remained stable in our transition year. It remains well attended but still shy of the Top 25 head count needed
for an hours exception to the annual culling process. The short playing time lacked sufficient player hours to make the Century cut!
The first two heats were held on Wednesday and were base game only. In the first heat 42 players vied for galactic dominance with 11 players claiming their first wins. Kathy Stroh was the top scorer with 51 points. Two players took their leave after one game, so we had 40 still present for the second game. Andrew Emerick and Eric Brosius, who destroyed the field with 55 points, punched their tickets to the playoffs early with their second wins. Andrew was content to rest on his laurels until the playoffs.
53 players appeared for the third heat on Friday. In addition to more players, we also added the Gathering Storm (the first expansion) and goals to the agenda. Defending champion Ricky Boyes and Aaron Fuegi punched their advancement with second wins. Richard Shay set the high watermark with 59 points. With their championship dreams dashed, many decided to sit out the last half of the doubleheader. Only 35 remained in search of that last win to claim advancement. Thomas and Tim Tu, along with Nick Paige, accomplished that goal. Doug Faust, Haim Hochboim, Geoffrey Pounder, and Chris Ellis, despite missing Wednesday, also picked up their second wins. Thomas Tu set the scoring mark for the tournament with an astounding 76 points, while Ricky Boyes claimed his third win and the top overall seed.
Rounding out the playoff field were the following wild cards: Kathy Stroh, Micah McCormick, Michael Powers, Eric Raymond, Kara Morse, Giovanni Ginory, and Otis Comorau. Astute readers will see that this makes 17 players in a 16 player field. Chalk this one up to GM error. The simple reason is that the rookie GM (math degree notwithstanding) miscounted the number of qualifiers presents, so we had one 5-player table. Along with the extra player, we added the Rebels vs. Imperium expansion with no takeovers. Eric Brosius, Micah McCormick, Haim Hochboim, and Geoffrey Pounder won their semifinal matches to advance.
Eric started with Separatist Colony, Haim with New Sparta, Geoffrey with Alpha Centauri and its all-important brown good, and Micah kicked things off with Doomed World. The goals were: First to Four Goods, First to All Four Color Worlds, First to 5 VP chips, First to Discard, Most Explored powers, and Most Rebel Worlds. I know that these goals have names but I never remember them. The first round was fairly predictable with everyone exploring except Geoffrey who traded. The second round saw exactly the same. Yes, Geoffrey tried the naked trade gambit but it didn't work.
The third round saw the action increase. Eric and Haim both called develop, Geoffrey called produce to refill Alpha Centauri, and Micah explored. Eric developed Drop Ships, and Haim developed Galactic Federation much to everyone's dismay. Geoffrey developed Galactic Renaissance. Normally a late game card, as this game featured an explore goal and a lot of exploring, this card wasn't a bad play. Micah dropped Pan Galactic Research, though, foiling Geoffrey's attempt to get a lead on the explore goal.
In Round 4, there was a develop from Haim, a trade from Geoffrey, and the other two explored. Eric dropped one of my personal favorite cards in Galactic Advertisers, Haim went with Replicant Robots to give an advantage on settles as well as develops, Geoffrey developed Expedition Force to tie Micah for explore powers, and Micah stood pat.
Round 5 saw Eric settling, Haim exploring, and two naked maneuvers paid off in Geoffrey's trade and Micah's produce. Eric put down Primitive Rebel World, Haim Smuggling Lair, Geoffrey Rebel Fuel Cache, and Micah Gem World. In Round 6 Eric and Micah traded, Haim explored, and Geoffrey settled. Eric settled Rebel Sympathizers, Haim New Vinland, Geoffrey Deserted Alien World and Micah put down the massive Alien Data Repository. At this time, Geoffrey and Micah tied for the Most Explore Powers goal. At the end of the round, Geoffrey discarded down to ten cards gaining him the First to Discard goal and three points.
Round 7 saw a cornucopia of phases. Haim developed, Eric traded, Geoffrey settled, and Haim produced. Eric put out Imperium Lords, Haim Prospecting Guild, Geoffrey Mining Robots, and Micah placed nothing. On settle, Eric settled Rebel Outpost giving him the Most Rebels goal. Haim settled Plague World, Geoffrey settled Space Port, and Micah used Doomed World to pay for Imperium Gem-Blaster Consortium. By getting rid of Doomed World's explore power however, he gave the Most Explore Powers goal to Geoffrey.
Round 8 saw an explore from Haim, a trade from Geoffrey, and a settle from Eric and Micah. Eric increased his rebel lead by settling Rebel Underground, Haim did nothing, Geoffrey settled Runaway Robots, and Micah settled Universal Symbiots which gave him both the First to Four Goods and the First to Four Colors goals. The consume phase saw our first VP chips go to Haim with one and Micah with two.
Round 9 had a complete sweep of developments, and they were all 6? develops. Eric took advantage of his windfall worlds and put out Terraforming Guild. Haim put out SETI, Geoffrey Alien Tech Institute, and Micah Galactic Exchange. Round 10 had a develop from Haim, a settle from Eric and Geoffrey, and a Consume x2 from Micah. Eric put Interstellar Bank down, Haim dropped Galactic Salon, Geoffrey formed a Mining Conglomerate, and Micah used Rebel Pact for a cheap VP. The settle phase saw Eric put out Rebel Colony, Haim stand pat, Geoffrey Abandoned Alien Uploft Camp, and Micah Blaster Gem Mines. Eric got one VP, Haim and Geoffrey two VPs, and Micah a whopping ten VPs in the consume phase, which also netted Micah the First to 5 VP chips goal and a further three VPs.
The last round saw Haim develop, Eric and Geoffrey settle, and in a first for me, a naked x2 from Micah. Eric put out Trade League, Haim Merchant Guild, Geoffrey Trading Outpost for a cheap VP, and Micah Expedition Force to tie Geoffrey again on the Most Explore Goal. Eric settled Rebel Base, Geoffrey Alien Robot Scout Ship, Micah Deserted Alien Outpost, and Haim did nothing. Micah got two VPs and Haim one on the final consume.
After the space dust settled and the VPs were counted, Geoffrey had 34, Haim 36, Eric 50, and our new champion Micah stood tall with 59!