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Merchant of Venus (MOV) WBC 2018 Event Report
Updated November 10, 2018
63 Players Ewan McNay 2018 Status 2019 Status Event History
  2018 Champion   & Laurels

The Man with No (Last) Name

This year’s Merchant of Venus started in Fox Den on Monday, an unusual location due to the setup for the Auction store. A total of 34 players played in 9 games for the first round. Jessica Shea quickly made her claim for the mythical “Banana in the Tailpipe” award when she needed to roll 4 or more on three dice to make it from the Interstellar Biosphere to her shiny, new port at the Hyperspace Bypass—rolled 1-1-1. OUCH!

A more substantive event occurred in game 8. Bill Crenshaw came to me the next day and resigned his win in this game because he had determined that evening, well after the game had completed, that he mistakenly placed credits from a third party transaction in his supply instead of the bank. I promoted the second place player in the game (Jacob Wagner) to the winner’s spot, as he was one delivery away from winning and had the goods on board. I thank Bill for his honesty—this is an error that has to be spotted as it happens, and there’s no way to detect after the fact. Sportsmanship like this is what makes the WBC great!

Along with Jacob, the winners for heat 1 were Mason Murray, Bailey Burdett, Ewan (who apparently is so famous he goes only by his first name on the score card!), Vassili Kyrkos, defending champ Eyal Mozes, Lex Jackson, Kevin Rice, and real rocket scientist and part time restaurant reviewer Roy Pettis.

On Wednesday for heat two we were back in the usual vast, vacuous open spaces of the Ballroom. 30 space cadets arrived at Galactic base to ply the space lanes in 8 games. John Henry had the most defective Mulligan Gear I had ever seen with multiple rerolls failing to improve his roll or even making it worse! (Or maybe the dice were defective.)

The winners from heat 2 were Richard Irving, Frank McNally, Jon Squibb, Ewan, Bob Woodson, Chris Gnech, Mark Jansen, and Mr. Freighter Philip Shea (who eschewed use of the his eponymous ship in the game and won with only a garden variety Clipper!)

On Friday afternoon, the third and final heat was back in the Ballroom with 36 prospective Han Solos gathered in 9 games. The “It All Averages Out” Award will have to go to Roger Jarrett, who followed his roll of 4 with a 4 dice Clipper with rolls of 23 and 21. Roger won his heat along with Christopher Ellis, Luke Koleszar, Roy Pettis, Steve Koleszar, Mark McCandless, Richard Irving, Bob Woodson and Bill Crenshaw, who recovered from his mistake in Heat 1.

The semifinals started at their usual 9am start. Only 17 of the 22 heat winners arrived, only 2 of the 12 alternates I had posted on the Kiosk had shown up and I needed 3 alternates to fill the 20 spots. That meant 17th alternate, Nathan Wagner snuck into the party. Hey it never hurts to drop by just in case!

Ewan won S1 with a close win over Richard Irving when he bought out the Giant system leaving Rich high and dry. Luke Koleszar picked up the win in S2 by a comfortable margin. Steve Koleszar ($3069) beat out Mark McCandless ($2910) and Eyal Mozes ($2854) in S3. Chris Gnech cruised to win at S4. Bill Crenshaw, presumably relieved of his banking duties, blew away the field in S5.

The final was a well-played, relatively close affair for all 5 players cracked $2000 on their way to $3000. Ewan won for second time in three years. Luke Koleszar finished second. Steve Koleszar third, Chis Gnech, fourth and Bill Crenshaw 5th.

During the final, there was discussion on the playoff round format. 5 player games are usually used in both the SF and finals. But, 5 player games are problematic in Merchant of Venus: They take longer to play out. It takes 35-40 to turns for a player to acquire enough money to win a game to $2000. So three player game has 105-120 total turns while a 5 player 175-200 total turns. This means 3 player games finish in less than 2 hours and 5 player games often take more than 3. (IOW, both formats would take the same amount of time to complete: 6-7 hours.)

Also the game is severely imbalanced with 5 or more starters, usually there are four places to go from the start to claim vital IOU’s for starting capital: West to Comfort Station, north to the Interstellar Biosphere, east to the Cloud to Space Station Planet other to the Multi-Generation Ship. Unless some earlier player has a terrible starting roll, usually the 5th player is the one who gets screwed and has to sit through a 3+ hour semifinal/final with almost no chance to catch up.

What I am thinking about doing is going to 3 player games in a quarterfinal with three 3 player games in the semis and 3 player final. (1 or 2 alternates will fill the last table, if needed—this year we had 17 semifinalists show up so, 1 alternate will be selected to fill 6 tables for the quarterfinals.) All quarterfinal winners and the next best non winners (closest to getting to the victory condition of $2000/$3000) using the current alternate formula advance to the semis where you have to win to make the final. If there are 16 or fewer heat game winners who show up, the playoffs will revert to 4 four player semifinal games—meaning there will be at least 6 quarterfinal games when they are held.

I would like comments from players in the tournament on this proposal.

And congratulations to this year’s champion: Ewan McNay!

2018 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 2
Luke Koleszar Steve Koleszar Chris Gnech Bill Crenshaw Mark McCandless
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th

Newcomer Roger Jarrett takes on finalist Chris Gnech.

Luke Koleszar on way to final.

GM Richard Irving takes on eventual

Finalists with GM Richard Irving.

GM  Richard Irving [17th Year]  1505 Caceras Circle, Salinas, CA 93906
 rri12@sbcglobal.net  931-905-1073