The turnout this year returned to normal levels, a total of 72 players across 3 heats.
For those looking for turn order statistics, in the heats where there were no bids, first seat won 7 times, second seat won 5, third seat won 13, and fourth won 7.
The bids for first seat in the semifinals were 6, 5, 4.5, and 4.5. None of which were able to carry their table. Instead, Antony and Rich advanced from the second seat, while Randy and Paul advanced from the fourth. The bids did not change any of the winners.
In the final last year, the bids went higher than in the semifinals. This year that trend reversed, possibly because nobody won their semifinal from the first seat. Randy was able to win the first seat for a bid of just 3.5 points, Antony took second seat for 2, Rich took 3rd for 1 and Paul accepted 4th seat for zero.
The opening sphinx cards were Randy with points for joker strength, Antony with the 8th level of the obelisk, Rich needing 4 bricks in the columns, and Paul with points for black crew strength.
When the flop was revealed, it turned out that Randy would get his money's worth for the first seat and then some. The final three cards on the row were the +2 sphinx card, a 2 quarry, and a 3 quarry. Randy correctly deduced that if he took the +2 sphinx card, he would get both quarries as well unless somebody was willing to sacrifice their entire first round for just one card. Not surprising, nobody did.
Antony took the first card on the row, the field improver, Rich took a step on each tech track, and Paul jumped between the sphinx and graves for the 2 quarry. Antony was also able to pick up the 3 green field and he, along with Rich and Paul picked up substantial crew strength. Antony fed his crew with the extra green field, while Rich and Paul positioned themselves to tactically starve on the first round.
Rich starved for 4 while Paul starved for 6.
Antony and Rich were in the sphinx. Antony got 2 points per permanent, an excellent card which he already had points on, and Rich got 4 bricks in the obelisk, which was the best of his bunch but already needing 4 bricks in the columns would make it tricky. Typically needing such split focus makes it difficult to accomplish everything you need to. Making it worse, Rich was not in the grave building site so the first 3 spots on the obelisk got snatched up by somebody else. He did manage to secure the cheap spots in the columns on this turn easing the pressure somewhat but making his obelisk card was going to be an uphill battle.
Going into the second round, Randy remained first with a score of zero, having only picked up his three excellent cards on the first round with no building. Rich became 2nd with a score of 3, Paul was 3rd, also with a score of 3, and Antony was last with a score of 9.
Many of the best cards came out on the first round, so there was relatively less to work with on the second. Randy and Paul picked up yellow fields high on the river, Rich took two steps on the stone track, and Antony made a substantial jump down to the only quarry. Randy and Paul enter the sphinx and Randy is able to pick up the permanent that increases crew strength right below it, as it had been passed up by the others.
Paul starves for 2, having picked up even more crew strength.
Randy and Paul made it to the sphinx this time around, evening the sphinx cards at two apiece around the table. Randy goes for the brown field card, having the only one currently, and only needing one of the remaining two to make the card. Paul picks up the card that grants points for the number of people finishing the grain track. Meanwhile, Rich gets started on the 4 bricks he needs in the obelisk by building the 3 and 4 spots.
Going into the third round, the scores are tight but Randy has managed to jockey his way into the first seat with a score of 8. Paul is second with 9, Rich is third, also with 9, and Antony is fourth with 10.
Then Randy hits the jackpot again when arguably the best card in the game, allowing movement upriver once per round, appears in the very first slot. Paul picks up the play twice card, Antony grabs a 3 quarry, and Rich uses his "double a round space" card to double the tech circle, getting two steps down both tracks. Everybody but Antony gets into the sphinx due to Antony jumping down a bit for his quarry. Randy's food situation is precarious, and so he goes to the joker spot, giving up the brown field that would secure his sphinx card. After some more jockeying, Antony sees that Randy and Paul are both relying on brown fields to feed this round, and so he jumps to the final joker spot, turning off the brown fields. He paid a price though and did not build on this round when one usually wants to be ramping up their point engine.
Randy starves for 9, Paul starves for 4, and Rich starves for 4 (unaffected by Antony's play).
In the sphinx, Rich finds a much-needed mostly passive card in blue strength, since he still needs bricks in both the obelisk and the columns. Unfortunately for Randy and Paul, they split the two X bricks in the pryamids cards, Randy getting the 6 and Paul getting the 7. One player typically hopes to draw both but both of them need 5 more bricks in the pyramids to make their cards. They can both build two on this turn, so it's doable, but they will get in each other's way.
