This year marked Facts in Five’s first presentation in the Seven Springs Ballroom, a location that drew curious looks, laughter, and occasional stops to play from people on their way to Open Gaming. The Fi5 GM staff, as always, greatly appreciate the care and attention the con staff and leadership show in helping support our growth and our ability to put on a great show. With ample space that was easy to access, Facts in Five’s number exploded again, growing nearly 20% to 210 excellent and cheery audience members. Given the good mood and the laughter, it was almost a shame to subject them to the trivia portion of the evening.
Round 1 started us off with the following categories:
- Medal events at the 2018 Winter Olympics
- Instruments used by the Philharmonic Orchestra
- 100 Greatest Classic Westerns as chosen by American Cowboy Magazine
- Emperors of the Roman Empire
- Top 100 Mystery Writers of all time as decided by the Mystery Writers of America
The letters for this round were: C, D, F, H, and S.
As usual, Round 1 was one of the easier rounds for the crowd with an average score of 10.3, letting people slide back into the annual rhythm of memory torture that Facts in Five is. Perennial contenders Rich Meyer, Ted Drozd, and Gordon Rogers took the lead in the round with 18 correct answers, with Rob “Rules Questions” Seulowitz at 17 and Jason Arvey and Brian Goodwin filling out the top six with 16 correct answers.
Round 2 upped the difficulty slightly with the next categories:
- Games of chance, as approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission
- Capitals on the Asian Continent
- Individuals who have won the Nobel Peace Prize
- 100 most abundant agricultural goods grown, world-wide
- Flightless birds
The letters for this round were: K, M, P, R, and T.
Average scores for this round were 9.7, though being able to answer “kiwi” for two categories certainly helped. 2014 and 2016 champion Jason Arvey (the Grover Cleveland of Facts in Five winners), 2017 champion Rich Irving, and Drew Doughan topped the round with 17 correct. First-time laurelist Matt Craig and Matthew Hathrell came in second with 16, and Roderick Lee, Allan Jiang, Andrew Drummond, and Dave Bohnenberger finished the top second rounders with 15.
Round 3 was next (surprising no one) with the following categories:
- Animals of the Chinese Zodiac
- Commodities currently traded on the NASDAQ
- Major islands of the US and Canada
- NHL All-Star Team Members
- Gemstones with one-word names
Letters: G, H, O, P, and S
Sometimes the GM does a terrible job of figuring out the relative difficulty of rounds, and Round 3 turned out to be the easiest round of all, with an outstanding 13.3 average score for competitors. It would take a big score to stand out from the pack, and that’s what Rich Meyer, Rich Atwater, and Nathan Heiss provided with 21 correct answers each! Anthony Russo, Richard Irving, and Tom Vickery were close behind with 20 correct answers.
Round 4, though, had the difficulty jump back up with the following categories:
- Actors who have played Doctor Who
- Guest Stars on The Simpsons
- Movies directed by Steven Spielberg
- 3-to-5 letter words with at least one “Z” in them
- Mathematical terms
Letters: B, D, E, T, and W.
The more specialized knowledge in some of the categories meant that there were more hit or miss sections – more people either got most of the answers or they got none of the answers. Rich Irving and Dalton Versak proved they had geek knowledge at the tips of their fingers with 17 right answers; Jeff Strauch and Sarah Beach came in second with 16. Rich Meyer, Cyril Tircuit, Mark Guttag, and Sarah’s husband Ed Beach rounded out the top with 15 each. Facts in Five LLC takes no responsibility for marital strife caused by gloating.
Round 5 finished us off with the “Ballroom” theme, with the following categories celebrating the new space:
- Competitive Ballroom Dances
- Grammy Nominees for “Best Dance Recording”
- Largest Hotel Chains in the World
- Cards in the Game “Clue / Cluedo”
- Games or sports that use a ball
Letters: B, C, M, S, and W
As always, the theme round proved to be a little easier on competitors, with an average 10.7 score. Josie Naylor caught fire this round (figuratively, not literally, there is no risk of combustion in Facts in Five) with 18 correct answers to top the list. Rich Meyer and Andy Latto came in second with 17 correct, and Sean McCulloch and Christopher Yaure took third with 16 each.
This year, Rich Meyer simply outpaced everyone. He was in the top six for an amazing four out of five rounds, and the one round he wasn’t in the top six, he was still in the top ten. In a game where the tie breaker is used regularly to sort out the top six, Rich won with an amazing 5 point lead over last year’s champion Rich Irving’s second place. This is Rich Meyers’ fifth time winning the tourney, which means he is the most thematically appropriate winner, so congratulations to him! Beyond the two Riches (which I think was a title of a really bad fantasy novel I read when I was a teen), third place went to the other perennial winner since 2014, Jason Arvey. But don’t think that means only the same people do well – this year saw two brand new laurelists, with Matt Craig taking fourth place and Rich Atwater took fifth. Sixth place went to Ewan McNay, who took fifth place last year and therefore doesn’t fit easily in the narrative I’m trying to make of repeat winners vs. brand new laurelists.
With that, I want to thank everyone who came out this year to play, all of the GM staff who came out to help, and all of the con and hotel staff that made our first year in the Ballroom such a success! I’ll post to the Board Game Geek forums the full list of scores, of answers, and a review of the humorous responses that I liked the best. Thank you all again and we look forward to giving you another great show in 2019!