The First of Four ...
That's a whole lot of San Juan
Laura DeWalt and Nick Ferris
Every year there are always several people at the demo, but
most are just seeking a refresher or are bored because the tourney
doesn't start until 10am. This year, there were actually several
who had never played. And when the demo was over around 9:30,
more people came, so I went through a lot of it again.
my assistant GMs were on the job, because the extra demo time
caused me to get there without much time to spare. San Juan
used to be the "only game in town" on Monday mornings.
With more tourneys on Monday this year, I expected my attendance
to drop, and I was right, but not by much!
San Juan is run as a 4-round swiss tournament. Then,
all three-game winners advance to a single-elimination bracket.
We always have fun telling everyone that they need to win their
first three games so that they can go to lunch during the fourth
I was hoping to win three straight games (or crap out early)
because I was starving. I saw perennial laurelist Tom Browne
before we got started and we were talking about lunch possibilities.
Tom said that he had never lost a game in the swiss rounds, so
he was hopeful he would get to go to lunch. I remember thinking
to myself at the time that Tom had just jinxed himself.
As luck would have it, Tom's first round opponent was Eric
Brosius, who also advances every year. Sure enough, Tom would
go hungry at San Juan this year as Eric did what no other player
has been able to do in this format. No matter. Tom went 3-1 and
still made it into the Final again -- albeit a little hungrier
The other finalist, Jason Levine had been hounded and beaten
up by his AOR nemesis, Bruce Reiff, earlier in the Pre-con.
But Jason would have his revenge in the elimination rounds on
his way to facing Tom. Of course, Jason would never rub Bruce's
face in it. Well, maybe a little. I knew there was something
about that guy I liked.
Tom would start first in the Final. He built a Tobacco on
Turn 1, But Jason trumped him by building a Silver on Turn 2.
Jason was first to build the coveted prefecture on Turn 3, but
Tom was able to build one the next turn. However, Jason built
a Goldmine and it soon rewarded him with a City Hall and a Quarry.
Tom tried the quick build strategy to try and counter Jason's
Goldmine riches, but Jason was able to edge the only two-time
San Juan winner 29 to 27 (which are two pretty bad scores!).
Jason got his first of four tournament wins in what would be
a record-tying week.
A tourney the size of San Juan runs much better with
help, so a big thanks to assistant GM Lexi Shea for her excellent
administrative duties. And every big tourney needs someone with
a loud voice and a commanding presence to get players where they
need to be. Few fill that bill as well as Bruce Reiff -- as long
as he's had his quota of chocolate donuts.
Most importantly, thanks to everyone who played and brought
games. Huge two-player tournaments need every game they can get.
In all the years I've been running this tourney, we've never
had an unpleasant incident, so thanks for making this a fun experience.
Robert Kircher's run ends in the semifinals
vs Tom Browne.
Jason Levine wins the first of four
titles against Tom Browne.