A Family Affair ...
Adel continued its resurgance at WBC
with a near record 64 entrants as the ballroom reverberated with
cries of anguish from caught thieves and stolen treasures. Three
champs with seven titles between them populate this table.
BPA Chairman of the Board Ken Gutermuth
(left) tries to recapture his recent PBeM success to no avail
in the face-to-face competition. As many on-line champ has discovered,
live tournaments are an entirely different animal.
In the first round, every entrant can play up to four games,
scoring points based on finishing position (1st=5 points, 2nd=4,
3rd=3, 4th=2, 5th=1). The ten players with the highest total
points advance to the semi-final. Each semi-finalist plays two
games, with the four winners and the best second place finisher
advancing to a single winner-take-all Final.
This year's event saw another large increase in attendance
(+25% over 2007) to 64, only one short of the record for this
event (in 1995). There were nine former champions present and
eight of 2007's ten semi-finalists, yet we managed to find six
entirely new laurelists this year! Perhaps no other game reinforces
the family unit as well; we had five members of the Pack family,
four of the Henning family, three Lees, and at least six other
pairs of family members.
13 games were played in the first round. Ranking the 13 winners
(with 5 points each) by tiebreakers (spaces past the finish,
then cards in last set), gave the early lead to Jonathan Izer
(8 spaces, 11 cards), edging out Ken Lee (8 spaces, 10 cards),
with Jim Vroom (7 spaces), Jonathan Gemmell (6 spaces), Katy
Lee (5 spaces, 9 cards), David Meyaard (5 spaces, 8 cards), and
Ray Pfeifer (4 spaces, 12 cards) close behind. Jim & Ray's
wins were in the only games in the event where all the players
had crossed the finish line at game's end. Ray's game also had
the tightest bunching at the end with all five players ending
between 1 and 4 spaces past the finish line, and Ray gained the
8 space end-of-game bonus to vault up from fifth place to grab
Six players moved on to other tournaments while two late arrivals
signed on for the second round, consisting of 12 games. Four
of the first round winners won again, with Katy now edging out
Jim, 17 spaces to 16, followed by Ken L (13 spaces) and David
(10 spaces). Five players had a first and a second place finish
for nine points; Louis Gehring (12 spaces, 21 cards), Marie Pack
(12 spaces, 20 cards), Kevin Wojtaszczyk (9 spaces), Shea Lawson
(8 spaces), and Jonathan G (7 spaces).
There were 11 games played in the third round, and no one
remained in the ranks of the undefeated. Marie now led the umm.
pack with 14 points and 19 spaces, closely followed by Shea (14
points, 14 spaces). Five players were at 13 points: Katy (17
spaces), Ernie Chambers (13 spaces), 1995 champ Beth (Bernard)
Zhao (11 spaces), Jonathan G (11 spaces), and Kevin (9 spaces).
Seven more players were tied at 12 points: Jim, Louis, the PBeM
tournament champion Ken Gutermuth, David, Inger Henning, Brittany
Bernard (sister of Beth), and Paul Weintraub. With that many
leading players so close after three games, there would be no
guaranteed entries into the semi-finals; the next round would
determine who would advance.
44 players remained for the final nine preliminary games.
When the results were reported and the scores tallied, the semi-finalists
were led by Shea and Jonathan G with 18 points out of a possible
20. Louis, Marie, Ken G, Beth, Kevin, and Paul followed with
17 points, while David, Jim, and Brittany ended with 16 points.
Paul left, leaving exactly 10 to move onto the semis. This year's
qualification cutoff of 16 points was higher than any of the
past eight years; it is usually 14 or 15 points, has fallen as
low as 11 points, and is likely a function of tournament attendance.
Moving from Ballroom B to the quieter confines of Limerock,
the semi-finalists were placed in two games. Beth sprinted to
victory in one game, finishing 4 spaces past the finish and 8
spaces ahead of Jim, followed by Shea, Jonathan G and Kevin.
