Participation was up this year with 23 tables in the first round, up from 17 last year, and two of those tables had to be ended at 9 points. The second round had 18 tables with 1 having to be ended early at 8 points. The third round had 13 tables that all finished, one just barely with a 10,9,9,9 score!
I used the quick check-in again with good results. There was a bit of a scoring issue when figuring the semifinalists; I want to thank John Gitzen putting up with being in, out, and back in the semifinals while we sorted that out.
After the preliminary rounds, there were three people that had won all three of their games: Crystal Shipley, Mark Kennel, and Michael Kaltman. Last year I thanked my daughter for helping out, but this year she was busy winning games. Eleven people made the semifinals winning two games, and two people advanced to the final 16 with a win and two second places.
In the first semifinal, Crystal Shipley won by three points over Lumen Sperling and Janet Ottey. In the second, Mark Kennel won by one over last year’s champion Anne Norton. In the third, John Jacoby won by one over Michael Shea. In the fourth, Steve Scott won by two over Chester Lanham and Kurt Kramer. John Jacoby had to withdraw due to GM duties so the best second place finisher in the semifinals (tie broken by seeding coming into the semis), Michael Shea, was advanced to the finals.
After setup in the final, Steve (red) is first and has an 8 brick on a wood port and each other commodity. Mark (Blue) has an 8 sheep and both placements are sheep, wheat and wood. Michael (White) has both settlements on the same 6 wood plus a couple wheat, ore and sheep. Crystal (Orange) has a 6 & 8 brick plus another brick, 2 ore, and wheat and is heading toward the brick port.
In a fast start, by the first turn of round 3, everyone had another settlement. Steve gained more ore and sheep production, Mark added sheep and ore along with an ore port, Michael a couple wheat spots and a wood, and Crystal added an ore but more importantly the brick port. After that four out of five rolls of 4 benefitted everyone but Crystal. Steve was able to build another settlement along the shore, Crystal collected some development cards after getting some better rolls, Michael is building roads, and the robber starts moving around the board.
Mark, Michael, and Crystal add settlements with Michael also taking longest road. A spate of 7s slows things down a little, but Steve build a couple roads, Crystal upgrades to a city (5 points), and some development cards are purchased. A string of four 5s follows, with a wheat monopoly played by Crystal in the middle of that to buy another development card and a road next turn, threatening to take longest road with one more, while Steve adds a settlement (5 points) and Michael adds a city (7 points).
The longest road battle ensues with Michael keeping ahead of Crystal 8-7 with some helpful trades. Mark upgrades to a couple cities and adds a settlement to get to 7 points showing. Steve also upgrades to a couple cities and build four roads over the next few rounds to take over longest road and sit a 9 points.
No one was able to catch up to Steve before he built a settlement to get to 10 points. Crystal kept the largest army and collected two victory points to end at 9, Mark finished with 7 on the board for third place and Michael collected a couple victory points to also finish at 7 for fourth, tie broken by ranking coming into the semifinals. Congrats to Steve Scott, the other finalists and everyone who helped bring the tournament back over 100 players!