Ruling a smaller Dominion ...
That's a lot of Dominion players
Laura DeWalt and Chris Kizer wend
their way through the first round.
Melody Thompson and Steve Packwood
in a semifinal. See, there is life after 1776.
Loc Nguyen and Rob Kilroy formed
the winning half of this semifinal but neither advanced.
Local Boy Makes Good ...
The tournament format continued to evolve, with only slight
changes. The primary change was the return to the base Dominion
set for the preliminary round, and the simplification of the
advancement rules to the quarterfinals. The expansions continue
to be integrated into the tournament, with the quarterfinals
featuring Intrigue, the semifinals Prosperity, and the
Final consisting of a mix of the base game, Seaside, and
Alchemy. We continued to use GM determined card sets,
rather than random draws prior to the event. This seemed to work
well again, as there were no time issues that required adjudication,
although one table only managed to complete one game and chose
not to start a second game they could not finish. This resulted
in a total of 63 games played in the round.
For the first time, we had enough games for everyone. This allowed
for a field of 127 players over 32 tables with only one 3-player
game. The statistics for this round continued to follow the trends
seen in previous years. The effect of starting turn order remains
evident with only 14 wins out of the 63 games coming from the
fourth position, while there were also 19 second place finishes
from the last turn position, so over half of the players managed
a top two finish from the last position. With the scoring system
now favoring a top two finish more heavily, advancing continues
to be more about consistency between the two games, than about
an 'advantageous turn order'.
conditions still favored Provinces over all this year, but it
was very set dependent this time. Of the 46 games that recorded
an ending condition, 28 ended by province exhaustion and most
of those were in the first set. The second set which had Gardens
in the mix, was much more likely to yield a 3-deck finish, rather
than provinces, almost always including Gardens and Moats in
The tournament did seem to favor consistency of play this
year as there were 11 two-time winners in the preliminary, along
with 18 players with a first and a second, and nine with two
second place finishes. This means that over 60% of the players
who qualified for the quarterfinals had finished in the top-two
in both games, regardless of their turn order.
With the simplified qualification rules, we had 60 players qualify
to advance, but only 41 appeared for the second round. So we
had the same number of players as last year, despite the simplification
that I hoped would draw more people to the second round. Despite
that setback, we did have the same field size so we did not lose
any players to the rule change either.
With 41 players, we had 11 quarterfinal tables playing two
sets of Intrigue Expansion cards. As before, experience seemed
to show in this round as familiar players such as Rob Renaud,
Laura DeWalt, Loc Nguyen, and Brandon Bernard all emerged from
their tables with either double-wins, or a first and second.
There were a number of new names as well though showing that
the gap may not be as wide as it had been in previous years.
With the automatic advancement of the quarterfinals, the semifinals
was the first time we had a 'cut' to see who would advance to
the round of 16. The cut-off was at the ten advancement point
mark (either first and third, or two seconds), with five such
players making the cut with the two lowest scorers becoming alternates.
As in past years, however, only 15 qualifiers appeared, allowing
one alternate, Roni Breza, to advance into the illustrious company.
We've had alternates advance almost every year, and I cannot
emphasize enough the importance of attendance if you really want
This year, the semifinals featured the introduction of the
Prosperity expansion with two sets of ten cards. Tables
were more competitive than ever, with only Nick Ferris accomplishing
a double win to gain the Final. A feat that is even more impressive
when you consider that regulars Brandon Bernard and Rob Renaud
were both at the same table, along with Hein Hundal.
At the next table, Rob Kilroy, Melody Thompson, Steve Packwood
and Loc Nguyen had a really rough round. Loc just edged Rob in
the first game by two points, while Melody ran away with the
second for a nine-point victory over Rob. This left Rob and Loc
both with 10 tournament points. Rob beat Loc for top space at
the table by, ironically, the same two-point margin by which
he lost the first game. Now Rob and Loc had to await the outcome
of the other tables to see if they would qualify to advance.
At the third table, Chad Weaver, Sarah Beach, Laura DeWalt
and Roni Breza had what was probably the closest game of the
round. Chad ended the first game with the use of Forge and discarding
two Bishops to pick up the last Province. This was clearly a
smart play for Chad as it allowed him to move up to second in
the game with 38 points to Sarah's 40. With Laura at 36 and Roni
at 35, Chad would have been in last place were it not for this
play. It proved to be critical for him as he won the second game,
thanks to managing the King's Court - Mountebank combo three
times in the round. The combined first and second place finishes
moved him ahead of both Rob and Loc to assure his place in the
That just left Table 4, where Derek Glenn, Natalie Beach,
Russell Johnston and Cal Doughan resided. Derek took the first
game in a close battle with Natalie, while Cal took a nine-point
victory in the second game. This left both Derek and Cal with
the same 10 tournament points as Loc and Rob at Table 2. The
scores at this last table though were considerably higher than
those at Table 2 - allowing both Cal and Derek to advance.
The Final consisted of two mixed games. The first would be five
cards from Seaside, along with five base game cards. The
second saw the introduction of the Alchemy expansions, with five
cards from it and another five from Seaside.
For Game 1, the cards in play were Cellar, Embargo, Workshop,
Ambassador, Lookout, Bureaucrat, Moneylender, Island, Laboratory
Random seating gave Chad Weaver the first turn in Game 1, followed
by Nick Ferris, Cal Doughan and Derek Glenn. The first two turns
were pretty similar for the players with Chad and Nick both going
Silver and Moneylender for their purchases. Cal picked up a Workshop
instead of the Silver, while Derek went for an Ambassador over
Chad's deck worked well for him as Turn 3 saw him pull his
Moneylender, Silver and 3 Coppers -- allowing him a very early
Gold purchase. On the same turn though, Derek revealed his strategy
as he used his Ambassador to get rid of two Estates, and gave
Estates to his opponents while adding a Cellar to his deck.