In the other game, Brittany finished 6 spaces past, beating David
(4 spaces past, but with no set), Marie, Ken G and Louis. Then
the players were rearranged for the last semi-final games. In
one, Shea finished at 8 spaces past, ahead of Louis (4 spaces,
7 cards), Marie, Jonathan G, and Ken G, while in the other Kevin
finished at 3 spaces past, followed by Beth, Brittany, David
and Jim. Louis' second place finish was the best second, so he
got to advance with Beth, Brittany, Shea and Kevin. David's second
place finish earned him the 6th place
In the Final, Beth was the first out of the gate on the first
turn, showing a highly coveted "CCC" opening set to
advance 2 spaces, while Louis stole one of those lovely "C"
cards. Brittany paid the $24K check to buy at the Auctionhouse,
and Shea's thief stole it from the cash register. Next, Louis
advanced 3 spaces for an exhibit while Shea bought at the Auctionhouse
with the $24K check and Brittany stole it back. Kevin was the
next out with a 4 space exhibit. After Beth advanced 3 when her
detective caught Shea and Brittany's thieves, Brittany advanced
5 and Kevin 3 with an exhibit. Meanwhile, Louis had stolen the
$24K, followed by Beth stealing it. Usually, this (highest) check
doesn't move around this many times, especially this early in
the game. Brittany and Shea were able to catch a thief and advance
2 and 5 spaces, followed by Shea's 3 space exhibit and then Kevin's
3 space exhibit, which took him to the first corner. Next Kevin
(1 space), Beth (4) and Louis (5) all advanced on the same turn
with detectives. On the next turn four advanced; Beth (4 spaces)
and Kevin (2) exhibited, while Shea (3) and Brittany (5) detected.
After a couple more turns of exhibits and successful detectings,
Kevin again took the lead around the second corner, then vied
with Brittany and Louis for the lead along the final stretch
until Brittany landed on the penultimate space before the finish
line. At this point Brittany was 2 spaces back, Kevin was 3 spaces,
Louis, 5, Shea, 9, and Beth 11 spaces from the finish. All five
players chose to go to the Castle for the (probable) last turn.
Shea chose to play a thief while everyone else chose to exhibit.
Louis showed the best set, earning 5 spaces to move one space
past the finish line and triggering the end of the game, while
Beth showed the second best exhibit and advanced 3 spaces. Kevin
and Brittany did not advance, but lost a card from their sets
to Shea along with Louis and Beth. And then - the final showdown!
Shea added the four cards she just gained to the eight she had
to win the longest set at 12 cards to advance 8 spaces, ending
up 2 spaces past the finish and one space in front of Louis.
But Louis had 10 cards for the second longest set and the 4 space
bonus, putting him at 5 spaces past the finish and winning him
the game and the tournament.
If attendance figures continue to be over 50 players, I am
considering increasing the number of players in the semi-final
to 25, and then just playing one semi-final round of five games
with the five winners going directly to the Final. This would
increase the number of players and player-hours in the semi-final
while shortening the tournament by one game (from 7 to 6 games).
The downside of this change would be to decrease the role of
skill in making the Final, with only one chance to win and advance
instead of two. If you have thoughts or opinions on this potential
change, please contact me by email.
Most players realize the value of the 8 space bonus at game's
end for having the biggest set. Just how good is getting this
bonus? If you can win games by running away from everyone with
undisturbed exhibits and cross the finish more than 8 spaces
ahead of the other players, there is no need to worry about having
the longest set. Even if you can finish between 5 and 8 spaces
ahead, you have a good chance of winning if the person with the
longest set isn't in second place. But if the race is tight,
and multiple players are near the finish line, that 8-space bonus
usually decides the game. Of the 50 games played this year, 23
(46%) were won by the player who ended with the longest set,
and in 20 games (40%) the player with the longest set finished
second, leaving just 7 games (14%) where they finished third
or lower. The 4-space bonus for the second longest set helps
too, but mainly in the preliminaries where not finishing in 4th
or 5th in any game is a great way to make it to the semi-final;
in 8 games (16%) the player with the 4-space bonus finished first,
in 13 games (26%) they finished second, and in 24 games (48%)
they finished third, leaving only 5 games (10%) where they finished
fourth or fifth. Shea Lawson, the top finisher in the preliminaries,
was the best at getting the longest set this year: out of the
seven games she played, she got the 8 space bonus four times
(winning three of those four and getting second in the Final),
and the 4-space bonus three times (finishing second twice, and
third once). Louis Gehring, this year's champion, took the 8-space
bonus once (in a win) and the 4-space bonus four times (a win
in the Final, two seconds and one third). Other players using
this strategy to good effect were Marie Pack (8 spaces three
times for two wins and a second, 4 spaces three times) and Jim
Vroom (8 spaces four times for two wins and two seconds).
