaller field, only 48 players qualified for the
quarter-finals with six double winners, 14 with a win and a second
and 26 with either a first and third or two seconds. The cut-off
was at the first and fourth place totals. Only two of the seven
players at that mark advanced automatically, but the four alternates
who came all found space in the quarter-finals, which still had
only 41 players preent. This again shows the importance of checking
the qualifier list, and coming to a tournament as an alternate
if you really want to play!
Twelve quarter-final tables played their way through two more
sets of Intrigue. Experience definitely seemed to show
through as 2009 finalist Edward Fu was the only person to garner
two wins in both the preliminary and quarter-final rounds. Six
other players also won both of their games in the quarter-finals,
while only four players managed a first and second. The semi-final
field also consisted of one player with a first and third, three
players with two seconds. Once again, the cut-off point was at
the first & fourth place finish, where Alex Henning was the
lucky one of five to advance.
Similar to 2010, the semi-finals were a mix of domination, and
contention. Edward Fu continued his winning ways as he won both
games at his table over Joe Brumfield, Alex Henning and Camille
Eustice. Randy Buehler gave a similar dominating performance
over Ziad Munson, Jeff Finkeldey and Verity Hitchings with two
victories of his own. At the other two tables though, the victors
were not so clear. At one, Laura DeWalt and Gordon Rodgers traded
firsts and seconds between the two games against Eli Zlotowski
and Brian Pappas. Laura held the tie-breaker over Gordon, giving
her the advantage heading to the Final, with just one table still
remaining. At the last table, Josh Githens, Rob Renard, Michael
Wojke and Aidan Czyryca struggled for position. Aidan won the
first game handily in a very close battle that put Michael in
second, Rob in third and Josh as low man. In the second game,
Rob and Michael went first and second, leaving Aidan to pick
up third place. With two firsts and thirds and a dual-second
at the table, the battle ended up with them all eliminated from
contention, allowing Gordon Rodgers to take the last seat in
The last round was contested with five cards from Intrigue
and five from Seaside. For Game 1, the cards in play were
Courtyard, Native Village, Ambassador, Great Hall, Swindler,
Conspirator, Pirate Ship, Scout, Outpost and Treasury.
Random seating for the first game gave Randy the advantage
of first turn, followed by Laura, Gordon and Edward. Randy also
started the game with the only 2-5 copper split, allowing him
to pick up a Courtyard and Treasury in his first two turns. Laura
went for a Swindler and a Scout. Gordon took a more monetary
route with a Pirate Ship and a Silver, and Edward picked two
Ambassadors. Randy's early Treasury seemed to give him a good
lead, as he gained the first gold on Turn 4, and followed with
a Province on Turn 6, before anyone else had even gotten gold.
Laura tried to catch up with a Treasury of her own on Turn 5,
and then Outpost purchases on the next two turns. Gordon's Pirate
ship attacked twice to build coins for later for himself, while
Edward used his Ambassadors to start thinning his deck by discarding
coppers and estates over the next four turns, and putting them
into his opponents' decks.
By Turn 11, the end game was approaching, as there were only
one Treasury and two Great Halls left in play. Randy still held
a lead by virtue of the only province purchase, but things were
about to change. Edward's compact deck was about to kick into
high gear as he gained an Outpost the previous turn. Turn 11
saw Randy gain another gold, while Laura started looking for
victory points by buying a Duchy. Gordon grabbed a Great Hall,
while Edward took the final Treasury, and a Gold on an Outpost
turn. Turn 12 saw the endgame run continue as Randy and Gordon
both gained Duchies, Laura took the last Great Hall, while Edward
started to make his move by purchasing a Province of his own,
and a Conspirator. Ed's strategy though failed him when Laura
used her own Outpost to take the last two Ambassadors after Randy
took his second province, thereby ending the game before Edward
was able to really start running his deck through. It turned
out to be a smart move for Laura as her 17 Victory Points gave
her second place behind Randy's 23 and ahead of Gordon's 12 and
The cards for the second game were Embargo, Pawn, Masquerade,
Smugglers, Wishing Well, Baron, Caravan, Salvager, Tactician
and Nobles. This time Edward started with a Caravan and a Masquerade.
Gordon went for a Caravan and Silver. Laura had the only 2-5
copper split and went for the Embargo and Tactician, while Randy
went for money again with a Baron and a Silver. His Baron started
paying dividends quickly as he captured the first province on
Turn 3. Caravan chaining was common for Edward allowing him to
get a province on Turn 5. Laura's Turn 3 Tactician netted her
a Nobles on Turn 4, while Gordon's Turn 4 Tactician purchase,
appeared on Turn 5, to allow him a Turn 6 province of his own.
Randy's Baron though came through for him again allowing him
a Turn 6 province as well to maintain his advantage.
Gold purchases didn't come until very late in the game with
both Ed and Gordon picking up the first Golds on Turn 9. On Turn
10, Edward tried again to catch Randy with another province,
but the Baron kept paying off .. allowing Randy his third province
buy. Laura's Tactician on Turn 10 tried to pay dividends for
her on Turn 11, as she picked up both a Province and her second
Duchy. Turn 12 saw both Gordon and Laura use their Tacticians
again, which pretty much announced the approach of the end game.
Turn 13 saw all four players buy Provinces to exhaust the province
deck, while Gordon and Laura's extra buys got each an Estate
as well. Randy's extra province was once again the difference
in a close battle. He finished with 32 points, compared to 27
for Ed, 26 for Laura and 21 for Gordon.
The two victories gave Randy the clear victory, while Laura's
second and third garnered her second place.
I would like to again thank everyone for participating. The games
moved smoothly, with no real issues or questions about the structure.
The introduction of the expansions seemed to be received favorably,
although the availability of sufficient copies continues to be
an issue. I'll be looking to mix up the Dominion sets
used even further next year - perhaps bringing the base game
back for a round, and definitely looking at including newer expansions
for the later rounds. The original set or Intrigue will
remain the main sets for the preliminary and quarter-finals just
because they are more readily available (as they are the stand-alone
One of the most common questions I was asked though was 'is this
good enough to advance?' Under the current structure, it's been
hard to tell, but with three years of data I am starting to get
some solid numbers. I'll be looking at trying to simplify the
rules for this next year, so that players will have a better
idea of whether they qualified for the next round or not. Check
out the event preview next year to find out what sets we'll be
using and to watch for other changes.
For the Dominion player who
Even Juniors are emboldened by Dominion.
Euro Quest Laurelists
Haim Hochboim, Israel
Jon Senn, PA
Dan Eppolito, CA
Mary Ellen Powers, VA
Jeff Mullet, OH