For the fourth round, Antony, having not built the previous round, goes first with 9 points. Paul goes second with 20, Rich goes third with 21, and Randy goes fourth with 24.
There isn't a lot high on the river, so Antony jumps on the sphinx. Paul wants to finish his grain track since he has a card rewarding that and picks up two steps on it for 2 points in the first slot. Paul and Randy finish out the sphinx. Antony wants to continue pressuring with the threat of starving other players and picks up the 4 green field while Rich picks up the 3 green field. Randy's options for feeding are pretty limited, with the 5 yellow field high on the river and the field improver at the very bottom, he takes the joker spot in the middle to make sure that at least yellow fields function this round. Paul has food problems of his own though there's less severe, since he's at the bottom of the grain track, and takes the 5 yellow field anyways. Randy jumps down for the 4 quarry and on the following turn it becomes clear that he would not be able to get the field improver he desperately needs if he stops at the pyramid building site that he also wants. But the power of the move upriver card shines through, allowing him to take the field improver at the bottom of the river first, and move upriver to the pyramid building site after.
In the sphinx, Randy finds the most quarries card which he's already a lock for since there's no quarries in the final round. Antony gets a much worse draw managing only one point better than pitching with a 2 point yellow strength card, while Rich finds 5 bricks in the obelisk, the companion card to 4 in the obelisk, which he already has. Antony builds in the obelisk first though and needs 3 more levels to be built to score his 8th level of the obelisk card. He sees that Rich already has 3 there, so it's a pretty sure bet that Rich has either or both of the 4 and 5 in the obelisk sphinx cards, so Antony drops one in the obelisk rather than building graves, hoping correctly that Rich will want to build Antony's 8th level for him. Rich isn't able to build on the obelisk this turn though, instead finishing his 4 in the columns card.
For the final round, Antony goes first with 23 points, Rich second with 31, Paul third with 35, and Randy is last with 42.
Unfortunately for Randy, the 9 brown field card doesn't show up, sealing the fate of his brown fields sphinx card.
Antony and Paul hit the sphinx while Rich picks up the 5 temporary crew strength card in the hope of being able to build both the 7th and 8th levels of the obelisk. Rich's got 16 points worth of sphinx cards riding on it. Randy jumps over the sphinx to grab the build first everywhere card, likely intending to again display the power of going upriver by getting into the sphinx later. Rich skips the sphinx entirely and jumps into the obelisk building site then sets up his build exactly by taking two more stones to reach exactly 15. Paul skips the obelisk for points per brick in the columns and pyramids, which is 8 points for him. Randy and Antony end up building everywhere.
Rich ends up short on food again, starving for 6.
Everybody who went to the sphinx ended up with an excellent card. Randy got yellow fields for 7, Antony got the 7th level of the obelisk also for 7, and Paul picked up number of people finishing the stone track for 5.
Rich did get to complete the 7th and 8th level of the obelisk to make his sphinx cards (and Antony's too) and Randy and Paul finished up with the bricks in the pyramids they needed to complete their cards.
Randy went first on final scoring, starting with 73.
- 73 on the board
- 5 for graves
- 8 for joker crew strength
- 0 for brown fields
- 6 for 6 in the pyramids
- 7 for most quarries
- 7 for most yellow fields
- -3.5 bid
- 102.5 total
Paul went second with 56
- 56 on the board
- 2 for graves
- 5 for black crew strength
- 5 for two people finishing the grain track
- 5 for two people finishing the stone track
- 8 for 7 bricks in the pyramids
- -0 bid
- 81 total
Rich went third with 48
- 48 on the board
- 1 for leftover stones
- 6 for 4 in the columns
- 7 for 4 in the obelisk
- 9 for 5 in the obelisk
- 7 for blue crew strength
- -1 bid
- 77 total
Antony went last with 47
- 47 on the board
- 5 for graves
- 1 for leftover stones
- 7 for the 7th level of the obelisk
- 9 for the 8th level of the obelisk
- 8 for 4 permanent cards
- 2 for yellow crew strength
- -2 bid
- 77 total
Thus, Randy won with a score of 102.5, Paul was second with 81, Rich got third on tiebreakers with 77, and Antony got 4th.