merchant of venus [Updated October 2002]

mov   4 prizes Beginners Mult Ent Sing Elim Scheduled 
 Rnd1 Heat1 10 Demo 13
  Rnd1 Heat2  9   Rnd1 Heat3  19
  Round 2 9  Round 3 12Final

  Rnd1 Heat1 Salon A  Rnd1 Heat2  Salon EF  Rnd1 Heat3  MD 1  Round 2 Round 3  Derby

Charley Hickok, PA

2002 Champion

2nd: Jeff Balalchuck, NY

3rd: Steve Dickson, CA

4th: Abigail Cocke, MD

5th: Gary Dickson, CA

6th: Eyal Mozes. NY

Event History
1991    Duane Wagner      24
1992    Kathy Stroh      21
1993    Michael Anchors      41
1994    David Thompson      43
1995    Greg Mayer      56
1996    Tom Stokes      48
1997    Mark Hunter      78
1998    Greg Mayer      80
1999    Steve Crenshaw     67
2000    Debbie Otto     68
2001     Bill Crenshaw     72
2002     Charley Hickok      60

AREA Ratings

GM: Richard Irving

Past Winners

1991: Duane Wagner - NJ
1994: David Thompson - NE

Kathy Stroh - PA

Michael Anchors - MD

Greg Mayer - MO
1995, 1998

Tom Stokes - NJ

Mark Hunter - MO

Steve Crenshaw - MD

Deb Otto - MO

Bill Crenshaw - MD

Lost in Space

 This was my first time running this event. Long time GM, Greg Mayer, unfortunately could not make it this year. If he returns next year, I will gladly return the reins to him.

The 2002 WBC Merchant of Venus tournament retained the same format. Three preliminary heats playing four-player games to $2,000 were held, with any player who won at least once advancing to the semi-finals. A number of semi-final games (determined by the number of qualifiers) were played to $3,000. Each of the winners in the semi-finals immediately played in a single-game final to $3,000.

The only change to the tournament rules was scoring to determine alternates: The win is determined normally. Score for second, third and fourth place was determined by adding cash, deeds and (here's the change) purchase price of any goods on his ship at the end of the game. The reason for this change is to help prevent artificial play at the end of the game; e..g., if I am $10 short from winning after selling everything I can and I know the next player may very well win on his next turn. Under the old rules, I have some incentive to not buy a good (which would prevent me from winning, but would keep my score as high as possible for the first alternate position-Purchasing a good here would lower my score assuming I would not be able to sell it.) With the new rule, buying that good is not going to lower my score in the tournament, so I am going to keep on trying to win. The new
method represents a better "high water mark" for players who didn't win. Comments were universally favorable.

60 players played at least one heat. Not many people wrote additional comments, but here were the highlights I received (If I receive amusing comments, I will put them in the report):
- In Heat One, Vince Collura must have hired "Wrong Way Corrigan" to pilot his ship as he found $160 worth of penalties in the Cloud and twice was blocked on navigation circles because he rolled only numbers that would force him to back track.
- In Heat Two, Gary Dickson was another hard luck case. He was going to win if he could make it through the Cloud by rolling a 2 on any of four dice which would allow him to deliver a fare to Galactic Base. He failed. Instead, he decided go the long way around via Giant Planet and Colony World. Two turns later, he rolled a total of seven on four dice and finished three pips short! Lee Presser cashed a Triple Demand on Immortal Grease on the next turn to steal the win. (Gary did go on to win a game later in Heat 3 to qualify.)

After 21 preliminary games with 19 winners (Gary's son Steve and Luke Koleszar won two each.), the field for the semi-finals was set. In addition to the Dicksons, two other father & offspring pairs qualified: The Wrobels (Ed & son Eric) and the Hickoks (Charlie & daughter Lauren).

With the power outage on Saturday morning, I almost missed the start of my own event (Gulp!) Obviously, other players were a bit sleepy-headed that morning, too. Even though I clearly announced the semi-finals were to $3,000, a player in my game assumed they would only be to $2,000. Apparently most people got the message when I turned and asked the assembled crowd, how much we were playing to a loud "$3,000!" was the response. A few "What?"'s followed.

Probably the closest game in the semi-finals was mine. Early in the game, Charlie Hickok and I were clearly leading, but at the end of the game, Charlie had won and I finished in fourth with $2,488. The two trailing players had snuck by me.

Gary Dickson managed to win his game with only $800 in deeds and playing blind without his eyeglasses (they turned up later.) The other finalists along with Charlie and Gary were Steve Dickson (forcing the GM to break the "No Family Members in the Same Game" rule, Abigail Cocke and Jeff Bakalchuck.

After Gary was able to postpone his "The Russian Campaign" semi-final, the Final got underway. But the lack of long range
visual sensors, finally caught up to Gary who finished fifth. Jeff finished second, despite not upgrading his ship
or getting a shield. (I wonder how much that cost?) And Charlie Hickok motored out to a strong win to take the title.

Charlie Hickok, Jeff Bakalchuck, Gary Dickson, Abigail Cocke and Steve Dickson find themselves lost in the Merchant of Venus Finals.

 GM      Richard Irving  [1st Year]   NA
    NA   NA

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