It was a great tournament for Medici experts ... so many former champions and multiple heat winners making it to the playoffs! Knowing best how to climb the pyramids and/or take high boat, it was like taking candy from babies… or so it seemed.
There many new rookies this year. For the first time, we ran two demo tutorials that brought in a surprising number of new players. The game is easy to learn, so we have not bothered with tutorials in the past. After 30 seconds of rules explanation, that left lots of time for strategy advice. After giving away all my secrets, I then reminded everyone to do just the opposite of anything I told them, or any advice any other expert would give them.
Running the first heat on the first Saturday also helped to bring many new players to Medici who had nothing better to do that night. Lots of new rookies for the veterans to crush like bugs!
The semi-finals included many veterans and undefeated heat winners. As usual, only 1 win was enough to make the semi-finals, but many chose to rack up multiple wins just to be sure.
Semifinal 1: Most feared coming out of the heats was Jason Arvey who won all 3 of his heats. Jason was also WBC’s 6th ranked Medici tournament player with 50 laurels earned. By luck of the draw, he faced two other undefeated opponents. Veteran Jordon Shea won both of his heats. Former Medici champ Doug Galullo won his only heat played, and was also 4th ranked with 52 laurels. Rounding out the field was Medici veteran Jessica Shea, and “rookie” Randy Buehler. I was surprised to see Randy at the tutorial, but knew he would learn quickly since he wins so many other tournaments. What a great group of competitors. The ultimate winner was former champion Doug defeating Jason by just 7 points.
Semifinal 2: Another competitive semi-final included defending champion Jeff Cornett and former champion Jefferson Meyer. Jeff was the world’s top ranked in laurels (83), while Jefferson was the world’s top ranked in AREA ratings (5694). Undefeated Dennis Mishler was also to be feared having won his only heat. Rounding out the field were Robert D'Aulerio and Nick Pei (all Pei’s are to be feared, no matter what the game). In the end, former champion Jefferson would prevail by just one point over Nick, with Dennis just another point behind.
Semifinal 3: The most closely contested semi-final proved to be among four true power player experts. There were 3 double-heat winners including undefeated former champion Robert Drozd, undefeated Andrew Martin, and former champion Susan Cornett with her only loss being a second place finish. Rounding out the field was last year’s runner up, Cliff Ackman, who was third ranked in the world according to AREA rating (5477). The game wound up in a victory point tie between Cliff and Robert! The tie breaker is most points scored in the last round, giving the victory to former champion Robert.
Semifinal 4: By luck of the draw, the last two semi-finals included no former champions or multiple heat winners. The favorite in Heat 4 was former Medici finalist Dominic Blais who was undefeated having won his only heat. Veterans Mike Huggins and Kurt Collins II were to be respected with each having done well in previous competitions. Tricia Wolf is also a veteran – based on competing all year long in Medici against the other 3 expert Wolf’s in her family. Ultimately, former Medici finalist Dominic earned the most decisive semi-final win -- by 14 points over Tricia.
Semifinal 5: The last semi-final featured Andrew Drummond, Missy Youells, Keith Dent, Loc Nguyen, and Owen Kyrollos. Undefeated Andrew Drummond was the favorite having won his only heat. Keith Dent had a first and a second in the heats. Missy, Loc and Owen proved unpredictable with each finishing first, and also each finishing last in a heat. In the end, tournament rookie, Owen, would eke out a narrow 2 point win over Andrew.
Finals: The Finals featured 4 veterans and one rookie. The three former champions included Robert Drozd having swept 3 games already in this tournament, former champ Jefferson Meyer (world’s top ranked AREA player), and former champ Doug Galullo (4th ranked in BPA laurels). Former finalist Dominic Blais had the biggest win (by 14) in the semi-finals. Owen Kyrollos was the rookie that everyone could simply ignore?
In the first round, the points were not split evenly, and only 2 players seemed to be securing a color. Would a point lead prove decisive over a color strategy? Doug took a decisive lead with 54 points, but no lead in any color. Second place was Robert at 48 points. Third was Owen with 41 points but three cards in green. Jefferson had 39 points. Dominic had only 28 points, but had worked very hard (too hard?) to earn three cards in red.
The second round seemed to start shifting toward color strategies. Dominic climbed to the 10-spot in red, but had only 44 points. Jefferson with 57 points had secured a solid lead in blue just 1 card below the 10-spot. Robert with 59 points had taken two firsts in yellow and silver. Doug again had no color firsts, but still had a 63 point total. Owen, being the rookie, was left alone in green, and could concentrate on earning points -- now leading with 68 points.
The final round proved very aggressive in color competition with the veterans all sneaking up on each other. Owen filled his 5-card hand very early. I thought he settled for mediocrity too soon (a rookie mistake?) since he left himself one short of the 20-spot in green with lots of cards out there to still bid on.
Then the fun began as the veterans fought hard for color with cards running out due to many worthless discards. A card shortage emerged and prices went up. As expected, Dominic secured the 20-spot in red. Unexpectedly, Doug fought hard for blue – gaining 4 to reach the 20-spot while passing Jefferson for first. Meanwhile, Jefferson took 4 cards in yellow to pass Robert for first. However, his only bonus was his 10-spot in blue behind Doug. Robert, as expected, secured the 20-spot in silver. He also earned the most net points that round.
When the dust settled, the winning strategy proved to be no particular strategy at all – just keep a low profile, don’t overspend for anything, and stay out of the end-game bidding wars. Let the veterans kill each other off. Owen, the rookie that everyone ignored, pulled out a narrow 1 point win over Robert. Doug and Jefferson fought too hard for their cards. Doug with 4 blue kept Jefferson from winning, and Jefferson with 4 yellow kept Robert from winning. Dominic maintained his dominance in red, but at too high a cost. It was Owen (95), Robert (94), Jefferson (85), Dominic (73), and Doug (73).