Nick got his Moneylender/Silver combo the next turn to gain a
Gold and remain even with Chad.
Derek though continued with his Ambassador strategy, ridding
himself of his last Estate on Turn 5, and using his Cellar on
Turn 6 to draw the Ambassador again and start discarding Coppers
as well now. By this time, Chad had gained a second gold.
While Chad and Nick had similar strategies, Chad's was working
slightly better for him as he got the first Province on Turn
8. Turn 9 saw Derek's full strategy come to light though as he
purchased a Curse for his deck. Turn 10 provided Chad with a
second Province, as Derek gained his first. Derek's strategy
was looking good, as his deck was much smaller and tighter, and
he started gaining Provinces every other turn. Nick's and Cal's
decks were not as fast as Derek's though. Nick only got his first
Province as Derek went into high gear, and Cal was two turns
behind Nick. Chad's deck was slowing down due to the Curses and
Estates from Derek's Ambassadors, but his early Provinces and
Island purchases kept him in the game. As it went into the end
game, Nick's deck finally came into its own as he gained a Province
and three Duchies in quick order. Cal managed a few Provinces,
but could only gain Estates on his off turns. Chad only gained
one more Province, but managed two Duchies (the same as Derek),
along with three Estates.When Cal ended it by purchasing the
last Province on Turn 22, Chad was just two points ahead of Derek
(32 to 30). Cal and Nick were left behind with slower decks and
only 23 and 20 points respectively.
Game 2 offered players the choice of Vineyard, Lighthouse,
Haven, Herbalist, Fishing Village, Alchemist, Caravan, Golem,
Wharf, and Possession to compose their decks.
In a déjà-vu move, the first two players (Derek
and Cal) started the game in the same manner -- with a Potion
and a Fishing Village. Nick had the 5-2 Copper split so he went
Haven and Wharf, while Chad opted for currency with a Potion
and Silver. Nick added the Potion to his deck on Turn 3 to match
Alchemists, Fishing Villages and Wharfs were the fashionable
picks for the next few turns, until Cal started the "Possession
war" on Turn 6, quickly followed by Nick and Chad on the
Derek ignored Possession and instead took Gold on Turn 7.
It was a move he would soon regret as Chad used a quick Possession
draw to pick up another Possession using Derek's deck, after
purchasing a Gold of his own. Cal's first Possession of Nick
only gained him a Lighthouse, while Nick's first Possession of
Chad earned him a Vineyard. But it was Chad who was making out
best -- through a combination of Derek's solid build, and luck
to seemingly be able to Possess Derek at the right time. Turn
10 saw Chad purchase the first Province, and then use Possession
on Derek again to gain another Province and a Gold. Possessions
on Turn 12 (for a Province and a Vineyard), Turn 14 (for a Vineyard)
and Turn 15 (for another Province and a Caravan); along with
purchases of a Duchy and a Province on his own; made Chad the
clear leader. The only question was where the others would finish.
Despite Chad's Possessions, Derek's deck still served him
well as he gained Provinces on Turns 13, 14 and 15. However,
it was Cal's end game of Gold on Turn 15, Province on 16, Province
on 17 and a Possession of Nick on 17 for the last Province that
moved him into second place. Chad won the game handily with 52
points, while Cal's last Possession netted 29 points compared
to Derek's 26 and Nick's 24.
The two victories gave Chad the clear tournament title, while
a second and third each for Cal and Derek required a comparison
of total points, where Derek just barely topped Cal for second
I would like to again thank everyone for participating. The games
moved smoothly this year, with no real issues or questions about
the structure. The help of other volunteers such as Jason Levine
and Lisa Gutermuth was instrumental. For the first time, sufficient
games were not an issue -- although it was close, so it is still
important to bring a copy if you want to play.
For those who did not hear, I do not know about my ability
to attend next year, but I will be endeavoring to stay involved
and be working with someone this year to try to provide a consistent
feel to the tournament in the event that I am not there. I certainly
hope to continue to add new expansions to the tournament (Cornucopia
and Hinterlands are next), but the original set and Intrigue
will remain the main sets for the preliminary and quarterfinals
just because they are more readily available (as they are the
The biggest issue this year remains the 'in-game tiebreaker'.
I've heard everything from adding more tiebreakers, to just allowing
the tie and equal tournament scoring. As always, I value these
comments and suggestions, and will once again weigh and discuss
them. Any and all changes will be included in the event preview,
along with a list of the card sets that will be used. So make
sure to check the web site when the events are posted, and so
you can be better prepared than your opponents for next year's
Sara Beach, Chad Weaver, Roni Breza,
and Laura DeWalt in a semifinal that was won by Chad to advance.
Cal Doughan and Derek Glenn both advanced
from this semifinal over Russell Johnston and Natalie Beach.
Hein Hundai, Rob Renaud and
Brandon Bernard were swept by Nick Ferris in this semifinal.
GM Thomas Browne oversees his
finalists ... none of whom had ever reached a Final previously.
Euro Quest Laurelists
Sceadeau D'Tela, NC
Andrew Emerick, CT
Nick Ferris, MD
Doug Galullo, MD
Steven LeWinter, NC