isn't over until its over ...
Katie Breza, Dominic Blais and George
Galuschak build pyramids in the first heat.
Kenneth Horan and Eric Freeman seem
optimistic about their respective chances.
Our Amun Re players were evenly matched as 15 tables
produced 14 different winners in three heats. More than half
the games were decided by two or fewer points, and three resorted
to tiebreakers. In the closest game, the scores were 34-34-33-32-30
as David Platnick edged Dan Farrow, Greg Crowe and Marilyn Flowers.
The only player who distanced himself from the field was Jefferson
Meyer, who posted the highest score (49) and largest margin of
victory (12 points). Meyer's hot streak came to an abrupt end
in the semifinals as Michael Shea held off his late game charge.
Rob Flowers took out last year's runner-up Andrew Emerick, and
Cary Morris matched Rob's 6-point margin of victory to advance
also. The last match was also the closest, with Eric Freeman
edging Alex Bove in a battle of the third and fourth-ranked laurelists.
Alex's close second qualified him for the 5-player Final.
There, Cary used his three pyramids on Memphis and two scoring
cards to propel himself into a share of the lead at the halfway
mark, but a lack of money made his lead tenuous. Eric Freeman
managed to have both points and money as his temples matched
Cary's point output (14). Rob was just two points back, thanks
to two power cards, and Alex's one power card gave him a one-point
lead over Michael (9 to 8) as the Old Kingdom came to a close.
Alex had the most mone, but the others were not far behind.
Alex was unable to use his money advantage early in the New
Kingdom as the highly-developed provinces (Memphis and Avaris)
did not appear until the fourth and fifth rounds respectively,
giving the other players time to match his bankroll. Rob's pharaoh
position and bid blockade were not quite enough to buy Memphis
in Round 5. Michael paid 28 gold for the province, but it guaranteed
him the 5-point pyramids bonus on that side of the river. Rob
used his surplus money in Round 6 to buy Avaris for 21 and made
sure he won the pyramid bonus on his side of the Nile. Alex and
Eric built conservatively and saved, hoping for end-game bonus
points. Cary ran out of money and was only able to build one
set of pyramids, but his three temples and scoring card replaced
the lack of pyramid points.
In the end, Michael was the big pyramid scorer, and his 25
New Kingdom points rallied him from last to first with 33 points.
Eric also had 33 but only built six pyramids to Michael's nine,
giving Michael the tie-breaker. Rob was just one point behind
the leaders, and Cary held off Alex for fourth place, also by
one point (28-27). Michael became Amun Re's ninth different winner
in as many years in the closest Final held to date. In a year
of close games, it was fitting that the Final was also decided
by the smallest of margins.
Marilyn Flowers and Barrett Straub
relax on the beach.
GM Alex Bove oversees his fellow finalists.