Marie Pack and Brittany Bernard were
two of the 21 ladies who participated in the Adel event
to make up nearly a third of the field. Their success rate was
even higher with 60% of the finalists composed of the fair sex.
The Finalists at work as conscientious
GM Tom DeMarco takes notes in the background. Only Beth Zhao
had won previously, but all were experienced players - even young
Shea Lawson - not all that long graduated from the Junior ranks.
"No one here for to see my pretty things." - Bob
Hamel [all alone at the castle]
At the end of five preliminary rounds where 34 players each
played five games against 18-20 different opponents, Thomas Browne
emerged as the leader with 23 of 25 possible points. Each game
was worth a maximum of 5 points. Alex Bove and Sharee Pack each
finished with 21. The final five was rounded out with two of
the players who scored 20 points, Greg Thatcher and Ken Gutermuth.
Naturally, one of them would "steal" the tournament
in the all important Final round. The sixth place player, GM
John Pack, also had 20 points but only finished with a total
of 9 spaces across the finish lines (vs. 25 and 19 for Greg and
The tournament was
lively -- with many players in three or four games simultaneously.
I've interspersed some of the lively dialogue throughout this
report. Needless to say, the players had a lot of fun!
"Oh, that was a great round. Bunch of thievin' varmints
around this place." - Anthony Daw
"That may be the first time I've seen a double thief-convention..."
- John Pack
"Looks like I have to play something other than a thief
now." - Greg Thatcher
"Come on folks, I need my thieves back!" - Greg Thatcher
"Thanks for that file in the cake guys!...I'm free!!"
- Bob Hamel
The Final played so quickly, taking just two weeks, that the
champion is already determined! Congratulations to Ken Gutermuth
who prevailed by a single space over Sharee Pack. Four of the
five players still had a chance to win on the last move. Sharee
was just two spaces from the finish and although she had five
cards, her set was the bare minimum of three. She elected to
exhibit and charge across. Darn the thieves, full speed ahead!
If no one beat her exhibit, she'd have a lock on victory. Alex
Bove and Ken Gutermuth played thieves to maximize their sets
for final advancement. Ken would have the biggest set (ten cards).
Eight spaces would put him ahead of Sharee if she got three or
fewer spaces for exhibiting. Ken needed someone else to beat
her exhibit. Greg Thatcher played a detective - sending the thieves
to jail and moving forward five spaces (a move which brought
him into the pack and which would have made him a contender if
the game had lasted another turn). Greg needed two people to
beat Sharee's exhibit and keep the game going. Unfortunately
for Greg and Thomas, only Thomas Browne exhibited against Sharee
- taking the five space reward. However, the thieves took his
set down from 7 to a mere three of his five remaining cards,
guaranteeing that Thomas would not advance again. Sharee finished
with no set whatsoever. Ken got the 8 space final reward to finish
three spaces across the line. Sharee finished two spaces across.
Thomas finished one space short. Alex, who got the four space
reward, finished three spaces shy, and Greg finished 5 spaces
out for a very tight finish. Congratulations to Ken Gutermuth
for besting a fine field! Also taking laurels were Sharee Pack,
Tom Browne, Alex Bove, Greg Thatcher, and John Pack for finishing
2nd thru 6th respectively.
"It's the Secret Policeman's Ball!" - Rob Seulowitz
"Guess it was time for the annual detective's convention.
I went to the panel on proper use of the magnifying glass. It
was very educational!" - Greg Crowe
"Wow, THREE detectives...Guess I'm going to prison for a
LONG time...." - Bob Hamel
The next BPA Adel Verpflichtet PBeM competition on
SpielByWeb will get underway this October 1st. Check www.gameaholics.com/adv_tournament.htm
for details of all the tournament games and scoring!
"How much will you give me to Exhibit???? I take PayPal.
"JUST KIDDING...of course...we're in it 'TO THE DEATH.'"
- Bob Hamel
Tamara Houde gaves Art Appreciation
We didn't swipe it ... honest!
Adel Verpflichtet Junior
In the Juniors event twelve kids reported to show and swipe
the best refrigerator crayon art. Matt Leader proved to be the
most promising young art collector. He was followed in order
by Lissa Rennert, Willow Barbero-Menzel, Brian Pappas, Emily
Barriere and Jonathan Berry.