With overall attendance down at WBC, Amun-Re also drew fewer players (45) than usual but also managed to fill 13 tables during the heats. Those tables produced 14 different winners thanks to two ties, one involving a double winner. Former champion Alex Bove was the only player to win twice, thanks to the aforementioned tiebreaker. He had both the smallest and biggest winning margins in the heats, making him an early favorite for a deep run in the event. Two players (Owen Kyrollos and Micah McCormick) posted the highest winning scores (47) in the heats, while Dan Adams’ 34 was the lowest winning score. The two closest games in the heats saw Dominic Blais and Sam Wolff finish in a tie and Ken Samuel tie Alex, with Ben Scholl a single point behind for a hard-luck third place finish.
Sixteen players competed at four semifinal tables, with the closest 2nd place finisher advancing to the final. Alex’s hot streak would end with a loss to two-time champion Eric Freeman in the biggest semifinal blowout (a spectacular 7-point victory). Two other semifinals also featured fairly large margins of victory, with Owen Kyrollos and Jefferson Meyer both advancing easily to the finals. The last semifinal game was by far the closest as it ended in a tie between Rob Flowers and Derek Glenn, with former champion Rich Meyer just 2 points behind and Andy Latto trailing Rich by only 1 point. Both Rob and Derek deservedly advanced to the final.
The final table featured four Amun Re laurelists and an underdog who very much rose to the occasion. The Old Kingdom saw most players struggling to make much money (no camel provinces were available in the first round), and as a result, no one posted a big early score. At the half way point, Jefferson (13) had the point lead but also very little money. Owen (11) and Derek (11) also managed to score well in the first half, while Eric (8) and Rob (7) were unable to find power cards to close the gap with the leaders. Rob went into the 2nd half of the game with a lot of money, though, and Amun Re comebacks are usually achieved by the player with the biggest war chest.
The New Kingdom began with Owen spending a large chunk of his money (21) on Abydos, which Jefferson had built up earlier. This virtually locked in the most pyramids bonus for Owen, but it also prevented him from bidding or building aggressively for the rest of the game. Rob’s canny purchase of Memphis and its two free bricks for 10 gold put him in a good position to score big on pyramids later. The other players had to settle for less attractive provinces and save their money for the final rounds.
Jeff bid big for Thebes in Round 5, hoping the cards that came with the province would provide some necessary gold, but unfortunately his draws were unlucky. Thanks to a timely bid blockade, Eric was able to get a bargain and improve his own money situation. Meanwhile, Derek bided his time, taking free provinces and holding onto his cash in order to position himself well for the sacrifices and the 6-point endgame bonus for having the most money. Owen rounded out his pyramid set while maintaining supremacy in Abydos, and Rob used all his cash to build two sets of pyramids with the most-pyramids bonus on one side of the river to boot.
When the dust settled, Rob did, indeed, have the most points (17) for pyramids, with Owen and Jefferson each earning 13 points in that category. Eric’s double set gave him a solid 12 points, while Derek only scored 7 pyramid points. It looked like Derek was in trouble, but his 6 points for most money and 6 points from power cards made up for the lack of building points. Only one other player (Rob) fulfilled a power card in the final scoring. Owen had the 2nd most money for 4 points, while Eric finished with the 3rd most cash (2 points) and two temples for 4 points. Jefferson and Rob added 2 points each for their single temples. The final scores were Rob (31), Derek (30), Jefferson (28), Owen (28), Eric (26).
This was the lowest-scoring final I’ve seen at WBC, but that’s the beauty of Amun Re: so much depends on the game economy, and this game dealt the players the challenge of winning without a lot of money. The final was also tightly-contested, with each player maximizing their chances. I don’t think a single mistake was made by any of the finalists, and the game was a joy to watch. Rob Flowers earned a well-deserved win, and Derek Glenn’s runner-up finish was one for the ages. Let us hope we see this level of excellence in the final next year!
|Contemplating their next moves.
|An intense game of Amun Re.
|Battle of the Kevin's - Emery and Wojtaszczyk.
|Finalists with GM Alex Bove