The turnout this year was up yet again, with 98 players attending at least one heat, propelled by a huge turnout on the first heat - 73 players showed up at 10 am on the first Saturday morning to play some Egizia.
The statistics for turn order remain small and insignificant, perhaps one day I'll tally up all the years and see what comes out. In the heats with no bidding, first seat won 9 times, second won 8 times, third won 6, and fourth won 10. Three player tables were not included.
The bids for first seat in the semifinals were 5, 4.5, 4, and 2. Dominic Blais blew out his semifinal from the first seat, just like last year, but he was the only one to win from the first seat. Advancing from the second seat were Eugene Yee and Antony Saccenti, and James Thompson advanced from the third seat, notably by only half a point ahead of Eric Freeman. This was the very first time a semifinal or final was swung by the bid since bidding was introduced several years ago.
For the final, the bids that the players settled on were Eugene Yee going first for 4 points, Anton Saccenti going second for 2, James Thompson going third for 1.5, and Dominic Blais going fourth for the traditional zero.
Unfortunately for Eugene, the flop didn't have the good stuff he was hoping for. He ended up settling for going halfway down the river for the crew improver permanent, Antony settled for going up each tech track, James decided that since there wasn't anything good anyways, he might as well double down on slowboating, so he picked up the permanent allowing him to reuse a round space, and Dominic decided to jump way down the river for the only quarry, much to Eugene's dismay.
Eugene decides to push his joker prior to feeding causing him to starve for 6 rather than 3. He wants to preserve his good turn order while at the same time building towards the 2 everywhere Sphinx card, which is powerful, but one you don't want to get behind on building.
Antony and James, having slowboated take a trip to the Sphinx, Antony leaves with the reasonable point per yellow crew card, while James leaves with one of the best cards in the deck, points per player finishing the stone tech track.
Going into the second round, Eugene remains first in turn order with zero points, Dominic is second, also with zero points, Antony is third with 4 points, and James is fourth with 4 points as well.
As expected, the second round has a juicier card row. Eugene picks up a quarry above the Sphinx, Dominic looks downriver and sees that there will still be plenty of stuff for him later, and heads to the Sphinx. Antony picks up a quarry below the Sphinx, while James grabs a 3 green field that Eugene was probably hoping for, having intentionally starved last round and therefore set up to starve again this round, which is usually not good.
Eugene settles for going to the Sphinx, which allows Dominic to jump down for the +2 Sphinx card, the best early Nile card in the game, made even better by being in the Sphinx on the current round.
By the end of the round, unable to fix his food issue, Eugene does in fact starve for another 6. James meanwhile continues with his slowboating, and keeps the water ring at brown, which he is utilizing to feed his larger crews.
In the obelisk, Eugene has already placed the two 1 bricks, and this turn Dominic places down two more, on the 2 and 3 spaces. This is excellent news for Antony and James, who rather speculatively picked up the 8th and 7th level of the obelisk Sphinx cards, and now might see other players do the lion's share of the work towards building those.
At the start of the third turn, Eugene is still first in turn order with 4, Antony is second with 9, Dominic is third with 10, and James is fourth with 13.
The move upriver card appears halfway down the Nile, and predictably Eugene jumps for it. Dominic makes some necessary progress on his Sphinx card requiring him to complete both tech tracks by doubling the tech track round space. James finally finds some stones by jumping down for a quarry after two rounds of slowboating.
Eugene manages to find only 2 green food and starves for yet another 6. He finds the Sphinx card that awards 2 points per permanent, of which he has 3 already, but he is rapidly falling behind.
For the fourth turn, Eugene is still first in turn order with 11, Dominic is second with 19, Antony is third with 20, and James is fourth with 20.
Eugene continues to get excellent cards on the flop to help him keep up, finding the 4 quarry above the Sphinx this time. Dominic meanwhile places at the middle space on the Sphinx, with the first and last still open. He has clearly seen a card he wanted to redraw earlier and has counted the cards in the deck, so he knows where it is.
