The All Important First Seat ...
Henry Dove and Dave Rohde play what
the dials give them.
The four finalists in mid-contest.
After qualifying as a Century event with 61 players in its 2014 debut, Tzolk’in switched formats to offer three heats. The change appeared to be popular—attendance increased by 39%. 52 entered the initial Tuesday night heat. Keith Dent achieved the highest score of the preliminaries, his 146 points providing a 58 point margin. 2014 runner-up Henry Dove scored 138 to win by 52; Cary Morris had the second highest margin, his 118 winning by 53. Other winners were Geoff Pounder (118), Andrew Emerick (114), Steve Koleszar (109), Dominic Blais (104 by two over Redie Smith), Robb Effinger (99), defending champion Randy Buehler (96), your GM (86), Antero Kuusi (81), Deb Yaure (77), and Rich Meyer (68).
48 players rose in time for the 9 AM Wednesday second heat. Several preliminary games did not finish within the 2-hour time limit. Two games ended with the win conceded to the leader. One game was adjudicated—Henry was kind enough to come back at midnight and play through the last several moves to determine a winner. Despite not getting away until 12:30 AM, Henry returned at 9 AM and achieved the highest score of Heat 2, 133 points, for his second win. Rob Flowers had the biggest winning margin of the tournament, his 121 score winning by 61 points and more than doubling the runner-up. Jay Boring came back from a last place finish in Heat 1 to defeat Jefferson Meyer, 82-80. Jeremy Oppenheim and Ben Scholl had the only tie (73), with Jeremy’s single worker remaining on the gears giving him the tiebreak. Other winners were Jon Senn (106), Chad Martin (105), Eugene Yee (102), 2014’s third place laurelist Sceadeau D’Tela (98), Dave Rohde (96), Blair Morgen (92), Redie (69), and 2014’s fourth place laurelist, Loc Nguyen.
32 players vied in the third heat Wednesday evening for a last chance to advance. Four players joined Henry with two wins: Geoff (107), Cary (92), Dominic (92), and Jay. First-time winners were Jefferson (92, by 51 points), Anni Foasberg (84), Andrew Harris (80), and Carl Krosnick (70).
Fourth seat was a tough place to start. First seat won seven heats, third seat six, and second seat five, but fourth seat only won twice. The average winning score was 98.3, the median 96. 16 of the top 20 seeds appeared for the Thursday morning semifinal. It took two wins or a win in the first heat entered to advance.
Keith Dent dominated his semifinal with 147 points, the highest score of the tournament. His 60-point margin was the second largest. Blair Morgen won 95-80 over Randy Buehler—this ending his title defense. Randy confused the color of two resources he took and did not realize it until he went to buy a monument two turns later. Blair was thus able to buy that monument and gain the win. Andrew Emerick won a game where all four players were in the running - final scores were Andrew (100), Loc (98), Geoff (94), Jay (80). Henry pulled out the last elimination game by one point, 92-91 over Cary. In the three games where the seats were recorded, one winner was in first seat and the other two in second seat.
The Final was scheduled to be played immediately after the semifinals, but with the games again running long, the four finalists agreed to delay till Saturday evening. When they sat down to play, seating was Henry, Andrew, Keith, and Blair in that order. The following game summary is based mostly on notes by the winner. Andrew double-spun the gears on Turn 3, mostly hurting Keith and Blair. Henry passed on a double-spin at the end of the first quarter that would have cost the other players 6-9 VPs. He passed another double-spin opportunity in a later quarter that would have been even more effective. The players had differing opinions on whether to double-spin whenever it would provide a benefit or to save the option to double-spin.
Andrew and Blair were both moving up the temple tracks. At the end of the second quarter Andrew gained twice on the religion tech track, turned in the skull he received from the starting tiles, and took the bonus in all three temple tracks. Scores were approximately Andrew 32, Blair 10-12, Henry 1-4, and Keith -3 or -6.
In the second half, Keith collected several monuments, Andrew sent two workers deep into Chichen Itza and Blair sent one. Andrew also grabbed a big farm. Blair continued to focus on the temple tracks and took the top spots in red and green.
Throughout the game, Andrew and Henry had been swapping start player. Keith took it on the fourth to last round, then Henry took it back on the third to last round. Henry finally double-spun the gears. Keith and Blair had picked up nearly all of their workers, so this locked them out of additional moves. Henry then grabbed a temple monument that was only worth 16-18 points for him, but would have been worth 28 points to Andrew. Even missing out on the monument, Andrew won by 17 points. Final scores were Andrew 96, Henry 79, Keith and Blair 73 each.
The finalists agreed that seat position was critical. In the heats, fourth seat was far and away the least successful. In the elimination rounds, the winners all occupied the first or second seat. Next year’s GM should consider allowing bidding for seat selection. In addition, it may make sense to extend Tzolk’in to 3-hour slots.
Loc Nguyen, who finished two points behind Andrew in the semifinal, won a copy of Pinata for displaying the best tricked out set.
Play By Email 2015
has emerged triumphant at the end of 45 games as the first BPA PBeM Tzolkin champion. He was followed by Jeff
Meyer, Andrew Emerick and Jon Senn in the Final. Keith started
with two levels on the Resource Track and followed a resource/architecture
strategy, ending with two monuments and 13 buildings.
In contrast, Jeff executed a theology Strategy, staying ahead
on the brown and green temples, but didn't have a monument or
enough in the yellow temple to close the gap.
Sceadeau D'Tela and Eric Freeman gained fifth and sixth place
laurels respectively during the semifinals.
More details and tournament statistics can be seen at https://epworthian.wordpress.com/