dune [Updated October 2002]

DUN  4 prizes Experienced Swiss Elim Scheduled 
  Rnd1 Heat1 18   
  Rnd1 Heat2 14   Rnd1 Heat3 9
  Round 2 17 Final

  Rnd1 Heat1  Rnd1 Heat2 Rnd1 Heat3 Valley  Round 2 Garden

Steve Koehler, NC

2002 Champion

2nd: Paul Stephanouk, PA

3rd: Steve Cuccaro, MD

4th: Bill Dyer, IL

5th: James Hopkin, CA

6th: Glenn McMaster, ONT

Event History
1992    Paul Saunders      12
1993    Ray Carpenter      23
1994    Paul Weintraub      22
1995    James Garvey      23
1996    Bruce Bernard      22
1997    Matt Fagan      28
1998    Brad Johnson      43
1999    Steve Koehler     38
2000    Jay Schlaffer     35
2001    Tony Burke     29
2002    Steve Koehler     33

AREA Ratings

GM: Brad Johnson

Past Winners

Paul Saunders - VA

Ray Carpenter - CT

Paul Weintraub - MD

James Garvey - NY

Bruce Bernard - PA

Matt Fagan - NJ

Brad Johnson -IL

Steve Koehler - NC
1999, 2002

Jay Schlaffer - NJ

Tony Burke - NJ

The Spice of Life

This year saw a small increase in the number of games and players, but some decrease in the total number of player hours, due to some tweaks in the tournament format. 33 players competed in nine preliminary games with a mean duration of just under four hours and 6.67 turns, both a significant decrease from 2001. More than half of the games (five of nine) ended in two-player alliance wins this year, with the other four comprising one solo win, one BG prediction win, and two stalemates, a mix quite similar to 2001.

The Bene Gesserit were the clear favorites this year, taking four victories. The Emperor, Guild, and Harkonnen got two wins apiece, and the Atreides and Fremen one. Compared to 2001, the BG remained on top and the Fremen remained at the bottom, while the Harkonnen and Atreides each fell a notch. However, the factions still seem to be turning in reasonably balanced results.

The most significant changes to the tournament this year were put into place to answer the two most common comments about last year's event: 1) too much time commitment and 2) stalemates (default wins) are boring and too easy to force. The first was successfully addressed by reducing the preliminary games to 4-hour/10-turn time limits and by eliminating the two-heat minimum requirement to qualify for the finals. The second was mitigated (or at least modified) simply by introducing the Shield Wall as a sixth stronghold on turn 7, which opened the game up somewhat and prevented some of the long grinding finishes that we tend to witness. This variant was quite well accepted by the players; in spite of some controversy, the Shield Wall variant is part of the published rules. The turn 7 modification was put into place because immediate access to six strongholds was deemed to be much too beneficial to the already dominant Harkonnen faction in the early game.

Due to popular claim, the GM again awarded special Best Faction plaques to the players who gave the best single-game performance with each faction during the preliminary heats, measured in terms of strongholds controlled per turn. Mike Hall received Best Atreides and Steve Cuccaro scored Best Guild for a joint victory in only two turns! Carl Walling got Best Bene Gesserit for his win allied with the Guild. Joe Harrison was named Best Emperor in a game that ended officially in stalemate, but in which he defended Tuek's Sietch and Habbanya Ridge Sietch for most of the game. Richard Irving took home Best Fremen for a game in which the BG-Emperor alliance won, but Sietch Tabr never fell. Robert McCracken was named Best Harkonnen for a win allied with the Guild that was usurped only by the successful BG prediction!

In the final game, Paul Stephanouk took the Atreides; Steve Koehler, the BG; Glenn McMaster, the Emperor; Steve Cuccaro, the Fremen; Bill Dyer, the Guild; and James Hopkins, 2nd alternate, the Harkonnen. All of the players had proven their Dune skills, but of note was the imminent showdown between Steve Koehler and Bill Dyer, both perennial finalists.

The first three turns saw only the establishment of traditional board positions, five strongholds held by five different factions in an unstable stalemate. In turn 4, the Guild and Atreides reluctantly allied, facing an unsteady Harkonnen-Emperor-BG alliance, with the Fremen left as a wild card. The Emperor took Tuek's Sietch and caused the destruction of Arrakeen in a lasegun-shield explosion while the Fremen took Habbanya Ridge Sietch. The Harkonnen-Emperor-BG alliance played a Weather Control gambit in turn 5, which was foiled by the Guild's destruction of the Shield Wall, eliminating a large Imperial force in the Imperial Basin. Bill and Steve K, on opposite sides, had both been stymied. In turn 6, the BG jumped to the Atreides-Guild alliance, while all other alliances were dissolved to maximize defensive options. The BG, coming out of coexistence, and Atreides conquered two sietches each, not quite enough to win. The Shield Wall entered play as a stronghold on turn 7, but the Fremen, harboring his strength, defended it against the dominant alliance. In turn 8, the BG and the Guild ejected the Atreides from their alliance, leaving Bill and Steve K allied alone now. The BG took Carthag from the Atreides and the Guild took the Shield Wall from the Fremen, sufficient for a two-player victory! But wait! With a steely smile, Steve K revealed his prediction: "Guild in turn 8". Steve K had brilliantly manipulated the game as he had foreseen, resulting in the first BG Prediction victory in a final on record, and the first repeat championship! The ultimate irony is that Bill had finally apparently achieved victory after being frustrated by a margin of only one token in each of the two preceding finals, only to have it snatched from his grasp again! Bill also reported being thinking to himself that he was safe from that fate because "no one would predict the Guild to win, especially not in turn 8". Steve K reported that he had "predicted the player, not the faction". Congratulations to Steve K, as well as all of the finalists!

 GM      Brad Johnson  [2nd Year]   1517 Driftwood Ln, Crystal lake, IL 60014
    tempus42@aol.com   NA

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