Antony heads to the Sphinx, while James declines to jump into the Sphinx right away, preferring his slowboating strategy. Eugene skips the opportunity to get into the Sphinx and takes the double boat card. Antony sees the water ring on yellow and decides that he needs to avert that potential disaster, and pushes it back to brown to keep his 11 yellow fields running. Eugene ends up unloading the double boat card this round to get into the graves and to pick up a desperately needed 4 green food.
Antony tries to get lucky, drawing only a single card at the Sphinx, but he has to throw it back for only a point. Dominic, on the other hand, finds exactly the card he was aiming for, the 5 bricks in the obelisk card, which pairs perfectly with his 4 bricks in the obelisk card. James takes a chance on the most brown fields card. He has the 8, and he needs the 9 brown field next round to either not show up or he needs to get it himself.
Dominic continues to build for his obelisk cards, picking up the 6th level. Antony builds the 7th level, hoping that Dominic will build the 8th for him next round to complete his card. James, meanwhile, quietly rejoices that his 7th level of the obelisk card is now complete without him contributing to it a single time, and builds 13 points worth of grave tiles.
Going into the final round, Eugene is still first in turn order, but much less happy about it now, with only 26 points. Dominic is second with a closer 35, Antony is third with 40, and James remains in the lead, just as he has all game, with 42.
James gets his wish on the final round, and the 9 brown field doesn't show up, locking in his most brown fields Sphinx card without any additional work.
Dominic picks up the card allowing him to sell his excess stone, everyone else jumps in the Sphinx. Eugene picks up 6 points for stones in the pyramids and columns, Antony takes 6 stones, but ends up locked out of the pyramid building area for it.
Eugene starves yet again, thankfully this time only for 2, and Dominic starves for 1.
James has an unfortunate 3 card miss at the Sphinx, having to toss them all back. Antony sees an incredible opportunity, drawing the 9th level of the obelisk. He knows there's a good chance Dominic will build the 8th level for him, but sadly he's just short on crew - he can only muster 8 instead of the 9 required. Still, he gets the most yellow fields, which is quite good for this late. Eugene picks up the card for finishing the grain tech track, which at only 4 isn't much, but better than nothing.
As predicted, Dominic builds the 8th level of the obelisk, completing his card for 5 bricks in the obelisk, but also Antony's 8th level of the obelisk. James builds yet more in the graves to finish off the 9 point bonus for that.
Going into final scoring, Dominic is up first, having finally passed James on board points.
- Dominic has 62 on the board
- 0 for leftover stones
- 0 for grave tiles
- 4 for completing the stone tech track
- 7 for completing both tech tracks
- 7 for 4 bricks in the obelisk
- 9 for 5 bricks in the obelisk
- -0 for the bid
- 89 total
- James has 58 on the board
- 0 for leftover stones
- 9 for grave tiles
- 7 for joker crew strength
- 7 for the 7th level of the obelisk being complete
- 5 for number of people completing the stone track
- 8 for having the most brown fields
- -1.5 for the bid
- 92.5 total
- Eugene had an excellent final turn, climbing to 55 on the board
- 1 for leftover stones
- 5 for grave tiles
- 4 for finishing the grain tech track
- 6 for permanents
- 4 for black crew strength
- 10 for 2 bricks in each building site
- -4 for the bid
- 81 total
- Antony had 52 on the board
- 4 for leftover stones
- 2 for grave tiles
- 4 for yellow crew strength
- 7 for number of people finishing the grain track
- 7 for most yellow fields
,li>9 for the 8th level of the obelisk being complete
- -2 for the bid
- 84 total
Thus, the final standings showed a relatively low scoring game as a result of the poor quality of cards on round. James Thompson won with 92.5, followed by Dominic Blais with 89, Antony Saccenti with 84, and Eugene Yee with 81.