Breakfast of Champions
The Monday morning event just failed
to break 100 entrants as WBC got underway.
Pete Gathman and George Young make
do with a banquet table in the crowded ballroom.
Jefferson Meyer and Eli Zlotowski
head a long row of San Juan players.
Nick Henning and the new Tasty
Cakes spokesman, Bruce Reiff between cupcakes.
San Juan continues to prosper in it's Monday time slot
despite flipping back and forth between an early morning and
a late afternoon slot - just missing triple figure attendance
again. Every year I consider doing away with the demo, so I'll
have a little more time to myself. Surely, after seven years
everyone knows how to play this game by now. But every year about
20 people appear to either learn or jog their memory. Speaking
of the demo, some interesting Cabbie background: My roommate
and trusty assistant GM, Bruce Reiff, was assigned to get Pop
Tarts for my breakfast while getting himself a box of chocolate
cupcakes. As I was about to grab my breakfast and head down to
handle the demo at 9 a.m., I realized that Bruce left my Pop
Tarts at the store. I yelled through the bathroom door that I
was going to have to grab one of his cupcakes (he had two dozen)
and head downstairs, since he screwed up my breakfast plans.
This drew a loud "STAY AWAY FROM MY CUPCAKES!!!"
response. Now, anyone who knows Bruce, knows he doesn't want
to have to do any extra work. So I smugly yell back that he'll
have to do the demo then, because I need to go get some breakfast.
I foolishly assume he'll give in, so I grab a cupcake and head
down stairs to the demo. I totally under-estimated Bruce's love
of cupcakes. "Fine! Just stay way from my cupcakes!!!",
he bellowed. So after a nice relaxing hot breakfast, I headed
down to the Ballroom to start the tournament. Who knew? Cupcakes
... the breakfast of champions.
The tournament consisted of four swiss rounds in which you
had to get three wins to advance to single elimination play.
If you won your first three games, you got to go have lunch and
wait for the fourth round to finish. Since I had to play all
four rounds, I was really glad I got to have that big breakfast!
Thanks again, Bruce.
After the crumbs (and 71 players) were cleared away, there
were 28 left who had won at least three games and advanced to
the single-elimination round. The usual pool of sharks and a
few newcomers battled it out until Rob Kircher and Greg Thatcher
were the last two left standing.
Rob wanted to play Union Pacific, so Greg graciously
agreed to play the Final at midnight.
During the single elimination portion, the scores were way
down. In years past, it almost always took scores in the mid-40's
to win. As I watched several games unfold, everyone got atrocious
cards. People were winning games 31-26, 32-23, 31-29. It was
very unusual. Every time I would look at someone's hand, I would
think to myself: "That guy can't win". Then I'd look
at his opponent's hand and think, "He can't win either!"
The Final was no different. As the game unfolded, Rob and Greg
would each grimace as they drew new cards. And I couldn't blame
them. There were no carpenters, quarries, libraries or prefectures
to be had in the early going. And neither player could find a
"6" building to save their lives. Mercifully, the game
ended and Greg, a shark in many environs, but relatively new
to San Juan, came out ahead and grabbed his fifth overall
title. Rob would collect what was to become his first of seven
laurel finishes this year without a championship. With 12 titles
on his resume, Rob has had his share of victories, but that still
has got to hurt.
Once again, thanks to everyone who participated and especially
those who brought a game. A two-player event with 100 entrants
makes it critical that everyone who can, brings a copy of the
game. And next year, if you want a favorable seeding, I suggest
chocolate cupcakes as well.
Jeff Mullet faces 2006 Caesar Marvin
John Wetherell and Lexi Shea run the