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trans america (TAM) WBC 2016 Report
Updated Nov. 26, 2016 Icon Key
70 Players Alyssa Mills, MD 2016 Status 2017 Status History/Laurels
2016 Champion Click box for details. Click box for details.
 

Women Rule!

For the 11th consecutive year, Transamerica (TAM) was voted in as a “Trial” event by loyal WBC supporters. Predictions of a high Sunday turnout proved accurate despite longer rides home for many, as 70 players packedĀ  the Laurel room (appropriately enough) for their last chance at laurels. In fact, this record turnout forced three tables to be moved into the nearby Fox Den, which had recently been vacated by the WBC “Juniors”.

With a recent re-release of the game, it was hoped that the chronic shortage of copies would be relieved. And in fact, 14 copies were on hand, allowing an even and optimal five players per table. However, not a single one of the copies was of the new edition. Perhaps my years of whining and complaining finally worked. All the games were played briskly and there was only a slight delay in beginning the semifinals.

Due to the high turnout and lack of time for ranking alternates during the continuous round format, only the 14 winners were advanced to the semifinal round. It was decided to seat these at three tables, so that the top two of each could advance to a 6-player Final. There were three pairs of possible “family conflicts” among the 14, showing the benefit of practice, but random seating conveniently split all those pairs to different tables. All three games saw good-natured play and several former champions took their exit at this point. 

The six survivors were Amy Rule, Kevin Breza, Joel Lytle, Bob Stribula, Philip Shea and Alyssa Mills. Tournament rules specify that each player will begin a round once and only once, so the maximum of six rounds were played. For the Final, a special bell (referred to as the Dinging Dingus) was provided to allow players to declare the completion of their connections without actually needing to speak. At this point of the tournament as the convention drew to a close, everyone was tired. All players were happy to use the bell.

Unlike last year, but in keeping with past traditions, players tended to start their networks near the center of the map. For the first round, Amy started in Kansas City, Kevin began in Phoenix, Joel started just west of Kansas City, Bob started just east of Oklahoma City, Philip placed his piece in Bismarck, and Alyssa put hers in Oklahoma City.

Scores remained close after Round 1 with Philip's five points putting him at the back of the pack. The second round started much like the first, with all player's starting pieces within three spaces of Kansas City. The scores stayed close again, and after the fourth round victory seemed unlikely only for Amy and Kevin. Similarly, even after Round 5, four players remained within striking distance. Joel and Bob led with only eight points each. However, each of them scored five in the last round, resulting in a three-way tie as Alyssa caught the co-leaders. Two tiebreakers were needed to declare Alyssa the champion, making that long drive home a little less onerous with the convention’s last plaque in her possession. Moreover, it was her first WBC title and the record 15th tournament win this year for the ladies.

Another highlight was Amy Rule setting a tournament Final record with 35 points. Unfortunately for Amy, as in Hearts, the goal in Transamerica is to avoid points.

 
2016 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 0
Joel Lytle, NY Bob Stribula, PA Philip Shea, OR Kevin Breza, VA Amy Rule, MD
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
 

The Sunday morning overflow from the Laurel room to Fox Den detoured Bob Stribula,
Patrick Shea, Cynthia Lee, Tessa Lytle and Greg Thatcher.
 
GM  Dave Bohnenberger [4th Year]  NA
 dweeb01@Gmail.com  NA