Participation numbers held fairly steady from last year as there were again 17 tables in the first round of the event and only one table had to be adjudicated at 9 points. The second round once again had 15 tables and all games finished on time. The third round had 11 tables, with a couple being cut short at 8 and 9 points. We did a little better at completion this time. If someone is holding a game up, let me know and I’ll do my best to get them moving!
I think the quick check-in I tried this year worked well getting people seated and playing without having to fill out registration cards. I also tweaked my spreadsheet a bit to figure out the semifinal participants more quickly. Thanks to my daughter Crystal for helping run the third round and organizing the semifinals while I was playing in a semifinal for another game. And thanks to all who played in the tournament for keeping it going. Note that everyone is welcome to play in any of the three preliminary rounds.
A couple highlights from the preliminary round games include Barrington pulled the trade away my wheat and then wheat monopoly it back, you do have to watch when people get too generous. Another was Anthony getting completely boxed in and finishing with two cities, largest army, and two VP cards, a nice 8 point second from a bad position!
Charles Faella was the only player to win all three preliminary games. Brian Conlon and Andrew Martin had two wins and a second place to be the next two qualifiers. Lynda Shea’s two wins and another high score were enough to be the fourth seed into the semifinals. A win and two seconds was enough to guarantee making the semi-finals this time and comprised the first 12 qualifiers. A win and a second place required another good game score to advance.
In the first semifinal, Haim Hochboim won by four points over Charles Faella and Natalie Bezek, starting the last turn with 4 points on the board then gaining both bonus cards and showing two VP cards for the win. Jon Manley won the second semifinal by two points over Brian Conlon who took fifth place in the tournament. Shane McBee won his semifinal by three points over Marsha Hamel who finished in sixth place overall. On the fourth table, Anne Norton won by three over Stephanie Dorais in a game where only a few cities were built.
After setup in the final, Haim, Blue, started with an 8 Ore and also on Wood, Brick and Sheep. Anne, Red, had a 6 Wood and 8 Brick, Jon, White, settled on a 6 Wheat and had something on each resource, and Shane, Brown, had a 6 Wheat and 8 Brick. Everyone set up with their settlements within two or three connections of each other. Shane built the first city on turn 2, followed by Jon building one on turn 3, and Haim starting to collect development cards. Turn four saw Haim and Anne building settlements, with John adding one the next turn.
Eight was a popular number to roll early in the game and along with a Wheat monopoly and a couple knights, allowed Haim to build two cities, while Shane built another. Anne followed with two settlements, a development card, and grabbing the longest road over the next few turns, while Shane built a settlement. Jon then built two cities in quick succession as 6, which had been a rare roll in the game, was rolled three times in a row. Shane then built two settlements and a city, bought two development cards, and played a knight and a wood monopoly in the next four turns while Haim and Anne added settlements and Jon added a city.
The last turn started with Haim building a city. Anne followed by buying a development card, which turned out to be a VP card, and along with 7 points on the board and the longest road, was the winning move. The game would almost certainly not have gone another turn since each other player had at least one VP card (Haim had 2) and 9 points for the closest game possible. Congratulations to Anne and I hope to see you all next year!