Deb Yaure won a much slimmer Yspahan tournament to have her name added to the perpetual camel trophy. The other finalists were Haim Hochboim, who repeated his 2015 runner-up status, Kelly Czyrca of team Czyrca in third, and 9-year old shark Sam Wolff in fourth who nonetheless led all WBC attendees in charisma and photographs. Look out Caesar - the future King is on his way.
This year we dropped a heat and had just two filling six games each. Attendance was more than halved and dropped to a record low. Games were scheduled for two hours this year, doubling the allowed playing time of prior years. Although this may have scared away some entrants, players took advantage of the additional time to play at a more leisurely pace. Yspahan attracts a number of new or inexperienced players. The average game length was 1:15.
The only double winner was Ray Wolff. Other heat winners were Deb, Haim, Sam, Ray’s other son Jack, 2009 champion Cally Perry, Bob Wicks (by 68 points), Rod Davidson (by 52 points), Paul Klayder, Laura Brown, and Dan Boyle (by two points over Deb). Third seat fared best, winning five times in 14 4-player games, followed by fourth seat (four), first seat (three) and second seat (two).
In addition to 11 winners, five runners-up qualified for the semifinals, including Lou Traini with two seconds. Three qualifiers chose not to continue, making room for two more runners-up and Kevin Breza who had two thirds.
Haim won his semifinal by 43 over Chris Czyrca. The other three semifinals were all close: Kelly by five over Chris Yaure, Deb by four over Laura, and Sam by one over Alexander Lange
Seat order in the Final was Deb, Kelly, Haim, and Sam. There was little scoring in the first week with no one going to the caravan, but lots of accumulation of resources. Deb scored six points from souks, held five camels and built the hammam and caravanserai. Sam scored five points thanks to building the paddock, shop and hammam and held six coins and one card. Kelly hoarded coins and cards (11 and five, respectively) and Haim held six cards and one camel while building the hammam.
At the end of Week 2, Deb led with 39 points, with six camels on the caravan, eight in her paddock, and two cards in her hand. Sam stayed in second, with two camels in the caravan, three in his paddock, nine coins, one card, and another building, the caravanserai. Kelly and Haim were again tied for third, with 12 points each. Kelly matched Sam with nine coins, along with two camels, four cards, and the hammam, caravanserai and hoist. Haim had two camels in the caravan, three in his paddock and seven cards plus the same three buildings as Kelly.
Haim started Week 3 and got the barrel/vases double. The caravan was scored on Day 3, with Deb building a big lead, 67-35 (Sam)-21 (Haim)-15 (Kelly). The caravan was scored again on Day 5. Deb scored no points and things got much closer: Deb (67) – Sam (49) – Haim (46) – Kelly (26). On Day 6 Sam rolled a camel, two sacks, a barrel and five gold (6s). He used the 6s to move the supervisor down the chest track, sent a cube to the caravan, turned in a card for three gold, bought his last building with no camels and sent another cube to the caravan. Deb used the barrel die to send a cube to the caravan, paying a camel. Kelly built another building and Haim sent a cube to the caravan. Deb (71) – Sam (62) – Haim (52) – Kelly (36).
On Day 7 the players moved in reverse order of score. Kelly rolled two gold, one sack, two barrels, three chests and one gold. He built another building and sold gold. Haim sent a cube to the caravan, built a building, sold camels and placed a cube on a souk, but finished with several cards he could not use. Sam sent a cube to the caravan and Deb built a building. Deb (76) – Haim (67) – Sam (64) – Kelly (47).
In final scoring Kelly scored 27 points for souks but no caravan, Haim 11 points for souks and four caravan, Sam no souks but eight caravan and Deb eight souk and nine caravan points. The Final score was: Deb (93) – Haim (82) - Kelly (74) - Sam (72).
Two factors were key to Deb’s win – scoring six camels on the incomplete caravan at the end of Week 2 and Haim having several useless cards at the end.
Yspahan is a great family game. This was illustrated by six clans (Czyrca, Wolff, Yaure, Traini, Davidson and Klayder) having multiple entries in the tournament, composing 46% of the entrants and half of the semifinalists.
Deb also served as assistant GM, getting players registered efficiently for each heat. Thanks!