Another solid year was logged for one of the best Eurogames no longer commercially available! Six of the top laurelists for the event returned to the semifinals. The 20-person semifinal round set the stage for a 5-player Final that included Andrew Emerick, Keith Dent, Greg Thatcher, Haim Hochboim, and Robert St. Pierre.
Auction costs in the first round were to be expected with Avaris, Thebes and Memphis going for 6 each, while Edfu went for 3 and Amarna was the free province. Andrew did not mind the free province as his large sacrifice to the Gods yielded him three bonus goods where he quickly took a dominated position for most on the east side of the Nile. Play was easy going in the first round with every player using their building benefit to make a pyramid. Round 2 brought no challenges to most on either side of the Nile, however as Haim began his campaign for most of the West by using the extra bricks afforded Memphis. Robert, Greg, and Andrew took an early money hit however as farmer payout was low. Round 3 again saw no challenges to most pyramids and the sacrifice left the farmer and temple payout positions at 1. Robert St. Pierre, having money troubles, was unable to complete a set of pyramids and had to rely on his three temples to score a total of five opening half points. With Haim completing no cards (7 points) and Andrew completing one power card (11 points), having most of either side of the Nile, kept them in the hunt. Keith was just happy to be along for the ride in the first half, collecting camel money every round and muddling through a standard pyramid set and 1-power card half for nine points. Greg made two power cards and a set of pyramids, settling him with 12 points in the opening scoring round and the lead. Keith and Haim had the money advantage though, so this was anyone’s game going into the second half.
Round 4 saw Andrew take control of an Amarna province with two pyramids for only 15 gold. The other provinces had less pyramids (Damanhur (0), Edfu (1), Abydos (1) and Mendes (1)), but the money leaders had other needs in mind for their game going forward. Greg had obtained 6, +1 gold cards and two 8-gold cards that kept his money in contention, but taking Abydos in the first round meant too few farmers would ultimately put him in dire straits to compete with Andrew’s pyramid lead and temple bonus. Haim went for Mendes in the first round, which meant power card draws would be limited. That fact proved damaging as he was not able to obtain any +1 gold cards and his money position dwindled as well. Keith, beginning the round in the money lead, took Edfu which provided access to a power card, but little in the way of future money. Robert was relegated to Damanhur with no pyramids and very little money, essentially ending his game way too early. So, the game tightened even more given no one was able to take advantage of a money lead or position themselves to break out. The next round brought no real highlights as everyone tried to conserve cash to compete for the Memphis province that failed to appear. In the final round, Haim opened the bidding, but it was Greg in the fifth bidding spot with a blockade that was able to procure Memphis and the most on the west side of the Nile. That meant Haim had to compete with Andrew for most on the east and decide the winner. The final sacrifice brought an end to the game that was truly speculative.
Having one set and one power card satisfied, Andrew decided to steal rather than sacrifice, which opened the door for Haim to tie for most on the east side of Nile. This brought Haim to two pyramid sets and most, but no power cards. Keith, who satisfied three power cards and had two sets, looked strong as well, but Greg having most pyramids on the west and two sets of his own (but no power cards) meant the game would come down to money. In the end, Andrew scored the two points he needed to take the game.
Final scores: Andrew 33, Haim 31, Greg 30 (won tie-break by one building block), Keith 30, Robert 24.
Overall, one of the most challenging games of Amun Re I have been associated with in the past ten years. Congratulations Andrew. Incredibly well-played!
|The preliminaries are underway.
|The five Seasons rooms were used for both medium and large events.
|The pyramid specialist finalists
pose for the camera.